How to use 3D Visualization Software

Home Design Software & Tools How to use 3D Visualization Software

Computers are becoming faster and stronger and the rapid advancement in the last 30 years had instilled new energy into the world on Interior Designing and Architecture. The digital growth is being used extensively by architects, designers, and 3D artists to build better, more efficient and visually stunning specimens. The term “3D visualization” is synonymously used with 3D graphics, 3D rendering, Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), and other terms. All these terms refer to the software used to create graphical content with the help of 3D visualization software. Over the last couple of decades, 3D visualization software has become mainstream and has emerged as one of the most viable choices for producing high-quality digital content.

Although a few terms mentioned above have been used interchangeably, there are some common misconceptions related to it. 3D refers to the end product of the process of “creating graphical content” by 3D visualization software. The visual content, i.e. the images and animations are the end result. This is not the same as 3D design or 3D development. These terms refer to the production of content, such as computer-aided design (CAD) files. The CAD files are created by industrial designers or engineers for manufacturing purposes. A 3D artist uses CAD to develop 3D visualizations, where the end product is more than just CAD files – they are dynamic graphics that are an amalgamation of technical skills and artistry.

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The 3D visualization process

3D visualization is any technique used by 3D visualization software to create images or animations to communicate a message. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 3D visualization using visual imagery has been an effective means of communication since the cave paintings of the Paleolithic era and the Egyptian hieroglyphics to Leonardo da Vinci’s technical drawings for engineering warcraft machines. The surprising part is how the advancements in 3D modeling and 3D rendering technology have accelerated and how 3D visualization software are affecting the concrete structures we build and reside in.

To show the attributes of a proposed architectural design, architects and interior designers use architectural rendering or architectural visualization through 3D visualization software for creating two dimensional and three-dimensional images. The software enables the architects and designers to evaluate proportions and scales using intuitive interactive 3D modeling and simulate the effects of lighting, ventilation, and acoustics in internal environments. 3D artists today are accurately able to produce a realistic 3D rendering of spaces using 3D visualization so ftware, helping clients see a meticulously details version of the proposed design. These visualizations can represent anything according to the desires of the client. The scale, texture, interior decoration, etc. are often represented with scenes of everyday activities taking place.

Why is 3D visualization software used?

The architectural design of the urban environment involves a myriad of stakeholders. Engineers, architects, planners, decorators, and non-specialists have different objectives, vantage points, needs and necessities, and different perspectives in mind. This invites multiple challenges. For an architectural project to be successful, it requires all the parties to have reached a “shared understanding” of the project. 3D visualization software use 3D rendering and architectural visualization techniques that can aid the process and speed it up.

3D visualization software and 3D rendering, help software architects, designers, and 3D artists to manipulate designs in real time, quickly concept and concrete. Exploring different options, refining and creating numerous versions of the design has never been easier. SketchUp, Rhino, VRay, Maxwell, Mental Ray, Foyr, 3DS MAX, and AutoCAD are a few of the most powerful and popular 3D visualization software that have an empowering design. With these tools, architects and designers are not just able to gain a much clearer understanding of both, the qualitative and the quantitative nature of the spaces they are designing, but they are also able to communicate ideas more effectively and work collaboratively.

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Apart from architects and interior designers, 3D visualization software are used by product designers and manufacturers for improving their process and getting better results. It helps to keep up with design changes and evolving ideas. The engineers and production teams work together to customize and realize concepts at any scale and iterate faster on designs. When it comes to 3D product visualization and using 3D visualization software, the 3D artists proceed in the same way as photographers do while they set up a shoot. The process starts by modeling the product in 3D or using the existing CAD file. They then set up virtual cameras, lights, and environments to get the desired results. The similarity ends here. The levels of control and the flexibility with 3D visualization are unrivaled. In media and entertainment, 3D visualization software provides the competence to create robust characters in games, stunning scenic designs, and engaging experiences with special effects in film and television. The artists have the expertise to create realistic and imaginary visualizations for a variety of digital media. For these processes, 3D artists use 3D visualization software such as Maya and Cinema 4D.

3D Visualization Software

Criteria for evaluation:

  1. 3DS MAX 

One of the most popular 3D visualization software is Autodesk’s, 3ds Max. it is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games, and images. It is usually used by video game developers, TV commercial studios, and architectural visualization studios. It is sometimes used for movie effects and pre-visualization as well.

  1. SketchUp

SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program for multiple applications such as architectural drawings, interior designing, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, and film and video game designing. This web-based 3D visualization software application is owned by Trimble Inc. is an interactive platform with an online library of free model assemblies, the 3D Warehouse, where users may contribute models. This program includes drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable styles, supports third-party plugin programs, and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.

  1. AutoCAD

The oldest competitor and the strongest yet is Autodesk’s AutoCAD. It is a commercial design and drafting software application. It is available as a web and mobile application as AutoCAD 360. It is used across a wide range of industries by project managers, architects, graphic designers, interior decorators, city planners, and many other professionals. In 1994, 750 training centers worldwide supported the platform. 

  1. V-Ray
    V-Ray is a computer-generated image rendering software application. It was developed in Sofia, by the Bulgarian company Chaos Group. It is a commercial plug-in for third-party 3D computer graphics software applications. This 3D visualization software is used in media, entertainment, film and video game production, industrial design, architecture, and product design, for visualization and computer graphics.

  2. Foyr (Neo)
    Foyr is a cloud-based 3D visualization software for the real estate and design industry. It brings to life any “to be built” property as an immersive, data linked, customizable, 360-degree experience. It has the ability to run on any device with zero footprints. Its technology enables any 2D floor plan, building plan, or design information, or 3D content into a web link which can be easily shared on, integrated into and used in other platforms
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Criteria for evaluation:

It is important to analyze your own strengths and weaknesses pertaining to your knowledge of 3D visualization software. You should keep these things in mind before choosing or investing in a software:

  • Interface: Choose a software based on your skills and compatibility. If you are a beginner or someone who doesn’t require plugins or extra tools, go for the free versions of the software. If you deal with a lot of complex work, getting an advanced software will take you a long way.
  • Budget: A 3D visualization software can cost you up to $2500 annually for subscriptions and add ons. Make sure you’re choosing a software where you only get the tools of your choice to avoid any extra costs. You can also opt for free platforms and software if your work doesn’t involve any complex image rendering and creating.
  • Online Support: One of the most overlooked, yet important aspect of a 3D visualization software is support. Make sure the software you’re indulging has guidebooks, tutorials or online support to help you through hurdles.

From here on, the flawless architectural rendering and 3D visualization of images by 3D visualization software will gradually move into the realm of Virtual Reality (VR). Architects and designers will be able to construct 3D representations of their entire work using VR to give their clients the “virtual experience”. 3D visualization software is definitely a game changer, and as we progress, architectural rendering, 3D visualization, and VR trajectories will be closely linked to the design industry.

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