Architectural illustration is an invaluable element of any interior or exterior design presentation. Not only visuals are much more informative than words, but they also save a lot of time both for the architects and their clients. World has changed, and hand-drawn sketches, stylistic renditions or scaled props are far from guaranteeing success. A modern designer who wants to keep up with competition needs to cooperate with an architectural rendering company to get an ultimate trump card to win a contract – 3D architectural illustrations!

Some architects will disagree. After all, they are successfully presenting their project with means mentioned above. We have examined multiple cases of talented designers whose works are bright examples of perfect 2D architectural illustration. But, individual examples prove to be exceptions in the is bigger picture, and CGI has a lot of game-changing advantages.

Which option is better in the long run? Which one pushes capabilities of their respected medium every day and which one remains largely the same? Does 2D or 3D architectural illustration artist have more tools at their disposal? These and more questions will be answered today! Join us as we pit 2D and 3D at an honest competition.

Architectural Illustration: Best Tool For Design Presentations

The Classic Means

#1. Hand-Drawn Sketches

Best Options For Presentation: 2D Or 3D Architectural Illustration: Sketches

Any interior or exterior design begins with a hand-drawn sketch. The level of detail may vary, but the idea is the same – visualize general look of the project and represent it appropriately. This is far from being a good option for actual displays, since these aren’t used after the draft phase – and for a good reason. Sketching is a form of experimentation, whether it is done on paper or in drawing programs. Even if an architect gets the proportions and style right, the sketch still looks unconvincing. The investors would think “sure, it looks good…on paper”, and wouldn’t bother to look at the charts or listen to architect’s explanations.

#2. Props

Best Options For Presentation: 2D Or 3D Architectural Illustration: Props

A lot can be said about scaled props, but first thing that comes to mind is “Good God, how much time did it take to make this thing?!”. Indeed, a model is a very informative tool for presentations featuring both a bigger picture as well as small details, but the complexity of creating one is just insane – it may take a whole week for a team of dedicated artists to make a set with low level of detail. Imagine what’s it like for a poor lone architect! And don’t forget – there is no guarantee that the design will attract investors. Days of work ruined in a couple hours – is it really worth it?

#3. Architectural Artworks

Best Options For Presentation: 2D Or 3D Architectural Illustration: Artwork

There are quite a few professional artists and illustrators in architectural community. And every project they deliver is a priceless work of art – created on canvas or in architectural illustration software. Not to mention that these designers are extremely influential in the industry, and just mentioning them gathers crowds of clients. Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, I. M. Pei, Zaha Hadid, Tom Wright, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel and many more – their fame is priceless. But this is a problem. Their names guarantee success in marketing for architectural services – but what about less known artists? Today clients want a quick and informative showcase – not a visit to an art gallery. And by investing a lot of time into an artistic rendition non-influential architects or beginners do themselves a huge disservice of pouring effort into projects that won’t be appreciated. Overall, using aesthetic architectural illustration for presentations is viable, but only if the company already has a base of loyal clientele.

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3D Modeling And Rendering Software

#1. 3D Renders

Options For Presentation: 2D Or 3D Architectural Illustration: 3D Rendering

Static 3D renders are a very influential tool in architectural design presentations, and for a number of reasons. First, CGI is mathematically precise. Using CAD 3D artists can transform blueprints into 3D models that just need to be shaped, colored, textured, decorated and put in context. Second, 3D rendering can produce multiple views of the same object. A building can be visualized from all angles in any environment. For example, a house can be put on a shore, in a forest, suburbs of a city during day or night. Third, modern 3D modeling and rendering software allows creation of items with photorealistic level of detail, with a whole bunch of visual effects to enhance the experience. Finally, 3D architectural illustration rendering is used to visualize things that don’t exist yet, transforming paper drafts into gorgeous realistic constructions. If time is your concern, CGI isn’t done instantly, but much faster than traditional photography, prop creation or an art piece – although a professional 3D render can definitely be called one!

#2. VR

Professional 3D Render for a Building Design Project

Architectural digital illustration can be used not only as static images. Virtual reality is a perfect way to present any product, regardless of the industry. Potential customers can see any item up close, rotate it any way they like and regard it as a real thing. If you want your demonstration to be stunning, VR is well worth its money.

#3. 3D Architectural Animation

This might be considered cheating, but 3D animation is often used in architectural presentations to get an upper hand among competition. Remember the part about CGI being used to visualize things that don’t exist yet? This is one way to apply this principle. A 360-degree view, a fly-through, a visual tour exploring every part of the future building – it all can be done with 3D animation. Not exactly an “architectural illustration”, but immersion and visual storytelling sells projects.

Present your architectural project like a work of art with AI-powered CGI

With all modern technologies steamrolling the competition, 2D architectural illustration is quickly becoming a thing of the past, being a viable option only for individual enthusiasts. It’s time for you to modernise as well. Enhance your design presentations with photorealistic CGI with our professional architectural rendering services!

Irma Prus
Content Writer, Copywriter

Irma writes articles and marketing copy for ArchiCGI. Her dream is that more people discover the power of CGI for architecture. Irma is into neuromarketing, ruby chocolate and Doctor Who series.