The role of composition in 3D Renders

In the evolving world of architecture, enabling engagement from your client is nearly impossible without the visual means to communicate designs. While the visualisations industry is rapidly becoming saturated, renders have become a near commodity. With the influx of social media and readily accessible programmes to produce imagery, perfected architectural elements have become a widely sought out skill in architects. Some aspects of 3D architecture elevate renders to new heights, which is why they play such a crucial role in professional 3D renders.

Composition in 3D renders is the organisation of single elements, in a planned manner to form an architectural whole. It bases itself in a harmonious correlation between conceptual and artistic principles. The composition of a render determines the layout of an image, the appearance and the relationship between individual structures and complex buildings.

The principles of an architectural composition include but are not limited to; light, addition and subtraction of forms in space, symmetry, space, asymmetry, material, scale, proportions and texture. The principles of an architectural composition are similar to artistic principles, but with the emphasis on light and space in a compelling composition strategy, renders can speak to the emotion and purpose a viewer hopes to see.


More so than ever, light illuminates a render like no other element. What we see, experience and interpret is impacted by the interaction the elements have with light. Light is a fundamental element in virtual architecture because it interacts with space, which affects the way we perceive it. Light is a powerful vehicle of expressions and is considered a necessity for emotional engagement in architecture.

While architects and designers cannot control the element completely, they can predict its behaviour well enough to capture its meaningful movements and replicate them accordingly. Light and space are twin elements that compliment each other and influence the overall composition of a render. Through an intelligent lighting strategy, architects can convey the message they want their audience to feel.

Light is an integral part of the composition in 3D renders because it changes its character through movements and sources while having the ability to emphasise the entire form of a render. Designers and architects mostly channel it through the moulding of spaces and surfaces of their ever-changing planes, making the composition alive with shadows and depth. One of the alluring facets of light is its ability to dissolve and not clarify. It gives viewers an illusory effect and intensifies colours and space through this process.


Space is one of the most basic architectural tools, but it is a crucial element in the formation of 3D structures. Space is the air between objects and emptiness which through the existence of light, creates significant areas and rooms. While space is a seemingly obvious inclusion in the role composition plays in renders, its ability to be anywhere, both in and outside of buildings allows viewers to perceive reality through an image.

Space is more than just nothingness. It is an expression of human commonality. People experience space in all aspects of their daily lives whether it is through the exhilaration of being on a mountaintop or the terrifyingly claustrophobic feeling of a narrow cave. Clever compositions in 3D renders conjure up emotion through this type of space manipulation, allowing the architect to summon the exact emotion they want the viewer to experience.

Space is the boundary for what is above, beneath and on the sides of an area. Architects take this void and fill it with masses that define space. This manipulation of mass creates a system of spaces and boundaries that create dynamic spatial experiences in the composition of a render.

Light and Space in Composition

If composition were merely a matter of organising different parts than the process would be much more linear and not complicated and creative. If it were just arranging certain relationships, all architecture would be equal – nothing outstanding and nothing terrible. The purpose of composition is to express concepts and experiences in a manner that engages with its audience.


Futuristic in design


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