The term “rendering” as we are using it doesn’t seem to be as popular as it should, and this is due to the fact few people know or are aware of what rendering is (unless you’re involved in the graphic-design world, or are an architect), but the truth is, most people don’t have a clue what rendering is, until they need it. If you were a hunter, you may think it is a process applied to a carcass, if you are a contractor, you may think it is the application of the first layer of plaster on a wall, if you were a writer, you may think it is a verb depicting an action……. all of those are correct for that particular niche. We are referring to a graphic representation of a building, interior, product, etc., executed usually for purposes of presentation.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the art of rendering, and how these types of graphics have helped change the way big and small companies create, design and even market their very own products to the public.
What is rendering?
Chances are that you have seen the work made by the art of rendering before in your life, you just haven’t noticed. For example, the promotional photographs you see for brand new automobiles, video games, cell phones, and even buildings are almost never real, but made through rendering!
You see; rendering refers to the process and tools used by renders (engineers, architects, and graphic designers) to create photo-like, realistic and in most of the time, three-dimensional pictures of specific products that haven’t been made just yet.
In much simpler words, rendering can refer to the process of working with computer software that allows designers and illustrators to create a product vision practically from scratch. And we say almost, because in many cases, these computer programs actually base the final design on previous models, and then revise and refine them to create an exemplary image.
This process usually takes part in the design phase of almost every project, and it is very present in today’s marketing campaigns for various reasons we will discuss later on. However, it is important for you to clearly understand what is rendering before we continue.
So, to close this up, rendering can be the process made through computer software, through which designers/architects/illustrators take a model (digital 3D file) and turn that into an actual visualization of how the final product would look like.
Rendering is a great tool used by many different markets and company. Even when it is usually directly associated with architecture (which is understandable, considering architectures are constantly using this method to bring their buildings to life), it doesn’t stop there, rendering is also used across the automobile industry, the product design market, and even in video games as well!
What is rendering in 3D modeling?
Throughout this article, you will see the terms “rendering” and “3d rendering” a lot, and just to clarify; these two things mean the interchangeable, since they are based on the same process, we just described. However, let us explain how 3D rendering is represented in modeling, marketing, and in the general media.
To put it simply, 3D rendering takes a two-dimensional representation of an object, and takes these properties (color, lighting, texture, material, etc.) to create a visual, realistic, representation of said product… and we see these rendering visuals everywhere, we just don’t notice! However, the truth is, most marketing companies use rendering to create images they can later use and place in different formats for their product advertisement plan both in print and digital media.
So, how does this happen? How is 3D rendering done? Well, we are not going to give you the technical explanation and step-to-step guide to rendering, but what we can do is briefly explain how the process is done, and it’s actually quite simple.
As we said, everything is done through computer software. This software basically takes the polygons (also known as flat geometric shapes that are put together between them to simulate three-dimensional spaces)or NURBS and then works over them until you get the final product that represents in digital 3D the design/subject matter.
It sounds simple when put together like that, but the truth is, the 3D digital artist has to be extremely qualified and talented to work their way around a very raw basic geometric shape to be able to convert it into something that looks like an actual, real photograph.
Difference between modeling and rendering
Believe it or not, these two terms tend to be confused since they are so alike. However, any good CG artist knows 3D modeling and 3D rendering are different, although they do take part during the same process. Let us explain.
Basically, before you can start rendering, you have to go through 3D modeling first, meaning you have to go through the process of “creating” a mathematical rough representation of an actual object. It is only when this is done that CG artist can then begin with 3D rendering.
In much simpler words, through 3D modeling, you create the model we were talking about earlier on, and then you take this 3D model and (with the help of computer programs) convert it into a realistic, high-quality image. This is done by creating digital light rigs to light the digital scene and applying materials and textures to the model and then rendering out a 2D image representing this digital scene. As we said, these to terms take place during the same creative process, and you can’t do one without the other, however, they aren’t the identical, and shouldn’t be confused with one another.
The Impact of rendering in today’s world
We hope that now that you know what rendering is and everything that goes into this art, you can see for yourself the impact this type of digital art has caused in the way marketing and production teams carry on with their projects.
Although there’s still a long way to go for rendering, we cannot deny its impact. Just think about it, through the art of rendering architects can actually see how their building is going to look like, and have the chance not only to change something they might not like, but to sell this vision, this idea to potential partners, clients and even to the general public.
The same thing applies to the automobile company that might be about to launch their brand-new car or the cell phone company that wants to sell their latest idea to their investors. Even small production teams can benefit from rendering, since it allows them to visualize the product, they’re working on and make important changes as they go along.
Rendering is a beautiful art that is set to become bigger and bigger as time goes on, and we’re here to help you see the benefits of rendering!
Russell Thomas is the Founder and Creative Director at 3DAllusions Studio a subsidiary of 3DAllusions LLC which includes sites such as 3DAllusions and MrMaterials which are resources for the CG artist, helping them hone their craft.