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IDEA is a powerful BIM Architectural application that combines the autocad-like interface with a sophisticated BIM technology. IDEA meets the entire needs of the Architect regarding model creation, high quality photorealism and virtual walkthrough. Now IDEA latest release 14 redefines the AEC industry standards, by introducing a new BIM generation built on the top of the 4MCAD functionality and affordability.-

IDEA Architecture new release 19 (launched on March 2018)
The new IDEA BIM Generation is here with many new features and enhancements:

- New GUI interface (enhanced property panel, new dialogs/modelers for the BIM objects new options for visual styles, new status bar and toolbars)

- Enhanced BIM editor in the properties panel (filter to select specific entities)

- Smart Building manager ( xref manager, building storey manager etc)

- Generalized use of smart grips to handle any object (of any degree of complexity) in a very handy way

- Specific functions related to construction objects, such as corner windows, walls of any shape (freely defined by the user), wall parts attached to stairs and/or roofs etc

- Totally restructured rendering algorithm for even higher speed and quality

- New 3D furniture libraries (with a true and real insight)

- New IFC 2x3 input / output functions, ensuring absolute compatibility with other BIM programs (Revit« Archicad« etc) and really fast import

- Use of Orthophotomaps, including the most precise and comprehensible visual information

- 4D/5D BIM by linking the building objects with the construction phases and the project planning, as well as with construction costs and the project budget

- New CAD engine (4MCAD19) with unrivaled performances and advanced features

see the short video presentation

Architectural Synthesis & Design with IDEA

IDEA provides unlimited freedom while designing on the 3D building model, thanks to its State-of-the-Art BIM structure. The real time display of the model transformations, while the modifications are being done, enables the user to focus absolutely on the design process itself, thus avoiding time-consuming drawing tasks. By defining or editing any building element (or even entire building components), all the 2D-3D building drawings are immediately updated and correctly presented.

Walls & Openings: IDEA allows the native application of all the Standard AutoCAD commands (copy, move, trim, break, mirror, extend, copy-paste etc) directly to any building object (walls, openings, slabs, beams, columns etc), as well as the native use of the usual CAD Editing Tools (grips, “right button -> properties” etc) to any building object. Every creation or modification updates all the drawings in real time through the smart project drawing explorer (tree-view browser).

 There is no limit to the user's freedom and no restriction to work on every aspect of the real building model (i.e. on the ground-plan, on a 3D view or even on a facade, cross-section or a perspective). IDEA’s advanced BIM structure results to continuously update the project drawings (sections, views, perspectives, etc) while also keeping updated any other intervention made by the user on the layout (insertion of library items, text, annotation, etc). As a result, over the design process, the user has the full control and supervision of the whole building and its parts, as far as both are considered, a) the real 3D model itself, and b) the project drawings.

Composite Building Elements: IDEA includes a set of sophisticated dialogs and modelers to create slabs, staircases, roofs, rails and vertical or horizontal elements of any type and shape. The parametric behavior of all these structures enables changing most of their properties at any time in the design process. Among others, IDEA contains:
 Dialog boxes to define and shape beams, columns, slabs and other structural elements
 Staircase modeler to generate even the most complex shapes, along with their parts and accessories.
 Roof modeler with unlimited options to design any type of roof structure and add components such as attics, lofts, skylights, inclined openings and others.
 Dialogs for vertical elements, gables, ramps, rails and many other more specific building entities such as chimneys and pergolas.

Working with IDEA, the user can shape his/her model with practically no limitations, working either on the view plan, any 3D view or even on front views, cross-sections and perspectives, watching at the same time the effects of those interventions. The fact that the user deals with an "intelligent" model is due to the BIM structure of the program. Thanks to this structure, IDEA handles efficiently important aspects of the design & construction processes, such as the bill of materials, the smart topographical functions, even the seamless integration between IDEA and each one of the other 4M Suite software solutions (STRAD & STEEL for Structural Design, FINE for the Building Services – HVAC, Electrical, Sanitary etc), all of them using and referring to the same, standard Building Information Model (4M-BLD file format).
Libraries: Further to the Parametric Library Generators wherever required (i.e. openings, shutters etc), IDEA also includes a large number of items (objects, accessories, symbols etc) grouped into thematic libraries (Living Room Furniture, Dining Room Furniture, Kitchen Furniture, Office Furniture, Equipment, Plants etc). In addition, through the Dynamic Library Editor, the user can define and create new libraries, edit existing items, or even insert any dwg drawings and convert them into library items.

Photorealism: PhotoIDEA is the photorealism module of IDEA that produces high-quality photorealistic scenes. PhotoIDEA uses a rich library of real materials with texture (e.g. marble, wood, stone, carpets etc), which can be selected and adjusted properly if necessary. Given that all the material information is natively embedded within the building object attributes, the whole process is fast and easy and the results immediately visible on screen by just clicking on the mouse. The ability of selecting and editing materials from the rich program library, the positioning of the lighting sources, the background selection, the use of photographic objects, as well as many other options and settings are all performed in a friendly and fast way through the "PhotoIDEA" group of commands.

Animation (Virtual Reality): WalkIDEA is the virtual reality module of IDEA, generating walking through scenarios in a very simple manner: Any virtual "trip" can be stored as an avi file. More than a simple walk, the "WalkIDEA" group of commands allow many other visual effects, such as the ascension of a staircase, the option to open a door while "walking" etc. In addition, WalkIDEA can offer the experience of a 4D stereoscopic reality through a pair of stereo glasses.

Animation Sample


(*) AutoCAD is a product and trade mark of Autodesk.

  See also
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Quick User's Guide
Animation Sample
Youtube Gallery
  See how easy
Tutorial Videos

New features

3D Architectural design in DWG and Rendering - IDEA Architecture

DWG Projects drawings Layouts and Printing

Get Started with IDEA

3D BIM Architecture | How to set up your drawing environment

All you need to know about CAD (AutoCAD/IntelliCAD) in IDEA

3D BIM Architecture | Walls & openings design : Lesson 1

3D BIM Architecture | Walls & Openings design - Advanced (Lesson 2)

3D BIM Architecture | Beams, slabs & columns in 3D

Top 10 reasons

BIM Software for 3D Architecture in DWG

Reason 1 - Easy transition to BIM for CAD users

Reason 2 - 3D BIM objects for Architecture in DWG

Reason 3 - Draw in 3D and 2D faster than with any CAD software

Reason 4 - 3D Stairs smart modeler to draw 3D stairs in a few clicks

Reason 5 - Smart 3D Roof modeler to draw roofs in a few clicks

Reason 6 - Get all the 2D DWG drawings from the 3D in a few clicks

Reason 7 - 3D rendering Give life to your projects

Reason 8 - Walk through videos and Animations of your 3D Building

Reason 9 - 3D Ground Modeling for Architecture

Reason 10 - BIM collaboration and Bill of Materials BOM

Older Tutorial Videos


1. Drawing walls

2. Managing walls

3. Place openings
4. Edit openings
5. Slabs
6. Beams
7. Columns
8. Stairs
9. Rails
10. Roofs
11. Ramps
12. Gables
13. Furniture
14. Copy Levels
16. Sections
17. Perspectives
18. Topographical 2D
19. Topographical 3D


1. Material_library

2. Edit material

3. Assign materials
4. Edit 3D objects
5. Sun
6. Lights placement
7. Background & Fog
8. Landscape objects
9. Render settings


1. Project definition

2. Viewing points

3. Insert a path
4. Polyline path

5. Merge paths

6. Staircase ascension
7. Geometry file

8. Walkthrough

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