Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ArchiCAD vs. Revit

Since I have used both ArchiCAD and Revit for a long time, I get asked which is better or which one I like best.  Sometimes I'm not even sure.  So I have started a side-by-side comparison.  It covers many facets and I will post one topic at a time.

My primary focus is the experience of the end user and not so much about what is going on behind the interface.  This is a work in progress and may take forever to get perfect, so I'm just gonna start posting what I have and go from there...

Topic 1: Graphic Display Control


ArchiCAD Grade Revit (Architecture) Grade
Layers? Layers control whether elements are shown or hidden, locked or unlocked, hidden line or solid, and wall cleanup control.  Layer combinations are used to define specific drawing view types.  Layers can become a huge and cumbersome management issue on large and long running projects.   B- No layers!  Revit uses visibility graphic controls, phases and worksets to replace the layer paradigm A
RCP vs. Floor Plan Model view options control whether the door swings, window tags or other elements are displayed.  And how things are displayed such as fill patterns.  Although this works well,  it is difficult for lower skilled non-software-savvy people to grasp. A- Revit has built in Ceiling view types that control how elements are displayed.  Each view can be modified with the visibility graphics control. A
Phasing Renovation Filters:  Nice robust options and a great GUI. A Phases: Existing, Demolition & New Construction.  Good system. A-
Flexibility Great flexibility A- Excellent flexibility.  You can control what is displayed by Model elements, annotation elements, analytical, Revit links, Imported category  (DWG link), Worksets, Filters (custom).  Hide elements by category or separately. A
View Templates There are not view templates per se in ArchiCAD, however clone folders and settings assigned to views in the view map are similar.  Although this works well,  it is difficult for lower skilled non-software-savvy people to grasp. B- Revit 2013 view templates are excellent and function is a predictable manner. A

19 comments:

  1. This is going to ENRAGE people! Super interesting. Keep it up. Can't wait for the next installment. Thanks.

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  2. Hi Scott, wondering if you'd like some help with this from a Revit point of view - terminology etc. It would be great to see when done

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  3. What version of ArchiCAD are we talking about here?

    I see you're using Revit version 2013, and it would only be fair to compare it against ArchiCAD's latest version as well (which has a lot of features that ArchiCAD 10 or 11 didn't even have and some of which Revit still doesn't have)
    Past comparisons I've seen have tended to commit the old sin of comparing the latest of Revit with a 2 or 3 year old version of ArchiCAD, and while I still believe ArchiCAD 11 or 12 would still hold up well against the latest version of Revit, for those of us that use ArchiCAD we know there's a world of difference from those version to the current version and it would make a stronger comparison to compare like for like (version-wise).

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    1. I'm using ArchiCAD 16. If I'm missing a feature, please let me know.

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  4. Seeing that Renovation Filters are mentioned for ArchiCAD, it's not that old ;) 15 or 16 at least.

    ArchiCAD has layers and good control over them. Is that a + or a -? You indicate B- whereas Revit without layers receives A. IMHO, the control using layers in ArchiCAD is fairly easy to grasp by end users, certainly when coming from CAD, whereas the visibility of things inside Revit requires a lot of toggling of options in a large, non-graphical, table dialog.

    View templates > As a disadvantage I see is that you can only navigate inside Revit using the Views. If you want to have a different representation, you need to either change the view (with effects downstream where the view is used) or create a new one. In ArchiCAD you have views which set all display options, but at any time you can toggle of visibility of layers, display options, scaling etc... while resting assured that the placed views are not influenced by this.
    I find this a clear distinction between modelling (and toggling for making things clear) on the one hand and defining the actual representation in an actual view.

    Probably just personal opinions and to be frank, most of this is at a level of different nuances between the programs. Nothing here would be a real deal-braker, if you ask me.

    Nice to see a more systematic comparison.

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    1. @Stefan In Revit, most people create views for sheets and then duplicate those views for working in. Typically, view templates are only associated to the views placed on the sheet. Working views are made to be constantly changed. If you change anything in the working view it doesn't affect the view on the sheet.

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  5. Layers organised in view sets allow the user to have many different options to show to the client in ArchiCad. Some layers can be wireframe in 3D. Endless options that I don't have in Revit. I keep constantly temporarily hide things and to get them back they all come back and have to hide the items again that I did not want to come back.......

    Flexibiltiy great in Revit??? You must be joking. You can't just pull and push roofs and slabs in Revit, have to go in edit mode every time, change boundary lines, hope that they all connect (has to be checked each time) and click accept.... On a positive note, roof editing in Revit has greatly improved over the past few years, it used to be a dog (with it's own mind).

    Flexibility in hiding groups of elements is great for certain type of drawings you are displaying but I often have the need to sub-divide groups of element and get bogged down... Then I really miss my ArchiCad layers...

    The one thing I hate most in Revit is the model navigation.... can only work in isometric with clumsy tools to move around. In archiCad I can navigate easily close up and into model and work on the smallest detail in real time perspective view with textures etc... all to a very high quality. It makes me feel like the craftsman doing the actual work on site and not the draughtsman in CAD - Revit.... In archicad easy to navigate into a model to see what you are doing without having to hide some walls…..

    ArchiCad's graphic display is far superior to Revit in my mind, endless options and permutations. To some extend I agree with the above, the more control you give to the user the more you have to learn to master the control. I would compare ArchiCad graphic display to the Airplane, a bit more complicated to come to grips with all the options...., but gives so much more options than Revit, which I would compare to the car.....

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  6. Please do a comparison of parametric objects...

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  7. Amen to Daniel Ireland

    And by the way Mr MacKenzie, you must be kidding about layers control

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    1. Layers are great when kept under control and your whole team is savvy with how layers work in ArchiCAD. I have had to clean up many situations where things get messed up. (in ArchiCAD and AutoCAD projects). Plus the quantity of layers can get out of hand, and on long running big projects you can get redundant layers created. So when it comes to model management, layers can be a huge pain in the ass. No, I'm not kidding.

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  8. I would be real curious to see the grading between ArchiCAD Teamwork and Revit Worksharing/Revit Server. ;)

    I notice this is Topic #1, meaning there are more to come? This is a great discussion as long as it can remain civil, ha.

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    1. I can give detailed input on Revit Server if needed. I have been running Revit server for over 2 years with more than 10 locations connected.

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    2. Yes, I planning covering Teamwork and Revit Server, but from a limited end user perspective. If you want in-depth inner workings stuff, I would refer you to my former co-worker Ransom Radcliff's paper on ArchiCAD vs Revit the matter...
      http://www.bdarchitects.com/bd-MAP/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/revit_vs_archicad_288_rev_by_wm_199.pdf

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  9. in Archicad how is family content creation is it Easy to work?

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  10. I think you are missing some good points in flexibility for archicad. The way to handle 3D Documents to create 3D details, the way to handle only load bearing elements, the way to navigate in perspective view and the most important is the way to handle big size projects.
    Yes you are right, some time layers is a pain in the a..., but if you are organized this is not that a big issue.

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  11. Great post, I have been using Revit for 4 years now and can't image using anything else. You put in more work on the beginning but it pays off in the end.

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  12. Lots of angry Archicad users here! :D
    I think you should do a comparison of Object-creation too as I find it is an extremely important element of BIM. As I understand it, most Archicad users are dependent of pre-made content, correct?

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  13. I don't know rev it and I have been using archiCAD since the version 4 but I totally agree with the layer management comment. it can become a huge management . for example I was working on a 22 storey tower that had gone through multiple options and people created many additional layers which ended up being 200 layers. We decided to purify the layers,we had to proceed storey by storey, it took one week to perform the task!

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