Good software for design presentation to clients?

pinusresinosa(MN Z4)October 14, 2011

I'm coming across something pretty consistently. My clients want to see elevation pictures- and while I could sketch them out (would take a long time), and/or describe what the final result would look like (not good enough I think), I think I'm ready to let a computer program do it for me.

I've been looking at Landscape Deck and Patio by Punch, and Idea Spectrum's Realtime Landscaping Plus 2011. I'd prefer a program that can save files in PDF and AutoCAD. The PDF thing isn't a complete need actually, because I have Bullzip (a PDF printer). Both of these different software have good reviews from what I've seen, but I do like to hear some real life, real work reviews if these, or any software if applicable.

I've been using GardenPlanner 2.5 by Artifact Interactive for concept sketches, but I'm quickly outgrowing it just on sketches.

And I'm not trying to be rude, but please don't suggest I do everything by hand. I've spent a lot of time doing that, learned that way, and it's just no longer feasible. I will do them for an extra fee for clients if they want something they can frame and put on a wall (a couple have asked me to do it and I was happy to) but that's it.

Thank you very much in advance!


Thanks in advance!

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Google Sketch Up Pro. A free trial is available.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 3:42PM
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There aren't any so software.but many software can work TOGETHER for helping you to get some nice design pics.CAD just work on demension.3DSMAX work only making 2d into 3d.MAYA work just change 3d.use photoshop only for color...

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 10:40PM
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I'm not a professional but my brother-in-law is a landscape designer/builder and had been using AutoCAD with some landscape modules. I don't know how well the 3D rendering is for landscape presentation but I do know AutoCAD can be considered expensive.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Depends on the type of work that you're doing... from what I remember of Punch was that it was all pretty standard fixtures for decking, paving, and the remainder of landscaping. If you're doing a lot of custom, atypical structures or pieces, I would highly recommend Sketchup.

It also depends if you actually want to create a proper 3D model of the project (from which the program can take snapshots of elevations, sections, perspectives, etc) or if you just want a program to do 2D mockups. 3D models can provide the most automation (i.e. in the production of multiple graphics), but basically you have to put in any information you want shown which is typically a huge time investment. It's after the long run, multiple revisions and versions, updates, and the production of a large number of different views that the upfront time investment starts paying off.

Fastest version of creating decent presentation graphics? Probably doing a hand-sketch over a good photo (or photos) of the site, scanning it in, and doing an overlay over the original photo[s]. That would be my first choice.

- Audric

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 2:41PM
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Autocad LT 2010 or newer might be a good way to go according to the criteria you mentioned. You would be working directly in the ACAD dwg format, you can underlay image files or pdf files to trace in your base line work for an elevation drawing. You could also buy a graphics tablet to add in habd drawn linework.

The learning curve can be daunting depending how far you want to go with it. It does not have drag and drop images to make quick mock ups. .... about $900.

ACAD file format is vector based rather than raster, so you will not get ACAD dwg output from any raster based program.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 7:14AM
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