Stan Zaslavsky

We often get asked how long it takes to produce a 3D render of a project.

The answer is – it all depends. Sometimes it can be as short as 2-3 days and other times it can take as long as 3 weeks.

It all depends on what information we get provided with and how detailed should the produced illustration be.

In this article, I wanted to discuss a typical process of generating a 3D perspective render and outline a couple of key elements that can lead to speeding up the delivery of the image without compromising its quality.

And so how do we go from receiving CAD plans like this:

To deliver to our clients’ images like this:

And how long does it take?

Starting from Scratch

We (3D studios) often take for granted that what we do daily.

The diagram below however illustrates our overall process to make it simple and easy to understand.

In our typical process – we start by assessing the CAD plans of the project and deciding on the optimal camera angle for the 3D render.

These plans including the elevations are then required to be created into a 3D model which will then be used for the photo-montage of the project.

In this particular case – the objective was to showcase how this development would fit within the neighbouring streetscape and that was to be done by using an existing photo of the streetscape which looks like this:

To obtain the photo and create the initial 3D model roughly took about 3-4 days from the instructions to create the render.

The model then looked like this inside our 3D Studio max rendering package.

Then materials, lighting, landscaping and foliage were added to it which took another day or so to fine-tune until they matched the context and surroundings.

The next step was to photo-match the model to the photo supplied.

This is another fairly extensive process of matching up the exact data points to the photo and a 3D camera was set up inside the file which finally could then be rendered out and montaged into the photo itself.

And finally Adobe Photoshop CS6 was used to montage the 3D render output from the 3D Studio Max software into the original photo of the location and the result was:

All in all this image took about 10 days to deliver from original instructions start to the completion of the render.

This included a couple of iterations of the photo montaged render during which the colours for the 3D exterior were adjusted to suit as some of the original colours didn’t come out looking right.

And finally the actual computer process of rendering out the image in high resolution to be printed to 5000px wide took about 4 hours or thereabouts.

The overall 3D image rendering process for this project looked something like this on a Gantt chart for those who would like it visualised graphically:

Some projects with single images are as quick as this and there are many other projects that have multiple projects that become a lot more complex that take a lot more time in various stages.

All we wanted to clarify in this article is a high-level explanation of what happens inside the “black box” once you hand over the plans to us.

Three Keys to Speeding up Render Delivery

This has been discussed in a number of other articles – but as a quick summary here are top 3 keys to keep in mind to speed up your project renders.

1.  All CAD files / Specifications Finalised & Available

One of the biggest hurdles to getting the renders going, in the beginning, is the immediate availability of information. This includes finalised floorplans, schedules of colours and finishes and landscaping plans.

If you can at all ensure that you have all this information available upfront before engaging the 3D rendering team – this will speed up delivery immensely.

2.  Review and Feedback within 24 hours

Once items start to become available for review – the 3D renderers engage in a game of table tennis – we send the images through and await feedback.

The quicker you can get the feedback back to us – the quicker we can get on to the next set of instructions to modify the image.

3.  Markup the Images Directly

In communicating instructions back – the best way for us to understand is to have the actual images drawn on and emailed across.

Use software such as Photoshop (if you know it) through to MS Paint or print the images out, draw on them in red pen and scan and email back.

This removes any possible confusion in what the instructions may apply to.

We are very used to receiving images like this and this is by far the best way for us to understand your feedback:

Availability of Initial Information is the Greatest Factor

Hopefully, this article has shed a bit more light on what we go through in delivering the images that we do and if you have any questions – please comment below or email us at projects@localhost and we welcome your feedback.

To your development success,


Stan Zaslavsky

BEng / BTech (Ind Design), LREA, VPELA

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