For years, it’s been a common practice for business owners to hire photographers to provide them with visual content. In order to combine images or videos for their brochures, magazines, or websites, they will need to work with a production studio for a pictorial.
Nowadays, with countless developments in technology, various other solutions appeared to make it a lot easier for businesses to produce the visual content they need. This is through 3D visualization. For someone who’s new to 3D production, the entire concept of 3D visualization might sound vague. To make it easier to understand, let us define what 3D visualization is.
What is 3D Visualization?
3D visualization is the art of representing buildings or any objects in their three-dimensional form. This is achieved through the use of computer electronics and is used synonymously with 3D rendering, CGI (computer-generated imagery), 3D graphics, etc. A 3D representation of an object or building is successfully made by incorporating the exact representation of the materials, lighting, and colors from its two-dimensional (2D) model.
In other words, 3D visualization is a process that creates a three-dimensional graphic of a 2D design through computer software. The end result is a finished product – a visual content in the form of either image, animation, or video.
This is opposed to 3D rendering which deals with the production of graphical content that is not yet complete or finalized (we’ll discuss it later). “However, most people tend to mix them up, thus resulting in confusion especially when one hires a 3D visualization studio to work on his project” – according to CEO of Faraday 3D
Since the process involves the use of various tools and expertise, make sure you understand which specific service you need. When it comes to creating visual content through visualization, 3D artists will follow almost the same process that photographers would. They begin by creating a 3D model of the object or building and then set up lights, virtual cameras, and appropriate environments to create the desired result.
Although there are similarities in the process to that of traditional photography, 3D visualization involves more complex and intricate steps.
Who Can Benefit from 3D Visualization?
Nowadays, visualization is of utmost importance for engineers, designers, architects, and business owners. As a matter of fact, a huge percentage of products you can find in websites and TV commercials nowadays are created through 3D visualization. The number has been growing exponentially over these past few years mainly because of the countless innovations in rendering technologies.
Visualization services, however, are not limited to just consumer products. Various industries such as medical, automotive, fashion, pharmaceuticals, and more can also benefit from such service. As long as visual content is involved, 3D visualization is applicable and may even offer the perfect solution.
With such innovations, 3D artists are able to create photorealistic outputs that have almost the same look and quality of standard photography – minus the need to organize photo shoots which are both expensive and time-consuming. 3D visualization makes it possible to create visual content with complete control over every aspect of the image, from the surface and reflection to even the finest of details. This allows artists to create outputs that might be impossible or too expensive to produce through standard photography.
Now that you have an idea about what 3D visualization is, let us talk about 3D rendering. However, in order to understand what a 3D rendering service entails, let us first understand how 3D visualization works.
How 3D Visualization Works
If you use a 3D visualization service, the steps involved to produce your desired visual content are as follows:
- The 3D artist, or studio in most cases, will create a 3D model of your product through 3D modeling. This is possible through the use of a specialized software.
- During the modeling process, the models have no colors or textures. All you can see are plain white objects which are referred to as “models in clay”.
- After a 3D model is created, the next step is to add the appropriate lighting to the scene. It can be in the form of a virtual sun for an architecture or studio lighting for a product.
- The model is then added with the right colors and textures. However, this is still far from the final output. It will still need to undergo a process called 3D rendering.
- 3D rendering refers to the process of producing the image. It is the creative process which is synonymous with cinematography or photography since it involves lighting and staging scenes. However, images produced through rendering are imaginary and can be created or recreated before they get finalized. Rendering normally involves a lot of work, but it allows unlimited possibilities and creative control over the elements in the scene and how the end result will look like. The process will depict a 3D model as a picture that was captured from a certain location and perspective. It could also involve realistic lighting, textures, motions, shadows, atmosphere, and color simulations. The rendering might also not be realistic but instead designed to appear as an abstract image or a painting.
- Lastly, there is the final process called post-production. This is where a 3D artist or studio enhances the rendered image through Photoshop. It normally involves providing more details to the image. Here are some examples:
The result of 3D rendering is not yet final. It is still considered “raw” and will, therefore, demand further improvements. The problem with 3D rendering is that it is a time-consuming and demanding process. It will often take days to complete rendering, even on very powerful computers. The reason is that the rendering software essentially “photographs” every pixel in the image. Moreover, calculating the color in a single pixel will require a great deal of computer power and resource. Imagine if you need a video which is equivalent to 24 images per second. That would take you a whole year if the artist uses only a single computer.
This explains why 3D movies often take several months, or even years, to fully render despite the use of many computers working simultaneously. Although the rendered graphics can be used in a 3D movie, the end result of 3D rendering is normally a regular 2D image which can be used in various channels such as websites, interactive media, and TV commercials.
In order to make up for 3D rendering’s lengthy process, most businesses outsource 3D rendering to online render farms. An online render farm is a service which renders various types of projects – often in the form of 3D, video, or compositing. What online render farms do is hasten the 3D rendering process by distributing the task over a huge number of resources. As a result, the process is significantly shortened to hours or days for larger renders.
Render farms are available in two main types depending on the resources used:
- Free/Collaborative– this type of render farms uses their users’ computers to render. In most cases, you will need to share your own computing power to render a project or move up the priority queue.
- Cloud/Data Center-Based – cloud-based render farms have their own computing power. Therefore, you will need to pay for their service in order to use their resources. There are plenty of online render farms out there such as Rebus-farm which can render your project at very affordable rates.
How Online Render Farms Work
Using the services of a render farm is actually very straightforward. Here’s how it works:
- First, you need to send your project to the farm. This can be done by uploading it to a render farm’s website, through FTP, or through their plugin. The choice may vary depending on the size of your project and your proximity to the farm. If it’s just a few miles away, you can even physically send a DVD containing your project.
- After they have received your file, the rendering process begins. The farm will use its own software to distribute your file to all of its computers, which in turn will process parts of your projects in parallel. To make it possible, each rendering computer will have its own 3D software installed and properly configured.
- Once rendering is completed, you may then retrieve your rendered images or videos. Just like the first step, you can retrieve your file by downloading them either through the website, FTP client, or plugin.
There might be some slight differences in the processes involved since each farm will have its own software and settings. However, the underlying principle is basically the same.
Costs and Pricing
The costs you need to cover when you outsource 3D rendering may vary. Pricing is calculated in cents per GHz-hour. For example, render farms like Rebus-farms will offer you 2.3 cents/GHz-h regardless of the number of hardware or the type of software used. You don’t even have to pay for uploading, downloading, or even storing your files.
However, this pricing model is difficult to understand. Due to that, estimating the rendering costs is complicated. Fortunately, Rebus-farms and other online render farms have their own Cost Estimation Calculator to provide you a rough estimation of how much you will have to pay for your project. The cost will also depend on the length and quality of your project. Hence, if you want to render an HD video, you must be prepared to pay more.
The Bottom Line
If you have a project that needs rendering, outsourcing them to online render farms is the ideal choice. Rebus-farm is one of the best rendering services online. They have affordable rates, will render your projects quickly, and have a support service which is available even during weekends. If you lack experience with cloud render farms, it’s better to outsource 3d rendering to a company who can handle it top to bottom.