Realistic vs Stylized Architectural 3D Rendering Process

3D Rendering have never been more obtainable and more affordable than they are today. Thanks to the technology, one can produce 3D depictions that are practically indistinguishable from photography in 3d visualization.

Yet with all the exciting perks of photorealistic 3D visualization, Stylized 3D Renders are appearing in architectural community portfolios just as often.

What is the difference between Realistic and Stylized Architectural 3D Rendering? What are the pros and cons of Stylized 3D visualization? And most importantly: which approach should you take?

3d rendering

What is Realistic 3D Rendering?

In the most basic terms, realistic 3D Rendering is a life-like representation of a computer-generated model.

3D rendering so detailed. That you can hardly spot them among photographs.

When trying to reach that level of realism every little aspect matters. Lighting, textures, shadows, atmosphere, colors, refraction – the devil of a realistic 3D Render is indeed in the details.

Photorealistic 3D visualization finds its use in many industries, including marketing, design and product development – pretty much everywhere, where you need to give realistic expectations of the project without leaving much room for miscommunication.

Although, the industries most impacted by 3D Render technology are architecture, interior design, and real estate development.

To identifying design flaws and communicating positive first impression on investors – realistic 3D Renders can do it all. Therefore, they became an essential tool for architects and designers from all over the world.

Having said that, not everyone in the world of architectural Rendering leans on realistic 3D visuals. Many decide to jump on the Stylized Architectural 3D Rendering bandwagon.

Stylized Rendering

What is Stylized Architectural 3D Rendering?

In Stylized 3D visualization, 3D artists have much more creative freedom, than they do with Realistic 3D Rendering.

Unlike life-like 3D Renders that attempt to represent a building or space as accurately as possible, Stylized Renders do not focus on photorealism. The primary objective of artistic CGI is to impress and portrait the design in the best light possible. Stunning watercolor visuals, pencil sketching, glitzy lines, engraving, and silhouette edge – it is much easier to focus your viewers’ attention on what you want and sell the concept with these glossy artistic shots.

Stylized Architectural 3D Renders are also great when it comes to illustrating some small components of a building. For example, if you want to demonstrate technical or schematic concepts, construction progress or remodeling plans Stylized Architectural 3D Rendering is a great way to do so.

And while the benefits of Artistik CGI are undoubtful, the lack of realism can also be a bit of an issue.

Realistic vs Stylized Architectural

Should you go with a realistic 3D Renders or glossy Artistic CGI – the jury is still out there. Depending on the needs of the project, different approaches can be taken.

If you need vivid visuals to communicate an idea, or to showcase what exactly the project would look like, Realistic 3D Render is the way to go.

On the other hand, if your number one goal is to make an impactful impression on prospective investor or client, Stylized Architectural 3D Rendering is not a bad option either.

Turnaround time is another aspect to consider.

Lighting, textures, surroundings – a lot of work goes into rendering each pixel.

Combining Realistic and Artistic 3D Rendering approach is another option to consider. This way, you can have the best of both worlds: a genuine image of what design would look like in real life and a beautiful aesthetic of Stylized Architectural 3D Renders.

What are you thoughts? Maybe, blurring the line between realistic and artistic is just what you need?


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