How Better Rendering Workflows Could Transform Architecture

Experts at Enscape and Voxl.Vision reflect on the state of architectural visualization today — and what the future might hold.

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

If you’re like most architects today, you probably wonder what the profession was like before the development of CAD software, especially real-time rendering programs like Enscape. The ability to examine a space in the form of a 3D model has become an essential part of the design process.

Thanks to these technologies, architects today can gain insight into what it feels like to inhabit a built environment before the construction process even begins. One wonders what architectural blunders of the past could have been avoided if this technology was available!

As impressive as current CAD and rendering software is, the future only holds grander possibilities. Enscape recently teamed up with the visualization firm Voxl.Vision to present a live talk about where design and visualization are headed in the future. The presentation was hosted by Petr Mitev, VP of the Visualization Product Group at Enscape, and Ted Vitale, Owner and Founder at Voxl.Vision. If you missed the talk, here are the key points that every architect should know.

Design and Visualization Today

Mitev and Vitale opened their presentation with a discussion of the modern architecture workflow. As they see it, the cooperation between design and visualization teams could be made more seamless by having both work with the same tools.

“There’s always some level of conflict between design tools and visualization tools and in reality, they should be the same,” they explain. “It’s always been: design it all, send it to the rendering team, and then see the final results. After this point, changes tend to get made based on the rendering instead of the initial design because nobody really fully understands how the plans and the elevations will eventually inform the final design.”

In short, the design team is cut out of the loop once the visualization has been made. There is no way for them to engage with the design process from this point as they are unfamiliar with rendering tools.

Cyclical Design and Validation

The solution to this workflow inefficiency is what they call “Cyclical Design and Validation.” In their view, there are three phases to the design process: design, iterate, validate: “Design is what we are already doing, iterate is what our clients ask of us, but the validation portion is where things fall apart.”

Interior renderings by Voxl.Vision

The reason that validation phase is so challenging is that clients like to see tweaks to designs in the form of realistic, 3D renderings. A 2D or even 3D CAD sketch is not as immersive for them — they want a type of visualization that allows them to imagine what it would truly feel like inside the finished building.

Two solutions immediately propose themselves. Architects must become more familiar with visualization software, or the speed of converting 3D CAD sketches into immersive visualizations needs to be improved. The latter option is the most realistic one, and the presenters believe it will be accomplished in the coming years as technology improves.

Real-world Use Cases

The next phase of the presentation featured examples from the field. Ted described the course of three of his projects and described the products his team used to meet the visualization needs of his clients.

“Products like V-Ray for SketchUp are a great example of a traditional rendering solution providing absolute realism and unparalleled visual fidelity,” the presenters explained. “However, their limitations were in real time feedback during client presentations and changes were dependent on split up scenes (because of the demand of photorealism).”

To put it another way, “While the visualizations in Enscape are great, they aren’t V-Ray. With the Chaos bridge, the work done in Enscape can serve as the starting point for a V-Ray render.” Quickly moving from an Enscape visualization, which architects can create in real-time, to a more detailed V-Ray style visualization is the goal. And the end is in sight now that Enscape and Chaos, the company that produces V-Ray, have merged.

The Future

As you might predict, solving this problem will involve the integration of AI into products like Enscape and V-Ray. As the presenters explain,  “in the future we see the artistic render styles generated with AI engines that can be fed a training set and then applied to visualizations, offering the potential of bringing emotional visual communication to real-time visualizations.”

With the ability to create immersive visualizations in real-time, architects will be able to communicate seamlessly with clients, even in virtual reality. Modern workflow challenges will become a thing of the past. Architecture itself may even become a little less frustrating.

To learn more about the powerful potential of real-time visualization to transform the architectural design process, visit

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