3D Rendering Software

There are so many different software applications in the market, that it seems a daunting prospect for many designers to find and analyse the software that is suitable for their need. I understand how difficult this might be, so I have taken the time to write down some of my personal experiences with some of these applications and also to summarise how other players in the market position themselves.

A few 3D modelling and rendering software solutions and post-production tools, and very often, the wrong selection of programmes can cause lots of stress and dissatisfaction.

However, my advice is to should start with a programme, which offers simple solutions for the inexperienced user but allows you to learn and improve your skills over time. With that in mind, you should find a programme that enables you to get started and allows you to grow. Here are some powerful 3D modelling and rendering programmes, that I’d like to highlight:

Autodesk’s 3ds Max

If you want to start your career using the very best 3D modelling software, Autodesk's 3ds Max should be your choice. 3ds Max's interface is similar to AutoCAD's, but it is more complex.

Specially designed for 3D modelling, 3ds Max includes numerous features and options. However, when you start using it, step by step you'll learn how to use the basic tools first, and then you'll slowly develop your skills.

Maya is the most powerful - and subsequently the most difficult to master 3D modeller. It is a complex piece of software made by Autodesk and primarily used by animation studios and video game makers as the backbone of their world building. Maya has by far the most robust toolset and even incorporates physics based modelling tailor made for animated movie makers who are trying to recreate real-world systems for the most accurate and believable rendered scenes.

Rhinoceros 3D (typically abbreviated Rhino, or Rhino3D) dominates the market. It allows you to generate commercial 3D computer graphics and computer-aided design.


Created for an easy 3D modelling for anything from buildings to contemporary furnishings. This software is two-in-one, where you can combine technical plans and simple 3D modelling. You’ll find the price quite reasonable.


It is an integrated solution for selected 3D applications. It is both biased and unbiased rendering tool and capable of delivering photorealistic visuals.

Alternatives to VRAY include Maxwell, Cinema 4D or the open-source program Blender 3D.

Lumion is mainly architectural software but it also allows you to create interiors. You could make an image, a video or a 360 panorama, which you could view with VR glasses. The rendering is very fast and you can make changes at any time. Lumion also supports designs created with Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, Archicad or other 3D modelling programs.

Maxwell portrays itself as one of the best tools in the business. Besides the complex functionality and many features, one of the popular facts is that Maxwell is free to distribute and use. It provides opportunities to both experienced and novice users. The interface is pleasing and intuitive. Just one thing to bear mind: due to rendering optimisation, you might have to accept longer waiting times with this tool.

Blender is another software, which is free and easy to distribute. It features powerful rendering tools making designing skyscrapers, bridges and houses a walk in the park.

One thing you should be aware of: Blender will require you to spend a considerable amount of time mastering its functionalities.

Autodesk Revit

With this, you can efficiently and accurately capture your design intent in 3D and produce complete model-based building designs and documentation. You can also automatically update floor plans, elevations, sections, and 3D views.

Octane Render definitely needs to be mentioned when talking about architectural visualisation. This application is popular throughout the industry. It comes with everything other tools have. But unlike others, Octane Render has its own rendering engine. On the one hand, this makes visuali