Top 10 of the best 3D modeling software for architecture
Architects, designers, or hobbyists, you can use a 3D modeling software to create good overviews of a building or try new home design ideas. If you are a professional, those kind of software are an easy tool to show your work to your clients. Moreover, did you know that 3D printing and architecture could be linked? You could be able to 3D print an entire house, but in the first place, you could 3D print an architectural model. It could be a way to get a good overview of your work. 3D printing can also be quite useful as it allows you to save time by creating a quick and accurate model. Using 3D printing or just a modeling solution can be ideal to plan and stimulate new ideas.
In this blog post, we are going to see the 10 best software to create 3D models for your architecture projects.
Why should you use a CAD software for architecture?
A 3D modeling software is an essential tool if you’re working in the architecture sector. It’s a really good way to obtain a better visualization of your projects for your clients. For example, you can use a lot of different materials and textures. This allows you to get a photorealistic rendering. A CAD software is also a good solution to edit, do and re-do models very quickly and easily to match your expectations. It can turn your ideas into detailed designs!
Moreover, if you’re looking for a better collaboration inside your team, some software are using the cloud and will allow you to optimize communication. Your work will be accessible to anybody, and you’ll be able to all work on the same model.
Don’t worry, 3D modeling software doesn’t eliminate the pen and paper method! But it can lead to really detailed and realistic results. As a matter of fact, it’s the best solution to save time and to modify your model as much as you want.
What are the best CAD software for architecture?
Software dedicated to architecture
ArchiCAD is an architectural CAD software developed by Graphisoft. This Open BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a complete tool for architects, allowing you to do 3D and 2D drafting, visualization, or building modeling. Thanks to ArchiCAD and all its functionalities, you can handle all the aspects of the engineering and design work. It is particularly advanced in the field of visualization, as it offers architects high quality and photorealistic rendering. This CAD software is also known for its ability to store large amounts of information in your 3D models. It can be used to design buildings and interiors as well as urban areas.
Revit is a software for BIM (Building Information Modeling), developed by Autodesk. This powerful tool is essential if you’re working in the architecture sector, as all its features are specially made for architects. It will help you to create perfect architectural designs. Any buildings and infrastructures can be designed and managed thanks to Revit. A big advantage of this modeling software is its collaborative aspect: any coordinator can access centrally shared models to work on it. Collaborative designs are a good way to improve collaboration with your colleagues. And, most of all, avoiding rework will help you to save time.
- AutoCAD Architecture
Developed by AutoDesk, AutoCAD Architecture can be very useful for your architectural projects as it allows you to do both 3D and 2D design. It is a complete tool, practical for 3D modeling and for visualization thanks to its good rendering. You will be able to create realistic models with its combination of solid, surface and mesh modeling tools. AutoCAD Architecture is also useful for 2D drafting and drawing. As for Revit, and all the AutoDesk software, this 3D software allows you to communicate easily with other people working on the same project.
- AutoCAD Civil 3D
Another AutoDesk software that can be useful for you if you’re working in architecture is AutoCAD Civil 3D. It has all the benefits that we saw previously, but it is more used for civil engineering and construction. If you need to do civil designs, this is exactly what you need. Moreover, you can connect AutoCAD Civil 3D to Revit, to rework and complete your designs with additional structural modeling.
- Chief Architect
Chief Architect is a CAD software created for architecture professionals, to obtain 2D and 3D rendering. This software is easy to use. If you don’t have 3D modeling skills, Chief Architect will be helpful, especially if you have a home design project. The interface is really intuitive and the software offers smart building tools. It will create the 3D structure and generate automatically the building system of your project. Moreover, you can export 360° panorama renderings that can be shared with your clients.
Other 3D software that you can use for architecture
Rhino 3D is a major tool when it comes to 3D modeling. This computer-aided design software is mainly used for industrial design and for architecture. As Rhino’s geometry is based on NURBS, this software allows a really good accuracy for your models. For more possibilities with Rhino 3D, you can also download Grasshopper, a graphical algorithm editor specially made for 3D geometry. It is a visual programming language and environment, created by Rhino’s developers. This program is recommended for structural engineering, architecture, and fabrication.
If you want to know more about Rhino3D, check out our tutorial to prepare your 3D file to 3D printing with Rhino.
CATIA is a software that Dassault Systèmes developed for their own needs. It is used in various sectors as for example, aerospace, automotive, high tech, and architecture. This software allows to create complex and very accurate models. It has a practical collaborative environment, as the cloud version of this software is now available.
For example, CATIA has been used by Frank Gehry to create his award-winning curvilinear buildings.
If you’re using this software, take a look at our tutorial about CATIA!
SketchUp is known to be an intuitive program and one of the free CAD software available. You’ll save time by using this program as it is an easy drawing tool to use. It can be used for anything when it comes to 3D modeling, and architecture is not an exception! It is a great drawing tool, and it will certainly help you to be productive and creative with your architectural designs. It’s possible to create walkthroughs and flyovers with SketchUp, which can be useful for your architectural projects when you have to show your work to your clients. Obviously, you can use SketchUp for 3D, but it is also ideal for scaled and accurate 2D drawings.
If you’re planning to 3D print your model, check out our tutorial to prepare your 3D model to 3D printing using SketchUp!
- 3D Studio Max
3DS Max is a software developed by Autodesk. It is known to be quite similar to AutoCAD. Mainly used in the video games industry, this software is also used by architects for previsualization. 3D Studio Max is a good tool for architecture, and a lot of training are available online for architects to learn how to use this 3D software.
If you need a little help, we also have a tutorial to help you with the creation of your 3D models for 3D printing with 3DS Max.
Solidworks is a 3D modeling software mainly used by engineers. It can be a great solution if you need a 3D software for a project, and you just want to create a quick design. You can’t do complex rendering, with a lot of material or texture as it is not a CAD software dedicated to architecture. But it is possible to design a building and get a good overview of your architectural projects thanks to the various functionalities of Solidworks
You are looking to 3D print your model and you’re using Solidworks? Check out our Solidworks tutorial to prepare your file for 3D printing.
We hope that this Top 10 helped you to find the best 3D modeling software for architecture that will help you to give life to your ideas and all of your architectural projects. If you want more information on how 3D printing and architecture are linked, take a look at our blog post about 3D printing for construction and architecture. You can also check this post by G2Crowd to learn more about BIM software.
If you want to 3D print a model of your architectural work, you can upload your 3D file on our online 3D printing service.
Finally, if you have any questions related to 3D printing, don’t hesitate and contact us!
Image credit: Autodesk.fr