- An Artist’s Tools: The Best 3D Rendering Software for Architects
- For the Newbies: Choosing the Perfect 3D Renderer for Starters
- A Technical Architect: Building your 3D Rendering PC
- A Convincing Picture: Creating Lighting and Realism in your 3D Render
- A Master of One: Learning Property Development and Getting Better
An artist’s tools are only as good as their master, or so the saying goes. In the world of architecture, it’s important for an architect to have renderers that will not only present clear blueprints. What they need is a renderer that also gives a good picture of their vision and one that’s easy to learn.
Submitted for the scrutiny of discerning architects are these 3D renderers, both free and paid.
It was a creation by Mental Images and now, NVidia has its sights on this renderer. It can come in standalone form and is supported on a myriad of platforms (Linux included.) The programs it supports are plenty as well—Maya, 3DS Max, AutoCAD—these are just to name a few. Owing to the name, the programs expertise lies in its ability to deliver high quality renders.
It’s slow. It’s cumbersome. It’s worth the wait, though. Those who use Maxwell and has the patience to wait for the rendering will attest to its ‘unbiased rendering’ engine, which is based on real-life models. With realism, however, also comes real-time waiting. The results are still worth it, many will argue. This is probably one of the reasons why it’s used in a wide range of applications not limited to architecture.
The very popular Chaos Group program boasts of a wide selection of textures as well as realism that doesn’t wait for no one. It’s one of the top renderers out there. If you want to learn, you’ve got plenty of help from the Internet. Light and shadow is one of its many achievements, and it’s also compatible as a plug-in with a wide collection of programs like Cinema 4D and Sketch-up.
There’s no denying that Corona Renderer is a pretty popular renderer to use these days. While V-Ray is holding up its own, Corona’s steady development is a good sign that this renderer is catching up. Corona is pretty popular among the crowd who like their design speed fast and their images up to par with quality. It is also one of the renderers to actually have good Distributive rendering.
This renderer harkens back to a time early on when Photoshop was also only beginning to catch on. It’s a workhorse and, while other architects may prefer realism to cartoonish images, it’s easy to use and has an on-board renderer. That’s hard to beat. Perhaps its staying power is boosted by the fact that Revit and AutoCAD—both Autodesk products—are easy to use with it.
These tools may take years of practice and trial and errors to master. However, with learning comes enlightenment; with the stumbling block of mastering these programs out of the way, it may be easier to come up with ideas that are unique and can be rendered through these renderers.
A good architect always designs his renders of blueprints and structures as close to realism as possible. That’s why it’s important to choose a 3D renderer that would do all those things and more. It would all depend on your skill and it’s important to be as comfortable as possible with the software.
Your Weapon of Choice
If you already know what you’ll be doing, you’re going to have quite an easy time. If you’re not sure about it, though, you have to consider these:
Easy to use
It’s important to be confident enough to use the software you’ll be rendering in. You have to be well-versed to coax the program to create what you envision, so study as much as possible. You’re going to choose according to your skill and knowledge; so choose one by trying programs out and try out as many as your time or skill would allow.
Passionate about it
The software you’ll need would allow you to design based on your skill, but it’s also important to be passionate about the designs you’ll be creating. Complexity and a steep learning curve can seep a huge part of that. You have to figure out which software would let you be yourself and would be easy to learn. This is an important part of the selection process.
At best, you’re only going to be skilled or well-versed in one or two software you’ll be choosing from. You could choose these outright but if better software is available, but you’re not familiar with it, consider spending time to master it. It might just be the ticket to realizing your vision and your designs on a tangible level.
Adaptable to needs
A renderer is only as good as the one who renders in it; all the top programs in the world wouldn’t do anything if it doesn’t cater to your needs. A good program or renderer would allow you to create your outline in it and would adjust to whatever you need. It’s also better if you can use it for a wide variety of applications.
If you need it for work, there’s no question you’re going for the professional, licensed software. The payment for its license isn’t a problem if you’re using it for work. However, if you only use it to learn, consider getting free software. While they do have limited options for work, there’s still free software that’s good or even better than the paid ones.
Man makes the Tools
Ultimately, your choice of software would only be as good as you are. Make it a habit to choose according to what you’re really good in. It would then be easier to divert a better part of your time toward perfecting your craft.
In each of us, there’s a do-it-yourself junkie hiding. When we’re dealing with analog computers this junkie even makes itself more felt. For architects who are into self-built rigs, there’s nothing like the feeling of seeing a computer you made yourself perform just as you’d exactly envisioned.
Consider building your own computer. Aside from it being cheap, there are also added benefits. You need to have the following configurations:
An upgraded CPU. It goes without saying that when you’re building a PC from scratch, absolutely everything has to be updated. The CPU should be powerful, but just about—in this age, the power has shifted from here to the Graphical Processing Unit, or GPU. However, you should still consider CPUs in the range of the i9 or the Ryzen.
A powerful GPU. This is where the rendering PC usually gets its main draw from. If you’re choosing between NVidia and AMD cards, the NVidia GPUs supports CUDA while AMD is choosing to back OpenCL. As most rendering toolsuse CUDA, it’s logical to go for NVidia cards. AMD’s time will come sooner or later but, for now, choose to go the other way.
A fast RAM card. RAM sticks aren’t really a big concern for renderers; however, if you want lightning fast reaction times, and you’ll do—especially if you use Maxwell as a renderer—RAM should be upwards in the neighborhood of 8GB and no lower than that. If you must, add more RAM sticks as long as there’s an available slot to fill.
Big Storage. As a standard, custom-made rigs these days always pack a standard 1TB drive on them. It’s not that important if you’re using your rig for 3D rendering, though, as these files are still slightly smaller than games or animation files that usually go space hungry. If you must, choose a 1TB drive with a cautionary extra 1TB drive on the standby.
A strong power supply. All of these won’t function properly if you don’t get a proper PSU. Remember to leave this one to the experts; if you’re building a PC, you can ask shops for advice on what’s the best PSU to supply equal power to areas of your rig. Usually, the powerful the pieces, the higher the wattage; that’s the only thing you should remember about PSUs.
As long as you’ve got the major pieces for your computer already settled, you’re fine. Remember to build your PC according to your need; powerful PCs are designated for important work, after all.
Everyone loves digital images that look so real; you’re reaching out to touch them. Aside from a beefy PC, you’re going to have to coax everything you could from your software and creativity combined.
If you need to create an image or is tasked with a blueprint, take heed of these tips:
It would be a good choice to design your project based on real life objects; it’s even better if you’re designing something already existing in the first place. With references, creating your samples would be easier, giving life and making things more believable for the people or clients you’re going to present it to.
Design to scale
If you’ve created model kits, you’re familiar with the term ‘to scale’. This means that everything you’re creating is based on an approximation of how big the real-world object is. It would make your samples easier to design as if it already exists.
Lighting the room
In the quest to make it believable, the spill of the light into the room is a little like icing on the cake. Lighting or angles makes your designs believable; it’s also a good way of presenting how it would look like when finished.
Attention to detail
When creating a 3D rendering of your project, even the smallest details should be filled in. It needs to be as close as it could to what it would look like when finished. This is important if you want your clients to approve your project.
Gleam is everything
The gleam on your rendering is an after-effect of creating it to scale or applying photo-real lighting on it. This occurs in the real world, so why not include it in your project? It would make your render believable.
Creating a 3D rendering of your project doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just as you pictured it in your imagination; you should create it just how you want it to look like when finished.
There are lots of careers that are successful enough to make a living out of. Some choose to go into the medical profession; others choose to design for a living. Others still would love to design buildings, but then some want to sell buildings.
If you choose this path, know that there are a lot of things you’re going to have to cover.
Get a business-related degree. Most people who go into businesses dealing with a lot of money have finished money-related courses. If you want to become a developer, you’d have to have studied finance or business in some capacity. You can enroll into some short courses but, eventually, you’re going to have to learn the intricacies of it.
Get real-life experience. Experience is the best teacher. The best way to get started is to get into a career related to property development. Selling real estate or becoming an agent is a great way to get started on that path.
Talk someone into becoming your mentor. Another way to learn how to be a successful developer is to talk with people who deal with property management on a daily basis. If you have friends who are in this field, don’t hesitate to ask them or seek advice.
Study the trade. If you can only have one of either a mentor or real-life experience, it’s still best to learn the trade through education. The Web has a wide collection of writing on the subject. Don’t be too lazy to read up.
Take care of legalities. As with any business, you should take care of creating a legal name for yourself as early as you can. Creating this ensures that your business is legitimate.
Being a property developer is no joke. If your business flops, it’s going to cost you BIG money. It’s best to learn as much as you can out of this career first before going deeper into it.