Latest advancements in architectural rendering software
Latest advancements in architectural rendering software

In this fast-paced world we live intoday, change is inevitable. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially ifit’s for the better. The same goes with architectural design. Over the years,it has undergone a massive transformation, especially with the advent of thedigital age.

Just like all changes, the great stridesmade in the industry particularly in architectural rendering software have beenmet with a lot of resistance. Traditionalists would always revert totraditional methods. Many construction projects even today still prefer 2Ddrawings over their 3D counterparts; which is kind of absurd because 2Ddrawings are derived from their 3D models anyway. Not only is it redundantlycounterproductive, it squanders every little advancement in architecturalrendering software that materialized over the years.

That being said, industry insiders,visionaries and movers and shakers have all embraced the potential ofarchitectural rendering software. It is undeniably the future of architecturaldesign because it seamlessly combines old-world craftsmanship with new worldtechnology which would in turn make the planning of a construction project thatmuch efficient and cost-effective. There have been a myriad of advancements inarchitectural rendering software and it is very hard to keep track of them.

The trick is just to pick out those thatreally stand out; the ones that users and consumers rave about not just becauseof their capabilities but their relative ease of use. What good is anadvancement in technology when only a handful can effectively use them right?The role of technology is make things easier; not make them more problematic.So, with that in mind, here are the latest advancements in architecturalrendering software:


Building Information Modeling (BIM) isall the rage these days and Autodesk Revit is specifically built to addressthis need. What it does is it incorporates intelligent data into a 3D model andemulates the real nature and composition of buildings in the designing process.It’s the closest you can get from the real thing so it’s very helpful inaccurately illustrating your early design concept.

The best thing about Revit is that it’svery extensive as the data that you use for the 3D model can also be utilizedfor other construction related purposes like facility management, planning,documentation and most importantly, marketing visualizations.

Revit is 4D BIM capable which means thatit has powerful tools that allow you to plan and track the various stages ofyour construction project’s life cycle; beginning with theory andconceptualization to the actual construction process itself and eventually itsimminent demolition. It’s that powerful! That’s why, the who’s who in theconstruction business consider Revit to be at the forefront of architecturaldesign and rendering.


Perhaps not as powerful and extensive asAutodesk Revit but what it may lack in functionality—which is really not thatmuch—it more than makes up for its usability. If you’re looking for auser-friendly 3D modeling software, then SketchUp is for you. Who saysarchitectural design and rendering should be boring? With SketchUp, you canstart drawing lines and shapes in a matter of minutes.

So long as you know basic computer, youshould be able to effectively use this software. You don’t even need to startfrom scratch when designing because SketchUp has a comprehensive 3D Warehousewhere you can find 3D models of just about anything: chairs, tables, plants,even animals, you name it, SketchUp has it! No wonder it’s regarded as theworld’s biggest warehouse for free 3D models. Not only that, you can even storeor share your 3D models for everyone to see. It’s reliable, fast and interactive,what’s not to like really? And when you’re done with your 3D model, you canturn it into a document or a set of drawings with SketchUp Pro’s LayOutfeature.

You can add dimensions, graphics,callouts, model views to pages etc. basically anything you need to get yourmessage across. And once you make changes to your SketchUp model, itautomatically reflects in your LayOut.

There are plenty more amazing features inSketchUp but I’m just highlighting those that make it stand out from the rest.Perhaps the best thing about it is that it’s very easy to use. Pros andbeginners alike can use it with relative ease because the learning curve isn’tthat steep.


Arguably the world’s most versatile 3-Dmodeler as it utilizes NURBS or Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines. NURBS aremathematical representations of 3-D geometry which can accurately illustrateany shape imaginable. Anything from a straightforward 2-D line, curve, arc or acircle to the most elaborate and intricate organic free-form 3-D solids orsurfaces; there’s simply no limit to what it can do.

With more than 2,000 enhancements as wellas modeling and editing tools, you can design anything and everything under thesun. Plus, it is compatible with other software because it supports over 30Computer Aided Design CAD file formats for exporting and importing purposeswithout the help of external pug ins.

As a flexible and powerful software,Rhino3D is actually relatively easy to learn and use effectively. Because ofthis, you can focus solely on architectural design and rendering without thesoftware getting in the way. It’s just like illustrating an idea or conceptusing a pencil and a paper but only in a digital and much more advanced format.Plus, it is quite fast as it can operate at full capacity using an ordinarycomputer; no fancy hardware or set up needed.


It has been widely recognized as thefirst BIM and CAD product on a personal computer, capable of generating 2D and3D geometry. It’s also regarded as a revolutionary software for it can storeincredibly large amounts of data in a 3D model. And now, its latest versionArchichad19 is faster than ever with its industry first background processingtechnology.

What it does is that it takes advantageof unutilized computer space by preempting what you might do next and preparingfor those actions in advance. This way, the responsiveness of the applicationdramatically increases which means that there will be no more waiting time fora view to load. A lot of things get done because the workflow is smoother andfaster and you can concentrate on the design rather than being bothered by yourworkstation.

Archicad prides itself as the onlyarchitectural rendering software in the market today that has been designed anddeveloped by architects for architects. And it shows as it boasts a highperformance rendering tool, capable of producing some of the best if not thebest photo-realistic videos and pictures in the industry.


Perhaps Maya’s strongest suit isanimation. Case in point: It has received an Academy Award for TechnicalAchievement on March 1, 2003 and it provided graphic and animation work foraward-winning films (via Pixars Renderman) such as Avatar, The Girl with theDragon Tattoo, Spiderman, Matrix, Frozen, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo justto name a few. It also created special effects for critically acclaimed and toprating TV shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, SouthPark and more as well as for Video Games like Halo 4 among other things.

So it goes without saying that Maya isperfect for architectural rendering. With its powerful and comprehensive CGpipeline core, you can tackle any 3D designing and rendering challengeimaginable. If you want to create a different dynamic and depth to yourpresentation, Maya provides you with highly capable simulation, modeling andanimation tools that would make your imagination and design ideas come alive.

The results and awards don’t lie. Mayadefinitely is one of the best if not the best in the business as far as 3Danimation is concerned so no wonder it’s been preferred by many as their go tosoftware for 3D architectural walkthrough and rendering.

AutoCAD Architecture

For a much more streamlined design anddrafting, AutoCAD Architecture is the right software for the job. The nameitself says it all. A flagship product of Autodesk, it’s a true classic inevery sense of the word as it’s been around for decades, catering to everyarchitectural need imaginable. Its latest version is specifically created tohelp you design more efficiently and document your work effectively.

It’s highly flexible architecturaldrafting tools and functions let you draw components and materials likewindows, doors, walls etc. that mimic real-world behavior and intelligently interactwith one another. These intelligent architectural objects are both representedin 2D and 3D and are dynamically linked with construction data andspecifications. Such arrangement makes for a far more detailed and meticulousproject outputs.

Since AutoCAD is specifically built forarchitects, it boasts design and documentation features that make laborious andrepetitive drafting tasks that much easier, faster and far more accurate;thereby increasing the efficiency of the entire process. With AutoCAD, architecturaldesigning and rendering will be just like a breeze.

3ds Max

It’s the ultimate three-dimensional modelcreator for it can seamlessly operate with most rendering software and otherprograms such as Adobe Photoshop and After Effects--ultimately resulting inmuch better, high-quality renders. Though it’s regularly used by video gamedevelopers, many film or TV studios and especially architectural renderingstudios prefer 3ds Max because its features and tools are versatile, robust andcollaborative.

It closely resembles AutoCAD--no surprisethere as both are products of Autodesk--that’s why both programs work welltogether; with 3ds Max mostly taking care of the 3D rendering and animationaspects/needs of the construction project. It also offers digital continuitywith Revit (another Autodesk standout) based products so you can explore,validate and execute design concepts fluently and compellingly.

Perhaps the best thing about 3ds Max isthat some of its features and enhancements are user-requested like the ‘CameraSequencer’, ‘Dual Quarternion skinning’, ‘A360 Rendering Support’ and ‘EnhancedShaderFX’ just to name a few. All of which were custom-fitted to make thearchitectural designing and rendering processes more collaborative andefficient. The creators actually listen to the concerns of the consumers andthe ‘Desktop Subscription’ feature gives every user access to the latestupdates and releases as well as priority support in forums, one-on-one websupport and flexible licensing among other perks.

Vectorworks Architect

It’s architectural design and renderingwithout restrictions. For one thing, VectorWorks Architect has a highlyadaptable Parasolid 3D modeling engine that allows you to draw any geometricshape you want or tackle any complex architectural 3D design imaginable. Youcan bend, push, deform, pull or do just about anything to your model and fromany view or angle as its instinctual interface automatically derives andinterprets working plains as you move your cursor.

Also, its Building Information Model BIMactually works for you. This means that you can create or introduce BIM withouthaving to change your or your team’s approved design process. It not onlyincreases efficiency and productivity, it also streamlines cost.

Aside from having powerful and flexibleBIM capabilities, the Vectorworks has intelligent tools that allows for greatdocumentation and efficient and fluid workflows. You can jump from one task tothe next and can even collaborate with other professionals without compromisingthe quality of the output as it provides a robust and flexible digitalenvironment that allows you to import or export materials and images at will.With Vectorworks, you’re most certainly at the forefront of collaborativedigital practices in the industry.

Chief Architect

It is the foremost developer andpublisher of 3D Architectural home design programs for architects, designers,builders and even Do-it-yourself (DIY) home design enthusiasts. It has a lot ofproduct lines but the two most popular are Chief Architect® software for thepros, and Home Designer® for the beginners and DIY home design market. Bothproduct lines are compatible so professionals and novice designers can shareideas and collaborate with each other with relative ease.

Chief Architect has got everything youneed for residential and light commercial design. As you start to draw yourdesign and incorporate intelligent architectural objects like windows anddoors, the program automatically creates a 3D model of what you just createdand produces a Materials List on a real-time basis. Through the help of itspowerful building tools, it simultaneously creates Section Details, FramingPlans, Site Plans, Construction Documents and Elevations.

And since Home Designer barrows a lot oftechnology from Chief Architect, it’s got all the perks of a professional gradearchitectural home designing software minus the steep learning curve. It’s fun,easy and functional that’s why it’s one of the most preferred 3D software forDIY outdoor living projects, interior design and home design.

Honorable Mention:


Unlike the programs mentioned above,Lumion 3d is not a modeling program. Its main function is making architecturalrendering. You will have to create your 3D model using other software likeRevit, ArchiCAD or Sketchup and import it to Lumion. What makes it specialhowever is that it only takes a few minutes to set up and render and you canview it anywhere because it works on desktop computers, tablets and phones.

Using the Lumion software package, youcan breathe life to your 3D model by populating it with people, vegetation,trees and weather among other things. Once you’re done with the enhancements,you click a button to enter mode. Using this mode, you can pickand choose the viewpoints that you want to define to make your architecturalrendering stand out. And once you’re done, you simply hit the render button andLumion will do the rest by combining the images into 360 panoramas.

The link to the finished product will thenbe sent back to you via your email. You can forward the link to your colleaguesand friends to share the experience. It’s architectural rendering with a touchof social media so it’s worth a try.

So there you have it, the latestadvancements in Architectural Rendering Software. There might be some programsout there that I haven’t mentioned but that is because technologicaladvancements in recent years especially in architectural design and renderingare happening at such a rapid pace that it’s very hard to keep tabs on all ofthem. For this reason, finding an architectural rendering software that bestworks for you might be overwhelming at first as there are plenty in the marketoffering/promising amazing services.

What’s important is that you do a littlebit of research and find out the exact things that you want and need from arendering product or software. Each one offers powerful tools that makedesigning and 3d rendering process that much easier, efficient and realistic.It’s just a matter of choosing the software that enhances your designingstrengths and instincts. And in the cutthroat and brave new world ofarchitectural design, finding a program that can make your design vision cometo life via a compelling and practical 3D rendering can mean the differencebetween getting that dream project and landing on the garbage heap ofuninspired ideas.