How to - 2d plan to a realistic 3D architectural rendering

This is how most of the 3D renderings at CastorCAD are made. Here's a quick overview of a step by step process on how I go from 2D plans to a realistic and creative 3D image for architecture. I'm Using Revit, 3ds Max and Octane Render. If you like it don't forget to subscribe for more related posts.


1) During this first step I go back and forth from one elevation to the next allow me to understand floor plans. I get an overall idea in about 10 minutes and then I start "tracing" the plan with Autodesk Revit Architecture.

First I start off with a plan of the project often provided by the architect himself.

2) You may notice that this model is pretty ugly. The reason is I really don't pay attention to detail at this step. My aim is to get everything where it should be (windows, dimensions etc.) and I leave quite a few details out. There are even some serious architectural forms in the plan that I did not add yet because all I need is a base to work off of and then I'll finish it up in 3DS Max.

Next I'll make a basic 3D model of the project with everything in place and to scale

3) This is where things start to get fun. I've gone back and forth (alt+tab) from the autocad plans to my 3ds max model and have finished the model the way it was drawn by the architect. I've positioned the camera and composed the image in a way I find brings out the best features of the project. I'm using Octane Render by Otoy to render this image. The lighting in this scene is quite simple. I have one sun behind the house which is giving me some nice shadows that are directing the viewers attention to the house.

Now I've finished the architectural model and have started to light the project

4) I add and test materials until they look right to me. I do this before adding plants and high poly objects to my scene because it allows me to test lighting and materials faster. Once the materials look nice I start thinking about how I can add plants/shrubs to the scene. I try to add them to the scene in a way where they complement the architecture and don't take the viewers attention off target. Then I add some trees in the background to hide to horizon. I always make sure that the trees are not covering up important parts of the architecture. 

Final rendered image with plants, trees and materials


Well guys that's pretty much it for this behind the scenes. Thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more useful information on related topics. Email me if you have any questions or suggestions for a new post!