The use of high-quality 3D graphics can be attributed to the creation of immersive images of buildings and products, which we see in today’s chic magazines. Techniques have been evolving constantly due to continuous technological advancements and this scenario is especially benefitting modern marketers who are making the most out of 3D visualization and 3D rendering techniques. What we want you to know is that 3D Visualization and 3D Rendering are two distinct techniques. Confused? Let’s get an overview of the concepts.
What is 3D visualization?
3D visualization is a term commonly used in the context of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). Visualization in 3D is used along with 3D graphics modeling and rendering. Collectively, these techniques are applied for creating graphical digital content in 3D software. In the past decades, 3D visualization process has evolved significantly and is presently leveraged for the development of superlative digital CGI content.
3D visualization differs from 3D designing or development in the sense that it facilitates the creation of graphical content consisting of images and animation. It cannot be directly utilized for the creation of tangible outcomes like CAD (Computer-Aided Design) or CAM (Computer-Aided Modeling) files. The CAD files (for various verticals like engineering, industrial designing, manufacturing, etc.) can be used by 3D artists for the development of 3D visualizations. The end product combines the artistic and technical skills of developers for the creation of dynamic graphics.
3D rendering Vs. 3D visualization compared
3D visualization is a broad process and 3D rendering is one of its elements. 3D visualization consists of multiple steps and includes 3D modeling as the first step, which is the process of creating a detailed object with a specific width, breadth, and depth specifications in the three-dimensional plane. When a 3D model gets created and approved by the stakeholders, it is then incorporated in a scene in order to get it imaged. Appropriate lighting and textures are used and effects are balanced so as to create a photorealistic effect. 3D visualization and 3D rendering bring along immense possibilities. 3D designers are free to use any effect by adding lighting, shadows, textures, hues, and even motion blur if they need to create a perception of a moving object. With these techniques, a product can be showcased from multiple angles, thereby allowing eCommerce businesses to have tremendous opportunities in promoting magnificent product views.
Benefits of using 3D visualization
The benefits of 3D visualization for your project can be numerous. Some of the key advantages that can be reaped with this process are discussed below.
- Optimum communication of ideas visually
It is common knowledge that an image can convey what a thousand words cannot. With 3D visualization, the entire project team can be communicated about how the outcome would be upon completion. Communication can be clear from the primary phase of the project. The concept of the project manager can be effectively and strongly presented to demonstrate how the project would appear through its lifecycle.
- Cost Competitive
With phenomenal advancement in the technologies that drive 3D visualization, the process had become cost-optimized. Animated representation of ideas can prove to be the game changers when millions are on stake for prestigious projects. The benefits that can be harvested significantly outweighs the cost associated with developing cutting-edge 3D renders.
- Various Aspects Can be Showcased with Ease
Your project is a composition of different probabilities among which the most feasible one would stay till the last. All the options and concepts related to the project can be effectively showcased through 3D visualizations. The potential ways through which the project progression can be planned for incredible benefits can be exhibited clearly to project managers, financers, clients and other stakeholders quickly and efficiently.
- Unparalleled Accuracy
Visualizations are accurate and precise. This is achieved by blending information in CAD files, project-related images, technical figures and other relevant details for creating high definition outputs. By seamlessly merging real-life images with 3D renders, you can affordably and attractively portray your vision about the project.
- Easily Distributed
The days of having to send bulky hard copies of the renderings are gone. The difficulties associated with having to trim down the size of digital copy and reduce its quality for the purpose of emailing to all team members are also things of the past. The 3D visualization file can be simply uploaded to YouTube as an HD video and the links can be distributed to all those who are involved with the project.
- Incorporation with Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is taking the world by storm. The sophisticated virtual devices can be mounted on the head or can be attached to your smartphone and transport you to the realm of the artificial world. In a virtual reality setting, you can take project stakeholders on a tour of the proposed project roadmap and offer them a rewarding virtual experience of how the project has been visualized.
You can also get created virtual worlds where one can interact with visualizations. The appeal of the images and videos rendered in 3D would be heightened as project members can be offered realistic insights into the project’s requirements and plans in a virtual reality setting. Virtual centers can also be set up where one can get an idea of the project’s vision in virtual reality mode.
- Easy to Share and Promote
With 3D visualization, you can promote or sell your project or concept to the masses through social media and other sharing platforms. 3D rendered videos can capture the attention of social site visitors more strongly than conventional ways of communication like still pictures or readable content. Websites can also be created where tailored and interactive applications can be showcased. Engaging mobile apps are also another option for marketing your concept.
- Flaw Identification Beforehand
Often, after the project has been commissioned, flaws and design defects start becoming visible. Rectification of such faults can be time-consuming and costly affair. With 3D visualization, such problems can be eliminated. This is because the precise design-related details are used for building the virtual project in 3D. All potential flaws or design deficiencies can be identified well in advance. Physical quality control cannot be as effective as virtual problem identification. If the project is cross-functional, then you can easily spot the cross-discipline issues during the visualization process.
3D visualization is highly effective in making your project stand apart from the competition. High definition and realistic 3D renders can be used for communicating ideas in easy to comprehend manner with unparalleled simplicity and visually compelling way.
Now that we have talked about the benefits of 3D visualization, it is important to learn about proven tools that are popular in the industry for facilitating the creation of awesome renders.
List of Best 3D Visualization Software
Software and tools used for developing 3D visualization come equipped with complex features and offer numerous options. 3D objects can be built from primitive shapes which can then be manipulated for optimum effect. Even sophisticated tools, with little practice, become handy to use. Objects are usually created by core tools from planes that are constituted of vertices floating in 3D space. Moving, rotating and scaling objects along with vertices and planes can be done in an agile manner. The capability of sculpting 3D objects while they are being worked upon makes visualization more effective. The complexity level can be increased by splitting and combining objects.
A powerful rendering of project work has become the demand of the visualization industry. In order to succeed in a stiffly competitive landscape, it is important that digital technology is leveraged for creating realistic and superior quality visualizations through which the project’s vision can be portrayed. Designers and architects have numerous options in form of 3D rendering software, plug-ins and other tools at their disposal. However, the software and plug-ins that are highly popular among 3D artists and designers are discussed below.
In the past decade, VRay has risen to a position of prominence in the visualization domain. It has been developed with an extensive library of textures by the Chaos Group. The realistic renderings are absolutely stunning. VRay is ideal for recreating absolutely precise real-life scenarios with matching colours, lighting exposure, and shadow effects. The VRay engine is compatible with all leading 3D software like Autodesk Revit, 3DS Max, Sketch-Up by Google, Maya, 3DS Max etc. VRay is versatile which makes switching between different rendering software a breeze.
Mental Ray engine is almost comparable to VRay for the awesome rendering capabilities it offers. The engine is more user friendly than VRay but it fails to emulate the quality level and realistic quotient of outputs from VRay. But, it is a matter of personal choice when it comes to selecting the rendering engine you may use with your favorite program. There is no disputing the fact that Mental Ray is also a superlative renderer.
Maxwell renders slowly compared to aforesaid engines. But the outcomes are simply impeccable. If you are willing to afford time, the result would be exquisite. Artists who use Maxwell praise it highly because of the unique lighting engine ‘unbiased rendering’ that utilizes real life modeling methods instead of shortcuts or trickery. The images are of high resolution and complex in nature which are the result of realistic lighting that prolongs the rendering time.
In the realm of 3D visualization, Octane Render may not be very popular but designers can utilize its potential to create realistic results.
Cinema 4D offers the capabilities of modeling and rendering under one roof. The visualizations that are rendered using this neat software package are of high quality and presentation-ready. With Cinema 4D, you can exercise lots of options like building, modeling, texturing, animating, and rendering. As you would explore more, you would come across better options.
Modo is not so popular with mainstream architects and designers. However, it is great for creating immersive architecture 3D visualization. Modo is similar to Cinema 4D and you can do everything from modeling to rendering from one integrated platform. The in-built rendering engine is very powerful. From within the same application, you can carry out modeling and rendering without requiring a separate engine. You need not switch between modeling and rendering sections which streamline and fast-tracks your creative work. Time-consuming importing and exporting of files is no longer an issue.
3DS Max is among the most popular 3D modeling software but its rendering engine is many notches down the most preferred renderer VRay or Mental Ray. The onboard renderer of 3DS Max is easy to use and does produce realistic outcomes. Similar to Cinema 4D or Modo, the in-built renderer is programmed to work in tandem with modeling software. The benefit of utilizing 3DS render engine is that the output can be interfaced seamlessly with other software from Autodesk like Revit or AutoCAD.
By now, you must have developed a fair idea of the top rendering engines that are used for creating attractive 3D visualizations. Before concluding, it is important to understand the segments in which visualization technology is applied.
Applications of 3D Visualization Technology
- Scientific Domain
Scientists are constantly busy developing new products or exploring the viability of various discoveries. 3D modeling and rendering are frequently used for visualizing the product before the same is actually produced in physical form. With the use of special software, trial and rectification related expenses are slashed significantly. All needful tweaks can be made in the digital version and flaws after identification can be set right. No other resources are required.
- Manufacturing Segment
In the production sector, 3D technology has become inevitable. Product 3D visualization before digital modeling helps in aligning the needs of the equipment or product with the design details. Consumer products as well as sophisticated equipment can be designed and developed. The 3D model allows developers to visualize and evaluate the proposed design from different angles so that necessary improvements can be done. The entire process can be executed faster compared to the building of physical prototypes.
- Construction and Architectural Industry
Real estate, construction, and architectural domains seem to benefit the most from architectural 3D visualization. Each stage of the construction phase can be visualized beforehand with the help of easy of comprehend, comprehensive, and well-lit 3D renders. Even the wildest design ideas can be convincingly visualized with the help of 3D technology before the project commences. The 3D visualized outputs can serve as guide around which engineers, architects, and cross-functional teams of the project can organize their collaborative efforts. The weaknesses and strengths of the project can be demonstrated clearly so that there would not be any scope of revision in the future after construction. The visualizations can also be used by real estate owners and agents for vividly and accurately depicting the outcomes of the project to clients. This would help in driving better sales.
- Promotional Campaigns and Marketing
3D visualization is aggressively being used by marketing teams for strongly promoting various products. With 3D technology, scenes containing products advertised can be brought to life. Products can be shown placed next to your favorite cine stars which would tempt you to invest money in such products. The actual shooting of advertisements need not be carried out in real locations for the entire length. 3D renders can be introduced in part which helps in bringing down the cost of shooting. The advantages of advertised products can be presented in an effective manner with the help of 3D visualization. Prospective buyers may be inspired to invest in products better as the 3D renders are more captivating to look at compared to prototypes.
- Gaming Sector
The gaming industry was among the very first of various digital domains to embrace 3D visualization. It is still harnessing the limitless potential of this technology to deliver a compelling experience to players. With the advent of mobile games, more developers have jumped into the game development domain. Realistic, high definition, multimedia-rich and vivid games are being shelled out in large numbers every year. 3D artists can give vent to their creative ideas quickly through proper visualization techniques for the purpose of building gaming characters and scenes that are visually appealing and enhance the gameplay experience.
In the present times, a record-breaking movie cannot be imagined without engaging 3D graphics. 3D visualization is used for the creation of otherworldly characters and depicting scenes that defy our imagination. Scenes richly decked up with an impressive portrayal of the director’s concepts engross audiences. Various fictional characters, actors who are invested with supernatural powers that they wield at ease, spectacular fighting sequences, awesome transformations, etc. can be seen in movies. All these are the outcomes of the strategic leveraging of 3D visualization techniques.
Useful Article: Tips for achieving photorealistic 3D renderings
The bottom line is that 3D visualization technique is consistently evolving by keeping pace with the demands of various industries. As the quality of 3D renders is getting more superior, vivid, and hyper-realistic, more and more industries are innovatively trying to take advantage of 3D visualization.