The programs on this list represent the best visualization tools tailored perfectly for architectural visualization.
❶ 3DS MAX | CORONA
This 3d modeling and rendering software still remains one of the best visualization tools for architectural visualization.
3ds max is a product of Autodesk and it works with other Autodesk products such as Revit, AutoCAD and etc. It also operates with Corona Renderer which is a high-performance (un)biased photorealistic renderer - easy to learn and gives physically plausible results. In our opinion, it’s one of the most photorealistic renderers on the market.
The key drawback of 3ds Max is that it’s not free and it is not easy to master. The price for 3ds Max starts from $1,505.00/year (corona renderer is way cheaper though - €289.99/year).
Lumion is specialized visualization software for architects. It’s not a modeling program. You will have to create your 3D model using other software like Sketchup, ArchiCAD, 3ds Max, Rhino or Revit and import it to Lumion. It’s easy to master and use. The big plus of using this program is that the rendering time is ultra-fast. In our opinion, it’s one of the fastest rendering software on the market. And no doubt these guys made a huge step to the realistic render this year.
The price starts from €1499
❸ UNREAL ENGINE
Unreal Engine is a product created by Epic. It’s a complete suite of creation tools. Using this software, you can create high-quality render and VR experiences. This technology was developed for video games and now they are bringing it to a wider market – as well as to architects.
UE is not a modeling program. You need to create your 3D scene using other software and import it to Unreal.
Using UE, you can create architectural animation very fast – usually, it takes no more than 30 minutes. In 3ds Max it’ll take hours and even days to create an animation. It’s also a great tool for immersive AR and VR experiences. And it’s now free to download which is definitely a great advantage.