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Lunch » Tags » Software » Reviews » Broderbund 3D Home Architect Deluxe 5.0/3D Home Landscape Designer Deluxe 5.0 for PC - 2 Pack » User review

Get out your shovel and bury this now!

  • Apr 17, 2005
  • by
Rating:
-3
Pros: looks pretty

Cons: not easy to use, just a disappointment

The Bottom Line: avoid it

I grew up in Ohio and lived there all my life. I have always been interested in landscaping and the application and maintenance of same. Always had a deep love of flowers, shrubs, trees, etc. Nothing could have been better than when I hired on at a nursery.

Prior to that I owned my own landscape business and got involved in the design end of the work as well as the installation and maintenance . Nothing is as exciting as watching the plans you have made come to realization in the soil. Having no graphic design experience, I turned to computer graphics and software to help my design process. Starting with Sierra LandDesign, which is a basic land-view of property design, I moved on to Planix 3-D Landscape Design, which incorporated the homeowners OWN home into the new design.

Now I live in North Carolina and although every time you open your eyes or turn your head you see the glories of God's work, I still miss that personal attention to landscaping. When friends of Diane's asked if I could help them design for their new home, I jumped on it. Uh huh, that is until I tried using both of my old software packages. Seems they are generated to be used with Windows 3.0 - Windows 98, they are not adaptable to systems beyond that. UGH!

Enter Broderbund 3-d Home Landscape Design finally, you say ........
I researched online, shopped local stores, and finally found a software package that incorporates the ability to import the actual photo of your home so you can landscape around it and see the finished project before you break out the shovel. Or so they said.

True, I did import the photo of the subject home.

True, it showed up nice and pretty on the computer screen.

False that you can show the landscape around the home.

So I ask, why bother to offer this option? Oh sure, it's real cute to use their pre-designed homes and decks and import a photo of your puppy sitting on the deck, but it isn't what I wanted.

I called Broderbund and spoke to their customer service department, explained my problem, they said - Oh, sorry, that isn't possible. But at least they sent me an email that would allow me to return the software to MediaPlay for a refund cause we all know, there ain't no refund on open software. Thanks Broderbund for that at least.

Set up, installation, requirements
It comes with a CD that carries the product information as well as program running system. They do offer the ability to download the product information (plants, decks, trees, shrubs, etc.) into your hard drive but I would imagine it would take up a boatload of space. Why bother when all you have to do is insert the CD while you are designing your scaping?

Initial setup took about 3 minutes, including online registration. Of course that would depend on the speed of your computer.

The system requirements are: Windows98SE, 2000, XP; 500 MHz or higher; 128 MB RAM; 300 MB free hard-disk space; 4x CD-ROM; Video Card w/OpenFL & 32 MB RAM; IE 5.5 or higher, mouse.

Some highlights of the software
~Tabbed interface allows easier access to tools.
~Point and Click painbrush
~Photo wizard allows imported photos
~Walk around tool allows you a 360 view of your project
~2D & 3D designers view. 2-D gives a birds-eye view of project, 3-D gives you a pictorial view.
~Full deck tool
~Terrain modeling tool creates natural slopes and grades
~Seasonal changes and growth changes can be applied to renderings
~Over 7.500 species in plant encyclopedia supplying growth zones, sun exposure, soil, seasons, color, sizing.
~Hardscaping catalog with gazebos, fountains, pools, tennis courts, furniture, lighting, irrigation, and more
~Landscaping shown in either day or night setting

with all that, you are probably scratching your head
It wasn't what I wanted or what was purported. I wanted to incorporate MY home (or my customers home) into the project and show the new landscaping around it. I didn't want a psuedo home nor did I want an overhead view.

Some people do not have the ability of 'looking into the future' and visualizing what something will look like at their home. My old Planix software did this. So, to me, this was a huge disappointment. For others, they may not care.

Ease of use
I've used several landscape software packages with no problem. This one was cumbersome to use. The plants in the encyclopedia are shown as small dots, if you want to see what they actually look like, you have to use the growth feature to 'size them up', then still they look pitiful against a two-story home.

Navigation from one section to another was fairly easy but product use was difficult. In addition, finding help through the help file was practically impossible.

My recommendation, although Broderbund is a fine company, this isn't their best product. Avoid it.

Thanks,
Susi







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About the reviewer
Susi Dawson ()
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Design a dream home, garden and yard down to the exact detail. 3D Home Architect Deluxe 5.0 and 3D Home Landscape Designer Deluxe 5.0 provide you with the power to start from scratch or use sample plans to become a master architect and designer. 3D Home Architect Deluxe 5.0 supplies everything you need to create a fabulous house. Customize your design with doors, windows, furnishings, appliances and more. 3D Home Landscape Designer Deluxe 5.0 features diverse plants, decks, patios and garden objects to bring your lawn to life. Power photo realistic renderings will allow you to indulge the architect within you.
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