I’m a senior design architect at HMC Architects in Southern California and I use form•Z in my practice to design buildings. As far as I’m concerned, form•Z is the best 3d modeling program for architecture and design, and I’ve used most of the others out there over the last 20 years. It keeps me coming back because of it’s ease-of-use and powerful functionality. form•Z is great for beginners and power users alike, and continues to be fun to use on a daily basis. If you’ve never considered using it before, you're missing out on a fantastic set of powerful tools! If you have used it since version 7, you know exactly what I’m talking about. When AutoDesSys redesigned the program to better contend with the other software that’s competing for your attention, they made it so good I couldn’t ignore it. I’m a believer!
Some of my favorite things about form•Z pro are the live booleans, its parametric design tools, and the architecture-specific tools that have been part of the program for a long time — stairs, terrain generator, walls, components, and so much more. I also love that it can talk to all of the other 3D programs we use to do niche things like Autocad, Rhino, SketchUp, and Revit. Since making buildings is a team sport, form•Z is a great team player in that regard.
Since third party rendering applications have come along and are now available, I’ve jumped on these powerful visualization tools. As a heavy user of both Maxwell Render and Thea Render, it’s never been easier to visualize my designs right inside form•Z. I especially value the live render previews they offer while I’m working on material and lighting setups. Their hyper-realistic material libraries have made scene setup faster than ever. While I don’t do many “final” renderings in my design role, the ability to convey mood, lighting, texture and material qualities allows me to communicate my designs that I just couldn’t do with the standard shaded views that other programs offer.
In 2010 I shifted my teaching career where I taught form•Z for a decade in the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona to my website called Method. It’s where I have continued to share my passion for form•Z and architecture together. My mission is to share what I know and make other architects and designers worth more through the gaining of new skills. I mostly do that through my free tutorial videos, and supplement the endeavor with a few paid tutorials, some 3D grass presets I made for form•Z and Maxwell Render, and through a new course I have launched this month.
My new course is called form•Z Fundamentals, and it’s over 6 hours of video training in form•Z pro. It will get new users proficient and productive by setting a fantastic foundation with thoughtful explanation of tools and techniques. It will also help develop workflows free of the bad habits other 3D programs sometimes encourage, which only come back later to haunt us when project deadlines happen. If the user is already seasoned in form•Z it will make them better. I’ve integrated many of my valuable personal workflows I’ve developed over the last 20 years into this course. I want people to consider form•Z as I have, to be a design companion that can enable them to build the best 3D models they’ve ever made.
As architects and designers continue to move through the 21st century, our reliance on digital tools will not be diminishing. Quite the opposite in fact. I want to get it across that form•Z is the tool they should be using for the majority of their design work. It’s that good.
About Evan Troxel
Evan Troxel, AIA is an architect, teacher, maker, problem-solver, author, blogger, podcaster, father, adventurer—he never slows down and is a true lifelong learner. He is forever curious and always testing and adopting new concepts and technologies to work smarter.
form•Z Fundamentals, over 6 hours of video training in form•Z pro. Archispeak Podcast – Co-hosting a podcast about all things architecture, now 100 episodes.
ARE Hacks – Author of a new book to motivate people to pass the Architecture Registration Exam.
Spaceshop – Designing a camping trailer in form•Z that I will fabricate and I share the process.
Other notable items:
Licensed Architect in the state of California
Senior Designer at HMC Architects, working on higher education, civic, and K-12 education projects
I’ve been using form•Z since 1994 when I was in architecture school. (version 2.x)
I taught digital design courses (including form•Z) in the architecture department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona from 2000-2010.
I started the Method Training website in 2010 to teach architectural designers 3D tools so they could be more valuable to their colleagues, clients and profession.
I’m a certified Maxwell Render Xpert.
I have posted dozens of free training videos on my site, most of which are form•Z-based.