Good CAD programs

Rhino (Rhinoceros 3D) price: $790 (Students and teachers save up to 80%.)
Moment of Inspiration (Moi3D) price: $279
Autodesk Alias Surface price: $22,680 for 3 years
Modo 10.2 price: $1,799
KeyCreator standard price: $2,620
Autodesk Fusion 360 Ultimate price: $4500 for 3 years
Autodesk AutoCAD price: $4,252.50 for 3 years
Onshape standard price: $1500 for 1 year
CATIA base price: $9,000
Creo (Pro/ENGINEER) price: $4995
Autodesk Inventor Professional price: $5105 for 3 years
NX Unigraphics price: $7,500
ICEM Surf price: $2,300
Ansys SpaceClaim price: $2250 for 1 year
Solidworks price: $3995 - $7,995
Solid Edge base price: $4,000
Autodesk 3ds Max price: $3,970 for 3 years
Autodesk Maya (best animation program) price: $3,970 for 3 years
Houdini (best visual effects program*) price: $6,995
Cinema 4D price: $3695
Carrara 8.5 price: $149.95
solidThinking Evolve price (with dongle): $1,929

XNurbs plugin (smooth blending of NURBS surfaces; algorithm is based on minimum energy) price: $295
Bongo plugin (animates rigid objects) price: $415 (Rhino+Bongo = $1,205)
OctaneRender plugin (best renderer**) price: $589
Flamingo plugin (mediocre renderer, but makes good trees and shrubs) price: $419
RhinoMESH plugin (cleans up meshes) price: $1000
Mesh2Surface plugin (semi-automatic convertion of scan data into NURBS) price: $1,409
Rhino3DPRINT plugin, price: $1,000
RhinoCAM 2017 plugin (for milling machines) price: $8,000
madCAM 5.0 5Xtra plugin (for milling machines) price: $5,995
Affinity Photo (Photoshop clone) price: $40
iClone 7 (animates people) price: no import/export = $199, import only = $398, import and export = $698
ZBrush (best sculpting program) price: $699
Sculptris is free program for making 3D sculptures.
PowerDirector (best destructive video editor***) price: about $100
Avid Media Composer (best non-destructive video editor***) price: $1,799 for 1 year

*Examples of visual effects (abbreviated VFX): explosions, flames, morphing, rain, water flow.
**OctaneRender runs exclusively on Nvidia’s CUDA graphics cards.
***Non-destructive editing is a form of audio, video or image editing where the original content is not degraded in the course of editing.


Rhino is better than Alias:

What whould happen to Rhino if there were no Grasshopper? What would be it’s conservations status? Would it be as White Rhino or Black one?

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Where did the fusion price come from or is that a typo? Or has the price changed. Seems to be $495.00 per year, might get a discount for 3.


How can someone put Cinema4d, 3dsMax in a list of CAD programs? Sorry there is no better. Any program has its strengths and weaknesses. I really wonder how those dubious comparisions are made. An automotive designer would never use Rhino as primary CAD platform, someone doing Motor Construction would never use any direct modelling software, instead choosing a parametric modelling platform like Creo or Catia. An architect rather chooses a BIM platform, such as Archicad, Allplan or Revit.
And Grasshopper, well people could do same things before. It just required more knowledge. Sorry but all the “research” on how innovative Grasshopper is, is rather due to the lack of universities on knowing whats going on in the industry for decades.
Besides this, once you really work on something which creates profit, almost any price shown above is laughable. So in reality many companies owning multiple platforms, letting their people cherry pick their tools. Thanks to the genious invention of floating licenses…


that might be just the parade example for how prefabricated your perception is.

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How am I prefabricated when I’m saying there is no right and wrong? This statement is totally the opposite of what I’ve said.

Since I have many architects as friends they all use one of these 3 software as their primary CAD platform. Maybe this is an unlucky example because Rhino is indeed capable of using BIM through plugins, to be honest I really don’t know much of the requirements a Architect has nowadays. But anyway how can someone say CAD A is better then CAD B without any context. In the end its a tool and someone can do things better with it or not. But if you plan to engrave wood with a screwdriver then you are doing something wrong.


what andrew might refer to in regards of being better is that it has a higher rating of 4.something while alias has less in this link above. maybe you have misunderstood that.

what i meant regarding prefabricated perception is that you are describing a specific use for each software. particularly talking about BIM. there are discussions in the www which you can find searching for BIM vs Architecture. also i have read engine developers missing the direct modelling which rhino offers. which might indeed substitute what you wrote that there is no better.

and actually you are contradicting yourself when you say there is no better while writing about which software one would use in a specific field.

in the city where i live there was a competition a while ago enveloping the need for a rather large public building. the irony in that is that a group of people who do visualisation for architects and are no architects themselves participated with 3ds max and no further use of any “other” CAD software and had won, which questions the need for architects and the need for “CAD” software.

i personally would not use these for CAD because i am trained to think like that living in a world where everything has a specific purpose only as you describe, in a world where one not dares to use a potato or gurken peeler to grate cheese even though it might be fully possible.

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You can do practically anything with any kind of software to win a competition. But you can’t build the building with it. Is it CAD? In the broadest sense, yes - Computer Aided Design. The competition model done for visualization is just a sort of computer generated design sketch.

Software using Blender has been created for parametric boat design. Does that make Blender CAD?

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Blender 0 $ :wink:

Blender 83757 $ / month

software but also cranes and other machines are mere extensions of the human eye and brain. i dont know where one could draw a line between the different stages of design to justify calling it building, but at least in the final stage a human is doing it with practically no software involved at all

30 years ago buildings and boats and other fancy devices were planned with a piece of paper plugged into a drawing board with a large ruler running across, simply helping to draw a straight line. nowadays i would say a software does nothing more than to help drawing straight lines. sure they may look fancier nowadays even curvy and 3dimensional but in the end its just a tool to communicate ideas and order

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Well, aside from direct CAD to manufacturing - which is now pretty much 100% in mechanical industries and making a lot of inroads in architecture - unless it’s very simple the final building will also have been analyzed by an engineer (most likely with CAD) to make sure it stands up and the building components will all have been sent to the various suppliers for both quotes and manufacturing - all via CAD. Certainly it’s still possible to do this with pencil and paper, hand waving or even smoke signals, but only if you have a lot of time and money to spare - today that is simply too time consuming and expensive.

No offense, but that’s a fairly outdated view I would venture to say. No complex project, whether it be a building, an automobile, a boat or a watch can be realistically made today without CAD running throughout the entire process.

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maybe, but the point of my slightly abstract and historical resumé was actually that a 3d software may very well be able to communicate anything you wish. with a bit of a workflow adaption maybe a few python scripts whatever, maybe even better, i would not try to define that ultimately.

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Well I think the point @TomTom was making was using the most appropriate tool for the job… While you can certainly drive a screw in with a hammer and you might even be able to drive a nail in with a screwdriver if you work at it hard enough, they are certainly not the best tools for the job and will likely not give optimum results…


what is the best tool, a software which keeps track of every part? capable of storing a multitude of sections and precise outputs for communicative matter and even for production such as 3 d print line drawings of parts for manufacturing and precise building matters? if i would not know rhino, 3d might very well do the trick for me, with cinema 4d i would be able to do that. i am just not used to do it because i got trained into rhino which i appreciate maybe also due to laziness. whatever the optimum result ist, who would know that, its not that there is a bunch of people seriously tried it which i know of.

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The best tool is the one that gets the job done in the most efficient, accurate manner. Also, on any reasonably complex job, multiple tools are often necessary.


I disagree.
The best tool is the one that gets YOU the job done in the most efficient, accurate manner.

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True. But you may also be in competition with other “yous” that have better, faster tools than you…

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