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FBernardo

Question: Vectorworks is more stable in Mac or PC

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I use VW at work on a Mac, and sometimes work remotely at home on my PC.  The overall experience is way better on the Mac version.  The UI feels more polished, and the program as a whole is much more stable.  This is in spite of the fact that my work computer is somewhat underpowered for VW and my home computer is significantly more powerful.  Files are totally interchangeable.  I used to work in theater as a tech director, and all my lighting designer friends run VW on PCs and hate it.

 

That said, I really dislike the Mac experience as a whole, and the hardware is overpriced and underpowered.  I actually also somewhat despise VW (though I'm not sure Revit is any better, just differently dumb).  I dream of a day when Rhino's BIM / parametric plugins are fully production ready.

 

 

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4 hours ago, FBernardo said:

 

I have uploaded the files in this post as specific for that issue... LINK (if you could have a look and any insight)

 

 

Unfortunately I don't have VW2018 yet as my local distributor is probably still working on generating the serial numbers etc. for the US version during the next two weeks. If you still have the VW2017 version available then I could take a look at that version, otherwise you will have to wait for someone else to take a look or until I get VW2018.

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17 minutes ago, Art V said:

Unfortunately I don't have VW2018 yet as my local distributor is probably still working on generating the serial numbers etc. for the US version during the next two weeks.

 

You are the second from the netherlands ... what does that distributor do ?

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11 minutes ago, zoomer said:

 

You are the second from the netherlands ... what does that distributor do ?

In the past the US (or International English version as it was called them) was somewhat localised with tools used over here, but in the past few years the US version distributed here is identical to the one released in the US. Serial numbers are a bit different though and they need to be generated, put into the administrative system, distributed and the software needs to be made available in the VSS environment. This takes about two weeks after launch in the US,  the availability is scheduled for Oct. 4 based on the e-mail I received yesterday. At least that is sort of the gist of the situation over here. The Dutch version is scheduled for release end of October.

Last year they made a small mistake so I got the US version within a few days of the US release, no such luck this year. :(

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Yes, I heard that it is not a localized version so I wondered what they do.

Ok, their licensing system still localized.

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4 hours ago, nrkuhl said:

 I dream of a day when Rhino's BIM / parametric plugins are fully production ready.

This will no doubt be controversial, but who cares:

 

I think it's easier to come up to speed with a computational design capability (as in Marionette) integrally applied to an existing BIM product rather than come up to speed with a BIM capability applied to a computational design product. (Discuss..)

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1 hour ago, zoomer said:

 

You are the second from the netherlands ... what does that distributor do ?

 

I have now uploaded the two files converted in 2017 version

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1 hour ago, Art V said:

Unfortunately I don't have VW2018 yet as my local distributor is probably still working on generating the serial numbers etc. for the US version during the next two weeks. If you still have the VW2017 version available then I could take a look at that version, otherwise you will have to wait for someone else to take a look or until I get VW2018.

 

 

I've uploaded the 2017 version of the same files!

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12 hours ago, Art V said:

I know what you mean with Mac vs PC and  AutoCAD vs VW. It is that VW cannot meet certain client requirements for specific dwg based documents (mostly text styles , fonts and a few other things) or I would completely drop AutoCAD. 

Tell me about this! The probably largest buyer of landscape consulting services  in my country (the public works department of the capital city)  has explicitly forbidden the use of VW a long time ago and later mandated (in my opinion illegally, considering the competition legislation) that all work must be carried out using Microstation. I can even imagine officials, wearing Fedoras, carrying out razzias to reveal the use of other software in violation with the contract. 

 

The VW ban appears to be have been caused by uninformed users and the silly "define origin" function (at worst invoked my the even sillier rulers), resulting in a situation where the consultant's files cannot be incorporated in the municipality-wide CAD-database as the proposed new playground is located thousands of kilometres away. 

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14 hours ago, Robert Anderson said:

This will no doubt be controversial, but who cares:

 

I think it's easier to come up to speed with a computational design capability (as in Marionette) integrally applied to an existing BIM product rather than come up to speed with a BIM capability applied to a computational design product. (Discuss..)

 

Nah, BIM is "just" linking a database to your objects.  More data heavy than graphical scripting, sure, but I'm not convinced it's particularly difficult from a programming standpoint in a program where every object already has a unique ID.

 

The issue for me is in fundamental work flows: having drafted in both VW and ACAD professionally, 3D is bolted on.  Working in 3D in a native program is a vastly better experience.  I'll gladly grant you that command line based programs like Rhino have a steeper learning curve, but in the long run you'll produce much faster as well than in something hotkey or icon based, and the ease of setting construction planes and the vast capabilities of such a resource light program are really impressive (I've run Rhino on an ARM based Windows tablet in the past, with a totally reasonable experience).

Going back to BIM and Parametric modeling though, VisualARQ (rhino's AEC parametric plugin) is already better at some things that are basic to the workflow: for instance, I can have multiple buildings with separate stories in a single file, without the level settings interfering with each other.  Magical.  It definitely isn't professional production ready, but it's good enough that I use it personally for my master's projects, while griping about the software that I'm paid to use on a daily basis. 

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On 9/22/2017 at 6:24 AM, Urbanist said:

Tell me about this! The probably largest buyer of landscape consulting services  in my country (the public works department of the capital city)  has explicitly forbidden the use of VW a long time ago and later mandated (in my opinion illegally, considering the competition legislation) that all work must be carried out using Microstation. I can even imagine officials, wearing Fedoras, carrying out razzias to reveal the use of other software in violation with the contract. 

 

The VW ban appears to be have been caused by uninformed users and the silly "define origin" function (at worst invoked my the even sillier rulers), resulting in a situation where the consultant's files cannot be incorporated in the municipality-wide CAD-database as the proposed new playground is located thousands of kilometres away. 

This is not going to be a short and simple answer, as it depends on what you want/need.
 

About a decade ago I already dropped AutoCAD for 3D modeling as the results in Vectorworks were noticeably better and also easier to achieve., I switched to Landmark because of upcoming GIS use but initially used it for a water based project in 3D.  There will always be some exchange issues with 3D objects due to conversion effects, but those apply to other CAD/GIS programs as well.  The only way to avoid that is to use the same software and version as the client.

 

When I started using GIS it quickly became clear that (at least for me) the only usable coordinate system in Vectorworks was the UTM system as there were some issues with the WKT route, and even the UTM system had some issues. All of these got worked out over the years and now they added the EPSG catalog I think Vectorworks is quite suitable for projects requiring GIS use in most cases. But I can understand why in the past the use of VW was not allowed given the GIS issues at the time. For years Microstation has been a major player in civil/gis area, it used to be dominant over here too until Autodesk came up with their Map and Civil verticals. According to a geomatics engineer Microstation is still dominant in the GIS area outside the US, within the US it is AutoCAD Map or Civil that is more popular.

Apart from the initial issues that are now all solved there have not been any major issues with getting my CAD data into GIS with the client and vice versa, apart from some exotic/rare coordinate systems that even AutoCAD Map didn't have available. So when it comes to the GIS part I see no major obstacles for the use of Vectorworks.

When it comes to compatibility with AutoCAD there are a few major issues so far that prevent me from dropping it completely:

1. Use of fonts - AutoCAD has their .shx fonts and if those are required by the client then Vectorworks is a no go. If TrueType fonts can be used then it is less of an issue, provided item 2 does not apply.

2. Use of text styles - If the client specifies specific text styles to be used, then forget Vectorworks as its text styles to not translate to AutoCAD text styles keeping the style name and vice versa, at least not up to and incl. VW2017. Even worse, text in VW can become unstyled upon overrides to a part of the text, even though it may not actually lose its style.

3. Hatches - this is an issue in case of specific hatch styles that are not available in Vectorworks so you need to have a dwg file containing those hatches and depending on conversion the scaling might not be the same. But this is a relatively minor issue in most cases.

4. Duplication of items in the exported dwg where each instance becomes its own block in the dwg file when using multiple viewports when exporting, imported images that are cropped etc. on sheets/layouts. It does require having a dwg based program (AutoCAD or others) to clean up drawings before sending them off to the client. With clean drawings it is not a major issue, but with lots of design layers, viewports etc. you may need to clean up the drawing quite a bit to keep file size down.

 

1. and 2. are the major showstoppers, 3 and 4 are things that can often be solved but when roundtripping all the time it may cause enough inconvenience that could make me decide to stick with AutoCAD for that particular project/drawing.

 

There will always some some things that don't translate well and will get "dumbed down" when exchanging files between two different cad programs. You'll just have to be aware of the potential issues and if necessary discuss with the client if these are acceptable or not.
I hope that within one or two versions most or all of the 4 issues above get solved as other software using the Teigha libraries already can for items 1-3. Item 4 is something that I think is only within Vectorworks control but not sure about that.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Art V said:

This is not going to be a short and simple answer, as it depends on what you want/need.

 

An excellent introduction to the issues at hand, thank you! 

 

I have in fact once bought a Windows (95) machine to run AutoCAD LT, for QA reasons. A typical situation was that an ACAD user sent a file that could not be openened in VW or was unusable. In almost all cases, the fIle was just as bad in AutoCAD. 

 

A few of years ago I again bought a cheap Windows laptop, this time to check our IFC files with Tekla Model Viewer, as Solibri's free IFC program that worked on the Mac caused various problems and the local undustry standard was shifting towards Tekla. 

 

I've not tried to use VW's GIS-functionality (no such projects lately), but in the 1990s when  MapInfo was still available for the Mac, I used it for certain demographic studies related to urban planning. Anyway, in my thinking GIS runs as mapping engine or alternative front end to large alphanumeric databases and I've not been able to efficiently  and usefully link FileMaker Pro data to VW via ODBC. 

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1 hour ago, Urbanist said:

I've not tried to use VW's GIS-functionality (no such projects lately), but in the 1990s when  MapInfo was still available for the Mac, I used it for certain demographic studies related to urban planning. Anyway, in my thinking GIS runs as mapping engine or alternative front end to large alphanumeric databases and I've not been able to efficiently  and usefully link FileMaker Pro data to VW via ODBC. 

A while ago I had a discussion with someone from support staff about using ODBC in combination with e.g. FileMaker or Excel and the answer was that it was not as straighforward as it is often presented, so I am not surprised you had troubles making it work.
Depending on the amount of data you could consider using the built-in spreadsheet.

Another issue regarding compatibility I forgot to mention, also related to text, is specifying the text size, there is a difference between AutoCAD and Vectorworks in how it defines text height and the resulting line spacing. The only way to get that correct is to have some text objects in a dwg file all having the various required text heights and then create text styles in VW for those text sizes based on the text objects, preferably using a truetype font. So that is another issue that should be solved imho, the ability to specify text heigh in e.g. mm. I wouldn't mind if Vectorworks would then translate it into point size for the text style, but at least it would be equivalent to the text height in AutoCAD. For those working in a multi-cad environment these are (probably) small but quite painful hurdles that should be dealt with if possible as it would improve Vectorwork's usability in a multi-cad environment.

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On 9/21/2017 at 5:21 PM, FBernardo said:

It was happening on my colleague's computer which is the same pc build as mine, (although on mine doesn't happen that often it does sometimes) one big issue we're facing is whenever he creates a viewport to use an external file to add it to the current drawing, the Roof disappears and even the VW support team doesn't know why and send it back to the main developer... 

Had an opportunity to take a look and I do get the same result in VW2017 SP4, missing roof after adding another reference viewport and then create a sheet layer viewport.

 

When copying the model (partly in this case because I forgot to turn edit across layer on) with the roof into the main drawing the issue does not appear, not even with the 2nd reference viewport being in the drawing.

When I imported the house layers into the drawing, I could select all imported objects except the roof. So there is something weird with that roof. If I have time I'll try tomorrow to put a new roof on the house and then create a new viewport to see if that makes a difference.

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17 hours ago, Art V said:


Depending on the amount of data you could consider using the built-in spreadsheet.
 

Well, in one MapInfo project even FMP of the day (ca 2000) was unable to handle the number of transaction records we received (millions), but fortunately I was able to preprocess them with FoxPro to form relevant summaries (reducing the data amount to only tens of thousands of records.) Linking data to VW objects would have been totally impossible, we had thousands of polygon representing the postal code areas that were the interest. I have the feeling that even MapInfo would have died trying to process the original data. 

Edited by Urbanist
Clarification

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On 9/27/2017 at 6:34 AM, Urbanist said:

Well, in one MapInfo project even FMP of the day (ca 2000) was unable to handle the number of transaction records we received (millions), but fortunately I was able to preprocess them with FoxPro to form relevant summaries (reducing the data amount to only tens of thousands of records.) Linking data to VW objects would have been totally impossible, we had thousands of polygon representing the postal code areas that were the interest. I have the feeling that even MapInfo would have died trying to process the original data. 

Fortunately things have improved over the years, but yes that would have been too much for FMP at the time, FoxPro could handle such amounts. It's too bad it no longer exists. These days PostGIS using PostgreSQL might have been the tool of your choice.

I think VW today would still have trouble handling such amounts of data (the original dataset) though it certainly can handle a million or two of objects in a drawing, but it surely does get really slow at times when you have to zoom in and out and move across a large(r) distance within the drawing.

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On 26/09/2017 at 11:27 PM, Art V said:

Had an opportunity to take a look and I do get the same result in VW2017 SP4, missing roof after adding another reference viewport and then create a sheet layer viewport.

 

When copying the model (partly in this case because I forgot to turn edit across layer on) with the roof into the main drawing the issue does not appear, not even with the 2nd reference viewport being in the drawing.

When I imported the house layers into the drawing, I could select all imported objects except the roof. So there is something weird with that roof. If I have time I'll try tomorrow to put a new roof on the house and then create a new viewport to see if that makes a difference.

 

 

Many thanks for the help, and apologies for this late reply, but I've been away from the office for these last two days! We have another file with similar effect, but only happens when we render the file, until then the roofs are fine!!

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