Are you interested in using three-dimensional models for your business promotions? If so, you may have come across many companies offering 3D modeling and rendering services. But what is the difference between 3D modeling and 3D rendering? How do you know which service is right for you? If you are looking for answers to these questions, you have come to the right place. Let us help you understand these terms and their differences so you can make an informed decision about your business strategies.

In this article, we will explore the two techniques to better understand the topic.

With that said, let’s learn a little more about the two techniques.

Understanding the two concepts

What is 3D modeling? – Definition

3D modeling is a computer graphics technique that 3D artists use to create three-dimensional models based on real objects. These digital models are made with the help of specialized software.

3D modeling is the first step in the 3D visualization process, followed by texturing, lighting, and rendering. The models made here are accurate, can be repurposed, and are helpful in product development and project planning. That is why it is vital to industries like gaming, engineering, architecture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and more.

What is 3D rendering? – Definition

3D rendering is the final step in the 3D visualization process, where the 3D models are converted into 2D images or animated videos. Here, artists use specialized software to place these models in a realistic setting to aid visualization. This technique is popular in real estate, product manufacturing and prototyping, healthcare, gaming, marketing and advertising, eCommerce, and more.

Let’s now look at the differences so we can get a deeper understanding of the two techniques.

What are the key differences between 3D modeling and 3D rendering?

Going over the meanings of the two techniques must have given you some ideas about them. Now, we will go a little further and see the ways in which they differ.

  • Purpose

    The two techniques may be part of the same visualization process, but their purposes differ. 3D modeling is used when there is a need for a precise digital representation of an object. Digital models are very accurate as they are based on exact measurements. So, they are very efficient in conveying information such as size, dimensions, functionality, and more. That is why it is easy to spot design flaws when using virtual models.

    In rendering, the purpose is to present 3D models in a photorealistic way that helps others visualize a concept. Brands often use rendered images and videos as marketing and promotional material. For example, showing rendered images of your building concept to potential clients or giving walkthroughs and virtual tours of the interiors.

  • Workflow order

    Even though the two serve different purposes, they are essential parts of the visualization process. Modeling is the first step in the visualization process, and rendering is the final step. Without 3D modeling, there is no rendering because there will be nothing to render if there are no models.

  • Skills required

    Artists involved in these processes must use complicated software and techniques to create digital models and renderings. Therefore, they need to be technically skilled to carry out their tasks. Although they both deal with virtual models, the skill sets required by each technique are different. That is why companies that make three-dimensional models have separate teams to handle each process.

    Some important skills required by a 3D modeler are:

    • Understanding of three-dimensional geometry, topology, and spatial relationships.
    • Ability to use modeling software.
    • Ability to use reference materials.
    • Strong eye for design.
    • Attention to detail.

    Some important skills required by a 3D renderer are:

    • Understanding of lighting and shadows and their interaction with different materials.
    • Ability to use rendering software.
    • Ability to understand client’s requirements.
    • Time management.
    • Ability to be creative and have an artistic touch.
  • 3D modeler and renderer responsibilities

    A modeler creates digital models using different 3D modeling techniques like polygonal modeling, NURBS, subdivision surfaces (NURMS), and others.

    A renderer creates photorealistic images using 3D models by applying suitable colors, patterns, materials, lights, shadows, textures, and more.

  • Software Differences

    Modelers create digital models using 3D modeling software like SketchUp, Autodesk Maya, Blender, Wings3D, TinkerCAD, and others.

    Many modeling software comes with a rendering engine, but renderers prefer using 3D rendering software for this process. Some are Autodesk 3D Rendering, Maverick Studio, and the V-Ray Collection.

  • End result

    The main difference between these two techniques is their result. Modeling results in an actual three-dimensional model, while the rendering process uses these models to create a photorealistic 2D image or video presentation.

Now that you know the differences between the two techniques, which one should you choose?

Well, that all depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to print 3D models or use digital models in video games or animated movies, you should outsource 3D modeling services. If you want to present your construction project to clients or display your products on your eCommerce website, you may want to go for 3D rendering services.

We hope this article has given you all the information you need to understand the differences between the two techniques. We hope you can now make an informed decision when choosing services that are right for your business objectives. Good luck!


No. Rendering is the final stage in the 3D visualization process, as it helps viewers imagine different concepts, products, architecture, games, etc. in a realistic way. Three-dimensional visualization relies on modeling and rendering to convey a message.

No. These are two different techniques for creating a three-dimensional model. In the case of three-dimensional modeling, geometric shapes and edges are used to create a digital replica of an object. Digital sculpting works just like rock sculpting but in digital space. Here, artists create digital models by manipulating a digital surface with tools that resemble real-world items like brushes, knives, and chisels.

Christa Elrod linkedinDribbbleBehance

Christa Elrod serves as a senior graphic designer at ProGlobalBusinessSolutions. She is a creative designer with robust skills in typography, UI/UX designs, printing designs, video post-production, and 3D designs. Possessing years of experience across diverse industries, Christa loves to educate fellow designers with her experience and domain knowledge.