Architectural rendering is a very specific,highly nuanced niche in the visualization world. It requires not only anunderstanding of how to model, render, and animate in the digital space, but anoverarching knowledge of how buildings are designed and constructed.
The best architectural rendering artists have abackground in architecture and a passion for making their designs look greateven before they are built. However, an architecture degree isn’t necessarilyrequired for those 3D artists who are looking to test their merits in the worldof architectural visualization.
To help you gain a grasp of what makes themodeling and rendering of 3D buildings so unique, we’ve collected 7 useful tipsthat will make your forays into the sub-industry that much better.
If you haven’t spent 5-7 years of your lifescraping together the will power to collect a professional degree inarchitecture, then the first thing you should do is better understand howbuildings are designed. Read books. Talk to architects. Look over buildingplans, drawings, schematics, and construction documents.
The more you understand about how a buildingcomes together, the better you’ll be able to not only model those buildings,but get the most out of a true-to-life visualization.
Whether you’re creating visualizations forpublic or client consumption, the end goal should always be to explainsomething profound about what experiencing the finished space will feel like.This is no easy task, but should be the most focused-on element of anyarchitectural drawing or animation.
Adding human elements for scale can go a longway to helping someone feel like they are a part of the artwork. If the drawingis just a building, people without a design background will have a much hardertime understanding the experiential qualities of it.
There’s nothing that will take the viewer outof the experience of a 3D rendering faster than poor quality of light. We aretrained every waking moment of our lives to identify real-world lightingconditions, making it plainly obvious for anyone with working eyes when thingsare even a little bit off.
Spend a large allocation of your budgeted timeworking on lighting models in order to best recreate the physical conditions inyour renderings. Software has been developed to be very good at reproducingphotorealistic lighting, but it’s up to the artist to understand how best toimplement those tools in their work.
Many rendering programs come equipped with alibrary of good, off-the-shelf textures and materials to populate yourvisualizations with. However, not all of them are great, and it’s importantthat you work from a moderately-sized library of your own cultivation you trustwith your most high-profile work.
You want to have textures you can rely on, sodown the road you aren’t fumbling your way through new textures when up againstan important deadline.
Just like when taking a photograph or creatinga work of art, composition is the fundamental backbone with which the rest ofthe work sits. With architectural visualization, the rendering or image startswith composing a scene that will be aesthetically engaging and interesting.This can be achieved through perspective, diagonals, using the ‘rule ofthrees,’ or any number of ways that help people understand a virtual space.
Use the 3D model to create several test scenesthat allow you or your peers to accurately critique which ones will achieve thebest composition from a basic geometric perspective. Work on adding detail fromthere.
Photorealism is a tried-and-true gateway toeffective architectural visualization, but if you are looking to create a namefor yourself in the industry, consider doing work that bleeds on the edge ofcreativity and take some risks. Of course, you don’t want these decisions todistract from the architecture itself, but sometimes radical visuals can helpexplain a design better than a true-to-life depiction ever could (especially inthe conceptual phase).
Architects and designers are good at what theydo because the adhere to a rigorous process of design and development thatleads them confidently to solutions for difficult problems. Rendering artistsmust instill a process of their own on their work to ensure the resultingimages and animations are consistently up to the standards they promise.
Your process is the only thing that keeps you on trackduring any given project. Develop one that lets you build upon your good ideas,and you will always create architectural visualizations that measure up to thecompetition.