Rendering Software

7 Software Solutions That Can Help Architects Avoid Losing Time

The trick with being an architect isn't to work hard but to work smart. With that in mind, here are some excellent software solutions to make your workflow more efficient to avoid losing time.

Architects have a lot on their minds when it comes to running their business. Just like any other business, there's paperwork, administration, and other things to worry about.

These administration chores, such as marketing, document and office management, insurance, employee payroll, technology, paying bills, invoicing clients, completing projects, and finding new ones, going through all the emails, and so on, can be extremely time-consuming.

So, what can an architect do to avoid losing time?

The answer is rather simple - use software tools and solutions to not only improve productivity but save money and, most importantly, time. It's essential for architects to fully focus on the project and not waste time on trivial things.

That's why we have gathered these time-efficient software solutions that help architects save time while remaining effective and organized. No more wasting time with administrative responsibilities, let technology work for you and with you rather than against you.

1. Document Management

Since architects are required to handle a lot of paperwork like sketches, photos, invoices, blueprints, plans, and other files, they need an efficient solution to manage all those documents. Fortunately, technology has an answer - an online cloud software solution for document management.

It's exciting, new, and trendy, and everyone is using it. Additionally, it allows architects to get rid of the paperwork while working on multiple projects at the same time.

Time greatly matters in architecture, and it's more productive to be spending it doing something useful rather than going through all the documents and paperwork or risking losing a project because you've been working with the incorrect version of a document.

With online cloud software for document management, you can easily share and store valuable and accurate data with all others who are working with you on a project.

More importantly, this time-efficient software tool allows you and your team to access all relevant files with a computer, tablet, or smartphone anytime, anywhere. The most recommended software tools for document management are Dropbox and Google Drive.

2. Invoice Administration

Online accounting and invoicing are essential for modern architects. Well, online accounting and invoicing in the cloud sounds like an excellent solution to save time while improving efficiency.

Invoicing solutions like Blinksale, Invoicera, or Freshbooks allow architects to set up their administration in an effortless and well-structured way.

What makes these software solutions so useful is the fact that they are easily integrated into many payment methods. Aside from helping save time, you can make your business look more organized and professional at the most affordable prices.

On top of all that, these are online software solutions that allow you to access any essential information anywhere, anytime. Time-saving and convenience as well as productivity, all in one place.

3. Employee Time Tracking

By making a small investment in easy and simple software tools like GetHarvest or Hubstaff, you can keep track of how productive your employees are during working hours. There are smartphone apps that allow you to do the same, regardless of what working platform your employees are using. Whether they're on the job site or in the office, you can track and clock in employees easily.

These software tools have great features that show the exact project your employees have been working on. That way, you can save money by eliminating any tasks that waste time and make the entire workflow more efficient.

Forget about archaic methods like paper timesheets and enjoy the utmost level of ease of use and efficiency as well as other benefits that modern timesaving software tools have to offer.

4. CRM and Client Portfolios

Almost every architect has faced the situation of being overwhelmed with work, having several projects running at the same time. In fact, if you want to remain competitive in the modern architecture business landscape, you have to be able to work on more than just one project.

There's an excellent way to manage projects and clients - Highrise HQ. This software tool allows you to save and organize chat transcripts, SMS, and email conversations, as well as notes from up to thousands of clients.

It also allows you to keep your entire team updated with ongoing information regarding the projects you work on. Highrise HQ helps increase business productivity and you can integrate it in an ongoing project with ease.

Keep customer relationship management, help desk solutions, client chats, marketing, sales and reporting all in one place with this timesaving tech software. What really makes this software stand out from other similar software solutions is that it's integrated with over a hundred plug-ins that you can use to make your workflow much more efficient.

Access any piece of necessary information with only a few clicks and manage your client relationship as well as multiple projects with ease.

5. Project Management

Project management is perhaps the most important element of an architect's workflow. To make sure you're doing it the right way, the most efficient software solutions like TeamworkPM and Basecamp can help. These powerful web-based tools allow you to make project management so much easier.

They provide excellent collaboration features that allow your entire team to keep all relevant information in one place while working on multiple projects. Most multinational architect companies use this software tool as they find its main benefit, the ease of project management, to be very useful.

More importantly, with all vital project data in one always accessible and safe place, architects can easily go through multiple documents regarding projects within mere seconds.

Calendars, time tracking, chat, messages, file sharing, to-do lists, these are just some of the most outstanding features that this amazing timesaving software tool has to offer. Time is money, and saving time means saving money.

6. Website Services

It's impossible to run a business with success without a website. That means that every architect needs a professional-looking and responsive website to promote their services and attract new clients.

Software tools like Weebly, Plebu, Wix, or Webs are easy to use, and they don't require any coding knowledge.

Most modern consumers are mobile and online and they will use the internet to search for businesses and products they need and want. Having a top-notch website is, therefore, the best way to grab their attention and acquire new projects. Organize your website at the most affordable prices and save time by letting your work come to you instead of you looking for it.

7. Creating Site Reports

The ultimate software solution to make you more efficient is right in front of you and it's called ArchiSnapper. It's an online software timesaving tool for architects that allows you to create an online account in mere minutes and eliminate the need to bother with tedious administration duties for good.

Integrate all relevant project data with the software tool and use it on your tablet or smartphone. You can send instant site reports to your clients which is exceptionally timesaving. No more wasting time writing things down. Produce professional and well-organized reports and save time while keeping all vital data safe in the cloud.

On top of all this, this software solution makes all necessary data shareable and accessible to your team anytime. Take your project management to a whole new level with this fantastic software tool that will allow you to make the most of the time you have on your hands.

Conclusion

Running a complex business like an architectural company is all about time, resources, and organization. These factors can make or break your business.

If you prove to your clients that you can manage multiple projects and client relationships simultaneously, you have much bigger chances to get ahead of the competition curve and turn your business into a prosperous company that sets standards for the rest.

Get ahead of your industry with the most powerful software solutions that allow you to enhance and upgrade every aspect of your workflow. Setting up your administration is vital to your business.

There is the power of automation to count on. Stop wasting time looking for double-data entities, documents, and fixing mistakes, dealing with incorrect information, and start dealing with tasks that can guarantee results.

Then, there's also an aspect of being passionate about what you do. If you have to constantly worry about organization, documents, and other things, you won't be able to focus on what matters the most and mistakes and errors will happen.

Avoid all these unnecessary risks and let the passion drive you. Increase your efficiency and improve productivity by saving time and focusing on the most important aspects of your business. That's the only way to become successful. Remember, wasting time is wasting money.

9 Best Software Solutions for Sketchup Renders

Sketchup is one of the best modeling applications for 3D modeling, but it can feel a bit lacking when it comes to rendering. Check out these rendering plugins and reach the level of quality you’re aiming for.

Sketchup is an amazingly popular 3D modeling application that has a wide application with designers of all types and creeds. It’s easy to learn, and users can add to its functionalities by installing plugins specialized for specific purposes.

We’re here to do an overview of the most popular rendering tools for Sketchup. Handling that aspect of a 3D design isn’t something that Sketchup handles well on its own.

We’re going to go through some of the most popular options but also a few more obscure ones. Our goal is to provide users with diverse options, as not all of them will be getting these plugins with the same goals in mind. There are also some considerable differences in pricing, and we aimed to provide options for everyone’s budget - from free to “Well, that’s a lot of money” options.

1. V-Ray - The Classic

V-Ray is one of the legendary software solutions that most designers know about, but did you know that V-Ray is compatible with Sketchup?

This software has a user-friendly plugin that works seamlessly with Sketchup and is easy to set up. If photorealistic rendering is the goal you are moving towards, then V-Ray is the right plugin for you.

It brings a fantastic material editor and a plethora of other useful tools to expand the capabilities of Sketchup. On top of that, it is quite affordable as it will cost only a newsletter subscription.

All in all, an excellent way to expand Sketchup’s rendering capabilities and add some more functionalities.

2. Brighter 3D - Small but strong

The selling point of Brighter 3D is that they offer a simple rendering plugin that packs a punch. What does this mean?

Well, Brighter3D may seem simple, but it has some serious rendering power and can easily handle even the most complex rendering tasks. It also offers a way to get quick previews with its preview tool. This preview tool gives you an image of your work within a couple of seconds.

Brighter 3D uses unbiased rendering technology which means that everything will run fast and easy.

3. SU Podium - Professionalism and support

While SU Podium isn’t one of the most famous plugins for Sketchup but this doesn’t mean that it can’t perform at a high level.  

One of the most significant advantages SU Podium has is its support community. You can find tutorials and will help you adapt to the new plugin fast. This is very important, as getting used to the new interface and figuring out how a new plugin functions can take away so much of a user’s time that a lot of people just stick with what they know.

This plugin produces renderings and visualizations that are more than a match for the current architectural standards. It also has a fantastic interface that is as efficient as the one provided by Sketchup, so this is a match made in heaven.

4. Maxwell - Another legendary plugin

If you are searching for a rendering plugin that has proved it’s reliable and stable over a long period, then Maxwell is a good option.

Thanks to the development team behind this plugin, Maxwell has managed to stay competitive for almost as long as V-Ray and demonstrate similar, if not superior, capabilities.

Maxwell developers realized the potential of Sketchup early on and decided to develop a plugin specifically for this software. The result is a plugin that works perfectly and gives Sketchup robust capabilities when it comes to rendering.

5. Indigo Renderer - Photorealism and lighting

Another lesser-known rendering plugin for Sketchup which expands its capabilities is Indigo Renderer.

This plugin produces some of the best photorealistic renderings out there and can easily be compared to most household names when it comes to rendering quality it achieves.

Indigo Renderer has a high-speed rendering algorithm and is features one of the most advanced physics-based lighting modulators ever developed. Your images and animations are going to look stunning.

It integrates perfectly with Sketchup so you can work without any distractions, crashes or errors - basically a perfect plugin.

6. LumenRT - Topographically capable

If you are having issues with Sketchup’s capabilities to deal with topography, then you might want to check out LumenRT.

LumenRT adds an amazing toolset to the ones that you already have, and this rectifies one of Sketchup's most prominent shortcomings. It is powerful enough to produce high-quality animations as well as images with an added option of quickly importing 3D models from Sketchup to Lumen.

All in all, if you are a landscape architect who’s looking to improve the capabilities Sketchup has to handle these kinds of projects, LumenRT is a great choice.

7. Twilight Render - Free and great for practicing

So far, we’ve talked about plugins that are intended for professional users. Most of them will cost you a decent amount, but what if you want to learn to render and want to do it without spending too much?

Enter Twilight Render!

This is by no means a rendering plugin on par with V-Ray and Maxwell, but it’s free, relatively simple to use and has decent capabilities. Your images will look decent, and their library is filled with decent materials. It is well integrated and is reliable.

This plugin is a great first rendering experience for people who want to enter the industry. So, give it a shot if you want to hone your skills without wasting money on professional rendering solutions.

8. Visualize - Lightweight and free

This is another tool that is designed for beginners. Visualizer is a rendering plugin that is completely free and easy to use.

The visualizations you’ll get with Visualize aren’t going to be top-notch, but we didn’t go for this one with that level of quality, to begin with. It is a nifty little plugin that expands Sketchup’s capabilities significantly and provides the user with an easy to use interface.

If you are looking for a cheap way to hone your rendering and design skills, Visualize is a great option.

9. Caravaggio - Powerful with a great trial period

This is a lightweight plugin that focuses on providing the user with a simple and easy to use interface, but this doesn’t mean it lacks the capabilities to produce good results.

The plugin has immensely powerful material and lighting editors but is primarily designed to be used through Sketchup. It produces solid results and can be used to set up your render up to the finest details.

One of the big advantages of this plugin is that it has a 200 renderings free trial so you have a lot of time to test it before you commit to a purchase.

These are by no means the only rendering plugins that will work with Sketchup - this is just a list of the ones that we found most interesting.

Didn’t you find the plugin you were looking for? Well, leave a comment, we love hearing about software that works well from the shadows! What other plugins, not explicitly focused on rendering, do you use regularly, and why?

Sketchup is a very flexible platform, and with the right plugins, it can turn into a fantastic tool capable of handling even the most demanding 3D design tasks.

Why Unity Is so Popular as a 3D Rendering Solution

Unity is the most popular game engine, but what is it about it that makes it so appealing to indie developers and triple-A companies alike? Read on to find out.

If you’re into video games, whether that’s into playing them or developing them, you’ve undoubtedly at least heard of Unity.

It’s by far the world’s most popular game engine. It powers more than half of all mobile games, and it’s overtaking most consoles and computers.

But what exactly makes Unity so popular? Why is it the number 1 choice for most developers? Well, let’s see what Unity is, and which features make it stand out, and the answer should be crystal clear.

What Is Unity?

In short, Unity is a powerful framework for building both 2D and 3D games. It was founded in 2004 with the aim of making game development accessible to anyone with interest in it.

It truly gained popularity around 2010, since the competition wasn’t the strongest, and Unity was accessible both to indie developers and large companies.

You’ll see many triple-A companies still using this amazing game engine, including Microsoft, Square Enix, Paradox, and many more.

Because of its versatility, flexibility, high-end features, and overall ease of use, Unity has been ruling the game development world for over a decade.

Let’s take a look at some of its best features, and you can find out whether this game engine is the right choice for you.

User-Friendly Interface

When you’re in the process of searching for the right 3D rendering solution, ease of use if probably the first, most important factor you consider. Of course, there’s always going to be a learning curve whenever you start using a new piece of software, but the simpler the interface, the better.

Well, Unity is at the top of its game here. It has an intuitive, user-friendly interface that makes this 3D rendering solution easy to master.

This is the primary reason why it’s so appealing to indie developers and newcomers.

However, just because it’s simple to use doesn’t mean it’s created only for those who are just starting out with game development. As mentioned, Unity’s a preferred choice for many large companies as well. This 3D rendering solution can cater to all needs.

C# for Scripting

Another reason why Unity is so easy for newcomers to understand and use is that it uses high-level programming language known as C#.

C# is somewhat similar to C++ but much simpler to use. It’s based on the .NET framework, and you’ll have access to an abundance of useful features that will keep your code clean and concise.

Even if you’re a complete programming beginner, you’ll likely find it easy to get around developing games in Unity with C#. You have access to many tutorials that explain how everything works, and the community tends to be very friendly. Even if you get stuck, you’ll easily find someone to help you out.

Unity Works with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux  

One of the main reasons why developers go for Unity is because it’s fully compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Most game engines require you to have at least Windows 7 64-bit, but Unity can work on Windows XP as well, and you’ll be able to develop games on any device you have.

When Unity is installed on Windows or Mac, it automatically installs Visual Studio which is set as the External Script Editor by default. Visual Studio will be used as the default editor for all script files, but you can change that in the “Preferences” as needed.

For Mac OS and Linux, you’ll need to install the scripting backend Mono to use Visual Studio Code for C# code editing.

It Supports Different Platforms

One of the best things about Unity is that it supports a multitude of platforms, 23 of them at the moment to be exact. This means that once you’ve built your game, you can essentially deploy it about anywhere.

Primarily, Unity is renowned as the world's top choice game design platform. Once you've created the game, you can deploy it on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and even Tizen with a single click.

VR is the next best thing in the gaming industry, and by the end of the year, VR video gaming revenues are expected to reach $15.1 billion. If you want in on this, you can easily use Unity for developing both VR and AR games.

Desktop games can be developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the engine supports PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Nintendo 3DS gaming consoles, and you can use a plugin to develop web-based games.

With so many options, it’s truly no wonder that Unity is the most popular game engine.

The Graphics Are Out of This World

Whether you’re developing a 2D or 3D game with Unity, you can rest assured that the graphics will be astonishing. If we’re being honest, we all know that today, many gamers give more value to the graphics than anything else. So, if you want your game to sell, you need to ensure that it looks perfect.

This is what Unity allows you to do. You can create realistic animations and architectural visualizations when rendering in 2D and 3D. The engine has great features such as collision detection, allowing you to create a highly interactive game.

Using this 3D rendering solution, you can create realistic scenes and set the atmosphere perfectly with unified lighting. The smart camera system allows you to compose astounding shots regardless of whether it’s a 1st person shooter or a 3rd person adventure game you’re developing.

3D Rendering Natural Movement

To create natural movement in 3D, speed is of utmost importance. The rendering speed has to be at least 24 frames per second so that the human eye can perceive it as natural movement. Achieving photorealistic, natural movement is a fairly difficult process that requires a lot of sophisticated calculations, but Unity offers you simple parameters that you can understand and use to create fluid movements.

And this isn’t just about the 3D rendered game characters and the nearby objects. If you want the whole scene to be captivating and realistic, you need to ensure every aspect of it is perfect. Unity has an interesting feature known as Wind Zones, for example, which allows you to create natural patterns of movement among trees. You can easily play around and experiment until you achieve a perfect 3D render of natural movements.

Unity Allows You to Do Live Edits

Among the best features of Unity is that it allows you to do live edits. Ne you’ve made some progress with the game, it might seem that it all looks perfect, but you’ll never really know until you test it all out.

Video games are a very complex system, and you cannot predict how that system will behave until you get a chance to see it in action. If there’s a glitch or a problem, it tends to get difficult to dig out the cause and fix it. This is why Unity allows you to make edits in real-time.

When you run the game in the IDE, you’ll get a structural overview of the game asset changes as you play. You can make in-game edits and changes as you see fit.

Toolbox Without Limits

When you get this 3D rendering solution, you receive countless tools at your disposal, you get Event triggers, Audio, Physics, Lighting, Animation, etc. The standard package offers you a wide variety of tools, and if this doesn’t seem adequate enough for the game you’re developing, you can go to the asset store to find additional plugins, pieces of code, animations, and more.

What’s interesting here is that while some of the tools are created by Unity, most of them are actually created by the community. You can find some truly interesting and unique tools, and use the asset store to even sell or share your own creations.

Unity Takes Things to the Cloud

Cloud technology is here to stay, and Unity has found great use of it. It integrates cloud storage solutions that allow you to share, sync, and save your projects. This is excellent for collaborative projects that require you to work closely together with your teammates. You can work more efficiently, and collaboration is made easier.

By relying on Unity Cloud Diagnostics, you can gather valuable feedback from your end users once you’ve deployed the game. By collecting and identifying performance data and user feedback, you can respond in real-time and keep your end-users satisfied.

Pricing

As mentioned, Unity is an attractive choice for many indie developers and newcomers. One of the reasons for this might just be their pricing policy.

If you’re just getting into game development and 3D rendering for fun, or have annual revenue of up to $100,000, you have access to some of Unity’s basic features for free.

If you have a revenue of up to $200,000, you can sign up for their Plus Plan. It comes to $25 a month with an annual subscription, and you get additional features, can create a Custom Splash screen, and have certain discounts at the assets store.

You can get the Pro Plan for $125 a month, and receive access to all of Unity’s features.

Conclusion

Unity was created to make life easier for all game developers, big and small, and all of its amazing features and functions make it perfectly clear why this game engine is so popular around the world.

Architectural Visualization Tools, Software and Best Practices for 2019

The rapid development of architectural visualization is promoted by the newest tools, software, and best practices. Since these tend to change a lot, it is hard to stay tuned to what is best. This is why we give you the best tools, software, and practices in architectural visualization for 2019.

Over the past years, a lot has changed in the world of architecture - tools become more sophisticated and accurate, some of the practices became obsolete, new, more demanding clients entered the market, and so on. Architectural visualization, though, continues to be one of the hottest trends in this field. But it is, as other practices, susceptible to changes because it leans on software solutions on the one hand and the best practices on the other.

If you don't have the time to stay on top of what's new and what's best in architectural visualization, we got you covered. We did extensive research and found out that the following software and best practices are going to rock the world of architects that use visualization to pitch projects and make clients happy.

Best Software For Architects

Did you know that there is even rendering software older that Win 3.xx? Architects may like or dislike using it, but working on modern projects without appropriate software tools is impossible. Here are a few of the best architectural visualization and rendering tools.

Maxwell

Maxwell is one of the best tools in the business. Beside the complex functionality and a plethora of features, what made this tool very popular is the fact that it is free to distribute and use. It provides incredible opportunities to both experienced and novice architects. The user interface is really beautiful and intuitive. Also, the Maxwell community is pretty large and surprisingly supportive. Which encourages beginners to start using this tool.

Maxwell is a standard tool students use on countless universities because it is simple to use while incorporating advanced rendering tools. The only downside is rendering optimization, so expect to have longer waiting times with this tool. Nevertheless, Maxwell will remain one of the most used tools in 2019.

Blender

Blender is another free to use and distribute software. Many would argue that free architectural visualization and rendering tools are pretty much useless, but Blender is living proof of the contrary. It features very powerful rendering tools making designing skyscrapers, bridges, and houses a walk in the park.

Unlike Maxwell, Blender will require you to spend more time mastering its functionalities. There are a lot of guides and tutorials out there, and the community is always standing by to lend a helping hand to anyone who hits a wall.

Autodesk Revit

Autodesk Revit is another tool that we are going to see in architects’ toolboxes in 2019 and beyond. This is one of the most powerful software tools an architect can get their hands on. It streamlines the workflow by introducing prebuilt models and textures that are ready to use. Autodesk Revit also comes with a number of advanced rendering capabilities to help you make breathtaking architectural visualizations.

Unlike Blender and Maxwell, you will have to purchase a license to use this tool. Their customer support is one of the best in the industry and the community behind Revit is huge. There are more than enough free learning materials to get by.

Lumion 3D

With the increasing number of outsourced architectural projects and remote workers, the need for a tool that can keep everyone and everything under one roof become real. Lumion 3D is here to help managers in the word of architecture stay on top of all projects because Lumion 3D is compatible with all other 3D rendering tools.

Lumion 3D doesn’t have a steep learning curve. Its intuitive and simple user interface, advanced rendering options, and fast rendering will turn working into a joy. Professionals will have to buy a license to use Lumion 3D. On the other hand, it is completely free for students.

Octane Render

We can not go on talking about tools used in architectural visualization without mentioning Octane Render. This software tool is one of the most powerful and popular tools used in the industry. It comes with everything other tools have - awesome interface and different rendering tools. But unlike any other tool, Octane Render has its own amazing rendering engine to make those visualizations look and feel outstanding.

Besides the impeccable functionality and a library of prebuilt materials and textures, this tool is optimized to use hardware resources to the fullest. This is why rendering times are significantly shorter than in other tools. Both professionals and students alike will continue to use this tool in 2019.

Punch Home Design Studio

Punch Home Design Studio features incredible architectural visualization tools. On the other hand, it is designed with ease of use in mind, allowing even the less experienced to hop on and get the job done. Home Design Studio is an excellent option to start learning architectural visualization and rendering. When we take into consideration this tool’s capabilities and its price, it is safe to say that Home Design Studio will remain one of the commonly used tools in 2019.

The only downside of using this software is hidden in its name. You can only use it to do amazing room visualizations, landscape, and home renders. But for architects who focus only on this niche, this tool packs more than enough to get projects done.

Architectural Visualization - Best Practices

With more and more architects entering the market, and clients becoming more demanding than ever, staying on top of the best practices has never been more important than today. A slightly better presentation done by your competitors can turn your clients away from you. Here is how to make sure that this doesn’t happen and that your projects see the light of the day.

Render For A Natural Viewpoint

Creating beautiful architectural visualizations that incorporate everything required by the project can do nothing if clients can't relate to them. There is a simple trick to make it easier for the clients to experience your designs better - render for a natural viewpoint. This doesn’t mean that you cannot include renders to show off the lighting and overall design. But make sure that the first person view actually respects the laws of a natural viewpoint.

The More Details The Better

Architectural visualizations have gone far away from showcasing only the building’s exterior and interior design stripped of all the details. All visualization and rendering tools we listed above support bringing more details into the designs. If you want to stay relevant in 2019, make sure to incorporate materials, textures, lighting, furniture, plants, appliances, and other relevant things into your designs. Your competition is already doing it.

Panoramic VIews Are the Flavor of The Year

You have to acknowledge the fact that clients want more! This is why you should create a detailed architectural visualization of the panoramic view. This can help clients relate to your design even more and see how the building will look like in the urban landscape. While this may appear more like visual art than an architectural project, it will help you wow your clients and make sure that your project gets a green light.

Incorporate Neighborhood In Architectural Visualisation

While panoramic views provide a general impression of whether the building goes along with the existing urban landscape or not, you will need to do more to help clients experience your design. This is why architects are often including building surroundings in their renders. This allows clients to take a stroll around the building and see those benches, parks, garages, and pedestrian walkways firsthand. The same rules apply here. Include as many details as possible to make the render as closer to the real experience as you can.

Make The Presentation Count

While your designs may appear like works of art, you should always keep in mind that they can be easily built. This is a really important thing to consider especially if a client said that he is bringing a potential developer to the presentation as well. This is why you should pay close attention to all the demands of your clients. Make sure to include renders of spots where you met those demands so that you can take them there and showcase your work in an instant, should the questions arise.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has become, well, reality for many architects. It is particularly useful for describing and showcasing spaces that would be impossible to achieve in any other way. Virtual reality will not only impress your clients and help them visualize projects in an intimate way,  but help you identify and rectify problems before the building phase begins.

It is safe to assume that architectural visualization is not going anywhere, at least not in the foreseeable future. The tools, software and best practices we listed here will remain hot in 2019, some of them even beyond. Architects who want to stay in the game will have to accommodate these new changes and incorporate these tools and practices into their day to day activities.

7 Most Popular Architecture Rendering Software Solutions for 2019

Choosing a rendering software can be difficult because of so many available options. Here are the top 7 most popular solutions and reasons why so many people use them.

The art of visualization and rendering have gone far in the past ten years or so. With new technologies and software solutions, the digitalization of architectural workflows has peaked. Today nobody does these things manually anymore, but on a computer.

This doesn’t mean that architectural visualization has become easy, as it requires a lot of knowledge to use a certain software solution and have all the tricks up your sleeve. However, the rendering software that people use today is much more powerful than earlier iterations.

Today, there are so many options available that they’ve been categorized by the industries they are used in. We are going to talk about the seven most popular architecture rendering software tools for this year.

1. V-Ray

There is no real information on which software is the most widely used, but when it comes to V-Ray, it’s definitively near the top. When you walk into a designer’s or architect’s office, there is about a 50% chance that they are using V-Ray. It comes with a fantastic library of materials and textures and gives astonishing realism to renders.

This is software is designed to help users recreate reality starting from shadows, lights, and colors. V-Ray is a serious tool that has a lot of different options and offers a lot of versatility. This is why beginners who don’t have a lot of experience using similar software will easily get lost in V-Ray.

What’s even better about V-Ray is that it’s compatible with all the other popular architecture rendering software, meaning that it can be used through them as a plugin. Many argue that this program offers the best options for shadow and lighting customization and we all know how important these two are for quality renders.

2. 3Ds Max

Even though many people criticize 3Ds Max for its rendering capabilities, it is still the most popular software out there. Although all the other tools and functionalities of 3Ds Max are solid, its rendering is shaky and its onboard and 3D modeling software work in conjunction.

What’s good about 3Ds Max is that it is well-optimized to be used as an interface with Autodesk products like Revit and AutoCAD.

However, if you are using Revit to do 3D modeling, the onboard renderer in 3Ds Max can come in pretty handy. While Revit comes with renders, it is limited with almost no flexibility, and its end results are very poor quality.

All the Revit models can be imported into Max and they can be manipulated with the emphasis on texture and help you create much better renders than you could in Revit.

3. Blender

Blender is a potent software tool for making architectural renderings and this is why a lot of architects use it. There are two reasons why Blender is so popular, it’s completely free and it works quite well, especially when you consider the fact that it costs nothing.

Many people think that Blender is just a toy and that it can’t do any serious work just because it’s free, but this is not the case.

What’s even better is that it’s an open-source program that can be altered to the liking of the architect. If we are talking about quality, Blender is one of the top 5 solutions, as it has countless tools and features, all of which have a practical use in making your designs more realistic.

Even though it’s a full-blown professional designer’s kit, it’s not difficult to learn how to use Blender, even for beginners. There are a lot of people who learned to render on Blender and continue using it today. Apart from that, it has a great online community built around it, so whenever you are stuck, you can find answers online.

4. Revit

When you say Revit, everyone in the architecture community knows what you are talking about. There is no need to explain to someone what Revit is or what it’s used for. Revit is not a top-notch rendering software, but it can still be used to create some of the most realistic visualizations, especially if you’ve worked with it for a long time and know it like the back of your hand.

Revit comes with a lot of different tools and features, as well as textures, models, and materials. It has great rendering overall, but the issue with this software is that you really need to know how to use it properly to get good results. It’s definitely not the best, but it has some solid capabilities.

A lot of professionals use it on a daily basis for their work and they are able to create amazing renders. However, it takes time before you get used to using it and learning how to take advantage of its features and tools. It can also be very unintuitive at times.

5. Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D doesn’t have a long history like some of the rendering software we mentioned here, but it’s growing in popularity and there is already a community built around it. The reason for this is that all the new 3D designers are using it because it is very fast and intuitive. It has great tools and features that allow the creation of highly realistic renderings.

Even professionals that give it a try fall in love with it because it is very powerful, while at the same time simple and easy to use. Cinema 4D has an intuitive interface with procedural workflows and a good help system that can actually give quality guidance. It’s a great tool to create renders that will help your work stand out from the rest.

Still, it takes time to learn everything there is to Cinema 4D but it has a good learning curve and even though it might take time, it’s not confusing in any way. One of the biggest issues many people have with this software is that it is very expensive and many people can’t afford to pay for its license.

6. Maxwell Render

Maxwell is also one of the great rendering solutions that had a lot of users for a time, but soon enough, everyone realized that it was very slow. Since most people didn’t have the patience to wait that long, they decided to switch to faster solutions. However, apart from this one major downside, Maxwell is a great rendering software that allows users to make ultra-realistic renders with amazing details.

Many users still can’t get over Maxwell simply because it has an amazing lighting engine “unbiased rendering” that relies on modeling techniques from real-life, rather than resorting to digital tricks to create something realistic. This is why it takes so long for it to render anything and for those who are willing to make this trade-off, Maxwell will be a great solution.

This is why the developers add Maxwell Fire, which is a fast engine designed to help users see previews of their renders before they hit the “render” button. This way, the user won’t have to waste a lot of time rendering to see how his project will turn out.

7. Octane Render

This rendering software is fast, one of the fastest ones out there. Many argue that it is, in fact, the fastest as it produces realistic, quality renderings in no time. This is one of the reasons why more and more people are starting to use it. In the last couple of years, it has grown significantly in popularity because of its lightning fast engine that doesn’t sacrifice the quality of renders for its speed.

It also comes with a wide range of powerful tools and features accompanied with extensive libraries of textures and materials that you can work with out of the box. Octane Render is built to work flawlessly on Nvidia cards and this is why it works so much better than most software solutions that rely on CPU.

It also incorporates new technology that can easily take care of complex issues like subsurface scattering, motion blur, and depth of field. At the same time, when you compare its price to other similar software solutions, Octane Render is quite affordable.

These are the seven most popular architectural rendering software solutions. If you choose either one of these you won’t be making a mistake. However, it is up to you to look at their pros and cons and, of course, their price range.

Most of the rendering software out there comes with a free trial option, so you can test them thoroughly before you make your final decision. Choosing a quality piece of software is as important as learning how to use it, so make sure that you take the time to consider all the options carefully.

4 Limitations of Current Rendering Software and What We Can Expect in the Future

Rendering software is a powerful tool used by many professionals. However, these tools also have their limitations which are bound to change in the future.

At the moment, there are many renderers available for designers and architects to choose from. Essentially, all these software solutions are designed for the same purpose. But at the same time, they are all different, and won’t give the same results. It’s not a simple topic, as there are many things to know about rendering software.

The latest tools are updated very often and with the new hardware options coming out each year, they have to keep track and provide new solutions. Even though 3D rendering has gone a long way, these tools still have many limitations.

Still, the rapid development of technology means that we are likely to see these tools improve in the future and overcome current issues. Even though different tools have different limitations, we will try and present the most common problems that occur today and talk about what you can expect in the future.

1. Rendering is still fairly slow

Most architects are used to the fact that they need at least the whole day to finish one render. We are talking about the moment when you decide that the project is finished and you simply press “render” and wait for the devices to process your work.

Even though computer technology is constantly improving and devices are more powerful, there hasn’t been a significant reduction in time needed to complete a single render, as rendering software is also getting more complex and requires more resources.

Of course, if you want a simple render without many details, effects, and materials, you will be able to finish the render quickly, but for professional work, it still takes too long, no matter how powerful the workstation is.

As standards grow and professionals try to be competitive, the current computers are simply unable to provide fast rendering.

2. Rendering software can be really demanding

Most modern rendering software comes with big demands in terms of GPU, CPU, and memory overall. Some tools are even impossible to use if you have an average computer, as they simply won’t run – and even if you are able to run them, they will work really slowly, making it impossible to work properly.

We are talking about professional tools that experts and successful companies use, not just any rendering software that can provide some outdated results. So, for an architect to meet the current standards, they must be prepared to invest in a powerful workstation that can run these complex solutions.

Many starting architects don’t have the money to afford rendering software that would help them improve their work and compete on the market. This “luxury” is reserved for already established professionals and people working at large companies that can afford to buy state of the art computers.

3. Some renderers work best on certain hardware

Choosing a rendering software is not easy. There are plenty of options available and to make the right decision, a person needs to do their research and learn about their pros and cons. However, this is not everything that needs to be considered.

Some of the rendering software is specifically designed to work better on certain GPU brands and models, which means that they won’t give the same render results if done on different devices. For some solutions to truly reach their potential, the user would need specific recommended hardware.

It’s important to read up on the software you’re looking at to see if the developers recommend a certain GPU and why, which is very limiting, because you would not only need that exact GPU, but you would also have to use only that particular software.

4. Not many solutions offer pre-rendering

Pre-rendering or render preview is a feature that allows the user to see what their project will look like when rendered. Looking at your work while in the project can’t tell you how it will look when rendered, which is why most architects have to render their work and wait for the process to finish before they can see the end result.

This takes a lot of valuable time that could be used more productively. Additionally, if there is something wrong with the render and it requires revision, the process will have to be repeated. You essentially waste even more time just because most tools don’t allow previews.

It has become a form of art and a skill for architects to realize when a render is finalized and visualize how it will actually turn out, which requires extensive experience with certain software but even then professionals have to revise their work and waste time.

What we can expect in the future

Future 3D rendering and architectural visualization will take this process to a whole new level when it comes to speed and quality. Brand new CGI software will not only allow architects to finish designing projects fast, but it will also be easier for them to implement architectural ideas while construction is ongoing.

Here are some of the technology innovations that will shape the future of architectural work and 3D rendering overall.

1. New VR software for real-time project design

With architectural VR solutions, architects will get a digital space where they can cooperate throughout the design process. Multiple professionals will be able to work in real-time on the same task. Designers will be able to use this space with standalone or headsets connected to a PC.

Currently, the best tool of this kind is called InsiteVR and it comes with collaborative markups, mute controls, scaling, voice communication, and cloud models which are synchronized. Architects can join in and work together on building 3D models, making the whole process faster.

These solutions will greatly enhance the design of large projects which require the expertise of different specialists.

2. The construction process will speed up with rapid prototyping

3D printing and rapid prototyping are similar concepts – they allow CGI artists to create their 3D models and print them directly.

Effective and fast prototyping is already used actively for manufacturing and testing construction equipment and products. In the future, 3D visualization will adopt rapid construction, which are mass-produced constructions prototyped with 3D printers.

These kinds of constructions will be built part by part, and then these parts will be assembled. Most of the new visualization and rendering software solutions will support this feature, and this will lead to a much faster process of design and construction.

Additionally, there will be much better communication between models and actual construction.

3. Presentations will become immersive with AR

Compared to VR, which is designed to provide the experience of a new reality, AR serves as an overlay in real-time. With various portable devices in the future, there will be more sophisticated 3D visualization tools that allow architects to showcase products at any given moment.

No matter if we are talking about the beginning, the middle, or a completed project, it will be easy to display it to customers and stakeholders.

They will even be able to demonstrate the whole building process in a live presentation. With quality 3D visualization and AR, customers will be able to see every tiny detail of the project and understand how the whole thing will be implemented.

4. All software will support real-time rendering

Real-time rendering can be a confusing term. It means displaying many computer-generated images in the form of live animations without any broken textures or noticeable lag.

Let’s take video games as an example, as they are similar to architecture projects. When a player is moving, all the images move and they pan instantly, but this is not a simple process.

A lot of processing power, coding knowledge, and digital engineering are required to create a smooth and realistic virtual experience. With the increase of hardware power, the computers in the future will be able to process these kinds of effects within rendering software in real-time, thus improving the whole process of designing and showcasing a project.

These are some of the issues current 3D rendering software solutions have, but also a glimpse of the innovation and development we are seeing in this industry. Ever since visualization and rendering went digital, they have changed and improved in a short period with fast technological development. We can only expect this trend to continue in the future.