CAD Drawings, Can They Be Photo Quality?

Written by on December 12, 2012 in Technology - No comments | Print this page



CAD or Computer-aided Design is the use of sophisticated software to create and render digital models. CAD can be a powerful tool in enabling the rapid creation of prototype designs and the visualization of 3D models. There are a vast number of real-world applications for computer-aided design, including interior design and mechanical engineering.

Thanks to the constant advancements in computer technology, CAD software is now able to render virtual models in a believable and realistic way, this is known as photo-realistic rendering. With this photo-realistic capability, CAD enables users to truly bring their designs to life. Here is a guide to computer-aided design, and how virtual models can look like the real deal.

How is CAD used?

CAD software enables users to create precise 3D models in a virtual environment. Such models can be relatively simple, such as a floor plan, or highly complex models such as engine components. Users can incorporate simple geometric shapes and blocks, with specified dimensions, until they have a realistic model. One of the great things about CAD software is how easily it allows users to manipulate their models in real-time.

This ability can be beneficial for the likes of interior designers who want to accurately visualise their ideas. By simply using the relevant dimensions of a given room, they can tailor their models to reflect a real world building. This process is excellent for ironing out any kinks in the design, and to get a feel for how the finished product will look.

Photo-realistic models

In many situations, it is preferable to make CAD designs appear life-like, as if looking at a photograph. Thanks to the ever-increasing power of computers, and more sophisticated software, it is easier than ever to achieve such photorealism. One aspect of bringing CAD designs to life in this way is the use of textures.

Instead of a nondescript shape representing a floor or a furnishing, designers often overlay high-quality textures onto the virtual objects, making them appear more realistic. This is great for deciding on colour schemes and the types of materials to be used in the real-world room.

Another important tool in making CAD drawings appear photo quality is lighting. Whether it’s a sunrise coming through the French doors, or the subtle glow from a fireplace, CAD lighting brings a great level of realism to digital designs.

Types of CAD software

There are many CAD software packages available, each boasting special features and capabilities. Although most computer-aided design software works in similar ways, some packages are suited to specific types of design. For those who need to create intricate models of machine parts for example, there are CAD packages tailored for engineering and technical drawing. Likewise, there are CAD programs that are perfect for the likes of kitchen design and renovation planning. Armed with a great CAD package, designers can quickly and easily turn their ideas into realistic models.


Thanks to CAD software, users are able to create very realistic designs. By incorporating textures and lighting, it is possible to create virtual rooms that look more like photographs than 3D renderings. With the ability to quickly refine designs and create virtual prototypes, computer-aided design is a truly excellent tool.

This is a guest post.  By Bradley Houston, an avid CAD user who recommends using the ArtiCAD software package.


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