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3D Exterior Rendering: what are they used for and why are they important in architecture?

3D Exterior Renderings are used to produce photorealistic images that simulate architectural projects in their true environmental context. Discover the major benefits of creating superb archviz content for your projects.

With the advancement of visual content production and the latest graphics technologies, mainly deriving from the gaming industry, expressing design ideas has become much easier to achieve and now at everybody’s reach. In today’s world of high-tech creativity, we can now push the communication barriers further away to add high-impact presentations with evocative rendered contents that really speak out to our client’s heart, not only to amaze, but also to convince better. This article will allow you to understand the great advantages of using 3D exterior renderings for your projects.

What is a 3D Exterior Rendering?

3D exterior renderings are digitally generated images that are processed from a 3D model. To be effective, they need to be as photorealistic as possible, representing the external spaces of the project with great visual impact.

3D Exterior Rendering

3D Exterior Rendering | Image produced with Edificius

Whether you’re dealing with residential or public buildings, simulating the project within the surrounding context can turn out to be fundamental in order to fully understand the design scope while keeping an eye on the environmental impact aspects too.

3D exterior design workflows can certainly help designers, buyers or clients to contextualize the project and provide useful visual feedback as if it were physically before their eyes.

It is also clear how this realistic view of the entire project, perfectly inserted in context, helps to avoid interpretation errors. At the same, time it helps to communicate clearly and effectively with customers, avoiding costly reworks during the construction phase that would lead to a loss in terms of time and of customer’s trust.

How do you produce photorealistic renders?

The higher the accuracy of your 3D exterior render, the more it will fulfill its task of simulating the project in its future environmental context.

So let’s see the 7 most effective ways to get the best results from a 3D exterior rendering that is as photorealistic as possible:

  1. Always start off from a high-quality 3D model
    This might seem quite obvious, but if the model isn’t detailed enough and no effort goes into setting up quality materials and textures, we can’t expect to achieve high-quality rendered output. That’s why all phases are to be addressed with the right level of attention to details, texture choices and physically correct artificial or natural lighting. Get these essential requirements right, and your exterior rendering results will be amazing.
  2. Get your proportions right
    For a scene and a shot to be realistic, the observance of proportions is essential. That’s why it’s important to get your panorama surroundings according to the objects that are used in your composition. A Rendering that doesn’t fit well with the surrounding environment won’t be able to fulfill its true vocation to communicate, amaze and convince and you’ll feel that something isn’t working when it deviates from the correct interpretation of the environment with the project.
  3. Camera views and scene composition
    A truly photorealistic external rendering will have to resemble a photographic shoot with correct camera alignments. Make sure the camera vertical and horizontal axes are set correctly, avoiding strong perspective distortions. It’s ok to view an interesting design solution from bottom to top, but if the angle is too steep, you’ll end up getting a false view of the elements. This would probably cause your client to get the wrong idea of what you originally wanted to express.
  4. Outstanding PBR textures and materials
    As underlined before, applying good quality textures with the correct settings is essential for your renderings to appear as realistic as possible. Be sure to follow these two essential rules: good quality and high-resolution textures – correct texture map property settings. For example, if the material selected for an object is a metal, the relating texture map settings will have to simulate its physical properties in terms of shininess, opacity, reflection and refraction.
  5. Realistic 360 backgrounds
    When it comes to external rendering, external environments are very important. You’ll certainly want to simulate the project at different times of the day or during the different seasons of the year so, as a visual artist, you’ll want to create different environments in order to do so. Depending on the object of the rendering, it will be more or less interesting and suggestive to view certain solutions at daytime, at sunset or with snow or in the sun.
  6. Correct lighting
    To produce coherent and highly photorealistic images, make sure you get your lights right! This means considering all light sources and everything that interacts with them. You can even modify their effects in some way (increasing reflections, adding fog, rain, etc.).
  7. Set up your camera views – the way photographer’s do
    As a final hint, to achieve suggestive and engaging renderings, set up your camera lens angle correctly and don’t worry about fitting everything in one scene, but focus on a specific solution. Pick an idea that you want your client to see clearly. Add extra images to complete your project showreel.
7 ways to achieve a photorealistic rendering

7 ways to achieve a photorealistic rendering

How can you take advantage of exterior renderings in Building Design and Construction?

We know that working on an architectural project is a very complex and long process. 3D exterior renderings can support and facilitate it by making it faster and smarter.

The single render undoubtedly has the capability of helping the architect to communicate better with the customer. However, it turns out that behind the production of a render, there is a comprehensive 3D model available to the different specialistic workforces that will be dealing with construction or external fixture installation works. If you communicate correctly and in time, you can avoid terrible surprises after!

Who benefits from 3D Exterior Visualization?

We can safely say that using external renderings is a great advantage for anyone working in the AEC sector: from designers to the end customers, passing through all the various professionals involved in the construction and management processes.

Let’s see how and to what extent 3D exterior renderings are useful to the various professionals involved:

  • Designers: with external renderings, designers can modify their drawings as the project evolves, when customers express doubts and the need to change something. 3D exterior renderings allow customers to view their work from various angles, at various times of the day and in various seasons in order to fully understand the project, even before the construction process begins.
  • Real estate agents: In the real estate sector, 3D exterior renderings play a crucial role in advertising. They allow real estate agents to present properties in an attractive and suggestive way to their customers who will have the opportunity to get a complete overview of the proposal.
  • Large companies: large companies involved in the construction and real estate sales use 3D rendering services for their presentations. High quality and highly photorealistic renderings are the best way to fascinate potential investors who will be able to easily evaluate the future project, without leaving any room for doubt.
  • Building contractors: it is easy to understand how exterior renderings are a clear and immediate reference for those builders who take care of implementing the project just as shown in the rendering.
  • Buyers: when customers entrust the design of their home to a professional architect, what they really want may not be so straightforward. Their tastes in terms of aesthetics and functionality can be hard to express until they see a good proposal. 3D exterior renderings allow immediate feedback, giving the buyer the opportunity to express their needs and stylistic taste and provide guidance for future changes in a quick and intuitive way.
  • Citizens: if in the field of private construction 3D exterior renderings are useful to the buyer, in the field of public construction (for example the construction of a shopping or a sports center, etc.) citizens will have the opportunity to see how the futuristic project will affect and impact the environment they are aused to, appreciating advantages and possible disadvantages.

What are the advantages of 3D Exterior Architectural Renderings?

3D Exterior Architectural Renderings help bring projects and ideas to life. External architectural renderings, in fact, give customers the opportunity to see their projects in a new and realistic manner and to have a precise idea of how the built asset inserted in its surroundings will work.

The advantages of using 3D Exterior Architectural Renderings are multiple and diverse. Let’s see some together:

  • increase in real estate sales;
  • clear view of design from an external perspective;
  • accelerated customer approval process;
  • awareness of potential developments proposed in their true environmental context.

In conclusion, there are no real disadvantages when using this powerful architectural, design and communication tool.

With the right software, it will also be much easier to translate your design ideas into attractive renderings. That’s why I recommend you try this online 3D rendering, integrating 3D architectural modelling and design tools with super-fast Rendering technology together with other useful features to express your design ideas and communicate them effectively to your customers!