Architectural rendering is a powerful tool in real estate marketing, and is relied upon by architects, builders and developers to draw the attention and interest of prospective buyers. Good quality renders catch the buyer’s eye, inspire them and sustain their interest long enough to initiate the sale process. 

However, architectural renderings can also have flaws that may not present the proposed development in a flattering light, so avoiding the seven deadly sins of common architectural rendering mistakes is crucial.

1.Get the people right

‘Entourage’ is the word used for populating the environment of the development with people. The biggest issue with this is scaling. A small child throwing a ball for a dog is a common trope in architectural visualisations that include people. While these images are used to convey a safe, fun and free atmosphere to the viewer, scaling issues can result in the poodle being four times the size of the child, and the ball being larger than the child’s head.

Another common problem with people in architectural visualisations is the use of the same characters in different renderings. 

For instance, the ‘woman in beige’ or the ‘Little Red Riding Bag’ as she is known on Tumblr is a stock photo that has been used so often in architectural renderings that not only has her presence been noticed, but someone has created a Tumblr profile for her, featuring many of the architectural renderings where she has been seen. Such renderings serve to distract instead of highlighting your product.

2. Car charisma

Often, cars are seen in architectural renderings without shadows or reflections. This happens when artists randomly pick car images from graphic design sites and reposition them into the rendering, sometimes at the last minute, making them look quite out of place in the development’s visualisation. 

3. Get real with reflections

Reflections are regarded as the most difficult aspect of any architectural rendering – they are difficult to get right because there is a lot for the artist to keep in balance, including accurately reflecting the time of day. 

According to Peter Schravemade of, the day to dusk hero images that are offered at are becoming increasingly popular for architectural visualisations.

“Who doesn’t like to see a building at sunset? But if you are going to take the step to change the colour of the sky, make sure that this alteration is reflected in the windows of the buildings as well. Pink clouds in the sky with white clouds in the window can discredit your architectural visualisation as a whole.”

Also, if there are people or parked cars in the rendering, how will the artist represent their reflections? 

“One small distortion, anomaly or omission can make an otherwise alluring render appear ridiculous or at least unreliable once the flaw is noticed,” Schravemade observes.

4. Too simplistic?

For an effective architectural rendering, the artist should be able to understand the difference between minimalism, which is a form of style, and emptiness. The reason that staging and then virtual staging became established real estate marketing techniques is that some empty spaces can repel a buyer. When these are presented as well-furnished and well-appointed spaces, the rendering can have the opposite effect, inviting people in, and creating a desire to inhabit the space.  

“It’s important that an architectural rendering does not give potential buyers that ‘hollow’ feeling and appear like it could use some virtual staging,” Schravemade says.

“On the other hand, an overly busy or baroque scene can cause a potential buyer’s dreams to seek calmer pastures.”

5. Future fascination

“There must be some connection between the desire to become a CGI artist and a love of sci-fi because the attraction is written all over the renderings of many future construction projects. There are a suite of architectural visualisations out there of future projects, which seem like something out of The Matrix or some other futuristic film,” Schravemade notes.

“CGI renderings that are too eagerly or too distantly set in the future, can cause a disconnect that makes it difficult for potential buyers to imagine inhabiting the space in reality.” 

6. For the love of lighting

Bad lighting is a serious faux pas – in real as well as virtual scenarios. In real estate photography, bad lighting generally refers to dim lighting and in architectural rendering, bad lighting is a more complex phenomenon.

“With light architecture taking on a more important role over the past twenty years, CGI artists must pay careful attention to spill and reflection, and understand feng shui behind uplighting and downlighting,” Schravemade says.

“Where there is light, there is the corresponding shadow. Architectural renderings, which omit or distort shadow sprawl will appear unprofessional – the last way you want a potential buyer to view your project.

“One of the advantages to using our architectural rendering services at is that you can trust our CGI artists to get the lighting right. We offer advice and how-to guides in almost all areas of real estate photography.”

7. Taking the wrong perspective

A CGI artist is responsible for presenting the property at its most attractive angle to the potential buyer. Often, developers forget that they have any say in the architectural visualisation of their project. They submit their dimensions and leave the rest up to the CGI artist. 

The right perspective for your project will, of course, depend upon the project itself. But it is generally agreed that there is a wrong perspective for your architectural rendering to take. 

‘Don’t be a giant’ is the slogan for it in the architectural world. There’s sort of a no-fly zone in the world of architectural aesthetics, and that means that the camera angle of your shot should not fall between 2.4 metres and nine metres in the air. 

“This doesn’t mean excluding aerial from your presentation; it means that if you are going to present an aerial view of your project, be clear about it. And if you are going to present a ground-level perspective, let your audience understand that that’s what it is,” Schravemade says.

“Let the viewer know they are seeing your project through either a birds-eye perspective or that of their own eye.

“It is all about taking the time to create authentic and beautiful architectural renders, which resonate with your potential customers. By investing the time in quashing the seven deadly sins of architectural rending mistakes, there is a greater chance to excite and intrigue your buyers,” Schravemade concluded.