Technology brings us convenience but also impair some of our capabilities. Many designers in my generation did not have elaborated 3D programs while in college or in the early stage of our careers, so we didn’t have the luxury to see what would be built until the projects were completed, so many of us had developed the ability to imagine things we designed in 3D before they were actually built, we could and still can even sketch these ideas in 3D by hand very quickly.
Younger generations of designers seem like losing these abilities since they have started to learn very advanced 3D programs in colleges. They need to depend on 3D programs in order to visualize things in 3D. Even though 3D programs can create nice realistic color renderings for presentations, for initial schematic design, it is just not cost-effective if you consider the time spent to build the 3D models.
I have found doing a quick hand sketch to convey design ideas within office among design team members and employers is extremely effective, but if you have co-workers or employers who must see super realistic 3D images in order to understand your design intent which can be very frustrating.
I am not against 3D computer rendering programs at all, but I am not a big fan of using it during the schematic design phase and before the floor layout is approved by the client. I also oppose to using 3D programs to generate 3D renderings just for in-office design communications since they are all time consuming (money burning) practices. When I hire interior designers for my company, ideal candidates will not need to know how to do any 3D program since they were not graphic design majored in college, but they must know how to quickly draw free-hand sketches to communicate their design ideas among design team members within the office, and then can use AutoCAD program to verify the feasibility of their sketched ideas in scale. As long as long as these rules are followed, 3D rendering programs can definitely be very productive and sufficient design aid tools.