Prokitchen Demonstration Part II, Trying New Kitchen Design Software
Well, I'm at it again. But before sitting down, I actually watched some of the videos on the Prokitchen website.
The videos were a bit helpful. Other than the operating system, my biggest concern is the quality of renderings. The renderings you can walk around in are pretty cheesy, and I kept thinking "it's GOT to be better than this."
Rendering You can call me dumb… There's this button called HD up in the top of the rendering window. Lo and behold, if I hit that I get a better rendering. Duh… Here's what I got on my first HD try, after putting in a couple of lights and spinning them a bit.
The spotlights are HUGE when first put in. It's easy enough to shrink them down to something less than gigantic, but I wasn't able to change the texture easily. Like the HD button, it might be something I'm just not seeing.
I can rotate the lights and change the light cone angle (to make it a more or less focused beam) but it doesn't seem to have much effect in the end. If you look at the wall doors, they are all exactly the same, regardless of where the lights are. This rendering, while in HD, is NOT the best quality rendering possible.
There's a box I could check called "Maximum Image Quality" but I wasn't able to get a rendering with that, just a black screen. Either it's broken, or (more likely) my computer is so slow that it just never got to the "show me the rendering" stage before I got sick of waiting and shut the rendering engine down. I'm trying this on a fairly old box, so I can't say for sure until I try it on another computer that was made at least within the last five years.
In the Floorplan View Moving cabinets and things around seems a little clunky, but I wonder if there's a setting I don't see. In 2020, you can turn snapping on and off. This means (if snapping is on) that if you get close to something while dragging a cabinet, it will snap to a nearby object when you let the mouse button go. This is usually handy, but needs to be shut off every so often when placing an object. Toggling collision in 2020 means that you absolutely CANNOT place an object in another object's space. I've usually got it turned off because it's a pain; I'd rather run something into something else, at least temporarily, rather than have to leave it out away from everything and remember later where I meant to stick it.
The way Prokitchen acts, I wonder if there's some similar feature that I need to shut off. I move an object, or try, and it won't go. Then I keep dragging the mouse and all of a sudden it flies into place. I'll have to ask the salesperson or watch some more videos. I do not like that when I move an object, I have to close the rendering and start it back up again to see the change. I think I confirmed that this is necessary, but maybe there's a "refresh" button someone told me about and I just forgot.
Miscellaneous Thoughts So Far Other than rendering, the program seems peppy, even on this dinosaur or a computer. That's a plus, and one of the reasons I'm thinking of switching anyway. Also, if I want a different countertop skin (or any other skin it seems) it's very easy to change in the 3D rendering. 2020 requires me to go right clicking, getting into textures for a piece of countertop, and changing it that way. Changing the textures used for cabinets is way worse. It's kind of like a game of Simon Says crossed with Twister. And that's only for manufacturer catalogs where changing skins is even permissible. I am constantly in awe of some 2020 catalogs, where what's supposed to be honey oak looks like southern yellow pine stained orange… I don't yet know how to change textures in Prokitchen, but that's also on my list to look up.
Parting Words Remember, this is an honest to goodness review. Neither Proktichen nor 2020 are subsidizing the series of articles I'm writing on the subject. I'm simply a designer who currently uses 2020 and is giving a trial version of Prokitchen a whirl. I've not made my mind up about whether to jump ship or stay with 2020, and hope that what I say helps other people in the same boat. If you have anything to add, feel free.