Does 3D Rendering Programs Really Make You Work More Efficiently?

Perspective drawing in the past was used as a visual aide for the clients who were non-professional and lacking of 3D imagination, so most of the interior design majored students all needed to learn color renderings by hand at school when the 3D rendering computer programs were still at their infancy. Time passes by quickly, so does technology, there are so many 3D rendering programs out there in the market nowadays, and many design firms also start to use this technology to serve the clients better and help the design professionals designing better. Well, serving the clients better? that is undeniable; helping designing better? I somehow disagree.

The best example, I am not sure if you have encountered the situation like this: When the wall framing was up at the job site or when the project was un-finished, the clients went to the job site, and when they saw the space in 3D, they start to make changes, you told them because they saw things un-finished, they had the false impression that their spaces would look bad after completion, some of them would take your advice and not to make any change because you also told them it was fine to make changes on the approved designs but not without a cost.

Well, let the clients see 3D renderings basically just move the phase of seeing stuff on site and making changes during the Contract Administration Phase earlier to Design Development Phase, and if your firm does not have in-house 3D designers like in the old days and outsource the 3D rendering work and charge clients additional fees for the 3D renderings, it probably still has a mechanism to stop clients from changing approved designs constantly, but since 3D rendering programs become more matured, more younger designers already possess such skill in addition to AutoCAD drafting, you are very likely to hire someone who knows how to operate 3D rendering programs working full-time for you, and since you now have in-house 3D rendering designers, making revisions becomes much easier on 3D renderings, and with no extra cost, believe me, not only will the clients abuse it and make constant changes, the designers themselves do it as well. They make changes on 3D rendering drawings just all the time, anytime they feel like it, anytime they have doubt on certain designs or FF&E selections, they do experiment on it. Hey, it is in-house, and it is free!! who cares?!

Now the designers who also operate 3D rendering programs become your or the clients’ experiment robots, doing all kinds of visual experiments, mix matching and relocating stuff, moving things around, since it is so easy and free, you start to do it not only during the Design Development Phase but during Contract Document Phase, and you know how time-consuming it is when you are still changing designs while drawing construction document. You change one thing on the plan, several elevations, sections, details, specification lists or schedules will also need to be changed, and you tell me that is efficient?

I understand if your firms are doing large-scale commercial projects, constantly reviewing spaces on 3D programs becomes very necessary, but if you are doing individual residential projects under 20k sq.ft, constantly making design changes on 3D drawings is just not sustainable no matter the changes are made by designers or clients. I even think a 3D rendering shouldn’t even be created for a small-scale residential project.

Remember the old days before cell phones were invented? you probably could memorize at least 10 family members’ phone numbers by heart. How about now? How many sets of phone numbers can you remember without checking your cell phones? As design professionals, imaging and visualizing spaces in 3D by heart probably is the most valuable ability you possesses, do not let the 3D rendering programs take away that part of you. Always remember, the non-professionals like clients have every reason not to understand how things will look like in 3D by looking at the 2D plan and elevation drawings, but not you, as a professional interior designer.