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Vectorworks Woes

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A year ago I started using Vectorworks with a new employer, having left my job of 8 years to join a new firm. After using Vectorworks 9 for a couple of months I found that all my intelligence was hidden to my new employers and was forced to return to my previous place of employment where I could once again draw with my beloved AutoCad. Unfortunately, I have lost all my seniority here due to my excursion into the world of Vectorworks and find myself once again with 2 weeks of holidays and the worst seat in the office. I?m thinking of leaving this place once again due to my status and am wondering if V10 might be easier for an old dog like myself to pick up this time. Anybody know? Any or all advice would be greatly appreciated.

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The transition to VW10 from Acad is not really any different than VW9. The concepts of layers and 3d/2d are still the same.

One thing I noted was the VW10 user manual was much better than the VW9 version. Maybe I understood more of the concepts after 4 months of exposure, or it may have better content. I suspect the content has improved.

I made the switch in May this year, and feel more and more proficient all the time. I have so far done 2 houses, and a museum (albeit a small maritime building)- complete sets of documentation, as well as numerous other small jobs.

It's working pretty well really, and the standard of presentaion coming out the office is SO MUCH better than what we could squeeze out of ACAD2000.

Good luck.

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I've found that upgrading to v10 not only my improved my seat placement and vacation time, but seat quality as well. Previously I'd been using one of those cheap-o Office Depot swivel chairs. Now I'm using one of those fancy ergonomic chairs with pneumatic up/down and lower lumbar support.

Needless to say my bum reaped the rewards of upgrading to v10.

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Just for the sake of argument...

"The transition to VW10 from Acad is not really any different than VW9. The concepts of layers and 3d/2d are still the same."

The concepts of layers are definitely NOT the same - VW develops a "matrix" of layers and classes; everything in AC is drawn at 1:1, with scale "changed" using viewports.

"It's working pretty well really, and the standard of presentaion coming out the office is SO MUCH better than what we could squeeze out of ACAD2000."

I've never understood that argument, or the marketting position of VW, that VW drawings "look" so much better than drawings from any other program....a line is a line is a line, and a computer is a computer..... Good people make good drawings on any workable system, so which system is the most workable?

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It's early in the morning and I just can't resist weighing in on this.

First, I believe the comment regarding no difference in "concept" referred to VW9 vs. VW10, not VW vs. ACAD. VW and ACAD think differently.

Second, regarding presentation quality. VW on a Mac (I have no experience with PCs) is fabulous for what I consider "quality". I disagree strongly with the statement "a line is a line is a line." For example, the line that represents the pavement side of a 6" high curb is different from the line representing the grass or sidewalk side of the curb because the first line indicates a difference in surface heights between the two planes separated by the line, whereas the second line represents a separation between two materials roughly in the same plan.

A "typical" drawing would usually represent both lines with the same pen (or line weight, width). In my opinion, a quality drawing will go beyond the mere conveyance of technical info such as "where is the curb" by striving to present all relevant information simply and quickly in a visually pleasant manner. To that extent, the use of line weights can convey information about "how far away" something is (which side of the curb is the vertical face) and solid or pattern fills can help identify different materials. By incorporating various line weights and fills you can create a site plan drawing for example where you can instantly determine what's where. No searching and reading to be sure you understand what's going on.

The visual clues available through the use of line weights, various fills and patterns, and colors also if you out-put in color are easily created in VW. I draw with black and colored lines on a white background. The lines I see on my screen are EXACTLY what prints out. WYSIWYG. Actual line thickness and color, colored and patterned fills, importation of numerous image formats such as EPS, PICT, JPG, etc., and concept differences noted above all add to my ability to create drawings which (hopefully) not only convey the necessary technical information, but are also pleasant to look at, well organized, and easy to read.

And then of course there's the whole 3D modeling and rendering thing built right into the program. And quite frankly, since most of my work is concept design only, I use VW much like a desk-top publishing program to assemble line-work, art-work, photographs, rendered and shadowed 3D model shots, etc. as required to "tell the story". It's all there in VW.

So much for a positive rant.

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I think they meant the concepts of layers and classes of VW 9 compared to VW 10 are still the same. It doesn't make much difference if you are converting from AC to VW 9 or AC to VW 10. The changes are still about the same.

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broesler, you make my point exactly, but a .15mm line in VW is a .15mm line in any other drafting program. The skill of the drafts"person" determines the "look" of any drawing from any cad program, it is not some inherent quality in a piece of software.

Katie, I agree that was his intent, but it could go either way...

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Broesler is 100% right.

Any office that I've been where they

could see AutoCAD dwgs or even PowerCadd

quickly realized that dwgs in VW looked better.

Is a philosophical thing, has to do with grabbing and manipulating objects directly with your hands instead of telling a window dialog box what you'd like to do. It has to do with the extraordinaire representational flexibility of classes crossing

layers , patterns and hatches and images and the natural approach of using the colors (shades of gray) you want to print wit,h instead of electrical (red yellow blue etc) thick less wires that represent lines on a black

depthless background. VW instinctively makes you feel the pressure of the pencil on the white paper.. ok maybe I'm exaggerating, but there is more beauty involved in this program then precise engineering.

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AutoCad is the classic Marxist example of the Bourgeois being upset by the Proletariat. In this case, Vectorworks playing the roll of the Proletariat (cue Fiddler on the Roof theme). The Bourgeois (AutoCad), comfortably numb in their ignorance, refuse to admit that advances by the Proletariat (Vectoworks) are much greater than what they?ve become comfortable with for the past few decades. In this case decades amount to the number of releases in which AutoCad made little to no attempt at injecting revolutionary changes into their archaic system. When the Bourgeois actually take into account what the Proletariat have accomplished, they hide their fear with empty comparisons refusing to admit that the Proletariat have erased that fine line between the two classes.

And besides, AutoCad lines look cheap compared to those sexy VW lines.

Vive le Vectorworks!

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As a MC/VW user since 1985, i am sure i can be more "artistic" using VW tha acad.

i am now help rendering railway station projects drawn in acad.

sometimes lines are "edges" in reality which cannot be replaced by pen #s.

in a rough design presentation, you can easily draw like this:


export hidden line image in .psd.


export final RW image in .psd.


merge them in photoshop after some retouches.

please refer to


in final renderings, put only glass, metal or image textures in RW leaving tile surface and others to PhotoShop.

please refer to


with MC since 1985

VWA 9.5.2

MacOS 9.2.2


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Humorous, if not informative and reassuring about my choice in using VWA vs. AutoCAD. I received a free, unsolicited trial disk of VWA 10 a few days ago and started running it through its paces. Welcome improvements for ease of use and productivity, better organized libraries and the like.

However, the resources browser and the palettes still leave something to desire given this recent comparison to ACAD. Why can't VW provide simple fills or hatches that represent gravel, soil, and simple stipples for say, stucco?!

While on the subject, window-shading effect on the object info and browser palettes should be a given instead of having to close them altogether and bring them back when in need.

Mac, OS 10.1.5

VWA 9.5.3

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the real debate is not the VW10 v AutoCAD but why Allen could not make the transition to VW??

having used Acad for 8 Years i recently switched company and to VW at the same time. I picked it up in two weeks and i wouldnt say im anything special??

I dont think VW is the problem Allen....

(Never kick a good man until he is down)

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