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Do I need Renderworks?

J. Werlin

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I am not yet a Vectorworks user, but I'm ready to get off the dinosaur I've been drafting with (Graphite) and am very close to jumping on board.

I am a small (two projects a year) residential designer/builder. The homes we build are in the price range of $500k-1 million range--high end for our rural area, but nothing like Aspen or Telluride. In the past I have not had to compete with other builders for my clients. Folks seem to choose my company based on reputation and visits to completed projects. In short, I don't need super-flashy drawings to win over clients.

I like the idea of giving my CAD drawings a hand-drawn look. Is it necessary to have Renderworks for this? How limited am I with only the Architecture program?

I guess my question is: Is it worth the extra $$"s to add on Renderworks?

And, should I hold off a little longer for the 2009 Version?

Many thanks,

Jeremy Werlin

J. Werlin Construction

Responding to C W post (thanks): I was counting on having to upgrade hardware. I'm leaning towards the MB Pro because my office is off the grid and power use is a consideration.

Edited by J. Werlin
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If you have not done so already, take a look at Piranesi - www.piranesi.co.uk

It basically allows you to paint on a 3D model, like you would in Photoshop on a 2D model, except, if you set things up right, it understands about 3D, depth, materials, lighting, shadows etc.

You either render 'by hand', or use one of the pre built in styles.

To get a Vectorworks model into Piranesi there is a Vectorworks export as Epix command which is (certainly as far as 2008 is concerned) unfortunately only included with Renderworks. However, Piranesi will also import dwg files via the Vedute converter, so you could export models from VW in that format. I have never tried this to see how well this route compares to Epix export, which is pretty much seamless.

You can decorate your drawing directly in Piranesi, by adding textures (including hand applied) and a large array of symbols/image props for people, vehicles, planting or those you draw yourself.

There are also many talented people that have done fantastic work using Piranesi drawing on quite a basic underlying Sketchup model.

Checkout the Piranesi Gallery for many examples. And the best thing is, the Piranesi stage does not take very long.

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As you are not yet a VW user, in your budget include some time for one to one training initially.

That will give you an invaluable springboard, also to harness your own experience and creativity.

RW is a worthwhile addition as it allows not only many rendering options, but also includes the choice of cameras and full lighting settings.

In addition the ability to create "Image Props" allow the user to create 3D objects out of 2d images and textures, probably RWs best feature.

I would also recommend the 17"MBP with the hi-res screen 1920x1200 and 4gb ram and the fastest hard drive on board (7200 rpm) 200GB or 320GB,

Also if you can wait until 14th October, Apple should be announcing their new range.


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For the hand drawn look, you'll definitely want the "Sketch" features of VW for all your 2-D drawings. I would guess that you are looking at the "Architect" module which contains this feature. If you are only doing two drawing sets a year and therefore only a couple of renderings, you probably don't need Renderworks. Some magic in photoshop may be enough for your needs.

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