One of the questions everyone asks in architecture school is, what programs do firms use? So here's my list.
For my professional work at Loebl Schlossman & Hackl:
- Drawings in Revit. Sometimes with consultants we have to use AutoCad for coordination but not much.
- Microsoft Word and Excel for spreadsheets and formal communication.
- Outlook for email.
- IE is still the standard browser...
- Marketing, presentations, photos, etc. get done in Indesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
- Project organization gets done in Newforma.
- Mark-ups to consultants in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
- Simple rendering gets done in Revit via their cloud rendering. For nicer stuff we use a consultant, usually from China.
- For specs we use Specwriter.
- Vision for billing, client management, and human resources tasks.
- For file organization everything is just in folders with project numbers and a standardized set of folders (ie, consultants in, consultants out, SD, DD, CD, etc.).
For my personal work it's a bit different
- Code review, organizing my documents/PDFs/specs, browsing, etc. is all done with Google products. I use Chrome with the Evernote Web Clipper extension. Evernote has really exceeded my expectations and is an incredible archiving tool. Everything gets a folder in Evernote which is shared with a link inside a Google Drive document. It's easy to to share, convert to multiple formats, collaborate with others, and it's stored in the cloud so I can have access to it anywhere.
- Drawings get done in some combination of a Moleskin Squared XL (shut up), Rhino (very fast and easy to work out ideas), and Revit. Sometimes I hand draft just because it's easier for me to work out problems.
- Rendering is done with Maxwell Render as a plugin through Rhino. Maxwell just added support for Revit so that'll make life easier at some point.
- Graphics, photos, etc. is some combination of Indesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
A few notes. AutoCad won't go away anytime soon, but Revit is the future.There are many criticisms but it's a very powerful program. Don't hate, adapt. Also, 3DS Max is the way to go with rendering if you use Revit. Rendering is very important in school and not very important in real life. It's not that simple of course. Renderings do after all sell jobs, but they're just not as important in a firm setting. The biggest difference between school and a firm is that everything needs to get done quickly. You can't make drawings in Rhino then adjust your line weights in Illustrator after every set you issue. You can, but you're not going to be compensated for your time. Figure out a work flow that works and figure out how to refine it. 90% of what I do all day is Revit > PDF > email for drawings or Photoshop/Illustrator > InDesign > PDF for presentations.