What is Architectural Rendering?

What is Architectural Rendering?


Architectural rendering is the creation of a 2-dimensional image or video to convey a three-dimensional building or space. Typically, architectural renderings are created based off of completed architectural plans.

The most common uses for architectural rendering are

  • Developers, Realtors or Builders selling a property before construction is completed. This allows potential buyers the opportunity to get a sense of the building without it existing.
  • Architects, engineers and designers creating packages for regulatory bodies to gain approval or funding for a project
  • Homeowners or general contractors looking to test out what a renovation may look like upon completion.

Architectural Rendering Project Checklist

When starting a new architectural rendering project, it is essential to consider the following fundamentals to ensure you get the most out of your project, and it operates as smoothly as possible.

Providing Architectural plans 

Q) "Do we need to provide architectural plans to have a 3D Rendering done?"

This is one of the first steps to having architectural renderings created. Whether you’re looking to show the exterior of a building or the interior, RealSpace 3d bases the pricing off of the architectural plans, floor plans and elevation drawings. The format that these are sent to us for quoting purposes isn’t super important; however, when the project begins, it is our preference that the files are sent in CAD. That being said, we can work off of just about anything, sometimes even crayon scribbled on a napkin, typically photographic reference is the bare minimum though!


3D Rendering without Architectural Plans

Projects which do not have architectural plans can still have architectural 3D renders created; however, the process is a little bit more challenging.  Typically we are sent images of similar buildings or interior spaces that we draw inspiration from.  We won’t copy the buildings exactly, but we will use them as reference to piece together what you need.

Define expectations for your architectural rendering project early

When having an architectural rendering created, it is important to establish expectations for the project as a client. Is this project going to be used for marketing, and therefore, it needs to be of the highest quality possible? Or, is the project simply to appease regulatory bodies and will the cheapest option available be sufficient?

Q) "When are cheap architectural renders “good enough?"

If the renderings required are simply to appease regulatory bodies getting cheap renders may be a good option, although be leery of some cheap overseas companies. Creating imagery for regulatory bodies to gain approval can still require the use of high quality 3D. A top rendering company will be able to capture the buildings in the most favorable ways, which can help to sway those making decisions or giving approval. In addition to using these images for their current application, they may be useful in the future should one decide to sell. If the price is of the utmost importance at this stage, make that clear to the rendering company you’re in contact with so that they can attempt to accommodate your needs. 

Q) "When does it make sense to spend more on architectural renders?"

3D Architectural Renders are one of the most cost effective marketing tools available when a new development is looking to attract presales. Because of this, it makes sense to spend a little extra to acquire top of the line renders to ensure things are done correctly. In many situations, creating a comprehensive architectural rendering package, including a strong online presence, is sufficient for the sales process and can allow one to avoid the need to build a full sales center. Sales centers are often upwards of $100,000 to build, and, although they are useful, their cost is not necessary if the property is in a hot real estate market.

To learn more about the intricacies of 3d architectural rendering pricing view our in-depth pricing guide.

Determining Architectural Rendering Camera Positions

Q) "Do clients pick camera angles in 3D Architectural Renderings?"

Deciding on a camera angle is something an architectural rendering company will work with you on.  During the preliminary stages, Realspace will ask you about the general area you want to show in your 3D renderings, for example, telling us that you would like to show a front façade rendering and a wide-angle shot showing the kitchen and living room gives us enough information to start the pricing process. Once that has been established, we will do a rough markup on the architectural plans to confirm the camera angle.  After receiving confirmation, we move onto the final camera angle confirmation. We typically send 3 clay render camera options for you to make your final selection.

Hiring Interior Designers for Architectural Renders

Q) "Do we need to hire an interior designer to provide interior finishes?"

As is the case with providing architectural drawings, we can work from either:

  • a very specific interior design plans which provide us with the exact furniture and finishes like flooring and wall color


  • we can work from a general reference image to guide us towards the style of room you’d like to show.

Typically we suggest clients provide us with as much information as possible, whether it is with reference images or with full on interior design plans and swatches.

When providing full interior design specifications for an interior 3D rendering job, it is preferable that we receive high resolution reference when possible along with product names so we can match examples closely.

Although your project may not yet have it's design settled on, there is a good chance you, as the client, has decided on things you absolutely do not want. Because of this, it is important to provide stylistic examples (online images of spaces you do like) so that we can gain a sense of your general taste.

Hiring Landscape Architects for Architectural Renders

Q) "Do we need to hire a landscape architect?"

Even without landscape plans we can apply our own landscaping to the exterior renderings which fit the environment and mood of the image.

Landscape details: Landscape architectural plans are not always readily available when a project is still in its infancy; however, they are great for helping to set the mood of a shot and framing in an image.

Architectural Rendering Timelines

Q) "How long does a 3D Rendering take to complete?"

The timeline to create a basic 3D exterior render, for example, will depend on the overall scope of the project; however, it isn’t uncommon for us to complete projects in just a few days. It is very important to express your timeline expectations at the start of a project, rushed timelines are very common in this industry and so it’s something we are well equipped to handle. That being said, we suggest clients leave as much time as possible for a project to allow for a full 3 rounds of revisions.


Architectural Rendering Services

Realspace 3D is proud to offer affordable, and high quality renders with organized, thoughtful customer service. To learn more check out our architectural rendering services page.