Fri, 29 Feb 2008 Microspot Interiors 4 Professional Review
Create dream interiors in virtual space
- Manufacturer: Microspot
- Pros: Extensive list of object models, detailed lighting effects, simple animation capabilities for walkthroughs, object modelling tools
- Cons: Sometime lack of intuitiveness, awkward to use
- Min specs: Requires: MacOS X 10.4 G5 or Intel processor, 1GB RAM, 1GB disk space
- Price: £176 CD, £142 download
- Star rating:
Microspot is an interior design package, enables you to design spaces from floor plans or blueprints, or conceived within the limitless potential of your imagination. According to the company it allows you to “remodel your home or office without leaving your chair”, and “try fresh paint, wallpaper or carpet without going to the store.” It doesn’t actually do the decorating, though.
Installation is standard and straightforward. Your first view of the program is a standard 3D grid with handy, colour-coded X, Y and Z-axes, an extensive tools palette and a navigation/views palette, which Microspot calls the ‘inspector’ palette.
You then realise that you’re not using one of those super intuitive packages – iLife and Google SketchUp for instance – where you can just get going and have fun. There will be moments of confusion as you learn your way around the package.
But Interiors is quite a natty application. Its camera viewing options are brilliantly simple, for instance. Your viewing position is represented by a red dot, from which you can draw a line to whatever you wish to look at.
And once you have completed a room, there are tons of objects to add, from teddy bears to mixing desks, with a range of standard household items in between – beds, toilets, sinks, mirrors, chairs, even people. Microspot hasn’t scrimped on the lighting effects, either, so your final render can include detailed shadow, direction, and intensity tweaks for both artificial and natural illumination. iPhoto integration means you can take a snap of your friend’s laminate floor or wallpaper and map it to your virtual room.
For the more serious professionals – architects and designers, for example – there is a stupendously easy-to-use animation tool that uses a simple tweening method to create walkthroughs of your final render.
Microspot Interiors 4 Professional is all about the user. For the layperson not used to 3D, it’s a tricky sell: it probably needs a smidgen more refining from a usability point of view. But it features some excellent technology, and you get the feeling Microspot are passionate about details. Its endless light shaders, along with its ability to recolour and group objects, export QuickTime walkthroughs, generate 3D models, even import SketchUp files, mean that professionals with a bit of 3D experience will get this package to jump through some pretty challenging hoops.
Sat, 07 Feb 2009Reviewed by: mkayreagan
Duration of ownership: 5 days
Strengths: Realism especially lighting, library of 3D objects and ability to easily import 3rd party objects, creation of QTVR movies.
Weaknesses: Poor user guide, tech support, user forum.
Overall Evaluation: Interiors' tutorial shows how to put the fininishing touches on a room, but it's difficult to create the room itself. Guide only describes the menus, item by item. Website has a brief FAQ. Forum is out-of-date. Email to tech support not answered for 2 days. Be aware that you are on your own with this software.