3D Rendering Basics - Rendering 101

3d rendering basics

Welcome to this guide on 3D rendering basics. This comprehensive resource is perfect for individuals who are new to the concept of 3D rendering and seeking to gain a fundamental understanding of it. Alternatively, if you are already familiar with the topic and want to broaden your knowledge, this guide will also be a useful reference. Whether you are a professional developer or architect seeking to promote properties using advanced rendering techniques, or an enthusiastic beginner interested in creating your own renderings, this post will provide you with valuable insights and practical 3D renderings tips . Let’s dive in!

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the world of architectural visualization and considering a career in this field, there are numerous online resources available to assist you in your journey. Mastering the basics of 3D rendering is a fundamental step towards becoming a high-quality 3D artist, and it requires time and dedication to develop the necessary skill set.

What is 3D Rendering?

3D rendering is the process of converting a 3D model into a 2D image or animation using specialized computer software whose purpose is to create a realistic representation of a 3D model. These renderings can then be used for multiple purposes, and can be applied in various fields such as architecture, film, video games, and product design.

To start the 3D rendering process, a 3D model is created using computer-aided design (CAD) software or other 3D modeling tools (Revit, Sketchup & Rhino being the most common.) The model is then imported into a 3d rendering software , which adds textures, lighting, and other visual effects to create a realistic representation of the object or scene. The final product is an image (often photorealistic) which can then be used for multiple purposes.

Unlock the secrets of creating photorealistic renders with our comprehensive guide on ‘How to Make Photorealistic Renders.’ Explore essential techniques, software tools, and expert tips to elevate your 3D projects to a whole new level of realism. Don’t miss our latest blog post!

When it comes to the differences between 3D rendering vs 3D modeling, 3D rendering is the process of converting a 3D model into a 2D image or animation using specialized computer software. Unlike 3D modeling, which involves creating the actual 3D models from scratch, rendering is focused on adding textures, lighting, and other visual effects to create a photorealistic representation of the object or scene. This photorealistic image can then be used for a variety of purposes across multiple industries, including architecture, film, video games, and product design. Therefore, both 3D rendering and 3D modeling have their unique roles in creating digital 3D models.

What are the Types of 3D Rendering and How is 3D Rendering used?

basic rendering
What are the Types of 3D Rendering and How is 3D Rendering used?

There are different types of 3d rendering services available, catering to different industries and needs. Here are some of the most common types:

  1. Architectural renderings – This type of rendering is used to create realistic 3D interpretations of buildings, interiors, and landscapes for architectural firms, real estate developers, agents, interior designers and real estate marketers.
  2. Product rendering -This type is used to create 3d interpretations of a product to help sell or market it, examples of which include furniture, consumer goods, and industrial equipment for product design, marketing, and advertising purposes.
  3. Medical rendering – This type of rendering is used to create 3D models of anatomical structures and medical devices for medical research, training, and education.
  4. Animation rendering – This involves using 3d renderings to then create a full animated video, which can be used in real estate, video games and the film industry amongst other areas.
  5. Virtual reality (VR) rendering – This is a relatively new type of rendering that allows showing an area in 360 and can be used with VR headsets to allow for an immersive experience. This is used primarily for video games and is becoming increasingly popular in real estate.
  6. Augmented reality (AR) rendering – This is a new type of rendering that is used to create 3D models that can be overlaid onto the real world, allowing users to interact with virtual objects in a real-world setting.

These are just a few examples of 3d rendering, and they can be used in many different areas and for many different purposes.

How is a 3D Rendered Image Generated?

Generating a 3D rendered image involves a process comprised of several steps. Firstly, a 3D model of the object or scene is created using specialized software, after which the scene is set up with lighting, textures, and materials. After this, the scene is ‘rendered’ with the software, which results in the creation of an image. A final step is post-processing, where effects such as depth of field, motion blur, or color correction may be added in order to increase the visual impact/aesthetic of the image or to achieve a certain mood. Although the process of generating a 3D rendered image can be complex, time-consuming and takes time to master, it allows for highly realistic and accurate representations of objects and scenes.

Understanding the Importance of Resolution in 3D Rendering

Rendering resolution is a critical factor in the world of 3D rendering, referring to the level of detail and clarity in the final rendered image or animation. It determines the number of pixels or points that make up the image, with higher resolutions yielding more intricate and realistic visuals. A higher rendering resolution allows for sharper textures, smoother edges, and more precise lighting and shadows. However, it also requires more computational power and longer rendering times. Choosing the appropriate rendering resolution is a crucial decision that impacts the quality and performance of the final output, making it a key consideration for 3D artists and designers seeking to achieve visually stunning renders.

Uses of 3D Rendering by Industry

Basics of 3d rendering
If you’re interested in delving deeper into the world of architectural visualization and considering a career in this field, there are numerous online resources available to assist you in your journey.


In the entertainment industry, 3d rendering is primarily used for visual effects in films, tv and video games, allowing for the creation of a highly realistic 3d environment that would be difficult to achieve in real life, as well as creating characters and objects. Many classic films and tv shows have used these techniques, such as Toy Story, Avatar and Game of Thrones.

Architecture and Design

3D rendering is a valuable tool in architecture, commonly utilized to aid in visualizing designs and presenting them to clients and stakeholder. 3d architecture renderings have several benefits for architects, to name a few – identify and correct potential design issues before construction, improve communication with your clients and create effective presentations.

Real Estate & Construction

Just like for architecture, 3d rendering has become an indispensable tool in the real estate industry, particularly for pre-selling and marketing properties. With the ability to provide buyers with a realistic visualization of a property’s final appearance, 3D rendering simplifies the process of selling a property before it’s completed. Moreover, developers can employ renderings to obtain planning permission for new constructions, making the process much easier.

Interior Design

Much like architects, interior designers also rely on 3D interior renderings to visualize and conceptualize a space before construction begins. This powerful tool enables them to communicate their design concepts to clients in a more impactful manner compared to conventional methods such as hand sketches and moodboards. Additionally, 3D Interior Renderings assist in identifying any design errors or improvement areas early in the process, allowing for more efficient and effective design iterations during the pre-construction phase.

Advertising and Marketing

Renderings are frequently the centerpiece of any real estate marketing campaign, thanks to their striking visual impact, meaning that they’re crucial for real estate marketers. Whether they’re featured in brochures, websites, or large-scale prints, renderings are widely employed by marketers to showcase the unique features of a property and help with their sales/advertising campaigns.

Video Games

In video games, 3D rendering is a critical technology used to produce captivating and realistic environments, characters, and objects. It allows game developers to generate highly intricate and lifelike graphics that enhance the player’s overall gaming experience and is an essential component of video game creation.

3D Rendering Software Overview

Rendering 101
There is a wide range of 3d rendering software  available for basic rendering & 3D rendering, each with their own strengths and weaknesses depending on the specific needs of the user.

There is a wide range of 3d rendering software  available for basic rendering & 3D rendering, each with their own strengths and weaknesses depending on the specific needs of the user. In this section, we will provide a concise overview of the most popular software options in the industry.

  • 3Ds Max – Autodesk’s 3ds Max software is a popular and advanced tool among renderings professionals and Its uses range from creating images for architecture and interior design to movies and games. While it has a steep learning curve, the software’s numerous resources, plugins, and add-ons make it a common choice among professionals.
  • Lumion – Another Popular choice amongst architects, and Lumion has quickly become one of 3D Studio Max’s primary competitors, boasting an intuitive interface, fast rendering speeds, its own native renderer, and a massive content library and a range of tools that allow users to showcase their work creatively.
  • Sketchup – Mainly used by architects, Sketchup is a popular software due to its ability to deliver satisfactory results quickly, especially for smaller projects. Despite its limitations in terms of workflow and image quality, SketchUp is commonly used due to its competitive pricing, ease of use and learning, and access to a great free library of 3D models, along with its large community.

These are just 3 of the most popular options but If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the different types of software available, here’s a couple of useful links below:

Factors Affecting 3D Rendering Times: Understanding How Long It Takes to Render

The duration of a 3D render can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the scene, the level of detail desired, and the hardware and software used for rendering. One common question often asked is, “How long does it take to 3D render a home?” The answer can range from a few minutes to several hours or even days. Simple scenes with basic lighting and minimal textures may render relatively quickly, while more intricate scenes with complex lighting, high-resolution textures, and realistic materials may require significantly more time. Additionally, the hardware specifications of the rendering workstation, such as the processor speed, GPU performance, and amount of RAM, can greatly affect rendering times. Efficient rendering techniques, such as using render farms or distributed rendering, can also significantly reduce rendering times. Overall, the time taken for 3D rendering depends on numerous factors, and it’s essential to plan accordingly to meet project deadlines and achieve the desired level of quality.

Skills Required to Become a Professional 3d Renderer

For those of you curious about learning more about pursuing a career in architectural renderings, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of online resources that can help you do so. Becoming a high quality 3D Artist is something that takes times and dedication, and there is a certain skill set required, for which you can find a brief list below:

  • Strong foundation in 3D modeling software such as 3ds Max, Maya or Blender
  • Knowledge of rendering plugins such as V-Ray and Corona
  • Good Understanding of lighting and shading techniques
  • Ability to create and apply textures and materials
  • Understanding of composition, color theory, and design principles
  • Proficiency in post-processing software such as Photoshop or After Effects
  • Ability to work with technical specifications and adhere to project deadlines
  • Continuous learning and adaptability to new technologies and techniques.

If you have interest in learning more about how to pursue a career in architectural visualization, here are a few useful resources to help you initiate your training:

The Future of 3D Rendering

future of 3d rendering
Over the past few decades, there have been several technological advancements that have impacted architectural visualization

Over the past few decades, there have been several technological advancements that have impacted architectural visualization, and this trend is set to continue. One major development will be the integration of AI into 3D rendering. Tools like Midjourney are able to create visual interpretations of conceptual designs based on a brief, making them useful for brainstorming and ideation. As these tools develop further, 3D Artists’ workflow will be become more efficient and streamlined, but the process will remain similar to what it is today, with human creativity and skill continuing to be an integral part of the process, ensuring that the final product meets the high standards expected by clients and stakeholders.

Another trend we’ll likely continue to see is the further usage of Virtual Reality and Augmented reality within the context of architectural visualization. Virtual reality has already become popular in the form of vr real estate tours, and tools such as real time virtual reality tours will grow in popularity as they become easier, quicker and cheaper to produce.

Augmented reality (AR), which is still in the early stages of development, enables the superimposition of computer-generated digital content, like 3D models or images, onto a physical environment, allowing users to view and engage with the digital elements. In the field of architecture and real estate, AR is poised to assist in the creation of virtual tours of buildings, as well as facilitate the real-time modification of various elements within a structure.


To sum up, 3D rendering refers to the creation of images or animations using specialized software that produces high-quality results based on the skills of the 3D artist and software capabilities. Its applications are varied and include architectural rendering, product rendering, animation, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Despite being a complex and time-consuming process, 3D rendering produces highly accurate and realistic representations of objects and scenes, making it an indispensable tool in architecture, real estate, and interior design, and will continue to play an important role in several different industries in the coming years. Additionally, understanding 3D rendering basics is crucial for artists and designers to create visually appealing and realistic virtual environments.

Be sure to also read about architectural 3d modelling by following the link.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Steps of 3D Modeling?

3D modeling is an essential precursor to creating renderings, and firstly involves creating a basic shape using polygons, curves and other modeling techniques, after which the model is refined and layers of detail are added. Once this is done the rendering process can begin, where textures, colors and materials are added to the model, followed by the creation of a 2d image.

For more information on 3d modeling, check out our post on architectural 3d modeling

What is the difference between CAD 3D and rendering?

CAD (Computer Aided Design, is the process of creating accurate 3d models with the main focus of achieving a high level of technical accuracy and precision when it comes to measurements and dimensions. These models are then used for architectural and engineering purposes.

The final product of CAD is technical drawings (not renderings) but these can then be used to create 3d renderings as they help massively when building out a 3d model. Whereas CAD is typically used to help construct a project, 3d rendering is used more on the sales and marketing side.

For more info on CAD , check out our guide on CAD interior design 

How Hard is 3D Rendering?

3D rendering can be a challenging and complex process, but it ultimately depends on the specific project, the level of detail required and your clients needs. Creating a photorealistic image which needs to follow strict architectural specifications takes much more skill than creating a lower quality image that doesn’t need to follow a specific design, and having to do this under a tight deadline makes the process noticeably more difficult. Also, some types of software are easier to master than others, so this is an important factor to consider.

Does 3d Rendering need CPU or GPU?

CPU and GPU are both important for 3D rendering, but the specific hardware requirements will depend on the software being used and the complexity of the rendering task. CPUs are better suited for tasks that require sequential processing such as scene preparation, lighting calculations, and geometry processing while GPUs are better suited for tasks that require parallel processing, such as rendering large amounts of image data.

Contact NoTriangle Studio, a leading 3D company specialized in cutting-edge 3D architectural visualization, today if you’re ready to start your 3D rendering project.

Eddie author

Author – Eddie, an experienced Sales & Marketing professional, joined NoTriangle in 2018 and has been an invaluable asset to the company’s growth. With his expertise in real estate marketing and as a communication specialist in the 3D Industry, Eddie has a keen interest in sharing his knowledge through writing, offering valuable insights and practical advice to readers.

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