And both programs are improved this time by the extended Project Wizard, now an even easier way to start your new design project. Choose your basic building floor shape, enter the dimensions, specify the number of floors and your preferred roof design and that’s it: even if you’ve never used this kind of tool before, you can have the core building shell created within a few moments.
The programs also benefit from enhanced 2D support. Extra 2D symbols can add more detail to 2D views, for instance. There’s support for 2D angle measurements and dimensioning. And there’s now automatic area and length calculation for roofs, eaves, verges and more, while you can run extended area and volume calculations on any other areas of your design that you might choose.
Perhaps most surprising of all is the new shadow simulation option. Specify your geographical position and a time range and the program will track shadow distributions for you, perfect if (for instance) you’re looking to sort out the best position for a photovoltaic system.
3D CAD Professional 4 contains all these features, and its previous extras (2D DXF/ DWG import/ export, for example, and a built-in window designer). But this release in particular provides more flexibility in terms of roof design. There’s support for circular roofs, for example, and roof openings. You can customise roof extensions, merge individual roofs, create roofs with corrugated sheets, and more.
If you’re generally interested in this kind of tool, though, the real news here is that Ashampoo is making both program available at a budget price for a “short time”. Ashampoo 3D CAD Professional 4, normally $299.99, is currently on offer for $119.97; 3D CAD Architecture, normally $79.99, is now a very minimal $29.99
Are the programs for you? They don’t have the vast object libraries used by some of the competition. You don’t get 50 types of leather chair, for instance – the interior design side is more about creating a general impression than trying to reproduce your living room with 100% accuracy.
If that’s not a problem, though, the programs are still capable of some great results. They offer a vast amount of functionality for your money – particularly while this offer is running – and trial versions of both 3D CAD Architecture 4 and 3D CAD Professional 4 are available now.