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Kizza

Starting out, Vectorworks advice please.

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I'm just starting out in my new career as a building designer, I come from a trade background.

I trained on Revit and a little AutoCad.

I personally didn't like the AutoCad way of working.

I'm fairly proficient with Revit but have found the interface can get in the way and I don't want modelling to hinder the design process.

So i'm looking at Vectorworks Architect as a possible option and have downloaded a demo version along with a training manual that I purchased that runs through a project. I'm undertaking this exercise presently in my spare time.

I would be very interested in feedback from experienced users who have used both Revit and Vectorworks and what they've liked and disliked about VW. I actually prefer the Revit way of working with levels rather than layers. Was adjusting to layers much of an issue?

I like the feel of VW's interface, it reminds me of my graphics days when working with Illustrator and Photoshop with the floating toolbars.

I like the WinDoor tool as it allows you to create windows and doors with various features quickly and easily without having to model everything, my concern though is if this tool is too limiting? i.e. can you create your own profiles such as door frames which WinDoor can utilise?

Can VW create pictorial door and window schedules?

Does VW have a "live dimension" feature similar to Revit, making it easy to move various elements such as walls, windows and doors interactively?

Seeing that Revit has changed the interface with 2010 (I used 2009) I expect a learning curve if I purchased Revit 2010. Obviously Vectorworks would also involve a learning curve but seeing that I'm starting out and essentially am choosing a platform for not only now but for the future I'm willing to invest time into training. I also have the advantage of having no history with architectural software such as AutoCad other than my exposure to AutoCad and Revit in my training.

My target market initially would be alterations and additions, single and double storey homes. I would also like to break into the commercial market as I've recently completed some projects in this space. I plan to stay as a single man operation working from my purpose built studio at home.

Cost is important, Revit is too much software for my needs as is Archicad. Important also is the ability of the software to create realistic renderings as well as solar studies including animated solar studies as well as having the ability to create nice 2D presentation drawings.

As a potential VW user do I have access to online library objects similar to RevitCity?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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WinDoor, as I understand, is sold as a bundled item by OzCad, a third party developer in Australia. My only concern when using WinDoor, being a third party plug-in, is that those objects are non-editable by others who don't own WinDoor. Others can't even replace the door and window objects like we can for symbols.

But it's an excellent tool.

Why can't NNA purchase the rights to it and integrate it into the mainstream.

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Didn't know that Windoor is a third party plug-in. Without this plug-in doors and windows are symbols or components right? Do you model them yourself with parametric capability or is there a source whereby I can download them to try out?

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You will probably find the native door and window tools hiding under the Windoor icon.

Windoor (and other usefull bits) is supplied free with the Au version of Architect

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I'm a U.S.A. user of VW v2010 trying out WinDoor, hoping to find some way of fitting it into my local projects here that get passed around to other architects. The pass around to others is my concern when others don't own WinDoor.

As I have mine installed, the plug-ins I see are separate tool icons in the Building Shell tool set. And one tool icon in the Dims/Notes tool set. I don't see any "native door and window tools hiding under the WinDoor icon." What exactly are you referring to?

The native Window and Door tools are just separate tools (separate icons) in the same tool sets in my version with WinDoor 15 installed. So I have to choose either the native windows/ doors OR the WinDoor objects. It's an either/or proposition. Cannot switch back once chosen. Is this not what you have in Australia?

This is why I commented to Kizza about the WinDoor feature.

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My general comment, Kizza, is that Vectorworks can do most everything you mentioned. I've never used Revit, so I cannot offer any comparison comments. The layers approach is very well thought out in VW and quite natural to the way buildings are constructed. It could just be nomenclature where layers are called levels in Revit (and Archicad?).

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Vectorworks is definitely you're best alternative if you don't want to upgrade. (You do know that Revit 2011 is already out, don't you?) Keep in mind that VW objects won't be as intelligent as Revit's and you should be ok. Here are some things to be aware of if you do make the switch:

- walls need to be drawn in every level/layer to be visible. In revit, a 'tall' wall created in 1st floor plan, shows up in the 2nd floor plan as well. Not so in VW.

- walls won't automatically attach to roofs.

- dimension objects won't disappear when you delete the object/s being dimensioned.

- VW supports dynamic dimensions but it won't be as sophisticated as Revit. You'll miss the ability to distribute objects evenly using the dimension tool in Revit.

- VW will feel much faster and snappier than Revit

- Multiple windows aren't allowed. Saved views palette is your friend.

- You will miss Revit's align tool.

- If you're looking for intelligent object library resource like Revitcity, I don't think you'll find anything comparable. But then again, most downloads in Revitcity are garbage and poorly created. I think VW even has the advantage because it can import 3d models in a variety of file formats.

- You will have a better 3d toolset in VW such that custom doors, windows and other objects are much faster and easier to create in VW.

- Renderworks won't be able to create realistic renders but it would still be a better choice compared to Revit's rendering capabilites.

- Grid objects don't show up in elevation and section views in VW. You have to draw them manually.

- Sheet management is where I think VW needs to catch up with Revit. Section and detail callouts will not automatically update when you move your views across different sheets.

- You have more control in your text objects in VW. You can have multiple styles and fonts in a single text object.

- Learning the new UI in Revit 2010 or 2011 will probably take you 3 days to a week. Learning VW will probably take 2 weeks. Being productive and comfortable enough will probably take a month or two.

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- walls need to be drawn in every level/layer to be visible. In revit, a 'tall' wall created in 1st floor plan, shows up in the 2nd floor plan as well. Not so in VW.

- walls won't automatically attach to roofs.

- VW supports dynamic dimensions but it won't be as sophisticated as Revit. You'll miss the ability to distribute objects evenly using the dimension tool in Revit.

- Multiple windows aren't allowed.

- You will miss Revit's align tool.

- Renderworks won't be able to create realistic renders but

- Grid objects don't show up in elevation and section views in VW. You have to draw them manually.

- Sheet management is where I think VW needs to catch up with Revit. Section and detail callouts will not automatically update when you move your views across different sheets.

- Learning the new UI in Revit 2010 or 2011 will probably take you 3 days to a week. Learning VW will probably take 2 weeks. Being productive and comfortable enough will probably take a month or two.

Nice Eli! Wakey wakey NNA!

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Many of these shortcomings have a lot to do with the fact that, unlike Revit, VW is not a dedicated building modeller. For instance levels/storeys don't make any sense to someone modelling a machine part, hence the more generic "layers" instead.

This doesn't stop NNA from including building modelling features but I think it does colour the way VW is developed. VW, in other words, is never going to be ground breaking when it comes to competing with dedicated building modelling apps on building modelling features.

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VW, in other words, is never going to be ground breaking when it comes to competing with dedicated building modelling apps on building modelling features.

Very true C., however I assume that this is not their ambition either.....let's just hope they get the basics up to scratch soon.

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That makes sense, I have a flyout menu available under the Windoor Icon which allows me to chose either the standard window, door or windoor icon. It appears I can use both i.e windows/doors and windoor.

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For us it's a problem in that competing architect's using dedicated building modellers will be quicker than us at producing accurate information.

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About what Vincent C posted:

- walls need to be drawn in every level/layer to be visible. In revit, a 'tall' wall created in 1st floor plan, shows up in the 2nd floor plan as well. Not so in VW.

? I' ll like to have something like this in Vw Layers (maintaining it's actual structure). Layer or Level is a matter of concept. I think Vw layers must be named as containers to be fully understandable. They are very powerful and productive.

- walls won't automatically attach to roofs.

? I hope that with Parasolid inside of Vw, all geometry interaction becomes available... not only for walls or roofs.

- Sheet management is where I think VW needs to catch up with Revit. Section and detail callouts will not automatically update when you move your views across different sheets.

? Drawing coordination is as good example of advancement in this area. I don't think it stop there. Sheets, Drawing labels, Sections Instances, Borders and Drawing Lists are very well coordinated, and updates automatically.

Some thoughts:

I don't like applications like Revit or Archicad, by the fact that they rely mainly in objects. At first they look more productive, but get stuck when particular geometry problems arises, a building is full of that particulars problems, too.

The concept that NNA is implementing is more sophisticated and productive. NNA needs more time to propagate the Parasolid to whole Vectorworks, and develop their ideas about industrial design in architectural softwares.

Industrial Design software, are by far better and best suited than today's CAD or BIM. They can produce, evaluate, estimate and construct direct from their solutions. Aero-Spatial industry is a good example. The Archicad's or Revit's approach to BIM isn't the only one, nor the right one; NNA has another and Ghery Technologies other.

Vectorworks 2010 has some innovative and interesting capabilities, the more you use it the more you like it. 3d modeling and 3d snapping rocks. Sometime's found myself modeling for about an our in an stactic isometric view, complex geometries, without making mistakes, using any type of objects and geometry (3d power pack and unified view are awesome). Vw's future is promising.

Sorry for my english... Hope this helps!

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I'm just starting out in my new career as a building designer, I come from a trade background.

I trained on Revit and a little AutoCad.

I personally didn't like the AutoCad way of working.

I'm fairly proficient with Revit but have found the interface can get in the way and I don't want modelling to hinder the design process.

I've had to do some professional training in Revit and AutoCad just to know how to get started. I've learned their interfaces do very well at putting up error messages at very inconvenient times - like when trying to do some design work. The strangest command I had to learn was in an earlier verions of AutoCad - "oops" when making a block. And Revit has their Family templates, in which one works in one only to learn later that the wrong template was used, and have to start over. For example, a Revit door with trim "outside" the wall opening uses a different template file than a door with trim recessed "inside" a wall opening.

Vectorworks was easy to learn without professional training, and it let me get my design work done. In most cases, simply double-clicking on an object allows you to edit it. This applies to 3D objects, groups, symbols (or blocks), polys, etc. And its ease of use extends to other things, like the Resource palette for grabbing objects from other drawings.

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Just got back from a short break, reading through this thread (and others) it appears that a lot of VectorWorks users like the software but are also aware of its limitations.

Looking at the pics on the gallery VW certainly seems to be capable in doing what I want it to do, bearing in mind that I'm just starting out. And yes, I will find a lack of certain features frustrating at first but will get used to it I guess.

Another factor is that since I'm primarily running a mac VW has a distinct advantage in having a mac version commercially available. That essentially leaves me with two options, VW and Archicad. Yes I can run windows software on a mac and I am aware of the options there but I feel less inclined now to support two platforms, antivirus, backup of files, updating software etc. Too much time and money IMO.

So not only am I facing an architectural software choice but also a platform choice. Since I'm of the opinion that Mac OSX is superior to Windows XP and Vista (in fairness I haven't tried Windows 7) I prefer to stick with OSX.

I don't intend starting any PC vs Mac wars here or VW vs Revit for that matter, just want honest down to earth, at the coal face advice.

At 39 I don't want to get it wrong with my software of choice.

If Revit was available in a mac version though I think it would be a no-brainer for me.

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Do you mean that in the context of a larger organisation? I mean as a single man operation working on primarily alterations, additions and the like VW seems more than capable of producing the goods.

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Guest FlowMaster

I've been thinking about Revit as well (no experience with it). It seems like Revit has the corner on the market for BIM and when wanting to work with consultants (MEP)/general contractors in the future in a BIM environment, I find it hard to believe that projects created in VW BIM mode are going to be easily transferable to those who use Revit and vice versa.

This has got me thinking I should learn Revit. The dream of working with other trades, most of which are gearing up with Revit, does have its appeal.

It seems like this is the way of the future...

I'll gladly be dissuaded!!

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I think it depends on what type of work you are doing. BIM can also get in the way of designing, for me at least.

For example, try creating a 1200 high solid partition wall with glass panels to 2700 complete with mullions and then try and add a solid MDF door to the wall and see how the geometry is handled.

And there is no way to "cheat" a door schedule, the info contained within the component is what will appear in the schedule, without the ability to overide it. The model needs to be accurate.

VW's simpler approach has its appeal. I think of how I use Revit and I really only scratch the surface of its capability. And then there is cost.....

Edited by Kizza

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Vw's plug-in settings for windows and doors has saved me lots of time in doing revisions - so I am confident its powerful tools will save me more time in the future.

Just today I was working on a public service AIA project in Revit 2010. I was changing the shape of a trimmed window, and found it can only be edited by reshaping lots of extrude objects. Manually, one by one. With loose line segments, drawn and stretched one by one, to define the outline of each extrude. And the line endpoints have to match for the extrudes to work (Revit does not have polylines). Not exactly cutting edge stuff of the future. The future, like Revit, looks cumbersome and difficult to understand.

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This has got me thinking I should learn Revit. The dream of working with other trades, most of which are gearing up with Revit, does have its appeal.

If most people in the industry do this, which they most probably will, we'll be in the same position we were with DWG and continue to be one of the most inefficient industries in the world.

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Probably and with ArchiCAD being used by many are there also - some of the junk I get - ArchiCAD to dwg then into VW

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My experience of Archicad's DWG exports is also that they are simply awful. Every time I have to import one into Vw I have to spend an inordinate amount of time getting the information into a usable state. Not good.

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So maybe I should also ask:

In a modern architectural office of today that uses Vectorworks are there many issues that arise when collaborating with other consultants and how often do these issues arise?

When I worked at a signage design firm we constantly received files from others and we needed to have the ability to open these files which meant that we had to keep up to date with our Adobe software.

Do architectural practices using VW face similar issues?

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DWG files from most sources are fine. The only ones I ever have problems with are those produced by Archicad.

Every year Autocad has a new DWG file format. Current versions of VW are kept up to date with importing and exporting the latest version of DWG. Earlier versions of Vw are not. So if you stay on a prior version of Vw eventually you will run into problems because you receive DWG files that your version can't import.

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