Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
PJvH

Should I buy VectorWorks?

Recommended Posts

I am evaluating VectorWorks vs. Landcadd software to purchase for landscape architectural work and also some residential architecture. I know Landcadd does not offer the architecture component, which makes VectorWorks a prime candidate. However, the VectorWorks salespeople would not provide me with users contact information so that I can get 'grass roots' level information on how well the program works from users in practice.

Would any one be willing to share thier evaluation of VectorWorks who is a user of the program?

Thank you in advance for helping a prospective buyer decide.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

You may want to post this to the Landmark section of the message board where you will get more eyes of Landmark users reading.

Share this post


Link to post

I use VectorWorks and I teach VectorWorks in New Zealand. We have a small population here, but we have a large number of users using VectorWorks for landscape and for architectural design, and we have a growing number of universities that are teaching VectorWorks because of the way that it works, the ease that it can be learnt and because of its abilities.

Share this post


Link to post

No. I don't know Landcadd, but do not buy VectorWorks if you can help it - in other words, if you're not on a Mac. Get AutoCAD LT: it costs about the same (OK, a little more), it references decently, is way more accurate and intuitive, and you won't have constant file transfer and co-ordination issues with all , or most of, your consultants who also use AutoCAD. There's a reason it's the industry standard: it is simply the best. I have tried hard to love VectorWorks, believe me - but it is simply a second-rate option with major deficiencies in some pretty key areas. Pity my office is log-time loyal to Mac, and are reluctant to make the switch to AutoCAD friendly PCs.....

Share this post


Link to post

quote:

Originally posted by jckii:

No. I don't know Landcadd, but do not buy VectorWorks if you can help it - in other words, if you're not on a Mac. Get AutoCAD LT: it costs about the same (OK, a little more), it references decently, is way more accurate and intuitive,

This is a common reaction from people who try to use VW in the same manner as AutoCAD - except that I can't remember anyone saying that AutoCAD would be more intuitive.

Having trained tens of landscape architects to use VW (many with prior AutoCAD experience and some with the choice available permanently), could not disagree more. Of my trainees, not a single one has - after the proper training and VW implementation - gone back to AutoCAD by choice. Some use AutoCAD to do specific parts of the projects, but usually bring the results to VW.

The facts are that LandCADD requires full AutoCAD and that VW is exactly as accurate.

Whether one needs Landmark is another thing; we have it, but the only feature we have ever used is the terrain modeler: our line of work is not suitable for the strictly regulated work process of Landmark (and we are not in the U.S.A.)

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you, Petri, you chose to edit out of my post the most important issue with VW, which is drawing exhange among consultants. If VW was able to come up with an export-to-DWG function that did not result in every one of my consultants (ALL of whom use AutoCAD) calling me up with problems with unusable files, what you're sayng might hold some water.

Don't give me that old line that "This is a common reaction from people who try to use VW in the same manner as AutoCAD" - I have gone by the book, and beyond, from day one with VW, and regardless of how you use it, VW is riddled with problems that I never had in AutoCAD: the snaps are lousy, dimensioning is inconsistent and inaccurate, window, door and other parametric tools are hopelessly unreliable and inflexible, not to mention tricky to manipulate, workgroup referencing is cumbersome, obtuse and slow, and the very fact that the program has a "nudge" tool is testimony to the fact that accuracy is compromised. VW is fine for graphics, and maybe for small, one-person boutique projects - for accurate drafting and extensive documentation of large projects, forget it. Add to that the fact that many intuitive, obvious drawing tools one would expect as standard in any decent CAD program are only available as "plug-ins" that one has to buy or download from somewhere else, and then install, or worse, that you have to write scripts for yourself. We are architects, not computer geeks, and the last thing I want to worry about when drawing, designing, managing a building project is how to deal with, or expand, the ridiculous limitations of my software.

Your trainees most likely use AutoCAD to do the parts of projects that VW cannot handle!

Share this post


Link to post

PJvH,

here's my 2?

Yes, VW does have deficiencies, (I've bitched about many of them here) but that doesn't mean that ACad doesn't; just a different set of deficiencies. Like the archaic 1970's command-line inputing format, the dreary outputing format that makes all Acad drgs tend to look like everyone elses ACad drgs, the outrageous price.....any how.............

Drawing exchange;

the limitations I've come across are due to ACad's comparatively limited abilities: no Classes, no Patterns, It's only recently been able to manage fills, lineweights etc. None of the other LAs, Council officers or Engineers we export to have had problems with our exports after we've flattened out the thing ACad can't do. Perhaps others do?

I understand that VW is used extensively in Europe and Japan. It doesn't seem to stop them doing large and complex projects. An Architect friend of mine manages large public housing projects in London; an office of about 30, project budgets about ?40M I recall. They use VW on PCs. There doesn't seem to be a problem.

Accuracy;

10 floating decimal points I think? That would be 1um in 10km wouldn't it?

Again, rarely any problems for me. In my private design work I regularly send things out to laser cutters and the parts I get back are accurate to the 0.1mm beam width of the Laser.

The Nudge tool? I use that for aesthetics when designing, why would you want to use it for placing things "accurately" I wonder?

Snaps and dimensioning could definitely do with some updating, but I've never found them to be "inaccurate".

DTM;

VW's DTM works OK, but is not what I would call strong.

Workgroup referencing;

We don't need it, I have no experience.

In the LA's that I'm currently doing design work for (on base VW on PC), everyone was trained on ACad: LAs, Architect, Industrial Designers. All prefer VW by a long margin; it's faster, easier, and outputs a better looking and easier to read set of sheets. None would choose to use ACad given a choice.

For 3(?) times the purchase price, The convenience of simple drg exchange is a moot point, especially when considering VW's integrated 3D functionality you get "for free".

PJvH wants to do LA work and "some" Residential Architecture, VW sounds ideal for that.

N.

Share this post


Link to post

Well from a landscape designers point of view, who uses Landmark mostly I would say this, and I say this with the rider that I am no computer geek as was mentioned above.

The importing/exporting to autocad and Archicad has been a problem and in the end it is a matter of working out what is the most successful method, in other words initially it is a headache but can be worked around.

The landmark and most importantly and the most important function of landmark the place plant tool has been.... a challenge at times and on occassion down right frustrating, it has settled down by the end of the vw10 journey but as I have not had the courage to jump into 11 yet I don't know how it is going.

So in summary I would endorse buying VW.

ps. Something I would say and in support of this statement : "We are architects, not computer geeks"

I am the first to say I am no expert in computers but I don't believe one should have to purchase a sophisticated program like this only to find out one has to become a "computer geek" to work your way through some of the inherant problems with the software.

I am a landscape designer and as such I am an expert in designing with plants, not an expert computer geek and I don't believe I should have to become such, that is the job of the software and why I purchased a program like this.

One of the best things I have found about VW is this help board, without it I would have jumped off I believe, so "thumbsup" to VW for supporting us with this board and the techs that assist.

[ 11-19-2004, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: Viper x ]

Share this post


Link to post

PJvH,

I started using AutoCad back when it first came out in the 80's and have continued to use it to present day. Architectural firms that I have worked for over the years have always relied on my years of experience to problem solve and provide fellow collegues with technical assistance as it relates to AutoCad and PCs. I first started using VW on the Mac in 92 when it was known as MiniCad. I have been operating my own design firm for the last ten years and having full control over the software/hardware purchases, choose VW on the Mac, no question. Unless you want to be spending hours of your time maintaining your systems and dealing with the all too familiar "fatal error" I would recommend going with VW.

Don

Share this post


Link to post

Jckii

I've been exporting VW files to consultants using AutoCAD since MiniCAD 4. With a bit of thinking up front it does not cause problems.

In fact most of the problems I have had have been at the recipients end with them:

- Having earlier older versions of AutoCAD than the file versions I have exported, and of course then they can't read the file.

- Actually using a program other than AutoCAD, and having problems with the conversion of the exported file into their program

- Not being able to uncompress the files I sent because their version of Zip was so old it didn't recognise the newer compressed file format.

- Having a bloody minded attitude to the use of anything but AutoCAD.

It seems to me you have several options:

- Find yourself a new job where you can use AutoCAD to your heart's content.

- Find consultants who use VectorWorks

- Develop a protocol that works when exporting drawings to AutoCAD.

With the latter you will also have to modify your methods of drawing:

- Forget about using fills and the likes which are not exportable. ie. dumb down your drawing to what AutoCAD can cope with. (fills can be simulated by closely spaced hatchs like AutoCAD does it)

- Use classes within your drawing and make sure you export by classes (absolutely a must)

You should also be mindful of the fact that most consultants only use AutoCAD for 'electronic drafting' - ie. 2D linework. Unless they actually need it don't try and export the 3D information in your drawing. Always decompose 3D objects on export. (ie. adopt the fitness for purpose or KISS principle)

In developing a protocol you should:

- Make sure you fully understand what is exportable and what is not (RTFM) and adjust your drawing habits accordingly.

- Try it out yourself by exporting the drawing and then reimporting it back into VW so you can see what actually happens (and learn from it).

- Find out beforehand what versions of what programs the consultants are using so that you can do the exports appropriately.

I also always send a PDF copy of the drawing with the DWG files so the recipient knows what my drawing looks like.

mike m oz

Share this post


Link to post

What I do think would be a benefit is that all these "best methods" of carrying out the VW fundamentals like "exporting tips to Autocad" or "changing line weights of plant tags" etc, etc things that come up regularly should be posted as they come to light and a new version of the software comes out.

This would circumvent many people having to face repeat problems all the time.

"VectorWorks 11 Important Information(Read only!!) " has no such pointers as yet at all.

Share this post


Link to post

quote:

Originally posted by jckii:

Thank you, Petri, you chose to edit out of my post the most important issue with VW, which is drawing exhange among consultants.


OK - let's go through this one by one.

quote:

If VW was able to come up with an export-to-DWG function that did not result in every one of my consultants (ALL of whom use AutoCAD) calling me up with problems with unusable files, what you're sayng might hold some water.

After exchanging data with tens - no, hundreds - of consultants, I have never been called up about unusable files. Maybe the difference is that I know what I'm doing.

quote:

Don't give me that old line that "This is a common reaction from people who try to use VW in the same manner as AutoCAD" - I have gone by the book, and beyond,

Well, something very fundamental is wrong then. Perhaps you had the wrong book?

quote:

from day one with VW, and regardless of how you use it, VW is riddled with problems that I never had in AutoCAD: the snaps are lousy,

How? I think the snaps are quite good. What exactly is it that you can't snap to?

quote:

dimensioning is inconsistent and inaccurate,

I have never noticed this - could you elaborate?

quote:

window, door and other parametric tools are hopelessly unreliable and inflexible, not to mention tricky to manipulate,

They may be inadequate, but surely better than AutoCAD's standard parametric objects for the same. Unreliable - no.

quote:

workgroup referencing is cumbersome, obtuse and slow,

But far superior to AutoCAD's XREFs. Different - yes.

quote:

and the very fact that the program has a "nudge" tool is testimony to the fact that accuracy is compromised.

Please, don't be ridiculous! For things like loose furniture, text, even plants in the architect's site plan, it just makes life easier! The accuracy is not compromised a bit: nudged objects are in precise positions.

quote:

VW is fine for graphics, and maybe for small, one-person boutique projects - for accurate drafting and extensive documentation of large projects, forget it.

Well, here is a scintilla of truth: VW is NOT a drafting program, but a design and modeling program. If one is at the drafting level in the food chain, AutoCAD may just be the ticket.

quote:

Add to that the fact that many intuitive, obvious drawing tools one would expect as standard in any decent CAD program are only available as "plug-ins" that one has to buy or download from somewhere else, and then install, or worse, that you have to write scripts for yourself.

I thought that AutoCAD add-ons were a big industry...

quote:

We are architects, not computer geeks, and the last thing I want to worry about when drawing, designing, managing a building project is how to deal with, or expand, the ridiculous limitations of my software.

Well, if this were so, why would Autodesk promote its (fairly) new aquisition Revit as the next generation tool for architects? (Not to mention the fact that we are NOT discussing architectural drafting here at all.)

quote:

Your trainees most likely use AutoCAD to do the parts of projects that VW cannot handle!

True. Large terrain models (like 10 million points) cannot be created with VW. There are also some other more or less expensive 3rd party add-ons for AutoCAD that some people need for, say, subdivision planning and roadworks or GIS-functionality. But they do not have any need for plain vanlla AutoCAD, not to mention LT. One firm in question has LandCADD, but I don't think it has ever been used.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm second Petri.

For me, Project size is not problem with Vw. It depends on method of using it. Currently I'm running a $1.4b project. Never

face any problem as mention by Jckii.

currently we have over 200 staff and 80% of them using Vw and workgroup reference doing very good jobs in this case.The feature suit our need, symbols can be control by workgroup reference and many more.. something Autocad don't have.

Vw just meet our needs and we have done billions dollar projects by using it. So... project scale is not the problem.

Just keeping learning new things and improve your skills / technique.

G-Pang

Share this post


Link to post

OK. Let's get back to the track, for the benefit of PJvH.

One of the really excellent things in VW for landscape architects is scheduling of plants, garden/street furniture, surface areas and 'lenghts' (of, say, edge types or kerbs - curbs, to you Americans.) (Something that AutoCAD does not do, dear Jckii...)

I understand that Landmark comes with predefined reports that may or may not suit one's preferences; modifying them or creating custom reports is fairly straightforward.

I can't comment on the plant database, since we have not used it, but I'm sure it is better than nothing.

G-Pang refers to workgroup referencing. Well, we use that to generate three different-looking drawings from one design file: a working drawing (a rather austere line drawing), a permit drawing (fewer details, a bit more pizzazz) and a marketing drawing (no details, but fancy presentation). If budgets would allow, the fourth type would be a 3D image.

We prefer to do the design in the 'permit drawing' mode, but after contract documentation, often need to switch to work in working drawing mode - this takes roughly 5 minutes - and the permit-style is automatically generated from the working drawing. Of course the presentation drawing will also reflect the current design - if we so choose, that is.

Share this post


Link to post

The huge advantage for Vw is it can produce presentations, Authority Submission, working drawin, etc just in one go.

In our office.. I give everybody a freedom to use any colour as they like., as long they use office's classes naming. I just wrote

few script just to convert colour to suit any specific task.

Just wonder if Layer overlay feature can added with percentage ratio as Adobe Illustrator. We will improve our presentation ....

specially on landscape drawing.

G-Pang

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

 

7150 Riverwood Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046, USA   |   Contact Us:   410-290-5114

 

© 2018 Vectorworks, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Vectorworks, Inc. is part of the Nemetschek Group.

×
×
  • Create New...