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 (the underlined text below is not yet updated for January 2022)
During the pandemic, you can access design software remotely. This includes Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), ArcGIS Pro, AutoCAD, Rhino, Grasshopper, Ladybug, Honeybee, SketchUp Pro, VectorWorks, and V-Ray.
- For general information, refer to Dalhousie's Computer Labs and Software Access page.
- Dalhousie has three platforms for accessing software remotely: Software Download, RLab (Remote Lab), and VLab (Virtual Lab). To view a list of software on all three platforms, go to the Lab Software page.
- To download software, start at the Software Download page.
- For RLab: For Mac and Windows instructions, go to Remote Lab Access Tutorial. To save your files before you log out of an RLab session, upload them to your OneDrive account, which provides 1TB of free cloud storage. These instructions are also available in separate videos for Mac and Windows: RLab video for Mac and OneDrive video for Mac; and RLab video for Windows and OneDrive video for Windows.
- For VLab: Go to the Virtual Lab page and follow the instructions to access software on VLab1 or VLab2.
- For support, e-mail the university's help desk: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
3. Page Layout and Compositing
4. 2D Drafting
5. 3D Modeling and Rendering
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
8. Energy Calculation
Useful for: energy modeling
Available from: Matchbox
9. Website Design
10. Digital Presentations
11. Video Production and Editing
Useful for: digital maps
Available on Arch-Plan lab computers (see above)