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Tips 3: What is the most appropriate base software to choose from?

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

There are many Base Software on the market, and all of them are very powerful. It's just that each software is made with different uses. Choosing a base software must be right from the start of our learning so as not to waste time.

what is the most appropriate base software

For the learning phase, it is very important to determine the Software that we will use at this initial stage because it is better at the beginning to keep using 1-2 software first, after that it can be upgraded to other software if needed.

As I have already informed in a previous blog, the software itself is divided into 4 categories, which are:

  1. Base Software

  2. Render Engine

  3. Plugins Software

  4. Post Production Software

Base Software will be your platform to work primarily for modeling and texturing. There are some software that is commonly used in the architectural visualization industry, and this time I will discuss approximately 7 Base software.

Blender is a free base software, but free does not mean cheap, Blender has very complete features that can be used to the advanced stage. I personally highly recommend using Blender for the initial learning phase. The modeling quality is also very comparable with paid software such as 3DSMAX, Maya, and Cinema 4D. Modeling in Blender is not only a basic model, but it can also be the most complicated model.

Blender is also always updated by adding new features or fixing existing bugs. And furthermore, Blender also provides Blender cycles engine rendering facilities that are also free.

Blender menu interface


Blender menu interface

Source: CG Cookies

As you can see the results using Blender, is not inferior to other paid software. The details are truly amazing. It is highly recommended for early learning to use a blender.

SketchUp is a fairly powerful base software, very easy to learn, especially for basic modeling, and the way SketchUp works makes us able to work faster and more efficiently. Very widely used by architects and interior designers because it speeds up the modeling process so they can focus on the study of its shape and design.

A little con of SketchUp is that if you want to make a round and complex model, you need to use additional plugins, but it will increase the performance because SketchUp is made to be as simple as possible. SketchUp is free software for the simple version, for the pro version, you have to buy a license every year. Sketchup is also highly recommended to be used for early learning.

sketchup image

sketchup image

Source: 3D Warehouse

Although the shape is like a cartoon, but modeling using SketchUp can use a fairly accurate size, and we can walk into the building like playing a game. This makes it very easy for architects and interior designers to learn the shape of the designs they make and it is very easy to communicate their designs to their clients very quickly.

3DSMAX is a paid software which can be said to be quite expensive if we use it for the initial learning process. This software is very widely used in the Architectural Visualization industry because it has been famous for a long time, and many 3D models are ready to use both free and paid, making it easier for 3DSMAX users to work. And also there are so many very powerful software plugins that are only developed for this 3DSMAX.

3ds max interface image
3ds max model image

Source: Ralph Sutter

From the picture above, we can see that the details in 3DSMAX seem very detailed, the gremlin in the picture above is a 3D model, not rendering.

Maya is also a product of Autodesk, which is quite expensive and is widely used for animation productions. Very rarely 3D artist in the Architectural Visualization Industry uses this software. Maya can be said to be a specialist in animation because of rigging (moving characters) is more advanced than 3DSMAX and Maya's features make objects also change when there are certain movements such as hands bent, then the skin in the elbow area also changes naturally.

autodesk maya image

autodesk maya image


Although it's more widely used for animation, it does not mean it cannot be used for Architectural Visualization. There are some archviz artists who also use MAYA.

Cinema 4D is very powerful for modeling and can be said to be the lightest in terms of navigation viewport compared to other platforms. And there are also many 3D models sold for this platform, so they are widely used by 3D artists in the world of Architectural Visualization. In Indonesia alone, it is very rare to use Cinema 4D. In terms of price it is also not as expensive as 3DSMAX.

cinema 4d interface

Source: Helloluxx

cinema 4d interface

There are many rendering engines made in 3DSMAX were also developed in Maxon Cinema 4D, such as VRay and Corona Renderer.

Rhino is very similar to SketchUp, but it is very powerful because for modeling, the size used in Rhino can be very accurate. The price is also not too expensive. It's just that rarely use Rhino because it is very difficult to export to other platforms. Some of 2G Studio clients also use Rhino, and the 3D Model is good and detailed.

rhinoceros modeling


rhinoceros 3d modeling

Source: APK PURE

ZBrush is widely used for modeling human, animal, and monster characters. It can be said that almost no one uses this software for Architectural Visualization, but many objects can be done in Z-Brush such as making detailed stones, detailed sculptures, and then export it to other platforms. For organic modeling, the Z-Brush is very light in its navigation section.

z brush modeling

z brush modeling

Source: uniz

As seen in the 2 pictures above, the modeling results are so detailed and accurate, for the viewport navigation with poly that is so detailed, very lightweight when compared to 3DSMAX.

The advice I can give is to learn to use Blender first, because later when there is already a lot of work, chances are we will use 3DSMAX because of the many pre-made models that are ready to use and many very powerful supporting software developed only for 3DSMAX that really helps you speed up the work process.

Modeling in 3DSMAX is not far from Blender, all it takes is an adaptation of mouse and keyboard controls only, after adapting, you will not encounter any problems with modeling. And even if you're modeling in Blender when exported to 3DSMAX the results are perfect, can be used as an editable poly without experiencing the slightest problem. So if you still want to do modeling in Blender then export it to 3DSMAX for the texturing, shaders, and rendering stages, you won't encounter any problems at all.

You can also learn at the beginning using SketchUp. Even there's a lot of people modeling in SketchUp, and then export it to 3DSMAX because modeling in SketchUp is very fast and saves time. It's just a little problem because the SketchUp model is editable mesh, not editable poly, if forced to convert to editable poly, there gonna be many problems, especially in the round corner. If the round corner was made in SketchUp and then exported to 3DSMAX, when using 3DSMAX it will be very heavy. I am one of the artists who use SketchUp for the learning phase, as long as you are not spoiled with SketchUp and still want to learn modeling in Blender or in 3DSMAX, because learning 3D organic models will greatly facilitate us in work. Learning about 3DSMAX will also make it easier for us to work later because there are many 3DSMAX users so that we will not experience significant obstacles in exchanging files if you cooperate with other people.

If you already understand how to make a model up to the organic modeling stage, the software that I really recommend to learn is Z-Brush, because this software is very powerful for making organic models such as human characters, monsters, stones, whatever it is, which later will facilitate your work in the world of Architectural Visualization or even opening a new way for you in the world of games and animation.

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