Blender 2.8 is a significant revamp of the popular free and open source 3d modeling and animation suite. Numerous new features and UI improvements will continue to drive Blender's adoption in multiple industries including architectural design.
As a generalist 3d program, utilizing external plugins could significantly improve efficiency and workflows for design work. The following list shows the most essential plugins to use for architectural concept design work.
It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a list that every designer should look into to improve workflows.
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Make sure you watch the following video for a qucik understanding of how the addons work and where to find them. More detailed videos for some addons will be added soon.
Tissue is a tessellating plugin that maps and morphs a "component" to a base mesh by using the topology of the base object. It works with quads and provides numerous opportunities for architectural design.
It can be used to create facade panels - from straightforward brick of solid panel(with a punch-through windows and balconies) to intricate morphed curtain wall panel systems. The same workflow can be used to create a city grid out of a subdivided plane.
Tissue can also be utilized for generative design to evaluate topological studies of any sort. Combined with subdivision modifier (and many other modifiers), it can generate results that take a fraction of the setup time to do something similar with Grasshopper.
The plugin retains the parametric relationship between the base mesh and the component. For example, is to start with a simple facade panel component in order to get an understanding of the scale. then tesselate it on a base mesh. Subsequently, refine the initial panel, and then simply update the tesselation with the click of a button, retaining the previous tesselation settings. In this sense, tissue provides an easy workflow for iterative design studies.
This continues to be the plugin that I use the most often. It now comes builtin as part of the Edit Mesh Tools addon. It provides a cad-like offset functionality. Besides everyday general offset needs, it is also an excellent tool to build roof overhangs, cornices, and mouldings, as the tool provides angled offsets. I've created scripts that help generate landscaped stairs as well.
One limitation of the tool is that it preserves the topological continuity of the offset geometry. In case the results have overlapping or criss-crossing vertices, the only way to adjust the topology is by manually fixing the overlaps. The issue can mostly be avoided by making sure that the vertices around beveled corners are well spaced apart and that the offset distance is smaller than the distances that would create overlaps.
Edit Mesh Tools has a series of other useful commands in an easy-to-access location in the sidebar menu.
This is the second most-used addon in my toolbox. Since discovering this plugin, I rarely need to manually UV unwrap geometry, as it automates the process of making sure your textures come in the right size. As long you object scale is 1, all objects unwrapped with UVW Box will have UVs relative to a unit of one. This means that your bricks will remain the same size no matter what the underlying geometry could be, for example. It is now part of Magic UV.
Note if you would like to use Sure UVW without entering edit mode, then you can install it as a seperate plugin from here, which will be then available in the sidebar menu
This plugins scatters instances of objects. Unlike using particles, this does not need a a specific grid density for vertex groups or a specific vertex density to scatter the objects around. This is useful for positioning debris or other random elements. The scattered objects are linked to the original object so any changed on the base object will result in changes in the scattered objects.
Archipack makes it easier to create traditional architectural elements like walls, windows, doors, roofs, and stairs. Of particular use is the stair tool and the walls/window tools. Windows and doors come as an "assembly" parented to an empty that include a Boolean box to use for when inserting into doors. The stair tool allows fairly complex stairs to be built with ease. Currently the stair and handrail styles are limited, yet the ability to create complex stair assemblies fast is significantly useful. There are many other functionalities, which could have their own blog post, and I would encourage you test the plug-in and explore all its possibilities.
This plug-in introduces rudimentary CAD-like functionality based on mesh edges. The two operators that are quite useful are extending two edges up to a point where they meet and intersecting two overlapping edges by inserting a vertex.
This plug-in introduces rudimentary CAD-like functionality based on mesh edges. The two operators that are quite useful are extending two edges up to a point where they meet and intersecting two overlapping edges by inserting a vertex
This addons eases the process of using booleans, as it automatically creates a boolean modifier on the last selected object. It also changes the boolean object display mode to boundary and disables it for rendering purposes. There and many other more sophisticated addons that essentially do what this addon does (and more), yet this addon works great for architectural design as it preserves a Blender vanilla experience as much as possible.
This addon aligns objects easily in object level based on their location. Select all the objects, with the last object selected being the one that you would like all the other objects to align to and then choose how you would like to align.
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