Engineering blog
04 Jul 2018

Difference Between Photorealistic and Non-Photorealistic Rendering

Gone are the days when architects and interior designers would spend days together to build 2D sketches and 3D models to represent them to the customer.

Then it would take multiple hours of deliberations where the client would try to understand what the final product would look it.

Well, technological advancement took over the cumbersome procedure and designers and interior designers stared using rendering techniques to develop lifelike products with their artistic skills and rendering software.

3D Rendering has evolved and today graphic designers use two techniques, namely Photorealistic rendering, and Non-Photo-realistic rendering.

What is Photo-Realistic rendering?

A 3d modeling and photorealistic rendering of a project is developed in software. This 3D model is then imaged after creating the right texture, lighting, and shadows to make the images look very natural.

So, effectively, photorealistic rendering architecture is the art of developing real-life images of the projects created by 3D visualization.

With photorealism, graphic designers have access to the right set of tools. A design is a photo doubled to create a life-like image. How to achieve photorealistic rendering requires some strategies and techniques.

Techniques of Photorealistic Rendering

  • Using the  right light:

    Photorealistic rendering is highly driven by the real lights that create the actual shapes and textures when the 3D design is photographed.

  • A Shader:

    Shader is a complicated element of photorealistic rendering. To overshadow the complications, lights, shadows, and textures can be used rightly.

  • Render Elements:

    Elements like reflections and wire color are among the list of elements that makes photorealistic images look closer to life-like images.

  • Right scaling:

    It is very important to use the rightly scaled elements in the image. If the objects are not rightly scaled, even the best lights and shadows will not make a life-like image.

The photorealistic rendering finds its use in multiple industries like real-estate, interior design, augmented reality and scientific discoveries.

What is Non-photorealistic rendering?

Developing software that would facilitate the creation of an object about which the designer also did not have an idea.

Without the knowledge of height, texture and other parameters, creating objects out of thin air is the art of non-photorealistic rendering.

It comes as a new avenue of computer graphics using which the artists can create lifelike projects based on animation, painting, and drawing.

In photorealistic rendering, the pixels are imaged as compared to non-photorealistic rendering where the line art, outlining, shading, distortions and other techniques are used.

Photorealism is more about pixel imaging the 3D projects but it does not allow the cartoon artists or gaming character artists to create life-like characters.

Non-photorealistic rendering is a new genre of software technology that allows artists to convert different art forms into life-like characters.

The artists require the support of software techniques to convert their imaginative skills into actual objects. It is finding its use in Comics, animation and commercial products. 

Gaming, cartoon and comics industry has been highly benefited by the non-photorealistic rendering. Using the right techniques for the right jobs, designers have been able to create astounding designs.

The commercial products industry has started using non-photorealistic rendering to create images for user manuals that cannot be photographed.

Non-photorealistic rendering techniques

Multiple non-photorealistic rendering techniques have emerged as per the need basis. It finds its use cases in creating pen and ink art were outlining and cross-hatching is used to represent the ideas.

For cartoon rendering, graphic designers use multiple shading and distortion techniques to create effective cartoon-like characters. For paint like rendering, impressionist, pointillist and expressionist techniques are used.

Splatting, edge lines, matte shading, and line drawing is used for technical and scientific visualization where more precision is required.

Photorealistic 3D rendering and non-photorealistic rendering has become part of our daily lives.

We may not realize the impact they have made in our life but after reading this article whenever you pick up a real estate manual or watch a cartoon you can relate more to how these techniques have a paved way into our lives.


Both photorealistic and non-photorealistic rendering techniques are time-taking procedure but the results they deliver are astounding. The technology advancements in process speed and precision is making the task of rendering quick and better.  

At BluEntCAD, we are a team of rendering experts. Utilizing the best techniques of both 3D photorealistic and non-photorealistic rendering zone we ensure our clients get the best images that are lifelike.

The right angles, right light, precise line art, shadowing, and other elements drive the results of the techniques and we have mastered them all.

If you have any project requirement that needs excellent photorealistic and non-photorealistic rendering at pocket-friendly price tags, get in touch with our experts today.

Maximum Value. Achieved.



Your Citation

CAD Evangelist. "Difference Between Photorealistic and Non-Photorealistic Rendering" CAD Evangelist, Jul. 04, 2018,

CAD Evangelist. (2018, July 04). Difference Between Photorealistic and Non-Photorealistic Rendering. Retrieved from

CAD Evangelist. "Difference Between Photorealistic and Non-Photorealistic Rendering" CAD Evangelist (accessed July 04, 2018 ).

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