Oct 204 min read

Top 10 Architecture softwares every architect should know!

written by

Kishan Thakkar



For an architect, the use of software plays a significant role in bringing architecture concepts to life.

A drawing is the most effective way to communicate an architect's ideas. However, how we create those drawings has evolved from manual hand drawings and continues to evolve to AI generated plans and 3Ds.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 software tools for architectural drawings and visualization that you should know as an architect.

1. SketchUp

image5-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Surviving Architecture 

SketchUp is a user-friendly 3D modeling software that has gained a lot of popularity among architects and designers. Its user-friendly and easy to use interface allows architects to create and modify 3D models effortlessly. 

With a vast library of plugins and extensions, SketchUp offers lots of options and ease of use when working on architectural 3D models.

Third-party AI plugins for SketchUp can automate tasks, generate complex designs, and provide advanced analysis and optimization.

It costs $349 per year for the SketchUp Pro version for commercial use, click here for more information.

2. AutoCAD

image8-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Autodesk

AutoCAD, a product of Autodesk, is probably the most popular and widely used architectural software.

A wide range of engineering and architecture fields use this software. It provides a comprehensive set of tools for drawing and even 3D modelling.

Also, with AutoCAD 2024, you can automate common tasks with machine learning capabilities, which will improve your productivity. Click here to know more about it. 

3. 3ds Max

image7-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Zabeel Institute

3ds Max is a powerful 3D animation and rendering software developed by Autodesk. It is widely used in architectural visualization due to its robust capabilities in creating photorealistic visuals and animations.

In addition to character modeling, 3ds Max is commonly used for exterior and interior building modeling in the civil sector. 

4. Lumion

image4-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Lumion

Lumion is known for its real-time 3D visualization features, making it a popular choice for presenting architectural designs to clients. With its user-friendly and easy to use interface and high-quality rendering, designers can create impressive visualizations in minutes.

The starting price for Lumion 11 license upgrades is € 649/year. 

5. V-Ray

image3-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png© Creative Lighting

V-Ray is an industry-leading rendering engine used as a plugin for various 3D modeling software, including SketchUp and 3ds Max. Its ability to produce realistic lighting and materials has made it a preferred tool for architectural rendering.

V-Ray can be used with 3ds Max, Maya, SketchUp, Rhino, Revit, Cinema 4D, Unreal, Houdini, Nuke, etc. Plans for V-Ray Premium start at US $694.80 per year. 

Enroll in Kaarwan's 'V-Ray Rendering for Interior & Architecture Students' course today to become a pro renderer!

6. Blender

image10-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©iRender

Blender is a free and open-source 3D modeling software that has gained significant traction in the architectural visualization community. Despite being free, it offers powerful features, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious professionals.

7. ArchiCAD

image6-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Software Advice

ArchiCAD, developed by Graphisoft, is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software specially designed for architects and planners. It allows users to create detailed 3D models and extract relevant information for construction and documentation.

8. Revit

image2-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Autodesk

Revit, also developed by Autodesk, is another BIM software widely used in the architectural industry. It enables collaborative and efficient planning, designing, and management of building projects. 

With Kaarwan's 'Learn BIM for Architects and master Revit' course, you can quickly learn all the necessary tools and techniques to use Revit and up-skill yourself today!

9. Rhino

image1-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©Saran Kim

Rhino, or Rhinoceros, is powerful 3D modeling software used in various industries, including architecture. Its ability to handle complex 3D geometry makes it a valuable tool for architectural visualization. 

A license for Rhino 7 for Windows and Mac costs US $995 for commercial purposes and US $195 for students & faculty.

Learn Rhino and make fluid forms and buildings like Zaha Hadid!

10. Adobe Creative Suite

image11-Top Architecture Software 2023_kaarwan.png©The Architectural Student

Adobe Creative Suite, particularly Photoshop and Illustrator, play a crucial role in post-processing architectural renderings. Designers use these software tools to enhance and refine visualizations, adding the final touches to their projects. 

Photoshop can help you master sheet presentations in an effective manner!

How to Choose the Right Software?

The use of a combination of software tools can lead to more efficient and comprehensive design workflows in architectural visualization. 

Architects often use AutoCAD to create precise 2D drawings, which form the foundation for their projects. 

Once the 2D plans are ready, they can seamlessly transition to SketchUp or Rhino for the 3D modeling phase, allowing them to add depth and realism to their designs. 

Additionally, incorporating V-Ray or Lumion for rendering enhances visual appeal, while Adobe Creative Suite offers post-processing capabilities.

Selecting the right software for architectural visualization projects can be challenging due to the abundance of software options available. 

The software you choose should be suitable for your needs, whether you prioritize ease of use, rendering quality, or budget.


Architectural visualization is a constantly evolving field. Each of the top software tools mentioned above brings unique features and capabilities to the table. Whether you are an aspiring architect or a seasoned professional, mastering these software tools can significantly boost your visualization skills and take your designs to new heights.

If you are an architect or designer looking to enhance your skills further, consider joining Kaarwan. We offer result-oriented workshops that aim to help participants achieve their career goals through affordable and practical skill-based learning. 

Don't miss this opportunity to excel in your architectural journey!

Kishan Thakkar

Kishan Thakkar

A content writer with extensive experience in creating content for AEC & Real Estate industries. He is working as a freelance writer, assisting businesses in building a robust online presence through the power of writing and content strategies.