5 Types Of Architectural Renderings You Can Use For Your Projects

Each project is unique and requires a certain type of architectural rendering. Learn what are the various architectural rendering types and how to choose between them

Denis Balabaev Vero

by Denis Balabaev

Art Director

Architectural rendering has come a long way over the years. Like almost everything else, there has been incredible progress in the quality and creativity that goes into the practice.

Consequently, with the different architectural rendering types that are now available, there has also been a scramble on the market to use the technology as a differentiating factor and gain a competitive edge.

Real estate developers want to get clients to buy into projects, quite literally. They need a compelling argument to communicate the potential of undertakings that aren’t quite fully done. Realtors need to somehow demonstrate the quality of their buildings, answer any questions potential clients might have, and put any doubts to rest.

Whatever the goal, architectural renderings offer advantages that are very beneficial. So what are the various architectural rendering examples? Let’s take a look at the rendering options available and what variation would best suit your project.

Types of Architectural Renderings

Depending on the nature of your project and your objectives, you will have to decide between exterior 3D visualization, interior rendering, or a combination of the two. While the names are pretty self-explanatory, it is important to understand what role they play, what specific benefits they bring, and what characteristics make them stand out. With a good understanding of the nature of these types of architectural renderings, you are more likely to pick the right options for different aspects of your projects, and get the best out of those options.


#1 Exterior 3D Visualization

Exterior 3D visualization, as the name would suggest, provides a view of your building or project from the outside. You can use this type of architectural renderings from various perspectives to convey different impressions of your structures.

For example, a bird’s eye view is a great way to show your building in its entirety. It allows you to display your building in its context and demonstrate how different elements might interact with your designs. You can show public infrastructure that might be relevant to your project, or just show the aesthetics of your design within its surroundings. You can also use street views, the worm’s eye view to show the building dominating your image, or close-ups of important details you may want to show.

We can split exterior 3D visualization further down into two branches: residential and non-residential.

  • Residential Exterior CGI

Residential exterior renderings are usually used to provide a first impression to the client. So you will most likely see them on posters, brochures, project websites, and different promotional materials.

However, the value of exterior CGI goes beyond just persuasion. Developers and architects can see certain technical aspects of the project beforehand. For example, the engineering implications of the terrain, or how light will affect the building – an extremely important consideration for tenants.

residential exterior rendering
Lindehof, Faro architecten
  • Non-Residential Exterior CGI

The same is true for commercial projects. Exterior CGI can produce the wow factor that impresses clients and convinces them that your project is worth investing in. And on the flipside, this architectural rendering type can also be used to manage expectations, to clearly communicate the vision with its advantages and technical limitations, to all the stakeholders involved.

Colors, materials, juxtaposition with other buildings, scale, and other aspects of construction projects that are hard to mentally visualize, can all be shown at a glance to all the parties involved so that everyone has a clear picture of what the end goal is.

commercial exterior rendering
Astoria district, ODA NY

#2 Interior Rendering

While external visualization shows off the structure with the architect’s vision, interior rendering shows the personality and character that can be given to the interior spaces of the structure. It is a great way to show a client what is possible, or to agree on an interior design with them. Like exterior CGI, it can also be used to streamline communication and ensure that everyone agrees on one established design before any work commences.

  • Residential Interior 3D Visualization

Floor plans and construction drawings don’t do a great job convincing clients that this really is their next home, or those in the hospitality industry that their project, once complete, will be attractive to guests. That level of nuance, the emotional response that comes from a cozy living space, can only be provided by well-crafted 3D interior visualization. Great visualizations enable you to depict living spaces with subtle details like light, with all its reflections and interactions with different objects in the rooms, and even furniture with different textures, designs and elements.

interior rendering example
Waldmarke Aachen project, Architekturbüro
  • Non-Residential Interior 3D Visualization

For commercial projects, 3D visualization is crucial to the marketing process in different phases of the project. Such architectural renderings can be used to portray measurements, provide scale and proportions, it can show lighting, different facilities in the building and help to influence the final purchase decision.

non-residential interior visualization
Mainfranken theater project, PFP Architekten

#3 CG 360 Panoramas

Computer Graphics (CG) panoramas bring all the benefits of architectural rendering but also an additional dimension of immersion. A client can experience – not just see – the building in a 3D world, not just two-dimensional pictures. CG 360 Panoramas offer the opportunity to pan around a scene and zoom into specific areas of interest.

cg panorama in architectural rendering
Wonderwoods,Stefano Boeri Architetti & MVSA

#4 3D Animation

3D animation in architecture is used to create a lifelike video of a project. Sometimes real footage is combined with computer-generated graphics to create truly stunning scenes. For instance, a 3D model of a building can be grafted into aerial footage of a city to show what a building will look like in context, once complete. Or the reverse can be done. Real videos of people can be inserted into computer-generated scenes to create a real-life atmosphere and show what interior spaces might be like.

#5 Virtual Tours

You can swap the monitor or screen for a VR headset and jump into the scene yourself, explore buildings, walk up to elements of interest and investigate the finer details. While animation is guided, showing the user what the architects want them to see, how, and in what order, virtual tours hand control to the viewer and allow them the freedom to literally explore the structure in a virtual space.

virtual tours in architectural rendering
Virtual tour for KAAP project, AMVEST

How to Choose the Right Architectural Rendering Type

With the technology available today, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to options for architectural rendering. What you choose will come down to your specific goals, the size of your project, and the resources available to you, and this includes time. Animations and virtual tours take a lot longer to plan and actualize. They consequently also have a higher price tag. But then again, they provide an experience that 2D renders simply cannot match. Your choice will inevitably be a balancing act between your resources, your needs and how far you are willing to go to impress your clients.

about the author

Denis Balabaev Vero

"Every project deserves a unique identity. Looking for it is the most exciting journey I can imagine"

Denis Balabaev is the Creative Director here at VERO, managing a team of 15 talented artists. This team is the heart of the company, a place where we create exciting hyper-realistic visualizations for architects and developers all over the... read more

3d visualization

real estate rendering

3D architectural visualization

3D architectural rendering

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