It’s important for visualizers to continually develop skills to increase proficiency, form distinct styles, and keep up with the competition. Many people take up courses for their development, and with so much quality content available, online courses have become one of the most effective ways to learn.
In this article, we discuss the benefits and concerns of architectural visualization courses, along with a list of some of the best courses out there.
Advantages of architectural visualization courses
Access to pre-recorded lectures
The world today is dominated by time-consuming tasks, and your schedule may not permit fixed-schedule classes. Fortunately for online courses, the lessons are pre-recorded and ready for you any time, any day.
Whether you’ve had a hectic week, or you’re just not feeling well, this gives you the ability to learn when you want to learn.
The flexibility makes it ideal for those with full-time jobs, families, and other commitments. You can even rewind and rewatch any parts that are unclear to you, to make sure you fully understand each lesson before moving on to the next.
Learn from the comfort of your home
Learning has never been more convenient. With online courses and stable internet connections available worldwide, you now have the option of learning from the comfort of your home. Without the need to relocate or commute to attend classes, you’ll have more time to focus on the things that matter most.
In fact, digital nomads can even travel the world while taking courses. No longer bound by classrooms and campuses, travellers can learn on the go without compromising their personal development.
Learn from top industry professionals
It’s not every day that we get to have lessons from industry leaders, but with online courses, you have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.
Without being tied down to a specific venue or location, top industry professionals from all over the world are now able to train students through remote, flexible learning.
Many instructors have diverse backgrounds and impressive accomplishments, and they can share real-world insight and knowledge from their experience in the field.
Fewer distractions and increased engagement
With new skills and information at the tip of your fingers, you’ll no longer be burdened by a busy classroom with sensory overload.
You also won’t have to worry about other people interrupting, because you’ll essentially have a private lesson with the instructor that you can play at your own pace. This allows for a more focused, fine-tuned approach to learning.
You’ll be able to concentrate on the areas you’re most interested in, and skip through the things you already know.
Stay updated on the latest trends and technologies
With up-to-date lessons and tutorials, you’ll position yourself at the forefront of the industry, keeping yourself equipped with all the latest must-haves for a visualizer.
Staying updated is vital to prevent your skills from becoming obsolete or outdated. With courses, you’ll maintain skills that are in-demand and relevant in the industry.
Add credibility to your resume
While learning on your own is just as important as taking classes, self-study can’t exactly be reflected on your professional credentials. Taking a course allows you to indicate actual training programs that prospective employers can check for themselves.
It shows a conscious effort to learn more, and in many cases can serve as proof of your level of skills. Some courses are even certified by the makers of rendering programs, which can give you a competitive advantage over peers without certified training.
Build a portfolio
Throughout the duration of a course, you’ll likely be creating content as you progress in the lessons. These training projects can quickly evolve into full-blown visualizations that you can include in your portfolio.
After the course is done, these projects can serve as the base point for your further development and expansion of your portfolio.
Active online community
Many courses include active and energetic communities of fellow students, alums, and instructors to answer any questions or concerns. These forums allow you to discuss course content and to network with other individuals in the field.
They can be helpful places to learn, meet, and talk with other like-minded people.
Our favorite architectural visualization courses
This Skillshare course teaches students how to use 3ds Max and V-Ray like a professional architectural visualization artist.
The class provides an introduction to the workflow that CGI studios use to create exterior renderings, and it’s taught by an official V-Ray Mentor from Luxury Visuals Academy.
The course culminates with a final project wherein you’ll be rendering an exterior image with a 3D building. This will give you real working knowledge of 3ds Max modeling, V-Ray rendering, and the workflow involved to create professional-level visualizations.
This course on Domestika guides you through the process of creating visually striking ArchViz compositions that captivate clients. You will get an in-depth walkthrough of the powerful software components in 3ds Max, with a step-by-step lesson in the different plug-ins being used.
The instructor, Sonny Holmberg, through his studio Depth Per Image in Copenhagen, has created unique storytelling experiences with his creations.
Through this course, Holmberg will help you discover how to craft ArchViz designs that communicate the visual language of any space. With these visual storytelling skills you’ll be better equipped to create atmospheric, emotional renderings for projects and clients.
This course by Pluralsight takes a project-based approach to introduce BIM professionals to the process of creating photo-realistic renderings using V-Ray for Revit.
With Revit quickly becoming one of the industry standards around the world, many architects and visualizers will likely be drawn to rendering plugins within the Revit platform. V-Ray offers a powerful rendering solution that can be easily launched and used alongside the BIM model.
In this course, you will learn how to create a finished perspective ready for printing on a poster-size board. First, you’ll discover various architectural materials, such as glass, wood, metal, drywall, marble, and more.
Next, you’ll explore how to build up the lighting in a Revit model using V-Ray lights and HDRI lighting techniques. Finally, you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the rendering settings. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to confidently integrate V-Ray into your Revit rendering workflow.
This Udemy course is a full step-by-step guide to learn post-production for architectural visualization, from the basics to the advanced. You will learn the general process of post-production, and receive a full rundown of Adobe Photoshop and its many functions.
Post-production plays a significant role in the workflow of visualization studios, and Photoshop skills are often considered a requirement. This course provides you with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to enhance images far beyond the base renders.
By the end of the course you will be familiar with the tools, terminologies, and best practices in Photoshop, as well as the techniques used by professional visualizers to transform images through post-processing.
Architectural modelling courses
This course on Skillshare is meant for people new to visualization. You’ll be taught how to use Sketchup to make 3D architectural models from scratch, even if you’ve never tried Sketchup before.
The instructor will take you through detailed, easy to understand tutorials with hands-on class projects to help build your modeling skills from the ground up. After the course ends you’ll be able to create 3D Sketchup models of almost any kind of structure.
This Udemy course provides a detailed guide to using 3ds Max for modeling, with V-Ray as the final rendering engine. You will learn how to create 3D environments for rendering from beginning to end, with professional software and a professional workflow.
Through these classes you will be introduced to both 3ds Max and V-Ray, to show how to best optimize your files with rendering in mind. With these combined skills, you’ll be able to independently and efficiently create 3D models and rendered images with studio-ready settings.
Most architects today have basic working knowledge of Revit, but not many are familiar with the powerful modeling tools built into the program that can be used to make abstract forms for beautiful 3D models.
This course tackles the advanced modeling tools in Revit to give you a deeper understanding of Revit’s form-finding and massing abilities. With these skills you’ll be able to elevate your BIM models to make more detailed, intricate designs.
At the cutting-edge of architectural modeling is parametric and generative design. Through visual programming, Grasshopper is capable of creating complex and intricate forms that would otherwise be tedious and time consuming to model.
This course covers the fundamentals of Grasshopper for Rhino, from how to get started to how to create a generative facade. By the end of this course, you’ll learn how to apply Grasshopper to your own workflow.
Best free architectural visualization courses
If you want to create realistic renders of your Revit projects, this course might be right for you. Through this intermediate-level course, you will learn how to make high-quality output directly from Revit.
The lessons begin by demonstrating how to add additional details to the 3D architectural model, followed by a tutorial of the Material Browser to customize finishes and surfaces.
The course also discusses the natural and artificial lighting features of Revit, including sunlight and artificial lights, along with the rendering settings that ensure you get the best quality output.
This course is particularly helpful for those who wish to work within their current software, as it doesn’t require any plugins or third party programs. The course is free for your first month of LinkedIn Learning, just click on “Start my free month” and you’ll have full access to this course and more.
Chaos Courseware is a collection of free educational material released by the Chaos Group to empower users with a better understanding of V-Ray.
They offer complete lectures, lesson plans, handouts, tutorials, scenes and assets, as well as practice assignments, for learners and educators alike.
V-Ray learning materials are available for 3ds Max, Maya, SketchUp, and Rhino. These free courses are Chaos Group’s way of spreading knowledge to the community, so that more people can become proficient with powerful rendering tools like V-Ray.
For a healthy mix of introductory, intermediate, and professional tutorials, Learn Arch Viz is a great place to start.
Their YouTube channel features many in-depth lessons on several different programs, along with links to their website, formal courses, and free 3D assets.
Learn Arch Viz offers courses for V-Ray, 3ds Max, Photoshop, Unreal Engine, Twinmotion, Lumion, and more. Their Pro Training site features some great free content as well, like this Mini Course on 3ds Max and V-Ray complete with course materials and a start-to-finish guide.
This YouTube channel has quickly gained popularity for its high-quality tutorials and discussions about visualization.
They have amassed over two-hundred thousand subscribers and continue to grow with professional-level videos and well-known guest speakers frequently involved.
Their content covers multiple different aspects of visualization and presentation including rendering, composition, graphic design, typography, and layout.
With content appropriate for both beginners and professionals, Show It Better is an all-in-one place to build skills and enhance your portfolio. The channel has different playlists that serve as free courses for rendering, presentation boards, diagrams, and illustrations.
Do you need a degree for ArchViz?
Unlike architecture, architectural visualization requires no specific qualifications or licenses to practice. All it really takes is skill, talent, and opportunity.
Although a degree could help, visualization studios are more concerned with your real-world abilities, with less emphasis on your educational background. Ultimately, employers and potential clients will look to your portfolio to see what you’re capable of.
Your portfolio will show not only your styles and best work, but also a sneak peek into your process, the programs that you use, and the techniques that you apply in your renderings.
What skills should an aspiring visualizer have?
In addition to some knowledge of architecture and rendering, it’s also important to have a decent grasp of photography.
The principles of photography are often used in setting up archviz scenes because renderings are the digital equivalent of taking a photo or video.
You’ll want to have a good understanding of composition, color, light, and visual depth to be able to make masterful images in rendering.
How do I get started with ArchViz?
If you’re looking to get into archviz, you might want to learn the basics of architecture first. Since visualizers work with architects and technical professionals, they’ll often be expected to read architectural plans and interpret technical documents.
Knowledge in this regard will allow you to more accurately understand the design intent.
Once you have an understanding of architecture and its fundamentals, it’s all about rounding out your skills with 3D modeling, photography, rendering, and editing.
Unlike with architectural design, where the final output is a building, archviz deals with digital and print media as the end product, so you’ll need to understand how renderings can be used in the real world for things like presentations and marketing.
To learn more about archviz, check out our article here where we take you through the purpose and process of architectural rendering.
Regularly learning new things can be a major catalyst for your career growth, and one of the best ways to learn is through online courses.
Whether you’re new to visualization, trying to get ahead, or just looking to sharpen your skills, courses are a convenient way to acquire new knowledge and expand your abilities.