Ever thought about how animated movies have such realistic and lifelike special effects? Or have you ever noticed the high-quality product images on eCommerce stores? Well, the secret is in high-end 3D rendering technique, and today this blog will tell you everything about what is 3D rendering and what its essential aspects are.


Keep reading till the end to know more about this 3D tech-enabled process.

Evolution of 3D renders

There was a time when 3D artwork was limited only to big-budget movies. Over the past few years, this has gone through a paradigm shift, and numerous industries are availing themselves of the technology, of which 3D rendering is an integral part. Photorealistic 3D renders are the latest trend in real estate, video games, fashion, eCommerce, and almost every other sector.

The reason being this art form has evolved to be a highly effective and impactful way of conveying a concept to a target audience.

To get an in-depth knowledge of the concept and what is 3D rendering used for, one needs to be clear about it all about. Let’s dig in.

What is 3D rendering?

3D rendering is the process of generating a 2D image using a 3D model with the help of 3D rendering software. The process utilizes 3D data and images to achieve a photorealistic look and feel. These realistic images help marketers, manufacturers, and customers alike for their respective purposes.

The computer scans the data, like materials, polygons, textures, lighting, etc., from a 3D model or the scene and runs mathematical calculations to generate the final output. The more accurate the calculations are, the higher the rendering quality.

What are the types of 3D rendering most commonly used?

There are two main types of 3D rendering used by 3D artists throughout the industry to turn the information from a 3D model into a 2D image – 3D real-time rendering and 3D non-real-time rendering.

  • Real-time rendering

    3D real-time rendering focuses on the real-time analysis of images. For example, the hyper-interactive UIs of a software or video games where user confrontation happens. Real-time rendering is best for achieving realism within an interactive environment.

    The frames generated per second determine the quality of the rendering; the more the frames, the smoother the user experience of the rendering. For an ideal real-time rendering, the software needs to render an image in less than 1/30 of a second.

  • Non-real-time rendering

    Non-real-time rendering is primarily applicable for animations and digital media that do not involve user interaction, i.e., no inputs or action coming from the viewers. Since no inputs or actions are present and no extra time is required to render a scene, the rendering quality in this process is much higher than its real-time counterpart.

    Owing to the higher rendering quality, non-real-time rendering is expensive and requires extensive technical prowess.

How does 3D Rendering work?

A 3D-rendered image is a computer-generated 2D image of a 3D model done through specialized 3D rendering software. Some technical as well as creative steps go into the process of 3D rendering, as listed below:

  • 3D modeling – Stage 1

    3D modeling is the first step process, and it involves giving the object the desired shape by creating the initial mesh. This consists of many polygons joined end to end as per the required shape.

    • Lighting
      Lighting is required in any 3D-modeled object because it adds a realistic feel when viewed. A skilled artist adjusts the light (natural or professional) to create the illusion of an image existing in 3D.
    • 3D texturing
      After modeling, the artist then applies the desired texture (smooth, leathery, etc.) to the mesh. Depending on the type of finish that is needed, the product gets its initial look.
  • 3D rendering – Stage 2

    This is the process where a 2D image is generated from the 3D model or scene using a rendering machine. The rendering software turns 3D information and data into a variety of two-dimensional images. This is quite similar to virtual photography, where details such as lighting and scene staging are utilized to produce the photographs. The ultimate idea behind a 3D render is to produce lifelike, photorealistic images.

  • Post-production or refining – Final Stage

    This is the step for giving the 3D object its final ‘touch-up’. If the 3D rendered model needs further enhancement in its appearance, it is made to pass through various processes of editing like adjusting the color, gradient, etc.

Which industries mostly use 3D rendering?

  • Real estate
  • Product manufacturing & prototyping
  • Healthcare
  • Video games
  • Animated movies & entertainment
  • Marketing & advertisements
  • Fashion
  • eCommerce
  • Retail and more.

5 best practices to improve 3D rendering skills

  1. Ensure to keep the mesh clean

    Try to keep the mesh relatively low-poly and as clean as possible. Keeping your polygon mesh clean and concise is an excellent rendering technique that ensures working on critical 3D models is easier.

    Besides, maintaining a low-poly mesh ensures the 3D model is highly adaptive to any scenario.

  2. Use HDRI (High Dynamic Image Ranging) sensibly

    HDRI accentuates the lighting backgrounds by mixing multiple images shot from dark to light. Utilize this for better contrast and enhance the reflections along the curvature of your 3D model.

    The ideal HDRI is 32-bit which is high resolution and creates appropriate light information for the entire 3D scene.

  3. Gather reference material as much as you can

    If you plan to model something that is already there, as in someone had already created it, try to gather reference materials as much as possible that you can make use of.

    This greatly helps to maintain accuracy and achieve perfect realism. You can also get some valuable data, like views from the top, front, and sides, to maintain the exact proportions.

  4. Consider composition

    Composition implies organizing single elements sequentially to form an architectural whole. Equilibrium between the concept and the artistic principles is the key to achieve perfect composition in a 3D rendering that engages with its target audience most effectively.

    While developing a 3D rendering model, use focal points and guidelines that lead the viewers sequentially through the first, second, and third plane of the 3D rendered scene. Additional focal points and close-ups can create an even more interesting environment.

    Also, keep an eye on principles like the color palette and camera movements to make the environment as pleasant and dynamic as possible.

  5. Bevel every edge

    Beveling is the smoothening of the edges and corners of a 3D model to achieve realism and realistic light reflection. It is a known fact that nothing in the real world is exactly sharp, not even a knife; hence, subtle beveling makes a 3D model look more real.

    The ultimate significance of beveling in 3D rendering lies in the fact that it brings a higher level of realism to the rendered model that embellishes its quality. It is a significant part of 3D rendering that every 3D modeler must include in their 3D rendering workflow.

    Though it is most apt for non-organic models, one can also use beveling for face 3D models.

5 common mistakes in 3D rendering one should avoid

  1. Not collecting enough details

    Regardless of your skill level as a 3D renderer, your rendering process and the final outcome depend entirely on how much information and detail you can gather from the client. For the best possible result, ask the client to provide you with rough sketches, drawings, blueprints, and the like.

    Also, ask for crucial information like plans, exact proportions, HD quality images of the product from all angles, the purpose of the model, where it will be used, etc., before the rendering process starts.

  2. Working with low RAM

    If your PC’s RAM has insufficient capacity, it will hamper your rendering speed and quality. High-end rendering programs require upgraded RAM for a smooth rendering process, so always work with RAM of minimum 32GB or above. In simple terms, better RAM will improve rendering speed.

  3. Using insufficient graphics cards

    Most of the latest 3D rendering software programs is highly dependent on your PC’s graphics processing unit, which specializes in processing graphics and critical calculations. So it’s easy to say how a low-performance or aging GPU or graphics card could stymie a rendering process.

    A high-end GPU is highly vital to seamless rendering and must be the biggest priority for every 3D renderer.

  4. Creating too simple designs

    The purpose of photorealistic 3D rendering is to replicate an actual realistic environment and a real-life object that impresses the onlookers. That’s the reason why marketers, manufacturers, and realtors are so fond of it.

    However, in certain cases, the rendering artists create a too simple and plain design with less realism and lacking in the grandeur 3D rendering should have. Every beginner, as well as a pro 3D renderer, must take care of this error with artistic eye.

    Though adding some details can fix the issue, it is best to avoid this mistake from the beginning.

  5. Overlooking textures

    Overlooking or ignoring the texture quality is a blunder that some novices make, which dilutes their entire effort – as the texture quality adds a human touch to the render, defining the real-life nuances, and this is what impressed clients.

    For example, while scrolling through eCommerce stores, online consumers get enticed by products that look life-like, with natural shine, creases, folds, etc. Thus, regardless of your rendering quality, if the texture quality of the end product is sub-par, it will appear to be too plastic and artificial. Make sure to add high-definition textures to the models that give them a human touch and grab the attention of the target audience.

Wrapping Up

3D technology is evolving at a steady pace and opening doors to new possibilities for businesses to operate and grow their bottom lines. It is evident from the fact that nowadays, most big industries and global brands leverage 3D modeling and rendering to gain a competitive edge and increase their customer base. They are investing in the technology and hiring professional 3d rendering services agencies to add value to their products and services.

The future will bring us many more technological innovations pertaining to 3D visualization, so 3D artists must adapt themselves to keep pace. This blog will be a guide for those who want to know what is 3D rendering and want to make it their career goal. Do let us know your valuable comments and if you want to learn more about 3D rendering and modeling to upgrade your skills.