Visualization – a virtual reconstruction of reality or creating it from scratch

At a time of momentous technological leaps and advances which involved the popularization of personal computers, the demand for specialists in a completely new field of computer science had emerged – that is, computer graphics. This field was quickly adapted and used in science, various industries and entertainment. Its essence lies in the creation of artistic visualizations or the visualization of reality by computer. Visualizations consist of creating a 3d element or a whole 3d model by using suitable 3d modeling software. A computer graphic designer usually doesn’t base its work on algorithms and calculations, but rather their skills depend largely on their knowledge about reality. For example:

  • knowledge of how light affects an object,
  • knowledge of how the object (eg car, airplane, bike, or man) behaves during movement,
  • knowledge of how atmospheric conditions (eg wind, rain, snow) affect the object.

The creation of a visualization consists of four stages:

STAGE 1. – MODELING – this is the longest and most difficult of all the stages of creating a 3d model. The basic modeling technique that exists in most software programs involves the transformation and reshaping of geometric figures such as cubes, spheres and cuboids.

Three-dimensional space is linear space in which three parameter values lie. Each point in this geometric setting includes three coordinates.

STAGE 2. – TEXTURING – once the 3d elements have been created, a realistic model now needs to be formed.  The appropriate texture is applied to the elements (such as photos, images) and the correct angle of light reflection needs to be created, alongside reflections and surface structure. Everything is done to make the 3d model look realistic.

STAGE 3. – SCENE – if we already have created and refined the objects, then their surroundings should be treated as a scene. In the case of interior design, it should be decided what surrounds the furniture and how the lighting is to be set up. It is worth coming up with a previous hand-drawn sketch of the visualization and to prepare documentation of the actual objects on which we want to model (eg interiors of other flats, windows, lights, shadows).

STAGE 4. – RENDERING – rendering the interior visualization can be just as time consuming as the first step of modeling. Rendering is based on converting all the information entered into a graphic program such as object size, texture, light and motion imitation. The final rendering effect is the presentation of information in an electronic format (which is specific to the particular environment), which may be a television, computer or printing screen.

What is interior design?

Surely most of us have come across the concept of interior design as early as childhood. This is thanks to Electronic Arts simulation games like the “The Sims”. The 17-year-old series is one of the best-selling products of its kind in the world. Its architecture is based on 3d animation but for many people, it’s the building and interior design that provides the most entertainment. You can use ready-made 3d object models and lay them out any way you want. These provisional designs can be the basis for understanding the profession of interior design.

Interior design is a way of shaping the environment by using its functions, décor, equipment and amenities. An interior designer can be considered as part of a chain of specialists in the building or real estate industries.


An interior designer needs to be able to:

  • focus on customer needs
  • work in a building already built
  • take into account the use of space and the number of people who will be living there
  • be well-informed of the prices of raw materials, furniture and other products, have knowledge of the foundations of construction and architecture
  • design, develop and execute

Nowadays, most often the work of an interior designer is conducted in cooperation with a computer graphics designer. Sometimes it’s the same person. The architect’s vision, presented on the photos and drawings provided, is transferred to a computer program. The work done by the professionals in these two industries brings surprising results. Not only do we get 3d interior models that are designed in line with architectural principles, but we also have a design in an attractive form. 3d models are particularly useful in cooperation with clients who:

  • are using computer graphic designers and architects for the first time,
  • represent large companies, 3d visualization may be needed for future presentations,
  • place great emphasis on professionalism and a “complete” or holistic presentation of work done (3d models are the most accurate way of presenting an interior design, as all details are included in it);
  • 3D models can be suitable for anyone, because they allow you to get to know the project better and pick up on any errors.

The most popular programs for interior design:

This description can be divided into two parts. The first part can be useful to those who do not work in the computer graphics industry on a daily basis – they want fast, less precise projects with a small amount of details. The second part will be of interest to beginners and professionals in the IT industry, as well as those customers who expect professional and accurate plans. It is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with all the proposals for interior rendering programs, but in the case of room layout plans, it is better to focus on the second group – professional graphic programs.

Amateur interior design programs:

  • pCon.planner – FREE – this program is particularly well suited for surface design for industries such as the car and manufacturing industry, commerce, services, and its functions allow for quick rendering of photorealistic visualizations;
  • Power NET + – FREE – product of the Polish company CAD Projekt K & A. It has special features tailored to the functionality of interiors such as kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room or even the pantry. The downside of the program is that a fixed connection to the Internet is required during operation;
  • Light Decor Paradyż – PAID – is a program that operates in a very similar way to Power NET +; work begins in 2d mode, where the size of the room is precisely worked on, its shape, the arrangement of windows and doors and furniture, then it goes to 3d mode, which is responsible for finishing the whole project. The choice of textures, tiles and colors available in the program is enriched with a collection of Ceramika Paradyż tiles;
  • Sweet Home 3D – FREE – its special features include drawing of walls, the ability to add furniture from scratch, you can add comments to the plan, import illustrations that can serve as a basis for the project.

3d models

Professional visualization programs:

  • AutoCAD – PAID – the publisher of the program is Autodesk, it enables 2d and 3d design, commonly used in areas such as architecture, electronics and mechanics. Additionally, the program offers a number of specialized overlays tailored to the design characteristics such as Mechanical Desktop, Architectural Desktop, Civil Design, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical;
  • Inventor – PAID – another Autodesk product, its main feature is 3d modeling, which makes it possible to model the device as a 3d element. A special feature of this program is multi-tasking, it was designed to work with projects containing up to several thousand elements;
  • Solidworks – PAID – The operation of the program is based on the PARASOLID kernel, which generates the 3d geometry of the projected 3d element; it is created by SolidWorks Corporation, which is part of Dassault Systèmes;
  • SolidEdge – PAID – a system that runs on the Microsoft Windows platform, allowing you to create single 3d elements and then fold them into whole 3d models;
  • 3DSMax – PAID – is the most popular 3d visualization software, it allows you to design graphics but also animations, has advanced binary character animation, and is so versatile that it is used in both the film and interior design industries.

Interior design: step by step

A solid and thorough plan is required to create a ready 3d visualization of the interior, as well as good skills, an expert’s eye and time. The latter is in many cases the most desirable, since the final data rendering process is not so complex (because in most programs it is automated) as it is time consuming.

Designing the 3d model can be divided into several stages:


In this subsection, the computer can actually be used by the graphic designer to gather information about the project. It is important to have a comprehensive conversation with the client, to get as much information as possible about his vision, to create some trial paper drafts, to consult with interior design professionals, to create a database of similar interiors and other 3D visualizations, and photos of elements that will be included in the project design and creation of a final plan.


During this stage it is important to be well-informed about the subject. The graphic designer who plans the interior must know precisely what it will be made of and what the overall look will be. This requires a detailed selection of the collected documentation and an accurate preparation of the design elements, or to put it more simply – the graphic designer must have drawn every piece of furniture, window, curtain, plate, lamp, etc.


This is the most difficult stage of the graphic designer’s work as it requires a great deal of commitment, skill, professionalism, good knowledge of the program on which he works and realizes the two previous stages. The 3d elements can be, for example: a bed, desk, wardrobe, pot, picture, mirror.


When we have created and appropriately modeled each element of the interior, they should now be combined into a whole so that the overall scene can be prepared. This consists of, for example, walls (colored or classically white) and lighting (suitable for a bathroom without a window, a small room, or a spacious and bright dining room), as the end result of the project depends on the setup of the light – in the end, the final effect can be realistic or it can look unnatural.

It’s worth remembering that light interacts and integrates with each element of the interior in a different way.


This is the final stage of the 3d model visualization. As previously mentioned, rendering is performed when the modeling and texturing processes are completed. Depending on how complex the project is, how many elements it includes, along with the “light play”, the rendering process is extended and in some cases it may take up to several hours.

The pros and cons of interior visualization

Just like many computer graphics products, interior visualization has its share of strengths and weaknesses. It may show those design elements that are hard to spot on the 2d, but it requires much more work which may even involve several people.

Below are the pros and cons of interior visualization.

Advantages of 3D interior visualization:

  • creating a functional and comfortable interior – or several versions of it, which is impossible in the case of self-design of the layout
  • professional approach – the project is handled by experienced people, and most of all they skilfully use the tools such as computer programs
  • modern design – the client does not have to worry that the design is created with old and impractical materials. Interior design professionals keep themselves up to date with all the latest news and product prices
  • consulting – even though the client’s idea may seem perfect to them in every aspect, it is worthwhile to consult experienced and representative people in the interior design industry. That way, perhaps the project can be improved or modified to further satisfy the needs of later occupants of the designed space
  • save time – despite the financial cost, it is worth leaving the interior design of the new home in the hands of experienced professionals who know how to meet the needs of even the most demanding clients, then you can devote your time to other tasks
  • good materials – the interior designer knows the current price of products and their availability. They can respectively and individually adjust the color of the walls and interior to match the taste and personality of the client
  • making use of available space – there’s no such thing as a cumbersome bathroom, or a cramped bedroom. Every meter of a room is fully utilized, and in case of doubt the client can see all the details on the previously prepared visualization
  • details – the programs used to create 3d models are so fast and accurate that you do not have to worry about blurry details in the project; most visualizations are produced in the highest quality, taking into account even the smallest spec of the sun’s rays

Disadvantages of 3D interior visualization:

  • finances – unfortunately, if we need a lot to be done, we have to bear the cost. The rule is simple – the bigger, the more prestigious the space, the higher the price. It is worth taking into account that a project that is implemented according to the personalized needs of the client sometimes can involve even several employees. This can include graphic designers, architects, editors, managers (they are responsible for acquiring products needed to implement the interior design project ). If the client wants to be satisfied with a project that is individually refined in every detail, they must be aware that it will cost them a significant amount of money
  • time – an interior design project requires a good amount of preparation, documentation, multiple discussions, consultation, and finally project creation. Designers usually do not work hastily. They produce interior design projects that are refined and it sometimes takes a few weeks to several months for the first effects of particularly large projects to take place
  • mismatches – it’s not always the case that the designer understands the client’s vision and it sometimes takes even a few conversations for the key issues of the project to be agreed on. In this case, the client should also follow their own intuition. If the designer asks for details and is highly involved in the project, the greater the opportunity for an appealing final result.

Interior design in the form of 3d model visualization has both its advantages and disadvantages. However, just like with everything, there is a happy medium. In most cases, blunders in projects usually result not from the lack of expertise of the professionals or the client, but rather from the misunderstanding of both parties. Paying for a ready-made project is a great option for people who prefer to rely on the experience of professional interior designers.