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How to Improve Your Exterior Architectural Rendering to Impress Your Clients

3D Rendering

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Exterior architectural rendering will enable your client to see what your building project will look like before construction has even begun. This translates to lowered costs, more investors, and happier clients.

In this article, BluEntCAD will show you how to bring quality and clarity in your 3D exterior renderings.


While blueprints have been around for a long time, 3D architectural rendering gives a much clearer, more detailed idea of what a finished structure will look like.

Realistic architectural rendering is of great help in this regard as it helps to create a replica of the structure under construction through different models. Of course, it is only one of the many styles of architectural rendering.

What is 3D Exterior Rendering?

Broadly, 3D rendering refers to the visualization and creation of images and models using 3D software. Photorealistic architectural renderings are used to give clients a realistic image of the proposed structure.

This helps with decision making and detecting flaws earlier in the process, hence avoiding the costs of fixing mistakes post construction. Consequently, architectural rendering studios have only grown in popularity.

There are several architectural rendering software and tools available for photorealistic rendering. For example 3DS Max and VRay.

We’ll show you some architectural rendering techniques that will make your renders more appealing to your clients and potential investors. (For examples of exterior rendering, go here.)

Tips to Improve Your Exterior Architectural Rendering

  • Position of the Sun and the Shadows

    The realism of the rendering is partially dependent on the position of the sun and the amount of sunlight. If it is not positioned properly, the rendering can look overexposed or underexposed. Additionally, sun position helps to balance temperature variations and gives a sense of the season.

    Similarly, the position of the shadows matters to the image’s realism. Note that it is different to create a realistic shadow than just any old shadow. Also, remember to create shadows in Photoshop and not in 3D.

    There are plugins available, such as SketchUp Pro’s solar north plugin, that can help you with these settings. Furthermore, you can use Autodesk’s Sunlight and Daylight Systems or Blender’s Sun Position add on.


  • Sky

    Adding a sky in your scene is crucial to a realistic exterior architectural rendering.

    If you are good with Photoshop, you can change the original sky of the scene. If this is done well, the post-processed sky can add realism. 

    You can use Podium Browser Cloud Domes, as they complement the Podium Physical Sky option.

    Remember the following tips for creating a sky:

    • Avoid oversaturated color. This overpowers the rest of the render, including the most important part, that is, the building.
    • Don’t put too many clouds or other objects in the sky. Again, this overpowers the rest of the render.
    • There’s nothing wrong with simplicity. Sometimes, a gradient is all you need for the right atmosphere.
    • Keep the light source in mind.
    • Try not to use unnatural colors. It will make it look overly Photoshopped. Remember, the point is realism!
  • Detailing

    Don’t think your client won’t notice missing detailing.

    Details such as road curbs, drainage pipes, height variation and vegetation can be added to your rendering. For exterior 3D renderings, humans figures should be avoided, or shown inside the building, if necessary.

  • Reflection

    Mirrored surfaces and glass are the most difficult materials to render realistically. A delicate balance is required. If it’s too flawless, your client could consider it misleading.

    For any glass structure in the rendering, a reflection will be needed. We recommend using Podium Browser for glass and water materials.

    To make it even more impactful, you can add panoramic backgrounds. If there are no reflections on the glass, you might have to add a few more images behind the camera.

  • Camera Height

    If you choose camera view, you will have to take a few precautions.

    For example, the camera is often kept at eye level, or it will detract from the realism of the scene. To be more precise, your camera should be either 50–70 cm above the ground, or high enough to be a helicopter or drone shot. 

    Apart from this, keeping focal points in mind and following the rule of thirds can help.


Once you learn to apply these concepts, your exterior architectural rendering will be more realistic.

If you still require resources, BluEntCAD is an architectural rendering company that is just a click away. We provide 3D rendering services to homebuilders, large architectural and engineering companies, real estate development companies, interior design companies, and home design companies.

Ready to take your business to new heights with architectural rendering services? Contact us now!

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