TOP 3D MODELING SOFTWARE FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
There has been a recent trend by the landscape architecture profession to adopt three-dimensional modeling in the creative processes and design intents. This increase has resulted in a surge of 3D modeling software programs in the market.
Most of them come at great costs. Some, however, are cheaper and even completely free! Regardless of your skill level or financial resource endowment, there are 3D software programs that are relevant to your needs. The five programs listed below may provide the crucial starting point.
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Blender is a free open source architectural application that is designed for studying the arts and crafts of 3D modeling. It features an interface that consists of three windows and which may be customized to suit the unique requirements of the end user. It also possesses a versatile interface besides all the requisite 3D modeling, rendering, and animation tools.
Its layout is somewhat complicated, especially to new users. The software, however, comes along with a well-structured manual. The software website also contains plenty of step-by-step tutorials that are geared towards guiding the end users in utilizing it effectively.
Owing to the fact that it is open source software, it accepts reviews, inputs, suggestions, and fresh ideas, and hence gains a lot from end user developments. This results in continuous improvements and periodic bug fixes.
This software contains most of the features of standard 3D modeling software yet is free-of-charge and is also easy to use. It is very fast, more reliable and fun-filled application software that allows end users to create, modify, and view 3D ideas faster and easier. It allows its users to even incorporate Google Earth into their projects and post their latest creations. It, however, has limited functionalities and lacks some of the advanced features of the alternative software programs. It is thus mainly relevant for beginners and intermediate end users/designers.
The manufacturers of this software program designed it in such a manner as to provide conceptual modeling much the same way as SketchUp. It, however, has specific tools as opposed to SketchUp that has more general tools. It combines the NURBS (Non-uniform rational B-spline) curves with the polygon modeling and in so doing offers superior flexibility and greater precision while working. It also has embedded instructional video feature which enables end users to tutor themselves. End users may also exchange ideas with one another and seek support from the developers courtesy of the dedicated 24/7 online forum. It costs roughly $500.
Nemetscheck Vectorworks Landmark
Vectorworks is a robust, easy-to-use software program that is primarily intended for landscape architecture. It allows its users to design objects/structures in both the 2D and the 3D modeling and as such, integrates the two besides allowing its users to seamlessly switch to and from either. For this reason, it eliminates the need for AutoCAD. It comprises several site detail libraries as well as other industry-specific tools e.g. a parking tool that enables designers to quickly lay out parking areas.
It even comprises its own plant database that contains the plant names and other botanical information. It may be customized by adding other data. Since it is not an industry standard software, it grants the designers the freedom to import and/or export data to and from a wide variety of other software programs e.g. SketchUp, AutoCAD, and 3ds Max. It generally grants designers the ability to create accurate plans as well as spectacular presentations at a cost of only $2,195.
Autodesk 3ds Max
The Autodesk 3ds Max is a major player in the 3D modeling community. It is designed to deliver powerful rendering experience by way of offering subdivision, polygon, and NURBS modeling. Its end results are smooth surfaces with utmost accuracy.
It features a fully customizable interface that streamlines work space and by extension, productivity. It also has a plethora of editing tools that enable precise model manipulations. Its latest functionality, the population feature, grants users the capability of adding people to a scene in order to give it some life. The software is therefore suitable for landscape architecture modeling.
The software can also support the AutoCAD pattern files and thus make it possible to create visually interesting and animated CAD illustrations. It may be quite tricky and cumbersome for a complete beginner to master the program. It, however, comes along with online tutorials that aid designers to tackle any problems. It is all factors considered, the best option for three-dimensional design needs. It comes at a cost of $3,500 to $4,000.
The aforementioned are the best 3D modeling software programs for use in landscaping architecture. It is however strongly recommended that a prospective user takes his time to learn and familiarize himself with the respective software first before embarking on its utilization.