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Architectural rendering prices

The real cost of 3D rendering services and how to determine the service that gives you the best value for your money.

What are the real costs of 3D Rendering Services and what are the best ways to determine the service that gives the best value for your money?

Well, it goes without saying that the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry is not only incredibly competitive but it also faces a multitude of complex project challenges. With tight deadlines and stringent budgets to adhere too, interruptions and unnecessary revisions are not easily forgiven by clients and as a result architects, engineers, designers and building professionals take all the necessary precautions to ensure mistakes are avoided at all costs. Luckily 3D Rendering and Architectural Visualisations can help do just that!

Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Architectural Rendering

Architectural rendering and 3D visualization can help throughout the lifecycle of a building from the presentation of initial concepts and ideas, to the final stages of construction. In the early stages architectural renders and visualization can be created by design teams to communicate the intended design to client, future users and builders. In this way they can get a real “feel” for what the project will look like. This can be used as a great tool to encourage discussions and comparisons to evaluate design options but can also assist marketing professionals sell the concept there after.

During more advanced stages of design, architectural rendering and 3D visualization can be used to check the integrity of: accessibility, services coordination, maintainability etc. This can help detect errors sooner and minimize delays and unnecessary revisions during the construction stage. Which takes me to the next step…

During construction stages, 3D visualization can facilitate the interpretation of design details by construction and site operatives. Keeping in mind that the concept of 3D visualization is not limited to modelling physical objects but can also be extend to the representation of abstract data sets from simulation programs, for example those used in performance assessments. Although architectural rendering and 3D visualization is not required in all projects, 3D rendering and 3D visualisations is incredibly useful…  As a result, architecture, engineering and construction professionals are constantly on the lookout for exceptional 3D rendering services.

Architectural Rendering and 3D Visualisation Services

So how do you choose the most reasonable architectural rendering service, as far as the quality and pricing are concerned?

Well, obviously (Sod’s law) there is no straightforward answer and there are a multiple of characteristics to consider, for example: the size of the 3D rendering project, the company undertaking the 3D rendering services, the architectural specifications of your project, the number of interior and/or exterior 3D visualizations required, obviously the quality and detail of the 3D visualisation, the 3D rendering software used and the list goes on and on, and on and on… I think you get my point! So where do you start…

3D Rendering Studios and Architectural Firms

3D rendering Studios and Firms provide excellent quality and a great service, so they are a great place to start. They have in-house 3D Artists, with excellent 3D rendering software knowledge and are at your disposal at the click of a button. The biggest advantage of 3D rendering studios and firms is that they are local. By “local” I mean you are encouraging local business, you can walk into the 3D rendering studio in person, set up a meeting and have a chat with the 3D Artist designing your project. You can explain to him your ideas and you can discuss exactly how you want your project executed. And in some circumstances, if that 3D Artist is great at their job, they can even tell you, what you want before you know you want it! 

Rightly so, the price of this type of architectural rendering service can be a little on steep side and depending on where you live, it can cost you the big bucks… I’m thinking London, New York, Sydney and Zurich. After scanning a number of services and websites in Europe we have calculated that the average price for a high-quality 3D Visualisation or Architectural Render (3D still images) for small and medium projects (2 – 8 images) can range between 1’000 € and 6’000 € per image. Highly specialised 3d visualization companies can easily exceed the 6’000 price mark … depending on the specification, challenges and number of edits of the said project.  For companies looking to animate their constructions the standard 3D animation, will never be priced less than 200 € per second. Realistic prices for decent 3d animations will range between the 200 and 600 € per second whilst highly specialised studios will charge well above that for their artistic flair, outstanding quality and meticulous detailing.

Apart from the cost, another slight setback is that a number of 3D rendering studios do not provide their pricing up front. This is not always the case but sometimes, you will need to request a quote to gather a rough idea of what your Architectural Render will cost you. Understandably so as each project’s rendering needs vary and the only way to know for sure what type of pricing package fit your needs is to talk more about it with the prospective studio. For those of you with little time on your hands… this might not be ideal.

Outsourcing 3D Rendering Services Online

The internet has really “changed the game” so to speak and outsourcing of 3D rendering services can be easily done and with great results. Price is definitely the stand out here and you can get great quality images for great prices – some 3D rendering services are available from as low as 200 € per image. Sadly, it is not all rosy and peachy…remember good old Sod and his Law? Well, selecting a 3D rendering service based on a website alone can really be very tricky…

There can be a higher risk associated with outsourcing, for example, websites that display incredible 3D renders and architectural visualisations, which unfortunately do not reflect the quality of the work when you receive it or websites that require an upfront payment with little or no guarantee. My advice is that when in doubt; ask for references and additional pertinent information from their support team.

Finally another thing to keep in mind when outsourcing 3D rendering services online is language… The last thing you want on a tight deadline are complications brought about by language barriers. One thing for sure, when you do find that 3D rendering services online it can be fantastic!

3D Rendering Platforms and Job Platforms

This brings me to the last point and this is an interesting one because 3D rendering platforms have evolved through trying to eliminating or reduce the risks associated with outsourcing 3D rendering services, while keeping all of their advantages. As a result, 3D rendering platforms are a mixture of the two resources mentioned above and offer a range of quality and price.

So what is a 3D Rendering Platform?

3D rendering platforms usually act as a medium connecting architects, engineers, designers to 3D Artists from all over the world. In this way you, as the client, have access to numerous 3D Artists and are able to decide which 3D Artist to work with, based on their portfolio style, their reviews and recommendations, the cost of the project etc. The flexibility of this type of architectural rendering service means that you can “hand pick” the 3D Artist whose 3D rendering style and price matches your specifications. Just like you would a pineapple at the supermarket!

The red flags associated with this is language… As we mentioned earlier the last thing you want on a tight deadline is a language barrier. For this reason many platforms show you the languages your 3D Artist speaks or encourages you to provide feedback at the end of the job for future clients.

But what about payment protection and fraud? Well you must make sure your 3D rendering platform offers payment protection or an escrow service. Escrow services are used to keep your money safe until you are happy with the quality of the work. Giving both parties piece of mind that they will get what they wanted! Like I mentioned earlier when in doubt; ask for more information from their support team.

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To conclude, there are a number of varying advantages and disadvantages to consider when it comes to the real costs of 3D rendering services and the best way to determine the service that gives the best value for your money.

To me, the most important and probably the single aspect that would really determine the price of the project in the long run is management through effective communication. How you communicate with the 3D Artist on a platform, in a studio or via email will ultimately determine whether you made the right choice or not.

Think about your project and your needs because if the cheaper alternative causes more trouble than results, then the pricier option might be the wiser choice to begin with. Be aware - if the prices of 3D rendering and architectural rendering services seems too good to be true, then it probably is!

Good luck!  

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