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nca777

Abandoning VW Again...Software needs fundamental changes!

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So, after working with Landmark on several real-world projects for approx 5-6 months and becoming relatively proficient I can confidently assert that the software is woefully unsuitable for a modern landscape architecture workflow!

 

I would strongly suggest, if any admins, managers, or developers are reading this that you seek out Licensed Landscape Architects and have them test the software.  I run a technologically-savvy, progressive design studio  with projects ranging from small, private gardens with highly complex and constrained sites to urban master plans encompassing several dozen city blocks. We follow a professional-standard workflow and best practices. We expect the software (whichever software) to accommodate this workflow, not the other way around. Professionals should not have to adapt their process to software!

 

Here is an abbreviated list of my gripes:

 

2D drafting:
-Innaccurate, clunky, snaps and quick keys are not intuitive!

-Drafting tools do not easily accommodate standard drafting practices, ie tangent radii, offsets from center line, etc.

-Drafting in sketchup is easier, more intuitive and more reliable

-need real-world, intuitive quick keys that make ergonomic sense for fast drafting.

-consider adding scale reference, rotate reference commands. The move tool is clunky and undependable!

-consider adding command line with prompts!

-drafting or modeling roas is virtually impossible with any degree of accuracy

-parking tools are a joke, the way the tool works, like the road tool is at odds with how a road or parking lot are actually laid out.

-Grading should just simply include vertices for user to mannually manipulate proposed contours--professionals dont need automated tools to grade a site! The site modifiers are just a HUGE HUGE Time Suck!

 

I could go on...

 

In general, I want the community here and public to know as well as the managers that VW has cost us an immense amount of unnecessary time and expense over the last few months. Virtually everything we've created in VW has needed to be exported to DWG or some other file format and often redrafted or remodeled completely in order to share with consultants and make accurate documentation!

 

The software development is clearly way, way out of touch with professional needs and needs to go back to the fundamentals or continue to lose market share.

 

The Silver lining--

 

Pretty much the only thing I see VW has going is the fact that it is the only software that actually recognizes the demand for a BIM solution in landscape Architecture. The site modeling tools and general concepts are headed in the right direction. 

 

Other than that--Landmark will be basically taking up space on our hard drives for the time being.

 

Nick

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31 minutes ago, JimW said:

@nca777I went ahead and pulled up your records from the support team, it looks like the bulk of your questions were training related but in the notes you seemed to keep insisting there was an issue with the tools and commands where really the problem was knowing how to use them and what they could do. I can understand your desire for comprehensive and completely free of charge training, but the fact of the matter is that even if I started to fulfil your request from February when you joined the forum, there's no way the project would even be complete by the release of 2018, and thats if I worked on absolutely nothing else.

I completely agree that comprehensive training should be made available, not only on how the tools work but how one can use them in conjunction with each other, but these are already in development. I can understand your frustration with the speed at which new items are released, but for the time being we release on a yearly cycle, so any of the feedback added to the wish list wouldn't even have a chance of appearing until the release of the next full version. You say we seem uninterested and that the forum is dead, but these seem to just be stemming from your frustration at the speed of development or the lack of training materials to make you feel confident enough in your work.

Your concerns are heard. Just because we don't release a requested feature less than a year from the date of the wishlist post doesn't mean it will never exist, development takes time. The root cause of your frustrations seem to be related to using the software though, I highly recommend you get in direct contact with the Training department rather than Tech Support and schedule some one on one customized training. The trainers will often ask for copies of your current files and synopsis of what you're currently trying to do. Referencing this thread or other posts you've made in the past would work perfectly fine as well, so they can get a clearer picture of what you need before the session even starts. Regardless of the fact that your industry isn't specifically one of the primary industries we cater to, we can get someone to help you out. 

 

First of all, thats completely unprofessional to 'pull up my records' and post about them here.

 

Secondly, That is absolutly untrue that the bulk of my questions were 'training related' ??

 

ive had numerous at-length conversations with various vectorworks people over the last two or three years. I highly doubt all of those communications were somehow 'noted' and noted accurately.

 

jim, you stated yourself you were 'not very familiar with the site modelling tools' in another post so how could you even  make that assessment?

 

maybe your last statement is telling enough--'regardless of the fact that your industry isnt one we primarily cater to...'   Huh?!?

 

you have a platform called 'landmark' do you not?

 

your entire team seems to be tone deaf. If i had any plans of coming back to landmark, im certainly reconsidering now

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when i left auto cad and got minicad 6...it took me a while to learn it & for a very long long time i thought it was terrible.

 

yet now in 2017 I'm turning out highly detailed models that no one could match on the last project...

 

and today all the auto cad people are still stuck with a 30year old paradigm. 

 

while i am shaping contours in the DTM & working in 3d...perspective no less...

 

do i complain about VW not working right? yep sure do..

 

i try to provide samples of what i wish for...

 

granted this takes time...but i hope someone at VW gets it

 

 

 

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@nca777Pulling call transcripts to see what specific issues you had so that I can better attempt to resolve them is literally in my job description. It seems that your frustration has gotten to the point where you are lashing out in every direction. I do genuinely understand that kind of anger, it can be hard to be in the position that you're in at the moment but please contact training directly and see what can be done to get you going. Venting every once in awhile is fine and perfectly understandable, but on it's own is not constructive.

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19 minutes ago, JimW said:

@nca777Pulling call transcripts to see what specific issues you had so that I can better attempt to resolve them is literally in my job description. It seems that your frustration has gotten to the point where you are lashing out in every direction. I do genuinely understand that kind of anger, it can be hard to be in the position that you're in at the moment but please contact training directly and see what can be done to get you going. Venting every once in awhile is fine and perfectly understandable, but on it's own is not constructive.

 

I am not going to pay for training, on top of third party training and resources we already pay for, as well as a license and vss subscription just to find out what I already know--the tools I am referencing above do not do what we need them to, namely the grading tools, roads, parking, but also some drafting and editing commands. Unless you actually use the software as a professional it is hard to explain on a message board.

 

Quote

The trainers will often ask for copies of your current files and synopsis of what you're currently trying to do. 

 

I don't know how much more clear I can be--the tools do not do what we need them to do. It's not a training issue. Its a development issue. Your response is typical and why, at this point, I'd probably rather walk away from the software altogether than continue trying to communicate with anyone there.

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currently I'm using VW in a way that no one is currently doing (ask Luis he said so) 

 

that means that NONE of the tools work the way i want them to work.

 

yet the work i do is in high demand and I'm very busy...& I'm getting it done

 

do i dream about showing up at the VW offices and declaring myself the supreme commander and having everyone make VW work the way i want it?  yep! about once a week...

 

however, i get the feeling that everyone else would be very unhappy with me if i did this...so i just dream...& go skating...

 

 

 

 

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the above dream sounds like I'm being funny but... a few weeks ago i asked Luis to put me in direct contact with the CTO (Biplap?) because i needed to get this VW browser thing going.

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SIDEBAR: Some years ago I attended an expensive 3 day training course (at that time only third party providers were doing that). I went in thinking I knew a lot about the software and how to use it. Boy was I surprised. Best money I've ever spent! [Thank you Janis K ;-)]. Just saying... 

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13 hours ago, nca777 said:

Why are the biggest la firms in the us avoiding vw? 

 

I think that VW is in a very competitive market for LA services. Unfortunately my take on the LA industry is that it was brainwashed/forced ages ago into using AutoCAD. No viable alternative existed for a very long time. It was made worse by the lack of landscape architecture specific tools developed during those times, mainly because of the relatively small market our profession employs when compared to the powerful engineering and architecture practice. Any small beneficial add-on, plug-in, or new software that promised to make the frustrations of AutoCAD go away were instantly tested, and some almost as quickly disregarded as too cumbersome or not intuitive enough. I firmly believe that this is why SketchUp has endured...it was a practical solution to the difficult modeling processes of AutoCAD, and it has stayed there ever since.

 

Today, we are in the hang-over of that circumstance where LAs still use AutoCAD because 1) it is what they know, 2) they have invested countless hours and resources into developing and streamlining very specific libraries and workflows, and 3) no GREAT/PERFECT alternative exists.
 

It is #3 that I do see VW trying to chip away at. I say "trying" because I agree, the current suite of Landmark tools are somewhat primitive. They may work fine for smaller-scale, landscape design/build, single-lot residential or commercial work, but they struggle on large applications. HOWEVER, I am hopeful that recent VW internal dialogues seem to be catching on and they have made some moves that will hopefully pan out for the better for large scale LA practice. Behind the scenes, they are seeking more input from practicing LAs to better develop the tools and my hope is that this will evolve into a much more competitive suite for our practice...ideally, enough to make the large firms take a closer look at reasons 1 and 2. When will we see this...to me, that is the biggest question. I doubt its 2018, but hopefully soon because the market isn't waiting.

 

We are a LA firm that uses VW successfully for larger projects, but we have had to circumnavigate and create workarounds to achieve many of the key functionalities we currently use. It is possible, it just took years to get to where we are at. We invested long-term and so far it has paid off.

 

If you ever have a specific workflow you are curious about how to solve, I'd be happy to weigh in...otherwise, this discussion may be spinning its wheels in a theoretical argument that has no perfect answer.

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1 hour ago, ericjhberg said:

 

I think that VW is in a very competitive market for LA services. Unfortunately my take on the LA industry is that it was brainwashed/forced ages ago into using AutoCAD. No viable alternative existed for a very long time. It was made worse by the lack of landscape architecture specific tools developed during those times, mainly because of the relatively small market our profession employs when compared to the powerful engineering and architecture practice. Any small beneficial add-on, plug-in, or new software that promised to make the frustrations of AutoCAD go away were instantly tested, and some almost as quickly disregarded as too cumbersome or not intuitive enough. I firmly believe that this is why SketchUp has endured...it was a practical solution to the difficult modeling processes of AutoCAD, and it has stayed there ever since.

 

Today, we are in the hang-over of that circumstance where LAs still use AutoCAD because 1) it is what they know, 2) they have invested countless hours and resources into developing and streamlining very specific libraries and workflows, and 3) no GREAT/PERFECT alternative exists.
 

It is #3 that I do see VW trying to chip away at. I say "trying" because I agree, the current suite of Landmark tools are somewhat primitive. They may work fine for smaller-scale, landscape design/build, single-lot residential or commercial work, but they struggle on large applications. HOWEVER, I am hopeful that recent VW internal dialogues seem to be catching on and they have made some moves that will hopefully pan out for the better for large scale LA practice. Behind the scenes, they are seeking more input from practicing LAs to better develop the tools and my hope is that this will evolve into a much more competitive suite for our practice...ideally, enough to make the large firms take a closer look at reasons 1 and 2. When will we see this...to me, that is the biggest question. I doubt its 2018, but hopefully soon because the market isn't waiting.

 

We are a LA firm that uses VW successfully for larger projects, but we have had to circumnavigate and create workarounds to achieve many of the key functionalities we currently use. It is possible, it just took years to get to where we are at. We invested long-term and so far it has paid off.

 

If you ever have a specific workflow you are curious about how to solve, I'd be happy to weigh in...otherwise, this discussion may be spinning its wheels in a theoretical argument that has no perfect answer.

 

Eric--

 

All in all, I guess I'm trying to have a candid conversation about the realities of the tools at hand and my honest experience as a relatively new user, but long time CAD user, and licensed practitioner. I'm absolutely certain you understand where I'm coming from and I appreciate that.  I agree with your analysis and agree that VWL is generally headed in the right direction--certainly your firms work is testament to the fact that the software offers workable solutions to a fairly broad base of project types and scales. If you want to see some of our work at (www) acetola (dot) com. 

 

I'm just getting tired of long time users telling us we need more training. While that is likely true, I also feel I understand the specific tools well enough to see their shortcomings. I think this discussion is probably spinning its wheels at this point..

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Jim W,

 

Certainly NCA does make some good LA related software points. I do know a firm that uses VW, but also transfers to other programs for cut and fill calcs, etc.) Despite a few quirks and work arounds, I feel it is simpler to stay in VW for all work.  It could stand improvement, and while I find it good for my needs, was also a bit taken aback to read your words that "'regardless of the fact that your industry isn't one we primarily cater to..." 

 

I did not know that!  I know Theatre and Architecture have many more users (on the NYC subway last year, and a group in the next seat was talking up VW the whole ride!) but I have been waiting for some features, too (listed above, no need to repeat).

 

May I suggest one of the sessions at the Summit be bringing together all LA users to sit around one table, perhaps with files in hand, to talk to developers about improvements we need to see?  I know you have wish lists and what not, but it might be fun to see how others use it in an informal round table and exchange ideas.  

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6 minutes ago, Rossford said:

"'regardless of the fact that your industry isn't one we primarily cater to..." 


This was meant BECAUSE of issues with things like Site Models, Roadways, Parking Lots etc, not the INTENT of the company to supply the tools. Not-catering-to in the sense of exactly this discussion pointing out areas of weakness.

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Jim,

Not exactly sure what your response means, but no biggie.

 

Just out of curiosity, since NCA says he won't pay for training, what is typical of other software?  Seems to me like there is ample opportunity to train and the VW community seems pretty tightly knit and energized.

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My original statement was incredibly poorly worded, would delete it if I wasn't against being revisionist about things like this and it hadn't already been seen heavily.  I meant specifically: Since he feels that the tools we are supplying aren't what he needs, that we aren't catering to his industry specifically. NOT that "well we don't sell anything related landscaping or planting plans or terrain." as it totally appears to anyone reading that I meant... and I am already chewing on my own shoes. Ah well.

Autodesk products in general do have a sort of community advantage on youtube that products like Photoshop have because they are so prevalent, where there are videos on how to do nearly every conceivable thing in those applications available for free. But professional training for AutoCAD for instance is well and truly beyond anything we charge. I think the training department told me that you'd have to buy Designer plus weeks of training to reach the cost of a few days of autodesk training, but that is not something I know from experience, just hearsay. Also, a LOT of training for Autodesk products is third party, with entire industries based on that sales model alone.

But at the end of the day, I don't want anyone using our software if it doesn't do what you need it to. If a competitor's product handles your needs better; they deserve your money, time and mental investment instead of us. 

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I think the 'regardless' comment should be deleted or at minimum struck-through with an explanation.

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20 minutes ago, bcd said:

I think the 'regardless' comment should be deleted or at minimum struck-through with an explanation.


Agreed, done.

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40 minutes ago, JimW said:

My original statement was incredibly poorly worded, would delete it if I wasn't against being revisionist about things like this and it hadn't already been seen heavily.  I meant specifically: Since he feels that the tools we are supplying aren't what he needs, that we aren't catering to his industry specifically. NOT that "well we don't sell anything related landscaping or planting plans or terrain." as it totally appears to anyone reading that I meant... and I am already chewing on my own shoes. Ah well.

Autodesk products in general do have a sort of community advantage on youtube that products like Photoshop have because they are so prevalent, where there are videos on how to do nearly every conceivable thing in those applications available for free. But professional training for AutoCAD for instance is well and truly beyond anything we charge. I think the training department told me that you'd have to buy Designer plus weeks of training to reach the cost of a few days of autodesk training, but that is not something I know from experience, just hearsay. Also, a LOT of training for Autodesk products is third party, with entire industries based on that sales model alone.

But at the end of the day, I don't want anyone using our software if it doesn't do what you need it to. If a competitor's product handles your needs better; they deserve your money, time and mental investment instead of us. 

 

BUT...no one really pays for autocad training, for the most part because:

 

A) as you mentioned, free user tutorials are so prevalent, and 

 

B) peer-to-peer or on the job training is so common...

 

I paid for autocad training ($$$) in 2001/2002 when I first started learning as part of a community college drafting program that also included hand drafting, etc. Later, in my 5-year BSLA program, I helped a lot of my studio mates learn autocad, whom in turn helped others. This is common in university design studios. For the record, vectorworks wasn't even discussed back in 2005-2009. We dabbled in microstation and revit in addition to autocad, but ac was certainly considered the industry standard. Looking back, I would have never taken the drafting/autocad course and simply learned the program from my peers in studio as most do.

 

Archicad actually lets users (or did at one point) evaluate a browser-based version of their latest software with no trial period. They also offer gazillions of free online videos on just about everything you can imagine. Being able to use the software, even with limited functionality is HUGE for a studio/cad manager evaluating new software. We actually have two seats of Revit LT in our studio as autodesk offers it along with their autocad subscription which is a VERY reasonable monthly rate.  It is tempting to use our current revit lt seats and follow the lardarchbim.com tutorials, also very reasonably priced online..

 

I assure you I am not simply being fickle. I have and have had for some time, a number of reservations about the site modeling tools, but could never find time to learn the software well enough with just a 30 day trial, so we bought a license, vss, and committed to using the software on three or four real projects. As I stated, my experience only confirmed my suspicions. I'd probably be less frustrated if we were paying a subscription and there were ample free learning resources...I have no problem paying for training if I know what I am getting into...VW is still a bit of an unknown in my book..(and likely many, many others...)

 

I'm still having trouble deciphering your original 'regardless' comment, but water under the bridge to me anyway.. If a company still sees LA as an insignificant market, their loss I guess..

Edited by nca777
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deleted

Edited by nca777
not necessary

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Quote

 

when i left auto cad and got minicad 6...it took me a while to learn it & for a very long long time i thought it was terrible.

 

yet now in 2017 I'm turning out highly detailed models that no one could match on the last project...

 

and today all the auto cad people are still stuck with a 30year old paradigm. 

 

while i am shaping contours in the DTM & working in 3d...perspective no less...

 

do i complain about VW not working right? yep sure do..

 

i try to provide samples of what i wish for...

 

granted this takes time...but i hope someone at VW gets it

 

 

Just watched the video above...wow, that is so true. This goes for site modeling too imo--I would personally rather 'direct model' than get stuck in the dialog windows playing with settings...good points.

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Jim,

 

Accept the fact that your post was poorly written....I think it was Abe Lincoln who told us to save possible internet posts instead of sending them right away, and then in most cases, delete it the next day (or some 1860's equivalent, thereof....)

 

That said, we wouldn't mind if you used your mistake to go to superiors and tell them you owe to LA types to push all their neat, cool, new tools to the front of the line......

 

We can dream, no?:D

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@nca777

Nick you are wasting your time, here are my tips for any software evaluations 

1.Find  power users, at the top of the DATA Presentation food chain, that work on real projects

2.Try to Join a competent team

3.All experts promote themselves first..software are just tools

4.You can get evaluation software extensions..ha,ha,ha even for software worth $100K (20 x VWs)

But I've always updated VWD..even if I don't use it that year

I am fortunate enough to control the entire project along the supply chain

Goodluck

 

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21 minutes ago, BCE said:

@nca777

Nick you are wasting your time, here are my tips for any software evaluations 

1.Find  power users, at the top of the DATA Presentation food chain, that work on real projects

2.Try to Join a competent team

3.All experts promote themselves first..software are just tools

4.You can get evaluation software extensions..ha,ha,ha even for software worth $100K (20 x VWs)

But I've always updated VWD..even if I don't use it that year

I am fortunate enough to control the entire project along the supply chain

Goodluck

 

 

any chance you could send me a link to some of your project work, samples? Just curious what industry youre working in. LA's are not always low on the project development 'supply chain' if thats what you are insinuating ? Certainly as far as cad product development as evidenced here...

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As mentioned in another post earlier today - I paid £300 for a day of intensive VW training.  Best thing I ever did.  Still learning today mind.

 

Who said these forums are dead?  I have had two or three questions answered / tips learned just this week.  @JimWdoes an amazing job here

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@nca777

I am a Contractor & Civil Engineer, You need to look elsewhere for answers, try, AEC forums & communities,  network there.

I don't personally have much to do with LAs, but from the  client's perspective I am Informed LA generally gets cut due to no fault of their own.

I would imagine that would be frustrating for them.

OT, ,the impression I get here is  it's always the users fault, get more training, upgrade your software, you are not helping enough with your wishes?

And I forgot to mention, Look at the fabulous student presentations...?

Yeah right! , they use free software, don't deal with real clients and don't have a job. They seem to be marketing  the software development direction?

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Is there any experienced user out there who would say the Landscape tools work as expected out of the box? 

Is there any experienced user who would say that you can use the Landscape tools to go from concept to construction docs without complex work arounds? 

 

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46 minutes ago, Dillon said:

Is there any experienced user who would say that you can use the Landscape tools to go from concept to construction docs without complex work arounds? 

 

Complex is a matter of opinion. I don't think VW is currently built to go straight through without some work arounds; however, I doubt that any work arounds have to be any more complex that any AutoCAD workflow...just different.

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