In the past, designers, builders, and contractors commissioned photorealistic renderings to communicate their vision to clients. Or, they could invest in expensive, complex 3D modeling software and create their own renderings.
Both options made it hard to create personalized proposals, generate design variations, or incorporate client feedback in real-time.
Today, 3D photorealistic rendering software has become more affordable and accessible. It's changed the game for home builders , designers , and architects , allowing them to present ideas in a tangible way.
Below, we’ll look at key benefits and use cases, then walk you through the process of creating your own photorealistic rendering with Cedreo.
What is Photorealistic Rendering?
Photorealistic rendering is a type of 3D rendering that uses software to generate life-like images that look similar to a photograph — complete with the right lighting, shadows, angles, and more.
Architects, designers, builders, and real estate professionals use photorealistic renderings to show how a project will look before any physical work begins.
Interior designers might use photorealistic renderings to show furniture and decorative elements in real environments, giving clients multiple options before they make any big decisions.
Renderings can also be used as a marketing and sales tool, ideal for creating an emotional connection with clients, and by product designers to create mockups or prototypes.
Who Uses Photorealistic Renders?
3D photorealistic rendering is used by a wide range of professionals, from builders and remodelers to interior designers and architects.
Here’s a quick look at how different professions might use rendering software on the job:
- Home Builders & Remodelers. 3D rendering software allows home builders and remodeling contractors to generate designs without advanced technical skills. This ensures that clients get a clear picture of a proposed design before work begins. You can also update floor plans to incorporate client feedback, add furnishings, and adjust measurements and scale.
- Architects. Architects use photorealistic renderings in a variety of ways — to sell their services, show clients their proposed designs, and even enter their ideas into design competitions. Again, photorealistic renderings make it easy to collaborate with clients and incorporate their feedback, ensuring they’re satisfied with the final result.
- Interior Designers. Interior designers use photorealistic renders to share ideas with clients and promote their work. Using interior design software like Cedreo allows designers to present multiple options that cater to different budgets or design styles. Additionally, designers can involve clients in the design process, incorporating feedback in real-time and finalizing decisions in the moment.
- Real Estate Professionals. Real estate agents can use photorealistic renderings in blog posts, on social media platforms, and on their websites to build a stronger connection with potential clients and boost sales. On the development side, renderings can be used to test the market before construction begins. That way, companies won’t waste money building units they can’t fill.
Types of Photorealistic Renders Used By Home Builders and Remodelers
Builders and remodelers can use photorealistic renders to ground their visions in reality — in a way that blueprints and specs can’t.
A few examples:
Interior design renders
Interior renderings are used to communicate every aspect of a design — from room layout and furnishings to wall textures and lighting.
Home builders and remodelers might use interior renderings to show clients how that basement redesign or garage apartment looks from the inside. Clients can see the design from all angles, as though they were inside the room.
Exterior home design renders
Exterior renderings represent the outside of a building or home — including front, back, and side views. They might also include surrounding buildings and plants to give viewers a better idea of how the structure fits in with the rest of the neighborhood.
Landscape design renders
Photorealistic renderings can be used for outdoor projects as well. Remodelers might use them to show how a new deck or a pool installation could impact the backyard design. Landscapers might use them to show clients plans for a new drought-resistant garden and work collaboratively with customers to decide what kinds of plants to include.
Renders with custom lighting and sun orientation
The ability to customize the lighting and sun orientation is key in building an emotional connection with clients. If you’re using Cedreo, you can adjust light, shadows, and sun position. This allows you to bring a project to life, helping clients envision having a holiday dinner in their new space or relaxing poolside on a hot summer day.
Benefits of Photorealistic Renderings
Photorealistic renderings offer several benefits to design pros and clients alike.
Here are some of the big ones:
Photorealistic renders help clients visualize the finished project
Photorealistic renderings enable clients to understand your design intentions right away — long before construction begins. Clients and stakeholders can view property from different angles, test-drive different surfaces and furnishings, and experiment with the lighting.
Photorealistic renders support real-time feedback and updates
3D renders help clients understand what proposed designs will look like in different light, sun orientation, and from different angles. They also bring problems to the surface early on, and ensure everyone involved is on the same page and gets a chance to offer feedback.
When you meet with clients, photorealistic rendering software makes it easy to capture feedback and incorporate it in real-time, increasing the chances the customer loves the final result.
Photorealistic renders are a powerful sales tool
No matter what you're selling, customers buy based on emotion. Photorealistic renderings are a really effective tool for connecting with client emotions and building trust.
Contractors can show prospects what their dream renovation will look like in real life, from all angles and during different times of day. Marketing teams can use photorealistic renders in email and social media campaigns, website content, and brand portfolios to attract new clients.
Renderings also have a positive impact on client presentations . Decision-makers can test different options, and design pros can incorporate feedback in real-time.
How to Generate a Photorealistic Rendering in Minutes
While there are many different types of software you can use to create your own photorealistic renderings, each comes with its own set of features — which may or may not align with your target use case.
Below, we’ll explain how to create a photorealistic 3D rendering in Cedreo with just eight simple steps.
Step #1. Choose an interior atmosphere
First, you’ll want to select “Furnishings” from the top navigation and select “Atmosphere” from the menu on the left.
Then, choose from one of the following categories: Nordic, Contemporary, or Charming to view all furniture, decor, and building materials that fit within that general “mood.”
From there, you can select furniture, flooring, and decor. Or, you can skip straight to step two and hand-pick furnishings from any collection.
Watch the tutorial " How to facilitate your Interior Design in Cedreo "
Step #2. Add and customize furnishings
Cedreo’s 3D home decorating library contains over 7,000 pieces of home decor, furniture, building materials, and more. Access the catalog from the “Furnishings” menu and choose a “Pack” based on the room you’re decorating.
In the example below, you’ll notice we’re working on the living room. So, in this case, you might select a couch, a TV stand, and a few accent chairs.
Watch the tutorial " How to add a Furniture in Cedreo "
You can reposition each item by dragging it with your mouse and dropping it in place. You can also change the dimensions by clicking a piece of furniture and using the menu on the right to customize the size.
Step #3. Customize exterior surface materials
Once you’re happy with the interior decor, you’ll want to head outside to customize the exterior surface materials.
Select “Materials” from the top navigation bar, then click on the type of material you’d like to add — covering, cladding, siding, bricks, etc.
Watch the tutorial " How to Apply a Material "
Click the parts of the house where you’d like to apply the material. For example, you might opt to apply one material to the entire roof, but choose to do some parts of the house in brick and others in siding.
Once you’ve selected the materials you’d like to use, you can change the colors and dimensions — for example, resize the shingles or bricks.
Step #4. Add exterior elements
To add exterior elements, you’ll open up the home decor library once again, then select an “outdoor” category — Garden & Deck, Sport & Hobby, or Vegetation.
Here, you can add plants, outdoor furniture, pools, and more.
Step #5. Choose sun orientation and lighting
The next step is setting your sun orientation and lighting. Select “HD Visual” from the top menu, then choose a background environment from the menu on the right.
Watch the tutorial " How to Choose your Rendering Environment in Cedreo "
From there, you can adjust the sun orientation manually (some backgrounds only come with this option) using your mouse to adjust the latitude and longitude axes based on how much natural light you’d like to bring into the room or what time of day you’d like to use as a backdrop.
For example, you might select the “Sunset” setting from the menu on the right, then turn on both interior and exterior lights to create a more intimate setting.
This allows you to connect with clients emotions — they might envision themselves hosting a small backyard gathering or having a romantic dinner.
Step #6: Save camera viewpoints
Saving camera viewpoints allows you to try out different layouts or building materials without having to create a new rendering or reposition the camera. This allows you to show clients a few different ideas for interior and exterior designs without wasting their time.
To save a viewpoint, select “HD Visual” from the top menu and select camera type. Then, select a viewpoint from the options featured in the menu on the right. To customize the camera position, click the viewpoint tab and use your mouse to change the angle, zoom in, or zoom out. Save your work by clicking “save current viewpoint.”
Step #7: Generate HD rendering with a single click
Cedreo allows you to generate a photorealistic rendering in just one click. Navigate to the “HD Visual” menu and select “ask for a rendering.”
All renderings can be found in the gallery and can be used as templates for future projects.
Step #8: Share renderings with your team and clients
Finally, you can share rendering with your team and clients. Enterprise subscribers can share files from directly inside the Cedreo dashboard. All users can download plans as a PDF or JPG and share it via email, text, or chat.
Use Photorealistic Renderings to Close More Deals
As you can see, photorealistic 3D renderings are powerful tools that help builders, remodelers, and design pros present their ideas to clients, promote their business, and close more deals.