So ive been using blender for a long time now. My friend has been working on the house development team for a few months. And theres this guy on the team who “does autocad”. Not sure exactly what he does though. I told my friend Autocad is just another 3d modeling program that more aimed towards architecture. But i dont exactly know what that means. Its just 3d modeling isnt it? What is the difference in using autocad? I’m trying to figure out what this guy who “does autocad” does that i cant do in blender. Anyway sorry for this dumb question and thanks for any answers in advance.
Fundamentally different. Autocad is a CAD software and Blender is not. CAD softwares use different modeling paradigms like nurbs and solid modeling, Blender is mainly about polygonal modeling.
When it’s about visuals, Blender is a good tool for that. When it’s about sending the model to a CAM software for toolpaths, or doing structural analysis, then that’s a job for a CAD.
Modeling paradigms in CAD tools have absolute precision, polygonal modeling is approximation of curves and surfaces (straight edges, flat polygons) and that’s why it’s inherently inaccurate. Won’t need the accuracy when it’s purely about visuals, but having that and the parametric modeling style, it results to different tools/workflows/options. A simple measurement for example could be different: with a polygonal model a measurement tool might not give the exact number, but would expect that from a CAD tool. Doesn’t matter how the numerical measurement is added in a picture, but it would matter in a workflow, especially if there’s an automatic tool to do it.
There’s also https://www.ptc.com/en/cad-software-blog/parametric-vs-direct-modeling-which-side-are-you-on
That points out good reasons why some studios use Blender in their pipeline, it speeds up the design process, and once that is done they move to CAD for surfacing and to support the engineering process. There has been couple of talks in blender conference about that, the synopsis alone tells a lot
Proper CAD works using double point precision, meaning more accuracy - less error further down the line, especially on larger & highly complex projects.
Blender + the vast majority of 3D DCC tools & render engines uses single point precision.
Single precision may cause artifacts revealing the meshing with needle triangles (very small width/length ratio), or errors when important geometry details are very small compared to the mesh size.
Double precision increases accuracy.
Why the difference in price, skill, efficiency, real world use (tech, tools, practice…) & value.
Both AutoCAD and Blender are Swiss Army knives, each one can do a lot of different things but has it’s own set of flip out tools and place in the universe.
AutoCAD is a design tool which is good, but not great, at a vast number of things (not just architecture). These days it’s mostly used for 2D drawings such as schematics, basic assembly drawings, and so on. Most of the 3D design work has moved off to Inventor, SolidWorks, Revit, and other programs focused on specific engineering fields. Still, AutoCAD can do quite well in 3D with the right third-party add-ons. For example, the natural gas that’s heating your home was likely designed on an AutoCAD-based system - that’s not something you can do easily (or reliably) in Blender.
I greatly appreciate this well thought out answer. You’ve really cleared up a lot for me. I had always assumed CAD was just another word for modeling. Everything is making a lot more sense now lol. Anyway that makes a lot of sense to me and thanks for your input.
AutoCAD is a software for 2D drafting. It has some 3D modelling tools but they are limited and they should be imho avoided. Autodesk has different specialized tools for precize 3D design like for example Revit or Inventor.
I personaly use AutoCAD in combination with Blender for architecture design. The workflow look usually like this:
I make some drawings by hand to visualize the first ideas.
Based on that I make a 3D model in Blender and I render few visualizations for the client. The client usually wants some changes so I make them in the 3D model and I update the visualizations. This process repeats untill the client is satisfied.
Then I move on and I make a precise technical drawings of the design in AutoCAD.
Blender is a great tool for designing because its modelling tools are very fast and flexible compared to precise CAD programs like ArchiCAD or Revit.
And various CAD solutions/workflows are used depending on the industry. A friend of mine works in (large) ship architecture and design - AutoCAD is considered “kiddy CAD” at that level, and not taken very seriously.
Exactly All depend the work to be achieved.
For mechanical design: inventor, solidworks, fusion 360, Catia ( mostly used on horlogery design here ) etc.
For architecture 2D drawing ( you will never see 3D drawing in the the hand of worker in a building ), Autocad … ( and archicad etc )
note, Autocad is a base software: you have different plugin for MEP, BIM ( today you will just use revit ), etc… or Civil Cad…
Some software and analysis tools are specialized ( but all are compatible witth Autocad, like Cadwork )
For Building and MEP management and design: Revit.
So in the industry, in general most work with the same software, Architecture ( building and house design )… here it is at 98% Autocad and Revit. For Facility it will be a MEP software coupled to Autocad Revit. For analysis and simulation tools ( for structure ) it will be x software + Autocad… ( for the example. )
If you are an engineer on mechanic, micro mechanic: Solidwork or Inventor. ( Fusion is more used on a designer level, not for the complete project ).
Revit is fully based on Autocad, only 30% of Autocad is represented in the UI and known by user… 15 years ago we was allready create feature inside Autocad for a result who was completely similar to Revit. ( Autocad code is completely versatile, you can control other software from Autocad and vice versa )
No. Revit comes from a completely non-AutoCAD background and continues to be completely independent of it. This causes a number of advantages as well as drawbacks.
You can do CAD stuff in blender, not as well as with actual CAD tools but if you’re in a hurry and you’ve experience in blender but nothing else then it can be worth staying with what you know. I have done CAD stuff in blender a few times, precise design of 3d printable parts which if you do at high enough poly counts is good enough for all practical purposes (if you’re poly count is high enough to represent curves with a reslution greater than the printer can print to then an stl from blender is as accurately printable as one from a CAd program).
One of the key things CAD packages can do which blender can’t is to let you quickly redo work early on in a design process and automatically propagate that to a new final design in only a few clicks, if you make a fan blade in blender then the hub at the centre is too big you have to fiddle around and redo almost everything, in CAD programs you just type in a new value for the of your new hub and it propagates forward these changes to automatically give you a model with a changed design, any extrusions or bevelling are also all redone every time a change is made earlier in the design process. None of this is necessary when you have the right idea from the start, but when you have to iterate a design it saves a lot of work.