BIM, or Building Information Modeling, is about creating designs that are virtual simulations. They can include the design’s construction, procurement, pricing, life safety, ongoing maintenance, facility management, and other aspects. A live database of the projects’ parts can be accessed for building purposes. For example, a list of all the windows in a building can be accessed and updated with information. These databases of design information can then be given to the builders and contractors without having to manually add up all the design elements. BIM modeling differes from other 3D modeling because it contains more accessable building information than what you would see in a program like 3DS Max. 3DS Max is more for visually rendering a model and does not store building specific information.
Autodesk Revit uses an integrated database file in which all files are connected and synchronized for a larger number of people to work simultaneously on the project. Revit is considered subtractive in the sense that the project gets broken apart as people work individually on parts of the design. It also runs on an engine that updates all project views whenever a single view is changed. In this way, all design changes are automatically updated live throughout the entire project. Revit creates the 3D layout automatically as the 2D design is created. The information is then automatically sorted into different views that can be accessed from the project palette. In the latest releases of Revit, 3D models can be exported into Autodesk 3DS Max to create more detailed designs. Autodesk has different versions of Revit that include: Revit Architecture, for architects and building designers, Revit MEP for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, Revit Structure for structural engineers and designers, and Revit LT that is a limited version. Revit One Box includes all three full versions of Revit in one installation and is part of the Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium and Ultimate editions.
Autodesk AutoCAD uses a project based system in which each part of the project is saved as individual files within a projects folder and each is called upon separately within that folder. This method is considered additive, as each aspect created adds to the project folder. AutoCAD focuses more on the 2D layout of design, however, 3D designs can be integrated into the project. AutoCAD’s files are saved as .dwg, and save out as a 2D drawing of the design. Autodesk has many variations of AutoCAD that vary based on the type of objects being designed: AutoCAD, AutoCAD for Mac, AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD P&ID, AutoCAD Plant 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, and AutoCAD MEP. As well as the individual products, Autodesk offers a variety of suites based on the type of designs that will be created: AutoCAD Design Suite, Building Design Suite, Factory Design Suite, Infrastructure Design Suite, Plant Design Suite, and Product Design Suite.