With computers getting increasingly more powerful and more accessible to wider home markets than ever before, software publishers have started putting the power of professional desktop software solutions once the exclusive domain of industrial users into homebound applications and marketed accordingly.
In the area of 3D rendering and drawing focused on home designs, you have professional home design software that are both powerful and user-friendly enough to be used by homeowners. About the only distinguishing quality is the price and networking ability to share common files that corporate users demand. Then there's the after sales technical support that is more responsive for corporate professional software editions. Otherwise, there's really little to distinguish between the two, except AutoCAD.
It can be an uphill battle overcoming a standard that has long dominated industries for the last 25 years. The AutoCAD 2D drawing and 3D rending tool has lorded it over industries ranging from toy makers all the way to space shuttle builders and remains supreme as the design tool of choice among professionals.
Just about all commercial products have been designed from it. It is not specially optimized for home design, but it has all the features and functions that home design software application products have, from simple 2D floor plans to sophisticated 3D models with simulated light and shadow interplay as well as walk-through animation.
Specifically designed and marketed to residential and commercial designers and architects, Chief Architect home design solutions come from a company bearing the same name that has been in the home designing business since the early 90s. Chief Architect Pro is the professional architect and builder's choice application. It is essentially a suite of drawing tools that encompass all aspect of home building designs such as house architectural designing, remodeling, interior design, garden design and landscaping, deck and patio design and floor planning, all in 3D and realistic light and shadow application and animated walk-throughs.
In addition to Chief Architect, the brand has formed a business partnership with Better Homes and Gardens to carry the next generation Home Designer software products under the Chief Architect name. Hence, after Better Homes and Garden Home Designer 8.0, the 9th iteration is marketed as Chief Architect Home Designer Pro 9.0 with sub-derivatives for the home markets.