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Posts posted by nca777

  1. Hi everyone—back tinkering with VWL after a few years away. 

    i see that VW engineers have added some very useful tools since I left off with VW such as contour editing and the landscape area tools. 

    still, I am struggling to find a singular, relatively standardized, linear work flow for a typical landscape architecture project.


    For example, a typical project for us almost always begins with a professional site survey delivered in .dwg format with elecated contours and ‘flat’ site data such as existing sidewalks, building outlines, parking, utilities, etc. we almost always work with an architectural plan and 3d model which changes throughout the life of the project. 

    Our typical design scope includes design of the entire site to a detailed level including layout of roads, parking, sidewalks and terraces, steps, walls, and planting.


    we like to develop 3d models for design and presentation purposes. We also need to deliver a detailed grading plan to civil engineers.


    i’ve read recently where folks here have identified some workarounds for site modeling such as use of the landscape area tools. I have also enjoyed watching and reading tony kostreski’s tutorials.

    However, after all of the individual learning I am still fairly confused about how a typical professional landscape architecture project as described above is put together in VW from concept to modeling to documentation.


    can anyone recommend a good, comprehensive, and RELEVANT workflow tutorial or trainer? 

     I now run a very busy 6 person studio and would very much like to find a way to get our office fully transitioned to a bim platform asap, but reluctant to commit once again due to the lack of clear understanding of the platforms ability to do what we need and how to do it.


    any help or advice is appreciated.







  2. I remember making the proposed contour editing tool suggestions to vw back in 2017. Everyone, including many of the regulars on this board seemed to think it was a strange idea. It’s good to see they listened.


    in my opinion, vw could spend more time developing tools that cater to a typical landscape architects work flow, like this one. 

    • Like 1
  3. On 7/24/2017 at 2:59 PM, nca777 said:


    In my mind, this is not an autocad vs. vectorworks discussion. AutoCAD is not a BIM/SIM tool. That said, we do not use any workarounds in our auotocad workflow. As for a BIM workflow-workaround, our typical process includes AutoCAD + Sketchup. We can model a site multiple times faster than via vectorworks. The only problem(s) with that workflow is in coordination/collaboration, whereby the consultants we typically work with are in BIM/3D and collaborating in 3D as well as the fact that we are working in two separate programs with limited contour modeling options.


    Thats where vectorworks comes in. Unfortunately, the tools out of the box are woefully lacking for true grading , coordination, and construction documentation.


    Whos actually giving my negative rep?? Weird cultish attitude in here. I'm doing some SD level site modeling this morning...mind numbingly slow and unintuitive tools. Its almost as if the VW users and programmers are stubbornly anti-autocad/sketchup. So many commands missing, difficult to use quickly...

    • Like 1
  4. 3 hours ago, ericjhberg said:


    Complex is a matter of opinion. I don't think VW is currently built to go straight through without some work arounds; however, I doubt that any work arounds have to be any more complex that any AutoCAD workflow...just different.


    In my mind, this is not an autocad vs. vectorworks discussion. AutoCAD is not a BIM/SIM tool. That said, we do not use any workarounds in our auotocad workflow. As for a BIM workflow-workaround, our typical process includes AutoCAD + Sketchup. We can model a site multiple times faster than via vectorworks. The only problem(s) with that workflow is in coordination/collaboration, whereby the consultants we typically work with are in BIM/3D and collaborating in 3D as well as the fact that we are working in two separate programs with limited contour modeling options.


    Thats where vectorworks comes in. Unfortunately, the tools out of the box are woefully lacking for true grading , coordination, and construction documentation.


    • Like 1
  5. 6 hours ago, michael john williams said:

    Thank you or your replies. The pc is a Dell Precision T5610 with 64 bit operating system and has 16GB RAM, 2.10GHz processor and 500GB HDD [50% used]. NVIDIA Quadro K40000 graphics. Perhaps and if there is a slot available, I add a 1TB SDD to run alongside the existing HDD?

    Your ram is good.


    It sounds like your processor might barely meet the minimum rec'd spec to run vw. Your graphics card is also on the slower side based on the pass mark scores. How much vram? It's pretty common to run an ssd along with an hdd--put all of your programs on the hdd and operating system only on the ssd. 


    Our studio machines all fly with 

    core I-7 3.0+ ghz processors

    16gb + ram 

    ~120-500gb ssd's and 1tb hdd's

    Gtx 970 980 cards 3-4gb vram


    You might only see minimal success with only upgrading to ssd 

  6. 21 minutes ago, BCE said:


    Nick you are wasting your time, here are my tips for any software evaluations 

    1.Find  power users, at the top of the DATA Presentation food chain, that work on real projects

    2.Try to Join a competent team

    3.All experts promote themselves first..software are just tools

    4.You can get evaluation software extensions..ha,ha,ha even for software worth $100K (20 x VWs)

    But I've always updated VWD..even if I don't use it that year

    I am fortunate enough to control the entire project along the supply chain




    any chance you could send me a link to some of your project work, samples? Just curious what industry youre working in. LA's are not always low on the project development 'supply chain' if thats what you are insinuating ? Certainly as far as cad product development as evidenced here...

  7. Quote


    when i left auto cad and got minicad 6...it took me a while to learn it & for a very long long time i thought it was terrible.


    yet now in 2017 I'm turning out highly detailed models that no one could match on the last project...


    and today all the auto cad people are still stuck with a 30year old paradigm. 


    while i am shaping contours in the DTM & working in 3d...perspective no less...


    do i complain about VW not working right? yep sure do..


    i try to provide samples of what i wish for...


    granted this takes time...but i hope someone at VW gets it



    Just watched the video above...wow, that is so true. This goes for site modeling too imo--I would personally rather 'direct model' than get stuck in the dialog windows playing with settings...good points.

  8. 40 minutes ago, JimW said:

    My original statement was incredibly poorly worded, would delete it if I wasn't against being revisionist about things like this and it hadn't already been seen heavily.  I meant specifically: Since he feels that the tools we are supplying aren't what he needs, that we aren't catering to his industry specifically. NOT that "well we don't sell anything related landscaping or planting plans or terrain." as it totally appears to anyone reading that I meant... and I am already chewing on my own shoes. Ah well.

    Autodesk products in general do have a sort of community advantage on youtube that products like Photoshop have because they are so prevalent, where there are videos on how to do nearly every conceivable thing in those applications available for free. But professional training for AutoCAD for instance is well and truly beyond anything we charge. I think the training department told me that you'd have to buy Designer plus weeks of training to reach the cost of a few days of autodesk training, but that is not something I know from experience, just hearsay. Also, a LOT of training for Autodesk products is third party, with entire industries based on that sales model alone.

    But at the end of the day, I don't want anyone using our software if it doesn't do what you need it to. If a competitor's product handles your needs better; they deserve your money, time and mental investment instead of us. 


    BUT...no one really pays for autocad training, for the most part because:


    A) as you mentioned, free user tutorials are so prevalent, and 


    B) peer-to-peer or on the job training is so common...


    I paid for autocad training ($$$) in 2001/2002 when I first started learning as part of a community college drafting program that also included hand drafting, etc. Later, in my 5-year BSLA program, I helped a lot of my studio mates learn autocad, whom in turn helped others. This is common in university design studios. For the record, vectorworks wasn't even discussed back in 2005-2009. We dabbled in microstation and revit in addition to autocad, but ac was certainly considered the industry standard. Looking back, I would have never taken the drafting/autocad course and simply learned the program from my peers in studio as most do.


    Archicad actually lets users (or did at one point) evaluate a browser-based version of their latest software with no trial period. They also offer gazillions of free online videos on just about everything you can imagine. Being able to use the software, even with limited functionality is HUGE for a studio/cad manager evaluating new software. We actually have two seats of Revit LT in our studio as autodesk offers it along with their autocad subscription which is a VERY reasonable monthly rate.  It is tempting to use our current revit lt seats and follow the lardarchbim.com tutorials, also very reasonably priced online..


    I assure you I am not simply being fickle. I have and have had for some time, a number of reservations about the site modeling tools, but could never find time to learn the software well enough with just a 30 day trial, so we bought a license, vss, and committed to using the software on three or four real projects. As I stated, my experience only confirmed my suspicions. I'd probably be less frustrated if we were paying a subscription and there were ample free learning resources...I have no problem paying for training if I know what I am getting into...VW is still a bit of an unknown in my book..(and likely many, many others...)


    I'm still having trouble deciphering your original 'regardless' comment, but water under the bridge to me anyway.. If a company still sees LA as an insignificant market, their loss I guess..

    • Like 1
  9. 1 hour ago, ericjhberg said:


    I think that VW is in a very competitive market for LA services. Unfortunately my take on the LA industry is that it was brainwashed/forced ages ago into using AutoCAD. No viable alternative existed for a very long time. It was made worse by the lack of landscape architecture specific tools developed during those times, mainly because of the relatively small market our profession employs when compared to the powerful engineering and architecture practice. Any small beneficial add-on, plug-in, or new software that promised to make the frustrations of AutoCAD go away were instantly tested, and some almost as quickly disregarded as too cumbersome or not intuitive enough. I firmly believe that this is why SketchUp has endured...it was a practical solution to the difficult modeling processes of AutoCAD, and it has stayed there ever since.


    Today, we are in the hang-over of that circumstance where LAs still use AutoCAD because 1) it is what they know, 2) they have invested countless hours and resources into developing and streamlining very specific libraries and workflows, and 3) no GREAT/PERFECT alternative exists.

    It is #3 that I do see VW trying to chip away at. I say "trying" because I agree, the current suite of Landmark tools are somewhat primitive. They may work fine for smaller-scale, landscape design/build, single-lot residential or commercial work, but they struggle on large applications. HOWEVER, I am hopeful that recent VW internal dialogues seem to be catching on and they have made some moves that will hopefully pan out for the better for large scale LA practice. Behind the scenes, they are seeking more input from practicing LAs to better develop the tools and my hope is that this will evolve into a much more competitive suite for our practice...ideally, enough to make the large firms take a closer look at reasons 1 and 2. When will we see this...to me, that is the biggest question. I doubt its 2018, but hopefully soon because the market isn't waiting.


    We are a LA firm that uses VW successfully for larger projects, but we have had to circumnavigate and create workarounds to achieve many of the key functionalities we currently use. It is possible, it just took years to get to where we are at. We invested long-term and so far it has paid off.


    If you ever have a specific workflow you are curious about how to solve, I'd be happy to weigh in...otherwise, this discussion may be spinning its wheels in a theoretical argument that has no perfect answer.




    All in all, I guess I'm trying to have a candid conversation about the realities of the tools at hand and my honest experience as a relatively new user, but long time CAD user, and licensed practitioner. I'm absolutely certain you understand where I'm coming from and I appreciate that.  I agree with your analysis and agree that VWL is generally headed in the right direction--certainly your firms work is testament to the fact that the software offers workable solutions to a fairly broad base of project types and scales. If you want to see some of our work at (www) acetola (dot) com. 


    I'm just getting tired of long time users telling us we need more training. While that is likely true, I also feel I understand the specific tools well enough to see their shortcomings. I think this discussion is probably spinning its wheels at this point..

  10. 19 minutes ago, JimW said:

    @nca777Pulling call transcripts to see what specific issues you had so that I can better attempt to resolve them is literally in my job description. It seems that your frustration has gotten to the point where you are lashing out in every direction. I do genuinely understand that kind of anger, it can be hard to be in the position that you're in at the moment but please contact training directly and see what can be done to get you going. Venting every once in awhile is fine and perfectly understandable, but on it's own is not constructive.


    I am not going to pay for training, on top of third party training and resources we already pay for, as well as a license and vss subscription just to find out what I already know--the tools I am referencing above do not do what we need them to, namely the grading tools, roads, parking, but also some drafting and editing commands. Unless you actually use the software as a professional it is hard to explain on a message board.



    The trainers will often ask for copies of your current files and synopsis of what you're currently trying to do. 


    I don't know how much more clear I can be--the tools do not do what we need them to do. It's not a training issue. Its a development issue. Your response is typical and why, at this point, I'd probably rather walk away from the software altogether than continue trying to communicate with anyone there.

    • Like 1
  11. 31 minutes ago, JimW said:

    @nca777I went ahead and pulled up your records from the support team, it looks like the bulk of your questions were training related but in the notes you seemed to keep insisting there was an issue with the tools and commands where really the problem was knowing how to use them and what they could do. I can understand your desire for comprehensive and completely free of charge training, but the fact of the matter is that even if I started to fulfil your request from February when you joined the forum, there's no way the project would even be complete by the release of 2018, and thats if I worked on absolutely nothing else.

    I completely agree that comprehensive training should be made available, not only on how the tools work but how one can use them in conjunction with each other, but these are already in development. I can understand your frustration with the speed at which new items are released, but for the time being we release on a yearly cycle, so any of the feedback added to the wish list wouldn't even have a chance of appearing until the release of the next full version. You say we seem uninterested and that the forum is dead, but these seem to just be stemming from your frustration at the speed of development or the lack of training materials to make you feel confident enough in your work.

    Your concerns are heard. Just because we don't release a requested feature less than a year from the date of the wishlist post doesn't mean it will never exist, development takes time. The root cause of your frustrations seem to be related to using the software though, I highly recommend you get in direct contact with the Training department rather than Tech Support and schedule some one on one customized training. The trainers will often ask for copies of your current files and synopsis of what you're currently trying to do. Referencing this thread or other posts you've made in the past would work perfectly fine as well, so they can get a clearer picture of what you need before the session even starts. Regardless of the fact that your industry isn't specifically one of the primary industries we cater to, we can get someone to help you out. 


    First of all, thats completely unprofessional to 'pull up my records' and post about them here.


    Secondly, That is absolutly untrue that the bulk of my questions were 'training related' ??


    ive had numerous at-length conversations with various vectorworks people over the last two or three years. I highly doubt all of those communications were somehow 'noted' and noted accurately.


    jim, you stated yourself you were 'not very familiar with the site modelling tools' in another post so how could you even  make that assessment?


    maybe your last statement is telling enough--'regardless of the fact that your industry isnt one we primarily cater to...'   Huh?!?


    you have a platform called 'landmark' do you not?


    your entire team seems to be tone deaf. If i had any plans of coming back to landmark, im certainly reconsidering now

    • Like 1
  12. 1 hour ago, mike m oz said:

    nca77, if you set out what the workflows are that you need help with you will probably get help from the user base here.


    If you want Vectorworks to change so it works exactly like Autocad then it isn't going to happen.  If you expect Vectorworks Landmark to have the capability of programs like Civilcad at a fraction of the price then you are also likely to be disappointed.


    I feel like I'm just not getting through.maybe my replies are too long?


    1. No, I don't expect vw to work like ac. I expect it to do everything ac can do in terms of drafting PLUS generate a model with smart objects, specific tools for site grading, roads, parking, and planting. I can live without the command line and certainly open to a new BIM-oriented approach. My point there is maybe the developers could look at ac, for example, to understand where their target market is migrating from (or not). Some of AC's tools and commands are built around traditional drafting, which has become industry-standard. For example, creating a road alignment from the center line outward. It appear some users such as eric berg are designing roads. I'd be curious to see a detailed workflow tutorial on their drafting/modeling process. I think VW should compensate power users to develop in depth and comprehensive workflow videos that relate directly to real-world landscape architecture (in my industries case)projects.


    2. On example workflow, again, would be drafting/modeling a parking lot with planting islands, curb and gutter, attached sidewalks. Sme with a typical streetscape with curbs, striping, rain gardens/planting islands, sidewalks, referencing an architects building model, referencing survey data--a big bonus would be laying this all over topography, but I suspect VW just doesnt permit this with current tools. I'd like to see a small landscape architecture project modeled and documened from beginning to end using typical methods--set up master file, layers, classes, reference in survey (shuttle files, etc?), reference in architects building model and floor plans, create site model, draft in plan from sketch, model proposed grading, model sloping driveways, parking, roads, curbs, layout planting, demo and tree protection, set up sheets with titleblock, go over site analysis, cut/fill/slopes, create materials and layout plans, details, etc...basically a full document set start to finish. I wouldnt have any trouble paying more for a license if I was CONFIDENT ot could do what I needed it to with a reasonable learning curve. 

  13. 31 minutes ago, Rossford said:



    No doubt ACAD is the leading platform in the US, but I think VW leads in Europe.  And, for the longest time, the website listed 500K users, but at the Summit last year, they said they now top 2 Million, having picked up many users in the recession, who found VW's combo of features and price hard to beat.  I certainly have found it easier to use than ACAD, haven't really tried the others.


    That said, yes, I would love to work with them to make the grading tools better.  I listed a few, like drainage tools, swales on polylines, not just straight, push-pull like Sketchup (and then use the slice tool to draw the contour lines).  I agree, VW could think a little more like I do as a landscape designer.  But, the Wright Bros. didn't come out of the gate with a 747 either, and I think they will get there.  (However, I can retire in 4 years, so I hope its quick!)


    Thats all im asking--lets get real!


    the tools need work and im sticking with my opinion that vw needs to put together more RELEVANT workflow tutorials for LA's.


    As far as market share--


    This community board is almost dead. There are 2 month old posts on the first page. If there are 2M plus users out there, where are they?! Where is their work? 


    Why are the biggest la firms in the us avoiding vw? 


    • Like 1
  14. Bottom line is--


    if vw is such a superior, cheap, and intuitive program, why are hardly any firms using it?


    Again, im a fully capable technologically savvy designer, fluent in autocad, rhino, sketchup, full adobe suite, vray, lumion, etc...vw is just uniquely quirky. Quirky, however, i can deal with, but the tools do not work as advertised and clearly there is a disconnect between the developers and professional community.

    • Like 1
  15. Oh boy.


    ok so why are there so many unresolved questions on this forum?


    for example--


    where is the tutorial on bringing in a dwg survey, converting to site model, referencing in archicad model from architect (as reference) properly siting building, grading the site with retaining, sloping driveway, terrace and autocourt, setting spot elevations (bottom and top of walls, finished surfaces, swales, etc) then properly exporting accurate models to engineers and architects for coordination, creating demo, tree protection, grading, layout and materials, planting, details, titleblock, etc, updating models, etc, etc....


    sure, i can spend weeks on this board, sifting through youtube videos and cobbling together information from various sources, but frankly i think that is absurd. In fact, its exactly what i did...


    i have found--


    obsolete, two year old plus youtube videos, one or two minutes long


    tasmin slatters gsg videos were a bit helpful but examples left me with more questions than answers--alot of the examples were oriented to landscape designers/small gardens. Gave me no info on referencing or sharing files, very little on layer/ class organization, very little on sheets and annotation, etc


    i own jonathan pickups book and subscribe to his website--his latest web tutorials have been helpful, but fall short in terms of realistic parking layout, road layout and grading--really highlights a lot of the site model tools shortcomings.


    we subscribe to service select, barely use it as it is diorganized, information is embedded in tutorials covering a range of unrelated topics, some of the videos are already free on youtube.


    ive spoken with developers at vw directly, sometimes they get back with solutions, sometimes not. The trouble there is clearly the developers dont understand what professionals are actually doing. They speak a different language.


    even after all of this. I fought thru the learning curve enough to say, some of the site modeling, drafting tools need major work.


    if the program is that good, as cheap as a license is, and so easy to learn why is the majority of firms using other cad platforms??

  16. VW needs to offer FREE, yes FREE tutorials for each individual target industry created by real industry professionals, not programmers. period.


    It drives me absolutely crazy that vw hasn't figured out that there are likely thousands of professionals (I'm a landscape architect) using autocad, looking for an alternative, but don't make the leap because of the learning curve and associated unknowns of how the tools work and whether they even offer the funtionality they need. So they stick with AutoCAD or some other somftware.


    Other programs offer extensive tutorials on very general and very specific workflows and tools. It makes converting that much easier and gives the new user peace of mind that they are investing time and energy into something that will do what they need it to.

    • Like 1
  17. I don't know guys. For me the program is like taking a rutted out back road--sure, it's scenic in a few places and get's me to point b, but slow as hell and giving me a headache. 


    CAD isn't a hobby or something I do for novelty. It's a tool I use to document an idea and share that idea with other consultants and communicate through visuals with clients.


    VWL is a good concept, going in the right direction, but needs to overhaul some of the site tools. Plain and simple. If the vectorworks people are going to insist that new users adjust their workflow and process to the program and pay a premium to hunto down their own learning resources, they're going to lose market share to autodesk and others. 


    The fact of the matter is most users in architecture and landscape architecture are coming from an autocad environment, with traditional drafting workflows. This doesnt mean vw has to look and work more like ac, but it wouldnt hurt to look at your target market and understand what they're accustomed to and their industry standards for drafting and documentation.


    The firms I have heard about or seen using vw seem to be only using it for illustrative or 2d drafting purposes only, for the most part. Others might be using some of the 3D and site grading tools, but have to use workarounds to complete a document set.


    I'm sure with a few more 'lessons' I could use the tools more proficiently, but that doesn't invalidate my points--the tools that exist do not do what a professional LA needs, file sharing is buggy, and overall 3D modeling and 2D drafting tools are unintuitive and inconsistent.


    Thats my feedback. I feel like I've wasted far more time than I've gained with the program and the liaisons seem uninterested.

  18. On July 9, 2017 at 5:41 PM, BCE said:

    File format or more precisely Data Accuracy & Compliance is being decide right now AFAIK it's not IFC?

    The data is either compliant or noncompliant with the standards & code, the latter is certified by engineers who prefer a more robust modelling kernel.


    To be honest i dont really have much interest in having a conversation about programming. My concern is that i cannot efficiently and consistently export a useful file for collaboration with architects and Civil engineers. This completely defeats the purpose of the software for me. 

  19. 13 hours ago, BCE said:

    The pecking order on project DATA format selection  is Engineers,Consultants, Architects & Last LA 

    Engineers are pressuring Stakeholders into using Revit as for Archicad it's not even considered robust enough and they are so far behind.

    VWs with parasolid is my preferred choice but it's a losing battle..goodluck



    I'm not sure what this means. We work with architects using archicad and they model our site plans faster than us in vectorworks. Seems their grading tools are fairly primitive, but still...there are la's using revit. Its tempting to just jump on the bandwagon and at work in the same program for collaboration and file exchange. Seems standard file exchange format was pretty much decided on a while ago, either ifc or dwg...

  20. 1 hour ago, ericjhberg said:

    I think VW has tremendous potential if it is able to counter many of your arguments directly and start working for Landscape Architects and true-BIM. There really isn't another program doing it for our profession, but I see Revit heading in that direction, getting better all the time. With that said, I would hate to see Autodesk also dominate the future market with their industry whitewashing that has frankly ignored Landscape Architecture to date, so I am pulling for VW.


    Feel exactly the same way. But is anyone here listening?? I'm just waiting for Revit or Archicad to come out with a plugin that does everything and more, any day now...come on vectorworks!

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