Design Software

This page provides tips on which software to use for a particular purpose and how to get started. Except as noted, software is available for both Mac and PC. In-house support for software is available from our Design Software Tutorials page and from the Computer Help Desk assistants.

Access to Lab Software in Fall 2020

During this COVID-19 period, you can access software that is located on the Faculty's lab computers, including Adobe CC, AutoCAD for Architecture, Rhino, Grasshopper, Ladybug, Revit, SketchUp Pro, VectorWorks, and V-Ray. [Note: AutoCAD, Revit, and V-Ray are not yet accessible, as of September 23.]

  1. For general information, refer to Dalhousie's Software Access Information page.
  2. Go to the Remote Lab (RLab) page and follow the instructions to install VPN (Virtual Private Network) software (Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client) on your computer.
  3. Use VPN to connect to Dalhousie's network, using your NetID and password. This will give you remote access to Dalhousie's resources. Reconnect via VPN whenever you need access.
  4. Go to Dalhousie's Remote Student Access page and click on Architecture and Planning in the left column. The list of RLab computers will appear. You can then log in to one of the Faculty's lab computers.

Dalhousie University also provides Microsoft applications in Office 365: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, etc. Go to my.dal.ca, log in, and click on the 9-square grid at the top left.

For video conferencing, refer to the Remote Communication page.

1. Graphic Design

Adobe Illustrator CC
Useful for: making drawings and graphic art; laser cutting
Available from Adobe; also on Arch-Plan lab computers (see above)
Tutorials: Adobe; Lynda (free access to Lynda with a Halifax library card)

2. Image Processing

Adobe Photoshop CC
Useful for: editing photos and images
Available from Adobe; also on Arch-Plan lab computers (see above)
Tutorials: Adobe; Lynda

3. Page Layout and Compositing

Adobe InDesign CC
Useful for: producing documents with images and text; process portfolios
Available from Adobe; also on Arch-Plan lab computers (see above)
Tutorials: Adobe; Lynda

Conceptboard (web-based)
Useful for: design process, desk crits, and online collaboration (with Zoom)
Available from: Conceptboard (Fall 2020 students have been enrolled in Conceptboard accounts for particular courses)
Tutorials: Conceptboard

4. 2D Drafting

AutoCAD
Useful for: 2D drafting, laser cutting
Available from: Autodesk (free)
Tutorials: Lynda
(For 2D drafting, see also Rhinoceros and VectorWorks below.)

5. 3D Modeling and Rendering

SketchUp
Useful for: 3D modeling, terrain mapping, site analysis, rendering, solar studies, rapid prototyping
Available from: SketchUp
Tutorials: SketchUp

Rhinoceros
Useful for: 2D drafting, 3D modeling, complex geometry, digital fabrication, rendering, solar studies, rapid prototyping
Available from: Rhino3D
Tutorials: Rhino3D

VectorWorks
Useful for: 2D drafting, 3D modeling, building information modeling (BIM), rendering, presentation drawings, solar studies
Available from: VectorWorks
Tutorials: VectorWorks

Revit
Useful for: building information modeling (BIM), 3D modeling, parametric modeling, producing drawing sets
Available from: Autodesk
Tutorials: Autodesk

6. Visual Scripting

Grasshopper for Rhino
Useful for: parametric modeling, physics simulation, hosting plug-ins for BIM, site and energy analysis, augmented reality projection, structural analysis (note: Mac version is not fully functional)
Available from: Food4Rhino
Tutorials: Grasshopper 3D; Modelab

7. Rendering

V-Ray
Useful for: 3D visualization and presentation renderings from SketchUp, Rhino, and Revit
Available from: Chaos Group
Tutorials: for SketchUp; for Rhino; for Revit

8. Energy Calculation

Matchbox (web-based)
Useful for: energy modeling
Available from: Matchbox
Tutorials: n/a

9. Website Design

Adobe Portfolio CC
Useful for: web hosting and design
Available from Adobe; also on Arch-Plan lab computers (see above)
Tutorials: Adobe

10. Digital Presentations

Keynote
Useful for: making digital presentations
Available from: Apple (free)
Tutorials: Apple; Lynda

11. Video Production and Editing

iMovie
Useful for: editing videos
Available from: Apple (free)
Tutorials: Apple; Lynda

Adobe Premiere Pro
Useful for: producing and editing videos
Available from: Adobe
Tutorials: Adobe

12. GIS

ArcGIS
Useful for: digital maps
Available onĀ Arch-Plan lab computers (see above)