Design tools

Architectural Rendering Software Options in 2017

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Architecture, Design tools | Comments Off on Architectural Rendering Software Options in 2017

3D architectural rendering plays a vital role of endorsing and marketing architectural projects in the construction industry. It is one technique that is used to transform a 3D construction model into imagery that possesses photorealistic properties. Architectural renderings are used on a daily basis to present a general view of the plan design. This helps both clients and architects identify with the plan, in addition to seeing the necessary adjustments that need to be made; while also seeing the end-product before the building begins. This technique is highly popular in the field of architecture as it is used in demonstrating how a building will appear after the construction process.

Architectural rendering software comes in various price ranges, types, quality and features. The future of 3D architectural rendering is sure to see changes that will enhance and improve visual presentation through virtual enhancements. As new rendering software emerges, methods of presenting architectural plans are quickly changing. Businesses are now skipping certain aspects of conventional techniques in favor of employing the latest technology. Here are some of the most popular architectural rendering software options in 2017 used by designers, architects and artists.


VRay is currently considered the best 3D rendering engine. It has steadily risen to the top of architectural rendering software in the past few years. VRay has been developed by the Chaos Group and is praised for its massive collection of textures and unparalleled realism. This software is definitely for the savvy designer looking to restructure the most perfect natural colors, conditions, shadows and light themes.

While it can get a bit complicated for beginners as the interface is pretty complex, VRay has lots of online tutorials. Its versatility will surprise you as it is compatible as a plug-in with Cinema 4D, Sketch-up and Revit, among others. This renderer is not only popular with architects, but also artists. It is a great choice for product design, films and animation among other forms of applications.

Mental Ray

This rendering software works almost like VRay. Mental ray is considered to be easier to use compared to VRay. However, it doesn’t quite match its quality and level of convenience. Still, Mental Ray is a great choice and has undoubtedly earned its reputation as a top render engine. Developed by Mental Images, Mental Ray rendering software is mostly useful by architects because of its flexibility and ease of use. Mental Ray’s popularity stems from having lots of features that can be customized to deliver excellent architectural renderings. Besides, this render engine is a common choice for the design and film industries. In the right hands, Mental Ray works wonders.


Those who’ve had the chance to use Maxwell note that it is quite slow. However, if you are patient, this is render engine that can create some of the greatest renders that you’ve ever seen. If you use Maxwell, you’ll have first-hand experience as to why it’s so popular. Maxwell is a great addition for both architects and designers as it uses “unbiased rendering” (lighting engine) which uses real-life designing techniques.

Octane Render

Octane is not a big name in the world of visualization. Still, it indeed has a lot to offer architects and artists. This is the new guy in the block. Octane uses the power of your graphics card to stand out against the rendering giants, VRay and Mental Ray. For architects that possess high end graphics cards, this rendering engine will significantly trim down the time they spend rendering.


Modo is a comprehensive modeling and rendering engine. Modo stands out from the crowd due to its ability to render and model in the same app. You don’t have to switch between programs or wait for a middle man. Moreover, while most of the previous renderers have preview features, Modo is in reality the fastest of the group. Even with a partial amount of computing power, Modo lets you sample views with reasonable precision in less time compared to the previous rendering engines. This is a great product for architects as it works quickly. The only downside with Modo is that, it doesn’t have a lot of options. However, if you’re looking for a simple software that has the ability to do most important tasks and is reasonably priced, then Modo is worth checking out.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is not your average rendering software – it’s the total package. It offers designers and architects the power of having 3D architectural rendering features and showcasing quality in one nice package. From texture, to animations, to design, you can do virtually anything with Cinema 4D, that is if you take your time to dig deeper.

3DS Max

While not really the most acclaimed piece of architecture rendering software, no one can dispute that 3DS Max is a very popular modeling product. Those who’ve moved to more convenient render engines still use Max from time to time. 3DS Max is mostly preferred as it is compatible with Autodesk products such as Revit.


Photo-realistic 3D architectural rendering has been used all over the world among architects and artist. Architectural rendering software has indeed become widespread in the construction industry. They are not only popular marketing tools, but also aid in finding any design flaws before the building process begins.


Check out the quality results of VRay as an example of what’s possible for these kinds of software programs:

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