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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Graphisoft’s new Archicad 18 release

June 5th, 2014 by Susan Smith

A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Akos Pfemeter of Graphisoft about the new Archicad 18 release. The product Archicad is 30 years old this year, which Pfemeter points out means that “BIM” is 30 years old now, since Graphisoft was the first company to create building information modeling.


Archicad 18 delivers new productivity to make BIM workflow smoother, including CineRender, a new rendering engine with high-end photorealistic rendering capabilities that could previously only be found in CINEMA 4D from MAXON, one of Graphisoft’s sister companies, a professional visualization application.


The three main focus areas of Archicad 18 include:

  • Coordination
  • Documentation
  • Visualization


Since Archicad is Open BIM it is working with IFC, and checks for collision in the MEP system and the architectural elements in the building.

Archicad 18 introduces a brand new model-based revision management workflow. The product also includes a workflow functionality with a new communication channel called BIM collaboration format (BCS) which allows the actual graphical information to be sent in conjunction with IFC files. This allows collaboration between architects and engineers. The BCF works between disparate programs and doesn’t store data on the cloud.


Archicad 18 now has improved PDF support. “Previously PDF was just a file format for print or archiving.,” said Pfemeter. “With Archicad 18, PDF is becoming a collaboration format, in terms of importing and exporting intelligent PDFs. We have also enhanced how we handle the composite structures in the BIM model, also we’re enhancing the way architects can enhance the BIM model itself. In Archicad 18 it’s easy to modify the BIM model including several types of elements so you can now edit together groups, slabs, mashes and these elements together in one step.” The PDF support now includes change buttons for revisions and multi-story editing.

Archicad 18 also supports IES formats for lighting parameters coming from lighting manufacturers, so that the lighting looks like it should in the final buildings.


The new high quality photo-rendering engine from CINEMA 4D, used in mainly multimedia companies in Hollywood, is an exciting addition built into Archicad 18 for architectural visualization.

Pfemeter describes the architectural rendering engine as similar to a digital camera, where you can set for automatic mode or preset. The architectural rendering engine is integrated into the BIM workflow. “You just need one button push for the rendering; even those who are novices at visualization can create a beautiful rendering,” said Pfemeter. “The rendering is already good enough for client presentation.”

More about Archicad 18 from the press release:

Built-in CineRender, the CINEMA 4D render engine by MAXON Computer — High-quality, photorealistic renderings are still the most important client communication tool for architects. The integration of CineRender, MAXON’s world-class CINEMA 4D rendering engine into ArchiCAD 18, brings this capability closer to a much wider range of users. One-button “photo-shot” rendering can be used to easily produce convincing, high-quality results, as with tweaking numerous sliders and parameters – allowing both novice and professional users to complete the rendering job right inside the BIM application. Fast preview and background processor support make the rendering workflow a smooth and uninterrupted process. The seamless file export from ArchiCAD 18 to CINEMA 4D enables users to enhance their projects with high-end animation and visualization techniques and benefit from decreased render times thanks to the highly-efficient distributed rendering solution in CINEMA 4D.

Integrated Revision Management workflows — Data exchange with clients, consultants and the authorities puts the legal burden on architects and designers. ArchiCAD 18 tracks and automatically documents changes to the building model so questions about responsibility won’t be an issue later on. ArchiCAD 18’s brand new Revision Management solution is integrated into the entire BIM workflow, providing solutions for 2D, 3D or any kind of hybrid workflows.

Improved PDF-based data exchange — PDF has become one of the worldwide drawing standards people use for multiple tasks. By introducing BIM-related intelligence and data hierarchies into PDF files, ArchiCAD 18 offers PDF-based smooth workflows for a wide range of stakeholders in the AEC process.

OPEN BIM and IFC-based workflow improvements — ArchiCAD 18 continues to deliver several IFC-related improvements, including professional scheme-driven data management and data mapping and high-quality (certified) export processes. In addition, to support highly iterative coordination with engineers and consultants, ArchiCAD 18 introduces full BCF support. The BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) is an open file format that allows the addition of textual comments and screenshots on top of the IFC model layer for better communication between the coordinating parties. ArchiCAD 18 integrates BCF information natively into the BIM model in the form of ArchiCAD Mark-Up entries. As a result, ArchiCAD joins major BIM applications (including model checker, structural and MEP engineering software) that support the BCF format.

GRAPHISOFT BIMcloud® Integration — The true potential of BIM is best realized through a team effort with several contributors collaborating on the same BIM data. With its full integration with the GRAPHISOFT BIMcloud®, ArchiCAD 18 offers industry-first, real-time BIM collaboration regardless of the size, location or setup of the collaborating team. Cloud integration allows the ArchiCAD team to soar without limits. Learn more about GRAPHISOFT’s BIMcloud® Solution here:

Workflow enhancements — In addition to introducing brand new innovative workflows, ArchiCAD 18 also unveils substantial enhancements to its existing workflows as well, proving that listening to customers is of primary importance when assigning development resources at GRAPHISOFT.

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Categories: AEC, Archicad, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, construction, engineering, infrastructure, integrated project delivery

One Response to “Graphisoft’s new Archicad 18 release”

  1. Volker Thein says:

    To put the record straight: Graphisoft’s claim that ‘Graphisoft was the first company to create building information modeling’ is actually not true.

    When I joined Intergraph in 1984, i.e. 30 years ago, Intergraph already had APDP (Architectural Production and Design Package), SPDP (Structural Production and Design Package) and others that used IGDS (Integrated Graphics and Design System) – which eventually became MicroStation – as graphics platform, and DMRS (Data Management and Retrieval System) as a database for non-graphical data. Running on a UNIX-based central VAX mini computer and operated from the legendary Interact dual-screen workstations, each element had a/n information, i.e. properties, attached that were used for querying, reporting, scheduling, and creating a 3D model from the 2D plan information. Using the reference technology that is still used by Bentley’s MicroStation-based BIM applications, it was possible to retrieve information in reference files from other disciplines.

    So, effectively, Intergraph offered a full-blown integrated multi-discipline design and production environment, which we call BIM today, before 1984.

    I am not saying that Intergraph was the first company that created building information modeling, since we had competitors then that offered similar solutions – although not quite as good ones ;-), but it was certainly not Graphisoft.

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