Best 3D rendering software for your architectural project

There are many ways to present architectural projects to the client: starting from the hand graphic to videos and immersive presentations. As (unfortunately) not all of our clients can understand drawings and projections!


One of the most effective ways to do that is to use 3D visualization or rendering software. With this software we can show what the future flat/house/building will look like and this format is easy to understand. Here are some other benefits:

– Since you use the model for rendering, you can make many renderings from different points from one model

– There are multiple presentation materials that you can get from this software: pictures, pictures 360' (for 3D tours), videos, VR presentation files, AR presentation files

– You can use your model from BIM software for rendering, instead of creation from scratch


Also some architects and designers are still drawing in CAD solutions and create a separate model for visualization in professional software. Here are the main reasons why this approach is not the best one:

01. You need to remodel everything manually

02. It's hard to track changes


Modern BIM software (as Archicad) allows you to use your BIM model for rendering. We collected the best solutions where you can export your BIM project to create pictures, videos and more in case if you don't want to use built-in rendering tools.

Cinema 4D

Education version: Student, Teacher, School

Trial version: Free for 14 days

System: Win, Mac

Bonus: It has a direct export from Archicad

Cinema 4D is a professional and highly acclaimed high-end render engine that lets users quickly and easily create compelling renderings. Cinema4D has an advanced sculpting tool (for creases, buttons to upholstered furniture, pillows, etc.), a MoGraph toolset that quickly generates thousands of copies of objects, and a vast library of materials, scenes, and objects. It's also integrated with leading external render engines such as Indigo, iray, Maxwell Render, mental ray, Octane Render, and VRay. The latest version even allows you to turn photos from your iPhone or iPad into high‑quality 3D models and use Asset Browser that provides easy access to libraries of preset content stored locally or online.

Archicad has a build-in model export – so no add-ons are needed! All textures, lightning and cameras will be exported also!

👉 Read more: https://www.maxon.net/en/cinema-4d/features

👉 Try: https://www.maxon.net/en/try



Twinmotion

Education version: Student, Teacher, School

Trial version: Unlimited Unlimited time without commercial usage

System: Win, Mac

Bonus: Live connection Add-on for Archicad

Award-winning Twinmotion is a real-time 3D immersion software that produces high-quality images, panoramas, and standard or 360° VR videos in seconds. It is extremely easy to learn and use, regardless of the size and complexity of the project, the materials, the user’s IT knowledge or their preferred BIM modeler. Twinmotion also has a few exciting presentation features: you can save a .exe file that the client can use or you without any software installations and explore in VR and 360° pictures that you can use for 3D tours creation.

With the live connection Datasmith Exporter add-on, models are synchronized in real-time.

👉 Read more: https://www.twinmotion.com/en-US/features

👉 Try: twinmotion.com/en-US/license


Lumion

Education version: Student, Teacher, School

Trial version: Free for 14 days

System: Win

Bonus: Live connection Add-on for Archicad

Lumion is visualization software made for any architect or designer. It fits into your design process and allows you to create stunning images, videos, or 360° panoramas. Lumion has its own portal for 3D tours, and you can also embed these panoramas on your website. The latest version has a volumetric spotlight effect, 570 new library items, 65 new materials, and improved OpenStreetMaps import.

With LiveSync Add-on you can view and change your Archicad model in real-time in Lumion.

👉 Read more: https://lumion.com/specifications.html

👉 Try: https://lumion.com/free-trial.html


Enscape

Education version: Student, Teacher, School

Trial version: Free for 14 days

System: Win

Enscape is an add-on for BIM software that allows you to create real-time renders. It has all features of modern renders: picture renders, 360° panoramas, video creation, and VR. Enscape also has additional interesting pictures settings: Light view, Depth of field, White mode, and Ortho views that could be used for facade presentations. The Asset Library contains 2700 elements of vegetation, people, furniture, lighting, and other elements. Enscape has collaboration features and can share the project with anyone as a fully rendered .exe file or web standalone.

Enscape’s real-time rendering plugin integrates smoothly with Archicad so as not to disrupt the design workflow.

👉 Read more: https://enscape3d.com/features/

👉 Try: https://enscape3d.com/trial-14/


Rhino+Grasshopper

Education version: Student, Teacher, School

Trial version: Free for 90 days

System: Win, Mac

Bonus: Live connection Add-on for Archicad

It's not only a visualization tool. It can create, edit, analyze, document, render, animate, and translate NURBS curves, surfaces and solids, subdivision geometry (SubD), point clouds, and polygon meshes. Rhino has it's own render – Rhino Renderer, but also compatible with such renders as V-Ray, Octane Render, Bella and more.

You'll need a Rhino – Grasshopper – Archicad Toolset add-ons for model import and export.

👉 Read more: https://www.rhino3d.com/features/

👉 Try: https://www.rhino3d.com/download/



Afterword

Of course we didn't name all possible renders, but we picked the most optimal solutions which could save you enormous amount of time when you already have the model in your BIM software. All these rendering programs are different and have their own pros and cons and you can choose which is going to fit your design process better.

Also keep in mind that you can additionally use 3Ds Max export, Octane Render & Corona Renderer add-ons for Archicad or use the standard export to your favorite rendering software.

👉 Read more about 3Ds Max connection: https://community.graphisoft.com/

👉 Read more about Octane Render add-on for Archicad 23,24,25: https://render.otoy.com/

👉 Read more about Corona Renderer add-on for Archicad 23 (further development suspended): https://forum.corona-renderer.com/