What 3D software program would be best to create models like this?

4 Answers

The CAD program is not critical because the geometries are simple (but there are lots of them). I would focus on finding a good render engine and building a properly lit scene because that is a must-have in order to make a nice illustration like this.

It also depends on your budget. Are you looking for proprietary or open source software?

CATIA has a nice set of Plant Design products for design, construction, and maintenance of buildings like in your picture. It includes building structure, piping, HVAC, electrical, etc.


Something like Autodesk Navisworks.

I use Autodesk Inventor for the components and AutoCAD for the floor plans. I then use Autodesk Navisworks to tie it all together and create the walk throughs and renderings. Updates to the original models in Inventor are usually automatically carried through into the final Navisworks project. In addition, there are all kinds of reports and simulations that can be run. It's an integrated suite of software designed to efficiently do this kind of work. Expensive but the right tool for the job.

The alternative is to shoehorn a massive project like this into software not designed for the job. You wind up having to create a lot of the models from scratch rather than using existing data. Changes to the models in their original software are not carried through to the final project. About all you can do in the end is create renderings. For the investment in time to create data like this, there ought to more in it than just pretty pictures. Make sure you pick the right software. The price of the software may be the smallest portion of the total cost of the project.