What should 3D rendering and architectural visualization services cost?
Pricing Components of a Render
To better understand how rendering projects are priced, you need to understand the costs to the rendering company. There are two major factors in the price of a render: labour, and rendering time. We will address each of these issues separately below.
In order to create a render a 3D artist needs to:
1. Understand the clients vision.
2. Create the model.
3. Texture the model.
4. Set up the lighting.
5. Set up the camera.
For more detail on these steps, please click here to see our 3D rendering basics guide.
What increases the labour involved?
The labour involved in a 3D render is not as straight forward as one might think. Skilled 3D artists can create what can appear to be an extremely detailed scene in a very short amount of time using the tools at their disposal. On the other hand, seemingly simple scenes might take much longer.
For example, one could create a large and very accurate aerial view of a forest very quickly using public topographical data and a number of automated processes. However, it could take several weeks to model a single piece of equipment, according to exacting standards, such as an electronic device with complex circuit boards and wiring.
In many cases the process can be sped up using items from our library, such as furniture, cars, people, and finishes. The main factors that affect labour are the level of detail and the number of unique elements required.
Rendering time is the amount of time that it takes a computer to create your image. This is directly related to how realistic the image is, and how much detail you require. However, there are many tricks to create detail without adding much rendering time.
As a consumer, you should not worry too much about rendering time: that is the job of the rendering company! We provide the information below to help you understand why some projects cost more, and take longer, then others.
What increases rendering time?
Depending on the rendering software, the number of light sources can sometimes greatly affect rendering times – thus, exterior scenes can render quite quickly. Another factor is the detail of the scene. The industry term for this is poly-count, which refers to the number of polygons used to model the scene. For more information, you can check out Wikipedia’s 3D modeling page here.
A common element that greatly increases detail, and therefore rendering time, is foreground vegetation, background vegetation is generally optimized with a technique of using billboards or sprites click here to learn more. Additionally, curved surfaces tend to require much more detail.
Reducing rendering times
The biggest single thing you can do to reduce rendering time is to reduce the number of required revisions by giving detailed plans and specific feedback. Every time you require a revision, some or all of the image needs to be re-rendered. If you require fewer revisions, it will require less rendering time. This may save you money in the long run – at RealSpace, we generally price lower for returning customers, who we know we can work with efficiently.
Hardware and software effects on rendering time
With the constant improvements in computer hardware and the changes in rendering software, rendering time for still images is becoming a very minor factor in price. However, the rendering time for animations is still a very relevant factor in their production cost.
Post Processing on 3D renders
Once a 3D rendering program has created a rendered image the work is typically not completed for the architectural rendering artist. Adjusting color balances, adding special effects or populating the image with an entourage is typically done in the final stages of the rendering process with Photoshop or a free program such as Gimp. Because this stage of the production is not generated by a computer but rather, painstakingly incorporated into the images by hand it is only done once a camera angle and lighting has been established.