Going rate for a professional 3D rendering?


Thought I'd start a thread on professional 3D rendering services...

Who does your office use for outsourcing 3D renderings / who do you recommend?

What are some general "going rates" for a professional 3D rendering? For an interior and an exterior rendering? And what do you expect as a turnaround for each, assuming that you provide the model and the firm renders and does post-production with feedback, etc.

What are some good rendering firms with an artistic eye, the ones with strong architectural sense / an eye for composition? Are the good ones generally more expensive?

There's some pretty nice 3D rendering work coming out of China these days at a fraction of the cost... What do you think about hiring a Chinese Firm to do your renderings?

Aug 13, 08 10:21 am

we use chinese and argintinean...
its cheap, but i actually enjoy rendering and all of that, so im not a huge fan of the fact that we do it... but billable hours are billable hours.

Aug 13, 08 10:47 am  · 

I would like to know what an exterior perspective of a simple scene modeled in ACAD would cost. Assuming that all of the composition, materials and lighting would be completed by the artist under direction. What about preparing the dwg files. Do you have to mess with normals?

Aug 13, 08 11:11 am  · 

*most of the time, an artist would only line drawings from which to construct their own 3d model in their rendering software (max, Maya, etc.) and not even mess with an architects' 3d .dwg model.

* "most"

Aug 13, 08 11:25 am  · 

Professional renders tend to run between 3 to 8 thousand, depending on what "bells and whistles" you get, and how much modeling the render company has to do. Most rendering firms use either Vray, Maxwell or Brazil, and usually work with 3dMax or Maya, however they can accept files from Rhino or Cad and translate them. As far as messing with normals goes, usually when importing the files there is a 'unify normals' command that gets everything in line.

Aug 13, 08 11:29 am  · 
1  · 

Interesting. How much do you think it would cost for a camera match?

Aug 13, 08 12:26 pm  · 

sounds like you have a quote and are using Archinect to determine if it's outrageous or not.

I used to do this freelance (no longer have the time unfortunately) and have had people try to give me models they've already done--it's usually just a waste of time and energy (and actually cheaper for me to re-model).

--taking someone else's model is very tricky and sometimes more work. AutoCAD specifically is wacky--if you're not drawing consistently clockwise or counter-clockwise, the normals will get all messed up on import and in some cases will require a re-model (even with 'unify normals,' depending on the complexity of the shapes). Then there's also the geometry overhead to consider, which affects how fast the render will go and how much geometry will need to be processed (some engines take all geometry into account, not just the visible)--if it's just an interior shot with a very focused field of view, it's quite typical to only model the surfaces that are seen--walls are just the visible plane, etc. Also, imported geometry is either too dense, not dense enough, or has messed-up meshing (triangles/quads of irregular size and dimension)--this can lead to more geometry than necessary and texturing issues (textures won't map correctly) that are sometimes impossible to fix without a re-model and/or significant time wasted tweaking the imported geometry.

camera matching is another thing entirely--there are programs that can effectively match cameras, but they still require some hand tweaking and for effective matching need good resolution and knowledge of the real-world measurements. I find it much easier to match a camera to something that I've personally taken--using someone else's image may just lead to more hassle and wasted time.

complexity and hassle=$$

$3k to $8k sounds about right--though they shouldn't be charging you for render time (un-supervised computer time) unless they're using a render farm (you pay should a premium for the quick turnaround)

Aug 13, 08 1:37 pm  · 

er--"you should pay a premium…"

Aug 13, 08 1:39 pm  · 


I can't remember the last time I had any problems with normals when importing AutoCAD 3D dwg files into 3ds max. I think I haven't dealt with that problem since maybe 3ds max version 4. From what you said regarding drawing clockwise / counter clockwise, it also sounds like you're doing surface modeling more than solid modeling in AutoCAD which is probably why you'd run into the problem with normals.
If you're talking about 3d AutoCAD drawings imported into 3ds max from a library such as Kohler or Steelcase for example that would be another story. I presonally wouldn't want to use those in renderings anyway.

I think top 4 3D rendering firms in the US are Neoscape, DBox, Swim (7thArt) and Spine 3D.

Aug 13, 08 2:24 pm  · 

Thanks for the info.

Aug 13, 08 3:37 pm  · 


I was actually talking about solid modeling in ACAD; though to be honest I haven't done modeling in ACAD in a long time, though I do know that the consistent drawing method is still critical and there are still wacky normal issues upon import into Rhino, Revit, MAX and Maya.

the moral of the story though is that the client really isn't helping the renderer out by supplying models and shouldn't view it as a potential cost savings.

Aug 13, 08 7:06 pm  · 

That is correct. We remodel 90% of the models that they send, but once in a while we can use the existing models (if it is a simple project).

Aug 13, 08 7:58 pm  · 

What are some of the international firms mentioned in over_under's response?

Aug 14, 08 12:21 pm  · 

- probably CrystalCG (sweatshop) in China. You could probably find local renders at

Aug 14, 08 1:53 pm  · 
Bruce Prescott

I had good results from a Chinese firm for a realistic aerial rendering of six rather complicated houses. We gave them ACAD plans and elevations and a rough form-z model of one of the houses. Only down side is it took six reviews over about 14 days to get everything right, but they were very willing to work with us. Up side was low cost ($1000).

In the US we have used Craig Shimihara with good results if you can afford the $3-8K/image range and if he has time.

Aug 15, 08 2:09 am  · 

For us, in-sourced photo-real renderings can be done for $4000-8000 in time-billing (1-1 1/2 weeks) in North America. The high end would be for something like an aerial perspective view of an urban districts. We use outsourcing in China, typically running 3000-10,000 RMB or about a fifth the US timecard... quality varies.

Aug 17, 08 3:38 am  · 

There can be a US-quality rendering for three times lower price, actually. Here you need to look for Eastern Europe (or post-Soviet).

Oct 7, 08 5:07 am  · 

In comparison price-quality, countries of Eastern Europe are leading.
Good knowledge of English and mentality proximity. Besides, the difference in time is pretty small.

Oct 7, 08 8:41 am  · 

I charge roughly anywhere from $500-700 per rendering here in the US.  I know I'm undercharging but I'm trying to build up a clientele and I do everything photo-realistic.

Jun 19, 13 2:48 pm  · 

med, arent you the guy that was bagging on someone a while back for outsourcing renders to china? And you are doing them for $500-$700?

Nov 17, 13 8:19 pm  · 

Race to the bottom,

Ready, set, go!

Nov 17, 13 10:11 pm  · 
1  · 

Agreed. I typically enjoy rendering, but the billable time to do the renderings make it impractical for production level renders, which is stupid, because it means that the fee structure does not include the appropriate costs to do a quality rendering in-house, even though those deliverables are still expected by the client. So they end up getting the rendering without paying the premium to receive them.

The end result is that you typically get a mixed bag of results depending on the rendering outfit you use, and the person who's doing the work, which varies greatly. You also get the best results if a person who is capable of doing the renderings in-house is the one coordinating with the render outfit, because that person "speaks the language" of rendering and can give clear and actionable requests. But even still, sometimes you end up paying for 4 renderings, and only 3 are usable due to the unnecessary time-crunch that is always baked in to the turnaround time. And its not uncommon to have to go back to the rendering outfit and pay for another round in order to pick up changes (sometimes for permitting reasons), which is sometimes absorbed by the architecture firm.

All of this is due to the unrealistic expectation that rendering is simply pressing a button rather than acknowledging that it is actually a quite laborious and intensive process. Architects view renderings inappropriately, in my opinion. They view them as a small expected one-time service rather than an evolving set of documents and the fee structure is usually indicative of that.

Also, i just realized i replied to a 9 year old comment.  Guess somebody decided to bump this old-ass topic.

Jul 1, 21 12:21 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

We do all our renderings in-house. I would never give up control of the promotional work of a project to a third party, especially one who has no other involvement in the project besides making shiny images.

Dec 6, 13 1:55 pm  · 

How much for a hand rendering?  Say if the client provides the 3d view from a model.   

Dec 27, 13 10:42 am  · 

lol.  hand rendering.  nice touch.

here area  couple videos from gabe, who's name is not gabe.  gabe makes comics.  he's using sketchbook pro

here is someone who is much more boring, and has a tablet that is much more expensive

Dec 27, 13 11:42 am  · 

hand rendering - price would vary depending on the final size of the drawing. I would end up billing around 40-50 hours to a 24"x36" pencil or ink hatched hand-rendering, whereas a 4"x6" version would only take 2-3 hours to be fully finished. So the price tag could land anywhere between $200 and $3000 for a drawing commission, and I'm getting into the habit of adding reproduction rights fees for drawings that will be used as promotional material.
what I've learned over the last decade : everybody loves a well hatched drawing, yet almost nobody will pony up the cash for it. Paintings almost always outsell drawings in galleries, and people who run architecture and design offices are often intimidated when seeing some real skill with a handheld tool from a prospective employee.

Dec 28, 13 6:38 pm  · 

see: no.

Apr 21, 15 8:20 pm  · 

Hey- 3dvis Design-

What program did you use to create your renderings?


Apr 22, 15 10:32 am  · 

I have a friend who has a professional rendering company specializing in photo realism. He charges $500-$600 per image with additional fees for modifications after the final renderings. 

Apr 22, 15 10:39 am  · 

3dVis Design, so what are your typical fee's

Apr 22, 15 8:44 pm  · 

A higher end Chinese firm will charge between $500-$1000 per rendering depending on the complexity of the images and scope of the project.  Communication and coordination can be pretty difficult however due to language barriers and timezone difference.  It isn't as easy as just 'sending it off' and seeing what happens.

Apr 23, 15 9:20 am  · 

I have worked at a couple of Professional Architectural Illustration Firms (proudly USA based)  Currently, I am starting my own now:  Kristofer Illustrations.  (I know it is catchy)  They can range from several hundred for simple pieces to upwards of $10,000 for extremely complex projects.  Complexity, Entourage, Time Frame, Evolving Designs, Versions, are all determining variables. 

Apr 23, 15 10:37 am  · 

My friend's firm is Koliba Studio (from Bulgaria). Check it out:

Apr 23, 15 1:17 pm  · 

If you are interested in supporting US companies check us out. We are interested in experimenting with different graphic styles and 3D modeling techniques (we do models too.) 

When it comes to pricing we are generally on the low end and are located in NYC but have been commissioned all over the US . If interested here is a link to our website.   There is a contact tab if you have any other questions.

May 7, 15 8:42 pm  · 

3d in china is cheap. but some of them are expensive.

May 9, 15 11:51 am  · 
null pointer

yeah, you're cheap for a reason. there's like zero post processing in those renderings. That's where the good stuff shines.


If I had to recommend anyone for a marketing image, I'd go through the people featured on this site:

Sep 3, 15 12:19 pm  · 

For the run of the mill render why not do your own? Unless its high end I wouldn't use anyone and do it myself for high end I'd use something with some artistic flair like vyonyx.

Better yet hire a architect or intern with a passion in 3D/CGI and develop them.

Sep 21, 15 6:48 am  · 

This thread shows 2 things according to me.

1) There should be some better moderation in this forum to stop people selling their services. I ran a forum once and it is not to difficult to avoid spam/semi-spam.

2) That said, there should be a decent way for new and existing companies/private people to announce their services and prices.

Sep 27, 15 11:06 am  · 
sleepytsunami's comment has been hidden

I can help you do some render for your projects if it's suitable for my free time (I'm a student, in Vietnam..... and I'm interested in 3D/CGI). Money is not too important for me, I just want to work to fill my free time and improve my experience. Because I'm doing some my own projects (my own imagination, not real) just to pratice my skill.... and if there is a chance, I want to do something useful instead.

I'm using 3ds max and Vray, with Photoshop in post-production. Feel free to contact me. :)

Sep 28, 15 9:50 pm  · 

with the fast and advanced rendering capabilities of Revit - Autodesk Raytracer - no one needs to outsource any rendering - this way you do not give up control and you save a lot money in the process - 

Apr 19, 16 5:17 pm  · 

sure, if bottom-line garbage is your standard than the revit raytracer works just fine. 

Apr 19, 16 5:31 pm  · 

I've never seen a well designed building that didn't have multiple thousand-dollar renderings created for it.


Oh, wait.


Never mind.

Apr 19, 16 6:08 pm  · 

strawman much?

Apr 19, 16 6:42 pm  · 

Oh, sorry. Was I supposed to intuit that your statement referred to bottom-line garbage RENDERINGS and not bottom-line garbage BUILDINGS?


My mistake.

Apr 19, 16 7:04 pm  · 

we are discussing renderings.  and rendering software.  in a thread about rendering. my mistake for assuming little to no intuition was required on your part.  

Apr 19, 16 7:22 pm  · 

The discussion expanded to include such topics as the value of in-house vs. out-of-house rendering. 


Provided you're not doing marketing renderings, there's very little value in professional renderings. If you need a professional rendering to get your design approved, you're not doing it right. If you can't prove your design with revit raytracer, you're doing it wrong.


If you're relying on a tool to do your job for you, guess what? 

Apr 19, 16 7:41 pm  · 

I'm in Melbourne/Aus, generally there is a good range of in house architectural visualisers in the firms I've worked at (and sometimes it's me). That said, rarely have I seen an internal render used for external 'sales' type stuff, that tends to go to the pro's who are in the region of 5k/10k per image. Once a project is important enough to need a pro (ie, there is a lot on the line for the client $$$ wise) the price of the render is usually a secondary concern. They just want the best, and the best is usually high end local.

Sep 16, 17 4:49 am  · 

I get my renderings for 20 bucks on Fivver 

Feb 21, 18 8:38 pm  · 
1  · 

Now and days with all the new tech, i see more firms not outsourcing any renders. Even lumion let you set up some basic templates that anyone can use.

At a previous firm we had interns doing all that type of work sine they where already modeling the building.

From a client perspective, most clients don't care how photo realistic it is, and most will be pleased with any visual work. Ironically some of request a simple sketch look rendering.

If by chance we needed some super detailed high end render for a competition. Then we send it of to china, 1000 bucks and done.

Jul 1, 21 12:17 pm  · 

Yes. We have brought all visualization in-house, using Twinmotion for the vast majority of it.

Dec 11, 23 12:15 pm  · 

I did some viz work as a student and charged about a full-time paycheck (of my pre-school salary ~50k) for like 20-ish hours of work. Great way to flip the free student-edition rendering software lol

Jul 1, 21 2:41 pm  · 

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