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Been looking at VW 2008 on this forum - some good and some bad points. Some actually very concerning about having VW as the "brand" for the future. It does have a solid base, both in technical support with some sound and excellent people and a good CAD with brilliant and promising features, but .....

The why's -

1. Why after 2 years there is absolutely none improvements in the 3D ? If ArchiCAD & Revit moved towards it, why not VW 2008 ?

2. Will NAG's AllPlan and the acquirement of ArchiCAd be the future in that role ?

3. It is currently a problem if even your contractors post you PDF's with all in 3D's in a zippy after requesting it and obviously done at a 90% rate in AC. Why then is VW lacking in it - 3D is the total future in most applications.

4. Will VW be side tracked to be a mainly a 2D Caddie program?

5.Structural elements received no attention - although it is in 2D and is actually a brilliant feature - why not able to convert straight to 3D - it is needed ?

6. Parametric Objects for - different construction types (concrete, steel, timber), angled connections at the top, baseplates and/or footings at the bottom. Even with the available option already in 2D it could not have been that difficult to do a really good major upgrade with this ?

7.Other objects like - beam PIO with options for different construction types (concrete, steel, timber), raking and angled connections. This could have been added - I am sure this an long awaiting item ?

8.Trusses - absolutely nothing done - why not - it is still an important matter ?

9.Have existing PIO's being improved or is it still left overs with their indivudual short comings as previously posted from V8,9,10,11 and 12 ?

10. Can you really do a wall move in 3D ACCURATELY and what limitations are there ?

11. Is there anywhere, anyplace documentation on VW workfolw to have the program being used to it's full capacity and productive ?

Please note VW / NNA - this is not a smearboard campaign - just honest straight questions. I would like to have the questions answered - it will show the way of finally linking and staying or have it moving on.

VW is costly when you do the decision to do more licences thinking about upgrades, get the operating staff on full strength to operate it to it's full capacity etc,etc. But we want to go the 3D way all the way to where it can been taken.

Sorry John "ARCHONCAD" - You can post 101 reason for pushing for VW 2008 but the thruth is, there is not much done for the production side - I still see it a bit as an artificial "major" upgrade to a large extent. It is the practical down to base and homeground stuff I would like to see getting adressed and is largely ignored by VW 2008. The most important was dumped to other "important" and in some cases nice features.

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I still see it a bit as an artificial "major" upgrade to a large extent.

It fascinates me how diametric the opinions are on this upgrade.

I've never had it so easy convincing the purse strings holders that we should upgrade than with v13. On top of that is the stability and lack of bugs in the first release.

You can argue all you like about whether the changes warrant the label of "major release" but to me that entirely misses the point. The way I look at it is, are there enough changes and are they good enough to warrant remunerating NNA with an upgrade fee. To me the answer is a resounding yes. I've estimated that for the cost of upgrading v13 will offer payback in a month. A month!! That, as some kids would say, is sick.

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Christiaan, there are significant improvements in this upgrade and I think most people are more than happy with what has been provided. There was however an expectation that VW 2008 would bring improved and enhanced 3D capabilities which has not been met. I suspect that having to wait for another whole product cycle to hopefully get these is where the frustration comes from.

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From another perspective:

I am working on fixing a set of working drawings that were started by a draftman by hand. Yes there are still people out there doing hand drawings.

There is a market for a good 2D cad program; which in our case makes us quite a good income. We seldom use 3D; but we push the limits of presentation using all the 2D CAD tools available in VW

to dimiss 2D CAD and conclude that it is on the way out is only 1 opinion that is not shared by this user.

So for NNA to spend time improving 2D tools is a market that for the time being will, more likely than not, sell new seats and upgrades.

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I guess the thing for us is that, after utilising 3D on one large job, we have given up on the 2D+3D method, because I found that the parametric objects were too limiting. It's not so much that they don't do everything possible under the sun but that they either have small bugs or small limitations that are deal-breakers. Once you hit a bug or limitation that requires you to destroy the parametric nature of the object there becomes no point in using it, apart from as a design tool.

We'll use the stair tool, for instance, as a check to make sure we're calculating our stairs correctly but most of the stairs we do in multi-storey buildings simply can't be created with the stair PIO.

The window PIO is another example, with the sill bugs, and not only in 3D. When I last used it, it couldn't even represent a sill in 2D correctly either.

I think a lot of these problems stem from these PIOs starting their lives designed for the McMansion market. If NNA came at it from a different perspective (i.e. a global market of diverse architecture) I don't think we'd have all these limitations.

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for once I feel quite sympathetic to NNA, on one hand you have people like you complaining about the lack of 3d parametric and pio objects and then on the other hand people like me insisting they concentrate on getting a good 2d package sorted and not loose their focus with lot's of niche peripheral features.

I think the majority of users use vectorworks as a 2d cad program, in my experience the need for 3d presentation is either best handled by specialists or will only be needed early in a project.

of course I'm speaking from an architectural point of view, for services /structural coordination I can see it being useful.. but i don't think any engineers use vectorworks here.

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for once I feel quite sympathetic to NNA, on one hand you have people like you complaining about the lack of 3d parametric and pio objects and then on the other hand people like me insisting they concentrate on getting a good 2d package sorted and not loose their focus with lot's of niche peripheral features.

I think the majority of users use vectorworks as a 2d cad program, in my experience the need for 3d presentation is either best handled by specialists or will only be needed early in a project.

But I think that 3d is not used much because of what Christian is saying: There are too many limitations and bugs in those parametric objects. If they change them, more architects will consider to use them hybrid.

I made many pio's only because it's the only way to get what you want. And I must say that working 2D/3D is very fast. I draw a complete plan with elevations faster then someone that's drawing only 2d (just because of my own pio's). And when something must be changed, it only takes a minute with me, and 15 minutes or more when all is 2D.

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Once you hit a bug or limitation that requires you to destroy the parametric nature of the object there becomes no point in using it, apart from as a design tool. . . I think a lot of these problems stem from these PIOs starting their lives designed for the McMansion market. If NNA came at it from a different perspective (i.e. a global market of diverse architecture) I don't think we'd have all these limitations.

Christiaan, while I agree in the main with your comments, I think it's time we put the McMansion notion off to the side. I think it's a bit of a red herring, and doesn't serve our interest in getting NNA to focus on the real problems - fixing the flaws, such as those you point out, and expanding the power of the PIOs.

The window sill has been a frustrating one, and one that I can't understand. It has nothing to do with conventional window detailing in any market, McMansion or otherwise. It just doesn't represent a sill properly for any window ever manufactured. Similarly with the stairs tool, most "McMansion" designs in my neck of the woods would never settle for the limited stair designs that tool can generate.

With all respect to those who use VW purely as a 2d drafting program, that is not the future. If NNA focused solely on that, there would not be a VectorWorks in the future. In fact, if NNA doesn't come up to speed on some of these 3d tools, they are going to lose market share to software companies that can. I think the engineers at NNA are working on these things, per Jeff O.'s comments in a different thread on this board, and many of us are hoping they will get it right in the next release.

In the meantime, while I acknowledge the flaws that Christiaan points out, in my practice 3d PIOs are still usable for many if not most situations. I would hope that the users who read these comments take Christiaan's remarks and his well-earned and credible opinions in balance with the experience of others.

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in my practice 3d PIOs are still usable for many if not most situations.

I can't think of a single NNA object that would be usable in our architectural & landscape design practice or in the practices I deal with as a VW consultant.

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There are going to be limitations to every CAD app on the market but I find the 3D capabilities to be quite robust for our needs, certainly improvements are welcome.

The floorplan design development document eventually becomes roughly half of the construction documents:plans, and the rendered presentation model derived from that document-which invariably sells (or at least best communicates to clients the design)-stripped of its textures -will produce all the elevations, sections and some details with graphical or text annotations as necessary.

Each of those docs stripped down to their basics becomes the files sent to consultants. We don't design trusses or do the engineering for our projects-thats what the truss company and engineer does.

I am sure there are more efficient ways and improvements to be made but the program produces what is necessary for us.

We just presented two projects yesterday and the rendered model sold the designs.

Granted we are a very tiny firm and do almost exclusively single-family home designs.

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I can't think of a single NNA object that would be usable in our architectural & landscape design practice or in the practices I deal with as a VW consultant.

Petri, just to clarify, are you saying that you don't use window or door PIOs?

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No, I don't. They are completely useless in Finland.

EDIT

Further clarification: we do use the Stair tool the way Christiaan describes (2D only) - but I am thinking of reviving my own one so that we would not have to convert the unacceptable graphical representation on the NNA stair to lines that we then edit.

In my role as a VW consultant, I can hardly justify VW Architect to prospective users. Wall styles are pretty much the only useful feature and even that does not have all the necessary features.

Edited by Petri

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I thought I'd chime in on the 2D/3D discussion with another perspective. A little background first...

We are a mid-sized structural engineering firm in California who does a good variety of work: high-end custom residences, light commercial projects, schools, etc. Our office has used VectorWorks since v8 and has introduced several designers in the area to the program. Suffice to say, we like it a lot.

My (personal) opinion is that 3D CAD is a great visualization tool for schematic design and client presentations. However, 95% of the time, the first thing we do when we receive architectural plans is to strip the 3D information out and make our own version of the plans in 2D. We do this for a few reasons: better performance on slower machines, savings in server space and network traffic, simpler CAD standards, etc. In the end, we don't use the 3D functions of VectorWorks, and I don't think there would be much (if any) benefit if we did.

As for 3D being the future (assuming that BIM is part of that vision), it may be true for users doing complex large-scale projects. However, on most smaller projects it doesn't make sense for clients to pay us the premium required for 3D integration when the result is still going to be (probably) the same paper set of 2D structural plans. On our end, it's just not cost-efficient or time-efficient yet, and for many small to medium projects I think it may never be.

So I'm glad to see the 3D end of VectorWorks grow, but I hope NNA does remember that a significant portion of their user base relies on 2D work day in and day out...

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Every little thing I do is 3d via symbols ... then isometric Details & 2d take-offs. When I say everything, I mean that even the site boundaries are 3d ... including all the Civil stuff, too.

It just seems so much easier for me to throw it all together using Hybrids.

Whereas other Architects may begin with the 2d foundation plan, I usually start with the 3d roof.

PIO are important but not essential to my work. Nevertheless, the walls, stairs, doors & windows are real time savers, and point the way to improvements in future functionality.

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For those who want to know how strong VW can be in 3D working with other consultants, not Architects. I carried out a job last year. Is it a job if you do it in your free time just to see if you can do it? I digress.

The civil engineer sent me a Rhino file in 3ds or iges format for a surf board shaped bridge and railway station platform and then I put my electrical services on it. AutoCAD 2006 crashed every time the CAD department tried to open the Rhino export file. VW works for me in a services environment very well. I have seen better services packages I will admit but I don't have ?5000+ spare cash or the desire to learn them. I am an engineer first and I use CAD as a tool to get my designs across. VW does it very well and at a very reasonable price point too.

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Bret, the advantage of hybrid PIOs is that you have a 2D Plan representation as well as a 3D object. This allows you to chose where on the spectrum between 2D and 3D you want to work.

Even if you only want to work in 2D this duality can help. For example you can model a stair with the stair PIO, switch to an elevation view and use Convert Copy to Lines to get an elevation view of the stair. Beats having to draw it from scratch. Ditto for elements like doors, windows, roofs etc. Make a change and it is fairly simple to get the updated form.

When the 3D capabilities are enhanced the ability to generate quality 2D drawings from the model will improve, and more people are likely to start using this mode of work.

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Mike, I understand how hybrid objects work, and I don't discount their value for 2D/3D work.

For what we do, however, most projects can be handled with structural plan views and a handful of detail sheets. We're not generating multiple views of anything, so we don't use 3D objects (or even viewports, most of the time). The 3D information ends up being dead weight in our files, so we usually do things like convert walls to 2D polygons.

For example, it's nice to take a 35 MB architectural plan file, create simplified 2D plans from it, add all our structural information, and end up with a 24 MB file that refreshes faster, saves faster, etc.

Until you get into mid-rise or high-rise buildings, or buildings of Gehryesque complexity, I don't see the efficiency of 3D engineering drawings. For architecturals, it makes a lot of sense...but most engineering drawings tend to be straightforward enough that the extra work of generating 3D structural plans isn't justified.

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I am curious to find out what 3d tools people think we are lacking. I have produced quite a few models that range from 5,000 square foot banks to 40 story condo buildings and find that for the most part the tools I need are there. I do wish for a more robust site modeling tool set that would present smoother grading. Tried going the draped suface route with nurbs and it just made my machine laugh at me.

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Forgot to say a couple of things. My comments above are not related to BIM, just straight 3d modeling. I also wanted to express that I have also found that the PIO's are problematic. I typically use them to start the modeling of an object but end up turning them into symbols or groups to get them modified to what I really need and at that point the BIM aspect is compromised. They are problematic but still useful for what I need.

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