Here I’m sharing with you the different architectural programs I tried and used during my thesis days. From BIM to CAD, to different rendering programs, here are the different easy-to learn programs for architecture students!
If you’re also interested and looking for sketching apps as part of the conceptualization process, you can check out Helpful iPad Apps for Architecture here.
I have mentioned ArchiCAD in my last blog, Tips for Architectural Thesis, and I mentioned that it’s a BIM software. For those who don’t know, BIM means Building Information Modeling. You can look up more on what it does but to put it simply, it has plans, models, renders, details, and more, all in one.
It’s fairly easy to learn and use as I started learning it only mid-second semester of my thesis year and I was learning it as I was transferring my plans from my CAD files to here. It’s supposed to cut your work time massively as you don’t have to switch drawings every time you make a change – and we all know that in design, there are tons of changes every time.
You can get an education license for the software if you’re a student.
Twinmotion is a rendering software and while ArchiCAD has its own rendering program (CineMax), I used Twinmotion since it also has a direct link with ArchiCAD. At the time that I got it, it was free if you download Unreal Engine and so I took the chance. It’s fairly easy to use, it only took me a couple of Youtube tutorials before I got the hang of it. If you’re familiar with Lumion, then you will already have an idea on how to use this software.
I also used this to record my walkthrough video. Though the file ended up really heavy, it was convenient. I didn’t need to look for a tutorial to figure out how to do the walkthrough, it was that intuitive.
Before using ArchiCAD, I was first using AutoCAD and so I thought to give it a credit as well. Although the program is already known to all aspiring architects, I’m sure.
Another very common software, I would have to say I also used SketchUp online half the time as the iMac I used does not have SketchUp Pro. I would say it’s easier to model interiors through SketchUp as it’s easier to manipulate the ceilings and that there’s a wide variety of furniture available in the 3D Warehouse.
You can upload SketchUp models directly into Twinmotion as the latter is a program of its own and is not necessarily connected to ArchiCAD.
Other Programs I Tried:
Before ArchiCAD, Revit was the only BIM software I knew how to use as it was the only one part of our school’s curriculum. Upon trying it, however, I found it really hard to use and less intuitive. It’s not to say it’s not an effective software as when I was looking up BIM models (ie. elevators, furniture, etc.), a lot of them are in Revit Files. My schoolmates also used this program for their thesis projects.
I’ve mentioned earlier that if you know how to use Lumion, then you’re most likely going to understand how to use Twinmotion quickly. They have fairly the same functions, however from experience, I found that I could do more with Lumion – or maybe it’s just that I’m more accustomed to it. The reason why I didn’t use it for my thesis is that it’s not available on mac OS.
Here are some of the architectural programs you could use for your thesis:
- SketchUP Pro / Online
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