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MWSF: Gallery Five

Architosh’s Macworld Conference and Expo 2009 San Francisco Photo Galleries Continue with This Series on Mac Design and CAD software.


IMSI/Design Renditioner and More…

IMSI/Design was at Macworld Expo again, this time showing a larger product range. The company now has three different versions of its staple TurboCAD product for the Mac: TurboCAD Mac Designer 2D (v.4), TurboCAD Mac Deluxe 2D/3D (v.4) and the newish TurboCAD Mac Pro (v.4). The company was also showing its latest versions of IMSI/Design Renditioner, its photo-realistic rendering plugin for Google’s SketchUp.

IMSI/Design' booth at Macworld Expo was very well attended.


TurboCAD Mac Pro has complete 2D and 3D CAD functionalities plus its own built-in photo-realistic rendering. IMSI touts the program as ideal for architects, engineers, builders, contractors, designers and more. We thought the rendering capabilities looked quite nice (see image below). 

The new TurboCAD Mac Pro - with built in photo-realistic rendering.

The new TurboCAD Mac Pro - with built in photo-realistic rendering.

However, if you are really interested in beautiful rendering functionality we were more impressed with the performance and results coming out of the company’s latest version of Renditioner (v.1.1). This product works inside of Google SketchUp.

IMSI/Design's new Renditioner can utilize all eight processors in a Mac Pro.

IMSI/Design Renditioner. New update includes ability to extract SketchUp's sun, new slider controls for balance of sun and artificial light and support for Dynamic Components in SketchUp 7.

And as you can see from the image above it can fully take advantage of all eight processor cores in a loaded Mac Pro workstation. (note: in this particular photo it appears to be just rendering with three of eight, but we did see it take full advantage of eight cores as well). 

It is quite a sight to see eight cores (and 8 scan lines) tackle a photo-realistic rendering. Renditioner won’t give you much time for those coffee breaks during renders like the good old days. 

Microspot UK – MacDraft Pro and Builder Pro

Microspot’s big announcement at Macworld was about the Builder Pro Home Planning System add-on option for MacDraft Pro, its flagship product. I had a chance to visit Robert Coulling, Managing Director of Microspot, at the show to take a look at the Builder Pro add-on product myself. I was stunned at the depth of the product handbook, which was loaded with superbly organized information on what is included in the system. 

Microspot introduced Builder Pro, an extension to MacDraft Pro.

Microspot introduced Builder Pro, an extension to MacDraft Pro.

Alan J. Maki’s Builder Pro Home Planning System includes truly extensive libraries of components for every type of design element in a home design. This product would be especially attractive to builders who are looking to utilize extensive pre-drawn components based on real-world needs and uses. 

Sample pages from the Builder Pro handbook.

Sample pages from the Builder Pro handbook.

A sample page above shows stair components and there are literally dozens of pages like this on all kinds of similar stair design options. The handbook, I think, is what makes this product add-on such a nice addition to MacDraft Pro. The handbook makes it easy to review what is available within the Home Planning System and to organize your design approaches based on the various options available. 

Microspot's booth: an iMac showcases MacDraft Pro and Interiors.

Microspot's Interiors running on an iMac.

Lastly, we can see from the photo above Microspot’s Interiors Professional, with each new version getting more advanced and feature rich. Robert shared with me some of the future plans for the product, including dynamic elements and more integration with MacDraft Pro. 

With each new version of Microspot’s design/CAD product line these consumer-prosumer level products get more and more capable and useful to professionals. It will be interesting to watch how companies like Microspot and IMSI/Design keep their products consumer friendly and approachable while still pushing the product features up and up. What they are tending to do now is build out their base product lines into entry (2D), mid-level (2D/3D), and then advanced or professional level (2D/3D/Add-on/Rendering) software packages. Judging from the action at their booths at what many regard as a predominantly “consumer show” this strategy appears to be working.

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