Suffering from the nesting urge? Ready to do something about that unfinished basement? Want to perk up your current home’s landscape? Maybe you want to design the home of your dreams. Whatever the case may be, Mac home design software 3D Home Architect’s Home & Landscape Deluxe Suite by Encore has tools to help you develop the project’s plans whether you use a Mac or a PC.
While the 3D Home Architect Mac home design software leverages portions of the Punch! software (mainly its object libraries, a few icons and the Power Tools), it maintains its own look and feel. Drawing the floor plan of a home is simply black lines on a white background. There are no bells and whistles wasted on aesthetics here.
This Mac home design software is best for dreaming and “sketching” ideas as well as developing remodel concepts for existing homes. It doesn’t provide the necessary tools to create electrical, HVAC, plumbing or framing plans. We would like to see the ability to mix our own colors as opposed to using the rather limited color library contained in the software. Same goes for being able to import/use custom finishes.
It’s obvious that the program has been ported from the PC platform over to the Mac. The rudimentary interface lacks the polish and intuitive sensibilities that typifies most Mac software products. Resizing an object is laborious. There isn’t a way to specify a size for many objects such as defining a cabinet width or depth. You first must drag ruler lines to the desired length and/or width and then resize the cabinet to match but you can’t constrain the proportions so you could possibly end up with a distorted cabinet.
One of the shining highlights of 3D Home Architect is its video tutorials that are included with the software. The tutorials are a great aid in explaining the various aspects of the software despite a delay between what the voice in the tutorial is telling us to do and what the image being shown is doing. We referred to the tutorials frequently throughout the testing period and without that help would have been hopelessly confused. A tutorial that is missing and would be very helpful to the user is a “Getting Started” or “Tips” that walked the user through the beginning stages of drawing a floor plan and offer tips to make it easier and more efficient to use.
Another highlight is the PDF copy of the user’s manual that is included when the program is installed. You can access it within the program under the Help drop down menu. It is searchable and you can zoom in a bit so that the text is larger because it’s pretty small in the printed manual included in the software box.
One of the drawbacks to the documentation is the software’s box which states that there are sample plans included in the program, however we were unable to find any, even after using the application’s search feature.
3D Home Architect Mac home design software has an uneven feel to it. The software is definitely geared toward a homeowner who isn’t necessarily an individual with a lot of experience in home building or remodeling. It incorporates some rather technical aspects like roof customization in a product for users who probably won’t understand how to really use it despite its informative tutorial. If you’re looking for a more in-depth design tool, we recommend you see our review of Punch! Home & Landscape Design Studio Mac home design software.