This article sponsored by Punch! Software.®
Punch! Software was founded in 1998 with
the premise that 3-D home design and CAD
software should be as fun to use as it is
productive. With more than 2 million units
of its Mac and Windows design products
sold via stores and the Internet around the
world, Punch! Software has consistently
been the bestselling home- and landscape-design retail software brand in the United
States for the past eight years. Punch!
Software embraces a philosophy that proves
a good product backed by dedicated people
is a sure formula for success.
for your home
IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT PAST, designing a major remodel at home
required endless drawing and erasing, moving around heavy furniture to try
things out and doing a lot of guesswork. Today, computers and special software enable pros and do-it-yourselfers alike to conceive and execute major
remodeling projects—all with a few clicks of the mouse.
These programs use sophisticated drawing technology to show things
such as a kitchen or a backyard, then enable you to place new objects in those
a reas. In essence, you’re able to try out a lot of different looks and concepts
without lifting a finger. And many of these programs are easy enough for
nontechnical people (that is, most of us) to use.
S tarting from scratch
The nature of your project dictates which step to take first. If you’re start-
ing from scratch, the software program can show a blank room or an empty
backyard, based on the dimensions that you enter. From there, you can create
a floor plan, add objects, test various window and door designs, create custom
trim, etc. The detail available goes as deep as electrical and plumbing systems.
If you’re remodeling rather than starting from scratch, your camera is
a n essential tool. With some programs, you can take photos of your yard or
room, import the image into your computer and make changes.
Here’s a step-by-step example to show how easily this works for a land-
s cape project.
1. Take a digital picture of the front of your house. Be sure the lighting is
bright for the best effect. Sunsets and sunrises produce the best light,
but taking the photo on a sunny day works too.
2. Save the photo in a folder on your computer.
3. Using the photo tool in your home-design software, import your photo
directly into the project. Find the picture of your house that you saved on
your computer and select it. The software will import the 2-D image into
the 3-D program and you will be able to navigate around the image.
4. Now you can easily add plants, trees, shrubs, outdoor fireplaces and so
on to your project by simply dragging and dropping them from the landscaping objects libraries that are part of the software.
Your finished project will give you a realistic view of what your house
will look like after all of the changes.
The software even knows what plants are indigenous to your geographic
location, so you will be picking plants that will actually grow. And you can use
the automatic-growth feature in the software to see what the plants will look
like in five or even 10 years.