The considerable development of design software in the past decade has changed the standard for architectural representation. As a result, renderings become more vital to the industry every year. While detailed plans, sections or simple axonometric drawings remain essential, they are increasingly seen as representing only one part of a project. In addition to spatial mapping, clients, the public, and other architects are now looking for drawings that showcase a structure’s programs and functions and imagine how the experience of being in that space could feel.
Rendered scenes or drawings effectively capture the intended spirit of spaces at any scale, whether it be a nook by the fire or an isolated building in a large field. They help the viewer imagine how movement and activity could take place in these spaces and how the light will impact its use. They can also help see how the colors or materials of the building would work in different settings or seasons. Renders have also reduced the need for physical models, saving architects precious time, money and materials.
However, as software and skill develop at breakneck speeds, architectural education lags; not all rendering techniques are taught in schools. YouTube has always been an excellent resource for learning new information and skills, and in this respect, 3D modeling is no different. Here are a few channels that focus on architectural visualization and help young designers communicate their ideas in creative ways.
Rendering lights in V-Ray or Autodesk 3ds Max can be tricky or time-consuming. An easy alternative to this can be adding light effects in Adobe Photoshop once the render is complete. In this video, creator Oliver Uszkurat shows an easy way to create an illuminated night scene in less than 15 minutes. His channel is dedicated to helping students and architects by providing different visualization techniques. Upstairs also features videos on creating rendered plans, quickly rendering a crowded stadium, transforming Google Maps images, among others.
Alex Hogrefe has a plethora of tricks to transform plain SketchUp models into impactful sections and renders. The video mentioned above is just one such example. The tutorial shows us how to turn a regular render into a snowy landscape. Hogrefe has a lot more tutorials on the channel as well as his website Visualizing Architecture. These include not only different techniques for 3D models but also ideas for 2D drawings and illustrations including textured plans, x-ray sections and circulation maps.
While V-Ray is a brilliant tool to create realistic renders, the different settings and tools it offers can be a bit overwhelming for new users. YouTuber and co-founder of High Q Renders Margarita Nikita has spent years mastering this program. Apart from this video on setting the ideal parameters for 3ds max and V-Ray renders, her channel also provides information on using different light settings, creating life-like textures and materials and positioning cameras in models to frame the best shots.
Arqui9 Visualisation is another firm that focuses on creating educational content for designers. The video mentioned above shows how to add textures, materials and details to a simple perspective section in the post-production process. This is helpful for those who don’t have any advance rendering software or have less powerful machines. The channel also has other videos on adding cutouts of people in images, creating photoreal textures in 3ds Max and stylizing elevations.
Adding fog is an easy way to either bring a picture to life or create a specific mood within a graphic. The video mentioned above shows a few different ways to do so. Apart from this, Show It Better has videos on using Lumion and animating 2D drawings and models. The channel also goes beyond rendering tutorials by offering portfolio and presentation tips, book recommendations and computer guidelines.
Rio Ryne is a great starting point for learning how to make Intricate SketchUp models. The channel has numerous videos on different spaces like interior shots, scenic terrains, exterior renders of homes, dramatic staircases, and more. While there is no voiceover or soothing music in all videos, the screen recording is easy to follow for people of all skill levels.
Adobe Photoshop has made it possible to create lifelike interior scenes even without using a 3D model as a base image. This is especially helpful for students who aren’t comfortable with different modeling and rendering programs and need a quick and easy way to add illustrations to a presentation. The video above shows how to create a glass corridor scene from scratch using Photoshop. In addition to photoshop tutorials, Surviving Architecture is a great channel for students looking for inspiration or guidance in the field of design.
Autodesk Revit often flies under the radar thanks to the popularity of SketchUp or 3ds Max. Designers should know that it is a great software to create 3D models with a detailed structural framework and material information. Balkan Architect is a great starting point for those who are new to the software. The channel has videos on everything from large models and complex structures to useful plugins and joint details. Furthermore, they also offer advanced tutorials and additional courses on their website.The winners of Architizer’s 3rd Annual One Rendering Challenge have been revealed! Interested in next year's program? Subscribe to our newsletter for updates.