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Having just completed my six week internship at an architecture firm, I have successfully managed to learn how to use AUTOCAD, something I was completely illiterate in beforehand and was a goal for me to at least know how to use it and I have done that.
The software is free for students but licenses can be purchased on the official site. The installation process was extremely simple and can run on most computers as it doesn't take up too much processing power; only when you have a large file or very complex models will it start to drain your CPU.
A software designed for architects, designers and animators to create plans and detail technical drawings on the computer, AutoCAD when first loaded appears to be a headache, with a plethora of icons sprawled all over your screen.
However, knowing what you want to do allows you to find the right icon from the organised toolbar, however slow. Within a week, I was able to draw lines and simple shapes and simple altering and modification as well as inserting and editing blocks.
Given how I knew nothing of the software to now being at least confident in creating basic linear plans and sections, I feel that this must be due to the simplicity of the software.
A few gripes I have with it is that it is somewhat difficult to navigate but I am sure there are shortcuts which I have just not discovered yet. Also, I sometimes get a freeze screen when I first start it up which may be to do with my laptop but I am yet to find a solution to it and why it occurs.
For those who have used earlier versions of the program, the interface may be different, which has been thought out and there is an option to change it to classic mode.
AutoCAD is also capable of creating 3D models from the flat drawings, but many will import it into another Autodesk product: 3dsmax, which I have started trying to use but is totally too confusing!
Whilst I have only been on the software for these six weeks, I have managed to explore and discover more and more of the software. I think this is a great way to learn the program and the way it is laid out and created allows you to do so with ease. Overall, if you need to create plans or technical drawings, AUTOCAD is the program to use!