The Best Software Tutorials on the Web (According to ArchDaily Readers)

The Best Software Tutorials on the Web (According to ArchDaily Readers), via Shutterstock. © Max Griboedov
via Shutterstock. © Max Griboedov

In a world where architects can use computers to produce representations of designs with new levels of accuracy and artistry, software fluency is becoming increasingly necessary. With that in mind, last month we asked our readers to help us develop a comprehensive list of tutorials. After studying the comments and scouring the internet for more sources, we have developed this improved list, which we hope will help you to discover new work techniques and better ways to apply different programs.

Of course, it's unlikely that any list of internet resources will ever be complete, so we're hoping to continually update this list with the web's best learning resources. If there are any tutorials sites we've missed which you found helpful, let us know in the comments!

The abundance of information can make it hard to find relevant content, so we are once again turning to our readers' expansive experience and interests to assist us in making the pursuit of technical knowledge less demanding. To make the tutorials easier to navigate, we have once again categorized the list based on which software they focus on:

Pre-Production Modeling and Drawing: this category covers software like AutoCAD, Rhinoceros and BIM programs.

Image Production: Primarily concerned with rendering programs, this category includes programs such as 3ds Max and V-Ray.

Post-Production Image Manipulation: Programs like Photoshop fall into this category.

We also have a General Purpose category for sources that address more than one category or contribute to educating software users without directly providing technology lessons.

Schmidt hammer lassen architects' rendering of their Waterfront Development in Shanghai. Image Courtesy of schmidt hammer lassen architects
Schmidt hammer lassen architects' rendering of their Waterfront Development in Shanghai. Image Courtesy of schmidt hammer lassen architects

Pre-Production:

  • Shoegnome: Jared Banks’ website is a great place to learn about uses of BIM software. Featuring a variety of YouTube tutorials and articles, Shoegnome can educate novices and seasoned veterans alike through Banks’ blend of reader-friendly content and technical subject matter.
  • ThinkParametric: Many of our readers called for us to include ThinkParametric in the list despite the fact that it requires a subscription fee. This website organizes instructional videos into courses on a range of topics, including Grasshopper, Rhino, and Revit. It also includes project-based courses in which students learn to use software by recreating built projects. ThinkParametric has a fourteen day trial period to experience its teaching methods and topics.
  • The Revit Kid: Offering a combination of video and text based instruction, Jeffrey Pinhiero’s blog addresses topics primarily in BIM systems and Revit. The Revit Kid.Com’s library of sources is extensive, with numerous pages of relevant content, and also includes supplemental material such as a newsletter, and (paid) ebooks and videos.
  • The Grasshopper Website: The official website for Grasshopper includes several video tutorials for beginning users, as well as links to outside sources which cover additional related topics. Within the website is also a link to a free download of the 157 page Grasshopper Primer, which covers topics relevant to all levels of users.
  • Digital Toolbox: Focusing on Rhino and Grasshopper, Digital Toolbox, developed by Scott Leinweber and Tam Tran, has hours of tutorials on topics ranging from the most basic uses to more involved processes. Digital Toolbox has a somewhat small collection of videos, but the content is nonetheless valuable.
  • Autodesk's Youtube Channel: It almost goes without saying that Autodesk offers a wide range of resources for their own software. Their Youtube channel contains a number of instructional videos alongside showcases of new features and promotional videos - the list can be overwhelming at first, so unless there's something specific you're searching for keep an eye out for anything labeled "Getting Started."
  • Bond-Bryan BIM BlogBond Bryan's Rob Jackson has been publishing on the company's "BIM Blog" since 2013, focusing on BIM-related news, case studies and guidance for using ArchiCad, the BIM tool used by his company.
  • Nick Senske on Youtube: Created for the course he runs at UNC Charlotte, Senske's video tutorials largely focus on modeling in Rhino
  • Plethora Project: Jose Sanchez's series of tutorials focus on a number of tools that are perhaps less "standard" in architecture, including the Unity3d game engine, Autodesk's Maya software for animations, and C#, Python and Javascript. However, the site also includes the more usual Rhino and Grasshopper tutorials, meaning there is something for almost everyone here.
  • NYCCTfab on Vimeo: New York City College of Technology's Department of Architectural Technology Fabrication Lab has created an astonishing number of videos on modeling software, including Revit, Rhino and Grasshopper - they even have a series of videos on GIS.

Over the past 25 years, Photoshop has helped make photorealistic images of near-impossible projects an everyday fact of architecture. Image Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design
Over the past 25 years, Photoshop has helped make photorealistic images of near-impossible projects an everyday fact of architecture. Image Courtesy of Urban Future Organization and CR-Design

Image Production:

  • Evermotion: Evermotion has a huge range of tutorials, including guides for exotic visualization programs such as Unreal Engine 4 and Cinema 4D,in addition to more common programs like V-Ray and 3ds Max. It also includes an image gallery, which is an excellent way to discover new techniques.
  • SketchUp Artists: Although it only focuses on rendering within SketchUp, this website has an impressive volume of tutorials and instructions for ways to use several different rendering engines, as well.
  • Maxwell on Youtube: Maxwell Render’s YouTube channel has hours of instruction about various features in their programs. The large number of videos Maxwell has produced can make it a challenge to find meaningful content, but viewers can navigate to helpful guides by using the “playlists” tab.
  • Arch Viz Camp: Arch Viz Camp has a small but useful set of video tutorials dealing primarily with 3ds Max and Vray; the website's easy to understand instruction makes it accessible to novices and experienced users alike. 
  • Simply Rhino Webinars: Although not the most comprehensive of tutorial platforms, this Youtube channel has a series of videos about V-Ray for Rhino totaling over five hours.
  • Visual Dynamics Website: This V-Ray reseller is gradually adding sets of tutorials for the software in 3ds Max, Rhino and Sketchup, among others. So far, only the 3ds Max tutorials are particularly developed, but watch this space for more.
  • Official V-Ray Website: In a similar vein, the official V-Ray website has a range of tutorials, mostly focusing on 3ds Max and Maya.

Post Production Image Manipulation:

  • Pixelflakes: This visualization studio has produced renderings for some of the largest and most influential architecture firms in the world. Their Vimeo channel breaks down some of their images into thorough lessons in the firm’s workflow.
  • CG Architect: Under CG Architect’s “features” tab is their tutorials section, which shows the visualization artist’s production process from a digital model to a completed image. Most of the projects on this website are architectural, but others show the design and visualization process for different fields, which could provide insight into different methods of working.
  • Photoshop.Architect's YouTube Channel: In spite of having a rather small collection of videos, this source includes tutorials for slightly unconventional rendering practices. In Photoshop.Architect's videos, viewers can find examples of rendered plans, sections, and night scenes.
  • Adam Kormendi on YouTube: Adam Kormendi’s YouTube channel features tutorials in Photoshop which cover advanced techniques for adding realistic details and atmospheric elements to images. Kormendi also includes a few videos on 3ds Max and V-Ray and several breakdowns of completed images which supplement the finished work in his tutorials.
  • Vyonyx Tutorials: London-based visualization studio Vyonyx offers a small set of tutorials, largely focusing on how to achieve certain effects in Photoshop. They also include a small number of tutorials focusing on modeling software such as Rhino and 3ds Max.
  • ARQUI9 Visualisation on Youtube: Another visualization studio who are sharing their knowledge online, ARQUi9 have only five videos to date, but their tutorials are clearly presented and cover useful techniques on Photoshop from adding people to images to creating convincing reflections in water.

Rendering of a masterplanning study combining architectural, geotechnical, sustainability, and GIS data to visualize a 34-acre site in South Wales. Image Courtesy of Arup Connect
Rendering of a masterplanning study combining architectural, geotechnical, sustainability, and GIS data to visualize a 34-acre site in South Wales. Image Courtesy of Arup Connect

General:

  • learnarchviz.com: With tutorials on Photoshop, V-Ray, and 3ds Max, learnarchviz.com offers a fairly large collection of free videos in addition to paid courses that go into greater detail on visualization topics. Users can access the paid courses for relatively low price by signing up with learnarchviz.com on the homepage.
  • Lynda.com: You may have heard of this site, which offers over 3,500 courses and hundreds of thousands of individual video tutorials in everything from photography and business to architectural software. What many students don't know is that their university may be able to provide them with a free subscription.
  • Visualizing Architecture: Alex Hogrefe has created a comprehensive list of tutorials for creating compelling images, split conveniently into four sub-categories. Most of the tutorials focus on techniques that can be simply achieved using just SketchUp and Photoshop.
  • Ronen Bekerman: Ronen Bekerman's blog is, above all, a fantastic place to see case studies. Bekerman regularly features contributors who showcase their own work, explaining how they created a single render from the modeling stage to post-production.

We hope to keep building on this list, so please post more tutorials in the comments section below!

Main image via Shutterstock.com

Cite: Patrick Kunkel. "The Best Software Tutorials on the Web (According to ArchDaily Readers)" 22 Jun 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/645270/architecture-software-tutorials-part-2-what-we-heard-from-you/>