Architecture and design firms often try to do everything themselves. I get it. Controlling the conceptual integrity of an idea throughout the process of design and construction is paramount to maintaining one’s reputation as a talented service provider. That, and the deafening pride designers are all-too-often not willing to swallow.
But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my years as an architect, it’s this: you are only as good as the tools you use.
Design tools come in many forms: computer programs, specially weighted vellum, interns who organize material libraries, or online rendering services that take the leg work out of making your designs shine in the light they deserve.
Lucky for you, there are thousands of talented freelance artists, designers, firms and companies out there eager to help designers, architects, marketers, developers and product engineers realize their virtual designs. And even luckier for you, web services exist that dedicate their effort to giving instant validity to unbuilt and yet to be fully realized work.
Here are a few of the best 3D rendering services the internet has to offer.
Easy Render is just that: easy. To call it an online job hunting service would be to undersell the value of using Easy Render for both freelancers and the companies that hire them. 3D rendering artists and visualizers are able to set up a personal portfolio that showcases their work to prospective clients, who then look at said work in amazement before contacting the freelancer directly for interview and eventually hire.
The system works seamlessly, and is about flexibility and options for firms and offices out there who differ widely in exactly what they are looking for. Whether you need a jaw-dropping rendering of a proposed public library for your next design review meeting, or simply your friend’s head photoshopped on David Hasselhoff’s naked body, Easy Render has got you covered.
The best part? All of the work produced on Easy Render is 100% satisfaction guaranteed. If you aren’t happy with the work, or if it came in over budget and off schedule, they will give you a full refund no questions asked. It’s a service that truly trusts the people who make their community thrive. If you need rendering help, this is probably the best place to start.
Once you look past the fact that “Rendercore Lab” sounds like the next bad Vin Diesel movie, you’ll see an online rendering service with tremendous value. Rendercore allows professionals of all shapes and sizes to upload their 3D models via FTP straight to Rendercore’s servers, where they then perform a bit of internet magic to spit out some of the most gorgeous visualizations this side of Pixar.
Rendercore Lab’s target markets are animation, architecture, broadcasting, industrial and product design, marketing agencies, entertainment, and special effects industries. They utilize cloud computing and a host of talented technicians to provide your images and animations the horsepower they need to be pumped out quickly. This is actually sounding more and more like a Vin Diesel movie, come to think of it.
At it’s heart, Rendercore is a render engine - and one of the best in the world at that. Whether you’re in halfway across the globe or in their backyard in Los Angeles, you won’t need to leave home to render your scenes in realistic clarity and in record time.
If Rendercore Lab is the engine, Brick is driving the train. They are a worldwide rendering service that employs an outstanding team of architects, designers, technicians and artists to help bring your projects to life - real life. This isn’t just a drop it off at the laundromat, come back the next day with your whites wrapped in a brown paper bag tied with a nice bow. This is leave your room a mess of dirty clothes, have someone round it up, wash it for you, press it, spray it with unicorn pheromones then ceremoniously return it to you in a golden chariot.
They help you with pretty much everything, and take the leg work out of the painstaking process of setting up cameras and tweaking material textures and lighting. You design it, they make it real. It’s that simple
Brick pretty much the best at what they do, turning out stunning images and fluid animations while working with some of the most distinguished architecture firms and animation studios in the world. They are the Cadillac of the 3D rendering and visualization world. Working with Brick won’t be cheap, but it will be worth it.
I know, I know. Sending your work out for consult to AutoDesk is the industry equivalent of selling your soul and voting for Donald Trump. But, hear me out. AutoDesk has been doing this for a long time, and that software you so auspiciously use to design, draw, and model your projects? Yeah, they made all that, and they definitely know a thing or two when it comes to using those tools with the highest competency.
It’s called AutoDesk Consulting, and it’s just as dry as it sounds. Dry, yet extremely helpful if you’re looking to make the most out of software behemoths such as Maya, Revit, AutoCad, and 3DSMax.
And this isn’t just a tech support service (which is kind of what it sounds like, to be honest). AutoDesk has a Scrooge McDuck swimming pool full of gold, and they use it to employ some of the best technicians in the world to help you customize digital visualization presentations that, in their words, “accelerate design, project approval, and consumer purchasing decisions.” Yes, it all sounds very corporate, but that’s kind of the point. Sometimes you need a guy in a two thousand dollar suit to give you a leg up in this world.
ArchiCGI is another architectural visualization studio who specializes in residential interiors - and that specialization shows. They produce images and animations at a level of realism that give me the same suspension of disbelief I had as a 13 year old watching Jurassic Park for the first time. The reflections, the folds in fabric, the lighting and texture and perspective - it’s a digital artist’s wet dream and takes the pain away from trying to replicate this kind of perfection yourself.
Their service boasts over 40K digital models of furniture, lighting fixtures, rugs, bathtubs, and probably over a hundred types of ficus. If you want one of your designs to show off a certain way, chances are ArchiCGI has got something to realize that dream. They provide an invaluable service for architects, designers, real estate marketers, and just about anyone else looking to sell their clients on the merits of their design.
In addition to their rendering services, they also do in-house modeling and composite drawings that explore 3D space in interesting and innovative ways. They employ a number of design professionals who are just as eager to move along the design process as they are to visualize the finished product. Developers take note.
The sequel to Rendercore, staring Sean Connery as Vin Diesel’s estranged father! I wish I wasn’t kidding. Power Rendering is another well-regarded 3D rendering and visualization powerhouse who don’t skimp on the quality when it comes to turning out some of the best 3D images the internet has to offer. They are upfront about pricing and process, giving you a clear picture of start to finish unlike most other services that go to Chris Angel-esque lengths to mask their rates and schedules.
There’s nothing particularly flashy or bombastic about Power Rendering’s approach to business. They are the trusty old man who owns the corner hardware store and will always give you a fair price. He has a bushy white mustache, obviously. They don’t beat around the perfectly rendered bush and give you the exact service you paid for. It’s a refreshing approach to digital business, and one that produces results as good as their ethics.
Being as all-work-no-play as they are, Power Rendering goes after the marketing and developer side of the design-build pie. Design and architecture firms aren’t likely to be seen browsing their pages - they aren’t nearly as ‘design-y’ enough. You laugh, but that’s actually a thing. Nevertheless, PR is good at what they do and are worth a look whether you’re a mortgage slinger or pencil pusher.
If you needed to know just how clever this studio is, just look at the way they’ve needlessly used a 3 to replace the first ‘E’ in the word ‘clever.’ That’s clever.
All joking around aside, Clever Studio is a top-of-the-line rendering service that focuses on interactive 3D visualization and virtual reality experiences. VR is coming at the design and digital world like a freight train, and Clever is at the forefront using this technology to benefit architecture and product design firms who are looking to give their clients a more immersive exposure to their designs. If you really want to sell someone on the validity of your work, put them inside the work as if it were already real.
And you thought porn was the only viable use for virtual reality. Shame on you.
Clever Studio has worked with famous international design firms such as Gensler, Yaskawa, and NBBJ - providing unparalleled virtual experiences for the most cut-throat business interactions. What they provide is something truly unique in an age where advancements in technology are ushering in a brand new wave of opportunities. Many firms will soon follow, but for now, Clever Studio is one of the best.