Picture of Vladimir Lakic
Vladimir Lakic
Art Director @kaiserbold

What They Never Tell You About 3D Renderings

The concept of 3D rendering is no longer reserved just for the graphic design industry. The technology has elevated itself beyond its initial home and became an important part of healthcare, gaming, movie, architecture, and many other industries. 

3D rendering has been around in the commercial sector for quite a while. The amazing thing is that the industry’s still experiencing attention-worthy growth.

According to Global Market Insights’ report, the 3D rendering market is currently valued at $ 2,4 billion. Grand View Research, Inc. study predicts that this number will continue to rise and that the global visualization and 3D rendering market size will be valued at $5.63 billion by the end of 2025.

This means three things:

  1. People are more interested than ever in paying top dollar for quality 3D renders
  2. Business will continue to pour money into 3D imagery in the foreseeable future
  3. As a 3D artist, you can make that Kanye money if you roll up your sleeves and grind like a boss every day

Even though this sounds like everything is magical in the world of 3D viz, there are things you don’t know. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

Providing 3D Rendering Services is Not That Fancy

Yes, people have interest in buying 3D solutions.

However, speaking from experience, the overall process includes ideation, defining project scope, agreeing upon the deliverables and deadlines, and then executing the brief… 

Well, let’s just say that, if we’re not on
the same page with the client, it’s as smooth as your grandad’s old shaving razor from the army.

Education is still a major factor here.

New buyers need to understand more than what’s written on Wikipedia when it comes to conceptualizing and buying 3D renders. They get that 3D viz is a powerful asset for business growth, but their
understanding of how 3D art is made is not always in line with reality.

Since we at Kaiserbold take pride in being the non-BS voice of reason in our field of expertise, we have decided to open up Pandora’s box and let all the havoc of buying 3D renderings out.

Before we get into specifics, let us first get the basics out of the way and agree on
what 3D rendering really is.

We need to get our chickens and eggs in order before we start thinking about making an omelet. This is probably not the best analogy if you’re a vegan but bear with us.

3D Renders Explained in a Way a Four Year Old Gets It

If you were to ask a regular person what 3D renders are, they’d probably tell you something like – “yeah, they are the computerized fake photos of buildings and stuff, but they look super real”.

And they wouldn’t be wrong. Thank you, everyday person, for telling it like it is.

In a slightly more posh way, we could say that 3D rendering is the process of turning information from a 3D model into a 2D image. That image (or a 3D render) has been given the right amount of shadow, lighting, and textures as well; so it has all the necessary elements that make it as convincing as possible.

Depending on the usage, a 3D render is supposed to replace real photography or even
take it to another level

Every 3D rendered image is created in the same way.
We start with 3D modeling (so, we’re creating a 3D digital representation of any object or surface), then we focus on setting up materials and lighting, all the tiny details, and finally – we let the computer render the image.

After that comes post-production. That’s when we fine-tune the image, emphasize shadows and highlights, sometimes add cutout people, greenery, cars, objects, etc. Once we feel confident about the quality of the image, we send it to the client for a review. After that, we go back to refine our work according to feedback.
Rinse and repeat.

The cycle takes us from building a digital model to generating the actual image and putting some finer touches to it to
make it pop.

So, now that we got that out of the way, let’s break some rotten eggs:

#1 Technical Skills Cannot Compensate for the Lack of Vision

Until recently, creating photorealistic 3D renders was something that only a handful of super dedicated and passionate artists could do. Today, things look a lot different. With so many tools, templates, assets, and tutorials available, the technical side of 3D visualization has become more accessible than ever. 

If we quickly look back at the statistics we singled out in this article, the numbers will justify our claims. However, the
rise of technically-equipped people to do 3D renders doesn’t necessarily drive the industry forward.

Every commercial
3D render has the same job – to excite, impress, and “push” the viewer towards buying something. They are there to serve as photorealistic images that replace the logistics nightmare of organizing the actual photoshoot or very often – they visualize things that still don’t exist in the real world. 

The focus is on realism, even when we’re talking about stuff like video games and movies. Yes, everyone knows that Tony Stark’s suit in Iron Man is not real, but the way the visuals are constructed actually makes us buy into the fantasy. We feel like his flight in the armor is actually happening.

And that’s the goal – to make the illusion feel real

To do that, the render
must be more than a computer-generated image. It needs to have sufficient details and context that will sell the fantasy to the consumer.

The world is not perfect and perfection, in this particular sense, doesn’t provoke emotion.
The emotion comes from the artist. The artist is the one who understands the overall feeling the client is aiming for. He or she knows what elements are needed to make the image memorable, to make it work.

In architectural visualization, the smallest things are the ones that add the dash of magic. The right type of prop on the furniture, the right color of the sky on the render of a cozy wood cabin. These things come from the artist’s imagination,
not a computer.

So, learning the ins and outs of a particular 3D modeling software is just a starting point for everyone interested in this field. To actually
become a successful 3D viz artist, you need to have the imagination to fuel your technical skills.

Without that, the magic won’t happen.

#2 3D Imagery Needs to be Aligned With the Consumer’s Needs

If you’re a 3D artist or someone who’s looking to meet specific business goals through 3D art, then you’re probably aware that there’s no such thing as “it took us 5 minutes and the first idea was the winning one” success story.

Every 3D render is a complex composition, full of a lot of tiny elements that need to come together to create a truly photorealistic and successful image. Renders that support specific business goals demand a lot of prep work. Especially from the client itself.

Dumping the entire project on the artist with a “make it pretty” brief is always a
recipe for disaster.

One of the most important elements is definitely understanding the target audience. You must bear in mind the end consumer. If the client doesn’t understand the people for whom this image is made and why the artist can’t really do anything to help the image work.

Regardless of how nice the image ends up looking, if it doesn’t speak the audience’s language, it instantly becomes useless.

That’s why
we at Kaiserbold spend a lot of time working on the concept with our customers. We gather a lot of information upfront before we start working on the actual image. The goal is not to take someone’s money (although we don’t mind the $$$), but to help them get what they want and provide the right value for the people they’re building renders for.

#3 The Last 5% is Always the Hardest Part of the Process

Because of the way technology has advanced, it’s a lot easier to achieve a certain level of photorealism compared to, let’s say, ten years ago when we at Kaiserbold first entered the industry. As we already mentioned, basically anyone with internet access can now watch tutorials, buy affordable software, and download different 3D models and assets.

Achieving photorealism is not that far-fetched for an average bloke anymore.

BUT (you were sensing there’s a “but” coming, didn’t you?) just because the resources are available to everyone doesn’t mean that everyone is making the most of them. Building expertise takes time.

You’d be surprised how many CGI studios produce low-quality or mediocre renders because they don’t commit to continuous learning. It’s easy to fall into a skill rot and get left behind in an industry that’s so fast-paced. In addition, some 3D artists have no artistic sense whatsoever. It’s kind of like marketing yourself as a sales professional when all you did was hold a garage sale for your grandma.

Without any doubt, the 3D market is
getting pretty crowded with freelancers and CGI studios. Thanks to the law of supply and demand, there are some nasty consequences. Service prices are plummeting as small fish and underdogs try to stay competitive. This makes certain types of clients squint their eyes and question the true value of 3D renders.

Well, we don’t give a rat’s ass about doubting Thomases.
In our case, we’re not cheap, but we’re also not at the level of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers when negotiating deals.

Our prices are reasonable, and they match both the quality of our renders and our service delivery.

The thing we do differently from most of the CGI studios is in what we like to call
“the last 5%”. It’s something that they don’t pay much attention to, and it directly correlates to one of the biggest truths in the CGI industry:

The devil’s in the details.

The 5% refers to
the tiniest possible details that make the image go from simple visualization of a certain object or environment – to an actual image powerful enough to trigger an emotional response. We invest a lot of time into these details. It’s something that we account for from the beginning because we know for a fact that they will be the backbone of the WOW effect.

Very often, clients just
cannot put their finger on it and identify what makes the more expensive 3D render better than, the cheaper ones. Well, now you know. This is what makes all the difference. The atmosphere, the realistic textures, lighting, and shadows. This is why you’re paying more.

If the emotional layer is missing, if you’re aiming for just “
good enough” when it comes to photorealism, your 3D render is not likely to get noticed or help you drive sales. People will just scroll past it. 

This level of quality is not that easy to find precisely because
it takes years of practice and experience to develop that artistic sense for renders.

If You’re Looking for 3D Rendering Services, Look No More

Now, you’ve probably noticed there’s a common thread stretched across all these points – education and expectations are not often on the same level and that causes unnecessary problems. To move forward as an industry and continue to serve the end-consumer with attention-worthy content, we need to think beyond lazy solutions.

We need to invest time in developing 3D art that sends the right emotion to the right consumer at the right time, and not just computer-generated images that are less expensive than studio photography. 

If you want your 3D renders to inspire, excite and convert, instead of just “looking nice” –
drop us a message.

Until then, we’ll leave you with some fine words by Red Adair, an American oil well firefighter:

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Amen to that.


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