What 3D Software Do Architects Use?

What 3D Software Do Architects Use?

As technology continues evolving at a rapid rate, architects are also moving at the same pace, and they now prefer more advanced programs for their design works

October 18, 2021

As technology continues evolving at a rapid rate, architects are also moving at the same pace, and they now prefer more advanced programs for their building design works. The main types of architecture software for architects are the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) models that allow them to create both 2D and 3D designs. The other category of building design program is building information modeling (BIM), which helps them to develop 3D virtual design models of the buildings they want. In this post, we will explore the best 3D building design software that you can use. 

Special Advantages of Using 3D Software in Architecture

The main advantage of using 3D software in architecture is that it is more advanced than 2D programs. Therefore, you can create more advanced architectural designs that you could not have done using 2D or other older types of programs. Other benefits to anticipate for using 3D programs include:

  • The programs come with many 3D objects, such as the skyline, blocks, cars, and trees that help to make designs more realistic.
  • Most 3D architectural building designs make it pretty easy to complete building designs fast because many objects are already done for you. So, it is only picking and positioning at the targeted section.
  • Most 3D programs make it easy to edit designs from other simpler programs. Therefore, designers use them for fine-tuning designs from other programs.
  • Most 3D programs come with advanced features that make creating new designs easy, fast, and convenient. One example of such features is the integration and team collaboration capabilities. Check the concept design in architecture.

Top Ten Best 3D Building Design Software


ArchiCAD is one of the best CAD software that you will get out there, and it grabs the first position on our list of the ten best programs for architects. It is an open BIM program designed by Graphisoft and comes as a complete tool for architects, allowing 2D and 3D drafting, building modeling, and visualizations. Another thing that makes ArchiCAD standout is that it also allows architects to handle all aspects of design and engineering work. With ArchiCAD, you can design both complete buildings and interiors.


Coming close to the first pick is SketchUp, another top-rated 3D program for architects that is designed to help them not just with planning but the entire workflow of a project. It comes with multiple rendering functions, such as animations, drawings, and photographs. Furthermore, the program has a comprehensive library containing more than two million sketches. These, coupled with a user-friendly user-interface and 4D virtual reality, make the software an excellent find no matter your architectural job.   

Digital Blue Foam

Architecture studio? On the first look, one may find some pencils, erasers, scales, people leaning on to discuss, compare, and work together on a design. You may find some technologists looking for real time and sustainability metrics, urban, environmental data, site analysis. Some might be found boggling their minds on concepts and forms, and some working on BIM. Post-pandemic, people can't frequently be found working this way, and the reason for this change is the rising AI powered web tools. Digital Blue Foam, a pioneer here, can do all the tasks listed above in a click.

Chief Architect

Chief Architect is another 3D CAD program designed specifically for experts. It is particularly effective in 3D rendering, and you will also like it because it is very easy to use, even for those who are just getting into the world of 3D architecture. The program can help you to create 3D shapes and even export 360° panorama renderings that can easily be shared with clients.   


This is a web-based 3D building design program designed to make professionals easily draw house floor plans and 3D renderings within a very short time. For professionals who still want to run some projects in 2D, Cedreo will also be an excellent option. The program comes with more than 7,000 3D objects and unique outdoors that you can deploy with a few clicks for photorealistic renderings. With all the time-saving features, you can easily create a complete home design in one hour. 


This is another BIM program created by Autodesk. It is designed to help with both 2D and 3D designs and renderings. One of the most conspicuous features of the program is collaborative ability. With Revit, your entire team can be kept in harmony, ensuring that everyone has access to designing and updates. This is very important for a smooth execution of a project. It can also save you a lot of time when designing a building. 

FreeCAD Arch 

FreeCAD Arch is an excellent program designed to allow architects to create objects of varying sizes. It is made with a BIM modular app, which allows the workbenches dedicated to specific fields to get mounted on core applications. This software is outstanding because it is designed with a wizard that makes it easy to design stairs, windows, roofs, and other specifications. Furthermore, it supports importing and exporting of multiple files in varying formats. 


Autodesk makes our list yet again with Dynamo, another open-source architecture program used to produce designs depending on the parameters you feed it. Using this program, architects and designers are able to build 3D models in a graphic interface. Another unique feature of the program is Dynamo Studio, which allows architects and designers to test for sound dynamics in their spaces. It is available in both free and paid versions. 


TAD is a program for architects and designers created to offer superior performance compared to other programs that were released around 1989. The designers were of the view that most applications were mainly offering engineering solutions and not architectural ones. Therefore, TAD works by helping to design the concept of a building as opposed to solving the fine details of building it down or laying out its interior.  


V-Ray is an architectural rendering program designed for both professionals and amateurs. It comes with a wide set of tools and features under its hood, models, and textures to make architectural design and rendering easy. Despite its superior capabilities, learning how V-Ray works is pretty easy.  


Adobe Photoshop is an image-producing and manipulation program and it is one of the most important requirements for building and design learners. In most cases, the software is used for creating mockups and presentations. The program also allows for architectural design layering, implying that you can add style, people, texture, and atmosphere to make designs realistic. The editing functions are awesome, making it a perfect pick for fixing architectural designs from other programs. 

The programs we have listed above are the best that you can get out there, and you can count on them for top-quality designs for your clients. Remember to start by thinking about the nature of the project at hand and then picking the software model that would deliver the expected results. For example, if you only want to try a hand in 3D building software, most free versions will be okay. However, premium versions of the top 3D programs, especially those with integration capabilities, are considered the better option. 

Read more about the office building design.

Join our waiting list

Be the first to get exclusive access to early releases, valuable insights, and platform updates from DBF.

By submitting this form you agree to receive emails, text and promotional communications from DBF related to products and services in accordance with DBF privacy policy.

Thank you! You have joined the waiting list!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.