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What software do you use for modelling complex forms?

Anonymous
Not applicable
What software do you use for modelling complex forms like bubbles and organic?

AC is great for modeling 80% of the buildings we design and undoubtedly the best in preparing architectural drawings. Unfortunately it does not offer the same freedom to model free forms and organic forms and I need the help of other 3d modelling software.

Presently I use 3dsMAX and I am planning to try Maya.
Alas, I do not have enough free time (and money ) to experiment with all the software I want.
So, please, share your opinions and experience - it will be of great help to many of us.
10 REPLIES 10

Ben Odonnell
Newcomer
kliment,
Low budget and not much time, I'd definitely have a look at Rhino http://www.rhino3d.com

Fast, easy and accurate.

HTH.
Cheers.
Ben
Ben O'Donnell
Architect and CTO at BIMobject®
Get your BIM objects from bimobject.com

Rakela Raul
Participant
rhinoceros
MACBKPro /32GiG / 240SSD
AC V6 to V18 - RVT V11 to V16

Ben Odonnell
Newcomer
Yes exactly.
Ben O'Donnell
Architect and CTO at BIMobject®
Get your BIM objects from bimobject.com

Anonymous
Not applicable
VERY popular in US architectural schools.

woodster

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
The Organic Modeler myth revisited... since I teach I have had to try a lot of modeling packages and what I have discovered is that all of them have the same basic capabilities, their differences in price lie with the rendering or extra features that come with them. Since you already have 3DStudio you might try to experiment with the following commands:

1) create a cube and sub divide as needed
2) convert to mesh and start extruding faces
3) apply a Mesh Smooth modifier
4) instant Blob

This procedure applies to almost any 3D modeling software. The other commands that that are used to create them are Lathe, Loft and NURBS. Once you know how to use them in one software the trick is in finding how the procedure works in the other's. For example the Mesh Smooth modifier of 3D Max is called HyperNURBS in Cinema.

Rhino is relatively easy to learn specially if you know AutoCad since most of the interface is based on it.
All of the 3D modeling software basically use the same math and the difference lies in how easy you can play with the original basic shape. I have tried Maya and have not found anything in particular that I could not do in any of the other packages. Maya's strength lies in its ease of using inverse kinematics (create a skeleton and define how the different parts can move). 3DMax strength used to be that it was cheaper than Maya. C4D strength lies in that it can animate almost anything and its ease of use in editing the original object. You can even do blobs in Sketch Up with their smooth option.

What do I use:
1) Cinema 4D mainly
2) Cheetah 3D- learning it since it cost $80.00us but it is mac only, it is a simple modeler and has Radiosity and supports HDRI
3) Blender 3D- spending time with it since it is free and runs under any operating system. Its interface takes a lot of getting used to but there are some good videos that you can download.
4) 3D Studio Viz - since I have to teach it at the school

What I don't use
1) Maya - too expensive and it has too many commands that I will never use as an architect
2) Rhino - it looks too much like AutoCAD
3) FormZ - could never get the hang of it

Sorry for the long post
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thanks, guys!

Thanks for the "long" reply, ejrolon, that's hat I wanted - a comparison between all of these applications from someone who has tried them.

Basically I want to choose an application that will give me the freedom and accuracy of modelling organic forms that AC offers for modelling conventional buildings. With AC I really started to "invent" the building like I used to do with a pencil on paper. It is astonishing there are so many CAD applications and so few of them let you really design with them. Most of them just help you present what you have already designed in your head or paper.

Now I want to find the AC equivalent for free forms.

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
Just an example of something I was subcontracted to do. The design company didn't have the expertise in house to make the CD's for this project and since the client is an architect he was very specific as to what he wanted to design. I used AC for the basic pier, SketchUp to design the slanted columns (with the client looking over my shoulder) and the roof tool with SEO to create the canopy and was tweaked in C4D. Everything was exported into C4D which was used as the equivalent of the 3D window of AC, which gave me the ability to move things around and was faster than the 3D window. It is not a "Blob" but I was forced to use different software.
01.jpg
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
And everything back into AC for dimensioning and detailing...
R09-elev.jpg
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC25 US/INT -> AC08

stefan
Booster
3ds max
Cinema4D
SketchUp
--- stefan boeykens --- architect-engineer-musician ---
ARCHICAD25/Revit2022/Rhino7/Unity2021/Solibri
MBP2019:i9Octo2.4GHz32GBVega20/BigSur+Win11
ARCHICAD-user since 1998

Anonymous
Not applicable
Pardon to folks who have seen this question on other forums. I have been trying get a better 3D modeling interface within AC to avoid the problems with I/E.

I'm not so concerned about blobby modeling, but rather being able to draw anything rectilinear, angular, and/or simple curviliear in 3D right in place. I am willing to invest lots of time mastering yet another free-form modeler if I can stay within AC and it has half the ease of use as SketchUp which for me, means easy maneuvering around in the 3d window(s).

Zoom GDL 2.1 is supposed to run within AC 8.1. Has anyone found Zoom to help with above described modeling within AC? Anyone happy using ArchiForma within AC? Any thoughts about this much appreciated.

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