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Discussion Starter #1
I've been using the free version of an online home design tool (roomsketcher.com) that is very good for general purpose home remodels and design but lacks a lot of features for home theater.

Roomsketcher's paid premium version allows for 3D rendering, detailed floorplans, etc., but before I pay for that, I wanted to see if there's a better tool out there. Anyone have something they've been happy with using?

I should mention that my goals in this are not to create super detailed CAD drawings that I could hand off to a contractor. It's more so that I can play around with different options, try moving some things around and see how they look.
 

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I think you'll get a lot of differing answers. Maybe as many different answers as people you ask.

I do 3D modelling for a living, so I've done some of my setup in Solidworks and Autocad. But I'm with you, I think there's better tools for the job.

The last one I used was Sweet Home 3D. I believe it's kinda open source and seems to be pretty good. Would be terrible if you wanted to make 2D detailed drawings, however.

A lot of guys use Google Sketchup but I have never been able to get very far with that. And I don't really know why!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think you'll get a lot of differing answers. Maybe as many different answers as people you ask.

I do 3D modelling for a living, so I've done some of my setup in Solidworks and Autocad. But I'm with you, I think there's better tools for the job.

The last one I used was Sweet Home 3D. I believe it's kinda open source and seems to be pretty good. Would be terrible if you wanted to make 2D detailed drawings, however.

A lot of guys use Google Sketchup but I have never been able to get very far with that. And I don't really know why!
Thanks! These are great leads that I'll look into.

Yeah, I didn't want to get too deep in the woods with something like Autocad. Like I said, I mostly just want to be able to play around with different options, see how it would look from different angles, etc., so I can think through what I want. Once I have the rough sketch, I plan on working with a professional HT designer/architect to poke holes in the rough sketch and ultimately create something detailed enough to hand off to a contractor to build.

The problem I have with Room Sketcher is that it doesn't have any way that I can find to draw in things like risers, indicator lines like line-of-sight or angle indicators for speakers relative to the main seating position, etc. I was hoping there was software out there that is designed specifically for home theater, but that might be a bit much to ask for! :)
 

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I started my design using Microsoft Excel, then switched to Sketchup, which has a lot of fans on these boards, as I got more detailed. It's free and pretty easy to use (depending on how elaborate you're looking to get). I then started using Home Designer in the end.
https://www.homedesignersoftware.com/products/home-designer-pro/ which is kind of like Sketchup for dummies. Same basic concept as Sketchup, but with many built-in features and functions (like building walls, adding doors, etc.). I bought off Amazon for about $100 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I downloaded SketchUp to try it out and am watching the video tutorials. It looks pretty powerful! Before I get too invested, I think I'm going to browse through their 3D warehouse to see if they have the components I'm hoping to add to my room. If I can figure out the functionality, SketchUp is looking like a really good solution. But I agree - I may need the Sketchup for Dummies tool!
 

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Here is my first shot using Sketchup. The biggest problem I have with Sketchup is trying to get the components to sit on the correct plane... for example, the theater seats on the risers took quite a bit of effort to get them actually sitting on the risers instead of hovering above them.
 

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Here is my first shot using Sketchup. The biggest problem I have with Sketchup is trying to get the components to sit on the correct plane... for example, the theater seats on the risers took quite a bit of effort to get them actually sitting on the risers instead of hovering above them.
Wow, that's super impressive! I wasn't even thinking about trying to show the framing. I just wanted to work out the overall layout of the room!

It's surprising that getting the seats to sit on the risers was difficult. I watched the first four beginner tutorials, and it seems like there are a lot of tools for lining things up with other things. I'll have to play around with it and see.

One thing I'm planning on doing is first diagramming the way it looks now, and then modifying it to what I want it to look like. Hopefully by the time I get to that stage I'll have figured out the tool a bit.
 

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Sketchup Pro is a very powerful tool. With Vray external render you can get good pictures. I prefer to export the project to 3D Max and make the pictures with it.

Using multiple layers you can show every detail out the theater. Here is my last project
 

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Wow, that's super impressive! I wasn't even thinking about trying to show the framing. I just wanted to work out the overall layout of the room!

It's surprising that getting the seats to sit on the risers was difficult. I watched the first four beginner tutorials, and it seems like there are a lot of tools for lining things up with other things. I'll have to play around with it and see.

One thing I'm planning on doing is first diagramming the way it looks now, and then modifying it to what I want it to look like. Hopefully by the time I get to that stage I'll have figured out the tool a bit.
It's probably just me :) I'm the kind of guy that doesn't look at maps either, LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sketchup Pro is a very powerful tool. With Vray external render you can get good pictures. I prefer to export the project to 3D Max and make the pictures with it.

Using multiple layers you can show every detail out the theater. Here is my last project
Wait, so you mocked it up in Sketchup Pro, exported it wit the Vray external render to 3D Max, and were able to make that picture with it? You mean that's not a photo? :eek:
 

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It's probably just me :) I'm the kind of guy that doesn't look at maps either, LOL.
Ha ha! I'm usually the same way, but I opened up the tool and had no idea where to begin, so I just sucked it up and watched the tutorial videos. :)
 

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Wait, so you mocked it up in Sketchup Pro, exported it wit the Vray external render to 3D Max, and were able to make that picture with it? You mean that's not a photo? :eek:
Yes, it is not a live photo. It's a rendered picture with 3D Max

1. make your project in Sketchup Pro
2. make photo renders in 2 ways:

2.1 - withing / in Sketchup Pro with Vray extention

or

2.2 export project to 3D Max, make some texture corrections / insert more detailed models and get nice pictures
 

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I use Google Sketchup. Go through the tutorials here https://help.sketchup.com/en

Here are some pictures that I did for my theater with sketchup.
















And here is Version 1.0 of My Theater which is pretty close to the image above:





Then the Riser Build:



And in its current state - 2.0:






Just wanted to give a comparison of how the sketchup plans turned out in real life :)
 

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Also it is very easy to do angles using the protractor in sketchup

Here is a screenshow of my angles using the protractor to figure out Atmos Speaker locations using the protractor side view. The circles are where peoples ears would be.

ATMOS-Speaker-Placement-Screenshot.JPG
 

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Sorry for reviving an old thread...

been there, done that with Sketchup, and it didn't go well... used UniLock's software over the summer to design my deck, patio, and hot tub layout, and it was a joke how easy it was... Looking for something like that to rough out the basement...

basically don't know how to divide up the space yet, and need a tool that makes it easy to muck around with adding/removing walls, furniture, etc to get an idea of how to use the space...

i'd even consider a paid product, though nothing near the level of Sketchup Pro at $700...

Thanks!
 
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