Understanding the 3d rendering process.


What is 3d rendering?

3D rendering is the process of creating a 2D image or video from a 3D model using 3D computer graphic rendering software. Some of the more common applications of 3D rendering include architectural renderings of buildings and developments, interior design renders, and renders of products, designs or inventions. 

3D modeling and rendering is very flexible, so it is possible to create a 3D render of just about anything imaginable. 



Understanding the 3d rendering process.

The process below describes the 3D rendering of 2D images, as animated video differs in certain ways. Although the process below is described as though it is linear, a 3D artist may jump between the final few stages. As well as, understanding the client’s vision is a continual thread throughout.


the client’s vision

In order to build a model, a 3D artist needs to understand the project. Using plans, sketches, and reference images provided by the client, a 3D artist starts by visualising the project in his or her head.

3D modeling

The 3D artist uses specialised 3D modeling software to create a digital model. This phase is analogous to building the structure of a physical model, except that the model only exists digitally.

Texturing & Materials

The 3D artist applies digital materials to the 3D models to make them look as realistic as possible. This step is analogous to painting a physical model, or gluing materials and photographs onto it.


The 3D artist sets up lights in the 3D scene to replicate lighting in the real world. This stage is similar to the way a photographer or videographer would set up lighting equipment before shooting.



The 2D image or images are generated from the model. This phase is the actual rendering process. It is analogous to taking a photo of a physical model, and it is the only way to see the digital model that exists in the rendering software.

Rendering can take anywhere from several seconds to several days, depending on the complexity of the model and the quality desired. This process is completed solely by the computer.  In some cases this will be done on large rendering computers called render farms.



The drafts that are provided to the client for feedback are low quality renders using the same process as the final render will be, in order to speed up the revision process.

Revisions are made to the scene, textures, and lights and the process is repeated until the desired result is achieved. Generally, changes can be made independently: for example, most changes to the model do not require the texturing to be updated.



The agreed upon final 2D image or images are provided to the client by the agreed upon deadline. Depending on the desired resolution the images will be provided in a specific format to support the way in which the image will be displayed.