3D software takes planning from rendering to reality Using 3D software gives design professionals a virtual way to show their clients how their remodel will look. Of course paper and pencils are often used to make very rough sketches in the earliest phase of the design process when the designer first interviews the client. After that first meeting, though, the plan is drawn to scale with a computer, working first on a floor plan, then on details including roof lines, wall locations, surface finishes, cabinet layouts, even moldings. During the design/plan phase of a project this 3D model is used to facilitate communication, making it possible to visualize and explore various possibilities for the project. When the plan is a remodel, the existing house is often drawn first, and then the plan is modified to reflect the proposed changes to the home. This allows the contractor to help the homeowner imagine the finished project even before the first shovel breaks the soil. After the first meeting, once the designer has developed a workable plan, it is shown to the homeowner. Because the plan was modeled in 3D on a computer, this often doesn't happen with the familiar rolled blueprint format. Computer-savvy homeowners may work from home with the design professional in an online meeting, where they view the plan online, review at 3D images of interior and exterior views from many angles, and check out the overall footprint. Some designers even make changes to the plan “on the fly.” The designer and client may also meet in person at the designer’s place of business. Like the online meeting, the client is presented with bird’s eye and other 3D perspectives of the plan; however these are viewed on a big screen TV connected to the computer. The demonstration is up close and personal with many modifications made and approved or rejected right on the spot. This interactive process speeds up the design process and makes the homeowner much more in - volved in the project. Sometimes a mini layout, a smaller version of a blueprint, might be emailed to a client in a printable PDF format. The layout could include traditional floor plans and elevations, interior and exterior, but adds colorful 3D images similar to photographs of the proposed plan, showing views from various angles, as well as surface finishes of walls, floors, cabinets, etc. The owner then contacts the designer with their evaluation of the plan. Regardless of the type of plan review, once changes are made and the plan is complete, the builder/remodeler now has an accurate model for preparing the estimate. When the job is approved, blueprints for permitting and construction purposes are created using the same software. 3D modeling saves time and money by making it simpler for clients to make decisions quickly based on how their project will look and function in real life. The contractor also benefits from the accuracy of a 3D model — it is easier to estimate a job and keep costs in line when a project is finalized before the ground is broken. When a home improvement project is modeled in 3D, the benefit to the client is clear: ideas are communicated clearly and effectively. That old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true when using a 3D model to visualize a new home or a revitalized existing home. Katy Fernandez, CAPS: Designer, My Design Team Contractor: Premier Remodeling and Construction
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