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Old Oct 9, 2008, 03:27 PM   #26
Rocio
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Im in architecture school and we were required to buy autoCAD 2009 and I used bootcamp through Windows XP and it works wonderful. I havent found anything wrong after constant use of it for a month.
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Old Oct 10, 2008, 05:48 PM   #27
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Im in architecture school and we were required to buy autoCAD 2009 and I used bootcamp through Windows XP and it works wonderful. I havent found anything wrong after constant use of it for a month.
They required you to buy AutoCad? That's just rubbish. I hope the Education pricing is very reasonable then.

When I was in school we had to rent computers from the school - I think it was around $150 or so a semester. Quite the steal, actually.
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Old Oct 10, 2008, 11:15 PM   #28
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They required you to buy AutoCad? That's just rubbish. I hope the Education pricing is very reasonable then.

When I was in school we had to rent computers from the school - I think it was around $150 or so a semester. Quite the steal, actually.

yeah actually it is quite reasonably through the university we got student discount and I paid 159 for it, so it turned out pretty good.
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Old Jul 28, 2010, 05:12 AM   #29
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This is a really interesting topic and has provided alot of really interesting and useful information form peoples personal experience. however, I have managed to get a little confused over the different pieces of software and what they offer. Can anyone spell out: what the software is called, what it works on (osx or windows), what it is capable of (2d, 3d, rendering, or all three), what it is mainly used for (2D, 3d, rendering or all three), and its level of complexity and who you might find using it. sorry if this seams a bit obvious to be asking, it would just help me put into context what people are saying above.

I need to get a handle on 3D model making AND rendering and dont know what to start with, im a mac user but also have access to PC's- ideally i look towards mac based software but understand alot of the stuff i will want to use is windows based so need to really think about them all in parallel.
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Old Jul 30, 2010, 10:03 PM   #30
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Tony,

I couldn't possibly contribute much to the conversation (about which package is best) as in Australia there is the dominance of REVIT, ArchiCAD, and AutoCAD with other systems as very minor players (usually adopted by international partnerships with vested interests in the development of chosen software).

If your intention is architectural visualisation, then it would seem important to choose a 3D drafting program, either ArchiCAD or REVIT, if for no other reason than placing doors and windows in an abstract 3D program is painful, and likely to make you want to cry if their locations are dramatically revised. (Being able to quickly input cartesian values, i.e this brick wall goes 1600mm in x direction at 90deg to this wall, in both 2D & 3D is an advantage of BIM (REVIT & ArchiCAD).
Having said that, you will need to supplement your architectural 3D drafting capabilities with a least some degree of proficiency in a 3D modelling program such as Max, C4D, whatever.., as you can add further detail (such as organic architectural details, moving grass, etc). These 3D programs can output exceptional quality renders once you understand the concepts of lighting (and shadowing), Global Illumination, Ambient Occlusion, HDRI, blah, blah.
Finally, there exists a suite of renders which invest in producing complex renders based on complex ray-tracing or 'lighting physics' which produce amazing quality, albeit with an extra layer of software expense and learning time.

Most of these programs will have trial versions available, and will certainly have their devoted followers. It might be worth considering your peer network and where their preferences/experience/skill level is at - there's nothing like having help a phone call away - as I feel the pain of being one of the only Cinema 4D and Maxwell users in my network.
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Old Sep 9, 2011, 02:11 AM   #31
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I have just returned to architecture after a few years away and I have been looking around at CAD + rendering programmes for the Mac. I have been using Macs in architecture since 1989 and using 3D CAD for most of that time, my office was one of the first to go 3D CAD in Australia using ArchiCAD and other programmes like PixelPaint. Most of the PC users who post that there are no decent rendering programmes on the Mac seem to advise that 3DS Max [ I used to teach it to architects] is the only way to go using an emulator. Unfortunately these guys do not know the Mac platform or the range of programmes available. Don't forget the best of the best, Maya, came originally as a Mac only programme before Autodesk purchased it.

3D Modeller
Hands down this has got to be Bonzai 3d [b3d] it has a very easy to use interface with a very complete modelling toolset for around $450US, this is a definite USA purchase as in Aus you will pay almost double that. It imports and exports in Sketchup format so internet content is no problems and had 'nice' architectural specific tools like stairs and roofs. Will do fly-bys and walkthroughs but is limited to a basic shader at that price so you will need a radiosity renderer and the manufacturer has its own Renderzone, or Maxwell render as a plugin for around $6-800 which is par for the course for a decent radiosity programme. Other programmes to consider: Rhino? - OK. Strata? - forget it. Sketchup? I don't like the quirky interface but others love it. ViaCAD Pro 7 has an excellent modeller with Rayshade renderer but no 'arhitectural' tools like b3d. Cobalt? - expensive. Argon? - maybe. Daz 3D? Powerful but not architectural. Modo? I haven't tried it but it is supposed to be very good.

Renderer
Here most PC guys say that 3DS Max is the best and it is relatively easy to learn at a basic level [again I used to teach it to architects] but there are much better programmes on the Mac like Cinema 4D [C4D] which has a sweet interface, is much easier to learn and the results are stunning. Another excellent rendering programme is Cheetah 3D for around $149US. It has forum only documentation so the learning curve can be tough, but the results are excellent, refer to Tim Danaher's earlier post in this topic. Other programmes to consider: Vue 9? - promising. Modo? - promising, but 'stingy' manufacturer slugs $25 for a trial demo. Maxwell Render? One of the top programmes with C4D. Artlantis? - OK, but a workhorse. Piranesi? - most programmes have caught up and have 'sketch' render modes, but still worth it if you want that 'artistic' presentation. Form Z? - From same manufacturer as b3d, its b3d on steroids with 2D drafting thrown in.

3D CAD [Is there any other?]
AutoCAD [AC] is not the way to go unless you like drawing your buildings one line at a time. I taught AC to architects in 2004 and it was outdated then, now it is an absolute dinosaur and at 5,000 bucks a seat......eh hem. If you do want to go that way then try ViaCAD Pro at $249 with parametric doors and windows and self healing walls plus a decent 3D modeller as well. Another alternative for free is Draftsight by Dassault [a CAD heavyweight] which saves natively in .dwg format. Others to consider: Highdesign? Graphite? CADintosh?- good but not as good as ViaCAD. TurboCAD Mac v6? Still not as good as v1 which was the old 'Pegasys' [still the benchmark of 2D CAD ]with a new label. V4,5 & 6 are still not as good as V3 [a ViaCAD clone].

As for 3D CAD it is a choice between 3 top players; Vectorworks, ArchiCAD and DomusCAD, all 3 have significantly lower learning curves than AC. Of these Domus is by far the easiest to learn, and it is still one of my favourites but in the BIM world in the last 5 years it is being passed by. Its Italian and its a bit quirky, like an Alfa Romeo, but like an Alfa treat it the right way and it is very fast. Documentation is profuse, partly outdated and needs rewriting, all the necessary 2D drafting tools are there but you have to hunt for them. Base level photorealism in the programme with walkthroughs etc. but exports to Artlantis, 3DS. Excellent customer support, around $1,000US.

Vectorworks [VW] is my current favourite as it is easy to learn and far more accomplished at working drawings than Domus plus it now comes with an optional radiosity renderer plug in from Cinema 4D. Plenty of documentation, a professional 3D Cad product – and in my opinion the best. A great buy if you have a relly in the USA at around $2,500 including the render package, in Aus it will set you back $4,500.

ArchiCAD [Arc] still has the same basic interface it had in 1990 with the quirky little hammer etc. It too is a very accomplished programme but the interface to me is just a little slow compared to VW. Very good toolset and very fast in the right hands, it will cost around $4 – 4,500US or around $6,000 in Aus.

Other programmes: Live Interior 3D? Interseting, needs developing. Finally, and don't laugh - Punch Home Design Studio Pro, this really cheap little programme has the promise it could evolve into something really worthwhile, it is way too raw and underdeveloped at the moment but I am looking forward to see what they do with Gen 3.

Cheers
GG

Last edited by glidagida; Sep 9, 2011 at 02:44 AM. Reason: Manufacturer reduced price
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Old Sep 9, 2011, 06:03 AM   #32
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Renderer
Another excellent rendering programme is Cheetah 3D for around $149US. It has forum only documentation so the learning curve can be tough, but the results are excellent...

GG
Cheetah's price has now dropped to $99. There is documentation (although it's a bit terse) and there are shedloads of tutorials on the forum. If you're just using it for rendering, then it's so easy, it's almost laughable... HDRI setup compared, to, say, Cinema 4D, is a cakewalk. On a Core i7 quad-core, it'll spin off eight separate rendering cores, and the render speed ups in recent versions have been simply staggering:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6wIgTAhN64

The only problem for arch. stuff is that it doesn't support arrays of lights: you can group lights to move them, but you have to change the light characteristics of every light in the group individually, although there are scripts that let you do this: search for Hiroto's posts on the forum.
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Old Sep 15, 2011, 12:07 PM   #33
tjjglover
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not true

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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 don't mean to be rude, but these renderings are rubbish
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Old Sep 15, 2011, 05:06 PM   #34
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Modo is definitely worth taking a look at. Very powerful, but still very easy to use. If you understand layers in Photoshop, then learning the rendering tree is relatively simple. Very fast, especially with multiple cores. The license permits you to run up to 99 machines (IIRC) in slave mode for faster rendering at no extra charge.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 03:04 AM   #35
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I've learned much here. I always use 3dmax and decide to try some others you guys suggested.
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Old Nov 7, 2011, 09:04 PM   #36
lewald
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max3d to mac

Hopefully the information during the summer about the mac team that was created to place 3d max on the mac comes true. From other readings, after the work of transfering autocad to the mac, developing 3d max would not be very difficult. Hopefully it will ship in the spring as Max 2013 comes out. Does anyone use parallels to model in windows and then transfer to Maya? I wish the Maya modeling tools were enriched.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 10:30 PM   #37
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Modo is definitely worth taking a look at. Very powerful, but still very easy to use. If you understand layers in Photoshop, then learning the rendering tree is relatively simple. Very fast, especially with multiple cores. The license permits you to run up to 99 machines (IIRC) in slave mode for faster rendering at no extra charge.
I wish Modo offered a free trial. It looks like a much superior tool for modeling than Maya is, I just don't feel like paying $30 for a trial : /
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Old Nov 10, 2011, 07:59 PM   #38
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I don't mean to be rude, but these renderings are rubbish
Oh I agree now looking back on this thread after a couple years. I was young and naive! Very elementary...no texture, landscape, etc. Obviously I do much more with the program now, still stand by it for it's low learning curve and speed of inputs, and would look online for example renderings.
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Old Nov 16, 2011, 06:28 PM   #39
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AutoCad for Mac is now available.
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Old Nov 17, 2011, 01:41 PM   #40
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I am not sure why people are listing software that is not industry standard....

Learn and use the following :

Autocad 2012 for mac - is a great interface but a bit laggy in 3D. standard though.

Rhino for mac beta - absolutely fantastic for 3D and ties into acad nicely

Revit 2012 on Parallels / bootcamp - Rhino and Acad tie in fluently and is the future of architecture and does amazing basic renders that are very easy to set up.

3DS Max for high end renders.

Cinema 4D - is good but I have never ever worked in an office that uses it, nor know anyone who does.............

Vectorworks - ok but limited user base. I have used it a lot, but prefer acad on mac.

have fun
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Old Nov 17, 2011, 02:33 PM   #41
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Has anyone tried blender? Its available on Linux, Mac and Windows.

Its geared more towards Animations with physics and game engine but i reckon you could design fantastic buildings as well.

Check youtube for blender and see the amazing quality.
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Old Nov 18, 2011, 04:15 AM   #42
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Cinema4D is amazing if you don't mind the cost. It's stable as a rock, has a pretty good learning curve and the renderer is great, it's no vray, but close enough.

The only problem i've found is that it doesn't have an import for AutoCAD files... only for VectorWorks which is not that popular. You can export to DXF which C4D can read but you usually end up with a mess. So what i've done so far is edit the DXF with illustrator and save the different elements like walls, pillars etc as EPS. This gets kind of tedious for large projects, at least compared to what the workflow looks like under Windows using let's say AutoCAD/3D Studio MAX.

Here are some renders i did with C4D and if you master it you can do much better than this.









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Old Nov 18, 2011, 04:24 AM   #43
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Rhino for mac beta - absolutely fantastic for 3D and ties into acad nicely
Rhino +100. I am a great fan.
Also Maxwell Render is (IMHO) the best rendering program out there… Yes, slow as treacle in January. But the quality can be astonishing.

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Originally Posted by Coheebuzz View Post
Here are some renders i did with C4D and if you master it you can do much better than this.
Decent renders those.
Just be careful about that "Tilt Shift" effect. It makes your renderings look like models and not real size. (Unless of course that was your intention… in which case, well done. )
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 11:20 PM   #44
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I find AutoCAD for Mac to be quite slow, but Rhino for OSX seems pretty solid.
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Old Nov 28, 2011, 05:04 AM   #45
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100% agree with jrichie, learn the industry standards.

For a dedicated 3-d software Rhino 3d is really leading the industry, especially if you are considering using it as a production tool. Hopefully the arrival of a full version rhino for mac will bring the benefits of plugins like grass hopper (parametrics) to the mac. I believe amongst others Rhino plays a crucial design role at Zaha Hadid's offices. Rhino 5 for PC should also bring a number of improvements.

If the 3d work is more focused on visualisation then 3ds max has its advantages, its great not only for rendering but modelling as well, the built in parametric modifiers offer some great results. There are definitely accuracy issues though, so wouldn't recommend it for design production.

For simple modelling you can't go wrong with a copy of sketchup pro (allows importing and exporting of different filetypes over the standard version). It certainly has its limitations, but if you only need to make something basic it can't be beaten for speed and ease of use.

For 2-d autocad for mac 2012 seems to be very good. Couldn't say how it performs in a demanding office environment however. I worked in a mac only office for 2 years where vectorworks was used exclusively, and have to say that it certainly has its advantages over cad once you spend enough time with it (the same goes for ArchiCad), very easy organisation of drawings, lines syles, layers etc. 3d is hopeless in both of these programs really, but vectorworks is truly dire. The benefit of AutoCad is the compatibility especially with rhino / 3ds Max.

For a BIM, then revit is the industry standard, but this is certainly more focused on production and in that sense is probably should be avoided if your work is more focussed on visualisation.

As far as renders go 3d max built in render produces very high quality results once you learn how to use it, Maxwell for me has the edge on it however. Plugins for maxwell exist for most 3d softwares including Rhino and sketchup for in app rendering, and Maxwell Studio runs on both windows and mac. There is a fantastic online community, with maxwell specific materials, sky textures etc being shared through their website.

Artlantis is also another one to look into, I'm not a fan personally of the style of image the renderer produces, but its very easy to use and it renders images quickly (unlike maxwell!). It used to be used in another office I worked in specifically for its ease of use as even those who were not so tech savvy able to use it. Although, other renders were used or images were outsourced when higher quality was required.
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Old Nov 28, 2011, 09:19 AM   #46
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I think people are mixing "industry standards". Maya was mentioned which is an industry standard, but not for architecture. (Its been required at every job I've applied for and I'm applying for programming jobs .) Cinema4D, Modo, and Houdini are also very widely used.

Of course these are all used in the entertainment industry not architecture :P
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Old Nov 29, 2011, 03:53 PM   #47
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Cinema4D is amazing if you don't mind the cost. It's stable as a rock, has a pretty good learning curve and the renderer is great, it's no vray, but close enough.

The only problem i've found is that it doesn't have an import for AutoCAD files... only for VectorWorks which is not that popular. You can export to DXF which C4D can read but you usually end up with a mess. So what i've done so far is edit the DXF with illustrator and save the different elements like walls, pillars etc as EPS. This gets kind of tedious for large projects, at least compared to what the workflow looks like under Windows using let's say AutoCAD/3D Studio MAX.

Here are some renders i did with C4D and if you master it you can do much better than this.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


Beautiful work! Loved the white carpet!

Well, I've a question, the 3D objects used in the above work ( Sofa, furniture, Chairs etc) are made in C4D or have been imported from a website like Google 3D warehouse? Just curious . If imported can you please tell me from where..as in which website. I've seen objects in Google 3D warehouse, they don't look professional ...But your models were really really good!

thanks in advance
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Old Dec 2, 2011, 08:30 PM   #48
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For modeling you could also consider Zbrush.....a bit of a learning curve there, but incredibly powerful software for modeling.


The real industry standards for 3d are Maya, 3d Max and XSI for starters, which should cover all your high quality render requirements.


For models / meshes you do not have time to create yourself there are many option like this site, or architectural packages you can buy of models etc etc.

http://www.turbosquid.com/
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Old Dec 2, 2011, 08:39 PM   #49
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For modeling you could also consider Zbrush.....a bit of a learning curve there, but incredibly powerful software for modeling.


The real industry standards for 3d are Maya, 3d Max and XSI for starters, which should cover all your high quality render requirements.


For models / meshes you do not have time to create yourself there are many option like this site, or architectural packages you can buy of models etc etc.

http://www.turbosquid.com/
I adore ZBrush but it is a pain in the ass to learn. GoZ made it tremendously more useful for me since I can use it to transfer meshes, sculpt high res detail and export the normal maps but its hard in my opinion to create something from scratch in ZBrush.

Not to mention the awful document saving system. Save a document, save a subtool, or save a file. Save the wrong way and you either A. Lost all your work completely, B. Lost any material and texture assignment you did to a piece or C. You got lucky, picked the right one and your stuff is the same how you left it Just pray your file doesn't go corrupt or you would be wishing you saved the ZTool.
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Old Dec 5, 2011, 05:10 PM   #50
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Very useful thread!

What would you guys recommend for rendering of interiors?

I have a construction business, and getting render done outside is expensive. I'm a civil engineer and know how to use AutoCAD pretty well, but have never made a render myself, but I would like to start learning.
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