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.
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?
AutoCAD Vs Microstation is actually a user based Fight (Verbally), it all comes on an account of how much the user uses the software on daily basis…If the client whom you are working on demands Bentley Product Output, its very obvious that the person working on such projects will fight for Microstation, but to promote the product, but to make sure that its easy to work.
Similarly An AutoCAD user tries to win always, coz 75% use AutoCAD as drafting tool on day to day basis, hence its an ever ending process to judge which is better..
I found a middle solution with BricsCAD+BIM, best of both worlds (I should say 4 worlds AutoCAD-Revit-MS and Sketchup)
The BricsCAD development team was the original designer of the Triforma for Bentley, I guess now known as AECOsim and the BricsCAD product has all the same commands and functionality of Autocad and then some, in fact I believe their solution for thinks like setting variables is far superior,
When used with the BricsCAD BIM module it has a great deal of the functionality of Sketchup and Revit (and growing constantly at an amazing rate) and uses a single format, good old DWG, full access to my 30 year old library of projects, blocks, etc, no need to worry about backward compatibility.
An amazingly small footprint <500 Megabite installation including the BIM module
Great compatibility with Autocad for LISP, VBA and other code so I can continue to use my in house developments
Great array of third party developers for add-on products to fit any desire. for Civil we use Civil Survey Solutions product called Civil Site Design that runs over BricsCAD, great product but if my idea of surveying is different, there is a wide variety of similar products to fit any requirement
Great Price fully disclosed (not hidden, no secret, you just go to their website and you can see crystal clear what you have to pay, when you buy you do not get that impression that you were billed an arbitrary amount based on the salesman perception of the size of your wallet)
Perpetual licenses, availability of non compulsory support policy and sensible cost on upgrades
I also find BricsCAD far easier and more intuitive to use than the Autodesk line of products, specially drawing 3D with 3D direct modeling or with the BIM solution
And support is a dream come true. Top notch even if you are on trial
Find a bug?, Report it and see the BricsCAD team respond blazing fast, not with excuses for years to come with the hope that you will desist but with actual fix in upcoming intermediate releases
1) can you explain what is a cad platform if not for drafting?
2) also how is autocad more convenient than microstation?
I learned on microstation (actually on intergraph on the old twin screen consoles with the digitizing table.
since then I have been a drawing office manager, we ran both full autoCAD and full microstations (I did have to point out to IT that quibbleing cost wise over a few hundred pounds for a decent workstation was stupid when there was £9000 of software on the machine that needed the higher spec.
, I use AutoCAD LT now on a daily basis, but when I go home, its microstation I turn to for 3d modelling.
As for the differences- well yes there are differences –
the differences are small in my opinion, both systems work, each does a few things better than the other (I like that a microstation crash only loses you the last few commands, an autoCAD crash can lose half a days work if you dont have your autosave set up correctly.
we did one project on autocad where the files were in excess of 1 Gb- they took over 30 minutes to open on a good machine, yet microstation could open them a lot quicker.
if you set up autocad properly you can get round a lot of the issues I see people complaining about below, microstation never did seem as fiddley to set up, it just worked
Which do I prefer – Both – for different reasons.
Intergraph’s IGDS was a VAX based CAD system. MicroStation I, was a read-only IGDS emulator designed to run on an IBM PC.
AutoCAD code was originally based on a CAD package called MicroCAD.
To day, both packages can read and write to either package and can be easily customised, to operate the same and produce the same output, 2D or 3D or visuals or animations:
Check my videos. Autocad vs. Microstation. You might find some useful videos included here. I am still working for more.http://youtu.be/pSb6yS6RpYs
Well well….and the comments go on.
I’m an experienced CAD Coordinator and have used both products.
A lot of people here could use some training or get some advice from experienced professionals to help with their drafting methods.
Autocad v Microstation…hmmmm
By using clever aliases in Autocad you will be at least twice as fast as a standard manual or icon entry drafter. By using the same aliases and a multi-buttoned mouse (G700) you will achieve the same speed of operation. What does this mean? I can swap between products with very little difficulty with the same command tools.
But……..why would i do that in 2016 when Microstation can open, work and save in an Autocad environment! To any company looking at which software to purchase, buy Microstation as it operates with over 99% compatibility with Autocad.
And i hear the doubters yelling……..don’t doubt, try, you will find out for yourself.
I started using Autocad and love the program. At Microstation v8, Autocad was 5 times faster to draft in. Now I have them at the same.
Lovers of drafting software will love the viewports in Autocad….they’re so easy to work with. Microstation is just a little different but does exactly the same thing. Microstation doesn’t have reference files sitting all over the place, they’re with you and save in your drawing. Each program has its differences.
So which to buy? As i said Microstation works near perfectly in an Autocad environment. Autocad is just a pig at handling Microstation. Your company works or deals with both forms of software?
Buy Microstation…….but still love Autocad.
Hi thanks for your explanation, so does that meen microstation can accept and export to autocad with LINEWEIGHTS? will the lineweights translate to autocad?
Raz the answer is NO. Levels are not compatible with layers and vica versa. They have to be reconstructed from scratch. Autocad has a Lisp routine that can be loaded to combat this. Microstation has nothing.
I am a Project Leader and a CAD Designer for more than 15 years. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and it ALL depends on what you are trying to achieve with the said software. Autocad users are 3 times quicker at producing 3D models and BIM material take-offs than Microstation, but when the modelling gets tough Microstation does the job nicely. As a Project Leader I prefer my guys to use Autocad and say Prostructures or Advanced Steel, because of productivity concerns. The Microstation boys always dragging their feet compared to the Autocad boys. Sometimes we have twisted chute situations and Autocad boggs down with this task, so Inventor and Microstation gets the job done. So at the end of the day I prefer Autocad, because it has been developed the most by the user and has great add on packages and macros that speed the process up nicely. Solidworks and other constrained packages are only good for lean manufacturing and should never be used for grunt work. The poor CAD drafter works tirelessly to get a simple job done and blows the hours out considerably. NOT something I like at all…. Happy Cadding dudes and dudettes!!
Having started with Microstation (Intergraph IGDS actually) and later learning Autocad,
I’ve found it much easier for traditional 2D drafting. Accudraw, broad support for rasters, simpler layer controls in models make it so.
I doubtless would feel the opposite in I had learner Autocad first.
I Agree to Mr. James. Autocad Is most friendly user than microstation. when it comes to command Autocad is much faster than microstation. microstation is time consuming of finding a command. for me i preferred a autocad rather than microstation. no offends to microstation user.
You should spell and grammar check your work before you post it. Just saying
That’s not a drafters job… hehehe