Cost-Effective Types of 3D Architectural Visualizations

Getting a well-developed architectural design is a demanding process. Some 3D architectural visualizations services are expensive and we need those which are pocket-friendly or in other terms the cost-effective ones. This article will focus on which are the cost-effective architectural illustration types, what they would bring to the table and which 3D services have higher prices and what is the benefit of them.

In this concise review I will try to explain what is the meaning behind architectural illustration or visualization. This term refers to the art of creating two-dimensional images or animations representing a proposed architectural design. Let’s consider the following 8 types of cost-effective types of 3D architectural visualizations.

A short list of all Cost-Effective Types of 3D Architectural Visualizations that I will explain below:

  1. Renovation 3D Renderings (photomontage).
  2. Light and shadow (sciography) study renderings
  3. 3D Floor plans
  4. Still 3D rendering
  5. Panoramic 3D rendering
  6. Photorealistic 3D rendering
  7. 3D walk-through and Fly by animation (movie)
  8. Real-time 3D Virtual Reality

Renovation 3D Renderings (photomontage)

These are architectural visualization design techniques which focus on areas of renovation within a given structure or house. They earned the first place by cost-effective parameters in-between visualization techniques. Mainly are used by developers, estate agents and not that often by interior designers to get the desired look when the time or budgets are short.

It is interesting that these renovation 3D renderings are used by end clients which want’s to get an idea of how their property might look after possible renovation.

Renovation 3D Renderings are made with the use of 3D software and photos. The price of the renovation 3D renderings is low as they require less work if all the design sketches are provided.

Pros and cons of Renovation 3D Renderings:

Example prices of Renovation 3D Renderings:

1 to 5 photos
5 to 10 photos
10+ photos
£55 per photo
£50 per photo
£45 per photo

The example given above shows that this method can be an easy solution for end clients who are on the path to the renovating their property. For 10 Renovation 3D Renderings they can achieve a price of £310 which is a 25 per cent less than a single Still rendering (explained below).

Example Before and After of Renovation 3D Renderings:

Renovation Renderings (photomontage)
Renovation 3D Renderings (photomontage)

Light and shadow (sciography) study renderings​

It can be challenging to manually place effectively shadows and watermarks to architectural design. There is software that is developing in the architectural design field for doing shadowing to increase clarity of feature within the plan being animated.

The process with this 3D architecture with include such activities as manipulation and balancing of features of the 3D model that make design presentable like shadow, light, environment and other technical considerations.

The process makes modelling and execution of 3D architectural study visualizations easy to develop and present. The process highly benefits the developer and interior designers but they are demanding and require high ram space. The prices of this service are lower compared to Still renderings.

Example prices of Light and shadow (sciography) study renderings:

1 to 2 Visualizations
2 to 5 Visualizations
5+ Visualizations
£300 per photo
£250 per photo
£200 per photo

Pros and cons of Light and shadow (sciography) study renderings​​

Example of Light and shadow study renderings


3D Floor Plans

One of the most popular products among developers and real estate investment companies. Many sub-products comes out of 3D Floor plans. This type of visualization is commonly used to showcase space planing in 3D for end clients and real estate buyers. 3D floor plans are a convenient product that can be understood by any person. One of the main advantages that make this product to stand out is its functionality.

Example prices of 3D Floor plans:

1 to 2 Floor Plans
2 to 3 Floor Plans
3+ Floor Plans
£200 per Floor Plan
£170 per Floor Plan
£150 per Floor Plan

Pros and cons of 3D Floor plans

Example of 3D Floor plans

Light and shadow study renderings
3D Floor plan

Still 3D rendering

Still 3D rendering is a type of presentation focused on productivity. Its similarity to Renovation 3D rendering makes it cost-effective photomontage technique with extended functionality and quick turnaround.

This method relies on photos of the existing environment and dimensions onto which the 3D rendering will be built.

The extended functionality allows layout re-arrangement and extensive space planning and Interior Design, which is not possible in the Renovation 3D rendering.
This tool is favoured among property investors and end clients with average to low budgets.
The costs per photo/project are slightly increased in comparison to Renovation 3D rendering.

Example prices of Still 3D rendering:

1 to 2 – 3D renderings
2 to 3 – 3D renderings
3+ 3D renderings
£180 per 3D rendering
£160 per 3D rendering
£150 per 3D rendering

Pros and cons of Still 3D rendering

Example Still 3D rendering:

Still rendering
Still 3D rendering

Panoramic 3D rendering

Borrowed from photography, the panoramic renderings adds an extensive capability for the viewer. Three hundred sixty degrees pre-rendered visualizations provide a unique experience with possibilities for integration of sound, info.boxes and interactivity. That type of visualization gives an all-around view of the area (space) being visualised in one single image.

Any 3D project can be pre-rendered as panorama which gives extensive functionality for interior designers.

It is a time-consuming process and has different pricing.
One of the most significant incentives for interior designers is that 3D panoramas help their customers to understand a project in detail and in a short time. Most panorama renderings can be optimised for VR headset or goggles.

Example prices of Panoramic 3D Rendering

1 to 5 – 3D Panoramas
5 to 7 – 3D Panoramas
8+ 3D Panoramas
£690 per 3D Panorama
£620 per 3D Panorama
£550 per 3D Panorama

Pros and cons of Panoramic 3D Rendering

Example of Panoramic 3D rendering:

Panoramic rendering
Panoramic 3D rendering

Photorealistic 3D rendering

This 3D visualization technique focused on producing high quality, photo-realistic and enhanced detailing. Interior Designers and Architects use this tool in pre-design stages and presentations. It’s multipurpose, and quality reduces the overall time of design. The price of each 3D visualization will increase with the increase in the number of details added or their complexity. This type of service is widely used also for property marketing.

Example prices of Photorealistic 3D rendering:

1 to 5 – Photorealistic 3D renderings
5 to 7 – Photorealistic 3D renderings
8+ Photorealistic 3D renderings
£490 per Photorealistic 3D rendering
£450 per Photorealistic 3D rendering
£400 per Photorealistic 3D rendering

Pros and cons of Photorealistic 3D rendering

Example of Photorealistic 3D rendering:

Photorealistic 3D rendering
Photorealistic 3D rendering

3D walk-through and Fly by animation (3d film)

This is a visualization method developed in the form of a 3D animation (film). Due to its costs, 3D animations are often between 30 seconds up to 10 minutes. The 3D animation offers the viewer (end client) an extraordinary understanding of the environment with a focus on specified key parts of the project.

That is one of the least cost-effective methods of the above. It’s time-consuming and requires extensive work.
It is widely used for marketing videos played at Showhouses, Websites and Marketing suites.

Example prices of 3D walk-through and Fly by animation:

up to 20 seconds – 3D Animation
up to 90 seconds – 3D Animation
up to 180 seconds – 3D Animation
£970 per 20 seconds / HD
£3780-£5000 per 90 seconds / HD
£7200-£11000 per 180 seconds / HD

Pros and cons of 3D walk-through and Fly by animation

Example of 3D walkthrough and Fly by animation

Real-time 3D Virtual Reality

This is a method used for exploring architectural visualizations within real time engine. The process uses a 3D virtual headsets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Oculus Go, Google Cardboard) used by the viewer to experience and interact with the project. The visualization presented with real-time 3D rendering engines is a changing 3D experience producing illusion motions based on tracking devices into the 3d headsets or your phone (if google cardboard is used).

The primary objective of real-time 3D Virtual Reality is to produce computer-generated space with software like Unreal Engine and Unity which the viewer can have the sense of being there.

These kinds of graphics are used where feedback and interactivity are essential. Real-time 3D’s ease the process of deciding on the visualization and explanation of the plan or design.

The process of building a real-time 3D environment is hefty and time-consuming. But once designed, any following adjustments are more straightforward.

The price of this 3D renderings will also be higher due to the high costs of development and the time that takes. It’s one of the latest trends used by some of the most luxurious design and development companies across Europe and the USA, as it can portray the idea in seconds and sell it.

Example prices of Real-time 3D Virtual Reality:

Small project (room or space)
Medium project (apartment or villa)
Large project (exterior or city)

Pros and cons of 3D Virtual Reality

Example of Real-time 3D rendering:

Have questions about our service: Architectural visualization for property developments?
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  • There are 8 main cost-effective types of 3D Architectural Visualizations methods
    • Renovation 3D Renderings (photomontage).
    • Light and shadow (sciography) study renderings
    • 3D Floor plans
    • Still 3D rendering
    • Panoramic 3D rendering
    • Photorealistic 3D rendering
    • 3D walkthrough and Fly by animation (movie)
    • Real-time 3D rendering
  • Get your self educated on possibilities and limits (Pros and Cons) of each type.
  • Plan what type of architectural visualizations you need. Compare costs and different options.
  • If you are not sure or have more questions it’s free to ask by sending us an e-mail

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.