So you are interested in getting into 3d rendering and architectural visualisation? Want to know what software and hardware all the professional cg artists are using? In this article I will explain everything you need to know to start creating high quality 3d architectural renderings.
If you are interested in architectural visualisation it helps to have some sort of a background in architecture or design…simply so you are able to easily read and interpret the often complicated architectural drawings. This is by no means essential…but it helps! If you don’t have a background in architecture or building design there are thousands of resources on the net which can help you to get a grasp of the major concepts.
The first thing you will need is a computer. Architectural visualisation is a very cpu intensive business, so the more powerful your computer is – the better. Try to get at least a quad core processor and as much RAM as possible (6gb is an OK start). Use 64 bit operating systems…this way you can access more RAM. Also spend a bit of money on a good graphics card. Once you start getting serious about your 3d renderings you will want to think about a render farm…which is a series of computers linked together to make a big powerful processing unit. But for now a good quality, powerful workstation should do the trick.
There are a few software options available but by far the most commonly used in the architectural visualisation industry is 3ds max. This is an amazing piece of software that is used for an astounding amount of varying applications throughout the 3d world. You should spend as much time as possible mucking around in 3ds max so you become familiar with its general layout and the tools available.
Rendering Software – again there are quite a lot to choose from but VRAY is the most popular amongst 3d visualisation professionals. Whilst being quite a complex program it simply creates the most realistic images – which is pretty much the most important thing in architectural visualisation.
So I would highly recommend you get yourself the latest versions of 3ds max and Vray to get things started. Another very useful piece of software is Photoshop – this is very useful in the post processing of images.
A good way to get started and the get some inspiration is to study some architectural photography. Is is important to know the basics of photography so that you can mimic some of the principles used to create an aesthetically pleasing image.
But in terms of the technical side of 3d modelling and rendering – DO MANY, MANY TUTORIALS. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of doing online tutorials to advance your knowledge. You can try and just jump into 3ds max and vray and see what happens but you will end up pulling your hair out – I promise. There are so many free 3d tutorial resources out there on the web that you would be crazy not to use them. You can learn everything you need to know just by finding the right tutorial online.
Creating 3d Renderings.
Once you have the basics down and are looking to start creating some decent images its simply a matter of experimentation. Find a photo of a building that you want to replicate and get to work. Just keep testing out settings and trying different techniques until you achieve something that you are happy with. And if you can’t work something out…ask Google!
It will probably take years of practice to be able to create the stunning architectural visualisation images you see around the place… but remember to just keep experimenting and learning as you go. DO TUTORIALS!