How much does 3D rendering cost for a yacht or ship design?

Photorealistic yacht 3D visualization render

When our 3D rendering company started building the portfolio of ship and yacht visualizations, new clients reached out to us with their designs. And in 90% of cases, their first questions were “How much does 3D rendering service cost?” and “What will be the cost of rendering for my yacht/ship?”

Rendering costs are crucial information to deciding on taking up the project of creating visualizations for a vessel design. And because this information is so important, I would like to show you what are the factors that shape the price of rendering. And what are the 3D visualization costs that you can expect.

With this knowledge, you can easily plan your marketing budget before adding 3D rendering services to your strategy.

What the process of creating 3D visualizations looks like?

First of all, let me briefly explain what our process of creating 3D renderings looks like, so you can better understand the factors that influence the price.

  • Step 1 – reference files: you provide us with the reference files of your vessel. We need at least a general arrangement to perform the work. But IGS file with a hull shape is also a standard among our clients. If you have a complete 3D model of your ship, that would be a great help too. But it doesn’t always mean that the price will be lower. I will explain it later in this post.
  • Step 2 – draft approval: once we build the 3D model for the purposes of visualization, we set up a few cameras and make draft renders for you. From these images, you choose the frames that you like the most and that you would like to see in the final visualizations. Also, you check if the model geometry and details are fine, as well as hull painting.
  • Step 3 – complete renderings: you receive your chosen cameras fully rendered and postproducted. Those are your final visualizations. If you spot any glitches, we can still fix them.
  • Step 4 – final visualizations: after the last revision you receive your final 3D renderings, ready to be published and increase your brand awareness.

Factors shaping 3D rendering cost

Now that you already know how the process flows, let’s dive into elements that influence the cost of rendering.

Size and type of a vessel

One of the basic questions to ask before we can price the project is the actual size and type of your vessel. Depending on the subject of your project, the price can change.

The most important information is the size of a vessel. Are we speaking about an uncomplicated 16 meters work boat or 200 meters FPSO with dozens of types of machinery and equipment on board?

Do you come with a small and simple paddle boat or maybe an exclusive superyacht with a private jet?

On the other hand, modeling a small but high-specialized tug can take more time than an uncomplicated yet long barge.

The knowledge about the size and type of the vessel is important for 3D rendering companies so we will know how much modeling work we need to put into the project. And how big will be the water simulation required to create a realistic environment visualization.

The quality of a 3D model

Many clients ask us if the price of rendering will be lower if they have the 3D model already made. And the first answer is always “it depends”, and after a closer look it’s usually “unfortunately not”.

And now you might think “Why? I already have my 3D model, why should I be paying for this again?”.

The reality is that most companies that cooperate with us send us the engineering 3D models. They often show the basic shape of a vessel but they are pretty rough. The hull surfaces don’t connect on the edges, the bulkheads don’t have nice finishes, the equipment is very simple and not too realistic, and the cut-outs are inaccurate.

And the biggest problem: the surface geometry is so messy and dense that we can’t really do much with it to make it look better in a render. So usually we need to remodel the whole ship.

We focus a lot on making our visualization look realistic, beautiful, and exquisite. To achieve this result we need to work on a clean, simple, and well-organized 3D model. That’s why we need to model the vessel from scratch in most cases.

If you already have your 3D model, that’s great news! It will be very helpful in the process of creating the model for visualization purposes. It gives us much more information than a general arrangement. Especially about the hull shape. But unless your model is already perfect for 3D visualization, then the fact that you deliver it doesn’t always lower the price.

3D ship modeling: convert meshy model

Quality of visualizations

Another important factor is the quality of visualizations that you need.

You have to be honest with yourself and answer this question: do I really need photorealistic visualization? Or will the simple plain render with no post-production be enough?

If you need the renderings for printed materials for your exhibition stand during the industry fairs, then high-end images will be worth the investment. They can literally bring you new clients.

The same is when you send your offer for a tender. The beautiful and impressive visualizations of your design increase your chances to win.

But if you’re ordering the renderings just for internal purposes to support your engineering team in better imagining the technical aspects of design, then maybe a simple clean rendering or a studio shot will be more effective than a breathtaking marketing visualization.

In terms of quality, we can also discuss the type of outsourcing that create these renderings for you. By hiring a beginner freelancer or an engineer with no real artistic skills you can expect a lower level of quality than from a professional 3D visualization company. But we will discuss this later in this article.

Read more: Do I need 3D visualization services? Let’s check before you decide

Type of visualizations

When you plan to order 3D renderings for your marketing materials, first of all, you need to decide what kind of renderings you really need.

Yacht and ship design companies usually order natural environment visualizations. For example, a yacht cruising among Maldives islands, or a service operation vessel sailing on the waters of the North Sea.

If you would like to showcase your vessel “in action”, you can order the visualization with some infrastructure, like the crew transfer boat approaching the wind turbine platform, or a passenger ferry operating in city channels.

The other very popular type of visualization for the marine industry is studio shots. We can call them product renderings as well. They present a vessel from various angles and are saved in PNG format with transparent background. They are perfect for use in presentations when you want to add some annotations about the features of a design.

You can read more about different types of 3D marine visualizations by clicking below.

Ship render with a transparent background

Read more: 3D visualization types – how to choose the best one for your marine project?

Number of renderings

The next important, and quite obvious, factor is the number of images you need. This is a very individual issue, yet the more visualizations you order, the better you can present the design of your vessel to your clients.

Many ship design companies tend to keep a standard of number and type of visualizations they present in their portfolio for every project. A popular choice is to present 1-3 environment visualizations to better illustrate how the vessel operates. And at least 2 studio shots to showcase it in a more technical way and discuss its features.

Here you also should remember that while creating 3D visualizations we deal with entry costs. The cost of a modeling job that needs to be put into a project doesn’t change regardless of the number of renderings. So in fact, the first visualization is the most expensive one. But every next image costs less.


A typical timeline for creating yacht renders or ship renders is 2-3 weeks, including revisions. If you have enough time to wait, then the workflow will be very typical.

But sometimes it might be that you will heavily require the renderings to be ready for yesterday. Your client is in a rush. Some design changes were made at the last moment. Anything can happen.

In this situation, you can also count on your 3D visualization studio. The creative team always wants to help you achieve your goals and deliver your images. But because of the over hours they need to make, or coming to the office on weekends, they should be compensated, so very often a rush fee is applied. Usually, it’s about 25-50% of the total project price.

Frequency of orders

The last-minute projects always cost more. But on the other hand, you can be rewarded for being a long-term and frequent client. If your ship design company creates at least a few tender offers each month, and for each of them you order a bundle of 3D visualizations, you can get a special pricing offer from your 3D rendering company.

That’s because the more projects we work on together the better we know each other. We already know your style, your 2D drawings’ standards and what are your most important requirements for the style of 3D visualizations. Thanks to this knowledge, the workflow is more fluent and time-optimized. In a long run, we can propose you preferential terms so you can benefit more.

3D marine visualization - daughter craft on the rough sea

What 3D rendering costs are available on the market?

On the market, you can find a wide range of 3D rendering prices. And in most cases, the price is combined with the skill level of the person or studio that you choose, their level of an expertise in a given field, and of location.

There are many less- and medium skilled people out there, usually students, that are willing to create an image for 50 € only. Many of them you can find on websites like Upwork. But in these cases you risk a lot on the quality of the renders and meeting up the deadlines.

On the other hand, there are sophisticated 3D visualization companies well-known in their field. They work only with the biggest brands and top popular designers. Their prices reflect the high level of their skills and the talent to get the best results with created images. Companies like that can charge at least 5000 € per image.

After making research among 3D render companies, I can estimate that the price brackets for one high-quality exterior visualization place between 400-2000 € per image.

Price is an important factor before starting the cooperation. But before you choose with who you would like to work with, you should also check the field of expertise for a given studio. Some 3D companies specialize in architectural visualization. Others in interior design. Some in product visualizations, and some in clothing renders.

There are very few that work strictly for the maritime and yachting industry like we do. But if you’re looking for a high-quality water environment and the guarantee for understanding your technical documentation, you should consider first the companies that are into the marine world.

Read more: Should I hire a 3D artist? 7 cases when your business truly needs it

Flexible pricing – the key to a cost-efficient project

In Sodoma Atelier our clients often ask us what is our hourly rate for 3D rendering services. We then answer that we price per project. Why? Because we want to give our clients the best value and beautiful images created as fast as possible.

The hourly rate applied to the whole project is not really fair for any party. After all, the client doesn’t want to pay for sipping coffee and frequent breaks of the creative team. And our 3D Artists really want to do a great valuable job fast and go home to spend more time with family and friends.

That’s why we implemented flexible pricing.

The base of the project quote is the 3D modeling price. And it varies depending on the factors mentioned above. This is in fact the entry cost.

Next, we offer a fixed price for a single image of a given visualization type. You can order as many environment visualizations and studio shots as you need. This way, you can easily plan your budget and adjust the scope of work to your situation.

Night yacht render

So how much does the 3D rendering cost?

To give you a better overlook of how the prices might be for different types of projects, here I include some example pricing brackets.

  • The vessel: 27 meters passenger inland ferry
  • 3D model delivered by client, to be optimized
  • 1 natural environment visualization
  • 1 studio shot

The price for this set of visualizations can range from 900 – 1300 €.

  • The vessel: 200 meters FPSO
  • 3D created from scratch by the 3D studio
  • 4 natural environment visualizations
  • 5 studio shots

This set can be priced from 3000 – 6000 €.

How Sodoma Atelier can help you?

We are a 3D visualization studio that specializes in creating beautiful images, animations, and interactive solutions for the yacht and ship design industry. We are located in Gdynia, nearby Gdańsk – one of the most significant shipbuilding spot in the European map.

With our background in ship design and a passion for creating stunning visuals, we are going to help you achieve your sales and marketing goals through outstanding 3D renderings.

Drop us an email to learn more about what we can do for you.

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