We strongly believe that architects should start the conceptual phase in 3D. SketchUp allows the user to quickly and easily make 3D designs. It can be downloaded for free however many of its export features are disabled. Since Google bought its copyrights it has become extremely popular in terms of usability and cost.
Many architects favor SketchUp because of its real-world applications. Google purchased SketchUp in 2006. Though it has since sold the company, Google implemented a lot of useful features. For example, you can pull topographical images from Google Maps into SketchUp. The same goes for satellite images.
The cost makes it ideal for students and those operating on slim budgets. Many use SketchUp to get to grips with 3D modeling before moving onto other software. Speed is also a key aspect of SketchUp. You can create simple 3D models quickly. With the right features, you can even create complex models ready for presentation.
Part of a whole new generation of Autodesk products aimed specifically at architectural studios that handle complex projects and need BIM (Building Information Modelling), Revit not only enabled the design and modeling of a building but the coordination of multiple engineers collaborating on the same scheme.
The software focuses on providing tools for effective BIM. Its key feature is automation. Changes you make to your model get recorded throughout the project. The software coordinates these changes to ensure you create complete projects that consider BIM at every turn. As such, if you make a change in the 3D view, those changes reflect across the plan, elevation, and section views. The same goes for the changes you make in any other view.
It is compatible with AutoCAD, so it is pretty easy to insert a DWG file and use it as a trace reference to start shaping your model. One of its biggest advantages is that every change you make to the model is updated in all views, including plans and elevations. This reduces coordination and drawing time significantly.
Autodesk 3DS Max
Although 3DRhino is getting spread at an exponential rate, because of its parametric plugins and smooth modeling features. Yet, 3D Studio Max still the most popular software in the 3D market. Since those primordial days of computer graphics and 3D Studio (software that was running under DOS), things have changed.
Many who are new to 3D modeling also use 3DS Max as a teaching tool. It allows them to get to grips with the core concepts of creating 3D models without dealing with the constraints of specialized software. Its tutorials prove very useful. Further, Max has a large community around it. This makes it easier for designers to get help if they start struggling with their work.
Most CAD applications are great with straight lines and less marvelous with anything curved. Rhino was designed from inception to handle curved lines, meshes and NURBS surfaces of high complexity, like those in the features of a human face or the sweeping curves of a super-car.
Since its creation in 1998, Rhino 3D has become one of the most popular tools for architectural design. Users can enter drawings or physical models into the software. From there, Rhino can create 3D models and provide documentation for the design. You can even scan real-world data into the newer versions of the software.
Beyond that, Rhino offers all of the tools a designer needs to edit designs. Beyond the base models, you can create animations and professional renders. It is also one of the most flexible design packages around. Designers can translate solid objects and surfaces into the software. It even allows you to work with point clouds and polygon meshes. Because of this, the software is usually favored by those who don’t want to spend a lot of time learning about the complexities of computer-aided design (CAD).
Actually, we don’t recommend using Autocad anymore since Revit is rapidly replacing it in the market. Yet, Autocad is the old dominant player in the architecture software industry. It is so well known among students and professionals that it is unlikely to face any compatibility issues while transferring files throughout the design process. It produces purely representational drawings and usually is the stepping stone to 3D modeling software.
AutoCAD software has been a fixture of the architecture sector since its release in 1982. The software has come a long way since those early days. This history has bred familiarity. Students and professionals have used AutoCAD for decades. As such, learning how to use it often proves helpful when searching for jobs in engineering or architecture.
The only big caveat to this application is how firmly aligned to older working practices it is, where many in the building trade are moving towards a Building Information Modelling application (BIM) future. For those customers Autodesk offers Revit.
Cost is $1,610 per year, or you can get it as part of the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection for $2,825 per year.
V-Ray is not standalone design software. It is actually a plugin. You can use it with ArchiCAD and SketchUp. Its purpose is to create a realistic rendering. This allows you to show off your 3D models as they would look in the real world.
This makes V-Ray ideal for those who need to add that extra spark to their designs. The software offers access to stunning textures. Further, its color palette has few rivals. This means you can use light and shade to your advantage with V-Ray more so than most other design software.
Designers across many industries use V-Ray in their work. Beyond architecture, it has proven ideal for video game design and CGI rendering for film and TV. Coming back to architecture, V-Ray is all about placing clients in a visual space. It helps them see what your designs will look like once they’re built.
Substantially more homes are built than giant office complexes or retail parks, and that is the forte of Chief Architect.
This tool can be utilized by homeowners wanting to remodel, home builders, interior designers, and architects creating unique residences.
Depending on specific needs there is a product selection that begins very modestly and focuses, for example, on Interiors. Or, you can spend much more on their Premier product that handles complete buildings with all their details.
Using Premier or Architect Interiors you to rapidly construct 3D models of exterior and interior spaces and then project those into 2D plans and elevations.
Premier costs $2,995, and Architect Interiors costs $2,195 per annum, and then $495 per year renewal for either. Or you can rent them for roughly 10% of those prices per month.
The one thing you should always remember is that drafting and design software is just a tool in the hands of architects to facilitate the workflow and reduce the valuable time of drawing production. Architects draw and sketch. There is no more basic and valuable skill, even in our technologically advanced world than hand sketching. The initial idea should be clear and concise and easily communicated to colleagues and clients.
A simple sketch can say a lot more about your concept that the best and most detailed rendering. After all, pencils don’t require any updates.