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We are going to make major changes in our new apartment (remove walls, construct new walls, new windows, new doors, new kitchen, new bathrooms, paint, fake ceiling, new furniture etc.). Where do I find a good software to visualize the changes, preferable in 3D with possibility to add light. We have the plan in drawing.

I had a look at Google sketchup but seems beyond my capabilities - a possibility would be to find someone to create the 3D work and send me the sketchup file. Where do I find someone and what should I expect it to cost.

I also looked at floorplanner.com but does not give me a real sense of how changes will look.

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possible duplicate of DIY Design Software also Affordable 2D drafting software for amateurs? –  Niall C. Jan 24 '11 at 17:46
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4 Answers 4

Sketchup might seem a little intimidating at first, but it is very easy to learn and use. There are a lot of great tutorial videos online. Also there are tons of free models available for furniture, fixtures etc.

I have tried a few specialized 3D home modeling programs. They all have a learning curve much steeper then sketchup and at the same time often produce inferior results.

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Something like Blender can produce superior results, but I'd agree that it is a little harder to learn Blender, Maya, etc. Blender is to SketchUp what C++ is to Visual Basic. People that are new to programming will find VB to be more powerful because it's easier to learn and use, but in the hands of an expert, C++ is more powerful. –  Michael Jan 24 '11 at 17:12
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I was actually talking about various home design programs you would find in Staples or OfficeDepot. They cost $30-$50 and suck compared to sketchup. –  Vitaliy Jan 26 '11 at 18:04
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SketchUp is good, but Blender is also a possibility.

As far as getting someone to do it for you, I wouldn't know the best place for that. In terms of cost, it depends on how good the person is and how much detail you want. A rough visualization would take only a little bit of time, but more detailed stuff would take quite a while. A little warning, however. A render -- especially if it is mediocre --probably isn't going to give you a feel for the volume of the space.

I haven't done 3d work in quite a while, but I suppose I could do it if you don't have any luck elsewhere. I haven't worked with Blender before, but really the only thing I might have problems with is figuring out the render settings.

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I love Blender for its power, but trying to learn to use it is like learning to sing underwater... –  Alex Feinman Apr 12 '11 at 14:50
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I tried using Punch Home Design for my renovation. It was ok, but really slow by the time you chucked in a lot of details.

My neighbour, who is in the building industry and managing all aspects of her renovation, used Sketchup. Having seen the quality of her drawings I'd definitely go the Sketchup route.

As for Blender - not unless you already know it well.

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I'd probably try Sketchup, but several years ago, I used 3-D Home Architect. I bought an older simpler version at the time and it worked fine to draw my basement when I was finishing it.

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