With the growing uptake of Building Information Modelling (BIM) by building designers, traditional CAD software is changing to become more aligned with its processes.

One of the big changes is the transformation of programs to incorporate 2D/3D synchronised modelling workflows that also allow data input about a building’s composition, a major change from standardised CAD software which previously worked in independent plan, section and elevation drafting workflows.

Scott Ballis of Studio Atomic 3D is director of one of the high end established architectural visualisation studios within Australia, and he notes how a more BIM focused Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector has transformed architects into proficient 3D modellers:

“Architects and visualisation studio’s such as Atomic 3D now collaborate more seamlessly than ever before, thanks to 3D rendering, lighting, texturing and plugin programs that are finally compatible across multiple platforms and more readily available to architects,” he says.

“With designers now becoming involved in the world of BIM, architects have become more proficient at working in 3D and are therefore becoming more involved in the production of a final render of a building or its interior spaces.”

But Ballis notes that architectural visualisation studios aren’t going out of business just yet, because most architects don’t have the luxury of time or an established marketing budget to be producing highly detailed 3D models and high level renders to the level of quality that Atomic 3D does.

Architectural visualisation companies typically add textures, lighting, furniture, interior entourage and landscaping to an architect’s 3D model that were produced in programs such as Revit and AutoCAD. They then complete the post production process once high resolution images are rendered in Photoshop. Ballis said this process can take anywhere from a day to several weeks, depending on the file format and detail sent to him by the architect.

Below are five examples of project from rendering professionals that showcase the ability of contemporary 3D rendering software in creating reality-like 3D renders. Some of these were made prior to project completion, while others were made following from a photograph.

Narrabeen House by Chrofi, renders by Guillaume Favre


  • Revit Modelling from photograph
  • 3D Studio Max
  • V-Ray – Lighting and shading
  • CG-Source—Textures

Trojan House by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects, renders by Christian Behrendt 


  • Photograph from Emma Cross
  • Cinema 4D Prime
  • V-Ray – Lighting and shading

The Pavillion by Rothe Lowman, renders by Atomic 3D


  • Revit file (architect)
  • 3D Studio Max – textures
  • V-Ray – Lighting and shading

House 2 For A Photographer by OAB Architects (Spain), renders by Kiernan May


  • Photograph by Alejo Bague
  • Maya 3D—textures
  • V-Ray—Lighting and shading

The Shack by Contech, renders by Shadow Gap