Ranging from cheap to expensive, there are lots of different architecture software available on the market, but what is the best architecture software right now? With so many options to choose from, it can lead to choice paralysis.

From rookie to seasoned veteran, here are some of the best architecture design software tools every architect should be using.

AUTOCAD

The staple, industry go-to standard, computer-aided design software for precise 2D and 3D drawings.

AutoCAD can be found in almost every architectural, engineering, and construction office worldwide. The latest specialized versions include time-saving features, and with AutoCAD Mobile, you can work on the go – with construction management apps – even when visiting a worksite. AutoCAD is the best architecture software on the market.

Autodesk, the creator of AutoCAD, has built-in specific building design and architecture toolkits into its staple AutoCAD software package. To speed up production, it provides pre-built objects for walls, doors and windows, and mechanisms for creating elevations, sections and plans from model geometry.

The only big caveat to this application is how firmly aligned to older working practices it is, where many in the building trade are moving towards a Building Information Modelling application (BIM) future. For those customers, Autodesk offers Revit.

SKETCHUP

Starting point software for anyone entering 3D modelling.

Originally a Google-backed project, Sketchup is now owned and developed by Trimble, who releases a new version at least once a year and it is becoming increasingly popular with more professionals beginning to integrate it into their workflow. Sketchup is as easy as CAD gets for rookie 3D modellers. After a few courses, designers should be able to work rapidly to construct complex solid geometry using it. SketchUp is perfect to allow you to express your design ideas not only to clients but also to other members of your team.

It is easy to use and allows you to generate 3D building designs quickly, making it a handy architecture software tool to integrate into your workflow. It is also heavily used in Construction and Engineering.

REVIT

Building information modelling software.

Part of a whole new generation of Autodesk products aimed specifically at architectural studios that handle complex projects and need BIM (Building Information Modelling), Revit not only enables the design and modelling of a building, but also the coordination of multiple engineers collaborating on the same scheme.

This software is self-sufficient in terms of both 2-D and 3-D. It is an excellent work tool for large projects as it targets modelling, rendering and even 2-D construction documents. Instead of basic geometry, we are able to use actual walls, beams, columns and other building construction components. One of the best things about this complex software is that it is also compatible with AutoCAD. Revit though not very economical but is the most interesting and gives the best outputs while working. Hence it should be on the checklist of all architects.

Designers using Revit are working with objects, not a vector between two points, and that allows them to work quickly and with confidence. However, even if they both use a command-line interface, this isn’t like AutoCAD. And, those coming from that discipline might struggle initially with the transition. Once they’ve scaled the steep learning curve, Revit can offer a competitive edge over those that are just using traditional design applications.

PHOTOSHOP

Create amazing artwork, designs and image renderings.

The most efficient and economical software while creating renderings of plans, sections, elevations or orthographic projections.

The software provides many image editing features for raster (pixel-based) images as well as vector graphics. It uses a layer-based editing system that enables image creation and altering with multiple overlays that support transparency. Layers can also act as masks or filters, altering underlying colors. Shadows and other effects can be added to the layers. Photoshop actions include automation features to reduce the need for repetitive tasks.

Knowing this software is very important as it is the best for final touch-ups and designer level renderings. It can process images, add textures, people, landscape elements etc to a 3-D. It even possesses many tools for alterations and touch-ups. It is great for presentations as it makes raw files look fuller.

3DS MAX

3D computer graphics program.

Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max, is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games and images.

3D Studio existed before Windows 3.x and was one of the first tools to offer hardware-accelerated rendering of 3D images. Its value is in creating visuals and fly-through animations to promote a project, rather than design it from the floor up.Along with the vanilla 3DS Max, you can add modules like Media Work & Entertainment, Production Design & Manufacturing, and an Architecture, Engineering and Construction collection.