The Bottom Line
Live Interior 3D has its work cut out for it. As a consumer-oriented product, it must be easy to use, but as a 3D design tool, it must be powerful enough to get the job done. It succeeds fairly well on both counts.
If you're not familiar with 3D programs, or you're new to computers, then Live Interior 3D's learning curve might be a little steep. It's not an especially difficult program to learn to use, but if you buy it expecting to whip out a room design in an hour or two, you'll be disappointed and frustrated. Keep your expectations realistic, and you may be on the way to the makeover of your dreams.
- Budget friendly for home use.
- The ability to view and walk through a design in 3D can't be overrated.
- Powerful features for a 3D program in its price range.
- Large library of materials.
- User guide is well written.
- Not particularly intuitive to use.
- Navigating in 3D can be tricky.
- Includes only a handful of room templates.
- Object library is limited.
- Materials library is slow to load.
- Demo available for downloading from the BeLight Software web site (http://http://www.belightsoft.com).
- Includes room templates and an objects library of brand-name items.
- Many additional items available free from the Google Warehouse (http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/).
- Includes of textures library of materials that can be applied to walls, floors, and objects.
- You can use the drawing tools to create simple furniture and other objects.
- Can toggle between 2D and 3D views, or display a split-screen 2D/3D view.
- Can show rooms and furnishing in different light and shadow conditions.
- Unlimited undo/redo.
- Can export 2D room plans in PDF, JPG, TIFF, and PNG format.
Guide Review - Live Interior 3D
One of us has extensive experience with CAD and 3D modeling programs and one of us has none, so we were able to approach Live Interior 3D from two very different perspectives.
Live Interior 3D is a consumer-oriented application for designing one or more rooms in an apartment, house, or office. No design experience is necessary, although a few hours spent watching HGTV or the DIY Network can't hurt. You also don't need any previous experience with 3D modeling programs, but it's safe to say that your learning curve will probably be in direct inverse proportion to your experience with computers in general and 3D or 2D design programs in particular. (You're in luck if you happen to be an avid first-person 3D gamer; experience navigating 3D environments will serve you well when you're trying to explore your room designs in 3D.) If you can approach Live Interior 3D with realistic expectations, plenty of patience, and even more free time, you may be able to save yourself time and money on a remodeling project.
Live Interior 3D offers a small collection of room templates; you can also start with a blank canvas, which may be easier than editing an existing room. The package includes a materials gallery of brick, stone, metal, wood, paint, wallpaper, carpet, and floor tile; and a collection of fixtures and furniture. Additional items are available free from the Google Warehouse.
You can switch between 2D and 3D views of a room with the click of a mouse, as well as view rooms in different light and shadow conditions. The walkthrough and light/shadow features alone are worth the cost of the program. You can create a design plan using a simple DTP program or a pencil, ruler, and paper, but there's nothing like a 3D, 360-degree walkthrough of a room, even if doesn't exactly match your furniture, appliances, flooring, or paint colors.