Software for Architecture.

Hello everyone,
What 3d packages does architects use? I have seen on web, the modeling and rendering is so awesome that those buildings looks so real as if they exist. Also I am amazed with the quality and detailing of those buildings. Are architecture software’s different to Product design software’s.
Thank You

Your typical 3d software for architectural renderings is as follows:

3ds Max is the most common piece of software for modeling and rendering architecture. V-Ray is a very powerful rendering engine that a large majority of 3d studios and firms use in addition to 3ds Max.

Post Production work is usually done in Photoshop for still images. For animations a lot of places use either Adobe After Effects or Apple Final Cut Pro. There are some higher end packages available but usually only places involved with TV and Movie production use them.

There are some other good choices available for modeling and rendering. The other packages are Cinema 4D and Autodesk Maya. 3ds Max has some really nice integration features for working with AutoCAD and Autodesk Revit which is why it tends to be the most popular for architectural work.

I hope that helps.

You should check out the forums on CG Architect. There are a ton of helpful people there that deal with architectural renderings on a daily basis.

Thank you ross for providing so much information, also the website that you recommended is really good. Never imagined that 3d max have so much use in architecture. Is there any website’s which have tutorials regarding exterior design of buildings.

Google Sketchup is also a great entry level application for modelling and exports data very easily to lots of applications for more detailed modelling and rendering. Super easy to use for architectural spaces though.

What types of tutorials are you looking for? The conceptual ideas that go into designing a building or do you want to know about the modeling and 3d aspects of the exterior?

If you are wanting to learn about the 3D side of architecture modeling then this site has a lot of good information:

If you are looking for some good books then check these out. They are the best you can find.

For general 3d modeling for architecture, characters, movies, commercials, etc… check out the CGSociety

These are some of the best video tutorials you can buy.

Ross Wrote,
What types of tutorials are you looking for? The conceptual ideas that go into designing a building or do you want to know about the modeling and 3d aspects of the exterior?

Thank you ross, Yes I am looking tutorials on about the modeling and 3d aspects of the exterior.

The designs themselves, if done in 3D, are built following “Building Information Modeling”.
Packages like: Revit, ArchiCad

Rendering, as per the above mention, has 3ds Max as a very strong player.

As for whether they are different to design packages. They are, and quite a whole bit too!
But then again, a mouse is very different from a skyscraper too, ain’t it :wink:

Very complex to explain in a post, look up “BIM” and you’ll be well on your way to many detailed articles!

Our architecture school teaches Rhino as the primary modeling tool, with V-Ray and Photoshop to render.

Some of the firms doing the really high concept work with more free form surfaces are using Rhino and also a Catia based software called Digital Project developed by Gehry Partners. We worked on a concert hall in Miami and used Rhino for our product portion, and then it was submitted and intergrated in to this digital project software. Good luck getting a copy though, I had heard 20+k a seat so…

Last I heard, the project manager at the general contractor for a big concert hall in Kansas City was using Navisworks for his clash detection effort.

And also, there are many companies that do pretty complex free-form stuff with little or no 3D at all. I worked on a pretty complex ceiling system for a building at the City Center, as well as some of the curved walls in the casinos and they hadn’t modeled anything in 3d. So 3D in architecture is still just getting going.

Definitely read up on Building Information Management (BIM) it’s just the process of making sure everything fits together smoothly, but some managerial types that don’t know much about the skills actually needed to do work, but that hire for smaller firms love it because it’s a buzzword/acronym for them to grab onto and sound like they know what they are talking about.

(that was cynical, but BIM is a good thing to be aware of and be able to intelligently discuss.)

Best software for architecture are ArchiCAD, Revit, AutoCAD Architcture, Rhino3D, CATIA, SketchUp.

Vectorworks is increasingly common in Architecture and Interior Design.

As far as rendering goes, I know of architects here in Portland who commission companies like MIR in Norway to deliver epic images:

(As featured previously on Core)

For realistic renders I recommend 3dsMax and Corona Renderer Enigine. I had to watch few tutorials to learn it but the effect is outstanding. As inspiration I looked up on

These guys are also using this software and the visualizations are amazing.