Modern 3D rendering is the lifeblood of modern architectural planning, marketing and selling. Even though 3D rendering is still expensive and time consuming, it has reached a point where the expense is manageable and the end result often has a good return on investment. Plus, the design can be completed by freelancers online, and the rendering processing can be done by data centers like those here. If you are looking to create your own digital renders, then here are a few programs you should choose.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

1 –

The Blender system is amazingly powerful. It allows you to do everything from 2D animation and video editing to 3D photo-realistic rendering and game creation. Sadly, it is so powerful because it allows you the freedom to customize everything. As a result, it is very complicated and takes a fair amount of time to learn and become an expert. Nevertheless, if you are going all-in with your designs and especially with your marketing, then Blender is the way to go. Plus, there are several cheats you can use to get good results easier.

For example, there are hundreds of websites that offer free designs and creations that you can import into your designs. You don’t need to build scenes or even add that many details because there are other people out there who have already done it. If you want a nice photo-realistic park bench outside your building, then there are plenty online that are highly detailed and that you can use for free.

2 – Maxwell

This is a more traditional 3D rendering program for architects because it is compatible with most 3D or CAD applications. When you use Maxwell, you should add your lighting effects last. The system has a great way of making the overall design look good because of how the lighting is applied. You will need to buy the program and its various add-ons, and they are not free like Blender, they come to several hundred dollars. The software is node-locked, which is another way of saying you can only use it with one computer. You are able to create high-quality rendered images with Maxwell, and it is far easier if you already have your CAD designs set out.

3 – Archicad

The Archicad system is BIM software (building information modeling), which isn’t the same as many of the other design solutions available to you. It has powerful tools that allow you to create or upload your 2D drawing and then lay them out into 3D renders. There are plenty of tools that suit people who are looking to work faster and not harder. It is better suited to people who need to create several renders per month. The quality of your output isn’t as high as the other two mentioned above, but the renders still look better than what the very best software could produce 20 years ago. Sadly, this software comes with a monthly fee that is pretty expensive, so it doesn’t suit small-time operators or hobbyists.

4 – Enscape

This software isn’t built with software like CAD in mind, but it does work well with programs like Revit, SketchUp, and Archicad. If you are working with groups or where several members are working remotely, then this is the sort of software you may prefer. It has plugins and plenty of tools for creating 3D renders of buildings. The plugins allow you to do things like walk through your project with VR, create realistic environments, and create your renders faster. It is also pretty budget-friendly, so is well suited to smaller architects and people who are undertaking projects as a hobby or learning experience.

5 – 3Ds Max

This software is usually the sort of thing you see as a required skill in ads for animators. However, it has started to creep into the architecture world. This is because there has been a lot of work put into making buildings and structures a lot easier to create and render. It is used for modeling and animation, a comes with all the most powerful plugins for things like V-Ray, supporting OverCAD, and much more. It allows users to create complex designs and then see them rendered on a popular system. If you are using freelancers, then there is a chance they have already used 3D Max and some point in their lives.