Top Reasons for Using Rendering in the 3D Animation Process


3D modeling is considered the most technically complex method in producing a 3D design. The rendering process is similar to how cinematography transpires– creating the effects of staging, lighting, and making images. 

The process is also comparable to photography, but the difference between them lies in where the foundation begins. To edit each photo, one must take a photoshoot first, and with 3D modeling, the designer is producing images from scratch. The art of rendering a 3D model is ultimately instrumental to converting 3D animations into 2D photos or videos.

How is 3D Rendering being used? One can notice it anywhere within the 3D animation industry, from TV, magazines, the covers of books, to various digital media sites.

The Industries that most commonly use 3D Rendering include: 

  • Architectural Rendering
  • CGI movies
  • Environmental simulations
  • General engineering
  • Medical imaging
  • Prototyping a product
  • Safety training
  • Video games
  • Virtual reality games

RELATED: What are 3D Renderings & Why Your Company Should Use Them

The Process of 3D Rendering

Rendering a design in professional software is arranged in several layers known as render passes—the layers include the foreground, background, highlights, shadows, and other critical visual aspects. At the end of the rendering process, these layers are joined together during post-production, taking on the design’s final form. Render passes allow for greater control over the many parts of a scene, providing rich detail and sometimes realism.

What Are Rendering Methods of 3D Modeling? 

Various methods help create 3D models based on the animator’s needs, allowing them to make any advanced and realistic depictions. The amount of time required to render a model comes into account while choosing which rendering software is best for the given animation. Based on the time frame, the designer can also categorize the 3D model into two main types of Rendering: real-time Rendering and non-real-time Rendering. 

Real-time Rendering is an ideal method for interactive media such as video games and simulations. These types of content become rendered to perform at a minimum framerate of 20 frames per second. The goal is to aim for the highest achievable level of photorealism which is possible through high-speed Rendering. 

Non-real-time Rendering is a method that allows creators to produce short animations, animated series, feature films, and other non-interactive media. The extra time spent can enable animation studios to output limited processing power to create dynamic content with much richer quality and detailing. The Rendering of each frame can take between a few seconds to a few days. 


Techniques for Rendering Animated Media

There are a variety of techniques used to accomplish the rendering process within real-time Rendering and non-real-time Rendering. Although each method does have a few advantages and disadvantages, knowing them will help us understand which approach to use for any given job. Listed, here are a few: 


Radiosity is a calculation of light constructed in a surface-by-surface fashion. Unlike using a camera, this technique often accounts for bounced, emitted light, or indirect illumination. It shows the definition of surfaces from multiple light sources and even how they can reflect. 


Using the ray-tracing technique allows for higher levels of photorealism, although the rendering time is much longer. Light rays are traced directly from the camera to the closest objects where light bounces to generate effects like refraction, reflection, dispersion, and scattering. It all depends on the “material” the light ray touches. 


Scanline rendering is best for interactive media and real-time Rendering when speed is essential to the project. Instead of working with pixels, the image will go through a polygon base. When combined with baked lighting, every frame takes on an adequate rendering in this method, emphasizing speed above all. 


What Are Rendering Engines?

A 3D rendering engine is built-in 3D software that performs various calculations needed to create the 3D picture. It takes all of the shading, lighting, texturing, and camera data from a 3D design and transforms them into pixels that compose the final image. There are many different programs to choose from, and the most popular ones are Arnold and Redshift. Here is a summary of each one:


This advanced rendering engine allows ray tracing and is most commonly used for visual effects and animated feature films. Many major studios like Sony Pictures Imageworks use Arnold as their primary engine.


This GPU-based renderer is made to create a much swifter 3D animation and is ideal for interactive media. The robust rendering engine is made for high-end production products developed carefully by video game enthusiasts and software developers. 

RELATED: Other Reasons Clients Use 3D Visualizers

The 3D Modeling Process

Provided below is a basic outline of the process to render a 3D image: 


The artist starts by using preferred software (mentioned above) to create a digital model using references, images, sketches, and plans to complete what needs to be visually conveyed. 


The artist picks the right textures to give the model a realistic appearance. The artist can also control surface aspects such as glossy or matte looks. 


The artist sets up the light for the display to give it a real-world appearance. This process is similar to the role of a videographer or a photographer in the studio.


The render passes are complete in this step, and now developers can choose whether they value the model’s speed or realism. Once the scene is fully rendered, it undergoes a final examination for any changes and edits. 

Cad Crowd’s 3D Rendering Experts Can Help with Your Project

No matter what method the designer chooses, which engines are engaged, and what the project entails, 3D Rendering is arguably the most crucial aspect of animation and is responsible for the overall finished visual result. Anyone can use paid services for better results and some free tools to get the job done. At Cad Crowd, we have a network of professionals who can help with any 3D rendering project. Regardless of what you need to be done. Contact us for a free quote.