5 Expert Tips for a Beautiful Architectural Rendering

Make no mistake about it, creating the perfect architectural rendering can be time consuming and frustrating. The amount of detail, materials, colors, and textures that go into creating a beautiful rendering can quickly become overwhelming. With that said, a few simple tips can help take your architectural rendering to the next level so you can effectively communicate your designs and architectural talents to your clients. When done right, renderings will set you apart from your competition and demonstrate your capabilities. The FluidRay team has curated our 5 top expert tips to help you create beautiful architectural renderings.

1. Create Believable Surroundings

To create a realistic architectural rendering, include believable surroundings to help set the feeling of the image. Selecting an appropriate background will draw the viewer into the rendering and help them experience the details of the final architectural design. Consider details like sky, ground, natural bodies of water, trees, and other nearby structures and aim for simple, yet accurate, details. Use natural colors and minimize complicated scenes for an architectural rendering that will impress viewers and highlight your architectural design abilities. 

Daylight Exterior Architectural Rendering with FluidRay
Structure with natural surroundings

2.  Illuminate, Illuminate, Illuminate

One of the most important aspects of an architectural rendering is the lighting. You’ll want to pay attention to both environmental lighting and artificial lighting. Creating these lighting effects in FluidRay is fast, easy, and produces beautiful results that will impress your clients! Get this right and your rendering is realistic and beautiful. Done incorrectly though, your rendering is awkward. Luckily, with a little attention, illuminating your architectural rendering properly is easy. In fact, this short architectural rendering tutorial explains how to set lighting in your FluidRay rendering. Note, that while this tutorial starts with a Rhino 3d model, FluidRay is compatible with most 3d modeling software applications.

Architectural Rendering in Rhino and FluidRay

 

3. Take Advantage of Caustics

Caustics are the flickers of light that come off water and are a significant contributor to lighting in the real world. In rendering, these flickers are often quite tricky to perfect. Designers will often avoid the need for caustics by leaving water out of their renderings. Including caustics though makes a rendering that much more believable. FluidRay handles caustics effectively and efficiently, allowing you to take advantage of this important lighting detail. Go ahead and include fountains or ponds in your architectural rendering!

FluidRay exterior render with pool
Outdoor pool with caustics

4. Refine Textures and Materials

An architectural rendering incorporates many colors, textures, and materials. Certain materials and textures will look different depending on the situation and especially the time of the day. For example, if your rendering is intended to look like a photograph shot during the morning golden hour, you’ll want the rendering to look bright and warm and not “orangey”. Refine textures and materials to look realistic to the environment and include the appropriate level of dullness or shine. This tutorial describes how to apply textures and materials to your rendering. Because FluidRay renders in real-time, you can quickly adjust textures and materials in the viewport until the rendering looks just right.

 

5. Determine Your Focal Point/Camera Position

Setting the focal point of a rendering to be viewed from a specific angle or point of view allows you to create a certain tone and more natural look. Perhaps you want your image to be viewed from above or from an angle. Or, perhaps you want to focus on a small portion of the building to highlight a specific feature. Consider what you are trying to emphasize in your rendering and choose a focal point accordingly. 

Rendered in FluidRay by Mark Dimarzio
Rendered in FluidRay by Mark Dimarzio

FluidRay helps architects easily create beautiful architectural renderings. If you want to experience the power of how FluidRay can help you create expert  architectural renderings, download our software for a free trial. Our pricing is inexpensive and we offer an extensive library of tutorials so anyone can experience the good side of rendering!

Our 10 Favorite 2020 Software Renderings (so far)

Make no mistake about it – rendering software will bring your 3d model to life. Architects, interior designers, jewelry designers and other product designers rely on beautiful renderings to communicate designs to their clients. Clients love viewing renderings because they get a reliable preview of the final product. 

2020 is proving to be a year with fewer events, fewer get-togethers, and fewer travels. But it is NOT a year with fewer renderings. FluidRay is proud to share our 10 favorite renderings of 2020 (so far). 

1. Small House

architectural rendering

Why we love this rendering: This realistic architectural rendering highlights the flexibility of FluidRay. While this house is located in a garden setting, the designer can quickly change the materials to meet the needs of a customer interested in a different environment. Credit: https://smallhousecatalog.com/

2. Candles Behind Glass

Candles rendering with FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: This image shows off the lighting powers of FluidRay. Notice the light from the candle through the glass while also the window reflection. This rendering showcases the power of FluidRay. 

3. Fast Car

Porsche rendering with FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: The metallic materials and curves of the car make this rendering look like a real image. Can’t you imagine yourself on a windy road right now? 

4. Villa with Pool

FluidRay exterior rendering

Why we love this rendering: Check out the shadows and caustics in this rendering. The pool looks so inviting. A+

5. Sunset

Rendered in FluidRay by Marco Piva

Why we love this rendering: The glimmer from the sunset lights up this hillside house just right. Photo credit: Marco Piva

6. Kitchen Interior Design

Living Room Render with FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: This beautiful space involves interior lighting (kitchen lights and lamps) as well as sunlight streaming in through the glass windows. Interior designers take notice! 

7. Textured Wall

Interior rendering with FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: This interior rendering does a nice job with the materials – particularly the textures on the wall. We also love the realistic view of the horizon.

8. Stone Walls

Exterior rendering with FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: The stone walls and tile roofing provide a level of detail that any designer can appreciate.

9. Engagement Ring

Engagement ring rendering width FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: The materials on this engagement ring perfectly reflect the light, giving it a very realistic look. 

10. Contemporary Shelf

Bottle holder rendering with FluidRay

Why we love this rendering: This shelf highlights how helpful a rendering is for a designer to depict the different materials available. Imagine this shelf available in wood, metal or plastic. 

As you can see, these 10 renderings really bring designs to life. Do you have a favorite rendering you’ve created with FluidRay? Our team would love to see it and share it with our followers. Please submit your renderings here. Are you interested in trying FluidRay for free? FluidRay is easy to learn and we offer a free trial to get you started. 

try for free

FluidRay’s extensive features, easy-to-use interface, quick rendering capabilities, affordability, stunning designs, and modeling software compatibility make it the perfect rendering software for designers. Our pricing is inexpensive so anyone can experience the good side of rendering!

Customer Spotlight: How THE small HOUSE CATALOG Uses FluidRay to Bring Designs to Life

Have you ever dreamed of owning a small house, living simply, and only with your essentials? Shawn Dehner brings this dream to reality. He runs THE small HOUSE CATALOG, an architectural design company that creates both custom and stock plans for clients located all over the United States, Canada, and beyond. 

“This is truly a great product that I’m excited to be using. It’s one of a kind!”

SHAWN DEHNER Owner, THE small HOUSE CATALOG

Architectural design is a very visual industry. Shawn had long been wanting to take his designs to the next level in terms of presentation for both custom design clients and stock plan customers. The simple schematic presentations were lacking the storyline he wanted to share. Additionally, feedback from his tens of thousands of blog subscribers was for additional interior and exterior images of the designs. This was one of the top requests from Shawn’s subscribers in 2019. It is clear that his followers wanted to be able to better visualize themselves living in a small house. Shawn determined it was time to learn rendering so he could share realistic images of his small house designs. 

Sommerhus

Every week Shawn is hired by a variety of client types. Homeowners make up most of his custom business but he also supplies builders and prefab construction companies. The stock plans found on THE small HOUSE CATALOG website sell daily to a mix of customers including individuals, builders and schools. With this diverse customer base, Shawn needed to find a rendering tool that could create many renderings that appeal to a lot of people with a lot of uses. The tool also needed to be capable of creating renderings quickly and easily.

“I have to tell you, FluidRay really just worked for me right out of the box. I’d struggled with some other top notch competitors and I could not get them to function well. I found FluidRay one night surfing for rendering reviews and came across videos created by the company. I thought the renderings looked gorgeous and every bit on par with other rendering engines I was trying – and better generally. Also, the UI seemed to make sense – and it does. I was sincerely thrilled and relieved to find FluidRay.”

Kukui

Shawn quickly discovered how easy it was to download and learn FluidRay using the intuitive interface and the tutorials available on FluidRay’s website. With Shawn’s renderings on his website, smallhousecatalog.com, visitors can now click through different home design images and tour each house. The renderings allow visitors to visually take in cathedral ceilings, look out large windows, check out flooring materials, examine storage compartments, and more. On top of the easy-to-follow tutorials, Shawn finds the customer support team responsive and helpful for anything he can’t answer on his own. 

“Whenever I have an issue it’s replied to and addressed quickly. I find this incredible in today’s world.”

Moschata

While FluidRay is a subscription based service, Shawn is delighted with how affordable it is, even for a small business. And because Shawn is the only designer at THE small HOUSE CATALOG, he has very little extra time to create renderings. Since FluidRay is so easy to learn and use, Shawn is able to create renderings, complete his monthly plan releases, and take care of his clients.

THE small HOUSE CATALOG has fully incorporated FluidRay into its business process and is now creating jaw-dropping renderings using FluidRay. Shawn prefers an “artsy” style to his client presentations and he is able to achieve exactly this with FluidRay. He is able to create renderings that add clarity to projects and help set a tone and tell a story about each small house design. Considering that THE small HOUSE CATALOG stock design sales are up 20-25% each month so far in 2020, FluidRay has become an essential part of THE small HOUSE CATALOG!

Are you ready to try rendering for your architectural designs? Our pricing is inexpensive and we offer a free trial so you can see how fast and easy it is to turn your 3D models into realistic images that will inspire your clients. To learn how to create beautiful renderings in FluidRay, we provide a library of training tutorials. Experience the good side of rendering today!

6 Reasons to Use a Rendering Tool in Your Next Architecture Project

What are 3D renderings and can they benefit your architectural projects? Architectural renderings are realistic computer generated images that are often created for presenting design ideas.  Starting with a 3D model created in a design tool like SketchUp or Rhino 3D, designers then transform this model into beautiful rendered images and videos that bring their design ideas to life. Renderings realistically incorporate textures, lighting, materials, backgrounds and colors to 3D models that enable clients to accurately imagine the final project. 

By eliminating issues and iterating on designs early in the design process, renderings ultimately save designers time and money. Clients can “tour” a building and explore its details even before the construction crew breaks ground.

Here are 6 reasons to use a rendering tool in your next architecture design. 

1. Create more detailed designs

Architectural clients appreciate and will focus on details. While a 3D model is a great starting point, it lacks details. A rendered model contains the details a client requires. These realistic renderings let clients see what the finished project will look like in the exact environment in which it will be built. Clients are able to visualize the entire project, sampling different items such as materials, fixtures, paint colors, and lighting quickly and easily. Seeing the final project makes it easy for a client to visualize their future building and ultimately select you as their architect for the project.  

 

Exterior render with pool

2. Save money by discovering issues early in the process

Renderings bring a design to life. Designers and clients can see what the final building will look like before construction begins. By examining the details of a building before construction begins, issues become apparent early. Eliminating issues early in the design process keeps the project moving forward and avoids costly delays. 

3. Impress clients with a leading-edge appearance

Give yourself an edge by using 3D renderings to demonstrate to your clients you are up to speed on the latest technologies. Your design presentations will highlight your architectural abilities in an easy to view format. Including renderings in your design presentations will enable clients to better appreciate your architectural abilities. Architecture is highly competitive and design presentations must be attention grabbing. Renderings do exactly that. Because of the real-time nature of FluidRay, you can adjust designs on the fly; creating more excitement and winning over even the most demanding of clients. 

4. Change options in real time & offer multiple options 

Clients are notorious for not knowing exactly what they want or they change their minds several times during the design process. This is natural and should be expected and incorporated into timelines. Using a rendering tool, like FluidRay, allows for multiple design options to be shared and details to be modified in real-time to better facilitate the process. When clients can see multiple options, decisions are made quickly and efficiently shaving time off a project.

5. Improve marketing of your firm 

Have you visited a website and known immediately that it represents an excellent firm? Potential clients visit architectural websites to view previous projects and to understand capabilities and specialties. Using renderings in your case studies, on your website, in your proposals, and in your marketing materials gives a professional, high-quality presentation to the clients considering you. These images can and should be shared across all marketing channels to showcase your capabilities to a large number of clients. A strong online presence is a low cost way to attract new clients and rendering will help get you there. 

6. Communicate ideas easily

Effective communication of design ideas and iterations is certainly one of the most important aspects of the relationship between architect and client. FluidRay plays an important role in this communication. FluidRay renderings are fast and easy to create. Simply import a 3d model into FluidRay, begin applying materials and environments, and adjust the settings until your rendering is complete. This process takes just a few minutes and the results can be shared easily either in person, over a screen share or electronically shared images. Because of FluidRay’s real-time nature, modifications are made in seconds enabling communication between you and client to move forward efficiently.

 


Are you ready to try rendering for your architectural designs? Our pricing is inexpensive and we offer a free trial so you can see how fast and easy it is to turn your 3D models into realistic images that will inspire your clients. To learn how to create beautiful renderings in FluidRay, we provide a library of training tutorialsExperience the good side of rendering today!

Watch Site Modeling In SketchUp Tutorial Video

A lot of professional 3D modeling work relates to architectural projects. For large scale developments, there is usually a site development or campus development element in addition to the buildings and other structures. Good site modeling is critical to creating an acceptable model for client projects because the environment needs to complement the structures.

This video comes directly from SketchUp & walks you through the steps to create a site model. Some highlights are how to use a mix of Google Earth & Google Maps views to understand the site; modeling new buildings from scratch; and creating utility scenes for studying.

You expect an official SketchUp tutorial to be pretty sweet and this one doesn’t disappoint. If you’re not into architectural rendering, then this may not be that fun to you, but I think most people doing models will appreciate the techniques and how he shows the capabilities of SketchUp.

Site Modeling in SketchUp

If you haven’t already, then make sure you subscribe to the SketchUp YouTube channel.

Watch How to Create Thai Temple Model in SketchUp Pro 2015

Building architectural models from the ground up takes imagination, an eye for detail, and a solid understanding of your tools. In this video, we see a Thai Temple developed in SketchUp 2015 with the addition all the shapes, dimensions, spacing, materials and textures shown.

The video, from JMsketch04’s YouTube channel. It’s longer than most of the videos we share (38:03), but it’s worth the time.

I especially like the order of the modeling with a good use of library assets and a consistent workflow. If you’ve ever tried building a complex models or ones with lots of assets, then you know that you need an efficient process to make sure everything comes together and avoid having to redo work later.

If you’re new to SketchUp modeling or want to learn how to build models more efficiently, then checkout this video.

Sketchup create 3d Model thai temple

Where to Find .SKP Files

Regular SketchUp users probably already have a big archive of .skp files to draw on for projects, but sometimes you need something new and it helps if you can grab one rather than building from scratch. I did some wandering around the web and found some sources for .skp files. Some are free and some cost a bit, but the nice thing is that these sites are reliable — you can bookmark them and come back whenever you’re searching.

3DWarehouse – https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/
No surprise you’re going to find SKP files at 3DWarehouse, but it’s worth mentioning that they have a fun mix of models including architecture, people and products.

SketchUp Texture – http://www.sketchuptexture.com/p/3d-sketchup-model.html
SketchUp Texture has several collections of room and furniture models in the SKP format. I liked a lot of the stuff in the Houses and Villas collection. It also never hurts to have furniture models when you’re figuring out interiors.

TF3DM –
These guys have a little bit of everything. The quality can vary, but it’s worth checking out. I’d definitely check here for military vehicles.

SKPWizard – http://skpwizard.com/freeblocks.php
SKPWizard carries a good selection of office furniture models. They also have some vehicles, construction supplies, and electronics. I’ve visit here before starting on an office interior project.

TurboSquid – http://www.turbosquid.com/Search/3D-Models/free/skp
I’d say their free .skp offerings are mostly related to furniture or home decor, but TurboSquid also has some human and animal models, as well as, some building models. Check them out for starter models to practice on.

GrabCad – https://grabcad.com/library/software/sketchup
I’ve found some gorgeous building models here along with a variety of furniture, mechanical, and other objects. If you’re doing product or industrial design, then make sure you check here for things like gears and motors too.

David Hier – http://www.davidhier.co.uk/freemodels.html
Let’s take a moment to thank David for sharing some of his models for high-end designer furniture. He shares a lot of his stuff on TurboSquid, but make sure to check his site for goodies. His models might be good for a hotel room or lobby project where if you’re going for a contemporary look and feel.

Creative Crash – http://www.creativecrash.com/sketchup/
Creative Crash’s marketplace has a lot of goodies. The quality and prices will vary a lot and some models are a bit pricey, but you’ll find plenty of well done vehicle, electronics, exterior and environmental models to work with.

Nomeradona SketchUp, VRay Resources – http://sketchupvrayresources.blogspot.com/p/free-sketchup-scenes-and-models.html
There is not a lot here, but the few models are well done. I especially like the sofa and padded material models. Hopefully, they’ll keep adding to the site, but I’d pick up the sofa models now to have handy.

SketchUp4Architects – http://www.sketchup4architect.com/sketchup-components.htm
There is a good selection of models here with an emphasis on architectural components (rooms, doors, windows, floors, stairways, etc.). You’ll also find some people, furniture, and vehicles mixed in. This is a good resource for assets to construct rooms or other basic architectural modeling tasks.

SweetHome3D – http://www.sweethome3d.com/importModels.jsp
SweetHome3D offers several collections of models, some with hundreds of files included. In some cases, you’ll be directed away from the site, but I didn’t find anything shady — just more models. Pay attention to the licensing rules.

Modlar – http://www.modlar.com/information/3d-models/
Modlar is the place to get manufacture approved models of appliances, tools, industrial equipment and more. It’s heavy into sinks, faucets and other kitchen and bathroom models, but you also have industrial, furniture and flooring. A good site for anyone doing kitchens and bathrooms, or looking for some well done pieces to refine home models.

TruStile – http://www.trustile.com/design-planning/3d-cad-symbols/sketchup
This is vendor site so you won’t find a variety. That said, TruStile gives you models for about 40 different styles of residential doors. I suggest picking them all up and keeping them as resource for any residential housing project.

Popular Woodworking – http://www.popularwoodworking.com/sketchup-for-woodworking-models
Every model here is for something wooden. Fortunately, you can use wood almost anywhere. A decent selection of models though you’ll see a lot of tables and cabinets. Worth browsing for touches to add to a rustic cabin or home. You might also use the benches for parks or other outdoor settings.

Kolbe – http://www.kolbe-kolbe.com/architectLibrary/index.cfm?pcID=7&pID=169
Another vendor site. This one is focused on Kolbe windows. The models are well made and done to work well with any architectural models. Like with TruStile, I’d grab as many as you can now so you have the for later.

That’s it for now. I’ll keep looking and adding as I discover new sites. Leave a comment if you want to share some of your own models or let us know about some good sites.

Feature image: Asus P6T6 3d model by 3DRegenerator

3D Rendering Animation of San Francisco Mission Bay Arena

I live in San Francisco so I’m probably more psyched about this than most folks. Found the video on the Golden State Warriors YouTube channel. It’s not the most stylish, but it gives us a look at the design of the proposed arena for the Mission Bay area of San Francisco.

The video provides a tour of the arena starting with the exterior, connected parks, and streets where we can see theaters, nearby office buildings, and a great looking concourse connecting the different outdoor spaces. The interior tour ends in the arena where it looks like a Warriors game is about to start.

I won’t say this is the coolest rendering I’ve seen, but it gets the key points across: green space, mixed commercial in the area, and an arena with plenty of seating.

My only real complaints are the crappy music and the people that look like they were taken from a 90’s SIMs game.

Worth watching if you live in the Bay Area and have been following the Mission Bay developments. Also, worth a watch if you’re looking for inspiration for your own architectural rendering video.

San Francisco Venue 3D Rendering Animation

Awesome Architectural Rendering Animation by Studio Aiko

Found this on the CGBros YoutubeChannel. It’s an animation of a Hilton Project in Poland. I don’t know if it’s going to get built, but I’d stay there if it looks anything like this.

Studio Aiko is an Israeli outfit that works across TV, movies and games. This project shows their skills.

CGI 3D Animated Short: HD "Architectural Rendering Project"- by StudioAiko

Notice the light reflecting off the of buildings and the streets. You also have to appreciate the realistic textures of the wet ground and metals like the streetlights. The interior shots of the hardwood, glass in frames, windows, and furniture all speak to an eye for detail.

Where to Find .3dm files

You can build your own .3dm files but it takes time and you may not get the best results. If you’re like us, then you’ve probably got a few spots you check for models, and you’ve also probably bought some sets over the years. But you always end up needing something you don’t have, and having to look around.

I did some snooping through my lists of sites to find ones that offered a good mix of .3dm models. Not all the sites are free or have large selections, but they are all dependable. Take the time to browse through a few of them when working on a project and you should be able to find what you need.

TF3DMhttp://tf3dm.com/3d-models/all/1/3dm
This site has a good selection of models, but they range in quality from high-end to beginner. You can find anything from full buildings to Black Hawk helicopters to a T-Rex. Prices vary a lot, and you need to be careful to check which license is available for each model.

CGTraderhttp://www.cgtrader.com/free-3d-models
A library of free 3dm models, heavy on automotive but you can find some animal, environment and product models if you look around for a bit.

GrabCadhttps://grabcad.com/library/software/rhino?per_page=20&query=3dm
Not a very large selection, but there are some nice ones here & the site has good search functionality.

AD-3D http://ad-3d.com/free-rhino-3d-nurbs-models/
This is a free collection — available for both personal and commercial use (but not reselling) — from Aleksandar Dimitrov. Mostly furniture models, but some exteriors like fields thrown in.

FlexiCadhttps://www.flexicad.com/download.php?lang=de&misc=1300
Honestly, it’s only 4 models here but its worth going to pick up the Audi TT model.

Aversishttp://www.aversis.be/3dmodels/
Not many here, but they are all decent quality. Click the links labeled “Rhino” to get the .3dm files.

Turbosquidhttp://www.turbosquid.com/
You’ve probably come across this site before. Big selection of models. You can search subject and then filter to get models compatible with Rhino. Pretty much everything here is high-quality, but you’re going to pay for it: prices range from US $5 – $500. Fortunately, you can filter by price. If you need a model for work, then this is a good place to look, but not sure its the right place for a student.

Craftsmansspacehttp://www.craftsmanspace.com/free-3d-models
If you’re looking for free geometries and pattern 3dm files, then I’d check here. Nothing to fancy is available, but you can use these models for things like fencing, icons, wall art without too many problems.

Yobi3D – https://www.yobi3d.com/
It finds 3D models on the Internet with simple keyword search. The models can be previewed in 3D right on your browser.

This list is a work in progress. If you’d like to have your model site, set or file added, then leave a comment.