Optimal 3D Render Resolution for Stilled Images & Animation

Beginners’ Guide: How to Choose The Appropriate 3D Render Resolution

3D render resolution plays a vital role in creating high-quality final 3D renderings. Understanding the terminologies associated with the resolution, such as rendering resolution, pixel density, DPI, LPI, and PPI, is a critical aspect of any type of 3D visualization. In this article, we will discuss the importance of image and animation resolution, the factors that influence your choice of rendering resolution, and the recommended rendering resolution based on where and how the 3D rendering is to be used.

Table of Content

Part 1. What is Render Resolution, Pixel Density, DPI, LPI, and PPI
Part 2. How Rendering Resolution Impacts Your 3D Result
Part 3. Is Resolution The Higher The Better
      1. Yes. Sharper & More Detailed Result;
      2. Yes. Greater Flexibility in Editing & Post-Production
      3. No. Longer Render Time & Larger File Size
Part 4. How to Choose: Appropriate Render Resolution Differs Between Projects
      1. Whom The 3D Render is Showcased to;
      2. Where The 3D Render Is Displayed;
      3. Balance Between The Deadline and Render Time;
Part 5. Recommended Resolutions for Different Use Scenarios
      1. Difference Between Image Resolution & Render Resolution;
      2. Best Resolution for The Web;
      3. Best Resolution for Printing Material;
      4. Best Resolution for Animation;
Part 6. Communicate With The 3D Artists Before The Project Starts

Part 1. What is Render Resolution, Pixel Density, DPI, LPI, and PPI

When it comes to creating 3D rendering images, understanding the technical terms that affect the clarity of the 3D rendering is essential. The resolution, pixel density, PPI, DPI, and LPI are all important concepts you might be confused about:

Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. The higher the resolution, the more pixels there are, and the sharper the image will appear.

imagist3ds blog rendering resolution resolution

Definition of Resolution – Imagist3ds.com

DPI, on the other hand, typically refers to the number of dots per inch in a printed image.

imagist3ds blog rendering resolution dpi

Definition of DPI – Imagist3ds.com

PPI specifically refers to the number of pixels per inch when an image is printed. While LPI, or lines per inch, is another term sometimes used in printing to describe the number of lines of dots that can be printed in one inch.

   imagist3ds blog rendering resolution ppiimagist3ds blog rendering resolution lpi

Definition of PPI and LPI – Imagist3ds.com

Pixel density is the number of pixels per unit of length in an image, usually measured in pixels per inch (PPI) or dots per inch (DPI). Higher pixel density leads to a crisper image.

You may wonder: How do resolution and pixel density affect the result of your 3D design? Let’s read on to get the answer.

Part 2. How Rendering Resolution Impacts Your 3D Result

Now we know both resolution and pixel density make a difference to the result of a 3D rendered image, but how does it impact the 3D rendering result?

In 3D architecture rendering images, a higher resolution can result in a more detailed and visually appealing image, while a higher animation resolution can produce smoother and more realistic animations.

imagist3ds blog rendering resolution high low resolution compare

Comparison Between High-Resolution and Low-Resolution Example – Imagist3ds.com

On the other hand, a lower render resolution can result in a pixelated or blurry image, while a lower animation resolution can lead to choppy and unrealistic animations. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the render resolutions carefully to achieve the desired level of detail and visual impact of the architectural renderings.

Part 3. Is Resolution The Higher The Better

So, is rendering resolution the higher the better? The answer is yes, and no. Let me further explain that for you:

Yes. Higher resolution empowers sharper 3D-rendered images.
Higher resolutions and pixel densities can lead to sharper, more detailed images. This is particularly important when it comes to displaying images or videos on larger screens for a better viewing experience, as a lower resolution may result in a pixelated or blurred image.

Yes. A higher resolution allows more flexibility in editing and post-production.
Furthermore, a higher resolution can also provide more flexibility in editing and post-processing. With a higher-resolution image or video, there is more information available, allowing for more detailed adjustments and enhancements to be made without losing image quality.

However, the higher resolution could lead to larger file sizes and longer render time.
This could become a drawback especially when you have a tight deadline and a limited budget. Higher resolution means more details to render and more realistic furniture and textures included. It will require longer render time and more skilled artists involved. Higher resolution may not always be necessary or practical for certain applications. Therefore, it’s important to choose an appropriate resolution and pixel density based on the intended use of the image:

Part 4. How to Choose: Appropriate Render Resolution Differs Between Projects

Now let’s see some factors that can influence the choice of resolution for a 3D render, and how they impact the final result.

1. Whom The 3D Render is Showcased to;
One factor to consider before choosing a render resolution depends on the targeted audience of the 3D rendered image: If the 3D render is for a client or stakeholder presentation, then a high resolution is recommended to convey a professional and polished look.

3d virtual tour blog feature image

3D Render to Present to Client or Stakeholder – Imagist3ds.com

However, if the 3D render is for internal use, then a lower resolution may be acceptable.

imagist3ds recognize that you need to outsource 3d rendering service project discussion

3D Render for Internal Use – Imagist3ds.com

It is important to consider the audience’s expectations and requirements to ensure that the final output meets their needs.

2. Where The 3D Render Is Displayed;
If the 3D render is intended for web or mobile viewing, a lower resolution may suffice as the image will be compressed to fit the smaller screen size.

If the 3D render is intended for print, that depends on the output medium. For instance, if the output medium is smaller, such as business cards or brochures, a lower resolution may be sufficient. However, if it is intended for use on large format prints, such as posters and billboards, then a high resolution is necessary to avoid pixelation and ensure that the image is sharp, crisp, and clear.

3. Balance Between Deadline & Render Time;
As mentioned above, the higher resolution could lead to a longer render time. This impact the render time not only for stilled-image rendering but also for render animation.

When it comes to 3D animation, each second of animation is made up of around 30 images, and increasing the animation resolution means that each image will require more time to process. If the resolution of an animation is doubled, the surface area of each image quadruples, which leads to a fourfold increase in render times. Choosing the right resolution for 3D animation can be a trade-off between image quality and render time and discuss your requirement with your 3D visualization service provider to make sure the 3D artist has enough time to create the photorealistic renders and you to prepare for the presentation of the project pitch.

Part 5. Recommended Resolutions for Different Usage Scenarios

Depending on the usage scenario, including web, printing, and animation, you will require different resolutions to achieve the desired results.

Before we start listing the appropriate resolution for each usage scenario, let’s distinguish the difference between 2 terms first: “Image Resolution” and “Render Resolution”.

1. Difference Between Image Resolution and Render Resolution;
Image resolution and render resolution are two different concepts telling the quality of a digital image. Image resolution is the physical size of the finished image. It is usually expressed in terms of the total number of pixels in the image, such as 1920*1080 or 4K (3840*2160), while render resolution is the resolution at which a computer generates a digital image. It is often higher than the final output resolution and can be scaled down without losing detail.

Choosing the render resolution based on the usage scenario allows you to get the best possible outcome easier. Let’s start digging in.

2. How to Pick the Best Resolution for The Web
The standard resolution for the web is 72PPI for pixel density. As technology evolves, 1920*1080 px full HD resolution is, though viable, not the optimal choice for website use. Instead, 3-4K becomes the ideal resolution for today’s high-res LCD and OLED displays.

Theoretically speaking, the higher the resolution, the sharper and clearer the images look on a display screen. However, higher resolution means a larger file size. If you are using the renderings image as the portfolio of your official website, you will need to pick the resolution smartly for faster website load time and save up space for your hosting server.

imagist3ds blog rendering resolution for homepage web banner

3D Render for Web Full Width Banner – Imagist3ds.com

For a render resolution of a full-width website image, usually used as a homepage banner or page background, it needs at least 2560 px in width to make sure the images look sharp. And for other digital use of images, like the portfolio, blog, social media platform, and more, you will get the best practical size to scale down to and compress the image without quality loss before uploading. You don’t want your website to full of stunning projects but load super slow to get them fully displayed, do you?

One free image-compressing software I used the most is called: Riot. You can also use others like Compress2go, TinyPNG, etc. Compressing images before uploading them to your website makes a great difference to save space for more images.

Best Resolution for The Web:

Pixel Density: 72PPI;
Image Size: At Least 2560 px for full-width website images; Edit and scale down for social media platforms;
Bonus Tip: Compressing the image before uploading keeps the image quality while down-scale the file size by like 80%.

3. How to Pick The Best Resolution for Printing Material
When it comes to the render resolution of the printing material, there are multiple factors you need to consider beforehand: Printing process, printing size, and viewing distance.

3.1. Printing Process: The ideal resolution also depends on how the material is printed. Printing from a digital printer requires lower resolution than a traditional offset printer.
3.2. Printing Size: The golden rule for choosing the best resolution for printing material is: The bigger the size of the canvas, the lower the DPI.
3.3. Viewing Distance: If the print will be viewed from a distance, a lower resolution is enough, however, if the print will be viewed up close, a higher resolution is required.

In most cases, a resolution of 300dpi is adequate for most print jobs: For any canvas that’s up to 5ft² in size, such as flyers, business cards, brochures, catalogs, and small banners. And the optimal pick of the resolution in pixels is 3-4k in width.

For larger banners and posters that are 5-10ft² in size, you can lower the resolution to 150dpi for great print quality while lower the price. But if your poster will be viewed up close, such as in a gallery or a trade show, you should use a higher resolution. A resolution of 300-600 dpi is usually sufficient for most poster sizes.

And for those larger than 10ft² in size, you can choose 20-75 dpi accordingly. For instance, if you are printing for a billboard showcase that is viewed from 30ft² away, you can use 20-30 dpi for the printing.

Best Practical Printing Resolution:

For business cards, fryers, brochures, catalogs, and small banners: 300 dpi and 3-4k in width;
For posters: 150 dpi;
For billboards: 20-75 dpi;

4. How to Pick The Best Resolution for Animation
The resolution requirements of an animation are different from that for a still image: Target platform and audience are the key factors to consider.

If the 3D architecture animation is for online viewing, for example, integrated onto the realtor’s official site for a virtual room tour, a render resolution of 720p (1280*720 px) or 1080p (1920*1080 px) is suitable. But if the animation is intended for theatrical release, a bidding auction, for example, a higher resolution like 2k (2048*1080 px) or 4K (4096*2160 px) is recommended for achieving the detail level and quality you are expecting.

Best Resolution for 3D Animation:

Animation for Online Viewing: 1280*720 px or 1920*1080 px;
Animation for Theatrical Release: 2048*1080 px or 4096*2160 px;

Note: While these recommended render resolution covers most cases when it comes to choosing the right resolution if you are printing for a specific use that is not listed above, it is highly recommended that you contact the printing studio beforehand to learn all the parameter requirements and make sure your intended use of the renders are conveyed to the 3D artists clearly before the rendering starts. In that way, the 3D artists are able to render your project with the quality and schedule you are expecting.

Part 6. Communicate With The 3D Artists Before The Project Starts

It can be tricky to choose a resolution smartly on different usage scenarios, so are there any practical tips to communicate with the 3D artists effectively when outsourcing your 3D Archviz project? Sure, to eliminate misunderstanding and ensure a smoother workflow, it is essential to get ready a project brief to establish clear and effective communication with the 3D archviz studio, leading to a successful 3D rendering project:

1. Clearly define your project requirements: Before you begin working with a 3D artist on your project, make sure you have a clear understanding of your project requirements. This includes details such as the viewing angles, the amount of the render, the object or scene you want to render, the level of detail you require, and the desired output format and resolution.

imagist3ds rendering project brief exterior site plan

Communicate With 3D Artists about The Viewing Angle and Project Details – Imagist3ds.com

Note: Tell your project manager the intended use of your 3D render, for web or for printing material. The experienced 3D visualization studio will know what resolution you are expecting. If you have a specific requirement on the size and resolution for the extremely large display purpose, tell them before the project starts for time-saving, money-saving, and a smoother workflow.

2. Provide reference images and materials: If there are any specific styles or aesthetics you are looking for, tell your project manager. Providing reference images or materials can help the 3D artist understand the look and feel you’re going for. You can also provide sketches or concept art to help convey your ideas more clearly.

Related Article: Project Brief Template

imagist3ds rendering project brief exterior material 2

Communicate with 3D Artists for Desired Details, Textures & Materials – Imagist3ds.com

3. Set clear deadlines: Set a clear deadline for the project and make sure they are communicated clearly to the 3D artist. Be realistic about the timeline and factor in time for revisions and adjustments.

4. Give feedback and be specific: Provide feedback to the 3D artist throughout the project and be specific about what you like and don’t like. And include all comments in one feedback sheet to avoid missing and causing a longer turnaround time. This will help them adjust their work to better meet your needs and expectations time-effectively.

Related Article: Recognize That You Need Your 3D Archvize Service Outsourced


Now you know how to balance the resolutions with the available processing power to avoid long rendering times for the best resolution for web, print, or animation use, and understand the best practical way to communicate with the 3D artists your detailed requirement for the 3D visualization. It’s time to outsource your project and sit tight and wait a few days for the photorealistic rendering.

If you are new to 3D rendering and have no idea whom to outsource your 3D project to, we are confident that Imagist3ds are in the 3D visualization industry for the past 13 years and is qualified to take either interior or exterior, residential or commercial, person-view or ariel view of 3D architectural visualization projects and car, jewelry, packaging, and consumer products in different niches and guarantee photorealistic results. (Check our 3D rendering portfolio for our previous stunning work). The default rendering resolution is 4,000 px and can reach 8,000 px as requested.

We ensure customer satisfaction by assigning a dedicated project manager to maintain close communication with clients and convey feedback to 3D artists for necessary modifications, ensuring effective communication by both. Need a price quote from us? Send your project demand and get a specific price quote for your project.

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