There are a couple questions that I am often asked. I have covered the, "what makes a good architectural rendering?" questions and now I would like to discuss the question, "How Long Does a Rendering Take?"
Like the first question, the second most common question I get, which is "How long does a rendering take?", is not an easy question to answer. Each rendering project is unique and each rendering project is custom. First, I would like to say, if you see someone stating that they have a 2-3 day turnaround, run for the hills. Now, I am not saying that there isn't such a thing, some of my project only take 2-3 days, but that is unique to that project specific needs and can't be applied across the board.
Over the past 25 years I have successfully completed hundreds of architectural renderings and each one had its own challenges, obstacles, and in turn, turn around time. Some might consider an architectural rendering a commodity, as in some cases they are, but that's not the niche I am in. All of my architectural rendering projects are custom pieces that I invest a lot of time and energy to get right. From the lighting, to the colors and materials, everything is painstakingly done with as much attention to detail that I can.
Typically, when I receive a request for bid, I review all the documents very carefully. There are some things that are very non-subjective, like the actual modeling portion of the rendering project, however, there are many more subjective things that have to be considered. Creating custom textures and materials can be very time consuming, and like the modeling, can be non-subjective. What isn't non-subjective is the creative part of the process.
Creativity is what brings an architectural rendering into the WOW zone. One value I can bring to any project is decades worth if a study on basic art theory. What draws a viewer into your rendering? How to capture your viewers attention, and hold it? How to successfully use light and shadow to take your viewer's eye right to your focal points, and the leading lines to help make the journey pleasant. This, is what the commodity renderings don't do and it's very difficult to put a time limit on it. Part of this process might mean you take your eyes off the project for a day. Lots of times I study my renderings in black and white, or totally blurred, and many times I study my renderings at a stamp size. Each of these trick provides me a chance to study my composition, the use of contrast, and double check all my values.
Having said all of that, when I estimate a project's time, I add up the non-subjective things, in term up amount of time it'll take to complete, then I add some time for the creative process and then I usually double it. This allows me not to rush the process, which is critical for the success of an architectural renderings. After I have reviewed all the gathered information, I'll review it against your project brief, and give you a proposal with options to solve your project needs.
So, to answer the question, "How long does a rendering take?" it depends on many factors and if someone tells you otherwise, please save your sanity, and your projects chances for success, and move on.
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