Architizer Journal is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Developing a rendering for a project is a daunting task given the complexities of the numerous architectural software. Prominent programs, such as Revit, 3ds Max and Rhino can help designers develop beautiful visualizations. However, obtaining the skillset to deliver quality drawing sets and renderings requires extensive amounts of time and practice.
The countless tools, shortcuts and techniques required to efficiently use these software can be overwhelming for beginners. Thankfully, there are tons of helpful guides offering comprehensive overviews of specific applications that can be useful to both novice and experienced users. The following software guides for architects cover the most prominent design software, each serving as helpful resources for all modeling and visualization preferences:
Best Revit Guide for Architects
Design Integration Using Autodesk Revit 2019 provides a comprehensive guide to Autodesk Revit tools and techniques covering all three disciplines of the Revit platform. It provides a broad overview of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) process.
The topics cover the design integration of most of the building disciplines including: Architectural, Interior Design, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electrical. Throughout the book you develop a two story law office starting from floor plans and ending with photo-realistic renderings. The book also includes access to nearly 100 video tutorials to help you achieve mastery.
Best Revit Guide for Architects
This book is the ultimate guide to AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT for professional designers, students, and hobbyists, alike. This new edition has been fully updated to align with the software’s 2019 update offering step-by-step walkthroughs, concise explanations, examples, and many hands-on projects.
You will learn essential AutoCAD skills by working directly with the necessary tools and will be provided a deeper exploration of more complex capabilities. This book is the gold-standard certification preparation material, and it will have you producing work at the highest levels of technical proficiency.
Best SketchUp Guide for Architects
The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture will help you go beyond the basics of the SketchUp 3D modeling software through a flexible and in-depth workflow. Ranging from preliminary schematics to construction documentation, this book delivers helpful techniques, smart tips and best practices that will make the design process easier, whether you’re an architect, designer, or engineer. It also provides special coverage of the lightly documented Layout tool, accompanied by video tutorials on more advanced methods and components.
ArchiCAD 19 – The Definitive Guide by Scott H. MacKenzie and Adam Rendek
Best ArchiCAD Guide for Architects
This definitive guide ensures that readers are well equipped with the knowledge and skill set required to undergo any construction project. The book guides users through the creation of two complete projects from scratch, which includes a residential and a healthcare building.
Readers will go through the design of the buildings, the output of all drawings, and associated construction documents. The step-by-step tutorials cover all of the basic modeling and drafting tools, which leads into an overview of more advanced tools and features of ArchiCAD. No previous ArchiCAD experience is required making this the perfect resource for anyone yearning to develop their rendering skills.
Best Vectorworks Guide for Architects
The Vectorworks Essentials Tutorial Manual is a quality resource for all designers regardless of experience level. Written by expert Vectorworks trainer Jonathan Pickup, this guide is structured to provide readers with a comprehensive overview of the software from when you first launch the application to when you generate worksheets from your model. This hard copy workbook comes with a companion DVD containing exercise files and the entire manual in PDF format.
Best Rhino Guide for Architects
This book functions to alleviate the challenges beginners face when learning how to use Rhinoceros 3D. Through an overview of best practices in modeling habits, rationales, and tips this guide strives to help users build skills in critically analyzing the modeling process, determining the best possible method for a given task, and realizing desired 3D models.
This book is not necessarily intended to provide a complete, comprehensive overview of Rhino, but rather it is designed to help users use Rhino as efficiently as possible.
Best Grasshopper Guide for Architects
Algorithms-Aided Design presents design methods based on the use of Grasshopper 3D. The book provides computational techniques to develop and control complex geometries and covers parametric modeling, digital fabrication techniques, form-finding strategies, environmental analysis, and structural optimization. It also includes case studies and contributions by researchers and designers from the world’s most influential universities and leading architecture firms.
Best V-Ray Guide for Architects
While a few years old now, Photography & Rendering with V-Ray remains a vital book for any V-Ray user. It is based on an educational format comprised of five simple steps for creating photorealistic renderings in the field of previsualization for architecture, mechanics, and design. The phases of Framing, Light Balance, Materials, Final Settings and Post-production come together to form a simple and schematic guide for the creation of any kind of rendering. The focus of this book is to get the reader familiar with the process of designing through V-Ray. Various exercises and videos accompanying the book are provided to help achieve this.
Best 3ds Max Guide for Architects
Kelly L. Murdock’s 3ds Max guides are extremely popular due to their simple and detailed explanations coupled with over tutorials that focus on specific topics and practical applications. This combination allows for readers to effectively grasp difficult concepts across all aspects of the software.
The brand new 2020 edition is a great resource for all 3ds Max experience levels, in which beginners can jump in through the getting started section and experienced users can examine the advanced coverage of features, such as crowd simulation, particle systems, radiosity, MAXScript and more.
Best Photoshop Guide for Architects
This guide provides a quick, simple, and comprehensive way to learn and master the latest version of Adobe Photoshop CC. 15 project-based lessons show key step-by-step techniques, including how to correct, enhance, and distort digital images, create image composites, and prepare images for print and the web.
This new edition also covers new features, such as the new Frame tool, designing reflected and radial art with Paint Symmetry, and more simplified editing and transformation techniques, to name a few. All buyers of the book get full access to the web edition, which is enhanced with video and multiple choice quizzes.