ArchiCAD is a CAD program for construction information modeling, which offers more flexibility and freedom to its users regarding to its competition.
Nevertheless, its main strengths are, at the same time, its weakness: companies tend to prefer more universal programs like
Design Buildings on your own or in company
ArchiCAD lets you construct buildings in 2D and 3D, visualize designs... Its functions are aimed at architects, designers and planners.
If you're only interested in technical design, you rely on 2D CAD tools, which myriad of options and possibilities guarantees a precise and detailed finish. In the other spectrum side, you count with a 3D modeling interface to create buildings with various shapes and features. The Shell function, for three-dimensional jobs, has ArchiCAD's freedom flagship; with shell you can create membranes from the parameter you're interested on.
Would you like to see how your building will look like once constructed? Then you'll be interested in a novelty from ArchiCAD 18, the last version: it's about CineRender 14, its architectonic rendering and visualization software. It requires a high performance, but in exchange offers photo-realistic image and videos from your creations. The result brings a lot of elements to account: shadows, light distribution, the realistic reflexes and a better presentation of the material's surface.
ArchiCAD is also a tool thought for teamwork. For example, its document management function, works as a central storage for many partners to be able to access the same tools or design changes from different access points.
BMI (Building Information Modeling), a kind of 3D modeling software, keeps being the great strength regarding group works. This function allows totally open work flows. The access to projects is fast and intuitive and allows many users to work at the same time in a design without disrupting other's progress. BIM it's a differentiator point from ArchiCAD over AutoCAD.
There are several ArchiCAD versions available. The educational versions serves as a learning tool for architecture schools or other academic institutions. The commercial version is aimed to the professional world.
A lot of options in an intuitive environment.
Each ArchiCAD's new version takes a further step towards the programs goal: guarantee design freedom with the fewer possible technical obstacles. For instance, ArchiCAD 18, the last program's version, optimizes the tools and functions in order to guarantee a creative flow without any interruption. At a practical level, the interface visualization has improved to ease the exploration of its tools without you getting lose on the way.
The visualization engine CineRender 14, another novelty in ArchiCAD 18, it’s even more intuitive than Lightworks, the previous engine. Rendering can be done virtually with one click, and its process it’s similar to the auto correction one in photo cameras. It's a perfect option for beginner users that need professional finish but not yet control all the available parameters.
The program knows how to optimize your PC's configuration. For example, the various processes from ArchiCAD that require time, can be done without any background issues, while you perform other tasks on your PC, as long as your computer is powerful. In this sense, ArchiCAD is only compatible with the 64-bit Windows version.
BIM keeps improving to prevent you from technical contingencies. BIM it’s prepared to apply any change as quickly as possible while prevents that a modification in one sector unpredictably alters the rest of the project. This way, BIM allows you to show various versions of the same project without a having any technical issues.
ArchiCAD, the alternative for entrepreneurs.
ArchiCAD is flexible. Has enough options to allow you to design the building that you have in mind, in 2D or 3D. Its interface, intuitive and easy to use, it is at the service of this amalgam of possibilities.
But here, ArchiCAD's main problem: there are so many ways for using this program that, as a result, it lacks standard procedures that most users harness. And without a unitary use philosophy, companies prefer other CAD programs like the famous AutoCAD: more restrictive but, at the same time, more universal.
As a result, ArchiCAD is suitable for freelance designers and architects (in other words: entrepreneurs) or for small companies that just started and want to give a shot to this program.