What is 3D Rendering - Understanding the 3D Visualization Process


3D Rendering refers to adapting the likeness of an object in the form of an image. 3D rendering—both technical and artistic—employs the use of 3D software to help create images to help better explain or market concepts. Technical drawings are often used as a framework for which a 3D model is constructed, once the 3D model has been created lights, textures and cameras are added to bring the 3D scene to life. “Rendering” refers to the final step in the process where the 3D software computes all inputs to create a two-dimensional image, animation, virtual reality experience or game.

Some of the more common applications of 3D rendering include architectural renderings of buildings and developments, interior design renders of rooms and homes, and, renders of products, and designs or inventions for such professions as entrepreneurship. 3D modeling and rendering is very flexible, so it is possible to create a 3D render of just about anything imaginable.



The process below describes the 3D rendering of 2D images, as animated video differs in certain ways. Although the process below is described as though it is linear, a 3D artist may jump between the final few stages. As well as, understanding the client’s vision is a continual thread throughout.

Understanding the client’s vision

In order to build a model, a 3D artist needs to understand the project. Using plans, sketches, and reference images provided by the client, a 3D artist starts by visualizing the project in his or her head. From this point camera angles are typically agreed upon based on the 2-dimensional plans.

3D modeling

The 3D artist uses specialized 3D modeling software to create a digital model. This phase is analogous to building the structure of a physical model, except that the model only exists digitally.


The 3D artist applies images to the 3D models to make them look as realistic as possible. This step is analogous to painting a physical model, or gluing materials and photographs onto it.


The 3D artist sets up lights in the 3D scene to replicate lighting in the real world. This stage is similar to the way a photographer or videographer would set up lighting equipment before shooting.


The 2D image or images are generated from the model. This phase is the actual rendering process. It is analogous to taking a photo of a physical model, and it is the only way to see the digital model that exists in the rendering software.

Rendering can take anywhere from several seconds to several days, depending on the complexity of the model and the quality desired. This process is completed solely by the computer.  In some cases this will be done on large rendering computers called render farms.


The drafts that are provided to the client for feedback are low quality renders using the same process as the final render will be, in order to speed up the revision process.

Revisions are made to the scene, textures, and lights and the process is repeated until the desired result is achieved. Generally, changes can be made independently: for example, most changes to the model do not require the texturing to be updated.


The agreed-upon final 2D image or images are provided to the client, ideally, by no later then the agreed upon deadline. Depending on the desired resolution the images will be provided in a specific format to support the way in which the image will be displayed.



Now that we know what rendering is, let’s get to the fun part: What can rendering do for you?

As we mentioned earlier, 3D rendering allows you to create renders of projects that are unavailable physically. This isn’t just economic and convenient. 3D renders allow you to study the design beforehand and understand how it would most likely look like in real life.

Simulations can also be done with 3D renders! Today’s 3D models can be animated, and have allowed designers to understand the limitations of their product. Buildings can be simulated to find out the most efficient arrangement of rooms or exits, and products could be simulated in various weather conditions.

Uses for 3D Rendering

Clients can also choose to be marketing pioneers and opt for unique 3D rendering applications. Virtual reality is something most developers and marketers are looking forward to in their marketing efforts. The said technology can be adapted from 3D models and allow for a more dynamic experience for customers. In addition, the rise of 3D printing makes 3D models more practical, as your design can be expressed in the real world with the use of a 3D printed model. This allows developers to create physical models for displays purposes, or to incorporate this technology to innovative work.

  • Architectural Rendering
  • Movies
  • Medical Imaging
  • Safety Training
  • Environment Simulations
  • Product Prototyping
  • Engineering
  • Virtual Reality
  • Video Games