If everything is digital today, why not interior design then? Today, even an entry level designer is expected to be aware of more than one computer aided design (CAD) tool to design and plan interiors. Hand drawn designs are out of fashion and literally no one prefers them, especially employers and interior design firms looking for interior designers.
Compared to the traditional method of hand drawn designs and renderings, it is a lot easier to design and redesign using these software tools as they enable innumerable iterations. In addition, the output is simply better and hyper realistic when compared to the former, thus making it easy for interior designers to visualize and express their ideas better.
Here’s a list of the top 5 interior design software tools employers expect their interior designers to be well versed with.
Formerly known as Google SketchUp while it was under the ownership of Google from 2006 to 2012, this popular 3D modeling computer program is one of the most basic interior design software tool to begin with. Known for its easy to learn and use interface, SketchUp is available in two versions, SketchUp Make (freeware version) and SketchUp Pro (paid version). SketchUp comes with an online open source library of free model assemblies called 3D Warehouse and supports third party plugins to improve the functionality of the software. However, considering its basic nature, interior designers often face difficulty in modeling complex surfaces and visualizing complex 3D models using SketchUp.
2. Autodesk 3Ds Max
Moving on with interior design software tools that are simple in functionality and easy to learn, 3Ds Max from Autodesk is another popular one under the category. Used by interior design students as well as professional interior designers, Autodesk 3Ds Max provides excellent tools for rendering, simulating and visualizing interiors. Though the software is pretty easy to begin with and getting used to, it includes a ton of functionalities and also offers a flexible plugin architecture to support many third party applications. Study material and tutorial videos are abundantly available on the internet making 3Dx Max more easy to learn.
Autodesk 3Ds Max
3. Autodesk AutoCad
Moving up the complexity ladder, Autodesk AutoCad is one of the most essential but difficult software tools used in interior design. Regardless of its complexity, AutoCad is a very popular software that is used in almost all architectural and interior design firms, making it a must learn software tool for interior designers. Known for its hyper realistic details and high productivity tools, AutoCad was once Autodesk’s most popular product. Adding, AutoCad offers excellent tools for 3D animation and visualization of interiors to realize hyper realistic and detailed visions of the proposed design plan.
4. Autodesk Revit
Another Autodesk product, Autodesk Revit unlike the above mentioned is exclusively for architects and interior designers. Highly technical in nature, Autodesk Revit is a building design and construction software that enables professionals to digitally construct buildings and models with a consistent and coordinated model-based approach. Specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), Revit allows to create plans, elevations and sections in a quick manner. To be a successful interior designer, creativity alone won’t suffice; but you have to master over highly technical software tools like Revit as well.
5. Autodesk Homestyler
Lastly, the most popular of all the interior design software tools, Autodesk Homestyler. Homestyler is a full featured interior design software that makes it easy for designers to design floor plans and build layouts with doors, windows, furniture and various other accessories through its brilliant personalization tools. Homestyler unlike AutoCad or Rivet doesn’t have a complicated interface and can be easily used by a first-time user as well. The online community of Homestyler can be well utilized by interior designers to share their work, express their views and help each other in bringing out unique and creative interior designs.
Apart from the above mentioned top interior design software, we would like to make a few more notable mentions which are actively used by interior designers.
3. Ikea Home Planner
4. Sweet Home 3D
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Autodesk Alias is the most popular and in fact the most used industrial design and class A surfacing software suite. The Alias software package is a combination of three distinct design software namely Alias Design, Alias Surface and Alias Automotive. This article gives a brief introduction to all these three software, explores their possibilities, compares them with other computer aided design software and also discusses about Alias training and Alias designer jobs in India.
Alias: Software Description
Alias is a design and class A surfacing software that provides a wide range of powerful tools and options that are tailored to meet the needs of industrial designers, product designers and automotive designers. These tools are divided into 4 major categories namely
• Concept Design and Product Modeling
• Surface Modeling and Class A Surfacing
• Design Communication and Product Visualization
• Surface Analysis
As mentioned before, Autodesk Alias is a software package and comprises of the following three software.
1. Alias Design
Alias Design is mainly targeted on a generic audience belonging to all design domains. The software consists sketching, designing, modeling, visualization and analysis tools and what separates it from the other two is the lack of surfacing tools.
2. Alias Surface
As the name implies, this Alias software is mainly focused on providing class A surfacing tools along with modeling, visualization and analysis tools. Alias Surface is specially designed for automotive designers and lacks sketching tools unlike Alias Design. (Sketching tools include Autodesk’s leading sketching software, Sketchbook Pro)
3. Alias AutoStudio
Alias AutoStudio is a more comprehensive software package when compared to Alias Design and Alias Surface. It includes all the necessary tools right from sketching to analysis and as the name implies, it is specially designed to cater the needs of automotive designers.
1. Though Alias was introduced to the design world long back, it still remains to be the most relevant, high end software when it comes to designing, modeling and surfacing (Alias was known as StudioTools before Autodesk acquired it).
2. Unlike other CAD software like Catia and Pro E, Alias doesn’t go into mechanical details. To put it more simply, Alias is designed to meet the needs and workflow of designers and not engineers.
3. However, the tools in Alias are brilliantly designed to enable you to create complex curves and surfaces with precision and ease, so that one can come up with products that are ready to be handed over to hard core engineering processes. It also has two types of modelers-NURBS and Polygons.
4. Rhinoceros, MoI and Cobalt are the most popular alternatives of Alias and let’s consider Rhinoceros for our further discussion on why Alias is the best designing, modeling and surfacing software in comparison with others.
5. Though Rhinoceros offers a lot of powerful tools like Alias, it lacks the most important tool of all, a class A surfacing tool. This makes it inevitable for a design student to learn Alias though he/she is well aware of Rhino. In addition, Alias enables designers to achieve high quality class A surfaces which in turn offers superb control and freedom.
6. Though Rhinoceros and other related design software take less time to learn and are comparatively cheaper than Alias, learning Alias has immense advantages. Professional designers believe software like Rhino to be very basic and temporary and prefer Alias for a longer run. Also, most employers worldwide including India look for Alias designers and not for those who are well versed in Rhino.
Alias training in India is growing at a rapid rate given the popularity and importance of the software, as well as the rise of transport designer jobs in India. To be more precise, Alias training in Bangalore and Pune are better focused and popular when compared to other cities. While most of the Alias training centers in Bangalore and Pune are classroom oriented, online Alias training is also made available by a few. Alias is a pretty difficult software to learn all by yourself using online tutorials and YouTube videos. Hence before you set out to experiment and master the software, it is wise to receive a formal Alias training, familiarize yourself with the basics and refine your skillset.
There is a great demand for Alias designers in India, especially in the automotive sector. Most of the automakers and automotive OEM manufacturers are moving from established markets like US and Germany and are turning their face towards emerging markets like India and China. Hence there is a great need for car designers in India more than ever. Moreover, over the past decade the automotive industry has shifted from clay modeling to digital design since it saves money and time, as well as increases designer productivity. Hence Autodesk Alias not only becomes a necessary skillset for a car designer, but a mandatory one. According to many sources and surveys, today, most Alias designers start their career with a decent salary of INR 6,00,000 per annum and depending on one’s performance and work experience, the figures are definitely going to rise over time.
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