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What's the differnces between VW and AutoCAD.......

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I agree with flame. AutoCAD is more precise, while VW is prettier.

I always used the command line in AutoCAD, so it was lightning fast for me; I made shortcuts for different commands. I just can't work fast in VW.

AutoCAD is a metaphor for the old hand-drafting,while VW is more like a typical computer vector drawing program: you're dealing in shapes rather than lines.

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I get annoyed when I see the 'hoary chestnut' of Autocad is more accurate (or precise) than VW dragged out again. Usually it is based on the belief that because you work at a scale in VW rather than 1:1 as you do in Autocad it cannot be as accurate. Wrong! The accuracy or precision is totally dependent on the user and how they work. If you need a high level of precision then set your units accordingly and above all else draw accurately. Don't blame the program for sloppy work practices.

I have seen many Autocad drawings that are also not drawn accurately. It has nothing to do with the program and everything to do with the user.

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Well, my AutoCAD drawings were always dead on. But, you guys are right. We would occasionally get inaccurate drawings from consultants or beginners. Also, there was the lines on top of lines syndrome which drove me crazy.

As far as VW being less accurate, I think it's easier to miss the point your aiming for in VW than AutoCAD. That would explain some inaccuracies. But, yes, there is no reason why VW should be less accurate. After all, one can specify exactly the distances in the VW dialog boxes.

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As far as VW being less accurate, I think it's easier to miss the point your aiming for in VW than AutoCAD.

David that problem has been overcome in VW 2009. The snapping is now very positive and precise.

The Snap Loupe also helps because it gives you the ability to temporarily zoom right in with one keystroke.

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I've always wondered about the multiple line thing in AutoCad, too. I'd love to know what is going on there.

My 2? on the accuracy question: VW (and AutoCad) is as accurate as the user. I've found when teaching that when students complain about snapping accuracy, they usually have the Grid Snap Constraint on and the Snap Grid set to the default 1/8". (Which, in all fairness, doesn't seem like a good default value.)

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The whole 'missing the correct line' thing is a big problem in VW and that is what I was really on about. I really don't think 2009 is even nearly up to the speed/accuracy ratio that you would get in AutoCAD.

In our office there are two 'CAD Geeks' (me and another) and everyone else draws in... lets say... a 'looser' style. AutoCAD's general way of doing things dissuades users from nudging and dragging stuff around in a hap-hazard way.

My experience: AutoCAD 10 years (mech eng), Vectorworks 4years (architecture)

Is the multi-line thing a 3D>2D problem?

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The multiple lines on top of each other in Autocad might be related to its crude snapping system. For example, if you try to copy some objects with only Endpoint snap on, you could inadvertently duplicate them in place. Since Endpoint is the only snap that's active, the nearest endpoint of any object you click on will be used, even if you click in the middle of the object, or at an intersection with some other object. So if the first click point was that same endpoint, you'd get duplicates. And you wouldn't know that you'd done anything, because AC doesn't show handles on the newly created objects the way VW does, and it deselects everything at the end of every operation.

But it's just as easy to get inadvertent duplicates in VW, by holding down Ctrl and clicking on an object. If AC users do it more often, it's only because they're not as smart.

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Yes jan15, the endpoint snap is a cause of many errors. I only used intersection snap in AutoCAD. The others I spelled out on the command line. This avoided all errors due to snapping. It was quicker because I didn't have to wait for the little visual cue to pop up and tell me where it was snapping. I wish I could do the same in VW.

In AutoCAD, I created little scripts to start the line, such as "le" (line beginning from end of); "lm" (line beginning from midpoint of), etc.

A lisp programmer could create routines for every combination of beginning and end points.

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David, I don't understand what you mean about waiting for Autocad's osnap visual cues. On my not very high-powered system they appear faster than I can see them. They're a little slower in VW, but there's a trade-off in that they're more sophisticated, plus with all the other tricks VW has you're not so dependent on constraints as on AC osnaps.

I'm a keyboardist, too, but I use just 4 function keys to control Autocad osnaps. Each Fn key gives me an osnap override combination in a single keystroke (with no space or enter). If no command is active (and therefore an override would have no meaning), the same Fn key instead sets my default osnaps. In other words, the Fn key has the same dual function as an osnap icon, except that each icon represents only a single osnap mode whereas each of my Fn keys represents a combination of one or more modes. Some of the modes play well together, not interfering with each other, so there's really never any need to make one of those the sole mode (except for your experience of the visual cues being too slow). And since it's a key instead of an icon, I can keep drawing with my mouse hand while issuing the override with my right hand.

With that system, I found that 6 function keys would do everything I ever need with osnaps:

1. int, endp, mid, nea

2. per

3. cen

4. qua

5. nod, tan

6. non

But I used 5 & 6 so rarely that I dropped them and instead use icons for those settings.

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Re: 2009; to be honest I don't think I have been able to give it a good chance. My trial DVD renders the screen really strangely on my MacBook Pro.

We are looking to upgrade to 2009 soon, but the expense is holding us back.

I have to agree with billtheia about the ability to choose snaps, it is a boon in AutoCAD; has anyone put it on the wishlist?

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I wonder if those frustrated with speed have customized their workspaces. I, myself, have all my spaces aside to the number keys 1-8. I have tool modes set with Q,W,E,R,T,Y. AC offers a lot of visual feedback on status which is harder to find in VW but I find that if I set up all my tools well and keep my head in it, VW is plenty fast.

As for accuracy, I agree with some of the posters that most of the AC drawings I receive are very sloppy (and forget about organized). It got to the point where I was spending a substantial amount of time cleaning up dwgs I received. For my work, I try to avoid having to touch them completely and just draw around their layers.

One consideration might be that a lot of AC studios share files over workgroups. I haven't seen too many studios working on VW drawings in a workgroup. The more people that touch a file, the more corrupt it can get.

...just my two cents.

And, I want to make a pitch to those having to deal with a lot of AC dwgs. Half of the time I just need to review dwgs and importing into VW can be slow. For a quick review I am using Solidworks eDrawings application. It's free and gives me a pretty good idea of the dwg so I can decide if I need to spend the time getting it into VW (fonts and fills are sometimes off, however). HTH

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The biggest difference is no command line. While the recent releases of autocad have started using this "Dashboard" kinda like vectorworks pallets most of the previous commands would have to be entered in a command line. They have editable user interfaces (workspaces) like in vectoworks, but in my opinion more so it takes a while to really get what you want how you want it. Everything can dock anywhere on the screen. It kind gets annoying.

I am still using vectorworks 2008 and autocad 2008, and 2009 just not installed yet. I really have not had any issue with vectorworks snaps. I typically have all my constraints turned on except snap to grid in vectorworks and typically I am able to do whatever I want, maybe occasionally adding a few guidlines for places that the snaps do not cover, but nothing to crazy.

Autocad has a ton of snap options and the problem I frequently run into is if you are trying to draw something that is 3d in a plan view it has all these UCS (user coordinate systems) that are encouraged to use and help when you understand how they work, but it is a heafty learning curve. Often you can result in snapping to point directly below what you are wanting to draw a line between and things like that it is a real pain.

Just some thoughts.

Edited by MattG
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This is one thing that I miss from ACAD - the ability to QUICKLY select a specific snap (end, mid, int, etc.). I really liked being able to right click and choose the snap I wanted.


You can do that with the new Smart Cursor system. Through the Smart Cursor preferences, the user can make the snapping point interactive all the time or "on-demand" only using hotkeys like "T" and "G".

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not Acad related, but since this thread is mostly about VW snapping, my (devalued) $.02:

After a month or so of 2009'ing, the snap improvements just don't seem to be happening for me.

Things I think need improvement:

1. A vertex can not be selected while inside the snap loupe, for instance to begin a non-marquee 2d reshape.

2. Snapping often occurs to invisible-classed objects. If we're going to use walls with finish components, we need to be able to turn them completely off for structural plans (for instance), so that snaps don't still see them.

3. Similarly, when drawing in the annotation space of a rendered viewport, VW seems to prioritize the background information behind the render, and I end up with a dozen "smart points" around (for instance) a window corner of the render that "should" offer a clean snap.

4. There should be a very slight pause or fade-out of the snap loupe, so that I can tell if the desired snap "took" or not. Currently, when a snap is clicked inside the loupe, the loupe instantly closes and the mouse jumps to it's normal-scale location. It doesn't instill confidence that the desired snap was used, and I often go back to check.

5. Holding the shift key while drawing seems to have been de-powered. It used to quite firmly constrain the cursor to the user set angles (i.e. 0, 45, 90), or matching the angle on which the tool began. But now I frequently get constrain lines at odd angles.

6. Shift-selecting sequential (large or complex) objects. If I have a page of several viewports and want to select a few, VW often disconnects the fact that the shift key was selected at the time the cursor was clicked. That is, I have to hold the shift key for as long as it takes for the selection to "take" (often several seconds), rather than only at the instant the item is actually selected with the cursor.

Overall, I see 2009 trying harder to obtain snaps, but not being much more effective than 2008. The snapping process is a lot busier on the screen, but it still frequently snaps to phantom objects instead of corners/line ends. It will show me the mid-point between two points separated by a mere few pixels on screen. When hovering around a point to snap, it seems too focused on acquiring nearby alternate snaps rather than finding the obvious one right under the cursor. The longer I hover, the busier the snap choice population becomes. I remember earlier versions of VW (say through v9) having such a more positive feel. I realize more drawing complexity creates more stuff on our drawings, but the continual updating of the object complexity is not being matched by similar quality snapping tools.

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