Does anyone know of software that you can build sort of a virtual Theater? Id like to be able to add flooring choices, Wall textures, Lighting, etc and have it look fairly Photo-realistic. Does such software exist? It doesn't have to be free. What have you guys used?
Half of this image below is a photo and the other half was done using Lightwave3D:
And another one a little earlier in the build:
I've also used it to help design my home, decks, outdoor tv cabinets, furniture layouts, bar, cabinetry layouts, future external dream garage, etc. Lightwave has been a life saver for me to eliminate rework.
Wow! That is amazing! I checked out lightwave 3D and looks like it has a steep learning curve. Can you recommend any tutorials for creating a theater?
I self-taught myself on Lightwave 3D by reading lots of tutorials, books and magazines - at the time, there wasn't much of anything online. I've been using it for probably over 20 years back when it was running on an Amiga 500/2000/4000.
I haven't looked for any tutorials in 15 years. But you could probably do a quick google search.
It's probably over-kill for someone that is only going to work on their theater.
Google sketch-up is probably a better choice for someone who wants to spend more time building the theater than designing it. Although, even with my experience with it, I probably spend more time in 3D than actually building the theater over the years. Not because I didn't know what I was doing, I just liked experimenting with different ideas and designs and making sure everything was going to fit the way I needed it.
But if you have access to it, or would think you might enjoy it, it's a good tool to have in your back pocket.
I learned Chief Architect 9.0 easily on my own back in 2004 (I had access to school-use software back then) and used it to design my current house that we had built in 2005. I loved the software but can't afford the $2500+ cost to have it now. When I started working on my basement design and Theater plans, I tried SketchUp but for some reason struggled with it, even despite going through tutorials. I like the results that other forum members get themselves with it but for me, it just didn't seem intuitive as far as how I think and design so I gave it up.
What I ended up using was the more home owner versions of Chief Architect software that had the same easy design function that I knew and does a good job with renders. I picked up Chief Architect Home Designer Suite 2014 for $99. The Designer Suites have online tutorials that are easy to follow.
I have some renders and floorplan samples in my build thread HERE to give you an idea of what their software does.
The only thing to keep in mind is that I run on Mac and they currently do not have a supported Mac version (they are working on it). It can run using BootCamp if you are a Mac user but I have not taken the time to load XP and setup BootCamp. I loaded it onto my old 2003 HP laptop that was running XP but my 10 year-old video card in there is nowhere near up to snuff for the 3-D rendering that it is capable of doing so my renders are not a full representation. Also, for the very detailed renders regardless of capable video card, it takes a few hours to produce the highest quality render so I generally selected a rendering option that would produce the result in 5-10 minutes of wait time.