What Is Rendering in Photoshop?

By Shannon Keen

In the world of graphics and architecture, a rendering is the term used for a two-dimensional drawing that an artist creates to illustrate what a structure will look like once it has been built. From this term came the word render, which means "to make visible" or "to draw." With the advent of the digital age and the introduction of computer-aided design software like Photoshop, these terms have evolved to match the evolution of the tools available.

Photoshop

Adobe Systems Incorporated, developed and released the first edition of Adobe Photoshop in 1990. Eleven subsequent editions were released by Adobe between 1990 and 2010. Photoshop is a graphics-editing program that enables users to digitally edit existing images and generate original ones using the same software. Though its initial publication was for Macintosh only, Adobe has since adapted Photoshop to be compatible with and available on both Mac and PC. Photoshop is designed to work closely with Adobe's other animation and media-editing software.

Rendering

Rendering in Photoshop deals specifically with the process of taking a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional subject and making the final image look as realistic as possible. This goal is achieved through the use of various lighting and shadowing effects, as well as the generation of environmentally appropriate light refraction and reflection. The use of any of these techniques is referred to as rendering. The term also applies to the process of adding texture to a surface within the image.

Render Filters

Render filters are one of several categories of filter available for use in the Photoshop program. Filters are used both to perform editing tasks such as blurring or dimming images and to apply special effects like textures and distortions. Render filters create effects that deal specifically with light refraction and reflection, cloud and shadow generation and the application of fiber textures. Other filter types include blur filters, brush stroke filters, noise filters, pixelate filters and sketch filters.

Uses

The rendering process in Photoshop has many potential uses in the graphics-editing world. It can be used to create the illusion of a variety of fabrics such as satin or cotton fiber. It can also be used to change the time of day suggested by an image by adjusting the amount and intensity of the lighting. It can generate realistic shadows and highlights in a flat image to create the impression of three dimensions.