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Chief Architect and VectorWorks Architect

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A home builder (using Chief Architect) and I (using VWA & RW) are discussing working together. Is there any successful migration, integration, cross over (or exporting means)....(in anyone's experience) to working btwn the two programs?

Thank you!


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Mark,

Your best bet for sharing files will be .dwg in both a 3D scenario as well as 2D. Other elements from sources such as 3D Warehouse may be able to be imported into both - Vectorworks can, I'm not certain about CA.

Anyone else have any practical Chief to Vectorworks or vise-versa info?


Edited by Wes Gardner
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The good news is that Chief Architect is releasing a MAC version of their software in September.

The bad news is that the 3D model will not import into Vectorworks in any meaningful way. Yes a .dwg can be imported but it retains nothing useful for 3D interaction.

You can import any views from the model to a Chief Architect .Layout file. The layout file with 2D information can be exported as a .dwg file that is great for creating construction drawings.

Chief is a fantastic program for creating 3D models of residential and small commercial projects. You can keep the model alive through the entire Construction Documents phase. I used to import .dwgs and do my construction documents in VW. Now I do everything in Chief. Clients love the quality of renderings and the speed changes can be done in Chief.

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The home builder doesn't have much interest, likely, in spending hours developing a CAD drawing. If he/she can interest a homeowner with simple top plan views and some 3D exteriors derived from same and some nice kitchen cabinet drawings (a strong point of CA), while handing the project off to you, then those things can be easily exported into Vectorworks via DXF/DWG and the drawings can then be taken to permit stage using only Vwks. I doubt the builder cares about file compatibility, frontwards or backwards. Far more important is your ability to create accurate, complete drawings in a timely fashion.

It might be nice on occasion to have a 3D object unique to CA exported out in .3ds such that you don't loose textures, colors and so can bring it into your model with greater success.


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