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Old Aug 16, 2008, 07:24 PM   #1
Somar
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Best architectural rendering software and CAD software

What is the best architectural rendering software that will run on a Mac?

Also, since owning a Mac, I miss not having AutoCAD. Is anyone successfully running AutoCAD for 3D modeling with bootcamp? What are the best alternatives?
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Old Aug 16, 2008, 07:33 PM   #2
wadejc85
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Originally Posted by Somar View Post
What is the best architectural rendering software that will run on a Mac?

Also, since owning a Mac, I miss not having AutoCAD. Is anyone successfully running AutoCAD for 3D modeling with bootcamp? What are the best alternatives?
I'm successfully running AutoCAD with Boot Camp. To my experience, it runs better than on my HP. As much as I would like to say that there are alternatives, AutoCAD is pretty much the standard (at least in my field--engineering).

People in my field don't like change; thus, I'm stuck with having a partition.
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Old Aug 16, 2008, 10:03 PM   #3
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What is the best architectural rendering software that will run on a Mac?
Depends.

Do you want the best architectural CAD, with a way to generate amazing renderings? ArchiCAD + Cinema 4D (+ Renderman, if you're that nuts).

Do you want "just" modeling, without producing construction drawings and details? Cinema 4D or FormZ.

(former IT Director for 65-architect firm, all ArchiCAD)
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Old Aug 18, 2008, 01:12 PM   #4
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Maxwell Render is what I use, along with Podium (a plug-in for SketchUp) occasionally. Maxwell is extremely powerful and can produce photo-realistic results with minimal effort, as well as highly stylized and artistic images if that's more your style. It runs great on my Mac Pro and takes full advantage of all the power. Go to benchwell.com to see what I mean. I use AutoCad Revit Architecture Suite 2009 through bootcamp on 64bit Windows Vista Business and that runs extremely well. I tried Bently Microstation, and it ran well, though the interface was not to my taste. Maya, Form Z and such also run well through bootcamp. In the architecture field, you're really going to handicap yourself if you own a Mac and refuse to use bootcamp and install a Windows OS as well, too much of the software for the field is Windows exclusive. Hope this helps!
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Old Aug 18, 2008, 07:55 PM   #5
Somar
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Thanks for the replies. Bootcamp + Autocad seems the way to go.
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Old Aug 31, 2008, 05:59 PM   #6
LeoFio
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ArchiCAD is what I'm learning now. The interface is great and very easy to use. Photo renderings are pretty good for just playing around for a few weeks. It's just a very intuitive program; visit Graphisoft's website.
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Old Aug 31, 2008, 07:04 PM   #7
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The interface is great and very easy to use. Photo renderings are amazing (see my examples below).
Don't take this the wrong way but those renderings are far from amazing, personally I wouldn't even class those as a photo (realistic) rendering, do a google for autodesk viz or 3ds max and architectural renderings then you will see amazing, the lighting isn't bad but the materials are really poor.

Note I do 3D work for a living and as such I may be overly critical on this area as I aim to make my work as close to being photo-realistic as possible.

Now admittedly they are windows programs but I'd rather use 3ds max than archicad.
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Old Aug 31, 2008, 07:21 PM   #8
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Don't take this the wrong way but those renderings are far from amazing, personally I wouldn't even class those as a photo (realistic) rendering, do a google for autodesk viz or 3ds max and architectural renderings then you will see amazing, the lighting isn't bad but the materials are really poor.
Point taken.
Check these out for better perspectives/ materials/ lighting for an ArchiCAD rendering. I am just a structural engineering student with an interest in architecture, so the renderings I posted are obviously non-professional.

I did check out some autodesk viz renderings, and they are impressive. But as for a program to run natively on OSX, ArchiCAD is the way to go.
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Old Aug 31, 2008, 11:34 PM   #9
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I did check out some autodesk viz renderings, and they are impressive. But as for a program to run natively on OSX, ArchiCAD is the way to go.
Maxwell Render runs on OSX, supports nearly every 3D modeling software available, and creates much stronger renderings than even those excellent ArchiCad examples you posted.
ArchiCad is a decent program, but its feature set and capabilities are quickly getting outpaced by other programs in the industry. Revit is obviously the industry leader, but Bentley Architecture is an equally impressive program, and Gehry Technologies Digital Project is perhaps the most impressive BIM (Building Information Modeling, of which ArchiCad is) software I have ever seen. Granted the programs I have mentioned are windows exclusive, and in the case of Digital Project can be nearly $15,000 a seat, but I'm really just trying to drive home the point that if you're an Architect who uses a Mac, Bootcamp really is a necessity. (sorry for going off on a tangent)
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Old Sep 1, 2008, 11:48 PM   #10
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Is anyone running 3DS max with bootcamp?
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Old Sep 1, 2008, 11:59 PM   #11
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ArchiCAD is what I use. The interface is great and very easy to use. Photo renderings are amazing (see my examples below). It is just a very intuitive program to use, visit Graphisoft's website. Plus, no bootcamp required!
I've been looking at either Vectorworks for ArchiCad as a replacement for AutoCad in the long run.

I'll be opening a small, 3 person Architectural office in the next couple of months, and since I'll be starting from scratch, I would like to go all Mac this time around.

I've watched all the video tutorials of ArchiCad and seem to like that over Vectorworks. It seems easy enough to pick up (I've been using AutoCad for the past 10+ years or so) and I really like the BIM aspect of it. I do a lot of simple residential projects though, and I often wonder if ArchiCad is actually too advanced for me - things like some easy dormer or deck additions, simple 1 story room additions, carports, etc. - things that I can do very easily in 2d even with AutoCad LT.

So my question to you, or anyone else, is - how is ArchiCad for simple 2d stuff like this? Creating a full, new, 3d house seems just great in ArchiCad, but what about some easy little 2d things?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!

EDIT: Also, unrelated - how is the SketchUp integration with ArchiCad? Anyone? I do all my presentation and modelling in SketchUp (LOVE IT!!) and am just curious.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 10:58 AM   #12
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I have heard that Maxwell is good, but is there a big learning curve with this program?
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 11:00 AM   #13
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I have heard that Maxwell is good, but is there a big learning curve with this program?
Maxwell can produce astonishing images… learning curve is so-so.

But its main draw back is it is s.l.o.w.

That having been said it is what we use.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 11:01 AM   #14
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Also, we installed Fusion and it works great. That way there we can run both OS at the same time. I have each OS on a different monitor. It's great
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 11:03 AM   #15
helavagal
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What is the differences in cost? I quickly saw that there was one for 395 and one that was 995. the 995 one is a bit hard to swallow
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 02:40 PM   #16
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I use 3DS Max 2009 and Autocad 2008 via Bootcamp using Windows XP 32-bit and it runs perfectly. i can easily use our works PC and then take the same model home and continue working on it if need be. Absolutely no problems whatsoever.
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 01:32 AM   #17
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Have you considered Vectorworks?
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 03:57 AM   #18
mastersoft
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Is anyone running 3DS max with bootcamp?
3dsmax 2009 + vista 64 sp1 = BAD ...slow performance on MACPRO 8 CORE

vista + 3dmax = PROBLEMS
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 04:02 AM   #19
arkitect
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I use 3DS Max 2009 and Autocad 2008 via Bootcamp using Windows XP 32-bit and it runs perfectly.
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3dsmax 2009 + vista 64 sp1 = BAD
If you're going to be running Max you should stick with XP.
Works just fine.

In fact none of our PCs are running Vista yet. And no, we're not tight-fisted — just productive.
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 08:28 AM   #20
helavagal
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So what do you use as your 3d generator? Cinema 4d, 3ds Max? which one would be easiest to learn? I have seen some incredible renderings and I have decided to order the program, but what would you use to generate the model?
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 08:56 AM   #21
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If it's rendering software that you want to interface with a modelling program, then Cheetah3D is the best bargain on the Mac ($149).

It's a full 3D app (so you can do modelling animations as well), but the rendering engine and render management is superb. It has the easiest HDRI setup of any program I've used. I send it FBX from SketchUp (but v. 5.0 should offer native SU model support).

The quality is fantastic, IMO: (and it's fast). It's so highly multi-threaded that you can have multiple renders from different scenes all going on simultaneously...



(Extra Brownie points for naming the building )

You can check out some more examples on my blog below...
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 10:12 AM   #22
LeviG
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If you're going to be running Max you should stick with XP.
Works just fine.

In fact none of our PCs are running Vista yet. And no, we're not tight-fisted — just productive.
I've found max to be better on v64 than xp, the use of '64bit' cpu and full ram access actually makes it around 10-20% faster in my experience. Admittedly everyone is going to have different outcomes (and mine is on a windows pc - not a mac) but thats my perspective on it
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Old Oct 4, 2008, 09:52 AM   #23
helavagal
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Is 3ds Max easy to use? I am currently using an all-in-one program that I set parameters up and then it takes off. I am familiar with the AutoCAD family. I am currently using Architecture 2008, but I am sure I am not using to the fullest, but I have not been all that convinced of the rendering part of the program. I want the WOW factor. Is Architecture something that I can set up the model and then import into Maxwell?
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Old Oct 4, 2008, 11:53 AM   #24
LeviG
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is max easy to use, yes and no. You can do the very simple things relatively easily but in my view its more difficult once you start doing the more complicated things ('blob' modelling, particles, setting raytracing and bounce on the illumination etc) Its also not really a tool for accurate designs, its not as easy to say do a box with a cutout at a set point as a program such as solidworks or autocad in my view either.
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Old Oct 9, 2008, 03:30 AM   #25
Wayne Ashley
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Personally I use Vectorworks for CAD work, use a bespoke online solution to convert 2D topo data into rough 3D sketchup models. Detail them in Sketchup then render them in Maxwell. It's a very efficient workflow. Maxwell is very pretty, but I would recommend taking a look at Kerkythea, its free and very well featured.

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