Is there anything on the internet that I could download for free to help me with my presentation to a client? Very unfamiliar with landscape software. Just need something to look more professional with showing my ideas to a client. Thanks.
there's a ton of stuff out there, so you need to decide on what you want. You could start with a program like Pro landscape by autodesk
(around 700-800) and be able to do the digital photo rendering, the plan drawing, and the pricing of the job all in one. Other
programs like designware (by DIG, around 1200-1300 for the complete package) and landsuite professional all do pretty much the same thing and offer the same kind of packages as the pro ldscpe.
Now, I'll warn you, that no matter what they try to say in the brochures, none of them are
as "simple" and easy to use. If you buy one, plan of spending some time learning how to use it. And once you learn to use it, don't forget to factor in all those 'silly' computer eras that fill our lives with joy everyday also. Some of the programs are tricky to learn, especially if you have no experience at all, but will give great results when you finally get them down.
I, myself, don't mess with the photo programs too much, but do a lot of work on CAD for my drawings, along with a lot of freehand. I do a lot of base maps with the computer and then
freehand alot of the symbols and coloring. Also, I freehand renderings also, which is why i don't use the photo too much.
Real autocad will run in the 500 (I cant remember now though, been so long) range for autocad lite, but there are a lot of other CAD like programs out there to help.
Now, if I have confused you I'll say this. Maybe a good way to start for you would be to take a course at a local college on landscape design. They have tons of offerings by me and are a great way to start. You can take the basic class, that will teach the basics of free hand drawing, and will get you started on your way. Then, you can advance from there. This would be where I would start if I were you.
This is important. REMEMBER, most of these programs are JUST TOOLS. You first need the basics if you are to design right. These programs are great to help speed things up, but none will decide what type of plant you should choose or what color pavers to use.
anyway, if you really want to try out some programs go downtown to a computer store and pick up LandDesigner (the photo part, theres a plan program that sucks) from sierra. Its only like 30 bucks, and will give you a good taste of the photo imaging software. If you like that, and don't shoot yourself using it, then start looking at the others. I would definitely demo all of them. They will send you a free CD if you ask, and you can decide from there.
Still, my best advice would be take a class if you haven't yet.
We had a discussion of photo software here a while back. You might want to look through the postings for Feb. for more opinions about it. In my experience, once clients 'see the pretty pictures' they're hooked.
I purchased Design Imaging Group (DIG), this past Christmas, I was able to pick up the ease of use pretty well, and i am not that computer literate, however their tech support is horrible, i had a question and two different techs did not know the answer and said they would call me back later that day and never did, so i figured it out myself.
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