Rendering Software

The Best Materials You can Use in V-Ray

Since the number of V-Ray users is constantly increasing, it's absolutely safe to say that this is the most widely used rendering engine in the world without any fear of exaggerating. Artists, designers, and especially architects need effective ways to communicate their ideas to blow their clients away.

Artists, designers, and architects of today are faced with a serious challenge, as their clients have become extremely hard to please. Fortunately, the latest and most innovative technology made a lot of things possible, so these artists can now rely on the most useful and sophisticated tools to garner the much-wanted response which is vital for success.

Well, that's exactly where V-Ray comes into play. It's the universal plugin and fixer of all problems. Regardless of what 3D modeling software you believe is the best, this engine will turn your design into a believable realization and that's the exact reason why V-Ray is the most preferred tool of architects.

V-Ray Has Been Around for Quite Some Time

V-Ray has been around since the early days of 3D animation and visualization when bites were still measured using mega. Even then, this engine was well-known for its amazing ability to provide the highest quality rendering. It remained a titan in the rendering world due to its incredible ability to create the most outstanding animations and images.

With supplementary content and support staff almost as potent as its rendering capabilities, V-Ray provides its users with a very wide range of texture and material databases, everything they need to create their masterpieces. So, with that in mind, here are a few of the best materials you can use in V-Ray for the maximum effect.


When it comes to visualization and 3D rendering, Evermotion is what makes a true difference. Aside from containing regularly updated lessons, galleries, a tutorial blog, and news all related to V-Ray, it also offers the most user-driven and extensive material library entirely free of charge.

Put simply, if you're an architect or a rendering artist looking for a way to get ahead of the competition in what you do, Evermotion should definitely be your stop number one. There are new tutorials and materials being added every single day and it's a really great source for free textures, materials, and shaders.

V-Ray Materials

While the name already suggests it all, V-Ray Materials is also an extraordinary source of materials that was specifically tailored and customized for V-Ray users.

Containing both paid-for and free materials and textures in its massive library, this source will give your animations and renderings that extra layer of polish that you've been looking for. This is also a great place to start for all those looking to bolster their personal material libraries.

Visual Dynamics

Visual Dynamics and rendering and visualization artists have one thing in common: they both absolutely love rendering. So, naturally, it's safe to assume that this is a great place to look for the highest quality V-Ray materials.

With a robust library full of goodies, VD offers top-notch textures, shaders, and materials. On top of all this, Visual Dynamics is a licensed V-Ray software distributor so rest assured that you will find what you are looking for without any doubt. You can also get a subscription for a modeling program that you prefer, to spice things up a bit.

Flying Architecture

When it comes to architectural visualization, a lot of it depends on the quality of the materials used. Since this is a highly specialized industry, architects need specific materials and techniques to get the wanted effect with their work. With that in mind, Flying Architecture is the best source of such materials as it's fully dedicated to that specific industry.

Aside from it featuring other software, tutorials, and 3D models, it also offers a very useful forum where you can chat with other users about anything interesting regarding experiences, compliments, and pretty much everything else related to architectural visualization and 3D rendering. You can also share files with like-minded individuals and architectural professionals.

The best thing about this material library is that it targets architects more than any other and architects use it the most for that exact reason.


Aversis is mostly a tutorial website, loaded with amazing V-Ray materials and it has a very user-friendly interface, which makes it extremely easy to navigate.

Rendering artists will surely be pleased with the quality of materials and textures here and there are free samples to start with. Aversis is excellent for advertising, architecture, and product design, as it supports photorealistic animation and 3D visualization.

Most importantly, Aversis provides tutorials for V-Ray, 3D models, V-Ray materials, HDRO maps, textures, Photoshop, Rhino, and 3D Studio Max. Since there are various sub-sectors in the 3D visualization and rendering industry, Aversis provides texture packs for sale.

All in all, it's a good place to find the hottest V-Ray materials, as well as useful tutorials that will further deepen your V-Ray knowledge.

V-Ray Maya Materials

Maya is probably the most popular modeler for industrial designers and animators so naturally, if you're a Maya user, this is a perfect place to find the necessary V-Ray materials but most importantly, the best V-Ray materials.

With all the latest materials and textures at your disposal and a huge database with the highest quality V-Ray materials on display, this should be your number one option when you need the highest quality V-Ray materials on a daily basis.

Aside from a few other similar libraries, there's nothing quite like V-Ray Maya Materials, so if you're an industrial designer or an animator who prefers using the V-Ray engine, this is definitely the greatest source of the best V-Ray materials you can find on the net.

No matter what you use, a texture, material or a shader, with all these materials at your disposal, you'll be able to use your V-Ray like a real rendering professional. The satisfaction of your clients is what determines your success so work only with the best.

The New 3ds Max 2019 - What's New What's Old Let's Explore

There is a new version 3ds Max (almost) every year and this year is no different. Apart from fixing all sorts of bugs, the new version has some cool new features. Let's check them out.

Every new version of each Autodesk's software has some advanced and new features. Autodesk is traditionally publishing new software versions since the first Autodesk 3ds Max 8, published in 2008. Every update of the existing version has improved features in accordance with market and user demands as the primary goal. As designers from various creative fields are using 3D max for 3D modeling and rendering, the desire to advance all functions still exists.

This year, the situation isn't different, so we will investigate all the innovations and compare the latest version of 3ds Max 2019 with the earlier version.


Considering 3D animation, everything is still the same. Features like Motion Paths, Camera Sequencer, Dual Quaternion skinning, Populate enhancements, Populate crowd animation, Character animation and rigging tools, General animation tools, Animated deformers, Track View retiming, Text tool (enhanced), Geodesic Voxel and Heatmap skinning, Max Creation Graph animation controllers, Animation productivity are the same as in earlier version. Looks like animators must wait for some improvements until next year.


Options, tools and features like Data Channel Modifier, Blended Box Map, OpenSubdiv support, Enhanced ShaderFX, ShaderFX, Point cloud support, Placement tools, Quad chamfer, Mesh and surface modeling, Texture assignment and editing, Shading and material design, Vector map support, Text and shape map, Fast form hard surfaces, UV mapping, Object tool improvements are still the same, but the latest version of 3ds Max has some new features in this section.

New features:

● Open Shading Language (OSL) support:

Open shading language (OSL) allows you to use a new OSL map, which is an entirely new category of various OSL maps with over 100 included shaders. Another advantage of this new feature is that you can create your OSL maps using development tools.

● Parametric spline shape Booleans:

This tool is beneficial because, now, you can use Shape Booleans for combining both closed and open splines.

● Procedural wood texture:

Procedural wood material added from Fusion 360 includes various types of wood (cherry, maple, pine, oak, ash, walnut, and mahogany) and you can adjust the finish coat to be glossy, semi-glossy, or even painted. Pores, ring thickness, and bump also can be adjusted, which additionally helps you achieve more realistic renders.


Considering 3D rendering, no options have been removed, and only one new option is added. Interactive VR engine, Interactive sample VR templates, Arnold, Rendering support, 3ds Max Batch, Physical camera, Iray and mental ray enhancements, Accelerated viewport performance, Enhanced Active Shade rendering, Stereo Camera, Integrated rendering options, Render pass system, Active Shade interactive rendering, Nitrous accelerated graphics core, DX11 viewport rendering, Slate compositing editor, and ART are existing options that were enjoyed by 3ds max 2018 users.

New feature:

● 3ds Max Interactive scene layout in VR

Now, using VR in 3ds Max Interactive, you can use integrated tools for scene editing, and see updates in real time.

Enhanced features:

● 3ds Max Interactive

With the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset, you can edit a level in VR. You also must have controllers delivered with the headset, and then you can move around the scene you created, and you can select, delete, or move objects in the level.

● Arnold for 3ds Max

For enabling you access to the latest Arnold's features, 3ds Max has a new integrated plugin - MAXtoA.

● Physical Camera

The latest version of 3ds Max brought better camera settings. Real-life settings like aperture, depth of field, shutter speed, and exposure are now available within this powerful software.

● ActiveShade rendering

You still can preview material settings before rendering, but the process of rendering is now quicker.

● Autodesk Raytracer Renderer (ART)

Rendering of interior designs and architectural objects have never been more straightforward. You can add a model from Revit, Inventor, Fusion 360, and other Autodesk software using the Autodesk Raytracer (ART).


All tools, features, and options are the same except three new features - Civil View vehicles physical material support, Autodesk Viewer workflows from within 3ds Max, and Updated project tools.

New features:

● Civil View vehicles physical material support

3ds Max physical material now can be added to all vehicles created in CivilView. That way, conversion can be reduced, which simplifies rendering.

● Autodesk Viewer workflows from within 3ds Max

Online sharing of models directly from your 3ds Max interface is now available. Besides, Autodesk Viewer allows you to review feedback.

● Updated project tools

Better folder structure flexibility and cleverer project switching will ease creating new projects and make storing custom data more comfortable.

Second update of 3ds Max 2019

After the latest version was published, Autodesk provided us with two new upgrades. Besides a few new features, some existing features are enhanced, and over 160 issues are fixed.

Some of the most significant fixes of this release:

- Civil View workflow

- Civil View materials for generating renderer agnostic

- New Sun/Sky positioner

- Physical Materials

- Composite Map - Blending Mode drop-down list

- Viewports

- Fluids

- The file I/O


- Splines

Bottom line

3ds Max has never been better! The fact that they managed to fix all these issues is a significant upgrade in itself, but that they added and enhanced so many features makes this powerful modeling and rendering tool even better! Creating hyper-realistic renders and animations is easier than ever, and - which is the most important - now it fits better to all creative fields. No matter if you are an art director, graphic designer, architect or 3d artist, you'll surely enjoy the latest version of 3ds Max 2019!

I’ve got to go, the HTC Vive headset is waiting for me! Enjoy!

How Rendering Software Changed the Way We Approach Construction Projects

Rendering software definitely changed the architectural industry as it introduced new, faster and better ways of approaching projects. Let's see how this change reflected on construction projects.

Many years ago, before rendering software developed enough, architects struggled with hand-drawing.

To convince investors that their work was good, architects had to draw 3D models using an old fashion method – a perspective with vanishing points. No matter how skilled architects were, a hand-drawn perspective and then hand-colored with various techniques takes a long time, and it never could be as professional and realistic as visualizations done on a computer.

Architects can sell the projects only if they amaze investors. When it comes to the details of construction, less isn't more, so using software can help architects create detailed solutions.

There is a time and a place for minimalism, but at this stage of project development, adding correct materials and textures, as well as making realistic renders can be crucial to the success of the project.


Earlier, the complete project had to be done by hand. Starting from the first sketches, then developing the idea of the different aspects of the project, including solving object functionality and the construction, and visualization for a conceptual solution until the detailed design is done.

A detailed design must contain everything necessary for construction works. Considering that 2D floor plans must contain various labels and hatches related to the construction, that a team of architects must provide a complete solution, including interior and exterior design and a lot of urban planning, it's almost impossible to imagine that they once had to draw it all by hand.

Software for 3D modeling

After the first software for 2D floor plans was developed, civil engineers and architects could take a break. These programs can save a lot of time, but vector programs are also much more precise than manual drawing.

After a while, architects got even more help with the development of software for 3D modeling. Programs for 3D modeling support importing of vector 2D drawings, so raising the 3D model becomes much more comfortable and accurate.

As a 3D model without rendering isn't enough to convince investors to accept the project, software for rendering was developed too.


Programs like 3Ds Max can support all work concerning 3D modeling and rendering. Extensions like Mental Ray or V-Ray can provide realistic photos created from a 3D model. The Autodesk platform, among other things, provides software for 2D drawing (AutoCAD) and software for 3D modeling and rendering (3Ds Max). These programs are compatible, so drawing has become simpler than ever.

The best thing concerning these programs is that they are compatible with many other programs which can import/export .dwg and .3ds formats, as well as many other formats.

There are a lot of rendering programs and each is excellent for something. V-ray is the most commonly used and it's an excellent option for interior and exterior design rendering, but Lumion is much faster and it can provide highly-realistic photos for urban planning.

The latest version of Lumion provides you with scene-building tools and effects which in combination with LiveSync can help architects design in a real-life environment.


After the process of materialization is done, 3D rendering can start. Material adjustment isn't complicated because these programs provide you with the opportunity to choose or import various textures.

After you select textures, you can adjust bump, transparency, ambient color, diffuse color, specular color, glossiness, self-illumination, opacity, reflection and more. Since every material requires different adjustment, every imported and adjusted texture contributes to how realistic the rendering will be.


No matter if you are working on interior design, exterior design or urban planning, lighting has an important role. Use of lighting is excellent for nighttime renders, but creating natural or artificial lighting in daytime renders is also important.

Some programs like Lumion have previously set natural lighting which can be adjusted, but in software like V-ray you have to create natural lighting manually, especially if you are working on the interior design.

Each software tool enables different lighting sources, but most common forms of lighting are omni or point light, rectangle light or plane light, spotlight, dome light, sphere light, IES light, mesh light, and sky and sun.

Adding lighting to a 3D model is an excellent way of highlighting details, but also it provides a more realistic picture at the end.


Several rendering software tools have built-in environment settings such landscapes including rivers, seas, mountains, cities, sky, and clouds, but if you choose software like V-ray, you have to finish your work using PhotoShop or other similar software.

The easiest way of importing render into the real-life environment is using a photo. Many architects take a photo of a preferred location and then import a render into an image.

Greenery is also very important for achieving a realistic rendering. For example, Lumion provides you with the opportunity to select trees, plants, and other objects from a library, but if you decide to use other software, you must be skilled for work in PhotoShop.


You can now create animations to walk investors through the project and show them every corner of a building or park you’ve designed. After a little more effort, architects can provide highly realistic video of their designs.

Bottom line

Rendering software changed the way we approach construction projects for 360 degrees. Walk-through was possible only after construction works are done and exhaustive hand-making of models is replaced with highly realistic renders.

Every mistake during coloring used to be a disaster since architects had to draw a perspective views from the beginning. Besides, the possibility of changing materials and textures during project development is the best thing rendering software brought. Now, you can try different materials and improve the project within a few clicks if the investor isn't satisfied with the work you have done.

Another advantage of rendering software is that you can add some imperfections in your work, which can make renders look even more realistic.

Everything becomes more detailed and super realistic and, most importantly – you won’t waste any time.

Top 8 List – The Best Architectural Rendering Software in 2018

Finding a good architectural rendering software you can rely on is difficult and we’ve composed a list of the most popular tools to help you make the best choice.

It’s really amazing how for architectural software has gone since it was first introduced. These days architectural software is so advanced that it can help you with evacuation management, structural analysis, and other complex tasks to make things easier and less time-consuming for architects.

Still, the architectural software market has grown tremendously and these days it’s quite difficult to find which software is worth your buck! Not every software tool has the same capabilities, stability, and the same ease of use.

Furthermore, specialized software like one dedicated to rendering rarely comes cheap and you want to know that you’ve made a smart choice before investing.

Still, in a lot of cases its worth the investment, since your end results look so much better when rendered with well-made software. Having a well-written software also helps you avoid wasting time with faster rendering and an interface that doesn’t fight you at every turn.

With these things in mind, we’ve composed a list of the most popular architectural rendering software tools, since good rendering is one of the most important aspects when it comes to presenting a project.

1. AutoCAD Architecture

Autodesk products have been used by architects for a long time and it’s not a big surprise that the company went and created a specialized software solution for architects.

The AutoCAD Architecture offers a lot of pre-built things that help architects speed up certain things in their design process. To mention a few things you’ll get access to pre-built models for windows, doors, and other often used models to help you avoid wasting time. The software also offers plans for model geometry, mechanisms for elevators, and so on.

This software is not good for those who want to use the modern BIM (Building Application Modeling) application. For this, there is an alternative Autodesk software called Revit.

Being that AutoCAD Architecture is an Autodesk product, the integration with other Autodesk software goes without question.

It offers very useful and efficient keyboard shortcuts to further your efficiency. Be advised that you will need training (or take the time to learn it yourself) as this software is quite specific.

The yearly price for this software is $1,575 or you can simply get it as a part of the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection for $2,755.

2. 3DS Max

This software comes with three special variations focused on Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Media Work and Entertainment and finally Product design and Manufacturing. Of course, we are interested in the version designated for architecture.

Keep in mind that 3DS Max is better suited for designing project animations and fly-throughs intended for project promotion. If you want to build your project from the ground up 3DS Max might not be your best bet but we are talking about a tool that is capable of the best quality rendering and 3DS Max is definitely near the top.

It has a steep learning curve but it allows you to produce great-looking end results and is worth the effort. You can also improve its already robust capabilities with very powerful plug-ins and the AutoCAD file support helps with integration.

Being that it is sold as a part of a bundle (Other software included in the bundle: AutoCAD, Civil 3D. Revit, and InfraWorks, Navisworks Manage) the price is reasonable at $2,755.


If you are searching for software that can handle hugely complex models with precision, CATIA is a great choice. It’s not too difficult to learn and the sky is the limit when it comes to the complexity of projects you want to handle. CATIA has integrated collaboration features, Cloud functionality, and secure distribution.

There are really a lot of companies that use CATIA, which is a testimony to its quality. The downside of this is that CATIA is probably quite pricey. We say probably because there is no official price released and you’d have to ask for a quote from them directly.

4. Rhino 6

As a program, Rhino 6 isn’t really a specialized architecture software. Still, through plug-ins and third-party services, you can expand its functionalities a significant amount. BIM is one of those functionalities (for better or for worse).

Automation is also a big advantage through scripting and it can handle automated modeling.

Rhino 6 is on the less expensive end of the spectrum with a single license priced at $1,160 and the upgrade to the next version stands at half the price.

5. Maxwell

This piece of software is one of the most popular among architects out there. You will find that architects, from beginners to seasoned experts, use this software. It’s an open source software with a tremendously large community behind it. This software has great support and it’s very easy to learn.

This means that you don’t have to waste a lot of time adapting to it and can start working on your projects right away. The fact that it has been around for a long time means that you’ll be able to find a lot of resources online that can help you if you get stuck.

The only true downside of Maxwell is that it’s a bit slow when it comes to rendering but when we compare that to what it offers it really isn’t a big deal.

This software is free and this makes it accessible to professional and companies that don’t have a big budget for software.

6. Autodesk Revit

At this point, Autodesk Revit needs little introduction. Famous for the incredible capabilities of its rendering engine, this piece of software offers a plethora of tools, along with a bunch of textures and models you can use for your projects. It offers smart object connectivity and BIM functionalities as well.

Due to its popularity, Revit has a big community behind it and a very reliable support. The community is very open to questions from newcomers and is eager to share their experiences and tricks of the trade in Revit.

It’s a bit on the costly side of the spectrum with the annual price set at $2,250 but if you are not sure if its worth your investment, you can always check it out through an educational license offered to students by Autodesk.

7. Punch Home Design Studio

We tried to keep this list useful for all level of architectural software users. This is why we need to talk about Punch Home Design Studio.

This piece of software isn’t the most powerful rendering tool that architects can get their hands on but there are some upsides to it. It’s very easy to use and it’s a great tool for beginners trying to wrap their head around architectural visualization.

If you want something that can handle basic room or house architectural visualization, you might want to give Punch Home Design Studio a shot – for anything bigger than that, like buildings, complexes, and so on, you’ll need to find another tool.

Another big upside for beginners is the fact that the software only costs $25 on Amazon. If you are thinking about starting small with rendering, this tool is a great choice.

8. Blender

Another open source rendering tool that has a big community behind it. Blender is a very popular tool and has a massive community which is very open to questions and has generated a massive amount of tutorials, tips, and other helpful content that new users can fall back on.

This software is free and open source but this doesn’t mean that it’s not powerful. When it comes to rendering, Blender can compete with the best of them.

One of the only downsides of this software is that you need to put time into figuring it out. If you don’t have the patience or the willpower to do that, then you might want to steer clear of this one.

Ranking rendering software like this is difficult. A lot of times, it comes down to personal preference and the architect’s specific situation. Depending on your budget, previous experience, and requirements any and none of these might work for you.

This is why it’s important to think about these factors before you make a choice. You can go for the most expensive and robust rendering tool out there and still end up feeling that this software isn’t for you.

Due to these reasons, we focused on keeping our list as diverse as possible so that anybody reading this article can get some value out of it. Most of these are quite expensive to get, so make sure you check out forums, tutorials, and screen-shots to really get a solid impression about a tool’s capabilities.

Check out if they offer trial periods or some other affordable way for you to actually tinkering with the software and experience it first hand. We hope this helps and good luck!

10 Best Architectural Rendering Software Solutions

Are you looking for the best architectural rendering software that can help you quickly and easily create fantastic 3D renderings? Look no further, as here you can find the top 10 incredible solutions with amazing capabilities that can take your architectural rendering to a whole new level.

Architectural rendering is a kind of art that can turn your 3D models into photorealistic images and really bring your designs to life. In order to do that, you need architectural rendering software, but there are so many different solutions out there that it can be challenging to choose the right one for your needs, not to mention your budget.

That’s why we have put together the following list of top software solutions currently available and, hopefully, you will find at least some of them compelling enough to try them out. Your budget and, most of all, your personal preferences are the two primary factors that will help you make the right choice, but you can be sure that all the following solutions are very high-quality and more than worth checking out.

1. V-Ray

V-Ray is definitely the one architectural rendering software to rule them all. It is the most powerful 3D rendering solution on the market right now and it is suitable for both newbies and professionals. Beginners might find it a bit intimidating at first, but this piece of software is very user-friendly, so mastering it is not actually so difficult.

V-Ray has a very extensive set of tools and features under its hood and provides a vast array of models and textures you can work with, not to mention that it boasts high speed and a seamless integration. There’s a steep learning curve when it comes to its numerous advanced features but, again, it’s fairly easy to get the hang of them, not to mention that it is incredibly worth it.

Being arguably the best architectural rendering software, you might expect a hefty price tag, but you’ll be happy to know that V-Ray plugins have very competitive prices. For instance, you can get a V-Ray for 3ds Max Workstation license for $850, but you can also take the software for a free 30-day test drive to see how it fits your needs before you make a purchase.

2. Blender

Blender is also one of the most powerful architectural rendering software solutions out there and the number one choice among a huge number of architects. The main reason why it is so popular? It’s completely free!

This open-source piece of software is entirely free of charge, but don’t let that cloud your judgement and make you think that Blender is less great than any other software solution on this list. Quite the contrary – Blender is one of the best and most capable 3D rendering software you can work with and it has a huge number of features and tools that can easily bring all your designs to life.

There’s a bit of a learning curve involved, but you can master all the features in just several hours. What’s more, Blender has a very capable online user community, so you can quickly find solutions to any problems that you might encounter along the way. Its user community is incredibly resourceful and helpful, so you will never have trouble finding your way out when you get stuck at something.

3. Maxwell

Maxwell is yet another giant in the architectural rendering industry and a very popular choice among both professionals and beginners. It is also open-source and completely free to use and distribute, not to mention that it is incredibly user-friendly.

With a very simple user interface and a plethora of features and tools, Maxwell could be just the thing you need to create beautiful photorealistic images and animations. You can quickly and easily learn to use it, which is precisely why a great number of architecture students choose to start their rendering adventures with this software before moving onto other more complex solutions.

Maxwell also has a user community that is very helpful and resourceful, so you can easily get the right help you need in case you run into some problems with the software. The only drawback to this software solution is that it is a bit slow at rendering, but that shouldn’t put you off since Maxwell is capable of producing truly wonderful renderings. It’s definitely worth the time.

4. Octane Render

Octane Render is one of the fastest architectural rendering software solutions currently available. It can produce fantastic, high-quality renderings in less time than any other rendering software, which is exactly why it is gaining more and more momentum as we speak.

It has become quite popular over the past few years due to its incredibly fast rendering engine that can produce very high-quality renderings, as well as due to its extensive set of powerful features and tools and a huge pool of materials and textures to work with.

What makes Octane Render’s rendering engine so powerful are Nvidia graphics cards (GPU), which is why it stands out from many other unbiased rendering solutions that use CPU. It also stands out because it can seamlessly handle complex problems, such as depth-of-field and motion blur and subsurface scattering, which is not a case with other similar software solutions.

You can get a license for Octane Render for $399, which is more than a reasonable price when you consider all its features and the strength of its engine.

5. Autodesk Revit

Autodesk Revit certainly doesn’t need an introduction in the architectural rendering community. It is one of the most recognized pieces of rendering software that can help you create realistic visualizations quicker than you know it.

Revit has a very impressive set of features and tools, as well as a large array of models and textures to work with, not to mention pretty great rendering capabilities.

This is not as good as the previous software solutions, but it’s definitely worth the time and money if you are looking for something for your daily job that is incredibly easy to use. If you are a professional and know exactly what you’re doing when it comes to architectural rendering, you can quickly get the job done with Autodesk Revit.

This Building Information Modeling (BIM) software provider offers free 3-year educational licenses to students, but professionals have access to flexible subscription options. You can get the software for $280 a month ($2250/year), but there’s also a free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on annual plans.

6. Viz Render

Viz Render is another great product from Autodesk that is very popular among both architecture students and rendering professionals. You can create beautiful architectural visualizations with this software, but it is not one of the most powerful solutions on this list.

Despite that fact, Viz Render has a great set of features and tools that truly challenge the other software solutions listed here and it is very easy to use. Moreover, it works really great with other Autodesk products, such as AutoCAD and 3ds Max, which makes it worth both the time and effort.

The best part about Viz Render? It is completely free of charge, so you should definitely take it for a spin to see how it will fit your needs. You never know – it might be the perfect solution to suit your personal preferences.

7. Lumion

Lumion is yet another very powerful architectural rendering software that boasts extremely fast rendering and can easily turn 3D models into amazing photorealistic images and videos. It has a very easy-to-use user interface and a learning curve that is incredibly friendly, which makes it one of the best rendering software solutions when it comes to actual usability.

Apart from being an absolute pleasure to use, Lumion stands out from other similar 3D rendering pieces of software in that it is compatible with almost every modelling software available. This is a huge plus for all the professionals who regularly deal with clients, students or peers who have their own personal preferences regarding 3D rendering software.

There’s absolutely no reason for anyone not finding Lumion attractive and remarkably useful, but students might find it more convenient than professionals because Lumion offers free educational licenses for students.

For professionals, Lumion offers licenses for a basic version at $1499 and for a Pro version at $2999, but there’s also a free trial with no purchase obligations. The only drawback is that the trial version contains only about 15% of the full content library and that it works on 7 days in total during a 30-day trial period.

8. Corona Renderer

Corona Renderer is not as popular as the other names on this list, because it is a relatively new software addition to the architectural rendering industry. Nevertheless, it has already proved to be more than worth being placed among all these powerful software solutions.

Although Corona lacks some features, such as velocity render, it is one of the fastest rendering software solutions currently available. It’s not as fast as Octane Render or V-Ray, but it does produce excellent renderings in considerably less time than other similar tools.

Corona Renderer creates very clean animations and fantastic light effects and software updates and patches are provided by the development team on a regular basis, so you would never have to worry about any potential vulnerabilities or hiccups.

The software also enables full integration with 3ds Max, so you can very easily employ complex 3D models without ever worrying about compatibility issues.

A standard license for Corona Renderer has a price tag of $530 (paid annually), but you can also choose one of the three monthly subscription options available at $24.99, $29.99 and $44.99.

9. Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D by MAXON Computer GmbH is one of the lesser known products in the architectural rendering community, but it is one of the fastest and easiest-to-use rendering software solutions available right now. Its set of features and tools is outstanding and can help you create marvellous renderings, which is precisely why more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon and harnessing its remarkable power.

If you are not a beginner but a professional who already knows their way around producing architectural renderings, then Cinema 4D could be just what you’re looking for. It’s very fast and stable, has a very intuitive user interface, and its powerful help system and procedural workflows make it truly stand out from the crowd.

There’s a steep learning curve so, in order to effectively work yourself over it, you would need to invest some time and effort into mastering all the features and completely getting the hang of various little details.

However, Cinema 4D comes with a very hefty price tag, but it can definitely be worth the investment if you are searching for something different that can help you bring your own unique style to life. If you can afford to pay $3510 for the software license and you’re ready to invest a lot of time into mastering the software, then you should go for it, but be sure to check out the free trial version first, so that you can make the right decision for your needs.

10. Artlantis

Artlantis is an excellent architectural rendering software solution for professionals who want to truly impress their clients. Its large set of useful features and a user-friendly interface can help you quickly and easily make fabulous 3D renderings that will certainly be more than satisfactory.

Its lighting features (both indoor and outdoor) and various luminous materials provide a huge number of possibilities for lighting scenes, especially because all the materials are physically based to help you get amazing photorealistic results.

The software also has a built-in render manager that can help you seamlessly deal with the computing load and distribute it evenly among all your local PCs, which is exactly what makes the producing of renderings extremely fast.

There are two versions of Artlantis available – one for creating high-res still images and the other for creating high-res animations, 360° panoramas, VR objects and still images. The license for the former is available at €500, while you can get the full license for the latter for €990.

If you choose any of these architectural rendering software solutions, you can be sure that you will be making a smart choice, because each and every one of them is definitely worth the time and effort (and the money when it comes to the paid ones), as you will enter a whole new world of 3D rendering possibilities and create magnificent renderings that will blow everyone’s minds.

Essential Software For Architecture

Architects require a very specific set of digital tools to produce drawings and improve their design process. Here are the most essential.

In today’s digital climate, architects are relying more and more on their design software to not only produce detailed construction drawings, but create believable visualizations and bolster their design process. Computer aided design is an essential aspect of any design business, with a few programs rising above the rest to find their way into every studio across the world.

And while there might still be a few old guard, pen-and-pencil-only cats out there who will never relinquish their grip on trusty T-square and vellum, the rest of the world has moved on.

The software on this list is vital to the workflow and process of a majority of architecture offices. Without these programs, the entire construction industry would grind to a screeching halt until we all learned how to draw by hand again.

1 | AutoCAD

The drafting program that started a revolution. While much of the professional design industry has moved on to BIM and other, more informative means of construction documentation, there are still many who will forever and always use CAD. It’s powerful, fast, and capable of producing complex line drawings and schedules.

AutoCAD has been the industry standard for decades now, and won’t soon become obsolete. Until BIM can get a handle on detail drawing and engrained design discipline, AutoCAD will hold a large chunk of the design industry under its wing.

2 | SketchUp

While SketchUp might not be the most refined, complicated, or powerful 3D modeling program, it is certainly the most accessible. And it’s in that accessibility that architects have found so much value in it. SketchUp allows designers to quickly model their work, assess its strengths, and take it right back to the cutting room for refinement and alteration.

Taking things further, SketchUp is now being used as a viable visualization tool with the use of several easy-to-use rendering plugins. SU Podium and Brighter 3D have opened up a whole new world to SketchUp users, and one architects and designers are taking full advantage of.

3 | Photoshop

When architects are in need of adding texture, scale figures, trees, cars, and other contextual imagery to their renderings, they turn to Adobe’s world famous photo editing software for help. Photoshop is taught to architects very early in their education because it’s something they will use over and over again to push their work to the next level.

Architects might not edit many photos, but they do create artwork in various ways that all act to describe their designs and push forward the process of getting their work built. They might not dig into the deepest depths of what Photoshop can offer, but then again, they don’t have to.

4 | AutoDesk Revit

As mentioned earlier, many architects have already made the jump from 2D CAD drafting to Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. Revit is the most popular BIM program on the market, and allows users to digitally construct their buildings in three dimensions with embedded information pertaining to construction, scheduling, and finished materials.

Revit endured a rocky start, but has since been developed into a program that is user-friendly, powerful, and nuanced. It still has a long way to go in the detail department, but those who use it can’t possibly make the jump backwards to strictly 2D drafting.

5 | InDesign

Presentations, competitions, and marketing materials make up a seldom talked about component to running an architecture business. InDesign helps arechitects and designers collect their visualization content and present it in a way that is easy to digest. It’s a layout program that’s also heavily used by book publishers and magazine editors.

InDesign is fast, streamlined, and easy to gain a grasp of. It offers a much smoother interface than Photoshop, and has a robust toolset that lets designers add visual flair, diagramming, and text-driven content to renderings, plans, and other design-related drawings.

6 | Rhino 3D

Before SketchUp blew up the 3D modeling industry, architects relied on other, less user-friendly forms of digital drawing. Not to say Rhino is incredibly complicated - it’s not - but it’s vast catalogue of tools and setting has a way of turning new users off.

However, there are some things SketchUp simply can’t do. And for that, Rhino has the medicine. When used in conjunction with Grasshopper, designers can write their own scripts that allow for an advanced flavor of parametric modeling that’s reserved for only the most high-profile design jobs.