Chief Academy 2022 has come and gone, and we are left with the notes from the information we shared. I was tasked with the opportunity to provide some thoughts on the rendering functions of Chief Architect and how to go about the process. I’ve condensed my PowerPoint slides and reformulated them for reference in this post. I hope you find some helpful pieces in your rendering journey!
This will be a high-level topic that explores a lot of moving parts. Follow the embedded links throughout to learn more about different topics.
Chief Architect produces 3D Home Design Software for professional designers and DIY homeowners. From automated features for quickly creating floor plans, section details, and layouts to photo-realistic 3D renders for visualizing the design, the software is a powerful tool for those with residential design needs. Because the software is so powerful and robust, a question we often hear at Chief Architect is “what type of computer do I need to run the software”? Many computers are capable of running Chief Architect; however, depending on the specs, some will run Chief much more efficiently. Investing in the right computer will also help ensure that the computer will run future versions of Chief effectively for a longer period of time, making your investment more cost effective over time.
“My design business added a powerful tool in 1995 when I started using the Chief Architect platform.This provided me with a way to articulate ideas in the most efficient way possible. I am fortunate to be among the team of designers and architects that have participated in beta releases and provided feedback as part of the Chief Architect user interface/user experience process.
“When engaging with new clients, I encourage them to create an Idea Book in Houzz or Pinterest, collecting images that appeal to them. They are instructed to note, in each image, the specific element they find alluring. It could be lighting, the look and feel of the space, the color and texture of cabinets, or myriad other elements. By creating in 3D, I can design for their aesthetic rather than guessing what moves them.”
“Growing up as a contractor’s daughter in the small town of Grand Rapids, Minnesota gave me opportunities to learn from a young age about design. Our family business, Nature’s Edge Construction, expanded into custom cabinetry in 2015 allowing me the opportunity to help design cabinets for clients my Freshman year of high school.
“I am a father of 4 awesome children Jacob, Jordan, Jackson, and Jude, and I married my high school sweetheart Julie. And yes, we are all J’s!! “The girls are J.A.B’s and the boys are all J.R.B’s which does get tricky at times! I was born in Fort Walton Beach Florida, being in a military family we moved several times before settling back in Alexandria, Louisiana where I reside today.
Leslee placed first in the Chief Architect Remodel/Addition Design Contest! Her winning design is a showcase of the potential for concrete structures in the Keys.
Leslee grew up knowing she’d be an artist of some sort. As soon as she began to write, she began to draw. As a child, she would sit and watch “Picture Pages” with Bill Cosby and according to her family was very accurate in her early efforts. She also painted her dad’s brand new leather jacket he got for Christmas with nail polish when she was 4 years old. Leslee’s mother, Roberta, knew right then her daughter would grow up to be an artist. Her passion led her to win many art competitions while in school. (more…)
Chief Architect has been working with WineRacks.com since 2012 to offer their wine storage product line. Their USA made wine storage solutions provide a unique design for any small or large project.
WineRacks.com is located in New York’s Hudson Valley and has been serving their customers since 1992. Over the years, their product selections have expanded to include a wide range of small capacity wine racks, wine accessories, cooling units and lighting for wine cellars.
With the goal of providing the very best customer service and product quality, WineRacks.com is manufacturing their own wooden wine storage units within the US with environmentally responsible raw materials.
I had the chance to speak with Jeremy of WineRacks.com to dive deeper into what makes a great wine cellar.
“I was adopted from Vietnam when I was 4 months old. I love art: painting, drawing, creating, etc and dreamed of just taking art classes in college. However, my wise mother directed me back to reality and said I needed to be able to get a job out of it. I am now studying Interior Design and utilizing Chief Architect at Front Range Community College. My favorite class is Kitchen and Bath taught by the inspiring Nowell Vincent. I look to graduate next fall semester and become a successful Interior Designer. (more…)
“I am a Senior Designer at Dream House Dream Kitchens in Madison, WI. I am originally from a smaller town a couple hours north and have been interested in design since high school. I was hired at Dream House right after college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!) and have been working here ever since. I love being able to work closely with each individual client on their personal space. They are all working on such cool projects. Chief Architect has been a big part of our success at Dream House. It is a great tool for clients to be able to visualize their space before their project starts.”
We had one client who took his home model and projected it onto his lot in the mountains using Chief Architect’s 3D Viewer mobile app. While using the Augmented Reality feature he was able to walk around his home and get… a feel for the layout. He sat and waited in his “living room” to see what the fall sunset would look like out of his living room window. At that moment he said he was sold. It was his home. This is the opportunity that I would love to allow every client to have. Read more “Chief Architect’s 3D Viewer Mobile App”
I’ve been using Chief Architect since 2002 – and the program has continued to improve dramatically over the years. The improvements have always reduced drafting time while allowing the design process to flow and be inspired – not hindered –… by the limitations of the program. I’ve never found myself in a situation where I said, “I would love to attempt this design, but unfortunately Chief Architect cannot do this so I must change my design idea”. I think it – Chief allows me to model it – and now – raytrace it photo realistically. I used to export my Chief model into a 3rd party rendering program – now I design and raytrace all within Chief Architect. Read more “I think it – Chief allows me to design it”
We use Chief Architect every single day and it is an absolutely indispensable part of our business. The ability to show a client, with extreme accuracy, what a space will look like before the work has even begun is everything.
I have been using Chief Architect since late 2005. As I tell everyone who is interested in doing 3D design, Chief Architect is the best way to go. It is a powerful program, easy to learn and use, is at… a great price and will pay for itself in one job. Read more “Will pay for itself in one job!”
It took me two years to design and exactly one year to build our dream home. With the help of Chief Architect, we were able to see our vision come to life. With a custom home, we had to provide… many visuals in the drawing package for the contractors to catch our dream. Chief Architect’s outstanding visualization and renderings made the design and build exactly what we had imagined. Now that we have been in our home for about 3 years, we realize we would not change anything! After we spent so much time during the design process our friends and contractors sometimes offered change suggestions to our design to consider. My pact with my wife “Stick to the Plan” and that’s what we did. We love our home and we want to thank Chief Architect for providing a software product that allowed us to achieve our vision. Now, I am currently using Chief Architect Premier to design a home for my daughter and her family! Read more “We built our dream home!”
Michael S Burt
The Student’s Key to Success
I chose to use Chief Architect [for interior design school] specifically because of its ease of use on the interface, great tutorial videos, alignment with NKBA graphic standards, and the convenience of creating all deliverables from 2D plans to specification… schedules to beautiful 3D renderings Read more “The Student’s Key to Success”
Happy two have 2 licenses now just have to figure out physically based rendering my video card, and pc are above requirements but still grainy
A Magical Tool!
This has quite literally changed my business, by showing clients what their space will look like before it is built is a magical tool.
Chief Architect does it all! It is the bread and butter of my business.
“I haven’t had to look for any other programs when it comes to designing. Chief Architect does it all! I think my business is a Chief Architect success story in itself. It is the bread and butter of my business, and without… it, I couldn’t do what I do for a living! I get to work with clients nationwide because the software enables me to design spaces from my computer.” Read more “Chief Architect does it all! It is the bread and butter of my business.”
I switched from another program to Chief Architect 11 months ago, and it was by far the best decision I could have ever made. I am so much happier working on plans now, and my work quality improves daily. My… customers have been ecstatic with the results so far, and I am getting better and better every week. I look forward to many more years of working with Chief Architect and seeing you all each year in Coeur d’Alene for more training. Read more “By far the best decision I could have ever made!”
I am just entering the design field, and I find Chief Architect to be accessible, with oodles of features and powerful capabilities, and with a great long list of tutorial videos to teach me how to use it. Thanks!
Total no brainer
Renting the program has made the commitment to Chief a total no brainer … I am among many designers that find the program not only profitable but fun to use.
Using Chief since ver 7
Iv been using Chief since ver 7, I also have ver8. It took me a couple days to figure out where every thing was..but Im loving it. My first building is a pole barn..I wish this ver had a way… of placing perlins, gerts, post ect. Other than that its great. Read more “Using Chief since ver 7”
Keith L. Dobson
Aspen Construction Co., Inc.
I built my house using the Premier level software, which was very functional. It had so many variables, that I could do all my design for the custom house I was building. That license long expired, and I needed something… a little less powerful, but still had the same familiarity that I had with Premier. The Pro fits the task nicely! It has the same look and feel as the Premier that I was used to, at a much lower price. I see reviews that folks are saying that this software is too complicated and hard to use. Well, guess what, if it is complicated, it probably is very functional! All it takes is a little time to familiarize yourself with the different features, and go read tutorials or blogs from current users. Personally, I love it!! Read more “Great Software”
Powerful and Easy-To-Use Tools
I have worked in other BIM software before, but Chief Architect makes it easier to put my concepts into drawings, and I can spend more time creating instead of fighting with obscure tools and interfaces. The powerful but easy-to-use tools… along with the realistic rendering capabilities are extremely valuable in my work. Read more “Powerful and Easy-To-Use Tools”
A very powerful tool
I am an interior design professional who has been using Chief Architect software for my business since 2010. The software is a very powerful tool I use on all my projects and allows me to create detailed plans, elevations and… very impressive 3D renderings for my clients. The software has taken time to learn, but the support from Chief is quick and helpful, and the tools including videos and online forums also very helpful. Read more “A very powerful tool”
I have been using Chief Architect design software for 23 years now. I and my clients really love this program. It is a great tool for communication between the designer and the client. We design and produce plans from… their inception to construction drawings to obtain permits for approximately 200 projects a year. I have a complete staff of 6 drafters who all use Chief Architect for every phase of our drawings and designs. Here is a sample of one of the kitchens for a new home we are just finalizing. My client is over the moon Happy with the design. Thanks, Chief Architect Staff You Guys are Great! Read more “Chief Render”
Chief Architect Software helps clients visualize the proposed designs.
Not only does Chief Architect Software create beautiful renderings, but it is imperative that I can also create drawings that are clean and straightforward for our contractors to reference on-site. Every client is so impressed with the renderings Chief Architect… Software produces, and the walkthroughs help them visualize my proposed designs. Almost every time, the walkthrough helps us finalize the details in one sitting instead of going back and forth during several meetings. Read more “Chief Architect Software helps clients visualize the proposed designs.”
Easy to use and understand with great tutorials. A worthwhile investment.
The rendering quality and user-friendliness are unmatched!
I have been using Chief Architect since 2015 and have used a few other software programs in the past, but the rendering quality and user-friendliness are unmatched! This software helps clients truly envision their project coming to life, and helps… close sales because there is a sense of confidence in what their final product will look like. Read more “The rendering quality and user-friendliness are unmatched!”
The best home design software we’ve ever used! Finally, a program that works or “thinks” like a designer as opposed to a program for the manufacturer of boxes or materials. Great quality renderings too.
I use Chief Architect software exclusively in my design business. I started out with CA Home Designer Pro, used that for two years, then “graduated” to the full-blown Chief Architect software. The structure and platform of all their products is… identical so, moving up to the next, greater version is SO comfortable! I’m getting raves about the work I’m doing – thank you, Chief Architect!!! Read more “Thank you, Chief Architect!!!”
William Haigh Design
I find it invaluable. Thank you, Chief Architect, for providing me with a tool that I can utilize to create an Architectural Design Company that is head and shoulders above most of my competition.
I own and operate an Architectural Design Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii, and have been using Chief Architect since the year 2000. We solely operate Chief Architect here in my office and currently have 8 licenses. It is a great tool… for communicating different ideas and design concepts. I find it invaluable. My clients are thrilled and amazed at what the program can do. They get so excited to be able to see their kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, living areas, and exterior renderings of their house designs. We also do all of our construction drawings in-house, with Chief Architect, including floor plans, elevations, foundation, framing, and cross sections and details. I have shown how fast Chief is compared to other programs to those who are experts in those programs, and they have all conceded Chief is faster and easier to use than their programs. Thank you, Chief Architect, for providing me with a tool that I can utilize to create an Architectural Design Company that is head and shoulders above most of my competition. It has truly helped to make us one of the best Architectural Design Companies in Honolulu. Read more “I find it invaluable. Thank you, Chief Architect, for providing me with a tool that I can utilize to create an Architectural Design Company that is head and shoulders above most of my competition.”
I’ve been using Chief Premier since the X3 version and I must say that I’m very please with the software; it’s ease of use, features and professional output. I’m currently using X15 and I must say that the renderings are… phenomenal. I actually had a few instances where I posted renderings of finished products and persons inquired about the prices of the buildings or cost for rental. Read more “Great Software”
Thanks for a great product!
I work in partnership with an engineering firm in Ontario, Canada, and design and produce permit drawings following Ontario Building Code Section 9 and adherence to structural engineering. I use Chief Architect Premier to prepare all the structural drawings based… on my designs, then have them reviewed and stamped by the engineer. The software has the flexibility to allow me to adjust to all the structural designs in both 2D and 3D formats with excellent support from the catalogs. Thanks for a great product! Read more “Thanks for a great product!”
We are a residential design-build firm in Minneapolis Area. We have been designing additions, renovations, and new construction in our area for over 20 years. Chief Architect has made our design practice stand out. It is a great tool for… our trade. We have owned and used other mainstream software and they have not been what we needed. Every new edition of Chief is exciting because it becomes a better user experience each time. Read more “20 years!”
Bridging the Gap between 2D planning and 3D Rendering
Every time we are able to walk our clients through their future home or project with the Chief Architect 3D Software, it’s a success. Many of our clients are not visual. Chief helps bridge the gap between the 2D floor… plan and grasping what the finished project will look like. We hear constant feedback on how impressive the capabilities of being able to see the scale of the spaces, customize materials, try different cabinet configurations, etc. We are able to save them so much headache and heartache in the design phase vs. going through a change order process in the field. Being able to offer the 3D aspect for our projects has truly set us apart from our peers. Read more “Bridging the Gap between 2D planning and 3D Rendering”
Chief Architect: The Ultimate Architectural Drafting and Design Software
Chief Architect is an architectural drafting and design software that is used by professionals and hobbyists alike. It is known for its powerful features, intuitive interface, and abundance of learning resources. One of the things that I like most… about Chief Architect is its short learning curve. Even if you are new to architectural drafting software, you can get up and running quickly with the help of the included tutorials and documentation. There are also a number of online resources available, such as forums and video tutorials, that can help you learn the software. Another great thing about Chief Architect is its abundance of learning resources. The software comes with a comprehensive library of objects, materials, and textures that you can use to create your designs. You can also import your own objects and materials, or purchase additional content from the Chief Architect store. Chief Architect is also an excellent communication tool. You can use the software to create 2D and 3D drawings, renderings, and animations that you can share with clients, contractors, and other stakeholders. This can help you to communicate your design ideas clearly and effectively. Finally, Chief Architect has a large 3D library that you can use to create realistic models of your designs. This can be helpful for visualizing your projects and for getting feedback from clients. Overall, I am very impressed with Chief Architect. It is a powerful and versatile software that is perfect for architectural drafting and design. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a comprehensive and user-friendly software solution. Read more “Chief Architect: The Ultimate Architectural Drafting and Design Software”
John Gray Architecture
Fun, intuitive, user-friendly
You don’t have to be an architect to learn Chief Architect. The software yields impressive professional project results within a fairly short time. The many built-in options provide the user with the tools to try different styles on a wide… variety of objects with the click of a few buttons. Read more “Fun, intuitive, user-friendly”
Chief Architect Software makes 3D CAD design so easy. I can render with a push of a button. Other software makes the process much more difficult and complicated. This is the second CAD software I’ve learned, and I definitely won’t… be changing! Read more “3D CAD design made easy”
I have a small four person architecture firm and utilize Chief Architect for all our residential projects. It’s a great resource for our designers and sets us apart from other residential designers / drafting services in our area.
Students have asked about Chief Architect more than any of our other programs. I use it at the end of the semester because if I used it in the beginning, I would never get them to move on to other… units… It will be the one program students will use voluntarily and will assure me learning is taking place at home. Plus it will make me the most popular teacher. ha ha Read more “Kudos for making the student a priority”
I’ve been using Chief Architect for over 10 years and would not choose anything else. Other design software just doesn’t compare to Chief, it is by far the best. It is built with ease and simplicity in mind, no need… to load anything in as it comes with everything straight out of the box! There is no limit to what can be modified, everything can be modified to fit your design needs, literally everything! Read more “Best Architectural Software!”
Excellent software, I have been using it for years.
This is a powerful software. I have been using various versions and levels of it for roughly 20 years now. We are a small custom cabinet and remodeling company that uses the rendering capabilities to show our customers what their… project will look like when Its completed. Everything from the paint color so the cabinet hardware. We can hammer down to the finest details for those clients that simply are incapable of visualizing the end result. I Would like to see some form of integration with KCD for manufacturing the cabinets as an option in the future. The kitchen design capabilities of CA are so powerful, and then to have to draw it over again in another software to produce…… It is time consuming. Read more “Excellent software, I have been using it for years.”
I love the capabilities that Chief Architect has over all other design software! I am able to create floor plans, electrical plans, schedules, elevations, and RENDERINGS very fast (plus so much more)!! This tool allows me to give my clients… an amazing experience and create incredible designs. My business would not be the same without it, and I recommend it to everyone! Read more “Lifeblood of my business”
I started using Chief Architect as just to show interior room concepts but it has grown to producing full exterior views and selling more then just interiors but selling full build concepts. I work with a builder and our business… has seen a huge impact from being able to show prospects and current clients how things would look etc. Read more “This program changed my career.”
Since we have been using Chief Architect, we have been able to give our customers a complete visual of what we proposed for their project, as well as, boost our credibility, our sales, and our overall profit for all projects… we have sold. Thank you Chief Architect for a great program. Read more “Thank you Chief Architect for a great program.”
Instantly fell in love…
I instantly fell in love with the easy to learn, user-friendly interface, and the details it was capable of capturing. My clients have been very happy with their design, the process, and the finished product.
Chief Architect has been a game-changer for me, it offers a very efficient workflow with an output that makes my clients feel individual. The documents look crafted and relate to the project, not generic. Chief covers the whole spectrum from… 3d visuals through to detailed sections, plans etc and even offers a 3d viewer app for construction professionals and clients alike to share 3d models. This would, could, and should be a global market leader with just a couple of tiny tiny tweaks! The house in the picture is in outer London England. The work has commenced, all detail and outline designs were produced within Chief Architect. The pen should be an intuitive tool to convey ideas and information and not entirely a skill of its own, Chief has nailed it! Please remember CA, Interiors are only 1/10th of architecture. Read more “A Game Changer”
We use Chief Architect through the entire design and planning process here at Spectrum Design Group. Having a tool that allows us to “walk” our clients through their renovation in 3-D and incorporate actual specified materials and finishes ensures that… our clients know what the end product will be. It has been invaluable in communicating our designs to not just our clients, but also our contractors. Read more “Chief Architect has been invaluable!”
I love the software. It’s very capable and the expert knowledge built in is very helpful. I learned to use it by completing all of the tutorials. There were a few places where the lessons didn’t match the UI. I… suspect that’s because the tutorial revisions haven’t kept pace with changes to the software. It also seemed that the documentation writers were a bit fatigued when they got to the final couple of lessons, as there were a few lines that were obvious cut and paste revision oversights. Having written and reviewed documentation, I know how tedious this can become. Overall, great software and I’ll give it a strong endorsement. Read more “Great Software – Tutorials need a bit of TLC”
Our favorite software
Our favorite software. I have been using chief for about 6 years now, I believe I started in x4. Chief was the clear choice for architectural design and plan sets, with its import and export into other CAD and BIM-based… products, its extensive catalogs, its massive collection of support articles, bustling internet forums and decent rendering abilities. There is no other software on the market that is as user-friendly, capable and fast. We’ve recently started using Chief Architect for market advertisements as well as importing into high-end visual video walkthrough software such as Lumion. We’re quite happy with Chief’s versatility and ever-expanding features. Read more “Our favorite software”
Architectural Design-from concept to building permit
I use Chief Architect for design, presentation, and final permit drawings. For residential design and small commercial, there is nothing that matches or exceeds. The work on my site is a direct reflection of its capabilities. I adjust and applied… the software to meet Section 9 OBC and other parts of Canada. I exchange files with my engineer without any issues. The CAD is excellent for Sections and Structural Details! Read more “Architectural Design-from concept to building permit”
Chief Architect Software is by far the best and most useful program
I have been using and operating CAD programs for over 30+ years and in my opinion, the Chief Architect Software is by far the best and most useful program for my needs as an Architect that designs and builds all… types of buildings and homes as a professional. Use and have used AutoCAD, Sketch-Up, V-Ray, Revit, and the current version of Chief Architect. Read more “Chief Architect Software is by far the best and most useful program”
I’ve had great results using this software. I started with Home Designer Pro and then moved to Chief Architect Premier. I really like the way the software is set up, it’s much easier to use than other products. My clients… love the 3D renderings and I know it’s helped me get new projects. Great job Chief Architect team! Read more “Great job Chief Architect team!”