Architects do have some great tools, and here is one more example of how they can use them.
The interior great room images below of this particular cottage house plan were created using a 3d modeling tool called Google Sketchup. I used the tool to carve out the basic design inside and out, but I wanted to study variations of the design in order to present to my client.
Here is the Great Room space. Simple with white walls and vaulted ceiling - nice and clean!
Added a white washed wood ceiling and a little color on the walls.
Added a beam treatment to the ceiling and went back to the monochrome color scheme.
Added white washed wood ceiling between the beams.
Wood beams, white washed wood ceiling and a little color on the walls.
This example illustrates how just changing a few elements within a design can dramatically alter the character of a space. And Sketchup is a great tool for visualizing that space.