What Is a 3D Visualizer?

What Is a 3D Visualizer_

When someone sets out to create a new product, they often turn to a freelance 3D visualizer for help. 3D visualizers specialize in making hyper-realistic 3D scenes that are difficult to tell apart from a photo.

This could be CGI blended into a movie, an architectural project, or a product that has never been made before. All of these things call for CGI because it isn’t always practical to use the real thing. 3D visualizer is the job title of the type of CG artist that can handle this type of work.

When Are 3D Visualizer Services Necessary?

At first, it may not seem obvious why 3D visualizer services are necessary. Why hire someone to make a photorealistic image if a simple photo would do?

The answer is that it isn’t always practical to take a photo, and in some cases, it’s impossible. If a developer is trying to raise funds to build a 12-story office building in Downtown Manhattan, they can’t simply take a photo of the finished building to show potential investors.

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Instead, a photorealistic render of what the office might look like, including shots of the interior and carefully landscaped shots of the outside, would be used. Investors will be able to see what the building will look like after it’s built and can more easily make a decision on whether to fund the project or not.

In movies, it can be dangerous to use trained animals instead of real ones, so they are sometimes replaced with realistic animations of the animal to keep everyone safe. Instead of a real dog leaping to escape an explosion, CG is used.

Products, especially new developments in technology that may not exist yet, are another common place where 3D visualizations are used. It’s not practical, time-efficient, or cost-effective to have a single example of a new product made just for a photo shoot.

A simple render can make a photorealistic example of the product to be shown to manufacturing design services, developers, and investors before a large run of them is made. This common practice is also used to save money by catching mistakes and refining the design well before a physical copy enters the world.

3D visualization services are a necessary part of many different fields and can help benefit almost every type of project.

Other Reasons Clients Use 3D Visualizers

It’s not just practicality that makes clients interested in hiring a 3D visualization service. 3D visualizers can also save companies a lot of money and spare them from making expensive mistakes.

A hyper-realistic render can show design flaws in buildings and products before they are ever built, sparing clients from having to redo a manufacturer run or make repairs on a finished building. A 3D render can make apparent what might not be obvious in a blueprint or a sketch.

Another common reason to hire a 3D visualizer is for advertising. If an image of the product can be sent to the advertising department before the first one is ever made, they have much more time to develop ads.

RELATED: What is CGI and How Do 3D Rendering Services Use It?

For apartment buildings and office spaces that will rent out different levels, a visual display of the building and the interiors are important to get out early. If the rentals can be filled while construction is ongoing, much more money for the developers and investors working on the project.

3D visualizations can also help with product testing, using the renders to analyze strength in materials. This can help prevent construction workers and manufacturers from using weak materials while also saving money on solid materials. This can really save money on a project, both through avoiding collapse or reruns while also not shelling out additional money for stronger materials that aren’t necessary.

What Software Does a 3D Visualizer Use?

3D visualizers use a variety of different software to help finish their projects. It requires a great deal of skill to make a CG image look and feel realistic, and a CG artist may switch between several different types of software to get the right look.

Common types of software include:

  • 3ds Max
    Game designers often reach for 3ds Max, as well as architects and animators. 3ds Max can make powerful renders, including huge open worlds for games and finely detailed interiors for buildings.

    This versatility is one of the reasons why it is a popular choice for 3ds Max modeling services.
  • Maya
    Another piece of software popular with gamers, film makers, and other CG designers that need lots of detail in their work, Maya is a powerful tool for artists. On top of realistic imagery, it can also add special effects such as explosions or cloth that moves realistically.
  • VRED
    Prototypers and product designers often turn to VRED, software geared toward this particular sector of 3D visualization. Different modes include interactive GPU raytracing, and both analytic and cloud-rendering modes.

    This gives VRED a great deal of versatility in creating new products.
  • Arnold
    Arnold is a ray-tracing software that helps achieve the best possible lighting in renders. Lighting is often what makes the difference between a render that is obviously not real, and a photorealistic image.

    Arnold has a simple, intuitive interface that makes it easy to get started. It’s one of the reasons why it remains a popular choice for artists.
  • Alias
    Alias is another collaboration tool that can aid in the process of a team-driven project. Both Alias and non-Alias users can work together on a project, and VR options are available.

How to Become a 3D Visualizer

If the idea of working on 3D models to make them as realistic as possible excites you, becoming one may be the right option for you. It takes a lot of skill to learn how to create 3D visualizations and many hours of practice. The best way forward is to get experienced help to teach you, so you don’t struggle for an unnecessarily long time to achieve similar results.

University

The most common path forward is to learn new skills through education at a University. Common undergraduate degrees include 3D design, graphic design, and architectural visualization. There may be similar undergraduate degrees at your college that will also work, but they will have similar themes.

Look for a course that includes training in different software types and gives you the skills you need to learn how to render.

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship can help 3D visualizers learn the ropes of handling real-life projects. You don’t need to attend University to start learning the ropes, but it is a full-time job (30 hours a week), and the minimum age requirement is 16 years old.

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Typically, apprenticeships are split evenly between education in the form of book learning at a college and real-world experience.

Work

Although you will need some initial experience to get started, some companies are open to letting you shadow their 3D CAD designer to learn the ropes. You will still need qualifications that show you have some knowledge in the field, but work can be an excellent way of learning new skills.

An added benefit to educating yourself through on-the-job training is that work history in the field improves resumes.

Average Pay for 3D Visualizers

3D visualization is a skilled trade, and many make good money. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a 3D visualizer in the US is $59,515. The low end of the spectrum is 41K, and the high end is 90k.

How much you can make as a 3D visualizer depends on the job itself, how skilled you are, and your experience.

Conclusion

3D visualizers are an essential part of several different fields. They make products in every field safer, more cost-effective to build, and often better in general through their work. It takes a detail-oriented person with a great deal of skill to make these breathtaking 3D visualizations, but their work is always in high demand.

As time goes on, 3D visualizations will continue to be a relevant field, which makes becoming one a logical choice for those who love detail-oriented work. If you’re looking to hire someone to help with your project, get a free quote today.