How to Prepare for a 3D Rendering Contest
How to Prepare for a 3D Rendering Contest

3D rendering aims at transmitting and communicating ideas with the aid of a digital medium. With the invention of 3D rendering software that came along with the overall advancement of technology, graphic designers can now communicate ideas through renders and visualize any project.

Creating a perfect and flawless architectural rendering is always time-consuming and takes a lot of skills and preparation. At times, the designer can get lost in altering mistakes and placing finishing touches, so making the perfect rendering can be frustrating for the artist.

The 3D rendering professional has to combine materials, details, colors, lighting, and textures simultaneously to make a visualization that will stand out from the rest. When it comes to 3D rendering contests and taking all measures to be unique, the artist may get overwhelmed.

Because this is so, we’ve composed a list of a couple of valuable tips that can help the artist take a particular 3D rendering to the next level. The key is to make a design that will efficiently communicate to the viewer and beat the competitors’ designs.

After all, 3D rendering is a handy and popular art form that people take seriously, especially in rendering contests. Other than being a form of art that people compete in, 3D rendering is greatly used in architecture, construction, and medicine.

It would be good to mention one instance of how crucial this art form is in medicine, as cinematic rendering and heart surgery are close-knit. They’re close-knit because, with a 3D rendering model, we can capture a realistic visualization of a human heart (and other organs, for that matter).

Knowing this, we realize that 3D rendering is a convenient tool for transferring real-life experiences into digital models visible in 3D. Without further ado, let’s see what tips and steps 3D designers can follow to make their models be unique and stand out in a 3D rendering competition.

Prepare yourself

If you are a 3D rendering freelancer, you need to find the best 3D rendering resources for free. This type of preparation requires pre-planning, and you shouldn’t consider it an obstacle. There are many valuable resources online that can significantly aid you in making a perfect architectural rendering.

The first step for good preparation is determining the position of your camera, or in other words, the focal point. If the focal point is set right, your 3D rendering model could be visible from a particular point or angle, giving it a more natural appearance and tone.

Say you want your 3D rendering model to be viewed from a particular angle or from above. Or maybe you want to highlight some details or a specific feature of a building you have designed. Determining the focal point will enable just that if you consider it in advance.

Of course, this is just the initial step and opting for the perfect focal point is not the end of your journey to an excellent 3D rendering. Let’s see what other things the designer has to bear in mind and pay attention to for making an outstanding model.

Sketch the first scene

Before even thinking about visualizing the final product (your 3D rendering design), you have to sketch the first version. Plans, reference images, and sketches are something no realistic 3D rendering can be created without.

The first sketch is like gathering all the essential information and placing it on paper to understand the requirements for completing that architectural rendering. Without the sketch, you won’t be able to conceptualize the whole model.

A sketch is (and we can’t stress this enough) like your basic layer of modeling, which can turn into a realistic 3D rendering after the process is finished. Once you have done the sketch, have determined the focal point, and decided on the highlighted features, you can go into the 3D modeling phase.

Your rendering needs to communicate!

Each 3D rendering needs to be realistic. Whether we are working on it for a potential or current client or are planning to enter a 3D rendering contest, the model needs to be transparent, realistic, and able to communicate to the viewer.

If a 3D designer is designing a building with surroundings for a contest, the building has to be adjacent to the backyard, the parks, and the streets surrounding it. If you want a professional project, making a rendering that translates all ideas into a real-life model is the key.

The surroundings must always be believable so that your architectural rendering can send a message to the viewer without any ambiguity. The final rendering design must include all the details like trees, bodies of water, the sky, and grass to be realistic to the viewer.

Natural colors should always be used, and too complicated scenes should be kept to a minimum. If a scene is out of the ordinary and too difficult, it won’t be able to highlight the abilities of your design, might confuse, and lack communication with the viewer.

Great aesthetics

Refining textures and materials in your 3D rendering model will add to its great aesthetics. Each rendering model incorporates many materials, textures, and colors. You must bear in mind that particular materials can look different depending on the time of the day.

For example, if you are making a 3D rendering model of a house with a pool in the backyard and want it to look like it has been shot in the morning, your rendering must have warm and bright colors. You can achieve appropriate aesthetics with the process of refinement.

Like we’ve already mentioned, refinement of materials and textures only adds to the realistic tone of your model. If you opt for the early hours of the morning, your rendering should shine. If you opt for the evening, the textures and color should be duller.

Make it memorable

With 3D rendering software, we can create renderings of any particular real-life (and imaginary) instance. However, 3D rendering is much more than that. When creating a 3D rendering, we are taking a photo.

We lighten or darken the scene, pay attention to the focal angle, choose realistic textures and colors, and make an effort to make the model communicate to the viewer. But we can do even more than that if we want to make our model memorable.

Giving a personal touch and precise details that no other artist has used or seen anywhere is what can make our 3D rendering model unique. The best thing that can happen is that we get these ideas ourselves, but creativity can sometimes dry up.

When that happens, look for mediums, your old sketches, and drawings, other artists’ ideas, and create something extraordinary and unique.

Be creative

Creativity can be burned out after a while and has to be “watered” like plants daily. Since this aspect of our brain connected to the invention can hold us back from making a unique model, we must constantly find sources for inspiration.

A great model can’t be created if there are no skills available at hand and no knowledge of creating unique structures. So yes, you have to be skilled first, and creativity will come second. Remember that it’s never a shame to look at models of your competitors.

They can be a great source of creativity, and you may come up with ideas you would never have thought of before looking at models from other artists. However, this source of creativity is tricky because many tend to become copy-cats. Make sure that you never do!

Don’t let your medium limit you

If you have already learned all the options of your medium and have mastered working with a limited set of resources - why stop there? Never let one medium limit you, and always look for new ideas in other different mediums.

A great medium that can offer you an endless set of ideas is the cinema. Movies are, without a doubt, a great combination of almost all forms of art. They are a package full of music, literature, animations, movement, and painting.

Don’t be lazy to explore other mediums since they can help you brainstorm after seeing ideas and prepare your 3D rendering model for the contest.

Look for inspiration

You can find inspiration by looking at reference images on the internet, looking at your sketches and photographs, and using numerous digital mediums available online. Whichever source of inspiration you opt for, it’s crucial to organize and plan your inspiration hunt.

How can you achieve this? Yes, there are numerous artists out there who always make fabulous creations with improvisation. Still, when you seriously want to invest your time and effort in a project, it’s great to prepare your inspirational search.

For longer projects, especially, always make sure that you create sketches for each inspirational idea that comes your way. Save each drawing on your computer, as you won’t be able to memorize all of them, and yes, there will be plenty.

Moreover, don’t hesitate to write notes for each inspirational instance you find online. A pencil and a piece of paper for taking notes aren’t out of fashion. They are, in fact, the most convenient tool for making your inspirational ideas permanent.

Make materials realistic

The key to a realistic appearance of materials is not making them look flawless. Strange as it may seem, it’s exactly the opposite - never making them look completely perfect and insisting on flaws. After all, all things in nature are never completely symmetrical.

The same applies to a 3D rendering model. No natural object in your rendering model should be completely identical on both sides for all the materials to look realistic. Yes, artificial, man-made objects are usually symmetrical, but trees never are.

Don’t neglect the fact that realistically looking results are achieved with imperfection. For this reason, when designing a house, make sure that the leaves of the tree next to the house/building are never the same and symmetrical. Each leaf should be different.

Lighting needs to be on point

The lighting may be one of the essential points to consider when making a perfect 3D rendering model. Consider the environmental lighting at all times for outdoors, and consider setting the appropriate artificial lighting for indoors.

Whether your model will meet a client or just appear at a 3D rendering contest is irrelevant, you want to make illumination perfect in both cases. Luckily, setting the proper lighting is not difficult once you get a little hold of things.

The most beautiful part of setting the right lighting for your model is that you don’t have to wait for the perfect sunny day or wait for the shadows to move or the weather to break. A 3D rendering software enables you to set and control the time of the day, time of the year, and the ray’s angles.

For indoor designs, you can control the lighting from every aspect as well. The proper 3D rendering software will allow you to play with the hues, sharpen or soften the shadows, and adjust and modify the lighting to perfection, achieving the premium quality of your 3D rendering design.


We’ve already pointed out how rendering software made the 3D rendering process easier and manageable to perfection by experienced 3D rendering professionals. For this, we have only our technology to thank.

3D rendering is realistic, accurate, affordable, and creates a way to communicate ideas to the viewers with a very transparent model. However, it’s not a walk in the park. You should follow the steps we listed above to help yourself make a unique model to a T.

There’s lighting to consider, creating flaws intentionally to make the design more realistic, determining the right focal angle of your camera, choosing the right colors and textures, and more. Skills are needed for making a perfect 3D rendering model.

However, it’s still not quantum physics, and with the aid of 3D rendering software, each designer can become an expert in this field. For a premium quality of your design that you wish to present at a 3D rendering contest, follow the tips and ideas listed above. Good luck!