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AutoCAD Architecture vs Vectorworks Architect


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I am currently on AutoCAD Architecture and have been a AutoCRAP user for the last 15 years. But, I have finally feed up with Autodesk and their lack of tech support and the sheer number of bugs in their 08 software. I cannot tell you how many times I have pointed this out to them only to be told this was fixed in the next release. I don't know about you folks, but that is unbelieveable to me. So, with that said, I am considering changing to a different software but being over 50 and having 18 years experience on AutoCRAP I am scared as hell to do it. Anyone else make the jump and how bad is the learning curve? I have a small architectural firm with just 4 of us in case that matters. Being that we are small, we don't have a part time or full time CAD manager so it falls on me. And to tell you the true, I find I spend more time being a freaken CAD manager than an architect. I want to get back to architecture. Thanks all


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come on over to the bright side ... you will enjoy the ride : )

Vectorworks Architect has what you need ... your team will be up & running in no time ... producing stunning CAD as if by magic.

VW isn't perfect ... but it sure is a proven professional product.

If productivity & profitability are essential to your mental health, you will be most pleasantly rewarded...

and backing up the world-class code is knowledgeable dedicated community of really great people.

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You may need to be a cad manager for a bit longer..

After working on large projects using Autocad and Microstation in the UK for many years we started a studio and decided to go with VW. The switch was excruciating; working felt like trying to fix a complex machine with kids plastic toys. Years later, I can see 90% of this was lack of familiarity. VW feels significantly different to a new user than Autocad and Microstation do to each other, and the only solution is to learn. Having said that, we're glad for the switch: VW seems underrated in the market and we're getting good results from it.

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Hello Wayne,

to teach an experienced ACAD user takes in my experience

* 1-2 hours the first day, then you let him try out on his own

* 30 minutes the second day

* 1 week answering questions occasionally and the person is fully operational.

The point is to offer the ACAD user a well structured system, that given, he's happy. I suggest you to search for some schooling for you and your people. Someone who also sets up the application and some basic resources for your office. All well invested money.

The ACAD user is usually enthusiastic as soon as he sees the graphic capabilities, the easiness in batch editing, the speed in getting things done.

VW is very intuitive, the difficult will be to let yourself abandon again to intuition, perhaps...


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I have a small practice too, and switched from AutoCad to VW in 2008 after 12 years on AutoCad.

The switch was fairly easy. I am still discovering better ways to do things, but in general the software is very good. I purchased the licenses, and new Macs and still had money left over.

Go for it. Plus life is too short to give all your CAD years to Autodesk!

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I have worked with AutoCAD and Bentley Architecture and work wih AutoCAD ADT, ArchiCAD and Vectorworks at present. Here is a quote from another thread which I think hits the nail on the head:

"Vectorworks will give you design freedom (familiar open-ended geometric workflow) and versatility (design anything; design well in 2D). Vectorworks also will give you BIM tools, but it will not force a BIM workflow upon you. This you must provide. It is both the legacy and the intent of Vectorworks to be first and foremost a designer's tool. People who design love Vectorworks, because it provides design tools and "gets out of the way". In the world of BIM, however, people have come to expect a more domineering style of software workflow.

Vectorworks' approach is looser. Although you can expect to see more structuring of the workflow for the BIM user as we move onward, it will probably always be optional for the user. But the advantage is, in Vectorworks, if you can model it, you can make it a BIM model, simply by attaching the appropriate BIM (i.e. IFC) data set. And this is true today."

ArchiCAD which could be an option for you too, imposes a single workflow upon you, however the advantages of this are that as an architect it is an easily recocgnized and therefore easily learned workflow, having said this it lacks VW flexibility which in turn makes VW a little harder to get into in the beginning.....imho.

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After many years of AutoCAD, I escaped to VW. I spent about a year trying to get useful 2D drawings from Architectural Desktop's 3D 'model.' I finally gave up and just did everything in 2D (except the plan view of walls, doors and windows, of course).

At first, I had an excruciatingly difficult time with VectorWorks. So I called up my salesperson, and sputtered at her about all the inconceivably ridiculous issues I was having. Finally I needed to breath, and she asked if, by any chance, I was a former AutoCAD user. Well, yes, I was... She sent me their "VW for AutoCAD Users" CD, with which, upon viewing, I 'saw the light.'

While it certainly isn't perfect, I highly recommend VectorWorks. The key, I think, is to forget a lot about what you know about using AutoCAD for a smoother transition to VectorWorks.

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