Modo + ArchiCAD?

Hi guys, I’ve a few questions and I hope you’ll help me make final decision.

First things first. My wife makes first steps in interior design using ArchiCAD (edu license for now) and I need something to be helpful in modelling objects for her. Every time she needs specific model/object she has to find it online or create it herself using ArchiCAD. This software has some modeling tools, but they are very basic and IMHO not efficient, so it’s huge waste of time. That’s why I came up with idea of helping her by using different tool for modeling and rendering. I’m not new in CGI, but I haven’t used any 3D software for almost 10 years. A decade ago I used 3ds and rhino (just for fun).

So, as I said, I think I might need a nice tool for object modelling. Is Modo the one I should think of? I also consider Modo as a good rendering engine. As everyone knows most ArchiCAD owners use Artlantis for rendering purposes. In my opinion it’s too simple, however it might be a good choice for people like my wife. Is it a good idea to use ArchiCAD + Modo? Or maybe it would be better to buy upcoming Artlantis 5? It’s really simple and made mainly for CAD users, however if I had to spend money on separate rendering engine I’d choose Maxwell Render (v3 to be released soon).

I know there’s a lot of questions, but I’d like to make a decision and move on. One last thing, what is the best way to share (import/export) files between ArchiCAD and Modo? Is there any hope for good cooperation between those two applications?

PS. I’m not into blender. Sorry folks.

Have you tried asking first on the modo forums ?

I know that new versions of Artlantis include Maxwell but you have to check their site !

What stops you from modeling in Blender ? It’s free and you’re a beginner so what’s the rush ?

Have you looked here ?

Yes, I have tried. No answer so far.

Artlantis 4 includes Maxwell engine, but it’s only the engine.

I’ll give a chance to Blender one more time, but UI is far from comfortable IMHO.

Short answer: Terrible combination, plus bad for interior design. If you want to use ArchiCAD, better do your assets inside that horrible ArchiCAD editor.

The problem with ArchiCAD is that if you do not have a proper asset with 3d+2d info, you have to draw the 2d manually and import the 3d in 3ds format. So you are back to AutoCAD + 3dsMax workflow, and then ArchiCAD is kind of useless.

For interior design, SketchUp + Vray is a more flexible option for modeling and rendering, and using LayOut for drawings. ArchiCAD is only useful if you have medium sized projects, where you will produce alot of complex architectural drawings, especially sections, details and such.

Your GPL option would be Blender (modeling and rendering) and LibreCAD (Cad), Gimp and Inkscape (presentations and vector drawing). This option is less user friendly but more powerful than Sketchup. (Except that you need to do your 2d drafting parralell to your 3d work, since you cannot export dxf from blender)

I have modeled two different projects with ArchiCAD in architecture school and it was a real headache, you end up with a very rigid project. Better use Microstation or SketchUp where you can model freely and than cut out your drawings and sections. Blender only lacks good support for making sections and exporting to CAD for it to compete with ArchiCAD (in some respects) and SketchUp.

Modo is like Blender but commercial and a bit more powerful. The luxology render engine corresponds to Vray, but still Vray is better. GPL option for Vray is Yafaray, but it does not bake textures. (for videos)

Commercial - GPL

ArchiCAD - no GPL counterpart. But LibreCAD for 2d drafting. Also you have DraftSight that is free.
Modo - Blender
SketchUp - Blender
LayOut - LibreCAD
Vray - Yafaray
Microstation - Blender + LibreCAD
AutoCAD - LibreCAD

Or you can do all modeling in Blender and then go into Adobe Illustrator like this:

There is also Vray for Blender

I dont recommend Archicad for interior design. Good combination (own experience + one architect ) is Blender and SweetHome 3d (both free). SH3 supports .dae, .obj, 3ds. SH3 has similar tools than Archicad to calculate floor/room areas and wall creating is almost/exactly same. SH3 supports also levels.
When interior is finished, export to Blender , use Yafaray (free) renderer and smile :slight_smile:

I added that SH3 only if designer (in my case, architect) cant handle Blender. Blender alone handles all alone best/quickest.

It reads you wife is more into interior design then straight architecture what ArchiCAD is targeted for.

Modo has a good model engine and decent render tools but to be honest it is vastly over priced.
In the recent year Blender caught up dramatically and with the new modeling tools and render engine I do not even touch Modo and my VRay License at all. Only for certain interior rendering Cycles might still not be the best however with GPU render (ocal - render farm) and the speed you gain in setting up the scene without the need to do test renderings all the time, it is still faster in the end.

If you are concerned about 3d assets maybe AutoCad or Sketchup is what she should look into - it seems to be a very common combination.

AutoCAD? Isn’t it even more expensive than ArchiCAD? SketchUp is IMHO a joke and I hate google’s products.

TynkaTopi, thanks for info about Sweet Home 3D. I’ve already sent my wife an url.


maybe for you it is a joke - for the INDT industry it is pretty much a standard along with AutoCad.

Cekuhnen, you may be right, but I hate google to much to use it’s products. It may be a standard because there’s free version.

Are you aware that Google has nothing to do with Sketchup any more? It was sold to another company.

Have a close look at LWCad (LINK) with Lightwave. I even believe that there is a bundle package featured, that is still available. LWCad has grown into a formidable tool, that has kept a lot of folks using Lightwave (during it’s transitions). Lightwave can be used more precisely, with LWCAD, but Lightwave by itself is not intended to be for true CAD. Lightwave’s render engine is renowned, beautiful stuff. The modeler is good (needs some updating), modo’s is better, for strict modeling. However, it’s “shader tree” is not as intuitive as Lightwave Layers and Nodes. But for your particular purposes LWCAD deserves a close look.

Howardt, thank you for that info. I was NOT aware of that.

Paulhart2, that looks nice. I wish there was something like this made for Modo, because mARCH doesn’t look that powerful.

Since your wife is a student I would recommend getting Rhino 3d + the Flamingo rendering engine for $390US. McNeel lets you use their educational versions for commercial use after you graduate. Great modeling tools plus great compatibility with AutoCAD, which is important in the architecture/interior design fields.

I agree with you on the mArch not being so great. I wish luxology wouldn’t release their software in plug-ins. mARCH, ACS, etc… should all ship with modo by default. Still modo is a good modeler, not as fast as blender though. Modo is aimed in the genral dircetion you are looking at, more than other apps like 3ds max are


Just curious, why did you ask on a Blender specific forum if you specifically had no interest in Blender?

rhettro, she is not a student, she attender an interior design course, where she received ArchiCAD Edu version.

SterlingRoth, I also asked on Modo forum. I read a few good things about different software here. Blender community is much bigger and here you have users who use or used varied programs.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Other Software”

SketchUp is a good tool because of the plugins. Look at [=im_field_ext_industry%3A13"]Architecture plugins]( and [=im_field_ext_industry%3A36"]Interior design plugins.

Also it is very much compatible with blender, for better UV manipulation and rendering etc.

In my experience Sketchup is even more limited in viewport performance than Blender is …

Also no integrated rendering engine ! In Blender 2.67 and newer there is Freestyle !

Other than that sketchup is well equipped to handle most precision modeling tasks with ease !