Architect: What You Should Know about Outsourcing 3D Rendering Service

Let’s talk today about 3D Rendering service and 3D Visualization service — what these terms are all about and any differences between them. And let’s apply such context since we’re going to be talking about architecture—our company’s main specialty — 3D Architectural Visualization.

If you’re not a 3D artist or haven’t worked with one, these terms may sound foreign to you. Perhaps the first thing that would come to your mind is the creation of architectural 3D images for property markets.

However, 3D Rendering service doesn’t work that way.

What is 3D Visualization service, and how exactly does it work?

In order for you to define 3D Rendering service, let me first describe what 3D Visualization service really is.

Architectural or anyΩ other 3D Visualization service is a service provided to a client by creating digital products called 3D visualizations, which represent any unbuilt property or building through the help of specialized computer software: 3DsMax, Lumion, etc… It could also be an animation or interactive application (i.e. video games).

Here are the steps needed to provide a 3D Visualization service, very simplified:

  1. The first step involves creating a 3D model of your product/building/object through the use of software specially designed for 3D modeling.
  2. A 3D model will appear as plain white without any textures, details, or colors.
  3. It is then followed by adding realistic lighting and other fine details.
  4. Afterward, adding the right textures and colors is done to give the model more emphasis. However, the result is still far from done.
  5. This is where the process of 3D rendering enters the scene. To finally clear your confusion, or perhaps a misconception between visualization and rendering, 3D rendering is actually a process involved in 3D visualization. It comes before the final process which is:
  6. Post-production.

The result of 3D Visualization service is a complete product in which the client could start using right away.

“ The 3D visualizations that we provide our construction workers give them a better understanding of the whole design,” explains Joan Peele, Development Manager at Seneca Realty Group. “Our builders are able to reconcile each step of their work, not simply by the 3D graphics, but the actual quality of the 3D rendering process put forth.”

Image by Faraday 3D

Image by Faraday 3D

What is a 3D Rendering service, and how exactly does it work?

So, let’s go back to Step 5—what exactly is 3D Rendering?

If you’ve ever made photographs and wanted to print them out later on a paper, then the process of photo printing could also be called rendering, or more common—printing.

Your printer knows exactly which color each pixel should be printed with because, in photo-file, your camera did such info written for every pixel.

And for the camera to write down such info for each pixel is almost an instant process as the camera is working with real light.

In the case of 3D Visualization Rendering, we’re working with a computer simulation of real light. And in this instance, calculation of information for each pixel is a real time-consuming process, furthermore, such a process is truly resource-dependent.

Let me provide you several examples…

Imagine you would like to get several images of your future property, which will be printed on billboards and you decided to save a budget.

You chose a cheap freelancer. Let’s assume that such a person has the needed skills, but doesn’t have a very powerful computer.

How could he afford to buy one if he is cheap and computers are not? :)

So, the project has started and you are very happy to have found this “great deal”. The cheap designer sends you sketches…you apply changes…a week has passed and you think the project is almost finished. Your last words are: “Ok, send me all images in large resolution, as I need to print them 6m by 4m for a billboard. I need them tomorrow.”

And you will get an answer like this: “Sorry, I can’t provide all of them by tomorrow. You ordered 5 images in that required resolution. To be printed for the billboard, I can only render one image on my single computer within one week’s time. Can you wait 5 more weeks to get all of the images?”

Miser pays twice…

What happened here? As I told you, the rendering process is really time and resource consuming. Having only one computer for rendering is not enough. Totally.

Even if you have 128GB RAM and a motherboard with 2 Xeon processors, such a configuration will be priced at least $5K. Do you think that cheap designer will be able to buy such a computer? And as I explained earlier, one computer is not enough. It’s better to have 10 of such computers at least.

What could be done to save such a situation? Read further…

Another example: imagine you need to have a video walkthrough (for your property advertising campaign) …let’s say, 3 minutes long. You could argue that a video has much lower resolution and in this case, rendering would be really fast. Indeed, full HD video resolution is 1920 x 1080px.

Ok, let’s imagine that such low-resolution image on a single (not really powerful) computer will take time to render, for about 1 hour…or let’s say 30 minutes.

And now, here’s the fun part. As you know, a single video is just a bunch of images shown to a viewer with a speed of 24 images(frames) per second. Sometimes, in a video you need to slow things down—which makes the speed up to 30 or even 40 frames per second.

If we have a 3 minute-long video that makes 180 seconds and the general speed is 24 images per second, we will need to render 4,320 images. Remember, rendering time per image is about 30 minutes.

You will be waiting 2,160 hours or 3 months for renderings to be completed…

Miser pays twice…

To prove the above calculations, try searching rendering time for Disney cartoons. Here is an example of Zootopia cartoon rendering time: just to save your research time, it took 2,075.34 years… no kidding…

How is that possible?

All of the above numbers are given if you only have one single computer. Now, imagine if you have thousands of them. Distribute rendering across 1,000+ computers and you will see numbers coming down to Earth.

But who could own so many computers? The answer is simple—dedicated companies that decided to specialize only in rendering and nothing more. Such companies are called online render farms.

So, they bought 1,000+ computers and share them for everybody who would love to use them, of course, not for free.

Online render farms will render your image with the help of a massive number of resources. This will help expedite the process and scale it down to just hours or days for larger projects.

Exterior 3d visualization by Faraday 3D

Exterior 3d visualization by Faraday 3D

How much will these renderings costs?

Estimating the amount you’ll have to pay for outsourcing your 3D rendering project is complicated due to the pricing model. However, you can use a Cost Estimation Calculator, which is offered by most online render farms to have a rough estimate of your total costs.

Remember—rough estimate. It’s not possible to predict exactly how much time and money it will take to render an image. So always multiply the given number by 2. This way, you will be saved.

One important factor that can impact how much you need to pay is the quality of your desired output… and I’m not talking about resolution. In this situation, quality means the more photo-real an image is, the higher quality it has.

Higher the quality, the more you pay for rendering.

So, in the case of your cheap freelancer, in the end, you will be asked to pay for rendering and sometimes the price for rendering could be much higher than you paid to the freelancer to make the project.

For example, we had projects with the price for rendering up to $15,000. Not very cheap, is it?

Many leading North American and international home builders and developers such as Taylor Wimpey, Pulte Homes and Intracorp, have streamlined their employees’ workflow process and leveraged onshore/offshore clients, simply by recognizing the benefits of choosing the right 3D studio in their expansion—and you can too!

Now that you have insight on what 3D Rendering service is, make sure you only pick reliable 3D Visualization service providers to have your 3D project rendered 100% and within the budget.

Exterior 3d visualization by Faraday 3D

Exterior 3d visualization by Faraday 3D

What does it mean to outsource 3d rendering?

Lots of different kinds of people use rendering services. Whether you’re an architect, interior designer, or real estate agent, it is incredibly useful to visualize the spaces you are working on before they are actualized. However, most firms do not have the resources to hire a full time employee for their in-house team to fulfill their rendering needs. Not only is this a financial burden on the company due to taxes, salaries, and benefits, but 3d renderings require vast quantities of computer power that individual firms do not have access to. Outsourcing is when a design company asks a rendering company to make renderings for them so they don’t have to hire an employee and buy all the equipment themselves.

Why more and more designers are outsourcing their renderings

If your company does not have the budget to hire another employee and equip them with all the necessary tools to produce high quality renderings, outsourcing becomes a more viable option. One rendering company will have an entire well-oiled team devoted to creating first-rate architectural renderings. They’ll have all the right equipment and software and talent needed to do the job efficiently, and they can take on multiple jobs at once so they don’t rely on you the way an employee does. They may even have ongoing relationships with the rendering farms mentioned earlier, which can drastically reduce rendering time and price.

It’s always a good idea to hire experts for technical jobs like this. In the case of outsourcing 3d rendering, it’s even more important that they have all the proper tools and bandwidth available to them due to the massive timescale they are operating on. Outsourcing to professionals is the best time and cost saving option for most firms.

The high price of details

It is generally considered best practice in 3d architectural rendering to produce work that is highly detailed. The more details you include, the more realistic the final outcome will be. But these fine details come at a price. 3d renderings contain a huge amount of data already, and the more layers you add the larger the files become. It takes immense time and skill to accurately place all of these details and make sure they are as life-like as possible. As a result, 3d renderings are often quite expensive

You don’t want to have to sacrifice detail, even if you are running on a tight deadline or a limited budget. When you outsource to professionals, you get to take advantage of their high-speed computers and honed skills. They’ll know how to pack as much detail as they can into their work, and you’ll get high quality services in a fraction of the time it takes for your in-house employee to produce renderings on their laptop. The right designer will know how to tailor their services to your needs without compromising the realism of the final images.

Preparation is key to reducing rendering times

Since rendering companies deal with such large volumes of data, it is absolutely essential that all client requirements are made clear from the start. Making adjustments in the middle of the process can mess up the flow of the project and force the technician to start over, which adds to time and cost. Remember that the people who create the renderings are not the designers. It’s not their job to decide which textures and patterns go on which surfaces. Their job is to bring your ideas to life, so make sure that you have a clear design idea before you send it off for rendering. If you’ve done a good job explaining your vision, the 3d renderings should only undergo one or two revisions before they are completed. When you receive the first draft, give explicit and complete feedback so that the team can make adjustments. The rendering team and your clients will thank you for it.

Selecting the best rendering companies to outsource to

Finding a team you trust with your projects is no small feat. The company you choose will depend heavily on your budget, needs, and time constraints. Make sure you do your research into the different rendering services and studios available to you before you select one. Look through their portfolio to determine whether or not you like their style and standard. It is also advisable to reach out to several firms to see if they are able to take on your project at this time. Get in touch with the sales team to discuss your requirements and ask about pricing. Building a relationship can make it easier to outsource your 3d rendering projects in the future. If they aren’t willing to meet up and talk, you may be dealing with a fraudulent company. Additionally, be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. High value work will have a price tag to match.

Which projects are best for outsourcing?

You can outsource all sorts of different rendering projects. Anything you want to visualize, you can outsource. There are a few cases where outsourcing 3d rendering is especially useful.

  1. You are in a time crunch: If you have to finish a project sooner than expected, or you have a client that wants to see your ideas in context before proceeding, it’s usually best to get professionals on the job as soon as possible. Understand, of course, that even the best rendering services have limitations on the time it takes to render your images. Ask up front if they can meet your deadlines and work with them to negotiate deals.
  2. You have a particularly heavy flow of projects at the moment: If you have more projects than your team can manage, it’s probably time to look outside your company for support. 3d rendering companies can usually take on multiple projects at once and still save time and money in the process.
  3. Your project is too big for your team or equipment: If you have a particularly large and detailed project, you may want to utilize the resources of a professional rendering team. They will have the rendering capacity to handle such large projects without sacrificing realism.

Check out these articles too:

Computing the average 3d rendering cost for 3D architectural visualization
The Best Architectural Rendering Companies You Can Find Online

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