Will AI make 3D artists obsolete in Architectural Rendering? 15 year industry veteran weighs in

RealSpace RealSpace

Is AI about to replace 3D artists?

 

 

AI is advancing daily and eventually, could replace not just 3D artists but almost every graphic design profession.

After over 15 years of experience within the 3D rendering industry, this is the first time I've felt a genuine existential fear at the longevity of this career path. It seems inevitable that AI will replace some jobs but should 3D artists be worried? Is there still a point in going to school for 3d rendering if it will be obsolete as a profession in less than a decade?

At this time it’s too early to tell when or if it will replace our jobs or if it will become another tool to make our lives easier, but if you simply follow the current rate of growth and improvement it is a big concern.

 

Previous professions have suffered this fate due to technological advancements.

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Typesetting was a highly skill-based profession for a number of years, but it vanished almost overnight with the revolutionization of digital technologies.

 

Many online are afraid this will happen in professions like graphic design and 3d rendering. 

 

As AI tools evolve to more accurately understand and manipulate spatial and material data, they could significantly streamline the process of 3D design.

 

Where AI could take 3d Rendering and architecture

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Imagine AI systems that can quickly absorb an existing image—be it a partial model or a full design—and then apply real-world physics, materials science, and aesthetic considerations to generate numerous variations of that design.

 

Such a system could produce hundreds, if not thousands, of design options within seconds, each tailored to specific architectural plans and client requirements.

 

This level of efficiency and customization could revolutionize how 3D designs are conceived and executed, vastly expanding the possibilities for experimentation and refinement in the early stages of a project.

 

Imagine this as a 3d artist

 

It is very possible that in a short period of time anyone could have an AI generated architectural plan for their development.

 

Tell it to generate some images of how it will look and provide some different options for the finishes.

 

Not only would this be a drastically more cost effective method to produce marketing materials it would be faster and more efficient through the design phase.

 

Online forums like Reddit are filled with doom and gloom debates and concerns about the future of various artistic fields, particularly the realm of 3D rendering and graphic design.

 

In these communities, professionals, hobbyists, and observers alike delve into thoughtful exchanges about whether AI will enhance the creative process or eventually render human artists obsolete.

“It will become a tool that artists incorporate into their workflow but it won’t replace us”

 

“AI is a long ways away from understanding what people actually want, it’s just good at mixing copyrighted content together so it will be unusable”

 

Contrarily someone asked,

 

“Is there any value as an artist, and will AI make creativity obsolete?"

 

This question taps into a deep-seated anxiety about the rapid advancement of AI technologies that are capable of producing work once solely the domain of skilled human artists.

 

(but really it should be something that concerns more than just artists)

 

Many fear that as AI grows more sophisticated, its ability to generate complex visual content might not just supplement but actually replace human expertise, especially in tasks deemed repetitive or formulaic.

 

This conversation is not just theoretical; it reflects a broader cultural and economic shift as digital tools become increasingly integrated into professional workflows. Check out our blog post regarding the ethical considerations of AI

 

The contributions on platforms like Reddit highlight a spectrum of opinions, from those who view AI as an existential threat to the traditional artist, to others who see it as a liberating tool that could free artists from mundane tasks and open new horizons for creativity and expression.

 

As we explore the implications of AI in 3D rendering, these online discussions provide valuable insights into the hopes and fears shaping the future of digital arts.

 

These concerns are especially pronounced among individuals at the beginning of their careers and those whose skills are less specialized.

 

These are the people who will be most impacted by AI as well.

 

We don’t know at what point AI will develop to become good enough to replace artists in general, but certainly it is a concern if you’re only starting out your professional career

 

The entry level jobs are going to also be the simplest to replace.

 

As it stands now, we are already on the verge of AI replacing some of the lower end or simpler jobs done by artists.

 

Online platforms teem with discussions, where many express fears that the rapid development of AI technologies will lead to significant job losses in the near future.

The sentiment is largely driven by AI's capability to automate tasks that, until now, required human intervention, such as data entry, basic customer service, and even certain aspects of content creation.

 

Is Virtual Staging The first domino to fall?

 

One area that is actually seeing some success through using AI within architectural rendering is Virtual Staging.

 

This technology, which allows for the digital furnishing and decoration of spaces for marketing purposes, is proving to be not just effective, but also more cost-efficient.

 

 As a result, it's driving down prices and altering the economic landscape for 3D artists, especially those who offer their services on platforms like Fiverr or those who are generally on the lower end of the pay scale.

 

Virtual staging AI streamlines the process of decorating a space digitally, a service traditionally provided by 3D artists who manually craft each element according to client specifications. With AI, these tasks can be completed with astonishing speed and at a fraction of the cost, making it an attractive option for real estate agents and developers looking to efficiently market properties.

 

Some Real Estate Photographers on reddit were discussing the varying degrees of success they had using AI Virtual Staging Software.

 

One of the draw backs one reddit user mentioned what that there is no continuity between different angles so if you have two images of a bedroom you may end up with 2 completely different types of beds.

 

“Its a complete roll of the dice”

 

Although this is a common shortcoming for AI it does tap into a market and reduce some need for human artists.

 

This shift is squeezing the market for freelance 3D artists, who find themselves under pressure to lower their rates to remain competitive against the AI alternatives that promise comparable quality for less.

 

As AI continues to refine its capabilities and expand its application, the challenge for human artists will be to differentiate their services by offering elements that AI cannot replicate, such as unique creative insights or highly customized designs.

 

For many, it may also mean a push towards upskilling or diversifying their skill sets to include AI proficiency, ensuring they remain valuable in a market where collaboration between human creativity and machine efficiency becomes the norm.

 

AI Generated Concept Images - emerging to have a place within the design phase

 

AI's ability to generate concept images based on simple prompts has become a valuable asset in various design fields, providing a fast and efficient means to visualize ideas and explore creative possibilities.

 

This capability is especially useful in the early stages of design projects, where quick iteration and a broad exploration of concepts can help steer the creative direction.

 

AI tools like these allow designers to generate a range of visual outputs in a short amount of time, which can be particularly beneficial when dealing with tight deadlines or when needing to quickly pitch ideas to clients or team members.

However, while AI proves adept at handling broad and generalized prompts, its ability to handle highly specific or detailed instructions is still evolving.

 

As of 2024, AI-generated images often lack the depth and precision that come from a thorough understanding of complex design requirements and nuanced client needs.

 

This is partly because AI, in its current state, does not fully grasp context or the subtleties that a professional designer would consider essential.

 

For instance, while an AI might generate a visually striking concept image, it might not align perfectly with specific branding guidelines or may not be feasible due to practical considerations such as budget, material constraints, or environmental impact.

 

As AI continues to develop, the expectation is that it will become better at interpreting more detailed and nuanced prompts, leading to outputs that are not only quick and diverse but also more aligned with specific project needs.

 

Until then, the most effective use of AI in creating concept images remains in tandem with human oversight, where designers can refine AI proposals to ensure they meet all the required specifics and maintain the project's integrity.

 

This collaboration allows for the harnessing of AI's speed and variability while leveraging human expertise for quality and relevance.

 

For fun, we did a quick test to see how well Chat GPT could create concept images for us.

 

Example 1: "create a concept image of a shopping center located in Miami"

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Example 2: "create a concept image of a gym set in New York city that has the same asthetic as an apple store"

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Although they get the spirit of what we're looking for the practicality of these images would be fairly minimal.

 

New 3D artists - Anxiety about whether the investment into an education for 3d rendering will be worthwhile in the coming years

 

For those just entering the workforce, the prospect of competing with an ever-capable digital workforce is daunting.

 

Young professionals are often advised to seek careers in 'future-proof' sectors, yet the definition of such sectors is constantly changing as AI expands its capabilities.

 

The anxiety is exacerbated for those at the lower end of the quality spectrum in their respective fields, where the tasks they typically handle are more susceptible to automation.

 

These individuals are finding it increasingly necessary to upskill and adapt to a rapidly evolving job market where AI tools could perform their current jobs faster, more efficiently, and at a lower cost.

 

The discussions online reflect a broad spectrum of responses, from calls for educational reforms that emphasize skills complementing AI to legal and economic strategies to mitigate the impacts of automation on vulnerable job sectors.

 

These conversations underscore a critical juncture in the modern workforce: the need for a strategy that incorporates AI into the economy in a way that supports job growth and enhances rather than diminishes employment opportunities for humans.

 

Such strategies may involve innovative approaches to workforce training, rethinking job roles, and perhaps even a restructuring of the economic models that define work in the AI era.

 

A glimmer of hope for 3D Artists (for now)

 

Despite the rapid advancements in AI within the realm of digital design, there are still significant limitations that prevent it from fully replacing human expertise, particularly in areas requiring high precision and understanding, such as the interpretation of architectural drawings.

 

Current AI technologies struggle to accurately read and represent complex architectural plans.

 

This limitation stems from AI's inherent difficulties with understanding the intricate details and contexts that such drawings entail, which are often deeply intertwined with technical knowledge and human experience.

 

However, it's not all shortcomings. AI has made impressive strides in generating styles and basic concept images.

 

These capabilities are especially useful in the early stages of design, where quick iterations and a broad exploration of visual styles can significantly enhance the creative process.

 

AI's ability to rapidly produce a variety of design concepts allows architects and designers to visualize ideas and make decisions more efficiently than ever before.

This duality highlights an ongoing theme in the integration of AI in creative fields: while AI can augment and expedite certain tasks, it still requires human oversight and input for tasks that demand a deeper level of insight and precision.

 

As AI continues to evolve, its role may become more collaborative, serving as a powerful tool that complements and extends the capabilities of human professionals rather than fully replacing them.

 

This synergy could lead to an enriched design process, where AI handles the generative and iterative aspects, while humans focus on the strategic and interpretative elements.

 

Will human judgement always be supreme over AI?

 

The analogy of AI to the camera is particularly apt in discussing its integration into creative professions.

 

Just as the advent of digital photography made cameras widely accessible and transformed the field of photography, AI tools are democratizing abilities in many professions.

 

However, the distinction between professional and amateur outputs remains pronounced.

 

A professional photographer's expertise in composition, lighting, and capturing the moment elevates their work beyond the capabilities of casual enthusiasts, despite both having access to similar tools.

 

Similarly, AI might standardize and automate certain tasks, but the unique insights, experiences, and creative choices of skilled professionals are likely to distinguish their work from AI-generated outputs.

 

As AI continues to evolve, its role may become one of an assistant or enhancer rather than a replacement, adding value to human efforts rather than fully supplanting them.

 

AI and creating architecture

 

AI's foray into the realm of architectural design, particularly in generating floorplans, illustrates a fascinating blend of potential and limitation.

 

While AI technologies have reached a point where they can autonomously create floorplans, these generated layouts often lack the nuanced intelligence and understanding that a trained human architect brings to the table.

 

Human architects consider not only the spatial arrangement and structural necessities but also integrate a deep understanding of aesthetics, functionality, environmental factors, and user experience into their designs.

 

The AI-generated floorplans, although rapidly produced and technically sound in terms of basic requirements, typically do not account for these more subtle aspects of architectural design.

 

They may place rooms, doors, and windows in ways that meet certain algorithmic criteria but fail to capture the unique needs and preferences of the end-users or the specific character of the surrounding environment.

 

This difference highlights the importance of human touch in architecture—a profession that combines scientific precision with artistic sensibility.

 

As technology progresses, there is potential for AI in architectural design to become more sophisticated, learning from feedback and perhaps eventually incorporating more of the complex decision-making processes that currently rely on human expertise.

 

However, for now, AI serves best as a tool to augment the capabilities of human architects, allowing them to explore more options more quickly or automate the more mundane aspects of design, while they focus on the intricate details that make a space truly functional and inspiring.

 

Societal Considerations in the use of AI

 

As AI continues to permeate various sectors, replacing tasks previously performed by humans, it raises significant questions about the future of work and the societal acceptance of this technology.

 

The integration of AI into the workforce is not just a technological shift but also a major socioeconomic challenge.

 

Whether there will be a fundamental pushback against AI largely depends on how its integration is managed by policymakers, companies, and society at large.

 

The potential of AI to "raise the floor" by eliminating many lower-skilled jobs and enhancing the productivity of high-performing individuals is profound.

 

This shift could lead to increased efficiency and potentially lower costs for consumers, but it also poses the risk of widening the gap between the high-skilled elite and the rest of the workforce.

 

The displacement of jobs could lead to significant social unrest if measures are not taken to retrain those displaced or to redistribute the benefits of increased AI-driven productivity.

 

The notion that AI could leave only the "high end" of performers in employment underscores the need for comprehensive strategies to address the employment impacts of technological displacement.

 

Acceptance of AI as a beneficial tool will depend on its perceived equity and the opportunities it provides or forecloses.

 

If AI is seen as a means to augment human capabilities and as a tool that can lead to new types of jobs and industries, it is more likely to be embraced.

 

However, if its adoption leads to significant job losses without adequate support systems or opportunities for affected workers, it could face substantial resistance.

 

Navigating this transition requires thoughtful approaches that include education reform, support for continuous learning and skill development, and perhaps new economic models such as universal basic income or job-sharing schemes.

 

The future interaction with AI in the workforce hinges on these adaptive strategies and their ability to foster an inclusive economic environment.

 

AI as an inevitable replacement for 3D Artists in Architectural Rendering

 

The trajectory of AI development suggests that it will eventually reach a level of proficiency comparable to human capabilities, although this milestone is likely several years away.

 

The prospect of AI achieving this level of advancement raises several intriguing questions about the future roles of AI versus human expertise, particularly in fields requiring judgment, creativity, and nuanced interpretation.

 

One central question is whether AI will become preferred over human interpretation.

 

In some areas, such as data analysis or routine tasks, AI might become the preferred tool due to its ability to process information quickly and without bias.

 

However, in fields that require emotional intelligence, cultural context, or creative flair, human expertise may continue to hold significant value.

 

The potential of AI to make creative choices is progressing, yet creativity often depends on contextual understanding and emotional resonance—qualities that AI has yet to master fully.

 

Conclusion

 

As of right now AI is still a long ways away from replacing all architectural rendering jobs.

 

But I could see, very soon, the barrier of entry lowering to a point where some of the more basic, low budget projects no longer have a need for human artists. Jobs like 3d floorplans and virtual staging are likely to be the first to go.

 

More complex jobs like large scale condos and aerial renders that need to be accurate and look amazing for sales purposes are likely still safe for now.

 

 

 


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