I’ve seen people comparing AutoCAD and MicroStation. How they love it, and don’t understand why would people choose the other one. So which one is the best? Which one should you use?
This article is my personal opinion, you are welcome if you want to write yours on comment section below.
It’s not an apple-to-apple comparison
To me, it’s not really apple-to-apple comparison. They are not really competing each other.
Really? Aren’t they both can do about the same thing? Well yeah, but it doesn’t mean they are competing on the same area.
AutoCAD was designed as drafting tool
Yes. AutoCAD was designed as drafting tool. It was the best ever, and still is. If you mainly work with detailed drawings, I think most likely you will say AutoCAD is better than MicroStation. Later, many applications use AutoCAD as platform. Autodesk puts many tools to AutoCAD, even change the rendering engine to mental ray. The same rendering engine for 3ds Max. But still, the AutoCAD strongest point is its drafting capability.
MicroStation was designed as platform
MicroStation was optimized as a CAD platform. Bentley is working hard to make almost all of their products run on MicroStation. It makes MicroStation has the ability for drafting/detailing, 3D modeling, rendering, and even animations. I’m not talking about simple walkthrough here, but complex animation like I found here on YouTube:
Here also some sample tutorial how you can create traffic animation in MicroStation, and this is a result from Bentley Civil channel.
Yes, Bentley can create great renderings too.
Image copyright: Vincent
So MicroStation is better than AutoCAD? As a CAD platform, yes. But not as drafting tool.
Of course you can create detailed drawings in MicroStation. MicroStation has tools for drafting, but I find AutoCAD is much more convenient than MicroStation.
I believe that’s why Autodesk acquire Revit, replace AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop with Inventor, and bundle their products as suite. Because AutoCAD is not enough.
In the end, it’s about solution
So Bentley is better than Autodesk? Not really.
Today, 2D drafting probably is still dominating many industries. So it makes sense if more people use AutoCAD than other CAD software. But today, many industries emphasize to move further. In building industries, they have BIM. In manufacturing, they have digital prototyping or PLM. Not sure what are other terms in different industries.
Autodesk already have AutoCAD as the most powerful drafting tool. They have the most powerful visualization tools in their portfolio too. The reason why I didn’t put Autodesk rendering samples is because you must have seen them. Almost every computer graphics in Hollywood movies used their solution.
The problem is they need more power in their arsenal, because AutoCAD can’t handle more than what it can handle now. So now they have Revit for BIM. They have Inventor for manufacturing. Each of them are good.
Bentley won’t have many problem because they already have good CAD platform. Autodesk needs to create interoperability between their products. Bentley doesn’t have to. They all use the same CAD platform and file format.
Yes, Autodesk has the best drafting and visualization tool. But MicroStation offers enough capabilities. By using it, you can avoid steep learning curve because basically it’s the same tool.
But do you really need to master that many software?
So what do you think?
Above is just my two cents. I believe there are many of you who use both AutoCAD and MicroStation.
You probably want to share yours?