Welcome to 2014, designers, architects and three dimensional modellers; while your pockets may feel lightened by the holiday drain and a present to yourself (even if it is professionally motivated) is far off into the distance, at least April, until your cash flow reasserts itself and life recovers.
Since we’ve dismissed that unsettling factor, let’s bask in a good news snippet; free CAD technologies. Sure, they won’t be the best and you can certainly pay for more features down the line, but if you’re just getting started or starting from scratch, you need to get your hands on these freeware nuggets of CAD goodness before work returns for your sweat or the study period starts again.
This is a cost free tool with a lot of power and functionality, enjoying a high profile in a competitive student and intermediate market. SketchUp is flexible application, busting with extras that will allow you to engineer engaging presentations, render whole 3D cities, design buildings down to fine details and create a virtual experience for class projects or your on-the-go ideas. Everybody, from the hobbyist to the practiced pro, can engage with SketchUp, as three informative tutorials step you through the common sense interface, canvas and large buttoned tool bar.
Verdict: Great alternative desiring a simple and effective CAD toolkit, without the non-essential bells and whistles. The cloud accessibility and storage capabilities of SketchUp are particularly advantageous if you work from numerous computers.
If you’re an initiated designer, you’ve probably heard of Blender, a free open source 3D modelling program destined to drop your jaw in delight. Unlike Sketchup, this CAD program required your dedication and love, as learning to use its various tools effectively will sap time from your days and perhaps become a biting obsession. Animation extras and basic abound, allotted by category for ease of accesses; everything from animation, rigging, rendering, UV unwrapping, shading, physics and particles, to imaging and composition, real time 3D, interface modelling and game creation.
Are you excited? Before you run your cursor of an equally weighted list of tools, tune into the Blender community and take a sage tip or two from a pro; no matter how much experience you bring to the table, you’re always capable of learning something new.
Sweet Home 3D
Calling all interior designers, floor planning aficionados and interested hobbyists, Sweet Home 3D was composed to meet your very singular needs, dismissing all of those tools you never use and maximising your favourite to be more effective, accessible and dynamic. Conceptualising a brand new space before the builders even set up camp, puffing on their cigarettes and clattering about, will lend your residential dream direction or inspire confidence in your clients (depending on which side of the table you’re sitting).
Each room is filed separately for ease of use, with the design area featuring a grid pattern that can be adjusted to reflect the various room sizes and a list of furniture you can place within the grid, according to your vision.
Go forth, download and assemble your Ideal Parts, bits and bobs from a library of freeware sites out there. The options are limitless, the designs endless and completely in your hands. Do you have a favourite freeware CAD we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.