3D rendering and visualization is quickly evolving into one of the most popular industries for young designers looking to find their medium. As is such, the number of programs available to buy and download are ripping the internet at the seams, presenting an overwhelming number of options that can create uncertainty and anxiety for those looking to break into the profession. But, the truth is, you should think critically about the types of programs you decide to use, because they will be your lifeblood as you build a body of work and jumpstart your career.
So, choosing the right rendering software is important. Depending on the specific field you are looking to break into and the kind of renderings you hope to do, the results can differ wildly as can the types of communities that surround each program. If you plan to get the most out of your software, tapping into the knowledge and experience of that community will be key. Certain programs like Blender and Maxwell have a long history of user support, so if you’re looking to get an early leg up on your career that might be a good place to start.
Your quest to find the perfect rendering software should start with some questions.
There are a variety of sub-industries that stem from the digital art world. Whether you’re looking to get into architectural visualization, product marketing, or video game development, the software you’ll be using could very widely. While there is some overlap, many programs are tailored specifically for one or a few sub-industries. For example, if you’re looking to get into video game art, modeling, and animation, you better get to know Maya better than you know your collection of vintage Ninja Turtle action figures.
This could be a bit more difficult to answer at first. Your process for producing and refining your digital art is probably the most important aspect of your work-flow, but it is something that gets refined and iterated upon as your gain more experience. Certain rendering programs, like Lumion3D, offer real-time rendering engines that allow you to view your renderings as you modify things. You should consider how you expect your feedback loop to operate, and if it relies on third party input.
Some rendering software is a bit tougher to learn than others. Programs like VRAY are incredibly complex and layer system upon system to produce some of the most remarkable 3D art on the planet. However, that program takes years to become familiar with, and can be especially cumbersome if you are coming from little or no rendering experience. It might be worth starting with something more user friendly (and less expensive).
Think critically about these things and talk to people who’ve done it before. The consequence of not hitting the sweetspot with your rendering software can be frustration, inefficiency, and could ultimately result in you dropping your pursuit of a rendering career because it might seem like the wrong fit. And if you’ve already got both feet in that professional door, it could mean less than stellar work, disappointed clients, and a reputation for being a bargain bin artist.
So, do some research, cross your t’s and dot your i’s and make sure the software you hang your hat on fits the kind of rendering artist you want to be. You’ll be thankful you put in the time upfront to establish criteria for software wielding success. Your career may depend on it.