Since I have experience and training with real world design and computer design I was looking forward to trying this program out. I really wanted to love this program, but when I have to walk away from the screen in frustration, it’s not a good sign. This is a 1.something version of this program, so it's easy to be a little lenient. Live Interior 3D is already very powerful and well endowed with features, options and resources. My frustration comes mainly from the fact that upon opening the program, it seems intuitive and easy to use; but I found I had to scan all the help files to really make any use of it.
Upon Start Up
You can open a new project from scratch or use the assistant. You can toggle between 2D and 3D modes or see a split screen view of both. You build your floor plan in the 2D mode. Fill out your furnishings, then you can take a 3D walk through. To help you with all this is a listing of all the elements in your 'Project Tree' on your left. You can click on the list or select your object in the middle on the plan for revision. On the right you’ll see the 'Inspector'. In the 'Inspector' you can tweak the color, dimensions, positions and materials. Along the bottom on the window are a few tool icons to add walls, ceilings, floors and to move things around. You can also add notations. ‘Type and Representation’ is used to tweak the specifics on windows, doors and architectural details. Once you have everything in place, you can add your camera and lighting for your walk through tour.
All of this sounds pretty easy. It is remarkable. There is a huge library of furnishings, textiles, colors and such for customization. Anything with texture and pattern can be resized and customized. There are links to Google 3D Warehouse, a huge online resource of 3D objects. Objects can be imported into your own library. Everything can be laid out to scale and specified to the exact measurement. You can use a ‘glue to’ feature to help furnishings ‘stick’ to certain areas. There are also align and distribute settings to line up and even up repetitive objects.
This is a powerful program. My frustration starts with trying to manipulate objects. It can be hard to pick up a small object behind a larger object in 3D mode. Of course 3D mode is meant for walk through and tweaking colors and materials. Still if I wanted to resize a vase behind the sofa and can’t select anything but the sofa, you can see a problem. Selecting objects from the list, wasn’t always helpful, since you could be selecting something unseen and wondering why your changes may not be taking affect. Also I really wanted to be able to rotate objects by selecting them with my cursor, instead of using the 'Inspector'. I also had to refer to the help files to understand most of anything I tried to do.
If I were a professional, I would certainly find this worth doing. having seen a couple other similar programs, I find this one the best. The walk through controls are great. There are different cursor controls to change how you do your walk through. The different light settings to simulate day, night etc. are important to help color choices. You can take a previously scanned floor plan and open it in Live Interior to use as a template. You can also create templates to use for your list of projects. I found myself wishing I could also scan a wallpaper sample or paint chip to add to my library. My shyness of programs like these has always been the lack of real world feel, but I suspect that the Google 3D Warehouse link goes a long way to help that. Still being able to import some of those resources is a different matter. The file formats usable to the program are: 3ds MAX, SketchUp (Google), OGRE XML and the native Live Interior format. 2D plans can be exported in PDF, PNG and other formats. 3D screenshots can be exported in TIFF, JPG and others.
All in all, I would certainly recommend this program for anyone on the pro level. It would be time well spent learning the ins and outs to make good use of
Live Interior 3D. For an amateur, I would hesitate to make the same recommendation. It would depend on your computer comfort level. Because this software comes from Belight (makers of Art Text), I would be more than willing to watch and review further versions of Live Interior 3D.
4 out of 5