Technology in Architectural Practice

Glass

Quick Links

Who we are

The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.

Expand all | Collapse all

Revit/3D Question

  • 1.  Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-24-2020 17:56

    I'm a sole practitioner focusing primarily on custom residential design work and rapidly (not fast enough) approaching retirement age.  I've decided that before I draw to a conclusion I might make the jump to some type of 3D capability such as Revit, SketchUp or other program to help with design presentations. I currently use Autocad 2020 and am pretty familiar with its basic functions although I'm sure I could use it more effectively with a little more education.   I'm wondering what people in my type of situation did when they took the leap?  Did you use outside consultants to do this or teach you the ins and outs of a particular program?  I'm not particularly good at online tutorials for initial learning.  Was the learning curve long and difficult?  Any guidance from people who faced a similar problem would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

     

     

     

    Angelo L. Biondi, AIA

    A.Biondi Architects, LLC

    1815 Spruce Avenue

    Highland Park, Illinois  60035

     



  • 2.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-25-2020 17:34
    Enjoy learning software and have long term goals at which to aspire. BIM and all its associated features is a way of communicating architectural design very efficiently and effectively but takes a while to get up and going, !BEWARE! a steep learning curve, expensive software,  but very much worth it as I never am planning on retiring . In 2015 I took online classes at 3d Training Institute and constantly use and create online tutorials even today to get better.  I also teach Revit and Lumion at the university level to Interior Design students to stay on my toes.

    ------------------------------
    Frances Hamilton
    AIA LEED AP BD+C
    Residential/Commercial Architect
    HAstudio
    Atlanta Georgia
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-25-2020 18:37
    When I started my own practice a few years ago, I taught myself Revit using Lynda and Google. Not the most efficient way, but with trial and error(s) I am moving along with it.

    I am using Revit LT- a less expensive version. For modeling and for CDs.

    I love being able to show 3d schematic design options to clients. However to do CDs, Revit is clunky.

    I have heard fellow practitioners swear by Vectorworks because the 3d and the documentation are better integrated.
    .
    I have loved Sketchup in the past- so intuitive and just fun.  They have had many owners over the years and I don't know how they integrate with an architectural workflow.

    Have fun!


    ------------------------------
    Kathleen Sullivan AIA
    Trio Architecture pllc
    Hastings on Hudson NY
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-25-2020 19:31
    Yes Revit LT is great and affordable and Lynda.com is a fabulous learning tool, use it all the time.

    ------------------------------
    Frances Hamilton
    AIA LEED AP BD+C
    Residential/Commercial Architect
    HAstudio
    Atlanta Georgia
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-25-2020 21:36

    Angelo:
    First of all, you may want to evaluate how many years away are you from your retirement. If that number is more than 5 years then only you may want to invest time and energy to learning the BIM tools such as Revit and also that if your client type demands. Otherwise in my opinion Revit may be overkill for single-family residential work.

    For conceptual 3D visualization, you may want to start with Sketchup. It presents one of the shortest learning curve. For anything photorealistic renderings you may still want to farm it out.

    For BIM level 3D coordination, Vectorworks and Archicad are popular among those who want to go away from Revit, primarily for the cost and learning curve. However, it is not easy to find individuals with those skills to hire when compared to Revit. By far Revit has the strongest userbase.

    For single-family residential design and documentation, I specifically like Cheif Architect. It is a bit intuitive and I have known cases of users building or renovating their home without any training or education in architecture or drafting. Give it a try. There are tons of training videos and an active user community. If you ever need it, I can locate some training DVDs I had somewhere stored.  

    I hope this helps. 



    ------------------------------
    Fenil Patel
    Founder / Principal
    Ambik Developers, LLC
    Wayne NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-25-2020 23:18

    That's impressive that Archicad doesn't turn off your software when the subscription isn't renewed. There is Revit Light for $65.00/mo which doesn't have MEP but irritatingly enough doesn't allow add-ons like Lumion. Autodesk should get over its self and allow add-ons.
    I used Chief Architect for about 6 months but found it doesn't have referencing abilities, which a more complex project type with 2 buildings requires. It is strictly for uncomplicated 1 building residential projects, especially strong using the Craftsman style but does keep track of building components, which is a BIM quality.
    After using 3dStudio Max for years and throwing away the 3d model after presenting it to clients, then doing the CD drawings in 2d (said archi-tortural labor of the late 20th century, hopefully forever in the past), the miracle of 3d software like Revit and Archicad morphed into being. The 3d model of a building(s) is created with a BIM workflow. This is creating a building model then slicing it up into floor plans, elevations and sections to create CD's with schedules of components (windows, doors, sheets, equipment etc),  that ALL update in GRAND UNISON when anything is added or updated ANYWHERE in the model. Sketchup can be used for 3d but isn't truly BIM in it's workflow.



    ------------------------------
    Frances Hamilton
    AIA LEED AP BD+C
    Residential/Commercial Architect
    HAstudio
    Atlanta Georgia
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-25-2020 22:13
    Look for software that offers no-cost trial periods. While some limit functionality or print with a watermark you can get a better feel whether the interface is clearly understandable and works the way you do. Most are ultimately customizable by moving toolbars and groups of menus around. For custom residential work I can give no higher a recommendation than I have been using ArchiCad for 20 years. So many companies are going the subscription route and lock you out should you not renew. I am glad the Graphisoft has not gone that route and leaves you fully functional should your yearly maintenance subscription lapse. When I was new to the software I could say I was fully functional in 3 months on my own. No online videos, no tutorials. User groups for different software have come and gone over the years. Perhaps if you settle on one app after the trial periods you can locate a user group near you and get person to person support that way?

    ------------------------------
    Dan Wyckoff AIA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-26-2020 02:11
    Okay, this is from my personal experience, it would be interesting to hear if others feel the same?

    To learn to use Revit will take you 6 months to become an intermediate user if you are handy with a computer, I found myself wrestling with Revit and getting frustrated.

    To learn to "knockout" a 3D model in Sketchup (without creating 2D plans) will take you 2 days if you are handy with a computer, however, to be good at Sketchup you will need to understand how to use it properly. EG Understanding groups, components, Layers/Tags and Scenes will enable you to produce reasonable quality 2D drawings in Layout (I would say 2 months). You may want to look at Nick Sonders & Matt Donnellys Book  It will save you a heap of time.

    Yet if you use Plugins in Sketchup you can be up and running in 2 weeks including 2D documentation. Some Plugin make Sketchup really easy to use: groups components, scenes Layers/tags are automated with plugins Like PlusSpec, you can also go to the next level and look at a new BIM VDC plugin called PlusDesignBuild.

    Seeing that you are proficient in Auto CAD and you are looking at retirement, I would think that SketchUp is the best way to simply produce a 3D model, it is also fun to use and easier to design and conceptualize with.

    That is my 2 cents worth, I hope it helps.

    ------------------------------
    Andrew Dwight
    Designer/BIM manager AAD Build
    BDM RubySketch
    Sydney Australia
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-26-2020 08:55

    Thank you to all who responded to my post about 3D software options and experiences.  Your input is very much appreciated and extremely helpful.  Pease stay safe.

     

     

     

     

    Angelo L. Biondi, AIA

    A.Biondi Architects, LLC

    1815 Spruce Avenue

    Highland Park, Illinois  60035

    P:   847.780.4315

    F:   847.780.4845

    C:  847.287.9682

     

    Email:  angelo@abiondiarchitects.com

    Website:  www.abiondiarchitects.com

     

     

     






  • 10.  RE: Revit/3D Question

    Posted 06-26-2020 21:19
    We are a 50 person firm and probably one of the largest ArchiCAD users in the southeast. We were 4 when we started and there was a strong desire to remain on the Mac platform (we switched from Microstation when they dropped the Mac OS), which requires much less IT time and isn't nearly the cost of REVIT. REVIT support and sales is through it distributors, Graphisoft (ArchiCAD Parent Company) deals directly with customers and it is by far a better experience. I know this because we recently purchased 30 REVIT (AEC Collection licenses). REVIT is the big gorilla in the commercial world and we struggled to address requests from Owners, and contractors  to provide REVIT files. We spent a year evaluating the pros and cons of each platform and now we have both but will likely transition to REVIT. This is most due to Training and just they are more prevalent. We actually found the it impacted hiring since some candidates didn't want to learn a new software. Both will take 4-6 months to be good and longer to be really proficient. I'll spare you the details but REVIT has serious IT requirements. Both applications have their pluses and minuses and it is a heated debate in our office but really they do the same thing.....I can hear the email replies to that already. If you are working primarily in the residential environment I would recommend ArchiCAD. It is correct that you purchase the license and then pay an annual "maintenance and support" which provides upgrades. If you decide to drop the ArchiCAD support you are basically frozen with whatever version you have. Stop paying Autodesk and you have nothing, except a bunch of file you cannot open. Work flow is also a big deal in our office. The generally agreed opinion (which rarely happens) is that ArchiCAD and SketchUp are better for the early conceptual designs and quick studies. If you want more realistic renderings we utilize Twinmotion and Enscape, which I think work in both applications. Best of luck!

    ------------------------------
    Jeffrey Juliano AIA
    Collins Cooper Carusi Architects, Inc.
    Atlanta GA
    ------------------------------