The reality is that the number of people who are qualified enough to create software for architects is less than a single digit. It’s a pretty tiny and somewhat misaligned group of people who come up with the models, and who use the software. So the reality is there are many software solutions that we’ve seen out there that you should look at and consider before you spend a ton of money to buy their software. In that spirit, here is a list of some very low cost solutions that are actually quite good. Lumion This is a free version of Lumion that will give you a great amount of creative software for under $500. Lumion is designed to help you visualize your designs and get them into the real world. Lumion is also available for Mac and Windows, so you can use it in your own office or on the go. Lumion has a step-by-step user interface that should be intuitive and easy to use. Since it’s a very simple, powerful tool, it should be able to handle most architectural projects. If you need something a little more robust, you can use Lumion Professional, which is $499. It’s fairly comparable to Autodesk Revit and some other design and modeling packages. Autodesk Inventor Autodesk Inventor is a free CAD package that is a great tool for a lot of architects, engineers, and industrial designers. Autodesk Inventor’s step-by-step user interface can be a bit cumbersome, so it’s best for someone with an engineering background. It’s a great free tool for creating drawings and reports for the simple projects, though. If you’re looking for something more robust, then you can use the Autodesk Inventor Pro version for around $600. SolidWorks SolidWorks is a sophisticated drafting and modeling package that is used by many engineers and designers. While there are many features, SolidWorks is still fairly straightforward to use and not overly complicated. The Pro version is $1,995 but you can try a free 30-day trial version. If you decide you like the program, you can use it for a lot of projects for under $1000. CAD A CAD package is used to create engineering drawings and other types of documents.