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What is the Real Cost of Architectural Rendering

You want to engage with a rendering company, but you aren't sure how to determine if the architectural rendering cost-to-quality ratio is just right? We will show you what goes into the price of architectural rendering!

The cost of architectural rendering depends on many factors, including pricing strategy, the market, quality, type of render, available rendering equipment, software selection, and invested time, but higher quality doesn't always mean a higher price and vice versa.

The price range for architectural renderings is between $80 and $10 000+, but we will attempt to help you realize what the actual architectural rendering costs are. Besides, you must be sure that the investment will pay off before you hire an architect or a 3D artist.

The most common pricing strategies are per image and per project. Pricing per image usually means working on pre-modeled 3D models by the client or a third party, so this solution is cheaper than pricing per project. If an architect finishes all tasks from 3D modeling to rendering, the price will be higher.

The market

If we exclude the factor of quality in this section, because there are countless excellent 3D artists worldwide, we must note that renders are usually cheaper in developing countries. The reason for cheaper renders in poorer countries isn't necessarily lower skill, but unauthorized use of rendering software, lower price of work hour, and an issue called ''quantity before quality''.

That doesn't mean that these rendering firms or individuals can't make hyper-realistic renders, but they are trying to break through the market and post a large number of images to be spotted.

Unauthorized rendering software is a big issue worldwide too. The unauthorized versions often don't have all the available options, so visualizations done in such software don’t match the quality of renderings done using licensed programs. Many architects worldwide are using student versions of software, which is also unprofessional and might decrease the price of renderings.

The biggest issue of 3D artists and architects from developing countries is that the low price makes it seem like they don’t value their work, so even if their renders are high-quality, investors and clients don't engage them often because of the low price.

Everything is in the eye of the observer, so the low price doesn't mean low quality, but practice has shown that medium cost renderings are easier to sell than cheap ones.

Quality vs. Quantity

The factor of quality has the most significant role concerning pricing and cost of renderings. The higher quality means more effort and more time. If a team of architects invests so much time and effort to create a hyper-realistic render, it's assumed that they will earn more.

As we mentioned before, many 3D artists are trying to find their place on the market by focusing on the number of renders. That has a negative influence on the quality though, which makes this a poor strategy.

Architects with a goal to earn more than $80–$200 per render are investing more effort, including time, equipment, and personal skills. After a while, the invested time, knowledge and effort pays off.

Equipment for rendering

Hyper-realistic rendering requires advanced technology. To gain the best results, people in this industry are investing money in powerful computers, VR equipment, and other gadgets and tools. Besides, such equipment can improve the user experience, so these architects and companies can earn more.

Very often, developed rendering companies have ''computer farms'' to reduce rendering time and increase the quality of renders. Since the costs for such equipment are incredibly high, the price of their renderings is also higher.

Software selection

Instead of using unauthorized software, architects with higher earnings are buying licensed, authorized software for modeling and rendering. The software is often closely related to quality and the time needed to create hyper-realistic and detailed renderings.

Some available software tools can render an image in only a few minutes, while other, more complex software requires a few hours per image. Rendering time can be decreased in each rendering program, but that usually affects the quality.

However, for achieving hyper-realistic renders, a 3D artist must dedicate a lot of time to details.

Post-production

The most significant difference between expensive and cheap renders is post-production. If we observe two renders done in the same rendering software using similar materials, and comparable lighting and camera settings, the most notable contrast between these two images will be related to post-production.

The post-production can be done in any photo processing program, and it doesn't take much time if you are skilled enough. Architectural renders without the environment can't be at the same level as architectural renders with full scenes, no matter how good they are. Architectural renders fitted into the full environment, and with carefully arranged nuances between the model and scene, will provide a better experience and a more realistic appearance.

The ratio between cost and quality

Since a high price doesn't always mean quality renders, the cost shouldn't be your primary selection guideline. Many rendering companies have a broad portfolio, but only the first side has quality renders. To find the best firm or 3D artist, check the entire portfolio. The number of renders included in a portfolio might take you in the wrong direction.

Bottom line

Each architect, 3D artist or a company has a personal evaluation system – that's why you can find good renders both for $80 and $10,000. After investing in knowledge, equipment, and programs, architects don't have additional costs for renders accept their time. Since time is money, everyone has the right to charge based on their own estimates.

There is no fixed price for renders and visualizations, so clients should choose the most suitable 3D artists based on the quality-to-price ratio. If a company or 3D artist can offer a warrant related to the render quality and turnaround time, you don't have to worry, no matter how cheap the renders are.

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