How to Turn Your CAD Designs into Artistic Renderings

Seeing the Vision with Artistic Renderings in 3D

by Mark Eaton

When planning a future site or construction job, many details must be imagined, designed, and implemented to bring the project to life. Additionally, with the amount of money and resources that must be used in a strategic and efficient manner, a proper vision is required to beforehand to ensure success. With today’s modern technology, 3D computer graphics rendering prove to be an essential tool in this process.

Recently, we were approached by the NC State Port Authority to take existing CAD (Computer Aided Design) models of the port’s layout, and present it in an attractive way. There were few steps to make this happen.

Modeling & Texturing

The initial materials we received were simple geometric shapes represented by lines and points in space. This is the structure of the scene, the “bones” onto which we will lay out the “skin” in the form of 2D graphics. This is referred to as “texturing.” When the body and skin are combined, a 3D object is formed, which can then be viewed at from an angle inside of the program.

Render Me This

OK, so you’ve got your scene laid out with 3D objects that have color and texture on them, so what’s next? In the real world, we see things based on how light bounces off the surface of objects and into our retinas, and the same goes for a computer program. You have to set up digital lights that send out “photons” to bounce off the objects and into the digital “camera,” or frame, that you see in the program. This is how you create your 2D image from your scene, or technically speaking, render it.

All that work…Now What?

Now that we have this digital sandbox of a world all set up on the computer, we can not only render out a single frame, but a series of frames that we can stitch together to create motion. The beauty of 3D is that you can do practically anything with an animated camera. From swooping helicopter-type fly throughs, to intimate dolly moves, the ability to look at and render images from any angle you choose adds timeless value to anything created in 3D on a computer.

Do you have a CAD rendering that needs to be turned into an artistic rendering? Let’s chat.

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