Building & Renovating

5 Reasons Why Designers Make 3D Drawings Of Your Home

3D drawings can give you a better idea of what your home will look like. (And check out these hyper-realistic 3D renderings, too!)

Photography: Illustrations by Paul Angelo Montesines

Almost everyone encounters 3D (three-dimensional) computer-rendered drawings without realizing it—you’ll see it mostly in real estate developers’ brochures, or in a video showing the latest model units.

But first, what exactly is a 3D rendering? In the analog days from about twenty years ago, designers illustrated their perspectives of interiors, homes, and buildings by hand, using ink, felt-tipped pens, watercolor, or a combination of all three (see above left). It was a time-consuming process, and if you made an error, you’d have to start from scratch. Though some designers and most students still use the mano-mano method (and with beautiful results), many design professionals have moved on to the 3D method (righthand image) using various software like Autodesk 3D Studio Max, Sketch-up, and more.

“Rendering is simply the process of creating an image from a model by means of software,” explains Paul Angelo Montesines, a design consultant who created the 3D renderings of interiors here. “It is a creative process that is similar to photography…but unlike regular photography, the scenes created are imaginary, and everything appearing in the rendering needs to be created (or re-created) in the computer."

And 3D drawings aren’t just for big real estate developers. In fact, even the owner of a studio condo unit can benefit greatly from seeing 3D drawings from his designer showing how he will fit all his storage in one room.  These drawings also encourage the homeowner to participate in the design process of his or her home. Here are five reasons why designers make 3D drawings and how these can help you envision your dream home: 

1. It communicates a design and concept faster than 2D drawings.

For the general layperson, trying to decipher a floor plan and sectional elevation in its two-dimensional state with all its cutting lines, dimensions, window lines, and other elements can be a bit overwhelming. “Through 2D drawings, it’s never really easy to understand how the design really looks,” says Paul. “When clients see 3D-rendered images, they are able to comprehend how it all looks and works for them.” A perspective or 3D rendering shows the space in all its final glory—after the furnishing or renovation—in an almost-lifelike way.

2. It immediately shows the designer’s vision for your home.


Aside from mood boards or material boards (though these are still important), a 3D rendering cuts to the chase and fully shows the visual concept of your home’s interiors. Colors, styles, materials, furniture choices, and design details are all communicated clearly.

“Client satisfaction is vital in any business, including interior design companies,” explains Paul. “3D Interior rendering helps the client to get a picture as to what the final design will look like.”

3. It saves time and costly revisions.

“3D visualizations enable you to identify the flaws and loopholes in design well in advance of the construction process,” says Paul. “Reducing the amount of changes before construction can help save time and money. The accuracy and ease of revising a design ensures that rework costs are reduced substantially.”

4. It illustrates solutions to tricky design situations.

Tight spaces, awkward columns, built-in storage, and tricky wall-to-ceiling terminations and connections can all be illustrated clearly in a 3D rendering, and designers can show these to the contractor so that it would be easier for them to visualize an unusual interior treatment or fit-out.

5. It can show how the design will look in various situations.

“Lighting is a critical part of the rendering process,” says Paul. “The goals for 3D lighting is the same as in the real world: you need to properly illuminate the scene or subject in the best possible way.”

A special lighting design effect (like cove lighting, or indirect lighting underneath a table or bed) or how a room will look in the morning compared to the evening is easily demonstrated in a 3D rendering. Aside from lighting, 3D rendering can easily illustrate a space with a partition that opens to the outdoors or to another room.

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