Architectural visualization has become an important part of the architects’ work. Some of them choose to outsource such services to professional CGI studios, and some prefer to create 3D images themselves. Furthermore, nowadays, having the skill to produce 3D visualizations is often required by employers. So, to stay sought-after, an architect needs to understand the basics of CG visualization and have knowledge of specialized 3D software. That is why many professionals in the field turn to architectural rendering books, tutorials, and courses.

Now, this article is dedicated to books in particular. We’ve prepared a selection of the best literature for those who are eager to learn 3D architectural visualization. The books on this list can help architecture professionals get started in the world of CGI even without any prior knowledge or experience. So, ready to pick your next read? Let’s go!

#1. Great Talks about Photo Realism

Author: Bogdan Sasu
Year of release: 2019

Number one on our list of architectural rendering books is a collection of stories of nine outstanding 3D artists. On the pages of this book, they unveil the secrets of achieving incredible photorealism when creating CGI. Beginners can use this book as an inspiration and guidance, as well as to learn what makes a 3D rendering truly life-like. And those who are ready to try out their skills can even purchase the 3Ds Max files of the 3D scenes shown in the book.

The author of this exquisitely illustrated piece is Bogdan Sasu, an architectural visualizer from Romania. Recently, we at ArchiCGI had the luck to do an interview with him. In our conversation, Bogdan told us about his journey of becoming a 3D artist and his plans for Volume 2 of Great Talks about Photo Realism. So, check out the interview for some valuable insights!

You can buy this book here.

#2. Twenty Tips for Beginners — a Book on 3Ds Max

Architectural Rendering Books on 3Ds Max

Authors: Agnieszka and Adam Klich
Year of release: 2020

If we talk about photorealistic architectural 3D modeling and rendering, 3Ds Max is the go-to choice here. A great way to start learning this software is by reading this free ebook by Agnieszka and Adam Klich, founders of a successful architectural rendering studio based in Poland. It’s part of an online course that also includes videos illustrating many aspects described in the book. The text itself is very concise and easy to read, so even the busiest architect will find time to go through it.

Overall, the ebook has all the quintessential information one needs to begin working in 3Ds Max along with some personal useful tips from the authors. And that makes it one of the must-read architectural rendering books for those who don’t know where to start or how to improve their CGI skills by means other than endless trial and error.

You can download this book here.

#3. AutoCAD 2020 Instructor

AutoCAD 2020 Instructor Book Cover

Authors: James A. Leach, Shawna Lockhart, Eric Tilleson
Year of release: 2019

AutoCAD by Autodesk is the top software for 2D and 3D drafting. And AutoCAD 2020 Instructor is a comprehensive guide to this program written by James A. Leach, Shawna Lockhart, and Eric Tilleson. Suitable for both class- and self-learning, it covers everything from the most fundamental commands and features to complex procedures and specialized applications. What sets this volume apart from other books on AutoCAD is that it teaches both 2D and 3D drafting in a way that is understandable for a beginner.

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Furthermore, the writing style requires one to draw upon the simpler concepts in order to learn more advanced ones. This way, nothing gets forgotten. Plus, the book is illustrated with over 2000 figures. For all those reasons, the Instructor has been a top-selling university textbook for over a decade and is regularly updated. So, it’s definitely worth a read for an architect looking to learn this drafting, modeling, and rendering software in-depth.

You can buy this book here.

#4. The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture

The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture Book Cover

Author: Michael Brightman
Year of release: 2018 (2nd edition)

SketchUp is a premier 3D design software popular with architects, interior designers, and landscape architects all over the world. So, next on our list of top architectural rendering books is this guide on the program written by Michael Brightman. He’s a successful architect and, currently, the President and Lead Instructor at a Denver-based SketchUp Authorized Training Center. His book is about modeling buildings, visualizing design, and creating construction documents with SketchUp Pro and LayOut. Originally published in 2013, the guide quickly became one of the most popular books on this software and was updated in 2018 due to high demand.

The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture teaches professionals in the field to use the power of this program for projects of any size, type, or style. The book offers step-by-step guidelines for using the software at every stage of the architectural design process. Moreover, those who purchase the volume also get access to tutorial videos on some of the advanced methods of 3D architectural visualization. Overall, the guide shows how architecture specialists can get the most out of using SketchUp in all aspects of their work.

You can buy this book here.

#5. Revit 2020 for Architecture: No Experience Required

Revit 2020 for Architecture: No Experience Required Book Cover

Author: Eric Wing
Year of release: 2019 (2nd edition)

Revit by Autodesk is arguably the best BIM software out there. Therefore, we just had to include this book in our selection. It’s a top-rated guide for absolute beginners who want to learn Revit for architecture. The author of this book is Eric Wing — a renowned modeling expert currently working as a BIM Services Manager at an Authorized Autodesk Training Center.

The latest version of the guide helps to learn the Revit 2020 interface and understand its fundamental features. Having read this book and completed its tutorial project, an architect will be able to design, document, and present a BIM project. Like most other architectural rendering books, this one can be used as a full course or as a reference for dealing with previously unfamiliar tasks. That makes it a convenient and long-lasting resource for architecture professionals and students alike.

You can buy this book here.

#6. Architectural Visualization: Its Relevance to the Unbuilt World

Architectural Visualization: Its Relevance to the Unbuilt World Book Cover

Authors: Michael Secrist and Sarah Jones
Year of release: 2018

Now, this book serves as a bonus on our list. Unlike the other architectural rendering books here, this one is for those who choose to outsource 3D visualization to specialized studios. It’s a resource created by Michael Secrist and Sarah Jones to help architecture and real estate professionals select the right CGI company and build efficient communication with it. Michael, who’s a 3D visualization expert himself, guides the readers through the whole process of collaboration with an architectural CGI studio. He also describes all the services such companies can offer and the benefits architects can get from using those. In general, it’s an incredibly useful book for those who are planning to outsource 3D rendering to a remote service provider.

You can buy this book here.

We hope that our selection of architectural rendering books was helpful for professionals interested in mastering the craft of 3D visualization. But even though having that knowledge and skills is, in many cases, a prerequisite for getting a job, there’s always the outsource option. For instance, sometimes an architecture specialist might need highly photorealistic CG images with an artistic touch to dazzle the client with a project presentation. Also, one might want to use professionally-made 3D visuals to improve portfolios and marketing efforts. In such cases, trusting the creation of CGI to experts is absolutely the right thing to do.

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Ana Wayne
Content Writer, Copywriter

Ana is a content writer for ArchiCGI. She has a passion for design and architecture - and for talking about it. Outside of work, she is a fan of sci-fi movies and a street food connoisseur.