Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 153 / JUNE 1993 / PAGE S6

How to build a kitchen with 3D graphics. (Compute's Getting Started with 3D Graphics)
by Steven Anzovin

Remodeling the kitchen is one of the most common home improvements--and. maybe the one most often botched, judging by the number of suburban folktales about do-it-yourself dream kitchens that suddenly turn into nightmares. Realizing America's pressing need for a 3D kitchen planner, Autodesk came up with Kitchen. and 3D Plan, two of the programs in the Home Series (which also includes simple CAD programs for deck, bathroom, landscape, and home remodeling). Let's step through the design and 3D visualization of a kitchen project that would be the pride of any homemaker.

Before you get started with any 3D work, survey your current kitchen. Can you keep any of the existing kitchen, or does it all have to go? Where will the new eating area, sink, stove, and refrigerator be? What about cabinets--how much space do you need, and. where? Make a detailed paper drawing of the kitchen and measure everything, accurately--as the saying goes, "Measure twice, cut once."

Armed with your drawings and measurements, go back to the PC. The Kitchen program acts as the modeler for 3D Plan, so first, open Kitchen. Here's what you do next:

1. First you have to create the plan, or overhead view, of the kitchen by drawing the kitchen walls. Select Walls from the main menu, then, working clockwise, draw each wall with the cursor and enter the exact length of the wall at the prompt. Follow your paper drawing. Clean up wall intersections with the Wall Clean tool. The result should look like a basic floor plan.

2. Now create an elevation (an eye-level view) by choosing Auto-Elevate from the Walls menu. Click on the inside line of each wall in turn and match the "ghost" elevation to the wall.

3. It's time to add the good stuff--cabinets, sink, and appliances. Like the big CAD programs, Kitchen includes a library of symbols. To add a refrigerator symbol, zoom in on the right area of the drawing with the View Area menu, then select the 2-door fridge symbol from the symbols menu. Click on the wall where the fridge goes, position the fridge, and click again. Do the same thing with all the cabinets and other appliances. Kitchen will automatically produce a shopping list of everything you need.

4. Now let's go to 3D. Open 3D Plan and load your kitchen file. Sit back and wait as the 3D view is computed.

5. 3D Plan isn't smart enough to know what's a wall and what's a sink, so you have to highlight the kitchen walls by clicking on them. Be sure that none of the lines associated with the cabinets, appliances, or railings are highlighted. Then do the same thing for any railings.

6. Now click on the floor plan to show where you want to stand, and draw out a direction line from that point to show your direction of view. Hit Enter and 3D Plan builds your kitchen of tomorrow. You can even walk through the kitchen--use the arrow keys to move around. Print out as many views as you like.

Do-it-yourselfers can take it from there. Or give the plans to an experienced contractor who'll build your dream kitchen for you.

Now, too bad there's no program that will help you pick out your drapes.