Rendering Software for non-professional


Hi. I'm designing a new home (engineer but not an architect) and wondering if there's a free of low-cost rendering software for people like me? Don't need elevations, cross sections, etc... Just need some 3D rendering that lets me visualize my ideas, hopefully with good resolution.

Plan is to take my renderings to the architect as a starting point.



Jun 7, 21 4:08 pm

sketchup is the program you seek...just model things...rendering itself is overrated for what you are after

but please, please just go talk to an architect...interview a bunch & work with one that you get along with

tell them about your family, your life goals, how you want to live, not what rooms you want or what size they should be or where you think the plumbing stack should be. That is what the architect will do with far more experience or efficiency than you struggling through the process yourself.

do you have a site yet? do you have a budget? do you have examples of things you've seen that excited you? tell/show your architect

let that person's expertise guide you to a better solution

Jun 7, 21 5:37 pm  · 
4  · 

Thanks Pronto. Here's our plan, tell me what you think.

1) Collect and review thousands of design ideas over the last 4 years (Pinterest, ArchDaily, OneKindDesign, etc.). Only saving those ideas that resonate with us.

2) When we find a building site, use the collected design ideas to guide house placement, stylistics, views, etc.. We've also identified some  favorite architects based on our collected visual ideas (Locati, Pearson, Surround, and many others).

3) Sketch up a number of site-specific ideas and forward the ideas to our top 3 or 4 architects for review, along with photos of desired stylistic treatments, materials, elevations, etc.. Ask each architect to "take it to the next level" and sketch up their unique "take" on our initial directions -- and finally pick the architect that seems most "attuned and inspired" towards our collective goal.

Reasonable? Suggestions?

Jun 7, 21 7:47 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

No. Find an architect with a body of work you appreciate and contact them about availability. Schedule a meeting and bring some ideas, but let them lead the discussion. Then, if you think your stars align, sign a contract and pay them a retainer to get started.

Jun 7, 21 8:08 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

Final point, we don’t work for free so don’t expect anyone to offer up ideas without money on the table.

Jun 7, 21 8:09 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Last point, you need a site since this is a major factor in design (more than pinterest images) as well as a realistic budget.

Jun 7, 21 8:13 pm  · 
1  · 

You've got a good understanding of the process in that list above, other than when you hire the architect (between 1 and 2, not after 3). 

Jun 7, 21 8:32 pm  · 
1  · 

Also, while not necessary, it's not uncommon to have an architect onboard before you have a site, to assist with selection.

Jun 7, 21 8:33 pm  · 
3  · 

++ Non  I hate it when clients come loaded with clippings from Architectural Digest and Interior Design. That's how the collage projects featured on McMansion Hell came about.

++ tduds site selection

Jun 7, 21 8:54 pm  · 
2  · 

op - some architects like working this way, some don't. recognize that none are looking for you to come with a usable design (and it's quite likely you won't) but most "personable" types will look at your ideas openly with a friendly curiosity to understand your thinking.

as to giving a group of architects a prototype design and asking them to compete for the chance to finish it, you won't get many takers who aren't simply desperate for work. and in the current market no one good is desperate.

i've heard of competitions for residential work, but fully paid as an hourly expense plus reimbursables - and those were for extraordinary large projects with huge budgets. not all architects will participate in something like that though - there's a huge opportunity cost in it and it's unlikely to lead to future projects in the way it can for commercial or civic work.

the reality is most architects (nearly 100%!) want to design a building you love. the problem you need to look for is not if they can "take it to the next level" - it's to figure out if you mutually like working together to develop your ideas into a real design. you should be meeting architects, interviewing them, and asking for references to understand who you can work with. the horror stories in residential design are in nearly all cases due to poor working relationships between the client and the architects, and that's not something you can judge by images for a design.

Jun 7, 21 11:16 pm  · 
3  · 

Imagine if you approached Music the same way...

I've collected my favourite chords, some harmonies and a few words that rhyme really well. I've also decided I want a 4/4 time signature and in A Major, with the chorus repeated 3 times. After I hire Paul Simon, I'm going to ask him to take it to the next level as he will be the best to write the dance techno pop hybrid I've been wanting all along. 

Jun 8, 21 7:11 pm  · 
1  · 

I would so illegally download that album!

Jun 11, 21 4:54 am  · 

Thanks all. Good advice. I may just pick our favorite architect and be done with it.

Jun 9, 21 7:52 pm  · 
3  · 

glad it helps, good luck with it!

Jun 9, 21 8:23 pm  · 

chris-chitecht, love the simile. But I think it's probably a matter of degree. We designed our last home and landscaping without an architect and it's stunning in all respects. And for the new house, we're pretty sure of our first-order "tempo, key, and musical genre" (basic style, max size, key aesthetic building materials, and budget).

The hardest part of designing and building our current home was the engineering. We hired a structural engineering firm who, in some ways, doubled as an architect -- making a number of design suggestions early in the process. The firm spent a lot of time on this place -- concrete walkout first floor, iron bones, steel frame, high ceilings, etc..

I'm tempted to go this same route, but neither of us have the kind of time it takes to fully design another home, hence the need for an architect. And I will probably heed tduds' advice and get an architect onboard earlier in the process.

Jun 10, 21 8:15 am  · 

Just remember to listen to the architect you hire. 

 With having designed your last home you will have more of an understanding of the design process. Assuming you didn’t build your last home there is still a great deal of things you don't have any experience in and your general contractor took care of for you.

 Construction assemblies, zoning, building code, energy code, material / labor availability, ect. All of these can greatly impact the building design. These are all things a good architect will consider and deal with when designing your home. Your architect will also look out for your best interests and insure that you get the most for your money.

Jun 10, 21 10:28 am  · 

Dude, just buy a house that you like that already exists that you can afford

Jun 11, 21 1:54 pm  · 

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