Sun, 04 Oct 2009 Home & Landscape Design Studio for Mac 14.1 review
3-D program aimed at home owners who want to design or remodel a home
- Manufacturer: Punch! Software
- Pros: QuickStart features; impressive renderings with little time and effort; template library includes pre-designed rooms.
- Cons: Entering existing plans and creating more detailed models can be time consuming and frustrating; Green tips are not detailed enough.
- Min specs: Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), Universal.
- Price: $150 (around £94), upgrade from Home Design Studio for Mac, $20
- Star rating:
Home & Landscape Design Studio for Mac 14.1 is a 3-D program aimed at home owners who want to design or remodel a home or landscape. This updated version creates a much richer experience for Mac users, than the previous package.
New features such as QuickStart home layout, built-in green building tips and materials, and an expanded object library including Google 3-D support, will have users designing quickly and easily right out of the box. Home & Landscape Design Studio (H&LDS) tries to provide you with results similar to a professional CAD (computer-aided-design) application with the ease of use and quick learning curve of a consumer-level design program.
One of this version’s new standout features is the QuickStart part of the SmartRoom technology. It works like this: At the start of a project, you drag and drop rooms onto a grid as simple rectangles. Want a kitchen? Grab the kitchen box, place it, size it, and move on to the next room.
When you finish this rough layout, the program automatically creates a floor plan with labels and dimensions. But the plan is not simply 2-D; it is 3-D as well. So you can view your creation in 3-D, add an automatically generated roof, and view a photorealistic rendering of the project. Click the Continue button to move back to the 2-D design space to refine and modify your drawing.
This process works great on fairly simple designs (not too many twists, turns, or alcoves). However, when creating designs that are more complex, or after tweaking the walls of your design, it does not always work perfectly. For instance, the automatic roof creation function would often get confused after wall edits and come up with something odd, impractical, or just plain impossible.
Another timesaving new feature is the included library of templates. Instead of designing a kitchen from scratch, you can go to the template library and choose a pre-designed kitchen. Then you can decorate your kitchen with your preferred colors and materials. With templates for most rooms in a house, you can quickly plug in pre-organized rooms with minimal effort to create an entire home.
You can edit templates for dimensions and content, but each element making up the template must be edited individually for good results. So, if you find templates that satisfy your vision when designing your space, then this process works great. Designing a custom kitchen or other room from scratch, or by modifying the included templates, is much more time consuming.