first looked at IMSI’s FloorPlan 3D back in 2002. The product has advance considerably since then. As it was then, FloorPlan 3D remains a very powerful design and drawing application that puts a lot of capability in the hands of people who do not use design software every day and who just need a fast way of presenting their ideas about a building in a 3D digital format.

Who Would Use Floorplan 3D?

FloorPlan 3D is ideal for a building owner or prospective building owner who wants to get involved in teh design of their new building, be it a home or an office, studio or factory. FloorPlan 3D provides the facilities to create building forms in 3D very, very quickly and easily.

The limitations of FloorPlan 3D mean that it is not used by professional designers. It does not have the degree of precision and interoperability with other professional software tools.

What We Said Originally…

FloorPlan 3D Design Suite is a collection of applications that includes FloorPlan 3D (with integrated Lightscape rendering engine), Landscape Architect, TurboProject Express and Home Designs Encyclopedia.  The suite is a good combination for someone planning some building works, there is no facility to transfer information automatically or even easily between applications.

FloorPlan 3D is a sophisticated version of DreamHouse 3D and some of the shortcomings in DreamHouse 3D are rectified here.  FloorPlan 3D allows you to set ceiling heights, window and door head heights.  FloorPlan 3D also allows you to transfer your drawing to a real CAD program via a DXF export.

FloorPlan 3D is a more sophisticated version of DreamHouse 3D and allows more flexibility in defining building components.FloorPlan 3D is a more sophisticated version of DreamHouse 3D and allows more flexibility in defining building components.  FloorPlan 3D is a more sophisticated version of DreamHouse 3D and allows more flexibility in defining building components.

I liked the photorealistic renderings created with the Lightscape renderer.  You can set the sun position for a wide range of locations as well as date and time of day.  However, renderings are time-consuming to generate and the more computing power the better.

FloorPlan 3D also ships with three extra applications…

Landscape Architect is really for landscape visualisation rather than garden design.  Landscape Architect is really for landscape visualisation rather than garden design.

You can create a virtual landscape using typical plants and landscape elements in Landscape Architect, a 3D garden design package.  The landscape content has a heavy US bias and includes no Australian native plants.  Landscape Architect is a little tedious to use.  It does not utilise right mouse clicks or Windows shortcuts (like Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V for copy and paste).  It also needs significant computing horsepower.  Documentation is a PDF file on the CD.

TurboProject Express is a cut down version of IMSI’s TurboProject.  It is easy to use and a powerful project management tool, even in the cut-down state.  It does GANTT charts, critical paths, resource tracking and reports are easy to generate.

Home Designs Encyclopedia is a multimedia catalogue of home plans from HomeStyles (a printed catalog is also included in the box).  The house styles are typically American and while the contents might not provide any immediate solutions, it could stimulate some new ideas.

Our wrap up was that FloorPlan 3D was easy to use and good value for money.

FloorPlan 3D Today

FloorPlan 3D has become TurboFloorPlan 3D and comes in “Home & Landscape Pro” and “Home & Landscape Deluxe” versions. All versions allow you to create full 3D building models and produce 2D drawings from them. They will allow you to import DXF (CAD) drawings and files from Punch software. There are loads of 3D objects (furniture, fittings, you can use to dress up your model and loads of textures and paint colours you can apply to surfaces to make it look real.

The Home and Landscape Deluxe version includes the Home Builder, Kitchen Builder, Bathroom Builder and Deck Builder wizards. It also has the Green 3DHome facility. This is the cut down version for those who are looking for the home basic design tools at a lower price point.

The Home and Landscape Pro version includes the design wizards Floor/Foundation Builder, Kitchen Builder, Bathroom Builder, Terrain Builder, Shed Builder, Deck and Patio Builder. It also includes a Project Estimator and Green 3D Home facilities.  This is the full suite of TurboFloorPlan products and covers practically everything you might want to design in a building and grounds.

The Green 3DHome feature looks interesting. It comprises tips, calculators and other information you can use to make a difference to your buildings energy efficiency. It will help you learn how your home consumes energy, estimate your home’s energy use and access energy calculators for the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, family room, bedroom, exterior, utility room, & roof. It also includes a Green Product Directory to help locate manufacturers of energy saving products and info on grants, rebates & energy saving incentives. A welcome addition and educational tool it is unlikely that most of the Green 3DHome facilty will be of much use to any but US and Canadian users.

An American product, it is safe to say that much of the useful collateral with TurboFloorPlan 3D is suited to American users only. Australian and New Zealand users can take heart that the Pro version shippedin this these countries also includes localised content with library objects for building components including bricks, concrete, roofs, timber and walls, interior items such as doors, ceilings, sinks and windows as well as Australian and New Zealand native plant symbols for landscaping.