• February 25, 2021

The best 21: 3D Modeling Software for Architecture

3D modeling Software for Architecture
3D modeling Software for Architecture

3D modeling software for architecture is used in a vast area in and those are essential tools for this field. This is a guide for the beginner those who start 3D modeling in architecture. 3D modeling software is used for architecture drawing, 3d modeling, simulation, rendering, and many more. These 21 software are used for many reasons in the architecture designs.

  1. AutoCAD for architectural drawing
  2. SketchUp
  3. Draft it
  4. SmartDraw
  5. Civil 3D for landscape architecture
  6. Floor Planner
  7. Room sketcher
  8. Roomle
  9. ArchiCad for design houses
  10. Maya
  11. Revit Architecture
  12. Chief architect
  13. Autodesk 3DS Max
  14. Cinema 4D
  15. Cedreo
  16. Allplan Architecture
  17. Lumion for Architectural rendering
  18. Luxcore Render
  19. V-ray for archi rendering
  20. Iray
  21. Blender

Here are all software that we can use for drawing, design, modeling, rendering, and animating also. Some are specified for the designs. So better check what is the best for your necessity.

What is architecture?

According to Wikipedia Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or other structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art.

Why is 3D modeling software used in  architecture?

3D modeling software used in architecture for creating digital models of the existing and then apply real environmental conditions and observe the effectiveness.

In architecture people observe beauty of the model. Beyond that nowadays software can apply real loads into it and analyze it. And also you can set up the sunrise according to the coordination of your project and apply real sun light to model. 

Let’s talk about software’s related to the beautification process.

The usage of 3D modeling in architecture is very vast. There are many reasons why people use 3D modeling software in architecture.

  1. Visualizing the output
  2. Estimating the material quantity
  3. Planning the whole process
  4. Finding the critical path (related to engineering)
  5. Study the environmental effectiveness
  6. Observe the beauty
  7. Apply the real condition to the model.

How to select a 3D modeling software for architecture purpose?

Start as a beginner with 2D and then expand your knowledge into the 3D. You can start with AutoCAD 2D and then move to another software like Google Sketchup. According to the purpose, we can divide 3 main types of software.

  1. Drawing 
  2. Modeling and Analysis
  3. Rendering

Drawing
This is a plan for what you are going to construct. Their views and sections will guide you to how it should be after construction. We use Autocad for this. It is great software for this. It has developed over the years and now it consists of new features for the user. Under the real condition scale, we can draw our plans here.

Modeling and analysis
After the drawing part is over we can make a model of the plan. There is software that we can use for this with high accuracy. Modeling is creating a model of the prototype. So we can take an idea of how it will be after the construction. 

And nowadays softwares consists of analysis part too. It is a great thing to the designers. Using this software we can estimate the quantity of the material.

Rendering software
Rendering software is a really interesting thing. After all, you have done you can visualize how should be the final output. Hence this is a very important software. We have to consider all 3  categories when we consider the architecture in 3D modeling.

How to select an architectural 3D modeling software for your needs?

Now you had better think about what you need to do? Where you should start? As for me, I should start it with the beginning.To be a professional designer, we should have a better understanding of all. So we must start it with drawing software. When you are working here, You will get drawings. And you should know how that should handle. Hence drawing is better to start here.

Hardware requirements for the Architecture software.

Most people use computers these days. So anyone can install drawing software like AutoCAD simply. As well as 3D modeling software like Revit no needs much system requirements for the old versions. But new versions need good system requirements.

Beyond that if you hope for rendering you will need high system requirements. Reason is most rendering software needs high system requirements.

Let’s see what are the best 20: Architecture 3D modeling software for 2021

01. AutoCAD for architectural drawing

Annual Fee1690$
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionAutocad 2021
AutoCAD for 3D modeling architecture
AutoCAD for 3D modeling architecture

Autcad Is a CAD (Computer Aided Design) Software. It consists of both 2D and 3D version in 1.

AutoCAD includes industry specific features and intelligent objects for architecture, mechanical engineering, electrical design, and more.

This is a paid  drawing software. You can download a student version here. We can consider it as the main drawing software for architecture nowadays.

We can input commands there and it is very user friendly now. As well as it is really highly corrected software. There are both 2D and 3D drawings there. Is Autocad good for 3D modeling? It is really good for Drawing 2D. As well as it can be used as a beginner of 3D modeling.

As an architecture you can sketch your design with real dimensions here.

Pros and Cons of the AutoCAD

Pros

Cons

  1. Saves a lot of time
  2. User-friendly.
  3. You can work in 3D space.
  4. It is useful in many industries and branches.
  5. The program allows users to convert their work.
  6. It consists of specific drafting tools
  7. AutoCAD software offers professional designs.
  8. Artists are able to check the design and determine if it’s within the specification.
  9. It has accurate measures and details
  1. Expensive start-up costs
  2. Fully grasping the use of this software takes time.
  3. The software needs a strong computer processing power
  4. The courses involving its training are expensive.
  5. AutoCAD cannot freely edit lines and locations
  6. There are limited file formats.
  7. Limit the number of possible colors.
  8. Not really suitable for 3D.
  9. The program is too exact

02. SketchUp

Annual FeePersonal Free/ Shop 119$/ Pro 299$
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionSketchup 2021

Sketchup 2D

Google Sketchup is designed to create 3D models. While creating 3D modeling it allows 2D floor plan too. This is not a vast use. But you can use it for both 2D and 3D. 

How to switch the 2D view of Google’s SketchUp?

  1. Create a new SketchUp file
  2. Choosing File→New. (Depend on the template)
    3. New SketchUp file, you may already be in a 2D view. …
  3. Choose Camera→Standard→Top.
  4. Choose Camera→Parallel Projection

Sketchup 3D

This is a very interesting 3D software. Which has designed for the building modeling. It is very easy as well as a high demanding job for freelancers. Just you need to practice it with their videos. 

And it consists of a warehouse. There are thousands of pre-prepared models that we can use it for our projects. So it is really easy to work with that. And also Architecture animation can be done easily.


Pros and Cons of the Sketchup

Pros

Cons

  1. Saves a lot of time
  2. User-friendly.
  3. You can work in 3D space.
  4. It is useful in many industries and branches.
  5. The program allows users to convert their work.
  6. It consists of specific drafting tools
  7. AutoCAD software offers professional designs.
  8. Artists are able to check the design and determine if it’s within the specification.
  9. It has accurate measures and details
  1. Can not add specified details and dimensions.
  2. Detailing becomes difficult as the complexity of the project increases.
  3. Additional views within the modeling window.
    04.Grouping views.
    05.Collaborative/simultaneous modeling.
    06.It has limited file type compatibility.
    07.It does not have the tools for complex geometry

03. Draft it

FeeDraft it Free/ Draft It Plus 30$
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionDraft it

Draft It is a low cost, High grade, CAD Software. It is a powerful 2D CAD system with four different versions. All of these allow you to create, save and print your own drawings, 

Whether you are an occasional user at home or you need CAD software in the workplace there is a Draft it version for you.

This software is not much use according to their social media engagement. So better to try.

Pros and Cons of Draft it

Pros

Cons

01. Small size of the software
02. Anyone can easily use
03. Can be use for simple usage
04. Simple interface

01. Not suitable for large projects
02. User interface is not developed one
03. Not much developed one.

04. SmartDraw

FeeCloud 5.95$/Month / Offline 297$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionSmart Draw 2021

SmartDraw is a common diagram tool used to make flowcharts, organization charts, mind maps, project charts, and other business visuals. It includes a floor plan section separately So Architectural users can try it. SmartDraw has two versions: an online edition and a downloadable edition for Windows desktop. 

The interface is very good for the architectural floor plan. It can design attractive plans for the user. But unfortunately it does not support for .dwg fils type. 

Pros and Cons of SmartDraw

Pros

Cons

01. Attractive output
02. Small size space for installation
03. Support both online as well offline
04. Easy to use

01. Limited file type supporting
02. Cost is high
03. No 3D view

05. Civil 3D for landscape architecture

Fee2315$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionCivil 3D 2021
Civil 3D for Architecture
Civil 3d for architecture designs

Civil 3D is a proud product of Autodesk. They have improvised BIM software many more. Civil 3D is an infrastructure design and documentation software. You can design anything according to real site conditions with 100% accuracy. It is for Road and highway design as well as building design and Railway design too. So it has large area to be covered. Training and practicing this takes much time, So it is a great start for the freelancers to involve in this. For students, they can get student versions free.

It can work with ArcGIS as well as real data value like total station data can be directly imported to this. Hence great architectural experience can be gained by using this.

Pros and Cons for the Civil 3D

Pros

Cons

  1. Autodesk Softwares are connected. Hence easy to transfer files
  2. Good interface
  3. Analysis is included.

06. Floor Planner

  1. High price
  2. High capacity for the installation
  3. No automatic file saving
FeePlus5$/Month Pro 29$/Month
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionCivil 3D 2021

The floor planner is beyond the limit of the 2D floor plan. It is a cloud-based system. And this is a free starting level entry. There are credits similar to the currency. If you need to update the software you need to buy some credits and then you can update it. As well as there are many good learning videos. So users can face any condition.

Just sign up and start your first object it can be output as 960 x 540 px with 150000 models to access. His kind of 3D architectural floor plans are highly in demand on freelancing sites like fiverr.com. Just try..!

Pros and Cons of the Floor planner

Pros

Cons

01. It allows you to literally make any kind of plan you desire. It gives detail info about wall measurements and such.

02. Helps a lot in making a material list.

03. New projects take some time but they come out good.

01. Without specific dimensions of furniture, planning set ups can be difficult.

02.Sizes of furniture can be adjusted.

03. At times it was hard to move walls.

07. Room sketcher

FeeVIP49$/Year Pro 99$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionRoom sketcher 2021

RoomSketcher provides you an online floor plan and home designing with amazing output. It lets to create your floor plan with the furniture as well as decorations that you need. The final output is very professional for the user. The interface is very easy to the user. There is a refilled credit system for your charges. Each task will be credited and it will reduce your total credits

After you sign up you can access many features by spending a cent. Upgrade for more powerful features.
There are many features

  1. Draw floor plans that you need
  2. Order floor plan – Upload your blueprint and order soon
  3. Creating a Professional floor plan with the real dimension
  4. Create the 3d floor plans with high-quality images.
  5. Out as 3D photos
  6. Panorama views
  7. Live 3D floor plans

Pros

Cons

  1. Overall this is good for a 3D floor plan
  2. Can take an idea with the size of the room with furniture

08. Roomle

  1. You can edit wall color as you need. One wall with one color. 
  2. The print does not show measurements

FeeLevel 1185$/Year Level 2 370$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionRoomle 2021

If you need to bring your floorplan to live in you can use Roomle. Because it lets to users to add models and then add the furniture and material to the model. Especially this is designed for E commerce and models can be embedded to any site. So this is very important.

AR and analytics are provided. This can be used in multi devices as well as ios and android too.

Pros

Cons

  1. Easy to use
  2. AR and user friendly
  3. Custom packages can be applied
  4. Based on E commerce
  5. Flexibility, Joy of use
  1. Highly cost
  2. Long loading time
  3. High hardware need

09. ArchiCad for design houses

Fee3971$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionArchicad 2021

Modern 3D modeling software included many user-friendly facilities. Imagine when you need to create a wall you may use an extrude tool. But there is some software that you need to enter the width and height of the wall. And then draw in your path. 

Automatically it will draw a wall. Here it is very easy for the user. No need to work hard work smart. Archicad is a very good 3D modeling software for architecture. It is used highly in the field. It is with a user-friendly interface as well as one click document publishing, rendering, and analysis is included.

Considering social media engagement it is more. There are many learning videos and those are done by professionals. As an architect, you had better try with this.

Pros and Cons of the ArchiCad

Pros

Cons

  1. Pros Alternative to AutoCAD
  2. Better to architecture Not for engineers.
  3. Good for developing architecture projects.
  4. BIM features are very useful to the designers.

  1. Much expensive
  2. Large files tend to slow down
  3. Compatibility of the old software
  4. Low-quality rendering

10. Maya

Fee1620$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionMaya 2021
Maya for Architecture

Maya is a 3D computer animation, Modeling, Rendering and simulation software. It is a great software for modeling and sculpting and widely used in architectural project for the rendering purposes. More than building modeling it is good to use sculpting software. I suggest it can be used for the interior designs that client expect a stunning output. And it takes much time to create a model using this.

This is not like Revit, ArchiCad or above software. There is no much proper dimension features. Just you need to make them with difficult. As well as it support many file types. So users can import many file types into this. Autodesk provide the best user experience.

Pros and Cons for the Maya

Pros

Cons

  1. Creates good renders.
  2. Organic forms.
  3. Rendering engine.
  4. It’s easy to use.

11. Revit Architecture

  1. High price
  2. Need practise to use this.
  3. Very confusing to find options.
  4. Complex software.
Fee2425$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionRevit 2021

Revit is another BIM software for the architectures and engineers. This is a design, Modeling, Rendering and analysis program. It is renew every year. Autodesk is the main company and it is widely used in architectural industry.

You can create 3D models as well as you can analyze it in real situations. There is a powerful render engine that will bring your models to reality. It can reduce coordination tasks. That means it allowed constructor and client data exchanges.So architector design can be directly sent to the constructor. Normally this is a bit complicated software. So if you practice it correctly you can have real experience in both civil engineering as well as 3D architecture.

Specially you can design in 3D and then you can have drawing output of the result. So this is a great opportunity. And also Autocad is mostly support with this. And also there are many 3D architectural models are available in the library section 

Pro and Cons of Revit Architecture. 

Pros

Cons

  1. Easy to make model
  2. Can be export many file types
  3. User friendly
  4. Included real scaled library
  5. Include both 2D and 3D
  1. High system requirements
  2. Less support with non-Autodesk software
  3. Making a roof is a bit difficult
  4. Rendering is low quality and it takes much time
  5. High price

12. Chief architect

Fee2695$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionChief Architect 2021

Chief Architect software brings home design projects to life. It is a simple used software. There are views that will make easy for the user. And also well detailed roof design options are available here. The interface is not user friendly.

This is a  Automated building tools for home design, interior design and kitchen & bath design make it easy to create construction drawings, elevations, CAD details, and 3D models. You can do both interior and exterior design with using this.

And also you can have a 2D drawing out put As DWG or DXF with exporting effect. it support the 360 panorama views too.

Pros

Cons

  1. User friendly
  2. Do designs with well detailed.
  3. Chief architect provide more versatile tools to visualize building plans
  4. It is quite easy to use too

01.Needs to improve rendering facility with realistic manner
02.It is hard to create curved sections
03.it doesn’t reflect orbs on the drawing.
04.visual graphic issues when moving floor by floor and horizontal curve walling is bit hard to generate

13. Autodesk 3DS Max

Fee1620$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest version3DS Max 2021
3DS max for Architectural Modeling

If you need to design your model to the last detail so you must use this. This is a modeling, animating, sculpting and rendering software. You can try it with Autodesk student version. This is with great user interface. As an architecture you can do any design with easy and more derailable. As well as you can have a animation of your model.

But you are not able to analysis  the model. You can get any volume detail or some thing regarding the model.

Pros

Cons

  1. Great user interface
  2. Support to many files
  3. imported many files
  4. High quality output

01. Difficult to make 3D

  1. Overall this is slow process. (due to very detailed)
  2. High pric

14. Cinema 4D

Fee720$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionCinema 4D 2021

This is the same as the previous one. It is included with some plugings that will make easy the process. As I think Cinema 4D is very good for interior projects. where it can provide many detail and professional rendering to the user. And also there is no analysis features. but with animations.

So you can have a real 3D visualization effect to the user. As an architect it is great opportunity.

Pros

Cons

  1. Real animations and rendering
  2. Many file can be imported as well export
  3. Work with nurbs
    04.Easy to work

  1. Less detailed for the object
  2. High price
  3. Support many plugins

15. Cedreo

Fee948$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionCedreo 2021

This specially designed for the Designers, remodelers, interior designers and contractors. You can make complete conceptual designs with interior and exterior 3D renderings to increase sales.

And then create floor plans and 3D renderings to sell all remodeling projects (bathroom, kitchen, addition, basement etc) Generate photorealistic 3D interior renderings to communicate interior designs faster. So you will have a real idea what will be your design with actual conditions.

Pros

Cons

01. Outstanding Residential Design Concept Presentation Tool

02. Cedreo is a very user friendly platform with exceptional features.

03. Easy to learn, fast to use. I like the combination of 2D and 3D views and the ease of switching between the two

01.Price is a pretty high monthly subscription

02.that is missing from door styles are basic exterior sliding glass doors

03.The impossibility to download an editable model dwg, ifc or step of the designs. Some elements are not very flexible for edition

16. Allplan Architecture

Fee
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionAllplan 2021

All plan is a BIM software. For the architecture that will not much useful. But for the small analysis you can use this. Regarding the engineering concepts the software has based hence when you use this you should have the real knowledge about the engineering knowledge.

ALLPLAN has created a comprehensive set of resources that provide an overview of the topic. Together, they answer the typical questions associated with this working method

17. Lumion for Architectural rendering

Fee3657$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionLumion 11

If you need to do real animation and 3D rendering you can use Lumion. It has many versions. If you need to work with the latest version you need a high feature of your PC. 

This is a rendering software ith huge models as well as huge lighting effects. As an architecture what you are 

expect? Most probably presenting your idea to the client. This is a real one for that. Easy and professional rendering.

Pros

Cons

01. High quality rendering

02. Can import many files

01.high price

02.Simple animations provided

03.High system requirements

18. Luxcore Render

Fee_
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionLuxcore render
Luxcore render for 3D architect

LuxCoreRender is a physically based and unbiased rendering engine. Based on state of the art algorithms, LuxCoreRender simulates the flow of light according to physical equations, thus producing realistic images of photographic quality

Pros

Cons

01. Open source unbiased software

02. Can import many files

01.LuxRender used to have exporters for a wider number of 3D applications than LuxCoreRender.

02. Too many options and lack of a solid documentation

19. V-ray for archi rendering

Fee470$/Year
DownloadFree trial
Latest versionVray

V ray is a outstanding rendering plugin for 3DS max, cinema 4D, Blender and many more 3D modeling software’s. Architecture need very high qaulity out put he should used this.

There are separate material set for this. After you prepare model you can import too the 3d modeling software like 3DS max and then install the plugin and start rendering

Pros

Cons

01. High quality output 

02. Easy to use and fast output

01. Need high system requairements

02. Need specifiic knowleged.

20. Iray

21. Blender

Conclusion of selecting 3D modeling software for Architecture.

As an architect there are 3 types of softwares you should learn

  1. Drawing
  2. Modeling
  3. Rendering

Each of this is base on each task. So for the better architecture you had better learn all. It will be a real opportunity to be a professional architecture.

Ricky Louis

Ricky Louis

Hey.. I am Ricky Louis, A professional graphic designer with years of experience in 3D modeling. I would like to share my knowledge with you.

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