The Importance of 3D Rendering in Exterior Design
The Importance of 3D Rendering in Exterior Design

Even though the technology behind 3D designing and rendering is still in its infancy, it’s impacted industries across niches, and it’s more present in our daily lives than you might think. Without advanced 3D rendering, we wouldn’t have such realistic CGI in our favorite movies and TV shows. We wouldn’t have such immersive video games or even such astonishing advertisements (however annoying they may be).

But one industry that’s been completely transformed by 3D rendering is exterior design. 3D designs and architecture have always gone hand-in-hand, and since the introduction of the first 3D visualization software in the 60s/70s, they’ve been inseparable – in many cases even indistinguishable.

3D renders bring an abundance of benefits to anyone in the exterior design industry, and they’re a critical piece of the puzzle in every single project. Take a look at just how impactful 3D rendering is and how essential it is for exterior design.

What is Exterior Design?

Before we dive deeper into what 3D renders can bring to the field of exterior design, it’s essential to be clear about what exterior design is.

It’s a subfield of architecture dealing with designing the outside of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. It can involve transforming the landscape, facade, outdoor furniture, foundation elements, and more, so it’s crucial that the designer is familiar with exterior hardscape design.

Just like interior designers, exterior designers need to have an artistic approach and know the basics of color theory, visual perception, and the like. However, exterior designers also need to be well-versed in landscape architecture, structural engineering, and even construction as they’re often in charge of designing smaller buildings like garages and sheds. Due to the nature of the job, exterior designers are usually architects who work closely with civil and structural engineers.

Many exterior designers will also need to know the basics of 3D rendering software as it’s widely used in the first stages of the project to get the client’s approval. It’s because of this that exterior designers are often confused for 3D artists.

However, there are some critical differences between exterior designers and 3D artists. The former are rarely 3D experts who can deliver a versatile photorealistic render, while the latter are seldom familiar with the fundamental concepts of architecture and construction.

It’s because of these different skills and areas of expertise that it’s critical for exterior designers to work closely with 3D designers to bring their ideas to life.

3D designers have become the key players in almost all exterior design projects, so let’s take a look at some of the benefits that they can bring.

Conveying Your Vision More Easily

There’s only so much you can accomplish by describing your idea in words or providing a few 2D sketches of your envisioned design. It’s not enough to truly convey your idea and ensure that your client understands and approves of it. Especially if you and the client don’t share a common language – there’s too much room for misunderstandings and improper translations that turn into costly mistakes.

A 3D rendering removes all doubt about how the project will end up looking. With the help of a 3D artist, every minute detail of your design will be incorporated into the rendering to provide a true-to-life, photorealistic image that requires no further explanations and transcends all language barriers.

The artist can render the exact type of lounger you’d imagined, just the right shade of the brick facade, and even the authentic custom fence that you’d envisioned. Any material, fabric, and texture you’d like to incorporate into the final project – your 3D artist can incorporate into their rendering. It can be the perfect representation of your idea that you’ll see come to life before you’ve even signed the contract with your client.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 3D render is worth many more.

What’s more, a 3D render is rarely just a still image. If you need it, your 3D designer can create a whole video that showcases the exterior from every angle. They can even create an interactive animation that allows you to “walk” around the property and explore the design close-up. Their work can help you convey your vision perfectly.

More Insightful Feedback

Client feedback is the most critical aspect of any exterior design project. After all, if they don’t agree with your idea or if they don’t like it and only tell you after the fact, once everything’s been completed, it could all end disastrously and negatively impact your reputation.

Unfortunately, though, as your clients most likely aren’t designers or architects themselves, it can be challenging for them to provide you with valuable feedback that can take the project forward. Perhaps more problematic is the fact that you could have trouble communicating why the client’s idea is impossible (or just in bad taste).

So, the lack of constructive back-and-forth with clients can cause obvious issues and stop your project dead in its tracks.

3D rendering eliminates these communication issues in their entirety. When you have a 3D render of your exterior design that you can manipulate and edit as much as you want, it becomes much easier to keep the communication with your clients clear and concise.

If they want to introduce elements that are just too big for the space they have available, all you have to do is have your 3D artist include these elements into their render to show your clients why it’s a bad idea. If your client cannot put into words the exact type of foundation decor they want, all you have to do is have your 3D artist produce several different foundation options that your client could choose from.

Moreover, the 3D rendering doesn’t only enhance your communication with clients but also with team members, construction crew, civil engineers, and everyone else involved in the project. You can collect easier feedback from your team that can help you enhance your design and truly wow your clients.

Using Your Work to Market Yourself

As previously mentioned, 3D renders are often used in marketing for creating astonishing ads that draw attention. We commonly see these renders in tech and gadget commercials, automobile commercials, and the like. But, they aren’t solely useful for advertising agencies. 3D renders of your exterior design projects can help you stand out from the competition and develop a compelling online portfolio that brings in clientele.

It’s critical for any architect to have a detailed online portfolio that showcases their skills and talents and highlights their capabilities. After all, nothing will help you market yourself better than your previous work.

Artistic pictures and videos of your completed projects can work wonders for drawing attention, but even more compelling are interactive designs of projects still in the works.

3D rendering services can be especially useful if you’re trying to attract investors or potential buyers, as you can allow them to explore your designs and examine every nook and cranny before the construction phase has even begun. You can deploy mesmerizing 3D architecture presentation techniques that highlight the building’s unique elements and inspire every buyer to take a closer look.

If you want to truly wow your investors and potential buyers, you can even use 3D renders to take them on a virtual tour with the help of a few VR headsets. Take it a step further and bring them to the construction site to bring your design to life before their very eyes with the help of AR technology.

The marketing capabilities of 3D renders are endless. A simple 3D representation of your design can help you outperform the competitors and sell your services for a much higher price.

Better Overview of the Whole Design

Regardless of what a great artist you are or how well you can sketch, a 2D image of your design leaves too many unanswered questions. It will require a lot of imagination to visualize the actual design if all you have are a few sketches. While you might be able to visualize the final product clearly, few of your clients and investors would be able to do the same.

3D renders, on the other hand, will give you and your team a much better overview of the whole design, with every minute detail included. It will allow you to inspect the building from every angle and catch design mistakes before it’s too late to fix them.

A 2D sketch would never be able to show an annoying overhang on a balcony that blocks the view and ruins the entire aesthetic of the building, for example. But a 3D render will showcase this flaw clearly. A 2D sketch wouldn’t be able to tell you just how much natural light will reach the deck, while a 3D render can precisely show the ambiance at any time of day or night.

The best 3D visualizers are precise and accurate. They can deliver detailed, true-to-life animations that are easy to inspect and analyze. That can be incredibly useful if your building needs to fit in an awkward place or if the surroundings are unusual.

Easily Predicting the Project's Look and Feel

3D renders can certainly make your exterior design come to life before you’ve even started working on it in real life, but that’s not all they can do. As needed, your artist can provide a 3D render of the entire neighborhood and help you predict just how well your project will fit in.

You can test whether the project will stick out a bit too much from the surroundings and draw unwanted attention. But perhaps more importantly, you can test how the neighboring buildings impact your design.

If a neighboring structure’s going to block out the natural light, you’ll know it. If your design’s going to cause problems for the neighbors and block their view of the ocean, you’ll be able to change it before it’s too late. A 3D render will provide you with clear and accurate insights into how your design will interact with its surroundings and allow you to make any necessary changes before you start working on the IRL project. But a 3D render won’t just predict how your project will look and feel – it can even predict how it will handle environmental impacts.

3D rendering software is becoming ever more sophisticated, and modern solutions can even be used as a realistic testing ground for virtually any event – hurricane, earthquake, landslide, you name it. Your 3D artist could test to see how well your design would handle any environmental hazard with surprising accuracy. The information can help you improve your design to make it more resilient and durable.

Recognizing and Fixing Mistakes is Easy

Regardless of how detail-oriented you are, it’s easy to overlook some common mistakes in exterior design – a tree that’ll grow too tall and block the view from the windows, a balcony door that doesn’t lead to a safe balcony.

Even if you personally don’t overlook some mistakes, others might. The construction crew could have problems deciphering your 2D designs and creating a staircase that leads to nowhere or a patio with no point of access. The painters could use the wrong shade of foundation paint; the landscapers could misread your sketch and put the koi pond on the wrong side of the garden.

These mistakes most commonly happen due to poor communication, when the whole team simply isn’t on the same page. And these mistakes are most easily avoided with 3D renders.

By giving everyone access to the photorealistic 3D rendering of your design, you’ll ensure that everyone understands exactly how your design is supposed to look. You’ll avoid costly mistakes and fix problems before they even arise.

To ensure smooth sailing, you can even have your artist create a timelapse video that covers every stage of the construction – it’ll provide clear instructions and make sure that everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to.


If you consider the benefits mentioned above, it’s easy to see just how cost-efficient it is to have a 3D render of your exterior design. You’ll make sure that you and your client are on the same page and that they won’t ask for last-minute changes that break the budget; you’ll avoid costly mistakes; you’ll ensure your team’s efficiency and productivity; you’ll need to spend less on marketing.

Ever with included costs of hiring 3D artists, you and your client will end up saving money and benefiting from professional 3D renders.


3D rendering services are critical for any exterior design project. They bring too many benefits to be discarded, and they can help you streamline your workflow and improve communication with team members and clients alike.

So, find a reliable 3D artist, and see just how much they can help you and your team.