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Best Architecture Software in 2020

Written by John

As an architect, you are required to be exceptionally skilled in drawing, creative designs, and painting. The skills are required to be a renowned and world-class architect but if you are not skilled in drawing or painting, don't worry, because the best architecture software will help you create great 3D models or building most adequately. The most remarkable feature of the best architecture software in 2020 is its capability of rendering vivid 3D drawings, and you can create a video of the steps around the building which is virtually impossible years ago.

A beautiful 3D drawing with color and light, realistic scenes will satisfy your customers quickly. Best Architect software ability helps architects create beautiful 3D Model drawings. Year in, Year Out, new functionalities are being added to the architecture software and you will get to learn some of the unique functions added in the new software. The best architecture software in 2020 is being developed with simplicity and increased rendering capabilities by making use of the graphics cards such as NVIDIA GeForce or AMD.

As an architect or an architecture student, learning and understanding new architecture software is not only very important but also essential to develop your skills. There is a lot of software for architects, the real question is what software should an architect learn and master? Luckily for you, you are at the right place, here are the best architectural software you should learn and master.

Best Architecture Software in 2020

1. SketchUp

If you are an architect who loves painting, you should know how important sketch drawing is to your craftmanship. Sketch drawings help architects implement their ideas quickly. Sketchup is an architectural software that helps architects create 3D drawings quickly. With Sketchup in place, modifying a previous model becomes very easy.

SketchUp on Mac

If you are a beginner in architecture, we believe Sketchup is the first software you need to learn because it is simple but very powerful. Its ability to render images will wow you. Creating a 3D model on Sketchup is not only easy but also real. The latest versions of Sketchup support new tools like Virtual Reality (VR) which makes you walk around your project. Sketchup is equipped with the largest 3D model library; you can add a chair, tree, or any exceptional material to your 3D model.

SketchUp isn’t just for 3D modeling, it’s also great for communicating your designs in 2D. Draw plans, elevations, sections, build details and finish it off with your title blocks. SketchUp is remarkably accurate, so you can be sure that anyone working on the project will have the information they need to get the job done. The best part: when your model changes, so does your document. Simple.

The biggest advantage of Sketchup is that it quickly draws with the two major components: Shade and Path. The shade is the basic shape while The Path is the characteristic line of the basic shape object. Just drag Shade along the Path then you can create any shape of a structure.

The disadvantage of Sketchup is that an object cannot be managed by size or cohesion of the structure. To manage objects according to size or structure-function, you will need to use more powerful software such as Revit Architecture. One good thing about Sketchup is its compatibility with other software; you can switch models from Sketchup to Revit or vice versa to make full advantage of each software since Revit is similar to Sketchup.

2. Revit Architecture

Revit Architecture is a very powerful software for architecture and structure. The uniqueness comes from its simplicity, virtually anyone can use it and make realistic 3D models and drawings. Revit is a powerful architect software to create 3D models, 2D drawings and rendering structures.

Revit Architecture

One major advantage Revit has over other architecture software is that it can create a complete building or construction from 2D drawings and transform it into a 3D Model. It can create any cross-section or view angle usage camera feature on the software. Complete 3D Models and 2D drawings created in Revit can be used in the real construction of such objects (buildings).

Another main advantage is the speed at which Revit allows the architect to create the work and corrects it during the construction process. Every structure like beam, floors, roofs is linked to each other on Revit. If you have any structure or object not linked with another part, Revit will bring it to your attention. When you want to adjust the size, height, shape of an object like a beam of a wall, Revit automatically changes the other structures.

Managing parallel objects with 3D models with 2D drawings is very easy, all you have to do is to create a 2D drawing, then Revit will create a 3D model or follow your Level or Grid.

The management of the beams of the floor columns, roofs, ladder structures by dimensions, materials, floor elevation, position on 2D drawings is very accurate when compared to SketchUp. Materials will be calculated and in line with statistics such as weight, air volume, brain room area. With Revit installed, you can create details such as tiles, column details, walls detail and apply them to your projects without redrawing. The family library is voluminous and very popular, you can search for different objects or structures and upload it to your project.

Revit is like other architectural software, the material declaration function helps you render the works beautifully and close to reality. Although it's material library voluminous, it is not very extensive, you need to create new objects and enhance on your previous structures.

Revit’s capabilities in rendering 3D Models are unmatched. Revit will assist you in the position of the sun, shadow, and weather. Another great feature of Revit that you will be interested in is its “Render in Cloud”. Rendering architectural designs requires a strong GPU, and laptops for architecture with 1080 Ti cards have difficulty rendering complex 3D models or big buildings. “Render in Cloud” will help you solve the problem of slow rendering. All you need to do is to connect to your Revit account, then use Revit's servers to help you quickly render 3D images of buildings.

3. 3Ds Max

3Ds Max is a powerful software for creating 3D models for architectural works or other purposes like movies or animations. 3Ds Max is very realistic and detailed. Many architects have attested to the fact that it is very complex creating 3D models in 3Ds Max than other software. With this complexity comes the need for architects to acquire a lot of knowledge and experience about 3Ds Max. The major strength of 3Ds Max is that it can create any shape, structure, high-rise buildings even down to steel structures. If you are an architect that loves working on complex models then 3Ds Max is best for you.

3Ds Max

The advantage of 3Ds Max is that architects can freely create the shapes of their works, but this software also has many disadvantages to the field of architecture such as the complicated and time-consuming processes it takes. Its complexity is a major turnoff for architects and architectural students. More time is spent on making basic structures and complex shapes on 3Ds Max when compared to other software such as Revit Architecture or Sketchup. 3Ds Max does not manage objects by functional groups or too many parameters, unlike Sketchup.

Rendering in 3Ds Max is not quite easy and simple like Revit. For complex models, you can use other plugins like VRay to help you render in simple ways. Another major problem with 3Ds Max is that you need a powerful Laptop or PC, you need a minimum of Core i5 with 6GB Ram and a 1050ti (4GB) to render projects efficiently.

4. VRay

The first 3 software has helped architects create 3D models of buildings, but we need to use software that specializes in Rendering to create beautiful 3D images that can conquer any customer's requirements. VRay is the necessary 3D Rendering software for architects!

Vray Plugin for Revit

VRay supports most architectural software such as Revit, 3Ds Max, Sketchup and so on. The rendering process with VRay is very simple. Its flexibility allows you to select materials, Lighting, V-ray Sun, Dome Light and other components before it will help you create a 3D version/model that will please anyone. VRay is a real-time rendering software; this means you can change your 3D model in Revit and see the changes immediately instead of waiting for full rendering. VRay is very fastidious. VRay supports various architectural materials. The “Light effect” is very good and easy to use. Also, VRay has a reasonable price for everyone.

The major problem of VRay is that it does not support rendering to create a video. It also prohibits continuous changes of perspective or changes of light, or weather such as rain, snowfall to your building or model. If you want to overcome these problems, the next rendering software will help you.

5. Lumion

Lumion is unarguably one of the best 3D Rendering Software. Unlike VRay in the form of plugins for Revit, Sketchup or 3Ds Max software. Lumion is a separate software. Lumion is very simple to use with its full library of materials and it can support much new Material. Unlike other rendering software, you can change the weather, light and material on your project in real time.

Sketup and Lumion LiveSync

With Lumion 10, architects don’t need to search for more materials for their projects or models, Lumion's material library contains a wide range of materials, structures ad objects to satisfy any architect. Landscapes and auxiliary buildings is a major advantage of Lumion, Lumion also supports a lot of lighting effects, Real Skies, weather change, etc. when rendering. The videos created from the Lumion are very authentic enough to satisfy any customer.

Lumion 10 supports additional water effects such as a butter pool. Lumion also supports Render Sync in real-time with other architecture software such as Revit. This means when you make changes to your 3D models in Revit, it changes in Lumion.

Attaching materials to objects very quickly and easily is sat mates Lumion stand out among other rendering software. Lumion will automatically select the same materials, the architect only needs to select the appropriate material from the library. The downside is that you cannot attach materials to specific objects in Lumion, you need to change the materials in 3Ds Max or Revit before attaching materials in Lumion.

Lumion is a very powerful rendering software, but with this great software comes a great price. The price of Lumion is very high, we hope there will be a less expensive version for architecture students.

6. AutoCAD 2D

After completing the architectural part of the model, architects will need to turn their 3D models into 2D technical drawings for construction engineers to calculate the structure and implement the actual construction. This is where AutoCAD 2D comes in. We all know Revit helps architects create 2D technical drawings alongside with their 3D models, all other software only specializes in creating 3D versions or specialized Rendering, so we recommend AutoCad 2D software to create 2D drawings of your models and buildings. Just as the name implies, AutoCAD 2D specializes in 2D technical drawings.

Autocad 2D

AutoCAD 2D manages drawings by their layers and use keyboard shortcuts in the usage process, for example, you can use a short key: Tr (trim) command to cut lines quickly, or L (line), Rec (Rectangle). Architects must work on their 2D skills as much as designing their 3D models. AutoCAD 2D is the software that helps you to master your 2D drawing capabilities. 

The floor drawings (floor, site) made on AutoCAD can be imported into other architecture software such as Sketchup or 3Ds Max, so it can be converted to 3D models. Importing into Revit is not necessary because Revit can easily manage and draw 2D drawings but when you need to quickly edit 2D drawings, AutoCAD is up for the job.

7. Photoshop

Finally, Photoshop! You are probably wondering why an image editing software is necessary for an architect? After making 3D models and 2D drawings and perspectives, architects will need to present their projects professionally and uniquely, this is where photoshop comes in. Photoshop gives your project that professional look and touch.

To create exciting 3D perspectives with your colors, Photoshop is what you need. Photoshop will help you create special effects or adjusting colors on your models. Architects to learn the basic functions of Photoshop. If you have learned complex software like 3Ds Max, then learning Photoshop will be very simple.

In this article, we have provided enough information about the best architecture software. The above-listed programs (software) have their distinct features and advantages. For example, AutoCAD 2D is resourceful when it comes to creating 2D technical drawings and Lumion is a software perfect for rendering complex 3D models in real-time. We advise you to have a basic knowledge of all the above-listed software. Having a thorough understanding of how these architecture software work will give you a cutting edge above your peers.

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