3D rendering software enables creating 3D renders to help clients visualize a project before its development. Earlier, renders were only generated for high-end projects. But today, it is developed for all kinds of projects, be it big or small. This happened because buyers and customers of all categories are now expecting to see 3D visualizations before making a purchase or investment.

Besides, do you know a project that can be pre-visualized have a better chance of selling? Let’s compare a simple photograph of a product or property with that of a 3D one having realistic views with perfect lighting and shadows. There's a higher chance of a customer purchasing the same by viewing the latter.

Today, you will find a lot of 3D visualization software available for free to help you create renders. They may not be completely free of cost but often come with a free trial version. In this article, we will have a look at the list of those free 3D rendering software. However, before we begin, let's go through its basics.

What is 3D rendering?

It is the process of generating 2D images by converting 3D models. This process is carried out on a computer with the help of 3D rendering software.

3D, once an add-on feature, has become a requisite in the design presentation today. Times have changed, and showcasing a 2D portfolio is not enough to display your professionalism before clients. You need to use 3D visualizations.

Despite being used in other domains, 3D visualization has created a greater impact in the real estate and interior design industry. This, in turn, accelerated the 3D rendering software market today.

Types of 3D rendering methods

Experts use three methods to create 3D renders:

  • Surface
  • Wireframe
  • Solid

Each one of them has varying editing methods. So, it is wise to go with one specific style rather than blending them.

  • Surface rendering

    • It is a beautiful technique to create 3D renders.
    • As the name suggests, this technique can define both the edges and surfaces of the 3D design object. Later, the objects are rendered with virtual reality effects or as 360-degree panoramas.
    • This process makes use of a polygonal mesh with planar faces.
  • Wireframe rendering model

    • It generates the skeletal picture of a 3D entity by placing the 2D objects in a 3D space.
    • The model does not consist of any surface. It has only lines and points connected by curves that form the entire object.
    • Some 3D objects have continuous line types. Here the experts have to draw and place objects separately. So, it makes this rendering quite time-consuming to complete.
  • Solid model

    • It is the speediest and convenient method to create a 3D render.
    • 3D experts start by using geometric shapes such as spheres, circles, cylinders in the form of a doughnut.
    • These shapes are added or subtracted from each other to create the desired complex shape and style.

Steps to generate 3D rendering images

  • Experts use 3D modeling software to create three-dimensional models of objects. The software represents 3D objects or surfaces in a three-dimensional space.
  • Upon the completion of modeling, 3D models are enhanced with appropriate lighting, texture, and shadows. Finally, the resulting images are rendered using relevant 3D software.

In general, the designers, architects, 3D experts will perform many iterations to create a photorealistic rendering of the property design.

In simple terms, 3D rendering is the final step of generating the actual image. Hence, you need to figure out which software will help you complete this step with efficiency.

Challenges associated with leading Rendering Software

While using Sketchup, Revit, Maya, 3DS Max software, you might face some challenges such as:

  • High usage of GPU and CPU
  • Low rendering speed
  • Highly-priced licenses
  • Complicated UI
  • Time-consuming learning
  • Non-well-defined textures

Many designers find these computer programs way too complicated to learn and use. So, if you also think the same, you are not alone.

This comprehensive article will guide you in finding the best 3D rendering software. But before we take a look at the details, it is necessary to consider a few things so that you make the right choice.

Things to Consider while choosing a 3D Rendering Software

Know your business

To ensure that the software suits your business type, you need to ask yourself the two basic questions, i.e.,

  • What is your business type?
  • Whether your business needs 3D rendering software?

Depending on the answers, you can choose the software that suits your usage, context, and business type. If your business belongs to the animation industry, then you shouldn’t choose the one used by interior designers.

  • License pricing

    When it comes to 3D rendering software, there are two license variations that you can expect:

    • Monthly or yearly subscriptions which allow you to make cancellations at any time
    • Perpetual license that would allow you to buy the software license upfront for a term of 1-3 years

    Many software providers are moving towards the subscription model. So, it might be the right choice due to its flexible options.

    Some leading programs have been in the market for years. Also, some programs are innovative and budget-friendly. So, go with one that suits your needs and budget.

  • Analyze the Learning Curve

    When the need is to get the job done quickly, choose software that is easy to use and learn. A complex software has many menus and navigations to remember that needs much time to learn and use. So, it is better to analyze the complexity before choosing the right one.

  • Installation based or Direct Browser usage

    When you go for software that needs installation, it might consume significant computing power. Also, you have to bear the frequent hardware upgrade costs with increased usage.

    Now, with the remote work in trend, it is better to go for cloud computing so that when you go online, it will help you to access and deliver your work from anywhere to anyone.

  • Level of Compatibility

    When there are chances that you might change the place and style of work, then go for the one that works well with others.

  • Rendering Time

    It has connections to your system’s computing power. When your computer has a standard configuration of 8GB RAM, then a 4K render might take 40-45 minutes. But, if you go for cloud computing, then the rendering time is lesser, and there is no need for systems with high configuration. In simple terms, go for the online software programs.

  • Check for the Features

    First, decide on the kind of renderings that you might need. Then prepare a targeted list of features. Before purchasing your software,

    • Read through the product description
    • Take the free trial or demo

    When you are sure that the software has all the features that you have listed out, choose it. It will help you deliver your design concepts to the clients in a better way.

  • High ROI

    Every business owner is aware of their business and related costs. So, if you think that your chosen software will do justice to your investment with higher revenues, go for it.

Now, it is time to explore some of the best cost-effective alternatives for rendering software.

Top Free 3D Rendering Software in 2021

1. Octane Render

Price: 39.5 Euros per year

Best suits: Architects and Interior Designers

  • It has numerous design features and a powerful GPU rendering engine. Octane Render is faster than other free product rendering software in the marketplace.
  • Landscape designing professionals get benefitted from the use of this software.
  • When you need high-end features, this is the best possible option.
  • It has a library of materials and textures with a high-speed rendering engine.

2. Arnold

Price: Rs 16520 per year

Best suits: Gamer

  • This is a real-time 3D rendering software that allows making changes to calculations while the rendering process is going on.
  • It has simple control and a clean Application Programming Interface.
  • Arnold has a highly intuitive node-based material editor. The editor has a library of preset options for the additional nodes.
  • The software is suitable for particle and demolition effects.
  • The program suits the demands of lengthy animation and visual effects.
  • It is a standalone rendering engine that operates well on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS.

3. Foyr

Price: Plans start from $49 per month

Best suits: Interior Designers

  • Foyr is a superfast software that can deliver realistic photographs in a matter of minutes.
  • The software suits busy professionals because it is not associated with a steep learning curve.
  • It has a beautiful catalog of products, which helps in designing the most elegant rooms.
  • The AI-enabled drag-and-drop features help to create designs within a couple of minutes
  • Besides, this best rendering software cost is much lesser than other paid software.

4. Lumion 3D

Price: 1499€

Best suits: Architects

  • Architects who work on exteriors find this software highly beneficial.
  • User-friendly UI with efficient tools helps to create unique designs with less effort.
  • Lumion 3D is compatible with other types of software including AUTOCAD. It allows you to import CAD files into this platform and build the desired design.

5. Viz Render

Price: Not available (Stated as Confidential)

Best suits: Graphic Designers

  • Viz Render is a product rendering software that is free of cost. With this software, it can be an opportunity to get to know about other Autodesk products.
  • It serves as a foundation for many graphic and video production cases.
  • The software supports features such as AR immersive graphics and VR sets.
  • The render engine helps the designers to come up with HD backgrounds and 4K animations.

6. Keyshot Render

Price: $2995

Best suits: Animators

This easy rendering software:

  • Has simple UI
  • Keyshot render Involves less complexity in learning the design features
  • With a high-speed rendering engine, designers can create realistic visuals and deliver them within a short time
  • Comes equipped with advanced material editing features that make it a trusted tool used by many global brands

7. Mental Ray

Price: Confidential

Best suits: Gamers, Graphic Designers

  • Metal ray is more like VRAY and has marked its presence with its versatile tools and features.
  • Mental Ray has a user-friendly UI that helps many users to access them with ease.
  • The engine can use both GPU and CPU for rendering designs.

8. Corona Renderer

Price: 2499 € per month

Best suits: Architects

  • Corona render is the new, simple, and quickest architectural rendering software at present.
  • Although it is not as fast as V Ray and Octane Render, it can create renders in a decent time.
  • The software updates are made available on the foundation panel for users’ convenience.
  • It is possible to integrate with 3DS Max, so the compatibility feature gets ticked on the list.

9. Blender

Price: Free

Best suits: Animation Filmmakers

  • Blender is an open-source 3D modeling software. It provides the filmmakers with a complete set of tools to design all types of buildings.
  • The EEVEE engine can shrink the offline and online real-time rendering. It, in turn, speeds up the texturing and shading process with accuracy
  • The program works well on Mac, Linux, and Windows OS

Some of its prominent features are:

  • Camera
  • Python scripting
  • Object tracking
  • Support for plug-in integration and geometric primitives
  • Non-linear editing
  • Grease pencil
  • Simulation tools
  • Node-based material editor

10. Cheetah 3D

Price: Free

Best suits: Animators

  • Cheetah 3D is a free and efficient 3D animation, modeling, and rendering software designed for Mac OS.

The program offers many advanced features such as:

  • Advanced subdivision modeling
  • Bezier spline
  • Polygon editing
  • High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI)
  • Global illumination
  • Ray tracing

These techniques help filmmakers to create fabulous movies and images.

11. Artlantis

Price: 600€

Best suits: Architects

  • Artlantis software comes equipped with incredible lighting effects to illuminate indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • The render engine manager evenly distributes the computing and load speeding on all computers so that rendering becomes fast.
  • The in-built library materials help create HD images, animations, and 360-degree panoramas.

12. Rhino

Price: $995

Best suits: Automotive Engineers and Architects

  • Rhino is a CAD software that hosts a number of 3D modeling tools. It can create unthinkable shapes with precision from even a pencil sketch or a scanned image.
  • The 3D modeling software is based NURBS geometry is specific for manufacturers. Yet, it is compatible with other renderings, design, and prototyping programs too.

Some of its salient features are:

  • Working, Named, Floating, Perspective working views
  • Limitless viewports
  • Clipping planes
  • Full-screen display
  • High-speed 3D graphics
  • Two-point perspective
  • Stereo view modes
Its areas of application are:
  • Naval
  • Engineering
  • Prototyping
  • Jewelry
  • Architecture
  • Automotive

13. Maxwell Render

Price: Free

Best suits: Interior Designers and Architects

  • Both amateurs and experts use this 3D product visualization tool with the same ease.
  • Maxwell render has a solid UI and rendering toolkit that helps to design anything anywhere.
  • It is a beginner-friendly program due to its simple learning curve.
  • The program is under the experimental stage, so it is usable when the system has an Nvidia graphics card.
  • It is compatible with leading as well as some of the underused rendering software in the market.

In a nutshell, the best way to select a software program is to look for its key features, niche, learning curve, and pricing. You can choose one from the above-mentioned ones since they are equally helpful to experts and newbies for creating photorealistic product renderings or property renderings.

In case you need the assistance of a professional, you can reach us. ThePro3DStudio provides an entire gamut of 3D design services and employs advanced software to work on the clients' projects. So, if you need futuristic 3D rendering services or any other service for your business, get in touch with us to discuss!


Contact Us