ArchiCAD is a complete solution software design suite with 2D and 3D visualization, drafting and other functions for architects, planners and designers.

ArchiCAD is integrated with a wide range of software applications to cover most of the design needs of an architectural office:

* 2D CAD – drawing tools for creating detailed and accurate technical drawings

* 3D Modeling – specially developed 3D CAD interface for architects capable of creating various kind of building forms

* Architectural rendering and Visualization – a high performance rendering tool to produce photorealistic videos or pictures

* Desktop publishing – this is to compose printed materials using technical drawings pixel-based images and texts with similar features to mainstream DTP software

* Document management tool (DMT) – with remote access and versioning tool, a central data storage server with backup and restore features

* Building Information Modeling – a novel approach to building design called BIM is not just a collection of the above mentioned applications with an integrated user interface.

ArchiCAD is often called “smart objects” by users; it allows the user to work with data-enhanced parametric objects. This was created in the 1980s which differs from the operational style of other CAD programs. The product creates a “virtual building” and allows the user with virtual structural elements like slabs, walls, roofs, windows, doors and furniture. A large variety comes with the program of pre-designed and customizable objects.

ArchiCAD creates a 2D or 3D representation on the screen and allow the users to work with either of it. It can be export at any time Two-dimensional drawings, even though it always stores data in three dimensions model in the program’s database. It generates three dimensional virtual Plans, elevations, and sections of building model and are constantly updated if the user ‘rebuilds’ the view. 2D detail added in detail drawings are based on enlarged portions of the model.

ArchiCAD released its first file exchange based Teamwork solution and completely rewritten Teamwork “2.0″ with a new database approach named Graphisoft BIM Server.

The central storage allows changes and differences are sent remotely access over the internet allowing worldwide project coordination and collaboration.

Libraries of architectural components for use in ArchiCAD have been compiled by Third-party vendors and some manufacturers of architectural products.

The program includes Geometric Description Language used to create new components. Also Application Programming Interface and ODBC database connections are supported for third party Add-On developers. Via direct API links to 5D or 4D software such as Tocoman iLink or Vico Office Suite, ArchiCAD model can be exported to BIM-based cost estimation and scheduling.

Solibri’s Model of ArchiCAD is also directly linked via API checking and quality assurance tools. ArchiCAD can import and export DXF, DWG and IFC files among others.

ArchiCAD has various free and commercial add-on products and extensions to add extra functionality to provide further data exchange possibilities with other software applications. Some of these extensions are freely available such as Google SketchUp, Google Earth or Cinema 4D import/export add-ons. Other extensions are provided by Graphisoft EcoDesigner, Graphisoft MEP Modeler or Graphisoft Virtual Building Explorer; while there are a number of add-ons provided by third party vendors, such as Cadimage or Cigraph.                                                                                   …read more.

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