3D photomontage: how does rendering fit into a photograph?

Would you like to see your project in a specific environment? Or photo-insert your object in a more welcoming environment? Photomontage will then be your ideal answer. 

Before starting, I’ll briefly tell you what a 3d photomontage is and what it is for.

The photo insertion is the ideal tool to contextualize a project or highlight the changes compared to the current state. It is created by combining the rendering of a three-dimensional model with a photograph of the place, with the aid of photo editing tools.

It is therefore essential for the drafting of landscape and municipal practices or simply to visualize one’s idea.

Perhaps one of the most inflated words but a complex and refined tool that allows you to preview your ideas. Usually used in the architecture sector for the visualization of internal and external environments; photorealistic rendering finds infinite fields of use.
Thanks to the increasingly optimized and standardized import formats, it is possible to think and design one’s strategies even before physically having the product, creating: product rendering, whatever it is, light design projects simulating physical light, architectural or industrial settings, 3D photomontage for the study of environmental impact. All with virtual photographic sets that offer creative solutions sometimes impossible to achieve in reality, optimizing and reducing production costs.

The result obtained through the photomontage is of lower quality, as it is necessary to make people understand the type of materials and the context in which it is inserted, but at the same time cheaper than that made entirely by 3d rendering and it is advisable whenever it is available. photographs of the environment suitable for the purpose.

With the 3d photomontage, it is possible to insert any object within existing environments or create more interesting environments around your object.

The 3d photomontage is the union between a 3D rendering and a photograph: the final result becomes an overview of the work in the environment in which it is intended.

The photomontage 3d is a photographic elaboration that allows you to view the project model in the urban and landscape context in which it will be built, before its construction and anticipate the final result.

The architectural photomontage or photostimulation is the ideal tool to visualize a work inserted in its context.
Made through the harmonious fusion of a three-dimensional model and a photographic shot or processed directly on the image with photo-retouching techniques, it aims to return a true result of the finished and set work.
It is therefore essential for the assessment of the visual impact and is normally used in the Environmental Impact Assessment drafting, without prejudice to its possible use also for promotional or commercial purposes.
The setting created through photo insertion is also generally cheaper than the one made entirely in 3d and it is advisable whenever you have photographic shots of the environment suitable for the purpose.

In practice, the goal is to simulate the transformation of the territory carried out following a renovation or new construction work to assess the impact of the work already in the design phase.

To obtain this elaborate, we start from the photograph of the real context and insert the 3D model of the project, correctly scaled and with the right perspective.

This important, additional, project document serves to “anticipate” the overall aspect of the urban and landscape context in which the planned work is inserted and allows for a quick visual assessment. In practice, it simulates the final result that the renovations

Recreating the same lighting situation and the same shooting angle of the photograph is not something to be taken for granted.
Yet in architecture, especially when it is necessary to present the external rendering of a structure, this need is particularly recurrent.

3D photomontage: how does rendering integrate into a photograph? - Innovative Rendering

For the result to be realistic and professional, it is necessary to start from a well-made photo and adapt the model to the photo, paying attention to the light conditions, shadows, perspective, colors, and, above all, to the point from which it was taken. the picture.

If you are a professional: engineer, architect, or surveyor, and you are looking for how to create photo insertions and renderings for Landscape Practices, you are in the right place, our studio specializes in creating photographs on which to insert 3D images. We perform images both from drones and with professional ground photography equipment.

The images taken by drones allow us to frame the structure in its entirety while showing the context in which it is inserted. The drone images are also georeferenced and it is possible to request the georeferencing of those from the ground as well.

Photomontage and Rendering for Landscape Practices: why choose a professional service.

The photographs necessary for the aforementioned processing must be made according to the “rules” and the “style” of Architecture Photography. equipment.

Before the photo shoot, a briefing with the client is necessary, on that occasion the technician in charge (Architect, Surveyor, Engineer) will explain any special needs and/or details and points of view on which to focus more.

An experienced professional will guarantee you:

  • The experience necessary to better manage relationships with site managers, allowing everyone to work safely and minimizing or eliminating delays in the progress of work on the site.
    The high aesthetic and technical quality of the images is achieved through the choice of the correct point of view and the selection of the optimal settings of the photographic equipment. The final result of the photo insertions and renderings for landscape practices must leave the end-user speechless.
  • A professional post-production of the shots taken to produce photographs with realistic colors, without perspective distortions, and with a high dynamic range; that is, capable of representing details in a wide range of light, from the most closed shadows to clear surfaces illuminated directly by the sun.

What is the 3d photomontage for?

The 3d architectonic photomontage is a very useful tool for the designer and can be used in different cases.

For example, it is one of the documents required to accompany the building permit, it is essential for the issue of landscape authorizations but it is also essential for communicating the design result to your client. Finally, it can also be of help to the designer himself in the design phase of the work, to avoid any errors in evaluation and to be more aware of the choices to be made.

In general, we can say that a good 3D architectural photomontage serves not only for an assessment of the environmental impact, which is essential in the case of large commercial or residential complexes, but also because it effectively completes the virtual image.

How is it made and who needs a photomontage?

The 3d photomontage can be achieved either by combining a 3D model and a photograph or by processing the image using photo editing techniques. This technique is used to preview the work set in its context, and it is possible to use it for both interior and exterior architecture, as well as to document landscape relations with images for entities such as municipalities, or the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The setting performed through the photo insertion technique is also usually cheaper than the settings made completely in 3D and is preferable when you have adequate photos available.

In SketchUp in particular there is a specific tool for creating photomontages: Match Photo. . Allows you to properly calibrate the display of the 3D model and the underlying photo. Furthermore, the shapes in the photo can be “traced” to recreate them within the 3D model. This technique is called Photomodeling, and there is no longer a need for a real photo as the environment can be completely reconstructed in SketchUp and viewed from any angle.

Who makes the 3d photomontages?

This operation, usually complex because it involves various professional fields (CAD, 3D modeling, photorealistic rendering, and photo editing) is managed by professional renderers who have undergone training in the use of certain software as well as a strong sense of aesthetics and perspective.

Relying on a studio or a structured platform just to do this type of work means focusing on the result, and at the same time on a better quality/price ratio, due to the very short timeframes derived from experience.

We at 3dmlstudio offer a cutting-edge 3d photomontage service with an excellent quality/price ratio and delivery times depending on the customer’s needs. The processes are agreed upon with the customer during the creation of the quote and subsequently through the reviews accessible from the customer area.


Let’s see, then, going a little more specifically, what are the key steps that allow an Architect to have a good 3D photomontage.


Things? What is it for? More and more public administrations request this special elaborate which enriches and completes many projects commissioned by private individuals.

1. The shooting angles

The first and certainly the most important but also the most problematic operation to be performed is to set, within the 3D software, the exact position of the points of view identified in the photographs.

Here two possibilities open up:

  • photographs able to provide information regarding the focal length of the lens used for taking photographs that do not provide any indication
  • In the first case, the positioning of the camera inside the software is much simpler.

The setup of the cameras in 3D rendering takes place in the same way as the digital cameras which, as such, return all the necessary information.

Usually, it is the Architect or Project Manager who personally takes the shots, in this way he can immediately define according to his needs, the frame that will have the final image and at the same time make the necessary information detected by the digital camera immediately available.


In the second case, positioning the point of view similar to photography is a rather difficult operation.

Sometimes it happens to have to use existing photographs whose provenance is not known, consequently, even the essential indications are absent.

The same problem can occur if satellite images are used for 3D photo-insertion with an aerial view.

Therefore, proceeding without any kind of information implies the 3D professional to go by trial and error.

It is at this point that his preparation and his experience also about photography play a fundamental role because this allows him to position the camera more precisely and in a short time.

2. Lighting

The second operation consists of recreating the same lighting present in the photograph as faithfully as possible.


This phase usually develops after modeling the structure to be photo-inserted and before applying the materials.

There are two main steps to follow:

  • creation of general diffused lighting similar to that present in the shots
  • creation of the main light necessary to recreate the shadow areas present in digital photographs

General brightness is often obtained through the use of high-resolution environmental maps (HDRI maps), appropriately set, precisely to restore the same atmosphere present in the photographic shots.

The primary light source is mainly used to reproduce the shadows as illustrated in the photograph with the same direction and the same detail.

In this passage, a rather delicate point lies in the fact that both the two lighting techniques must integrate perfectly with each other, otherwise, the risk is to overexpose or underexpose the model of the structure to be photo-inserted precisely because the two light sources are they add up.


3. Post-Production

Once the two previous steps have been completed and the 3D scene has been rendered, we enter the third phase, which is important and relates to Post-Production.

Here, all those changes and those precautions necessary for the perfect integration of 3D rendering with photography are made.

Using this technique it is possible to intervene on both images, to remove, add or modify all those details that allow obtaining a homogeneous result in the final composition.

Furthermore, to achieve a highly realistic result, it is possible to retouch the chromatic characteristics of the photo-inserted rendering in more detail and to balance it even more precisely with the rest of the photograph.

Photomontage for real estate agency - 3dmlstudio graphic studio

As you can see, therefore, to perfectly integrate a 3D rendering within a photograph, the necessary techniques are 3:

  • Shooting angle
  • Lighting
  • Post-production

Through these 3 steps, it is possible to almost imperceptibly merge an architectural structure into a photograph.

It, therefore, becomes very important for an Architect to have a correctly executed 3D photomontage, through which to present a complete and quality service, whether it is a 3D photomontage for an environmental impact request or, even more so, that it is a matter of showing your client the real photograph of what it will be, once the project is finished.

3d rendering photomontage for project presentation

Here is the procedure and some examples:


In this phase, we try to recognize how the photo was taken, in what position, and the characteristics of the camera used. If necessary, then this will be retouched to best enhance the final result.


Now all you have to do is design inside the space to better understand how the impact will be once the photo insertion is completed


In this last phase, once the modeling and the photo insertion have been completed, we will move on to light post-production to ensure that the image renders at its best.

The qualities of photomontage 3d render

The impact of the 3d render photomontage on the customer

Why make a photomontage 3d render? Very often it happens that when faced with a project, even if it is well presented, it is not possible to convey to your client the overview of what has been conceived. If you want to find a solution to this problem, you can use the photo-insertion render technique. Thanks to this innovative procedure, the project can be perfectly integrated into a photograph.

The exemplary fusion in the image of the already existing elements, such as houses and palaces, and the insertion of new elements still on paper, is truly surprising. At first glance, the observer will barely understand that he is facing a project in the making, still on paper. Instead, he will think that he is facing an already present and well-established reality. Only by paying attention to the details will he realize that he has come across a long and complex job and will be able to recognize and appreciate the 3d render photomontage.

This sophisticated technology allows you to realize ideas by easily turning them into something visible. Architects, engineers, and many other professionals working in neighboring sectors will find it very useful to rely on such an innovative and particular technology. Its use will lead to a more vigorous and convincing communication with potential customers, who will see their idea not simply drawn on paper, but in 3D.

A render photomontage project

The image is transformed thanks to the 3d photomontage

But how is a very complex photo insertion achieved? It is a complex job, which involves several professionals with their related equipment. The project is discussed extensively with the customer in all its details. The paper sketches are then made in 3D, not before having evaluated, studied, and ascertained every detail: the geometries must be perfectly respected, as well as the various textures, colors, and lights. Once every aspect appears correct from all points of view, the model is finally ready to be shown to the customer, who can evaluate it in all its aspects and ask for any changes, additions, or variants.

The great emotional impact that these extremely vivid and realistic images provoke is one of the reasons why such a project generally generates surprise and amazement. The architectural structure manages to blend perfectly with the surrounding environment.

The warm textures that cover the façade blend with the colors of the oldest buildings. The result is a building that, while diverging in its modernity, as also indicated by the large windows, integrates with the history and past of the city. The care in the choice of colors and the perfect overlapping of textures has given life to a photomontage 3d that is a promise for the future.

The warm welcome to which this important project has been the subject is just one of the many demonstrations of how the increasingly sophisticated rendering techniques currently in use can help the work of professionals and their clients to realize satisfying projects and work on them. appearance. This undoubtedly leads to results that are overall more suited to the expectations of the clients, as well as a significant saving of resources and energy.

The 3d photomontage: tips on how to make an integration of rendering in a photo

Architectural firms are increasingly resorting to 3D photomontage to recreate the same lighting situation and the same shooting angle as the photograph, but also to prepare suitable documentation to attach to the landscape report.

In light of the current contextual scenario characterized by increasingly demanding customers, budget reduction, and increasingly “tight” delivery times, architects are increasingly resorting to rendering.

It seems trivial but in an interior design project or renovation or construction from scratch of a property or a building the cost of the photos that must be used for photomontage affects.

3D photomontage: the “smart” solution to create ad hoc photos

Often and willingly for architectural firms, the budget available to carry out a project does not allow to employ of a photographer. For this reason, 3D photomontage can be the “smart” solution for creating photographic content which, in addition to simplifying the work, helps to refine the rendering for a more emotional purpose. In fact, in architecture, recreating the same shooting angle of photography and the same lighting situation is not an easy task.

The 3D photomontage helps to effectively complete the virtual image of the project, as well as allows the architect to carry out an environmental impact assessment, especially if large residence projects are being carried out.

3D photomontage: key steps
How to have a good 3D photomontage? What are the key steps?

  • Recreate the same lighting present in the photograph

Before applying the materials, it is necessary to create the same lighting similar to that “captured” by the shots and to recreate the same shadow areas ad hoc. The use of HDRI maps (high-resolution environmental maps) allows you to obtain the same general brightness to restore the same atmosphere present in the photographic shots.

These are lighting techniques that must be integrated for the light sources to add up to obtain an optimal result.

  • Camera angles

It is important to set, within the software used by the renderer, the exact position of the viewpoints or the angles identified in the photographs.

It should be noted that, often and willingly, it is the Architect himself who personally takes the shots, in such a way as to immediately define the shot according to his needs.

For this, his preparation and experience also play a decisive role in knowing how to take a photograph ad hoc. This allows you to position the camera more precisely and optimize the final result.

Once the 3D scene has been rendered, all the changes must be made to integrate the rendering with the photo, to obtain a homogeneous result in the final composition.

It is necessary to proceed with the “retouching” of the chromatic characteristics of the rendering to balance it with the rest of the photograph. It is necessary to instill an architectural structure as much as possible in photography.

It, therefore, becomes important for an Architect to have a 3D photomontage made ad hoc to show his client the real photograph of what the project will be. Furthermore, the same customer can feel an integral part and be involved during the execution steps of the architectural project.

You can view other interior renderings and exterior renderings





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