What Is 3D Rendering?

People come into contact with 3D rendered images every day. Whether you’re watching animated cartoons, flipping through a magazine, viewing billboards on your morning commute, or scrolling through social media on your phone, 3D rendered images are an important form of visual content for marketers, advertisers, and content producers.

But the simple beauty of these photorealistic images can hide the artistry and complexity of creating detailed, photorealistic content. Here’s a look at the 3D rendering process behind these dynamic images.

What is 3D Rendering? 

Behind every photorealistic image is a rendering process that includes a series of steps that starts with 3D modeling and ends with a 2D image that simulates a photograph. Because of the complex nature of the 3D rendering process, this type of content has traditionally been restricted to large agencies with the software and resources required to create it.

In recent years, however, the required software and tools have improved and become more widely available. Now, organizations are able to create striking, photorealistic 3D rendered images that fit within their content marketing budget.

3D Rendering
Inside the 3D Rendering Process

Creating a three-dimensional image or model on a two-dimensional surface requires a combination of strategy, software, and artistry. The process involves a number of stages of development. These stages include:

  • 3D modeling: To create realistic 3D rendered images, specialized software is used to create a digital model of the scene being rendered.

  • Lighting: This stage of rendering involves the use of software algorithms to simulate professional lighting to help bring the scene to life. Lighting effects are created within the 3D modeling software to enhance the photorealism of the image.

  • Texturing: This process involves texture mapping and gathering color information from surfaces in the 3D model. Texturing allows a more realistic rendering of the scene.

  • Rendering: The process of designing and editing a 3D model eventually leads to the actual act of rendering the image. In this stage, the 3D modeling software converts the model into a high-resolution, photorealistic image that can then be incorporated into a wide range of visual content.

  • Refining: After the rendering is complete, additional editing is needed to fine-tune the appearance of the image. This can include a combination of lighting, texturing, or other editing processes, providing a polish to the image that meets and exceeds the client’s expectations.

After the rendered image has been refined and deemed complete, the 3D image can be delivered to the client.

Photorealistic 2D

How 3D Rendering is Used in the Real World 

Because a virtual product image is capable of communicating rich, complex visual information, it’s become a valued type of content across a range of disciplines. While it’s widely used in TV production, filmmaking, video game development, and other types of entertainment, 3D rendering is a popular method of showcasing products, properties, new inventions, and proposed engineering projects.

In fields like architecture and automotive design, it’s often more cost-effective to create 3D rendered images than to design, create, ship, and assemble real-life working models of projects and blueprints. Similarly, engineers across many different specialties use 3D rendering to create technical illustrations of proposed projects.

Furthermore, 3D rendering also supports product prototyping, medical imaging, and aeronautics, and it has taken on an important role in developing and showcasing virtual reality experiences. As VR gains in popularity, the demand for broader access to visualization platforms is sure to follow suit.

Lastly, in e-commerce, where product imagery is now an absolute standard, virtual product photography is replacing real product photography without the end consumer noticing any differences. 


While the complexity of 3D rendering may sometimes go unnoticed, this lack of visibility is a credit to the high-quality rendering of those projects, creating photorealistic images that serve their intended audience.

If your company faces the struggle of communicating complex visual information in a clear, beautiful, and cost-effective way, consider a visualization platform that offers 3D rendered image features as a way to showcase your product's beauty and capabilities while creating a better customer experience. 

Article Categories: Industry Trends, Immersive Commerce, Virtual Product Photography, 3D Rendering

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