3D visualization artists are helping creators envision and plan projects before they go into production, streamlining workflows and saving businesses time and money. Jobs in 3D visualization are growing in demand across numerous industries, including architecture, film and games, and product design, as a result. And with the advancements in and democratization of relevant software and technology, it's easier than ever before to become a visualization artist!
We explore the role of a 3D visualization artist, in particular architecture visualization (archviz), and how to build the skills you need to succeed as a 3D visualization artist.
What does an architectural visualization artist do?
Using state-of-the-art software such as Autodesk 3ds Max, V-Ray, and Unreal Engine, visualization artists generate detailed 3D images and videos based on briefs, blueprints, and/or sketches. The end results, known as renders, are photo-real content that, depending on their intended audience and medium, can be viewed in either 2D (still images) or 3D (walkthrough animations and virtual tours).
Interior architectural visualization by Visualization Artist and CGS Mentor Teodor Vladov (pulsschlag network GmbH)
Visualization artists play a vital role in the early stages of a project when architects, developers, builders, and designers need to make decisions about the physical layout, design, and other specifications, of buildings and landscapes.
On a typical day as an archviz artist, you would be responsible for the following:
Accurately conceptualizing blueprints, CAD drawings, and/or briefs from architects, designers, and builders into photo-realistic, computer-generated images.
Modeling, texturing, and lighting additional assets (furniture, props, decor, etc.) using 3D software.
Rendering final content for review by architects, clients, stakeholders, etc., as still images, 3D animated videos, and VR content.
Making changes based on client feedback and also suggesting changes if something does not appear structurally sound in the 3D space.
What skills does a 3D visualization artist need?
Along with knowing their way around relevant 3D software and rendering tools to create photo-realistic imagery, visualization artists must also be able to understand and execute a client brief.
According to CGS Dept Head of Visualization and 3D Generalist, Nicklas Byriel, having a good eye for composition is vital and is one of the most sought-after skills companies seek out in new employees.
Archviz artists are usually generalists, meaning they need to know a broad range of skills, including but not limited to:
Light a 3D scene to help bring it to life.
Create 3D structures based on architectural drawings, blueprints, CAD drawings, and written briefs.
Texture and shade 3D models to add realism.
Render, including optimizing scenes for faster rendering.
Use different camera angles and lenses to block out 3D scenes.
Is a career in architectural visualization in demand?
There is a growing demand for architectural visualization artists in real-world architecture, along with other industries such as product design, engineering, mechanics, and entertainment.
The film and games industry has adopted visualization methods throughout the film and game-making process, from pre-production to post-production. Visualization artists digitally build realistic 3D scenes that are used as backdrops in films or even to help assist in the pre-construction stages of live-action sets (similar to how archviz artists help architects plan the design and structure of a house prior to being built).
In gaming, visualization 3D artists help to create a game's worlds and levels. Often highly realistic, this level of fidelity helps immerse players and elevates gameplay.
Autodesk 2022 showreel featuring 3ds Max—a standard tool used in archviz—showing the diverse ways visualization (and other techniques) are used today.
How long does it take to become a 3D visualization artist?
As a visualization artist, you will constantly be learning if you want to keep up with the fast-paced industries that require your skills and the advances in technology and software. How long it takes you to learn the ropes is up to you and how you apply yourself!
Learning from a professional visualization artist is a great way to fast-track your education. At CG Spectrum, Visualization Department Head Nicklas Byriel brings exceptional experience and knowledge to our upcoming architecture visualization courses. With over ten years of experience teaching (he's also a certified V-Ray instructor!) and working as a 3D generalist, including 3D visualization, Nicklas loves sharing his passion with students!
Become a 3D visualization artist with CG Spectrum!
A proud Chaos Academic Partner, CG Spectrum's upcoming visualization courses will give you the tools and experience you need to kick-start your career as an archviz artist. You’ll get personal mentorship from industry experts like Nicklas, who will help prepare you for this up-and-coming career path!
Shoshanah has almost a decade of visual effects production experience, coordinating VFX teams in Australia and London. Her credits include Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant-Man, John Wick: Parabellum, Game of Thrones, and Christopher Robin. She now enjoys getting to write about the film and games industry.