Step 5 - Show Time! - The final rendering
In creating materials, textures, colors, light sources, lighting effects, and background images, each material is considered separately. Since materials are grouped in separate (logical) layers within the program, each layer can be assigned a set of visual values, and thereafter each face of all materials in that layer display those values (actually, in the example software program, each face of each material can be rendered indivudually, but that is beyond the pale of the average architectural rendering).

In particular, lighting can be controlled, which is in many cases the essence of architectural design - i.e. the use of light and shadow in addition to material, color, and texture, in the creation of architectural form. Thus rendering packages give to the architect relatively powerful tools to use during design which formerly were achievable only through the expenditure of enormous time and effort. Lighting source types, locations, and intensities can be controlled. Shade and shadow can be controlled, as can atmospheric effects, wherein those parts of the object closer to the eye are rendered more precisely than those farther away. Current technology thus gives to the architect, and through the architect, to the client, ways of visualizing designs much more realistically and completely than ever before.

The scene above was rendered using Visual Software's "Virtual Reality" v2.0 suite of packages for Windows, specifically the "Renderize Live" module

Click on this image for another view of the above scene.