Much like any other profession these days, architecture and design have gone digital, too. And an architect or designer won’t be able to complete a task without the help of rendering software. But what is a rendering software, precisely?

What Is a Rendering Software?

A rendering software makes the creation of three-dimensional (3D) models that can be placed in 3D environments or images possible. The program allows architects, graphic and interior designers, and media developers to embed 3D objects and characters they made using modeling applications into the appropriate settings.

Rendering software includes animation tools or can be integrated into animation software to bring scenes to life. You can then use the creations in video games, movies, television shows, or other visual media.

Some rendering software also has lighting and texturing features that can add depth and realism to scenes. Practically all visual artists in fields like entertainment, automotive, architecture, advertising, and web design use the programs to create lifelike scenes.

You can think of rendering software, therefore, as an artist’s pen. But instead of creating one-dimensional characters or objects, the program makes them more lifelike not just in appearance but also by giving them the ability to move.

Rendering software is the primary tool used in 3D architectural visualization, which offers benefits that include producing high-end imagery, accommodating changes in projects instantly, and immersing clients in their imagined space.

How Do Rendering Software Work?

A rendering software requires a completed wireframe model (i.e., a 3D visual representation of an object) to work. You need to input the wireframe model file stored in your computer on the application. The software then converts the 3D wireframe model into two-dimensional (2D) images that look as close to reality as possible. These 2D images are then put together to make a 3D copy.

Rendering can take seconds, minutes, hours, or days, depending on how complicated or big an image is. 

A rendering software must:

  • Have tools for rendering and manipulating 3D environments
  • Have features like lighting, texturing, and wind effects to bring settings to life
  • Let users insert 3D models, objects, and characters into renderings
  • Generate rendered images that other users can explore or use in various media or websites

The Future of the Rendering Software Industry

Remember award-winning films like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy? These and many more movies these days, especially those that require people to fly and do other superhuman stuff, no longer need elaborate sets to make your favorite Marvel or DC superheroes or action idols come to life. All they need now are wires and grips (and great acting, of course) and rendering software.

A search for the best rendering software on any browser would give you results naming between nine and 15 programs per post. That is a likely indicator of the growth we can expect from the industry in the years to come.

Various research firms put the expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the rendering software market at 20%, at least between 2020 and 2026. Global Market Insights predicts that the market’s value will reach US$9 billion by 2026. That said, today’s leading brands, which include Octane Render, Autodesk Revit, and Cinema 4D, among many others, have a bright future to look forward to.

Given the expected rendering software market growth, we’re bound to see more 3D websites, animated films, and other media on platforms we can no longer live without—our smartphones, laptops, tablets, Internet TVs, and more.