(Re-)building the dream home with Live Interior 3D

Although I’ve been fortunate, many of my neighbors here in San Diego are now finding themselves without homes because of the wild fires raging through Southern California. Live Interior 3D is a great tool for floorplanning and interior design, whether you’re rebuilding the home you just lost or you’re converting a spare bedroom into an in-home office.

3D Elevation Live Interior 3D provides nearly all the features needed to plan out spaces in two-dimensional blueprints, as well as instantly visualize those floorplans as three-dimensional elevations complete with furniture, carpeting, lighting, and just about anything else you can imagine.

At first glance the tool seems a little too easy to use: Draw the walls in 2D space, click over to 3D and move around. It’s almost like Second Life without the characters. In actuality, it is that easy. With only a few preference settings, such as scale and units of measurement, and basic tools for design, Live Interior 3D really takes the hard work out of your hands.

That comes at a price, though: Some settings that should be user-changeable are not. For example, all walls are the same height. When I tried to build a house that was 10 feet tall with a 12-foot wall around it, it was not possible with Live Interior 3D. Along the same line, I could not discover a means to create a multi-storey layout.

2D Floorplan Live Interior 3D snaps to points when layout out elements, and even creates automatic guidelines on the 30-, 45-, 60-, and 90-degree angles like Adobe Illustrator. On the 3D side, the features really shine through. In addition to over 1000 included objects and materials, Live Interior 3D also supports objects created in Google Sketchup. (See, for example, the beautiful MacBook in the TAB Office that I designed based on one of the included templates, in the first illustration.) This is really a great feature for students planning their dorm rooms, because there are nearly 600 IKEA items in the Google 3D Warehouse.

While Live Interior 3D is certainly not AutoCAD or 3ds Max, it doesn’t need to be for most home users. It’s still a fair bit user-friendlier than generic flowcharting and graphing tools like OmniGraffle, Intaglio, or Illustrator. At a retail price tag of $79.95, it’s perhaps a bit overpriced but not terribly so.

Overall, I rate Live Interior 3D as 3½ Tabbies (out of 5).

The manufacturer, BeLight Software, Inc., provided a copy of this software for this review.