Many years ago, before rendering software developed enough, architects struggled with hand-drawing.
To convince investors that their work was good, architects had to draw 3D models using an old fashion method – a perspective with vanishing points. No matter how skilled architects were, a hand-drawn perspective and then hand-colored with various techniques takes a long time, and it never could be as professional and realistic as visualizations done on a computer.
Architects can sell the projects only if they amaze investors. When it comes to the details of construction, less isn't more, so using software can help architects create detailed solutions.
There is a time and a place for minimalism, but at this stage of project development, adding correct materials and textures, as well as making realistic renders can be crucial to the success of the project.
Earlier, the complete project had to be done by hand. Starting from the first sketches, then developing the idea of the different aspects of the project, including solving object functionality and the construction, and visualization for a conceptual solution until the detailed design is done.
A detailed design must contain everything necessary for construction works. Considering that 2D floor plans must contain various labels and hatches related to the construction, that a team of architects must provide a complete solution, including interior and exterior design and a lot of urban planning, it's almost impossible to imagine that they once had to draw it all by hand.
After the first software for 2D floor plans was developed, civil engineers and architects could take a break. These programs can save a lot of time, but vector programs are also much more precise than manual drawing.
After a while, architects got even more help with the development of software for 3D modeling. Programs for 3D modeling support importing of vector 2D drawings, so raising the 3D model becomes much more comfortable and accurate.
As a 3D model without rendering isn't enough to convince investors to accept the project, software for rendering was developed too.
Programs like 3Ds Max can support all work concerning 3D modeling and rendering. Extensions like Mental Ray or V-Ray can provide realistic photos created from a 3D model. The Autodesk platform, among other things, provides software for 2D drawing (AutoCAD) and software for 3D modeling and rendering (3Ds Max). These programs are compatible, so drawing has become simpler than ever.
The best thing concerning these programs is that they are compatible with many other programs which can import/export .dwg and .3ds formats, as well as many other formats.
There are a lot of rendering programs and each is excellent for something. V-ray is the most commonly used and it's an excellent option for interior and exterior design rendering, but Lumion is much faster and it can provide highly-realistic photos for urban planning.
The latest version of Lumion provides you with scene-building tools and effects which in combination with LiveSync can help architects design in a real-life environment.
After the process of materialization is done, 3D rendering can start. Material adjustment isn't complicated because these programs provide you with the opportunity to choose or import various textures.
After you select textures, you can adjust bump, transparency, ambient color, diffuse color, specular color, glossiness, self-illumination, opacity, reflection and more. Since every material requires different adjustment, every imported and adjusted texture contributes to how realistic the rendering will be.
No matter if you are working on interior design, exterior design or urban planning, lighting has an important role. Use of lighting is excellent for nighttime renders, but creating natural or artificial lighting in daytime renders is also important.
Some programs like Lumion have previously set natural lighting which can be adjusted, but in software like V-ray you have to create natural lighting manually, especially if you are working on the interior design.
Each software tool enables different lighting sources, but most common forms of lighting are omni or point light, rectangle light or plane light, spotlight, dome light, sphere light, IES light, mesh light, and sky and sun.
Adding lighting to a 3D model is an excellent way of highlighting details, but also it provides a more realistic picture at the end.
Several rendering software tools have built-in environment settings such landscapes including rivers, seas, mountains, cities, sky, and clouds, but if you choose software like V-ray, you have to finish your work using PhotoShop or other similar software.
The easiest way of importing render into the real-life environment is using a photo. Many architects take a photo of a preferred location and then import a render into an image.
Greenery is also very important for achieving a realistic rendering. For example, Lumion provides you with the opportunity to select trees, plants, and other objects from a library, but if you decide to use other software, you must be skilled for work in PhotoShop.
You can now create animations to walk investors through the project and show them every corner of a building or park you’ve designed. After a little more effort, architects can provide highly realistic video of their designs.
Rendering software changed the way we approach construction projects for 360 degrees. Walk-through was possible only after construction works are done and exhaustive hand-making of models is replaced with highly realistic renders.
Every mistake during coloring used to be a disaster since architects had to draw a perspective views from the beginning. Besides, the possibility of changing materials and textures during project development is the best thing rendering software brought. Now, you can try different materials and improve the project within a few clicks if the investor isn't satisfied with the work you have done.
Another advantage of rendering software is that you can add some imperfections in your work, which can make renders look even more realistic.
Everything becomes more detailed and super realistic and, most importantly – you won’t waste any time.