Rendering Software for Architects and Visualizers

What is the best rendering software for creating photo realistic exterior and interior 3D visualization? What differences do the programs have? How to become a successful 3D graphics artist?

photo of 3D artist Anastasia Petrovskaya

CG artists of Lunas studio Anastasia Petrovskaya

We will try to answer these questions in the following interview of the posts series dedicated to our team. We decided to go an unusual way and ask a young and cheerful visualizer who has tremendous experience with 3D images. Meet the architect and talented designer Anastasia Petrovskaya who shares the secrets of her profession.

Personal profile of Anastasia Petrovskaya

  • Education: Belarusian National Technical University, architect
  • Zodiac sign: I don’t believe in it and don’t think it may affects a person’s destiny or character
  • Hobby: My job is my hobby
  • Favorite music: Jazz Vibes playlist on Spotify
  • Favorite book: «One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich» by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Favorite movie: Christopher Nolan’s science-fiction «Interstellar»
  • Nastya, what rendering software do you use for your visualization projects?
  • – I started to get my hands on 3D graphics through Sketch Up – it’s a simple piece of software with an intuitive interface that a novice can easily sort out. However, Sketch Up was not enough to create highly detailed renders and when the need for photo realistic environments arose I switched to Autodesk 3ds Max. I began to master 3ds Max pared with V-Ray at the university. V-Ray is a rather difficult render engine, but once you’re on a par with it, it paves the way for other rendering engines, since they basically have similar visualization mechanisms. But when I met Corona Renderer, I literally lost my heart to it. Corona delivers crisp and realistic results utilizing progressive methods of rendering. It features full WYSIWYG interactivity allowing to evaluate all aspects of visualization in just a couple of minutes: composition, light, colors, materials, shadows, reflections, refractions and others.

    Architectural visialization created with the best 3D rendering software 3ds Max by Anastasia Petrovskaya

    Photorealistic exterior 3D rendering by Anastasia Petrovskaya


    Other great and well-known graphic engines I’m familiar with are Octane Render, Maxwell Render. As a rule, engines are integrated into modeling software, such as V-Ray and Corona, that can be integrated with 3ds Max, but there are also standalone versions. To sum up, I now mainly use 3ds Max with built-in Corona Renderer and Adobe Photoshop with the Arion FX plug-in. It is a universal tool that has various algorithms in offer for processing images in 32-bit HDR format.

  • Why do you prefer these software?
  • – The combination of Autodesk 3ds Max + Corona Renderer is the best option for both exterior and interior visualization. 3ds Max has many additional plug-ins that simplify and speed up the processes, as well as provide limitless space for creativity and fantasies realization of all sorts.

  • Working with visualization software involves a thorough approach and has a steep learning curve. What programs do you recommend for young architects to start with?
  • – Rather visualizers, than architects. The truth is that architects are usually more involved in interior and exterior design, that’s why they use other software, such as Rhino or AutoCAD, and 3D visualization is a separate area. The task of an architect is to correctly design the building, and that of a visualizer is to effectively present the idea of the architect. However, if we are talking about the sequence of programs learning, my opinion is that Autodesk 3ds Max + Corona Renderer and Adobe Photoshop are inextricably linked, and they should be learned together.

    High end exterior image made with Autodesk 3ds Max + Corona Renderer

    Architectural visualization by Anastasia Petrovskaya

  • What knowledge and skills besides the technical part are necessary to create a realistic render?
  • – To create a good 3D visualization, it is crucial to have an art taste, to possess composition skills, to be able to choose the right angle and manage the lighting. Of course, when creating exterior visualization, architectural education helps, since you have to deal with the drawings and read them. A good visualizer, as well as an artist, needs to be observant and able to notice the details, since it is the accuracy of the details that makes the image realistic.

  • What is the favorite project you’ve created?
  • – Unfortunately, there are many wonderful projects of mine I can’t disclose. Let’s call it «A house on a hillside». It was the most successful and interesting project: vibrant landscape, unconditional architecture, easy-going client — the combination of these factors ensured a stress-free flow of the project. We tried various variations of lighting, so the renders had lots of artistic input.

  • Who is your favorite architect or 3D artist?
  • – I really like the scrupulous approach of Jakub Cech to his projects: he collects references for a long time, analyzes them, and on this basis creates highly artistic projects. Jakub has recently published a book of his conceptual works.

  • Where would you like to live?
  • – In the Netherlands – it’s a wonderful country with a high standard of living. I’ve been there two times and really like the way people live. You walk past houses, look in the windows, everybody has paintings on the walls of some sort, there are sculptures, statues, and everything is done with taste. The Dutch are beautiful and pleasant. I am very attracted to this high level of artistic taste and approach to life.

  • What’s your dream?
  • – To have more good people around.