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Chris D

Revit Thoughts

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I'm not going to resurrect my recent post on this topic which was slightly inflammatory, but I did promise to report back after the Revit Demo which we booked when we realised VW couldn't do BIM in the way we wanted...

About 5 minutes into the demo one of my colleagues summed up the difference between Vectorworks and Revit with these words "Night and Day". This just about sums it up.

I don't have time to give a full rundown of the differences, but they are more stark than I had imagined. What I realised is that in my 9 years of posting to the Vectorworks Wishlist, what I was doing was describing Revit, without knowing it.

I'm afraid that the decision was made to jump ship, and that we will slowly transition to Revit (and Windows) over the coming years.

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There is also additional cost for the 2D drafting program, AutoCad. And the training for Revit and AutoCad. The extra training has its own "night and day" factor, and there's a surprising lack of information in the Revit help system. And you'll have to set up a Windows server network with Revit Server - another cost extra there.

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How are you dealing with the issue of cost difference?

How are you dealing with the cost of missing those recent deadlines and the time spent on workarounds etc?

I'm not trying to be funny...I think it will pay for itself.

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No, agreed. I guess my question was more along the lines of "was it the demo that convinced the purse-string holders"?

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The demo did the job, it was so utterly convincing.

A lay man off the street wouldn't have been impressed in the least, because it was all so logical that this is how architectural software would work. The perspective of coming from a struggle with Vectorworks is what makes Revit so impressive.

It's not about features, but implementation. NV Inc could tick many of the boxes on the marketing literature (and do) but the implementation is so slick on Revit that it is worlds away.

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So I guess it's all about the marketing, and how the presentation can make the product look good. You can draw your own conclusions from this.

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It actually sounds like its about user interface. I suspect Vectorworks has many of the tools but they are poorly implemented (ie. implemented from a developer's point of view) or misnamed.

Kevin

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Bob, I think the prospect of your shares in NV Inc going on the slide are affecting your judgement.

No offence intended. You're free to put forward a positive spin on Vectorworks on their own Techboard of course. Please don't suggest I can't tell the difference between marketing and substance. I've used Vectorworks, Microstation, AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and even Revit (pre-AutoDesk) over the last 20 years. We gave the Revit demo guy a real grilling, got him sweating. It wasn't all good, but it's night and day with Vectorworks from my perspective.

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Before this thread degenerates I'd better add some substance. Here is the list I posted in the other thread about the headline failings of VW. I will edit the post to add comments about Revit under each.

WORKING

- No live sections

R- You can edit in any view. Sections are live and editable.

- No multiple model windows e.g. plan and section open at same time

R- No limit on number of live views open at the same time. You can tile them, overlap them, expand and contract them, toggle through them. They're all live views, always updating when you edit any other window.

- Poor architectural tools, windows, doors, stairs, roofs, curtain walls etc

R- Great tools, sensible metric defaults, sensible automatic insertion points (e.g. windows of common metric sizes insert at a default metric brick coursing height), great easy-to-edit parametrics with clear guides. Fantastic curtain wall tool with configurable panels like spandrels , mergeable adjacent panels, different cap styles. etc etc.

- Missing architectural tools rooflights, gutters, foundations etc

R- All there. Had a good demo of the gutter tool, with height and width offset from the fascia, profile selections, automatic corners etc.

- No multi-core / multi-thread support e.g even auto-save stops you working while it saves

R- Multi-threaded for key processes including open/save, background render, preview generation etc. Multi-core rendering.

- No building materials, just 2D hatches, textures, fills with no relationship between them.

R- Building materials pre-loaded with U values, density, etc, each with a section and elevation appearance property for several view types and pre-defined render textures. The colour for shaded views can even be set to take an average of the render texture colours.

- Poor workgroup referencing. No workgroup server or BIM server

R- Work Sets and Work Sharing approach from a central database file on the server. We couldn't see this in practice but it is implemented in large offices like HOK so it must work well.

- Poor stock component library, especially for the UK

R- Great defaults included in the metric library within the software and of course the single biggest set of resources on the UK's National BIM Library.

- Poor Coordinate System support. No multiple UCS (moving origin doesn't qualify).

R- Great twin Project and Survey origin system, with ability to query either the site level/coordinate or the AOD/Survey benchmark levels.

- No 3D working grid or reference lines related to storey settings

R- Level benchmarks appear in all working views including elevations and sections and can be configured to appear individually or by category etc. Can be measured to, or used for parametric constraints.

- Poor Stories implementation. No split levels, mezzanines, double-height spaces etc.

R- Unlimited individual definition of 'levels' that can be stories, mezzanines, ceiling heights, parapet levels. No rigid stricture about stories being layers (in the VW sense). External walls typically go the full height of the building for instance.

OUTPUT

- No 3D hatches so all drawings need to be rendered for presentation

R- 3D hatches, vector-based shaded elevation/section views with hatches AND vector shadows...the shadows can be real world or use architectural graphic conventions. THIS is the killer feature.

- Render quality needs to be set very high for decent elevation output

R- See above. No need to render elevations while you work just to see what your elevation looks like. Open GL is NOT equivalent as it draws lines at floors etc and doesn't have 3D masonry hatches and shadows. Rendering not necessary unless desired to have render-style elevations....normal presentation drawings like you would have drawn in the 2D CAD process are entirely vector based.

Edited by Chris D

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Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out if I can get elevator doors to show in section.

It seems ridiculous that we even seriously compare these programmes. Makes for depressing reading knowing I'm stuck with VW for the foreseeable future.

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Autodesk may be anti-competive when it comes to interoperability but it won't be because of this that people will switch to their software. It'll be that we can actually get on with our jobs of designing buildings.

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So true Christiaan, yet I thought your initial question was legitimate rather than argumentative. It's the financing. What would the CAD world be like if VW cost the same as Revit?

Chris, you indicated your firm will take it slow but I still wonder about how your firm will push and pull the financing.

Fortunately, it seems easier for the little guy to let a decent project pay for a VW upgrade...given they have a decent project in these times.

Unfortunately a goodly amount of the "Smart-sized" amongst us will probably have to languish. I have 13 days to decide.

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The pricing structure for Revit is front-loaded if you take their equivalent of VSS subscription...you pay a big chunk to get on board, but the annual subscription is reasonably low (under 1K GBP). I'm not sure the prices I have are public so I won't post them here.

The point being, writing-off the initial cost, 1K a year for your principal software (with support, updates, cloud rendering included) is not too bad.

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The extra training has its own "night and day" factor, and there's a surprising lack of information in the Revit help system.

Coming from Revit, I can say this:

1) VW training resources are very limited

2) The numerous workarounds with VW are poorly documented

3) I consider myself of reasonable intelligence. The time I've spent to get a reasonable result from VW has been threefold compared to Revit, for the above two reasons. The savings made by purchasing VW have been eaten away.

VW has it over Revit for 2D drawing, but the deficiencies in 3D modeling are glaring.

ChrisD, shame you have to ditch the mac for Revit though, but it is what it is.

EDIT:

to be fair, the help from this board has been invaluable in my VW journey.

Edited by Kizza

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Makes for depressing reading knowing I'm stuck with VW for the foreseeable future.

at least you didn't leave Revit for VW....

:cry:

As I've said before, version 2013 is make or break for me.

Edited by Kizza

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I consider myself of reasonable intelligence. The time I've spent to get a reasonable result from VW has been threefold compared to Revit.

This is the thing. It doesn't matter how smart you are. With Vectorworks you must have oodles of experience just to avoid the pitfalls, or know someone who does.

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I have fairly extensive Revit experience and now work for a very small firm that uses VW. And, I have to say, initially I was hopeful...but have determined that the appeal of VW is very clearly related to "thinking small" (i.e. small firm with little enthusiasm to invest in software).

I think Revit blows VW out of the water primarily because it was developed specifically for designing and documenting buildings. Like AutoCAD, VW has cast a wide net hoping to appeal to lots of different designer types, and like ACAD, VW comes up short in the built for architects department. Revit is very robust and quite impressive as an all in one kind of program (i.e. model, schedule, draft, walk-thru, render, document for construction, potential for sending files direct to fabrication)

That being said, it will take time to learn the nuances and work arounds for Revit, so good luck. I wish I could convince my firm to switch from using free sketch-up and then recreating drawings with old style process in VW!

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Vectorworks can only improve.... right!? Out of curiosity, what is the price difference between vectorworks & Revit?

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Revit is more expensive. And there are extras -- for 2D CAD files, you'll need AutoCad, because Revit can't import DWGs for editing. So you'd be using two programs for a typical project - Revit for plans elevations and sections, and Autocad for site plans and details (unless you want to give up DWG file collaboration, then it would just be Revit).

Edited by Bob-H

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Revit is more expensive.

Seems it needs to be in order to be a satisfactory building modeller.

... and Autocad for site plans and details.

If we switched we'd keep a licence or two of VW about. Wouldn't need to upgrade them of course.

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Vectorworks can only improve.... right!?

If it cost more than Revit and therefore had more investment it might be able to catch up.

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Take a look at Project Spark at Autodesk Labs, you can download a thirty-day trial. Project Spark is a possible REVIT LT product similar to their Inventor LT, that is in a testing phase to see if there is a market for it.

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Revit is more expensive. And there are extras -- for 2D CAD files, you'll need AutoCad, because Revit can't import DWGs for editing. So you'd be using two programs for a typical project - Revit for plans elevations and sections, and Autocad for site plans and details (unless you want to give up DWG file collaboration, then it would just be Revit).

Revit can import DWGs, but you are right, one cannot then edit that imported file. But my question is why would you do that? Do you get consultants' files and then modify them?

I am not sure what the costs are today, but initially when Autodesk bought revit it was packaged all by itself for a price. Then Autodesk bundled it with AutoCAD for a small markup

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