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Photorealistic Rendering for Designers: What Is It, Main Stages, and Tips

Photorealistic Rendering for Designers: What Is It, Main Stages, and Tips-01

If you have a design idea, but cannot find the best way to present it to a customer, consider photorealistic rendering. These 3D models created with the help of professional rendering software showcase how an interior or building will look upon completion. Photorealistic 3D visualizations are more likely to convince the customer to approve your project and speed up the decision-making process.
Find more information about what is photorealistic rendering, its stages, and tips below.

What is Photorealistic Rendering?

Photorealistic rendering is the use of specialized software to generate a computer image that looks very realistic, just like a photo.
This visualization approach is popular for architectural and interior design visualizations, real estate marketing, and product 3D models. In the case of architectural visualizations, 3D models are helpful to present the project and/or attract investment. For real estate agents, property visualizations are an effective way to show the premises without wasting time on physical visits. And, finally, with photorealistic product visualizations, sellers get high-quality images they can post on website pages or print for advertising. Thus, quality visualization is relevant in many fields and highly demanded.

This time we will focus on photorealistic rendering for interior designers as the most used subtype. Let’s view its main stages.

Photorealistic Rendering Stages: How to Create It?


Stage #1. Input analysis and software selection

Before you start working on visualizations, make sure to collect all information you need, including the plan of the apartment, dimensions, furniture location and specifications, elevations, ceiling plans, lighting, materials, and other relevant details. After that, you need to decide whether you want to create photorealistic 3D visualizations on your own or outsource them to a 3D visualization agency. The latter option is preferable since professional visualizers have experience working with rendering tools and can help you with projects at an affordable cost. If you want to generate visualizations without third-party assistance, you can use Sketchup, Archicad, Revit, Vectorworks, Blender, Autocad, or 3ds Max.

Stage #2. White model creation

Photorealistic Rendering for Designers: What Is It, Main Stages, and Tips-02 Use the collected information to create the white model of the premises. Check if the proportions are correct and all the necessary elements are added. Note that this stage is used to check if the interior is modeled properly, so there's no need for highly detailed 3D models because they are usually heavy and test renders take too much time.

Stage #3. Setting up the lighting, textures, and materials

Now it’s time to add details. Start with the lighting as it’s one of the main factors that make a picture look realistic. Combine several types of light, including global illumination, direct illumination, or HDRI lighting. Vray, Corona renderer, Fstorm, and Octane Render are the most commonly used rendering engines for this. Once you’re done setting up the light, continue with realistic textures and materials. You can use free and paid libraries with various materials or create some yourself if you have the necessary skills. Remember that it’s important to make materials “less perfect” by adding minor discolorations, variations, signs of aging. This will make a 3D model more realistic.

Stage #4. Rendering in high-resolution and post-production

Photorealistic Rendering for Designers: What Is It, Main Stages, and Tips-03 When the main model is ready, you can generate it in high-resolution. Just click the Render button and the software will do it for you. After that, you can make minor changes, like adjust saturation or contrast. If you’ve done everything right, you should now have a realistic visualization that can be used to present your project or for any other purpose.

Tips on How to Create a Photorealistic Rendering

To be truly photorealistic, a visualization should not create an impression that the image is computer-generated. Our team has formulated several tips that might be useful to generate more photorealistic renderings.

  • Leverage depth of field. It’s a renowned photography technique used to highlight a specific element at the front or reduce the focus on the background. You can apply depth of field before image generation or at the post-editing stage.
  • Use bevelling techniques. Avoid sharp edges on the image and bevel most of the objects.
  • Test visualizations at low quality. This will save you time and help detect any problems with the 3D model without waiting for hours.
  • Don’t make it perfect. Perfect images don’t look real. Even a newly designed space has minor flaws, like discolorations, dirt maps, etc.
  • Use denoiser to smooth light and shadows.
  • Consider post-production in Photoshop. Certain effects are difficult to add with rendering software. In such cases, you can use Photoshop for post-production of photorealistic renderings.

    Check out examples of photorealistic visualizations on this page. Need help with 3D models? Contact us and let’s discuss your project.