Most of us I know use Google Sketch Up to create quick 3-d models. I wanted to share something helpful with you. There are add ons for Sketch Up first called land f/x, which is helpful for more landscaping stuff. You can build in plan view CAD and then import to Skecth Up and land f/x will create the model in 3-d. Secondly, is an add on called Shader light. This is great! 3ds max gives a more realistic feel to a model because of materials and lighting, correct? Shaderlight mimics a 3ds in which you can add lighting to a Sketch up model and produce a higher quality of material graphic similar to 3ds. Just thought I would inform you because it has been helpful to me.