Young Architect Guide: 11 Top Rendering Software Apps and Plugins

Take your renderings to the next level with these applications and plugins.

Nathan Bahadursingh Nathan Bahadursingh

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Visualization technology is constantly evolving, and it seems like every day there’s a new tool available, made to help you get the most out of your ideas. To help you identify the software best suited to your needs, we’ve assembled a list of the industry’s best and most relied-upon programs.

V-Ray Next for Revit; image via Chaos Group

V-Ray by Chaos Group

V-Ray by Chaos Group offers state-of-the-art rendering technology, capable of powering the most advanced photorealistic images. Renowned for its versatility, V-Ray can be integrated with a slew of rendering applications, including 3ds Max, Sketchup, Rhino, Revit, and Unreal, to name a few. V-Ray’s quality, power, speed, along with the creative control it offers users can explain why this software is deemed as an industry standard amongst artists and designers.

Made by Lucas Lino; image via Adobe

Adobe Substance 3D

The Substance suite for texturing and materials authoring makes for an incredible tool to help realize your 3D creations. Whether you specialize in games, films, architecture, or design, this comprehensive package is sure to bring your wildest ideas to life. The suite is comprised of Substance Painter, Substance Source, Project Substance Alchemist, and Substance Designer, and Substance files are compatible with other apps in the 3D process.

Archmodels vol. 210; image via Evermotion

Evermotion 3D Collections

Evermotion has a massive collection of over eleven thousand 3D models and hundreds of scenes. They release them in themed collections every two weeks, and customers have the option of purchasing single models or entire collections, which includes a wider set of assets for a specific visualization topic. You can enjoy their vast array of Archmodels, Archinteriors, and Archexteriors collections for any desired setting. They also have collections of 3D models for Unreal Engine, however most are built for 3ds Max and V-Ray.

Evermotion 3D model collections will be given to the 2 Top Winners and 10 Commended Entrants in the One Rendering Challenge.

Quixel Megascans is utilized by some of the world’s top VFX studios, scene from The Jungle Book; image via vfxblog

Quixel Megascans

Discover thousands of 3D assets, tileable surfaces, vegetation, imperfections, atlases, decals and more, ranging across all settings, with Quixel Megascans, the world’s largest and fastest growing scan library. It’s the go-to choice for professional visualizers in gaming, VFX and architectural visualization with its world-class capture, premium quality and complete standardization. Quixel Megascans will elevate your workflow, enabling an incomparable level of photorealism.

Exterior rendering in Twinmotion; image via Unreal Engine


Twinmotion is a real-time 3D immersion software that produces high-quality images, panoramas, and standard or 360º VR videos in seconds. It’s designed to help architecture, construction, urban planning, and landscaping professionals better communicate their designs by offering a simple and intuitive interface backed by the power of Unreal Engine.

The software will allow users to quickly and easily transform their BIM or CAD models from static renderings into compelling, lifelike experiences. Set your project’s geographic location, apply a real context, visualize the construction phases of your project, easily create paths, and fill it with moving vehicles and pedestrians. The services Twinmotion provides are seemingly endless.

Architectural exterior; image via Octane Render

Octane Render

Octane Render is a powerful rendering engine accompanied with a ton of features to work with. It’s the world’s first and fastest unbiased, spectrally correct GPU render engine that delivers quality and unrivaled speed.

This software has groundbreaking machine learning techniques, out of core geometry support, and massive 10-100x speed gains in the scene graph. Its powerful set of tools and large pool of materials and textures makes Octane Render one of the best rendering software on the market.

Barber shop interior using Blender; image via Blender


Blender is not only one of the most powerful rendering tools out there, it’s free to use. It comes with a powerful unbiased rendering engine that offers stunning, ultra-realistic renderings. It also has an array of features to provide you with more than enough tools for designing any type of desired structure. If you ever run into trouble with the software, Blender has a very active and resourceful online community that will provide the assistance you need.

Created by Marco Datillo; image via MAXON

MAXON Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D offers a powerful suite of features and tools that will help you create breathtaking renderings. Its impressive reliability makes it a great application for demanding, fast-paced 3D production. Cinema 4D is known for its ease of use, intuitive interface, stability, powerful help system, and procedural workflows. Its lighting options are also particularly impressive.

Brooklyn NYC Loft by Yarko Kushta; image via Corona Renderer

Corona Renderer

Corona Renderer is a high-performance, unbiased photorealistic renderer, available for Autodesk 3ds Max, MAXON Cinema 4D, and as a standalone application. It gives users the full freedom to employ complex 3D models without needing to worry about compatibility and complexity concerns. Corona Renderer is among the fastest rendering software, and its clean animations and excellent light effects sets it apart.

With Artlantis it’s easy to position and set the color, intensity or quantity of lighting; image via Artlantis


Artlantis is a 3D rendering software developed to cater to the needs of architects and designers. It features a wide selection of presets, such as indoor and outdoor lighting for quick turnarounds. The materials provided by Artlantis are physically based in order to achieve photorealistic results. There’s a built-in render manager, which allows users to distribute the computing load evenly among local computers, minimizing the overall rendering time. Artlantis is also compatible with almost all 3D modelers on the market.

Architectural exterior developed with Enscape; image via Enscape


Enscape is a real-time 3D rendering software where everything is prepared in the original program. It runs alongside Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, and ArchiCAD and mirrors all changes in your construction through real-time rendering. You’ll be able to create immersive 360º panoramas and walkthroughs that can be shared with clients or co-workers. Enscape enables users to inspect and evaluate any changes made in an instant. It also includes various stylized modes, such as sketch, paper, and polystyrene models.

We are thrilled to announce the winners of Architizer's inaugural Vision Awards, the world’s biggest awards program dedicated to the art of architectural representation. Sign up to receive future program updates >  

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