Architectural software has helped revolutionize modern-day architecture and engineering, allowing architects to effectively envision and implement their designs. Students and professionals need to look more deeply at ways to show their design skills and switch to drafting and modeling from conventional methods other than AutoCAD. We listed a few software programs below to get you started.

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Autodesk Revit

BIM (Building Information Modelling) based software solely used for the architectural and construction industry, it has its vast library of 3d components that makes modeling very fast. It’s become an industry standard, replacing AutoCAD relatively quickly, and for good reason. Since it is BIM-based it removes hassles on the construction site as most of the issues which an engineer could face on site are already resolved in software. There are tons of extras like fluid dynamics studies, heat gain/lighting analysis, cross integration with other consultants, etc. that, if you know, could put you over the edge.

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Revit wall that would change variables if a parameter such as the height is changed

Dynamo

The Dynamo software uses visual programming and is connected directly to Revit where the user can gain access to Revit’s data structure where parameters can be controlled and manipulated. Dynamo is connected to Revit in a way that if the user changes something in Revit, it changes in Dynamo too and vice versa. E.g. all the elements that exist in Revit, Dynamo can read them directly and would be able to use them.

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Sketchup

SketchUp is probably the single most valuable piece of software for architects. It is great for conceptual design, and refining designs to a fine level of detail quickly and easily. If you work on fairly small or simple projects, it is more than good enough for what you want for 2D and 3D. It’s great for conceptual design for huge schemes and refining things like steelwork connection details that you would fight Revit to produce. It’s like the digital version of the concept sketch, but can be taken to gorgeous renderings and animations.

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Parametric wall using sketchup
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Sketchup model ©warehouse
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Sketchup Interiors ©pinterest

Lumion

Lumion is an extremely user-friendly and very intuitive software. It allows you to import your design’s 3D model and start rendering right away. Lumion is compatible with most 3D modeling and CAD software programs, as well as other 3D file forms, it takes only a few minutes to import. Lumion 10 has new nature models that add substantially more realistic detail for bushes, shrubs, trees and more.

Walkthroughs make leaves on trees come to life with super fine detail.

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ResidentialHomeDesign ©Lumion.com
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Lumion livesync
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Exterior render ©tumblr.com

Rhino3D and Grasshopper

Rhino 3D paves the way for you because of current industry trends towards parametric architecture. It is important to render complex curved surfaces. Rhino is more simple software rather than 3DS Max, it allows work with NURBS surfaces Additionally, Grasshopper a Rhino plugin can be used to create endless innovative structures. Any curve can be converted into a surface (by extruding, lofting, revolving or sweeping), it can be joined to form polysurface, and solids can be created by joining multiple surfaces to enclose a space. Rhino provides an extremely broad set of tools for creating and manipulating objects.

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Grasshopper MainWindow_
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design fabrication by fablab
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NBBJ Parametric Strategies in the Design of Hangzhou Stadium

3D Studio Max

3ds max helps you to renders look as realistic as possible. There’s so much you can do and so many things you can achieve. For instance, if you’re working on an apartment with different rooms, after you’ve created the high-quality images you need from each room, you can make a (high quality) animation to match. It allows users to create and edit materials and maps in their scenes. They will be able to apply creative textures, as well as, simulate refractions, reflections, and other effects as they assign materials to objects.  If you want to blow your clients away and give them something that looks more like a future photograph of their project instead of a basic representation of your concept, then 3ds max is for you.

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3Ds max exterior design ©pinterest

ADOBE  InDesign / Photoshop / Illustrator

The life of architects and students revolves around ideas, presentations, and proposals. The design panel tends to appeal to strong diagrams. At times, the emphasis changes from work itself to a better presentation.

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It can be achieved with ease of using this software.

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Graphical illustration

When designing templates and rearranging text and picture files, InDesign provides greater versatility; making life easier by building a multi-page portfolio or presentation board. You benefit from InDesign in terms of features; layout, raster, and vector graphic compatibility, etc.

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Opening new-document-in-indesign

Adobe Illustrator can quickly scale and move objects around it. This also has an icon library that can be used and updated. It’s the easiest way to make graphics of any sort, but you lack the innovative filters and resources that Photoshop has to offer and the ability to create templates. Photoshop is easier to grasp for some, but you’re going to waste your time using it to create a brochure.

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Jason-Wu-Architecture-Porfolio ©issuu.com
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Photoshop aftereffects ©tumblr

For these reasons, it is evident that the intention of these software applications is to be used together. Although you might have a favorite, understanding when and how to use them together will take your presentation and design skills to the next level.

All things said you should perhaps think about the future of architecture. Take a look at which programs embrace crossovers, how seamless designs are implemented from scratch. Be mindful of what the firms are using and the trends that are developing in the industry to avoid being redundant.

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Author

Sneha Kannan, a young architect, Interior designer based in Chennai. Her work involves creating spaces with strong visual and social identity. As an architectural writer and graphic designer in practice, she believes graduation is just a start to life. Developing a strong interest in aesthetics and management, she is working her way towards becoming a multi-faceted individual.

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