First post to Core77. I’m a Mechanical Product Design Engineer of 10+ years, mostly using SolidWorks to design injection molded and die-cast mechanical parts.
Recently I started doing photo rendering and absolutely loved it. So much so that I’m thinking of switching careers from mechanical design to photo rendering.
I’m willing to go freelance if needed. Probably prefer that actually.
Is it viable to do photo rendering as a career? Either as freelancer, or in-house rendering?
I’m sure I would have to study and train for a long time to become skilled enough with a rendering package and Photoshop, etc.
Wondering what others think, your experience, etc.
Yes you can! There are always lots of open rendering jobs, especially with online retailing solutions nowadays at some point most companies will want to create either professional photographs, or with lower budgets, 3D renderings of their products created.
Your clients are very aware of the state-of-the-art and will demand the highest quality. You can start with simple product renderings and later step to jewelry, bottles, foods, vehicles etc. There is always a high demand, just know that you will not make as much as an artist compared to being an engineer, I would combine the two. A tip is not only to charge for your manhours but also a small fee for each hour rendered.
Post some of your work here if you want critiques.
There is always a high demand, just know that you will not make as much as an artist compared to being an engineer
Was afraid of that. Makes sense I guess. Designing a thing that works and can be sold would probably be more valuable to a company than basically making an image of that thing. Good to know the demand is there.
I would combine the two.
Sounds like a good strategy. Is that how you’ve done it? Mostly design work with a bit of rendering for presentation?
A tip is not only to charge for your manhours but also a small fee for each hour rendered.
Another great idea. Thanks for the insights.
Design visualization is a career, but computer graphics in general actually has really broad ranges of opportunities. Most of them require a good deal of experience with specific tools.
Product rendering is a niche, but just using the rendering software isn’t enough, especially since most kids graduating design school will have a fairly decent breadth of rendering work if they are interested in the field. You need to understand photography and lighting (what makes a good photo is equally applicable to a good rendering), compositing (layering different images together to create the desired result, like a car on a mountain road), shader design (how to make materials look true to their real world counterparts), and a variety of 3D modeling techniques (NURBS, polygons, SubDs, each has pros and cons). Many times pure CAD data is not good enough for high end renderings and the person in charge of rendering will have to recreate objects to make them more true to form or natural looking.
There are other niche markets like architectural visualization (rendering spaces and buildings), visualization for VR will have growing opportunities as well I think.