Macintosh systems were always a first choice for professionals who work in creative industries, like graphics designers, website developers, 3D animators, photographers and such. However, during all these years, people who work in construction business, especially architects, had a problem finding a professional-grade application which could be used to create all of the needed technical documentation, drawings and 3D models. This was a chance for small software developers who created their own CAD solutions (Computer-Aided-Drawing), but most of these couldn’t even pair up to Autodesk’s AutoCAD which is an industry standard software and which was a long time Windows-only product.
When Autodesk decided to offer their flagship product to Mac OS X users, this made many architects happy, but also impacted negatively many small developers whose products soon became obsolete. Still, there are a few applications which already have big user base, and which were popular with architects and interior designers for years. One of these applications is Live Interior 3D, made by Belight Software. It comes in Standard and Pro editions, and we’re going to review today the Standard edition.
Live Interior 3D is CAD solution which lets you draw 2D layout while automatically generating 3D model. You can create professional looking technical drawings, with all of the needed annotations and technical specifications. Just like in any other popular CAD software, you can use smart guides which make it much easier to draw lines in correlation to other lines in your drawing. 2D and 3D environment create each other, so if you add a new walls in a 2D drawing, these are going to be automatically created in 3D as well. Then, you can add furniture and apply materials, and all this information will be presented back in 2D as a technical drawing. This is probably the strongest selling point of Live Interior 3D, since most architects tend to use two separate applications for their drawings, and creating 3D models of their project.
Live Interior 3D comes with a library of 1,200 objects and it also accepts ready to use models from Google’s 3D Warehouse. You can fine-tune all of the measurements and materials, so possibilities are pretty much endless. Besides having 1,200 objects, there are 1,500 materials which come as a part of several categories like woods, wallpapers, parquet, fabrics, leather, brick and such.
Finally, Live Interior 3D also offers ability to render images as well as movies and animation sequences, which is something that an architect presents to clients, so this is an important communication tool. Renderings are nice, but they are not photorealistic, so you shouldn’t expect this quality. After all, photorealistic renderings are only produced using some of the industry standard 3D tools.
In general, this application can be used by architects and interior designers who mostly work on residential projects, since this is where Live Interior 3D has a lot to offer. It has its limitations and produces medium quality renderings, but for $50 this is an excellent overall value.