While the technology and software for renderings has been available for years, only until recently was it within reach for smaller companies. Rendering, also known as photo-rendering, allows one to assign textures such as different types of metals, paints, and other materials to a 3-D CAD model and place it in a realistic environment. After the textures and environment are applied, the lighting is adjusted to get the most realistic setting possible. Lastly, the program is told to “render” the scene. This is when reflections and shadows are calculated and textures with special properties, such as pearlescent paint or patterned glass, are brought to life. The rendering time can vary depending on the size of the scene, the complexity of the surfaces, custom lighting locations, and the desired size and quality of the finished picture.
Renderings are fantastic at conveying new product ideas and geometry to other employees or team members, or to use as marketing and promotional materials before the product is ever manufactured.