I have been using Google Sketchup extensively in the early stages of projects this year. It helps me zoom in on issues and make good decisions fast. I have also been encouraging clients to download sketchup which is free. I can then send them the file of what I'm working on which is quite small, a blessing with my slow connection. Mastering the visualization tools in sketchup is very easy so clients can play with their design in 3-d. This fosters good communication. Here is a .jpg file of an early sketchup model.