Modern-day architects are in luck – for every technical problem and creative challenge, there’s a solution. Today’s digital market is brimming full of feature-packed software suites for 3D artists in architecture, each one better, more comprehensive, and more powerful than the other.
The only problem is that only a few are compatible with Mac.
If you want to hone your skills or commit to a complex project using your Mac, you can do so with the following ten tools. They have different capabilities, but they all run on Mac.
There’s a lot you can do with Rhinoceros 3D. Also called Rhino for short, this AEC favorite is just as helpful in specialized domains as it is in architecture and construction. Some of the most creative applications of Rhino 3D include jewelry and shoe design, among others.
Rhino is a freeform modeling tool specializing in NURBS modeling, but you can also use it for mesh modeling and subdivision modeling. It relies on parametric design and doubles as a fast presentation tool. It also automates tasks and assists in documentation management.
Blender is a perfect choice if you are a novice 3D artist. It is open-source, which means it’s free. It provides a comprehensive toolkit to help you achieve nearly everything you visualize. In addition to 3D modeling, Blender supports sculpting, texturing, and rigging.
Most Blender users – many beginners and freelancers – praise the tool for delivering gorgeous animation, especially animating characters from scratch. However, one of the most frequently cited downsides of using Blender is its steep learning curve.
We can’t stop looking at the mesmerizing hero animation on the Maxon website, which is undoubtedly an example of what talented artists (in this case, Vladislav Solovjov) can achieve using Cinema 4D. Perfect for graphic design and animation of any kind, but a tiny bit expensive.
What makes 3D artists choose Cinema 4D despite its hefty price is an array of fantastic tools that doesn’t seem to end. Maxon’s suite supports volumetric and parametric modeling. It provides top-notch texture and animation. Thanks to intuitive UX, it is suitable for beginners and pros.
Autodesk’s official promise is to “Unify design, engineering, electronics, and manufacturing with Fusion 360.” That is supposed to be the only solution with CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB integrations – which is many abbreviations and just as many promises to keep.
According to its users, the best qualities of Fusion 360 are its enormous range of tools and parametric modeling. Autodesk’s solution is reportedly highly versatile, applicable to all industries, and suitable for professionals and students in need of friendly tools.
V-Ray is developed and designed by Chaos Group, a relatively small 3D solution company compared to industry giants behind 3ds Max or Corona. Nevertheless, V-Ray stands side by side with these industry staples. You’ll have a hard time choosing the best of these three tools.
Of course, many artists prefer V-Ray to 3ds Max’s native Arnold renderer and Corona simply because they like it better. Like its competitors, V-Ray is a trustworthy solution that creates breathtaking visuals. It’s fast-performing, accurate, and easy to use.
Another solution from Autodesk, TinkerCAD, is a simple 3D rendering and modeling software designed for educational purposes. It’s free and online-based, so anyone can access it using a browser. TinkerCAD won’t win you an architecture prize, but it will help you learn basic CAD.
If you’re a beginner looking for a user-friendly environment where you can create simple objects, TinkerCAD will give you just what you need. However, TinkerCAD is hardly the best solution for professionals; it lacks the capabilities and power to create complex visuals.
Modo is, without any doubt, one of the finest 3D software suites available today, and for many good reasons. First up is Modo’s workflow, which makes everyday work and creative problem-solving more efficient than ever before. The second reason is – Modo’s toolkit is gigantic.
Boasting a powerful combination of an intuitive interface, precision tools, and overall stability, Modo is the first choice of artists across multiple industries. Artistically speaking, it helps advance animation, gaming, movies, media production, and many other fields that rely on digital content.
Even people outside of the 3D space know about Maya, which speaks a lot about this go-to solution by Autodesk. Whether you’re still in school or looking for a job as a 3D artist, chances are you’ll need at least some experience using Maya to prosper in this sphere.
There’s nothing special about Maya other than it’s perfect. You can create everything you can achieve with this tool using other 3D solutions – but the results won’t be as immaculate. Maya is the Holy Grail of 3D visualization. The only problem is – it is outrageously expensive.
Similarly to TinkerCAD, Sketchup 3D is a 3D modeling software made with general usability in mind. Like its direct competitor, it is a browser-based, open-source 3D solution available to users at all experience levels. However, on a scale of simple to pro, Sketchup 3D is pretty basic.
That doesn’t mean Sketchup 3D can’t be helpful outside the 3D modeling class. Its simple and intuitive interface makes it highly efficient for completing not-so-complicated visual projects. Sketchup 3D is still valuable in architecture and interior design, though it lacks versatility.
ZBrush is anything but basic, but it hasn’t always been that way. This tool has humble beginnings and had remained an ambitious underdog in the 3D space for years before it became a star solution. ZBrush started as a sculpting tool but has evolved into much more.
Today, you can use ZBrush to paint textures and create UV maps, among many other things. It’s still one of the most affordable 3D tools on the market, but the budget-friendly price seems adequate compensation for ZBrush’s only downside – this tool isn’t for beginners.
Is there a 3D modeling tool you’ve been using on your Mac that we haven’t included on our list? Please let us know if you have positive experiences with other Mac-ready architectural rendering solutions. We’d be happy to try them out and write a few words about them.