Home > Features > Product Review: Microspot Interiors 3.6

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Doors and Windows

Once you have your walls accurately in place, you can create a Floor and Ceiling (solid modeling forms) with a single click of the menu. Next you add doors and windows using predefined objects from the Libraries palette. Microspot Interiors 3.6 ships with over 1000 objects ranging from doors and windows to furniture and accessories. The program also supports the popular 3D Studio Max (3DS file) format which means you can bring into your designs an unlimited variety of prebuilt 3D objects, from furniture from name-brand companies to Volvo stationwagons.

The program is very intelligent about placing doors and windows. One chooses a door, for example, from the Library palette, and drags it to the model space until it touches the wall you want the door to be in. Let go and the door is magically inserted into the wall with perfect 3d healing between door object and wall. You can adjust the location by simply selecting and dragging the door along the wall. Or better yet get very accurate by using the Windows and Doors palette. This palette shows a miniture view of the door or window object currently selected. From this palette you can type in dimensions for the doors size, placement off the floor plane and distance to end of wall from edge of door on both sides. In the view below (see image 02) for example I have positioned the door 6 inches from the corner of the room (a 6 is typed into the top right field in the Windows and Doors palette).

02 - Highlighted door, Windows and Doors Palette, Library Palette

If you just want an opening in a wall (a cased opening without a door) you can place those too, including ones with arches. Two buttons on the Windows and Doors palette let you center items automatically on the walls or reverse the direction of the swing on the door. With a window chosen similar options are presented.

Viewing your Model

In order to place objects into rooms -- especially doors and windows -- you need to be able to navigate around your room in 3D. You do this in Microspot Interiors by using the NaviCam palette. This palette isn't as intuitive as most in the application's interface and at first was a source of frustration. Even after you fully understand how it works, it can still be unwiedly to use. Better instruction via QuickTime movies would help accelerate the new user's mastery of this interesting navigation palette. (see image 03)

03 - 3D navigation under the floor view - NaviCam lower right

Despite this shortcoming, and it is minor, there are some really cool things about navigating in this application. One such feature is that the floor and ceiling become visible/invisible based on your viewpoint in 3d. You don't have to turn off the ceiling or floor object in order to see through them. (see image 03) This can be very useful when placing furniture in rooms along wall surfaces or lighting on ceilings.

The Libraries

Microspot Interiors ships with over 1000 3d objects organized in various libraries. Everything from bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, stairs, furniture to lighting and computers is available. Additionally, the Library is where you will find textures to apply to your walls, floors and other objects. And if that is not enough, the company is making more objects available every month via its website. Finally, Microspot Interiors 3.6 now supports the popular 3DS file format so you can obtain thousands of free and "for-purchase" objects such as cars and even people via other sources on the Internet.

Exploring Your Interior

Once your interior environment is complete you can produce computerized flyby movies, complete with textures, lights and sophisticated shadows. The program doesn't support advanced rendering technologies such as Radiosity, but it produces fairly nice raytraced results. Additionally, you can easily create many different types of rendered animations with the flexibility of the Animation Path tool. With this tool you establish a path for the camera to follow. You can see the path defined in my office environment below. (see image 04) You can draw it as a polygon and then convert it to a bezier curve and adjust individual vertices to smooth out the path.

04 - Animation Path Selected

You have several options in how you use this path. You can have the camera stay literally on the path and constantly aim in a particular direction, or you can have it stay on the path and aim at a fixed point (say the center of a room). Or you can simply rotate objects or rooms around and animate that view.

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Home > Features > Product Review: Microspot Interiors 3.6




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