3D Modeling Software | How to Rhino - Tutorials for Architects

3D Modeling Software

By DC / June 11, 2018
3d modeling software example

3D Modeling Software

Have you ever wondered what is the best 3D modeling software to use? You’re not sure which one to study and use since there is too many out there. Everyone is telling you their own story and you’re left wondering... Here, we’ll try to compare some 3D modeling programs on the market and figure out this dilemma once and for all. The focus would be architectural field.

3DsMax | Autodesk

Product overview | official website

Student version available here.

Pricing | subscription based

1 Month €248
1 Year €1984
3 Years €5953

PROS

  • Great for 3D renderings and architectural visualization
  • Supports both Vray and Corona rendering engine
  • Good material setup structure
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    Advanced 3D modeling
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    Ability to create fly-through architectural animation
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    Has a lot of tutorials available to learn

CONS

  • Difficult to create exact measurements of 3D models
  • Scripting and pipeline work is awkward
  • Unstable
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    Expensive
3DsMax Viewport

Maya | Autodesk

Product overview | official website

Student version available here.

Pricing | subscription based

1 Month €248
1 Year €1984
3 Years €5953

PROS

  • Advanced animation tools and character rigging
  • Supports a lot of special effects
  • Supports interactive Arnold rendering engine
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    Extensive support from Autodesk and users around the world

CONS

  • Harder to learn at first
  • Poorly organized interface
  • Expensive
Maya Viewport

Zbrush | Pixologic

Product overview | official website

Student version available here.

Pricing 

Commercial licence $895 
Educational $475

PROS

  • Powerful brush system allows for lots of creativity
  • Best for hi-poly modeling
  • Can easily simplify mesh topology

CONS

  • UI is far from user friendly
  • An odd perspective view
  • Hi-poly only
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    Expensive
Blender Viewport

Blender | Blender Foundation

Product overview | official website

PROS

  • Free (open source) platform
  • Coherent and streamlined workflow / internal use logic
  • It has sculpting and 3D painting features
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    Node based modeling support
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    Powerful animation suite
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    Includes video editing & compositing tools

CONS

  • Poor particle system
Blender Viewport

Cinema 4D | Maxon

Product overview | official website

Student version available here.

Pricing 

Commercial - $3510
Educational - $280

PROS

  • Clean UI
  • Easy to learn
  • Useful content browser
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    Includes great tools for animation and motion graphics
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    Sketch & toon style renderings

CONS

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    Expensive
Cinema 4D Viewport

Google SketchUp

Product overview | official website

FREE version available here.

Pricing |

Pro Version - $695

PROS

  • Free version available
  • Various sketches styles
  • Simple interface
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    Great free 3D models warehouse

CONS

  • Mesh based
  • Cannot handle well complex curved geometry
  • Partially limited to “boxy forms” modeling
SketchUp Viewport

Rhinoceros 3D

Product overview | official website

Student version available here.

Pricing | subscription based

Commercial - €995
Educational - €195

PROS

  • Advanced 3D modeling tools
  • Generative 3D modeling and parametric design
  • Very accurate
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    Used for manufacturing
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    Easy to manipulate with complex NURBS geometry
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    Command line with many commands the same as AutoCAD
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    Seamless import of other file types 

CONS

  • Could be better integrated in BIM processes (partly solved by add-ons)
  • Learning curve is steep
  • Expensive
Rhinoceros Tutorial

Conclusion

After taking into the consideration all of the above 3D modeling software, it’s time to make a decision. As we saw, each one of these programs has their own pros and cons. I wouldn’t dare to say that there is a single best program for 3D modeling because each has its own purpose. However, if we are talking about architecture and best 3D modeling software for that purpose, my pick would definitely be Rhinoceros 3D.

The real Rhino strength lies in its non-limiting approach in modeling, reliability and stability of the product. It has great system optimization features while working with large files, great community and tech support. It is widely used in architectural industry and has become a standard tool over the years for 3D modeling, prototyping and manufacturing. 

What do you think? Do you agree or not? What's your favorite 3D modeling software ?

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About the author

DC

Dusan Cvetkovic has been working as an architect for over four years. He has been a part of both architectural offices throughout Europe and has been working as a freelancer online in the field of architecture and design using Rhinoceros 3D. He is also interested in futuristic technologies, blockchain, artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship.


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