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Revit / Archicad question


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I'm new here so I apologise if this topic has been discussed before, but I'd be interested to know what peoples opinions are on these two new generation cad softwares? I'm undecided as to which one to focus upon in relation to my architecture work as a postgraduate student. I've also begun to look at 3d studio max which I'd like to take further and use as a final end end to my cad work so would like them to be compatible.


Just wondering if there's any architects or designers who use these tools together and what they'd reccommend. Just thought I start up a bit of discussion on the topic. Ideally I want to use the cad software for plans elevations, section and then take the 3d model into max for the final work.


Any help would be appreciated.




James, UK

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I can’t comment on Revit but my office uses ArchiCAD exclusively, in fact were the largest user of ArchiCAD in the US. ArchiCAD is used as both a design and production tool in our office, the benefit for me as a 3D Viz person is I rarely if ever have to model anything. Once the model is exported as 3DS file I can start slapping on materials and putting in lighting. The only down sided is that ArchiCAD can't export DWG files as efficiently as AutoCAD can, so as a result I'm unable to use the file link manager in Max. This problem is supposable going to be fixed in the next release which will definitely help speed up the work flow.

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  • 2 weeks later...

most of what i hear from people that have gone from Revit to Archicad ussually by force is that they regretted it... also, i think Rivet is a better platform to be on when working with others across the board...


my self i would just prefer to stay with ADT, can't see that either Archicad or Revit can do more or better than that.... both of these programs are designed to plunge people into BIM which basically is a good and necessary thing to do... but ADt can do that too...

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well that good to know...


have a friend that wants me to model with viz using the files from archicad


to me its nice to model in one program then render in another..

that way the links can be be broken up like xrefs


don't know what achicads render program is like..

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  • 10 months later...

hey , this is my first post here ... i would like to salute everyone around for those helpfull blogs , i am a 5 years ARCHICAD user full 2d - 3d modeling + archiforma - rendering ) and i would like to comment that as in the concept devoloping phase ... and 70% of the model final work ... archicad has two thumbs up .. it probably could have 90% for final modeling work using maxorform plug in for nurbs modeling .. very easy to use parametrics and BIM base system with great visual 3d window .... installing doors and windows are just one mouse click away with full details on !... so .. u could generate most basic elements of ur model in a fast way .... which was extremly fraustrating in AUTOCAD 3d modeling and slow !


i even made a huge detailed model for my graduation project Design using archicad ... in order to texture and add final touches and Vray magic in MAX ! .... unfortunatly ... i had the worst nightmare 2 days prior the jury day ! ... i tried exporting my model in 3D window in .3ds to import it to max ! the model was exported ... but the material layers was not as i assigned ! ... as i drag some sort of material to a certain object like glass ... i get glass on some concrete assigned walls ! ... with notice that i made the right settings for the export file ! i ended up rendering ugly material figure in Archicad !


that's why i am trying to join the Autodesk Family because the finalizing Proccess (Vray Rendering) in (MAX not VIZ pls) is the most realistic engine i have ever seen and demand to work with ! ..... since Revit is part of Autodesk now ... i guess it should be smooth linked with MAX ! correct me if i'm wrong ?!?! .... other wise why would i leave all my experience of archicad away and switch to an application with the same exporting problems ....



as i would love to continue modeling my designs in a BIM based program (honestly :1. Autocad 3d - takes alots of ur time, efforts and very difficult to visualize the whole model from scratch . it's kinda made for final model drafting .. with no conceptual elements nor future change in design ....

2. 3D studio max : greatest modeling tool ... but even difficult to start with from scratch ! it might be great after building most of the basics element in ur BIM then complete the minors and details within Max !


as an archicad BIM based user .. i want to be fully compatible with exporting to "MAX" mean while working in a great BIM based application .... would archicad devolope a new smooth export link to max ??? would revit be my move to design the basics of my model and is it fully smooth when exported to MAX ... or is it the same case as archicad ! .... i am kinda lost !! i see a lot of great building in the CGArchitect gallery ... are they fully modeled in MAX ... or Autocad 3d first then completed in max ?!

what is the ideal & easiest way to Model and export to max for rendering !!?!? with out having any export problems ! please help ... i am really sorry for that Loooooong boring speeech ... but it's my first Post alright :p !


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  • 11 months later...


I am a from Australia and a current user of Both Revit Building 2008 and of Archicad 11 as I do contract work for 2 companies that use each of the systems.

A bit on me. I have been using different cad programs for over 15 years ranging from Autocad R10 up to 2005, 3D add-ons to Autocad r14 DRC auto and Karelmate professional, Vectorworks Architect with Renderworks and Landmark from 9.5 to 12.5, Revit 8.0, 9.1 and now 2008 as well as Archicad 10 and 11 so I feel I am well versed to speak on issues that people may have.

If I was to choose a platform when the choices were Revit 8.1 or Archicad 9.0 I would have chosen Revit 8.1 as at this stage Plotmaker wasn’t integrated with Archicad, and I feel this was a huge drawback of the program and made updating and editing nearly finished documents a time consuming process. Once Archicad 10 came out this all changed and it is now an all in one program.

Both Revit and Archicad are now great programs, but on a day to day basis I am constantly frustrated with Revit. Things are just a lot harder to achieve in Revit.

The family system in appalling and there is no intelligent search function. the families are very hard to edit and when you do you actually create another object in the file increasing its size, let alone the fact that you have to click 5 dialogue boxes deep the ok all the way out again.. In Archicad the search function is brilliant and changes to library parts is a breeze with very visual interface all in the one dialogue box only 1 click deep.

This constant clicking through dialogue boxes is all the way through Revit and the fact that it looks like a data base with no graphical interface is painful.

In Archicad the complex profiler is a dream meaning I can have my wall with set downs, slab set down and edge beam, eave details, cornice, flashing detail and anything else I want to be on the wall for instance profiled mouldings all as one wall in my favourites list. All I have to do is use this wall and the whole lot is placed. This is all able to be scheduled as different items as well.. While in Revit you can do host sweeps but this is just extra work and more steps. I am looking for productivity gains

On controlling your document, we have all grown to use layers to give us control over your document.. Well in Revit there are no layers. At first you go great.... but wait until you try to isolate a certain type of wall you cant as all walls are in the same type, yes there are sub types of but once again this is extra time to work out when it can just be automatically placed on it correct layer in Archicad., in Archicad you still have layers and this is a God sent and critical to have when trying to isolate or group certain things. For instance when you export to DWG all your walls are placed on the one layer... a nightmare if someone else needs to just see masonry walls.... get my drift..

With Archicad the production of different sets of documents i.e. Presentation sets, DA sets, CC sets, DWG export, DGN export, PDF creation where you require your documents to look a certain way and with certain pen thickness and colour and isolation of different things for different consultants is all just a click of the mouse within Archicad once you have set up your template file. In Revit you have to prepare all of these manually each time you wish to produce them. Also you get a PDF and3D PDF creator inbuilt in Archicad. In Revit you may have view sets but this still does not give you the flexibility and speed that Archicad does.

Yes I know you can have saved print sets but this doesn’t change how the documents look for instance if you want solid fill in walls for presentation and hatching for CC documents you have to change this manually.. In Archicad you just publish that set and it’s done in the click of the mouse..

In Revit I have and still do find it cumbersome to produce Construction documents, as there are very few so called drafting tools to complete your documents, although it can still be done as I have completed a few medium size unit development projects in Revit and modelled the entire building. I think all told in all 4 elevs and a total of 8 sections I drew about 8 lines, so it can be done, I just takes longer.

In Archicad from Version 10 onwards there are so many easier to use drafting tools to help you get the job out the door.

I agree with a few people here that what ever you choose you have to spend the time and do whole projects and not revert to any 2D programs to complete your documents. Get professional training as I have done for all programs that I have used. Yes it costs money but it costs you a lot more sitting around trying to work things out for your self.

I found that the experience of the Graphisoft team in Australia is far better as they have been doing this for some 20 years and it is one company Australia wide where as Autodesk is a lot of resellers. The support system from Graphisoft is a lot better to as you get to speak to a real architect with years of experience in both the Program and Architecture. Where as with Autodesk it gets logged then sent to the US and if they think it’s important they will get back to you maybe in a week or so.

With rendering I feel and most people on Revit also agree that Archicad wins hands down. While Autodesk stick with Accurender this will always be the case. Archicad uses the Lightworks rendering engine which you can buy as a stand alone rendering program. Once again Google it to see what it can do. Also there I would recommend at least getting the DVD tutorial as I have to get the most out of it.

Archicad also have interactive tutorials and virtual tutors that make learning it a breeze, compared to the written tutorial from Revit...

If you are looking to change to BIM I feel the superior program is Archicad but don’t believe me get both and trial them for free for 30 days. But you need to go into this with an open mind on interface and who makes the program. Try some simple operations like changing properties of a wall, window, library item such as one of the cabinets, do you want to look at lines of text or pictures that describe things. Try searching for a particular library item. Try exporting a file to dwg and open in Autocad to see which is better to use. Also if you are on Mac then you can only use Archicad as Autodesk do not support macs. Yes you can run windows on a Mac but ive spoken to a few people doing this and they say it’s not the best solution.

File sizes from Revit get quite large compared to Archicad from version 10 onwards so if you are working over a network this could also be an issue. Also I heard that Graphisoft have signed a deal with Oracle the clear leader in data base systems and have also heard that this will be included in Archicad 12 so we can expect some great speed increases in how the program works,

Archicad is also cheaper to maintain in Australia with there subscription service than Revit so in the end it costs you less. Upfront costs of Revit vary depending on who you talk to but on average are the same as Archicad.

A lot of people want to go with Revit as they think it’s the same as Autocad in the way it will speak to it via file format. This is so far from the truth Revit has a totally different file structure. In Fact Archicad speaks to Autocad better as it already has layers and layer sets. Yes Autodesk did have the industry standard 2D file format with DWG but now there is a non proprietary standard called IFC which is governed by different organisations around the world and not software companies. Do a Google search on IFC. This is the format that allows you to speak to any other 3D package whether it be engineers, energy rating etc

Do yourself a favour. Get the 30 day trial of both programs. I Think with Revit you actually have to contact one of the resellers to get the trial version mailed out to you. With Archicad you can download it from the link below, also download the Basic interactive guide to Archicad as this will show you how to use it. I haven’t done the latest version of Revit tutorial so can’t comment on that.

What ever you decide spend the time, get professional training both basic and advanced..

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wow that's a lot said..

however nothing against Archicad but I would doubt that it is better than other Bim platforms...they all take practice.. but well worth it...

I have been in ADT for 5 years I would stay with that inspite of bandwagon of Revit or Archicad.

guess we have flags to wave...




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  • 15 years later...

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