The 5 stages to produce a computer generated image
A render is a computer generated image, developed with the use of specific software. Renders are used in many fields: architecture, cinema, design, science, medicine, video games and many more.
Each field uses different techniques, showing the adaptability this tool can offer.
Generally speaking the production process of a render can be divided into 5 main steps:
3d modeling is the phase of creating the object geometry in a three-dimensional space, using specific modeling software. In easy words it is very similar to the sculpting process that allows a craftsman to model a statue, but in a virtual environment.
Lighting is the process where natural and artificial lights are simulated in the virtual space. This step ensure that 3d generated objects are lit like their real world counterparts would.
The texturing phase consists of wrapping the 3d model with images that define its colors and other details like roughness and bumpiness.
During the rendering phase the computer calculates the shading and the variation of colors and brightness according to the incidence of the light simulated in the scene.
The final phase, called post-production, is where image editing software are used to refine the image parameters such as color, contrast and brightness and where additional elements are added to improve its storytelling ability (people, props, backgrounds)
The production phases of a render allow us to understand the multidisciplinary approach needed to operate properly. Knowledge in software, photography, physics of light, and mathematics are required.
Its diffusion during the latest years is due to the great technological improvement of the hardware and software components needed for its production, allowing for a wider accessibility.
Another factor that contributed to its diffusion is the possibility to show the project in photo realistic quality, before its completion: this way it offers customers the opportunity to explore many design options without the need to purchase building material in advance. This also allows changes during the working process, saving on costs, production times allowing greater palatability with customers.
Renders have also entered the competition with photography in areas like product and catalog images, because they are cheaper than photo sets.
Currently the use of renders has become a fundamental marketing tool to improve communication and engagement, because most people have difficulty to understand what they cannot see.
A photorealistic render can quickly solve communication problems offering to the interested parties a visualization that improves understanding and reveals the complexity of a project in all its beauty.