Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is the use of computers in design. CAD is applied in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. Much of this work could be done manually, but why should you with various CAD design software available. Autodesk and AutoCAD are examples of CAD design software that are commonly used these days. Or, at least you will be recommended to check out one of this software when you start learning CAD. But that is not about it all, and even pro designers still rely on these two softwares in design. That is not to say, Autodesk and AutoCAD are the only CAD software out there. There are tons of them already. Autodesk and AutoCAD are not cheap, and it does not make any sense of getting the two. In this article, we delve into the two software side by side to help you choose the best.
AutoCAD and Autodesk are common software used in modern-day design. However, Autodesk is a software company that owns AutoCAD. Since Autodesk sells software as collections or singly, AutoCAD has emerged as one of the commonly used software in design. In this article, we review them both. And spoiler alert there is Autodesk is no winner between the two. Autodesk has collections that include various other software products and some of them actually include AutoCAD. It offers a better value for money and can be used in almost any industry out there. However, AutoCAD, on the other hand, will prove to be useful and cheaper to single designers. It has the features you need and can be integrated with a large collection of other apps and plugins.
Autodesk VS AutoCAD: Features
These are the standard features that you should always consider while comparing two software.
Autodesk and AutoCAD support multiple platforms. AutoCAD is available for both Windows and Mac OS desktop clients. Also, Autodesk is available on both mobile platforms like Android and iOS. In addition to that, AutoCAD is also web-based, so you can still access it using other platforms like Linux.
Autodesk is also available on the two most typical desktop clients – Windows and Mac OS.
Multiple Language Support
AutoCAD is available in various languages. This often applies to users that reside in non-English speaking countries. AutoCAD is available in Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
On the other hand, Autodesk is pretty much similar to AutoCAD. It supports several different languages apart from English. You can use AutoCAD in other languages, too, but there is a drawback. A significant disadvantage around this is that you will have to download a Language Pack add-on on Autodesk before you can use it in other languages. Language packs available include English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Korean, Russian, Polish, and Turkey, to name a few.
AutoCAD has several tools available. The primary tool available is a drawing tool that enables you to draw basic shapes like line, circle, polygons, etc.). The drawing tool is an excellent place to start. Another second tool available on AutoCAD is an editing tool. To keep it short, it just works as advertised. You also get a text editing tool that enables you to play with the text whichever way you like it. The text editing tools allow you to create and also modify texts. You can customize the font style, multi-line text, wrap-around text, justification, and there is even a spell checker to check for those typos. Another critical tool available on AutoCAD is the rendering tool. It allows you to apply lighting and materials to give your 3D models a realistic appearance and to help communicate your designs.
2D drafting, drawing, and annotation
This set of functionality allows you to create tables, dimensions, texts, blocks, arrays, dynamic blocks, and more. Under this, AutoCAD has several sets of tools. These set of tools range from, text setting that enables you to create a single or multiline text as a single text object. Under text settings, you can format the text, columns, and even boundaries. Another essential feature is Dimensions. Dimensions enable one to create dimensions automatically. A handy tool alongside dimensions is the inclusion of a preview tool that helps you preview dimensions before you create them.
AutoCAD is baked in with several design features. Examples of this include Visualization, rendering, editing, and drawing. Starting with the visualizing design feature, it makes it possible to design 3D structures, which for modern-day design is a core feature.
Not everyone can afford to have expensive hardware for design; that is why AutoCAD makes it easy to render 3D design visualizations without any integrating hardware. That has been made possible through cloud rendering where your 3D models are rendered online without consuming processing power or disk space on your local computer.
Another handy design feature is a drawing tool. This enables you to create your visuals in either 2Dimensions or 3 Dimensions, commonly termed as 2D and 3D, respectively. There is also an editing tool that allows you to make changes to your design or create new designs easily. On editing AutoCAD’s editing tool is a what you see is what you get type of editor.
Lastly, under design is a sequence editor. This is where all the juice is. Sequence steps allow you to create a sequence of steps highlighting all the materials and building crews that are needed to make your design turn into a reality.
Like any other software made for creatives, CAD software also needs to have collaboration features. AutoCAD includes several of them that we are going to look at in a few.
File import and export
AutoCAD includes the ability to import and export your files. The import and export feature allows you and your team to take 2D files from any other place and update the files with modern 3D design. Similarly, you can also attach files as underlays. Files supported by AutoCAD include PDFs and DNG.
Alongside importing or exporting your designs, AutoCAD also has a functionality that allows you to add annotations. This will enable you to add keywords, tags, geographic locations, and even online maps. You can also add DWG files as references to your drawings as external references. In addition to that, you can also add image references by attaching image files to your current drawing as externally referenced files. Other types of references accepted include Navi works models as underlays to your models.
User Interface customization
AutoCAD user interface is capable of being customized further based on your liking. By based on your taste, it means you can tweak the UI to make your most frequent useable features and tools more accessible. As a result, you reduce the number of steps for everyday tasks.
In addition to just customizing the UI, you can as well set your custom commands for easier accessibility.
Aside from adding custom commands, you can add custom scripts, which for no doubt, take the general functionality a few notches up. You can rely on custom scripts to automate tasks that you find helpful at all times. Custom scripts can be used to automate the process of adding styles or layers or even the whole process of plotting tasks.
You can also customize the user menus to your liking. AutoCAD gives you a chance to create new menus, sub-menus, and even contextual menus.
Autodesk is still the company behind AutoCAD. Autodesk is a multinational software corporation. Autodesk, therefore, packs a collection of products under its sleeve, including AutoCAD. Autodesk’s software collection is built around three different types of industries. For Autodesk, we won’t dwell on features available since it has over than ten products under it, including AutoCAD, which may turn out like an endless post. See, we don’t want to waste your time here.
The first one is Architecture, Engineering, and Construction. It consists of several products such as Get Revit, AutoCAD, and Civil 3D, among others. This package includes a set of powerful BIM tools for architecture, engineering, and construction projects.
Another package is the product design and manufacturing collection. Some software available under this package include Get Inventor, AutoCAD, and Fusion 360 plus more. These sets of tools are mainly focused on product development and manufacturing planning.
The last package is the Media and entertainment collection. Major software under this collection includes Get Maya, 3ds Max, among others. What defines this last set is it is composed of end-to-end creative tools for entertainment creation
Since Autodesk also houses AutoCAD under its product collection, there is no single thing you cannot achieve with either of them. However, Autodesk, with its vast collection of products it applies to all sorts of industries and people.
Small Comparison Table
Who is this for?
So, who are these products meant for? Designers in any field can use Autodesk. Whether it is in the media and entertainment industry, manufacturing industry, engineering, and architecture, among others. Modern-day designers from any field can find Autodesk useful.
Autodesk VS AutoCAD: Pricing
By now, we assume you already know Autodesk owns AutoCAD. However, as highlighted before, Autodesk has various packages for different applications and industries. Some packages even include AutoCAD.
The first package, Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, goes at $2,825 per year. This collection includes the following products; Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Infra Works, Navisworks Manage, and 3ds Max.
For the product design and manufacturing collection, you will have to pay $2590 per year. It includes the various product design and manufacturing tools that you need to fire up your most ambitious ideas. Software products included in this collection are as follows; Inventor, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Inventor Nastran, Fusion 360, Recap Pro, Inventor Tolerance Analysis, Vault, HSMWorks, Inventor Nesting, Factory Design Utilities, Autodesk Rendering, Inventor CAM, Navi works Manage, and Autodesk Drive.
The last package is the media and entertainment collection. It is best suited for creatives in the media and entertainment industry, which costs a bit cheaper than the other software. This package goes for $2145. In it, you get the following software products from Autodesk; Maya, 3ds Max, and Arnold 5-license pack. If you would have to purchase them separately, you will have to pay $1545, $1545, and $2370 per year, respectively. See, the collection saves you a lot of money.
If you need just a single program, you can as well pay for it only. AutoCAD is a unique product and is quite expensive, too. AutoCAD costs $1610 a year. AutoCAD has a free trial, so you can rely on that to gauge if you can purchase the software.
Autodesk and AutoCAD are not so simple to use for beginners. Drawing basic shapes and 3D visuals of them is not that hard. However, you will have to invest some time in learning before you get hold of the full functionality available. There are many courses online that teach how to use Autodesk products, including AutoCAD. Apart from that, Autodesk itself offers training. There are online tutorials regarding the use of Autodesk products like 3ds Max, Alias Products, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Plant 3D, BIM 360, Civil 3D, Fusion 360, Inventor, Maya, and Moldflow Advisor among others.
Autodesk supports a ton of app integrations. Some common app supported include;
- Autodesk Maya Bonus Tools 2016-2019
- Lumion® LiveSync®
- Autodesk FBX Review – Windows 64 Bit
- COINS Auto-Section Box
- Drawing Purge
- Import/Export Excel
In total Autodesk can be integrated with over 3000 apps.
AutoCAD can also be integrated with several apps. In total you can integrate AutoCAD with over 980 apps.
- Autodesk FBX Review – Windows 64 Bit
- Drawing Purge
- SketchUp Import 2016-2019
- ArchVision RPC Entourage Starter Pack
- Hilti BIM/CAD Library
- Autodesk App Manager 2016-2019
- Plex.Earth 4
- ArchBlocks Free Block Library
- COINS Translate
- Autodesk Featured Apps 2016-2019
- GF Piping Systems CAD Library
- Quick Profile
- DWG Compare 2016-2018
- Scaffold Counter by Avontus
- Multiple Offset
- Ecodial plugin
- Spatial Manager™
- Block Library Manager
Autodesk VS AutoCAD: Customer Support
Autodesk offers terrific support for its customers. It has various tutorials online that you can rely on to get started with using any of its products. In addition to that, there is also phone support available if you want to reach the support team directly. Apart from this, there is also live support and training conferences.
Autodesk is composed of various software products used in various design industries. And one of them is AutoCAD. Autodesk can be applied in multiple industries, including the entertainment industry. It includes both functionalities baked in different software, so you have a variety of software products to use, especially since it comes bundled with various collections of products. That makes Autodesk software collection plans way cheaper than what you would have to pay if you purchased a single software separately.
But that also depends on your needs. For teams of designers, the product collections offered by Autodesk are a better deal. For single users, if you need to use AutoCAD only, $1610 will not sound as much.
But which is a better program? Sorry to say that we won’t answer this exact question since one is under the other. For teams, we recommend that you pick the Autodesk collections that choosing AutoCAD only – that way, you will get a better value for money. Features are a no-go zone when comparing the two since one is a product of the other. So, paying for Autodesk will get you AutoCAD, and you will have access to all the mentioned features above.