iPhone App Review: Home 3D

iPhone App Review: Home 3D

April 14th, 2010 by

I’ve always had a fascination with 3-D applications for the computer. I’ve dabbled in the past, even made a fairly impressive Millennium Falcon in an old version of trueSpace that I had, but ultimately gave up because of the amazing level of discipline and commitment it would take to master 3-D artwork. I have none.

Home 3d is not the first 3-D app for the iPhone, nor is it the first home layout app, but it is definitely the best combination of both that I have found.

Features

Interior View, where you place major features of your layout.

Home 3D allows you to layout your home or other roughly rectangular building (angled walls are currently not possible); drop furniture and fixtures, place windows and doors, and lay down texture or color on the walls and floors; then do a 3-D virtual walk-through of the space and save or email each screen.

The screenshots attached to this review are the product of my tinkering with the app for a day or two, no more than a combined total of a few hours of learning and creating. At this point I could create my entire apartment, after measuring the real-world dimensions, in about fifteen minutes from start to finish. This is truly an easy and intuitive app that yields great results, considering that it’s running on a phone.

The app comes with a basic selection of furniture, fixtures, appliances, and textures; allows you to take pictures from your library to create your own floor and wall textures; and has in-game purchasing of more in each category.

Home 3D is not without its faults, some minor and some fairly major. I mentioned the lack of angled walls, which the team is working on. Using your own pictures is a bit tricky due to how it tiles them for placement; I think using larger pictures on the floor and walls would help with that (otherwise you get a checkerboard effect unless you do some serious Photoshop work and prep the pics for seamless tiling).

Fair rendering of my actual kitchen.

I’ve also not had luck placing a photo direct from the camera onto a surface; it crashes to a solid blue screen and forces me to jump out of the app and back in.

The app in general suffers from some random crashing issues that I have trouble pinpointing, since I can’t always replicate them. On one floor-plan the app would freeze every time I tried adding a new room; that one is fine now, perhaps a reboot solved the problem. Dragging on the top-down views also requires two fingers, even when you have no object or room selected, which I find rather odd.

Home 3D also lacks some features that would make placement of objects easier and more intuitive, such as grouping of objects into one larger unit, and copy & paste to allow rapid placement of multiple objects (a row of chairs, for instance).

All in all though, this is a really solid 1.0 of an app that is exceptionally fun to play around with, and has tons of practical uses beyond the architect/interior designer set that Black Mana is probably aiming for. I plan on keeping this app on my phone for the next time we hit IKEA, so I can figure out if that KURA will fit in my son’s room before assembling the entire thing.

Using actual carpet and wallpaper photos as textures.

Pros

  • Good design, sensible work-flow, generally stable
  • Can use iPhone library for walls and floor texture
  • Can create custom, generic objects of any size
  • Can create doors and windows of non-standard size
  • Good basic selection of home furnishings
  • Great in-game selection for purchase

Cons

  • Random crashes for unknown reasons. Nothing that ever lost my work or wasn’t fixed by a simple app restart.
  • Would be nice to have an option to turn off auto-placement of windows and doors when creating rooms, especially with large rooms (you wind up with 15-20 windows you need to remove in exceptionally large areas)
  • Vaulted ceilings would be nice as well
  • Needs angled walls. Placing furniture at an angle is being worked on for a future update.

Bottom Line

If you have even the slightest interest in or use for a home layout type app, this is definitely a must-purchase app. It’s on the high-priced side of apps in the app store, not including the additional in-app purchases you will undoubtedly make, but perhaps Black Mana would consider making that up to us by making this an iPad Universal app on a future update?

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