If anyone has not seen a 3-D computer visualization, please raise your hands…

Not a hand in sight, so let us fast forward to the meat of the topic. What we are going to discuss in this post is: How do you tell a good computer rendering from a bad one?

Here is a list of evaluation points, based on our thousands of hours’ experience generating such renderings for diverse clients:

  • Items in the background should be slightly out of focus compared to items in the foreground. The only exception is when the background is the area in focus.
  • The degree of illumination between the foreground and the background should be consistent. This is because the foreground and background are not created by computer visualizers; the background is an image procured an external source and it dropped behind the foreground (which is what your computer artist has created)
  • The vegetation throughout the image should be consistent. For instance you cannot have pine trees in the background and coconut trees in the foreground. This implies that a good deal of study must be put into the location of the scene; plants must be chosen for the foreground and background according to the climate of the target area
  • In the foreground, all objects should be of the correct proportion. It is not uncommon to see full-grown adults only 3 inches taller than a chair!
  • The direction and length of all shadows should be consistent. This is again a foreground-background issue. The foreground is created using a high-quality 3D modeling and rendering program such as 3-D Studio (a product of Autodesk, Inc). These programs allow positioning of a virtual sun and the consequent generation of accurate shadows. it is easy to mismatch the position of the sun in the foreground
  • No two plants should be exactly the same (this is where most 3-D computer artists make a mistake)
  • Ground covers should not be homogenous. For instance, a lawn should not look like a green plastic mat. There should be patches of brown, places where the grass is a little taller, a few randomly scattered leaves and some tiny grass flowers
  • In a similar fashion, roads should have a little debris here and there; there should be small cracks and occasional chips in the sidewalk. Buildings should have small blemishes in appropriate places


Creating 3-D renderings is a highly specialized job. There are many providers of CAD services specialized in the discipline, but in our opinion around 85% of them are not aware of all the points listed above. What do you as a buyer has to do is to first ask for a sample at no charge (or at least for a reduced rate) and vet it against what has been discussed above. Also make sure that you are happy with the provider’s communication capabilities.

Here’s hoping that this post enables you to procure 3-D renderings that you are truly proud of!