Architects that don’t make use of 3D rendering to showcase their work are really setting themselves back, by a lot. The work an architect does can’t be immediately showcased to the client except in the form of technical drawings and blueprints, but often times, that is not enough. Clients that already know your work might be satisfied with just the drawings but getting new clients requires something more. If you can show them exactly how their project will look like when it is done, down to the smallest detail, you will increase your chance of your success and the amount of clients that will be interested in your work. Perhaps one of the most important sections of an architect’s portfolio besides the real photos of their completed projects are 3D renders of the projects which can then be compared to the end result.
As with everything else, there is a difference between a render and an exceptional render. You need to strive towards renders that will leave your clients or your potential clients wondering whether what they are looking at is not a real photograph. So, how can you achieve this? There are a few general things that you need to keep in mind.
1. Attention to detail
Attention to details is one of the first steps when it comes to distinguishing a render from a good render. A good render will use a model that has all the details that are desired of the end result. What this means is that a comparison of the render and the real project in the end will be virtually impossible to tell from each other in terms of geometry and texture.
2. Realistic lighting
Nothing gives away a render as much as unrealistic lighting does. Many beginners and shamefully, even many acclaimed studios, fail to render their projects with a realistic lighting setup. Usually, bad renders have very flat lighting that hides the details of the models instead of highlighting them. You need to take into account all of the possible light source in your project and then adjust them all so that they look real but also to have their light where it is needed.
3. PBR Materials
You can not have realistic lighting without using PBR materials. Physically-Based Rendering materials are essential for a photorealistic render. They use a method of shading that provides a much more accurate representation of how light interacts with surfaces, including the way light rays bounce off the various objects in your scene. The difference between a scene with PBR materials and a scene with basic materials is night and day.
4. Setting the scene with props
Last but not least, your render will look dull and boring without props. Of course, the obvious choice is to put a human model or two in the scene, but the props that make the real difference are the small things, the small objects that you would find throughout real buildings. It includes things like trash cans, plants, artwork and other types of small decorations or utility items.
Obviously, there is much more to an exceptional render than this but if you get a solid baseline, the rest will come with experience.