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!

FluidRay: Jewelry Design Rendering Software

Jewelry designers traditionally would create jewelry designs with pencil and paper to share design ideas. Next, the jewelry piece was carved out in wax or plastic to give customers an opportunity to interact with the prototype and decide if the piece was right. While many designers still create models this way, rendering software will take a jewelers design ideas to the next level. Now, it is much more convenient, fast, and cost effective to create realistic models using a rendering software, like FluidRay, to communicate design ideas. Are you a jewelry designer who is considering incorporating rendering software into your workflow? Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits rendering software offers to jewelry designers.

Benefits to Using FluidRay Rendering Software for Jewelry Design:

 

Design in Real Time

Quickly share multiple design options and adjust jewelry designs on the fly. Decisions are made quickly and efficiently to shave time off your projects.

Save Money

Design issues are discovered early, before materials are purchased, avoiding costly mistakes. 

Create Detailed Designs

Customers can better visualize the final piece and sample different materials, shapes, and colors.

Communicate Ideas

Communicate design ideas and modifications to your customers quickly and effectively to keep projects moving forward.

Impress Customers

Create attention grabbing design presentations that highlight your vision and abilities winning over even the most demanding of customers.

Learn Quickly

FluidRay’s intuitive interface and straightforward menus make rendering fast and easy to learn.

Designers can create beautiful renders in 4 simple steps:

1. Import 3D Model

Directly in the FluidRay dashboard, you can import your 3d model created in a modeling tool such as SketchUp, Rhino, AutoCAD or other, simply by selecting Import from the main menu. Once your model is created, import the file into FluidRay. 

FluidRay works directly with SketchUp (.skp), Rhino OpenNurbs (.3dm), FBX (.fbx), Alias Wavefront (.obj), Collada (.dae), 3DS (.3ds, .ase), DirectX (.X), Stanford PLY (.ply), and STereoLithography (.stl). 

If your filetype isn’t listed here, simply export to an .fbx file within your 3D modeling software and then import into FluidRay. 

2. Apply Lighting

Environmental light comes from the outside, rather than from the inside. Environmental light is a global parameter, meaning it will affect the entire jewelry rendering, not only one part of it. Apply environmental lighting to your jewelry design to give it a realistic look and feel.

3. Add Reflections

Reflections add to the realistic nature of a rendering, particularly with jewelry or other metal materials. Adjust the reflections in real-time until the piece looks just right.

 

5. Assign Materials

Finally, we assign materials to the model to finish the jewelry piece. In this example, we start by adding gold. Once that is set, add the gem and you can see how the materials will react in real-time when adjusting the lighting and reflections. FluidRay’s extensive library of materials allows designers to create shapes and apply different materials until the rendering looks exactly right. Making beautiful previews of your jewelry designs is easy with FluidRay. In just a few minutes you can turn your jewelry prototype into a real-life photo-realistic image.

This video provides a quick tutorial on how to create a jewelry rendering in FluidRay.

Are you ready to learn rendering for your next jewelry design project? 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 jewelry customers. To learn how to create beautiful jewelry renderings in FluidRay, we provide a library of training tutorials

See for yourself how quickly you can go from a 3D model to a beautiful FluidRay rendering.  Experience the good side of rendering today!

Try FluidRay For Free!

Discover Why FluidRay is Considered the Easiest Renderer to Learn

More and more designers are using rendering tools to showcase their work to current and potential clients.  Whether you are creating architectural designs, interior designs, jewelry designs or other product designs, FluidRay is easy to incorporate into your workflow with our tutorials, support, and online community.

Benefits to incorporating a rendering tool into your design organization

  • Creating more detailed designs: Clients can better visualize the entire project and sample different items like materials, fixtures, paint colors and lighting. Seeing the final design makes it easy for a client to visualize their future building, room or product and ultimately select you as their designer. 
  • Saving money: By examining the design details early, issues and needed changes become apparent early. Addressing issues before construction begins or materials are purchased keeps the project moving forward and avoids costly delays. 
  • Impressing clients: Your design presentations will highlight your abilities in an impressive, easy-to-view format. Design 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. 
  • Changing options in real time or quickly present multiple design 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.
  • Communicating ideas: Effective communication of design ideas and iterations is certainly one of the most important aspects of the relationship between designer and client. Because of FluidRay’s real-time nature, modifications are made in seconds enabling communication between you and client to move forward efficiently.

When asked about incorporating a rendering tool into their organization, many designers indicate they don’t have the time or (frankly) the interest in learning another modeling tool. They aren’t able to spend time creating renderings when a 3d model created in Rhino, Sketchup, or similar is acceptable. While taking it to the next level would certainly be ideal, it is simply not worth the additional time and money. However, once these same designers realize how easy FluidRay is to learn and consider the benefits, they do in fact begin to use a rendering tool. This is exactly what happened to THE small HOUSE CATALOG. After displaying rendered designs on https://smallhousecatalog.com/, the company saw more than a 20% increase in online sales!

What makes FluidRay so easy to learn? 

  • Clear tutorials: FluidRay offers free tutorials that describe the details on how to create and refine renderings. Check out these examples or view them all on our HELP page

Interior Rendering Tutorial

Architectural Rendering Tutorial

Jewelry Rendering Tutorial

  • Accessible costs: FluidRay offers a free 10 day trial to get designers up and running with no commitment. 

Once your free trial is complete, FluidRay offers an affordable monthly plan.

  • Available support: The FluidRay support team is available to help with issues and questions as you learn about the FluidRay features and create renderings. Simply submit a question and someone from support will get back to you quickly. Additionally the online community of FluidRay users posts questions and answers to help other users navigate the tool. 
  • Works on most Windows or Mac computers: FluidRay doesn’t require any special equipment or high powered machines. Simply download FluidRay and start rendering in minutes. 
  • Real-time renderings: You can see your work immediately and make real time adjustments as needed. No waiting to see if your design looks right. 

Are you ready to learn rendering for your next design project? 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!

Jewelry Rendering Tutorial with Rhino and FluidRay

We just released a new tutorial video on how to render jewelry designs with Rhino and FluidRay:

Jewelry Rendering with Rhino and FluidRay

How to Create Realistic Interior Lighting with FluidRay

We are in trying times. No matter each of our specific situations, everyone has been affected by the global pandemic and we’ve all had to modify our day to day lives in order to keep our communities safe. The FluidRay team wishes everyone the best as we all adjust. 

Are you able to work remotely? Why not use this time to refine your rendering skills with these tips on how to use FluidRay to create renderings with realistic lighting? 

Proper interior lighting is crucial when designing an interior, particularly when working to create the ambiance of a room. Lighting adds both style and function and determines the mood of the space. Perfecting the lighting effects in 3D renderings enables designers to accurately communicate the intended mood for a room. Creating lighting effects in FluidRay is fast, easy, and produces beautiful results that will impress your clients! 

Keep reading for detailed instructions on how to bring your renderings to life with interior lighting. 

Step 1: Import Your 3D Model

Create your 3D model in your favorite modeling software. We used SketchUp for this example.

SketchUp 3D Model

livingroom.skp

 

Once your model is created, import the file into FluidRay. 

FluidRay Import Project

FluidRay works directly with SketchUp (.skp), Rhino OpenNurbs (.3dm), FBX (.fbx), Alias Wavefront (.obj), Collada (.dae), 3DS (.3ds, .ase), DirectX (.X), Stanford PLY (.ply), and STereoLithography (.stl). 

If your filetype isn’t listed here, simply export to an .fbx file within your 3D modeling software and then import into FluidRay. 

Step 2: Set Materials

Let’s begin by setting the materials in the model. By setting materials before adjusting the lighting, you can see how the materials will react in real time when adjusting the lighting. Select an object from the model and then from the drop down menu in the Materials tab, drag and drop the desired material into your rendering. FluidRay has a large library of high quality materials from which to choose and the ability to import additional materials. 

Step 3: Add Environmental Light

Environmental light comes from the outside, rather than from the inside. Environmental light is a global parameter, meaning it will affect the entire rendering, not only one part of it. 

FluidRay Drag and Drop

In this example, we start with the night environment and then we increase the light’s power. 

FluidRay

You can see the room in our model takes on light from the environment as if it is night time outside. Increase the light’s power in the right panel using the Environment tab.

FluidRay Increase Light Power

Step 4: Add Artificial Light

FluidRay

Artificial light includes overhead lights as well as table or floor lamps. We recommend applying the artificial light first without the environmental lights. Simply select the surface you want to emit light and tweak its emission power and color. You can also drag and drop an emissive material onto the surface. 

Emissive material

Go through these same steps for each of the artificial lights in your rendering. 

Step 5: Turn Environmental Light Back On

Turn the environmental light back on so the rendering includes both environmental and artificial lighting. This rendering is really coming together!

Step 6: Finalize and Adjust Your Rendering

In this final step, you’ll tweak the materials, environmental lighting, and artificial lighting to get to the final result. Thanks to FluidRay’s speed and ability to render in real time, you’ll immediately get an idea of how the render will look after each and every material or light change. 

Check out this video that walks you through how to do these steps in real time. 

 

FluidRay also offers training tutorials for more details on learning how to render images. You’ll create designs quickly and easily, freeing yourself up to focus on imagining interiors for your clients.

If you want to experience how FluidRay can help you inspire your clients, download our software for a free trial. Our pricing is inexpensive so anyone can experience the good side of rendering!




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

Cool Video on the Merits of HDRI for 3D Rendering

The images you use as sources and output have a big impact on the realism of your renders. This video from dimensiont on YouTube looks at the value of using HDRI images when doing renderings. I think the video could use a different soundtrack, but the examples given are convincing.

Merits of HDRI in 3D Rendering

In the video, you’ll see the difference in colors, shadows, lighting and reflections between high dynamic range images and formats like jpeg and png. The video does a great job of making the difference in contrast and detail obvious. It also gives you some hints to the value for different lighting environments though I’d say the video could use more lighting examples.

Watch this video if you’re working on placing made objects and people into real-world environments or struggling to fine-tune a render.