Pros and Cons of Including People in 3D Renders

Unveil the impact of including people in 3D renders: a deep dive into its advantages and pitfalls

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Published on
March 28, 2024
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10.8 Min
Pros and Cons of Including People in 3D Renders

In visual design and digital creation, 3D rendering is a key technique. It brings life to creative ideas even before they become real. This powerful tool lets architects, designers, and others in various industries see and improve their projects. As the technology behind 3D rendering continues to evolve, it offers an ever-expanding array of possibilities for creators to explore and innovate.

One particularly debated aspect of 3D visualization is the inclusion of people in the renders. While some view it as a vital element that adds a layer of realism and context, others argue it can distract or detract from the focus great quality of the design. The choice to add human figures to renderings is not one to take lightly. It can significantly impact how the final presentation is seen and how well it works.

This article will delve into this topic to shed light on both sides of the debate. We aim to provide a balanced view. We will explore how adding human elements to 3D visuals can help or hurt a project’s intended message or aesthetic.

From the added sense of scale and liveliness to the risk of overshadowing design elements, we’ll cover the key considerations that creators must weigh when deciding whether to integrate people into their 3D renders. 

The Pros of Including People in 3D Renders

Enhanced Realism

One of the most significant advantages of incorporating real people into 3D renders is its boost in realism. Human figures can transform a space into a vibrant, lifelike scene that viewers can imagine themselves inhabiting. This leap in realism is crucial for both virtual reality applications, and augmented reality applications in real estate and architecture. These industries use walk-throughs or virtual reality tours. They allow clients to visualize themselves in the space. For instance, seeing people interact in a digital park or walking through an office helps bridge the gap between abstract design and real-world use.

Emotional Connection

The presence of real people in 3D renders can also forge a stronger emotional connection with the viewer. Human figures can evoke feelings of warmth, excitement, or calmness, depending on how they are integrated into the virtual scene. For example, a family laughing in a kitchen photo can make the space feel welcoming and lived-in. This makes the design more appealing to potential homeowners. Emotionally engaging real people in renders can significantly improve a project presentation. It makes it more memorable and engaging.

Context and Scale

Including people in renders and games provides invaluable context. It shows scale and helps viewers understand the rendered space and its size more accurately. Without human figures, grasping the size of objects or distances between elements in a render can be challenging.

By adding people, designers give a point of reference that instantly communicates the scale of a room, building, or outdoor area. This context is helpful in interior design. The arrangement and size of the objects, furniture and fixtures relative to human use are critical there.

people in 3d renders, showcasing the park landscape
3D Renders of Serene Park Life by PIXREADY

Increased Engagement

Finally, renders that feature people tend to increase viewer engagement and interest. Humans are naturally drawn to other humans, so renders and images that include people tend to catch and hold attention. This extra engagement is especially useful in marketing materials. Capturing the viewer’s interest is key there. Specific studies on engagement rates in 3D renders with and without people are rare. But, this principle aligns with broader research in advertising and psychology. They consistently find that images with human faces and figures attract more attention and evoke stronger emotions than objects alone.

 3d renders depicted people enjoying their dining experience
A Captivating Dining Experience in PIXREADY's 3D Renders

The Challenges of Including People in 3D Renders

Risk of Distracting from Design Focus

Adding people to 3D renders risks diverting attention. It can pull focus from the primary goals, like showing the beauty of a building, the details of interior design, or the features of a product. For instance, in an architectural presentation, the goal is to highlight the unique structural elements of a building. But, the viewer’s attention may instead be drawn to the activities or appearances of the rendered people. 

Similarly, in product visualization, adding human figures might overshadow the product. This would detract from the message of the render showing its design and functionality. This diversion can dilute the impact and power of the render, making it less effective in conveying its core objectives.

Complexity of Rendering Process and Cost

Adding people to 3D renders significantly increases the complexity of the rendering process. Achieving technical accuracy in lighting, clothing textures, shadows, and reflections requires attention to detail. It also needs a deep understanding of human anatomy and the physics of light and materials. Each human figure must be carefully modeled and animated to fit seamlessly into the scene, ensuring their presence enhances rather than detracts from the overall composition. 

This added complexity necessitates more time and resources, leading to increased costs. Creating lifelike animation models of human figures requires specialized skills. This can also raise project budgets, making it less viable for small firms or projects with limited funding.

Diversity Considerations

In today’s global society, representing diversity accurately and sensitively in 3D renders is challenging and necessary. Renders must show people of many races, ethnicities, genders, ages, and body types. This is to avoid stereotypes and exclude potential audiences. However, achieving this diversity naturally and respectfully can be difficult. There’s a fine line between accurate representation and tokenism; failing to navigate this line correctly can lead to backlash or negative perceptions of a brand or project.

Additionally, including a diverse range of human figures makes realistic rendering harder. It needs more models and may lead to extra revisions. These are required to ensure the representation is appropriate, realistic and inclusive.

3d renders of waiting room, depicted with meticulous attention to detail
Airport Lounge 3D Renders by PIXREADY

Finding the Balance: Navigating the Middle Path

Strategic Integration of People in Realistic Rendering

When opting to include 3D figures, it’s crucial to do so with purpose and restraint. The key is to ensure that these figures complement rather than compete with the main focus of the render. This might mean placing human figures in architectural visualizations and interior design renders to lead the viewer’s eye. You can highlight your desired elements using the figures’ gaze or movement. Additionally, ensuring that the styling and activity of the people match the intended use and atmosphere of the space can reinforce the design’s message rather than detract from it.

Adding people in a 3D model also allows for dynamic storytelling in the render. It offers snapshots of life or potential uses. These make rendering the space more relatable, realistic and appealing. However, this requires carefully selecting poses, interactions, and activities. They must align with the narrative the design intends to convey.

The Role of 2D Figures in 3D Environments

An alternative or complementary approach involves strategically using 2D figures within 3D model environments. This method has several advantages. It has less complexity and needs fewer resources than fully modeling 3D models of humans. 2D figures can be added as flat images within the 3D model or scene. They serve as placeholders or background characters. They add life and scale without grabbing the viewer’s attention.

This technique is beneficial for large-scale renders or scenes where the focus is on the environment, and people are included mainly for scale and context. 2D figures help designers avoid focusing too much on the characters. They can still benefit from the characters in the scene. It also allows for easier adjustments to ensure diversity and inclusivity in complex scenes. Changing or adding 2D figures can be cheaper than creating or modifying 3D models.

Navigating the Middle Path

Finding the balance between using people in digital representation in a 3D model and 2D within renders is about understanding the goals of the project and the role human figures play in achieving those goals. It requires a nuanced approach considering the viewer’s perspective, the narrative being told, and the technical and financial resources available. By thoughtfully integrating human figures in a 3D render or 2D, designers can enhance their renders’ realism, emotional impact, and engagement while focusing on the core design elements.

Ultimately, navigating this middle path is an exercise in a strategic decision-making process that blends artistry with pragmatism, aiming to create compelling renders communicating their intended message.

3d renders showcased a diverse range of human figures
3D Renders of Café Oasis Amidst the City Mall Hustle bu PIXREADY

Real-World Examples Across Industries

Architecture and Real Estate

In architecture, 3D rendering is pivotal in presenting and selling projects even before the first brick is laid. For instance, architectural firms often apply 3D renders. They use them to create lifelike visualizations of homes and office buildings. These visuals give clients a virtual walk-through of their future spaces. These renders often include human figures. They add scale, context, and a sense of real life. This makes the spaces more real time relatable and appealing to potential buyers or investors.

For example, a construction firm used detailed 3D renders created and performed by PIXREADY artists to show how a new residential building fits into an existing city. 3D rendered images included pedestrians and traffic. They gave a full view of the project’s impact on the community.

3d renders shows scale and helps viewers understand the space of buildings
Stunning Architectural Visualization Including People in 3D Renders by PIXREADY

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing professionals leverage 3D rendering to create engaging advertisements that highlight the features of products or spaces in a visually compelling manner. Marketers can simulate real-life usage scenarios using realistic human models and products. It helps potential customers to better visualize themselves using a product or being in a space, thereby enhancing the realism of the render. 

For instance, for the marketing campaigns of the travel hub, the designers decided to create an interactive 3D render of the entire complex with the assistance of PIXREADY specialists. It was populated with figures of people walking with luggage and waiting for their transport. This digital model is not just a static image; it's an immersive experience that potential users can navigate through, exploring various areas of the travel hub. 

people in 3d renders showcased in a travel hub landsape
3D Renders of a Vibrant Travel Hub by PIXREADY

Manufacturing and Product Design

In manufacturing and product design, 3D rendering allows for detailed visualization of how a product fits within a specific environment or its functionality. Including people in these renders can demonstrate the product’s use in real-world situations, offering a clearer understanding of its size, scale, and utility. 

A compelling example of this is the visualization of a new line of lamps designed specifically for the hallways of the medical center. To effectively market these lamps, a manufacturing company utilized 3D renders performed by PIXREADY professionals that vividly depict the lamps installed in a bustling medical center hall. The renders include figures of doctors, nurses, patients, and visitors moving through the hall, interacting with each other, and benefiting from the enhanced lighting provided by the new lamps.

3d renders of medical center hall adorned with modern designed lamps
3D Renders of Medical Center Hall with Modern Lamps

PIXREADY’s Project Example: Bringing a Restaurant to Life with 3D Renders

A notable case study presented by PIXREADY showcases the effective incorporation of animations of people in 3D renders within creating a project for a new restaurant concept. The renders featured diners enjoying their meals. These human elements were carefully integrated into the basic model to add scale, provide context, and, most importantly, bring the restaurant to life.

This approach to architectural visualization not only highlighted the architectural and design features of the restaurant but also portrayed a bustling, vibrant atmosphere that potential investors and tenants could expect. The inclusion of human figures added depth and realism to the visualizations, making the project more tangible and enticing.

including people in 3d renders in restarant dining space
3D Visualization of Restaurant Dining Elegance by PIXREADY


In conclusion, the decision to include people in 3D renders is nuanced and can significantly impact the effectiveness and reception of the final presentation. 

We’ve seen that adding human figures to 3D visualizations can improve realism. It can also create an emotional connection, give context and scale, and boost viewer engagement. These benefits can make spaces more relatable and appealing. They breathe life into otherwise inanimate designs and help clients or stakeholders better see themselves in the environment.

However, it’s crucial to balance these advantages with the potential challenges that adding people to renders entails. The risk of diverting focus from the primary design elements, the added complexity real time and cost, and the need for careful consideration of diversity are all factors that require thoughtful deliberation.

Ultimately, the decision to incorporate people in 3D renders should be guided by each project’s specific goals and context. Designers and creators are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons carefully, considering how the presence of human figures will affect the narrative, realism, and overall impact of their renders. 

If you’re on the fence about how to proceed with your next project or seeking expert guidance to make your 3D visualizations truly stand out, we’re here to help. At PIXREADY, our team of skilled animation professionals specializes in bringing your visions to life with the perfect blend of technical excellence, quality, and creative insight.

Whether you’re exploring the inclusion of people in your renders for the first time or looking for creative ideas to refine your existing approach, we’re ready to support you every step of the way.

Contact us at PIXREADY today to discuss how we can elevate your 3D rendering projects together, ensuring they meet and exceed your expectations. Let’s create something extraordinary together.

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Founded by a group of technology, architecture, and design professionals in 2018, PIXREADY is one of the challengers empowering the 3D visualization industry and making its products and services more affordable. We are determined to assist businesses around the world to create photorealistic images of their products and ideas and enrich the experience of their clients. We focus on the details, with the highest precision in every pixel.


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