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Sketch Mode exclusion in 11.5 ???

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Please pardon me for pointing out the obvious. NNA has not left you out in the cold. Loyal users are free to buy as many of the Industry add-ons as they feel they need. Remember, NNA is a professional software business, not a moonlighting freeware vendor. If you can't justify the cost of a pro package, you find something cheaper, or do without.

For me, the cost of doing business keeps going up, so it's up to me to find ways to keep up; including raising my fees. The cycle never ends . . . So VW is part of my strategy for saving time and money--in the long run.

Cheer up; capitalism can be harsh for us bottom-feeders, but there are a few good-guy capitalists like NNA, who give us a break now and then.


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I think your perspective is making you miss the point here a bit JHE.

You are (I think I recall correctly) an Architect.

Architecture is well serviced by NNA (better than anything else)both in the base package and in the specialist add-on. If you buy Architect for 50% more than the base cost, you get a lot of industry specific productivity for your money.

Likewise the other industry packages offer specific advantages for their industries.

On the other hand, the base VW gives everyone the advanced 3D modeling package which is effectively worthless for 95% of all Architecture.

NNA has identified Product Visualisation as an appropriate growth opportunity. However; none of the Industy packages offer ANY real advantage for people like us doing Product Design. Mechanical would be the closest, but barely. In fact, (while we're at it) why would someone who is doing mechanical engineering want a design presentation tool anyway?

So, what you're really advocating is that designers should increase their software costs by about 40-50% in order to get ONE capability which is ideal for their needs, in amongst a bunch of things which are 90% useless. And, at the same time you benifit from every addition in the base VW(regardless of it's use for architecture) as well as the additions to your own niche speciality.

It's not a question so much of "Loyal users {being} free to buy as many of the Industry add-ons as they feel they need."

as whether Loyal Users are getting value-for-money, and suitability for purpose from what they're buying.

Architects are well served by NNA, in comparison; Designers are not. (yet)



[ 03-06-2005, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: propstuff ]

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As a user since MiniCad 4, I am extremely dis-appointed that NNA chose to exclude all of its non- industry users when it came to passing out the highly touted SKETCH mode in 11.5. Every bit of literature I read says that is the single most popular item talked about and then you read the fine print that says industry specific users only. FOUL!!

There was a time when all these items were bundled into a single software package and then someone decided....'here's a way we can make more money...', and the industry specific packages were broken out as seperate items.

It would be interseting to find out the numbers of VW and industry specific VW users.

Why would NNA leave a group of its loyal users out in cold like this?? Who said that the normal VW user does not need this tool??

Another frustrating day........

Thoroughly disgusted......

Tom in PA

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I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in Nicholas's and other emails.

Whilst we cannot force NNA to include what we think should be in the base program, far from wanting us to spend much more to get one or two features by buying the Industry standard it will have more the effect that the standard users will feel they may need to look elsewhere to get the type of program thats suits them and abandon VW.

There is simply not enough for "my industry" in any of the industry packages to justify paying the extra for the one or two items which are of use.

Perhaps a difficult task for somebody who is in an Industry exactly tailored for in the Industry version to grasp.

The standard version does it very well, but items such as batch printing and the new sketch feature is something that would be used by all market sectors using a CAD program in their workflow.

I see nothing else of use to me in the other versions to make me more productive.

I hope they reconsider for future releases or I have a feeling many a standard user will decide not to even upgrade their standard version unless forced to by something like OS or hardware requirements.

[ 03-07-2005, 04:25 AM: Message edited by: alanmac ]

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The new 'sketch' capability is such a nice feature that it is likely to attract users to VW.

I think it would have been better if it was included in the base version, but NNA chose not to.

Perhaps there is an opportunity to have it available as an add on module for those users who do not have any need for one of the industry series modules.

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I don't agree with the viewpoint of tgm. I do understand the frustration, but have the feeling that some points are not taken into account.

(a) 11.5 is a free upgrade for everyone. However, the industry collection users paid more for their version than basic users. Therefore it doesn't seem strange that, when the freebies are being handed out, industry users get more than basic users.

(b) I doubt that the same emotions would surface if Sketch would have been included in the version 12 industry collection. It would then have been perceived as a typical item of the industry collection for which people have to pay.

© If you take a look at what Sketch does, then it would make sense to include it in RenderWorks. Which would mean that everyone who wanted it would have to buy RenderWorks. But NNA didn't do that. They gave Sketch away in the Industry collection, although they would have made much more money by including it in RenderWorks.

(d) In recent years the .5 upgrades have always been free upgrades - not just bug fixes, but also improved functionality. You bought version 11. If you take a look at Sketch, then I'm actually surprised to see NNA give it away for free to industry collection users. The same holds true for the changes in the basic collection: there are a couple of improvements for which you would have to pay if you were using other software solutions. But instead of appreciating the stuff that is given away for free in 11.5, some people have only one message: "you didn't give us enough for free". Perhaps I'm looking at it in the wrong way, but isn't that a tad ungrateful? After all, you bought version 11, not version 11.5, did you?



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Yes it is free and it's not ingratitude. Many may see what it represents is a snub to people who brought Vectorworks but only the standard version.

Probably aware, as I am, of the industry collection but also upon taking a look at these see no reason to buy something which has no advantages to their use.

I don't think any standard user would argue the case that "Industry" users should get more because they paid more for industry specific features, but if something is seen as a functionality that goes into all areas of CAD then its logical to assume it would go into the standard version, to say increase the arguement for choosing Vectorworks over another program.

I don't think if it had gone into V12 of the industry collections the standard users would have just accepted it. Take for example batch printing, which has seen several standard users questioning why this is only in the industry collections.

I for one, have no arguement with the use of variations of a program to target specific market areas, makes good sense. Paying for functionality and enhancements targeted at your industry.

Just I disagree with what NNA regard on a couple of features which they market as Industry specific enhancements. Ho hum.

Probably be included in the standard version in the future one day when they feel the competition getting to close.

Till then I'll make do with my other Sketch program - the leads broken again !!

All the best


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In my view one of the reasons VW has such a loyal user base is that they don't 'screw' their users at every possible opportunity.

Compare this to the big 2:


Has its 'expiring license policy' (aka monetizing (sic) its user base) - see the following quote from WorldCAD access http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/

'In Jan 2006, Autodesk will retire AutoCAD 2002-based products: "The retirement represents a strong opportunity for us to convert a large base of customers to subscription and to crossgrade them to higher vertical products, leading to robust growth in future subscription and upgrade revenue." There are no plans to increase prices; instead, the plan is to get more money out of each customer. "We can monitize the customer in a very interesting way," said Ms Bartz."'


Has its 'pay for it even if you don't take it' policy.

You cannot skip upgrades with ArchiCAD. When you do decide to upgrade you will be required to pay the full price for the upgrades you have missed, notwithstanding that you have received nothing from them and will get nothing of these missed upgrades.

Both policies are self serving and arrogant, and to me seem to be aimed at leveraging as much money out of the user base as possible. Give me NNA anyday with their open 'partnering' relationship with their user base.

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Whoa guys.......!

I only expessed my opinion about the exclusion of SKETCH in the std. version. No one is crying because we didn't get it for free with 11.5, we just don't have the option unless we upgrade to an industry package. I got from MiniCAD to VW 11 by buying all the products available along the way. Far from wanting everything for nothing 11.5 should be free as it fixes a lot of items from the original 11.0 release that I just bought less than a year ago. Look at the fiasco when 10.0 was released. Did you really expect users to pay for the '.' releases on that version??

I am using VW because I love the program and have used it from the first MiniCAD / Mac days to my present VW 11.5 / WinXP scenario. It's still the best value out there in my opinion fro the speed and ease of producing drawing, which is what we all bought the program for.

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So far it would seem that most are in agreement that they would be willing to pay for Sketch alone, but are not happy with the idea of having to buy more than they need in an industry package in order to get Sketch.

Well there is a solution, that is, and has been available for years. PanzerCad has Doodle for VW11. It is priced at $129 for a new license.

Now everyone can be happy, right?

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The issue here is not that NNA released Sketch at a X.5 release "for free". They have been adding features at .5 releases as long as I've been using VW.

The point is that a group of proffessional users, for whom the feature is ideally suited will not get it -at upgrade time or otherwise- unless they buy a whole lot of stuff that's useless to them.

At the same time NNA offer OTHER advanced features (like the 3D powerpack)to everyone regardless of the likelyhood of use. The probability of a Landscape Architect using advanced 3D modeling is close to zero yet they, and everyone else, get it as part of the "base set". There is a glaring inconsistency here.

It's a Design Presentation tool:at the very least it should be available with RW.

Kevin wrote:


Well there is a solution, that is, and has been available for years. PanzerCad has Doodle for VW11. It is priced at $129 for a new license.

The problem with that, Kevin is that Doodle while offering more control over the results, is not in any way comparable to the interactivity of Sketch. I love Doodle, but it's not an easy thing to use, and it's not dynamic.

So. Sketch is a significant NEW capability for design presentation that is "not available" to Designers who don't fit into the 4 categories of what NNA identify as "proffessional" users.

That's the issue.


[ 03-07-2005, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: propstuff ]

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Nicholas, I agree, the implementation of Sketch in VW is better than that of Doodle.

It is a tough situation when a major software company like NNA creates a base feature that supplants the software of another smaller developer like PanzerCad.

If Sketch is implemented in the base VW program, then the reason for Doodle disappears.

I am very happy with Sketch. It is what Doodle should have been. I expect that PanzerCad is not so happy. My copy of Doodle can now go into the trash.

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Aptly put Nicholas....

"So. Sketch is a significant NEW capability for design presentation that is "not available" to Designers who don't fit into the 4 categories of what NNA identify as "proffessional" users.

That's the issue."

The point I was trying to get across when I started this topic.


Tom in PA

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I am a bit confused. I had thought 11.5 included Sketch but obviously not. I am disappointed that I have had VW11 for less than 6 months and we are already on the fifth upgrade. It is about time NNA got it right the first time round. The sketch facility has been around for a while and should have been included in 11 if they wanted to be at the forefront and offer value for money - but obviously they do not and I am afraid Sketch Up has beaten them to it for my custom. I might be sending 11 back as it does not do what is claimed and it is already out of date.

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VW 11.5 is the SECOND update, not the fifth. It's standard with all software to offer updates every couple months. We choose to add new features in .5 releases to boost.

Sketch is in 11.5 - if you don't see it, you may be using a custom workspace in which you will have to add to it, or you only have VectorWorks Foundation.

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Sketch is not in the standard version, you do have to buy Architect or one of the other Industry versions to get it, that's what this whole thread has been about.

We are not treated as second rate, nobody has upgrade discs, its a download from the main NNA web site and will obviously be the US version.

To get local country specific upgrades you'll have to wait for discs to be produced and then request one from your dealer, or Computers Unlimited the UK distributor.

[ 03-08-2005, 04:15 AM: Message edited by: alanmac ]

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Well it was Katie of NNA that said it was in the standard 11.5:

'Sketch is in 11.5 - if you don't see it, you may be using a custom workspace in which you will have to add to it, or you only have VectorWorks Foundation.'

So if it is not then my original comments are still valid:

'The sketch facility has been around for a while and should have been included in 11 if they wanted to be at the forefront and offer value for money - but obviously they do not and I am afraid Sketch Up has beaten them to it for my custom. I might be sending 11 back as it does not do what is claimed and it is already out of date.'

Why spend ?100s for Architect when Sketch Up is a better and cheaper package?

Ofcourse I have requested a disc from CU but I did not realise it took so long to produce disc copies for the UK when the US version is already available - so we are treated second rate!

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No she didn't, if you don't see it "you only have Vectorworks Foundation" You've repeated that yourself in the quote.

Quote "Why spend ?100s for Architect when Sketch Up is a better and cheaper package?"

You can't compare Sketch Up (an excellent product) with Vectorworks Architect. Show me how you can create construction drawings in Sketch Up? How you can produce worksheets. This is not a dig at Sketch Up but they are different in their approach and place in your workflow.

I only have the Foundation version of VW but from what I've seen and read the Architect version is the most focused and best value in its content, features and additions of all the Industry releases. As you are an Architect I'd have thought this was the version you would have purchased for maximum productivity.

I've also got the press release from CU in my email this morning which does indeed mention the sketch feature as being part of VW11.5 release, but further down in the same paragraph it states its only available for the "industry" releases.Its quite clear about that.

I don't agee with NNA on this score and think the basic version should have it, which is what this topic is about.

Quote "'The sketch facility has been around for a while" It only came out with this upgrade.

The free upgrade to 11.5 only became available last week for goodness sake and nobody has discs, as I said before its a download from the main website, which anybody can access.

You seem to indicate in many of your posts how agitated you are with Vectorworks which is a shame because I believe, like many others, its a excellent product. Not perfect but what is, compared to what other CAD program you have used or experienced?

From personal experience it was hard work at first going from drawing board to computer but Vectorworks offered the best route for me in every aspect, ease of use, capabilities, and price.

What exactly does the program claim to do that it does not as you put it "I might be sending 11 back as it does not do what is claimed"



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To clarify a few points:

1.The Vector Works version 11 for windows I purchased is not called Vector Works Foundation, just Vector Works 11.

2.The CU reference was to the PDF document which describes all the new items in Vector Works 11 not Architect, or Landscape, etc. It states: 'Vector Works 11.5 brings you the latest enhancements and inovations...technical support free and upgrades are painless' and includes 'new 2D / 3D sketch mode', etc. No where in the What's New document does it say that certain new extras are only available in Architect.

3. The sketch facility in all CAD programmes has been around for a while, not in VW which is catching up.

4. Sketching is a basic activity undertaken across the whole industry and as such should be included in VW Standard.

5. AutoCAD Light is better for 2D construction work and Sketch Up for 3 D presentation work and are cheaper than VW Architect and Render Works.

6.Also VW Architect is too American with its symbols, especially the windows.

7. Well it is not the true 3D package it claims to be, like say microstation - I am still trying to get the 3D elevations look presentable.

8. Ofcourse I am going to voice my concerns rather than pleasure at using VW, otherwise what is the point of this site except to compliment NNA on a great product!

9. Perhaps they will listern if they want to become the industry standard CAD software.

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To clarify and answer a few points

1.The term foundation, vanilla, standard etc.is a general description of Vectorworks. The marketing of the product clearly states the different versions available. Are you saying you were unaware of the differences when you researched and made your purchase?

2. If you look at the pdf you speak of above each feature there is a bold letter code which shows which version it can be found in A L M S.

3. Your knowledge of other programs may be greater than mine but I was unaware of a "sketch" like facility such as Vectorworks has in other standard CAD software, excluding Sketch Up which marketed as such not a CAD program in the Vectorworks, Microstation, Autocad, Archicad sense. Please tell and if so some idea of price for the program.

4. I agree 100% (at least we agree on something) ;~)

5. No experience of Autocad LT but I think others who have, disagreed in other posts. Sketch Up is a presentation tool, a good one, but may only be better in its own way, what it was designed to do. The possibilities with Vectorworks may not be the same but they are greater as a CAD program.

6. Don't use Vectorworks Architect so can't comment, but you don't have it either. As the program was written in america I guess it will have a leaning that way. Bet you hate a lot of the television these days. ;~)

7. Of course it's a true 3D package, this has been answered before in other posts. Maybe the feature set is different to others, and how much is Microstation by the way? That's not to say we don't want Vectorworks to improve and become more refined. It's perfectly possible to do what you say, but maybe not as easy.

8. Voicing your opinion, criticism and wishes for change have been something all users here have at some stage expressed in posts here. It's not a fan club. I may not agree with you but I defend your right to say it. Be nice if it wasn't a rant though.

9. Your opinion.

So longwinded as it is, you still have not told what Vectorworks sayes it can do and you have found to be untrue.



[ 03-08-2005, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: alanmac ]

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1. Ofcourse I was aware of the differences but as I said there is no mention of 'foundation', VectorkWorks is simply called Vector Works in the marketing, on the box, in the manuel, evaluation disc, etc

2. The pdf does show ALM, etc when I look at it again they appear nice and graphic with no explanation of what they stand for, very subtle get out.

3. When advised by my VW CAD suppliers they said that Architect is not worth the extra ?300 odd unless you are perhaps American and it would be best to spend the money on Sketch Up and save some money. I am sure you can check the price of programs but Vector Works is not cheap as you have to buy Architect and Render Works to start comparing it to 3D packages.

4. Glade to hear you agree, as this was the whole point of this thread, Sketch should be in VW11.5.

5. As I have said, only perhaps once you have bought Architect and Render Works. Which makes the industry standard and more accurate AutoCAD and the faster, simpler and better Sketch Up cheaper and perhaps better.

6. The point is NNA have a big European market and they seem to be pushing AllPlan rather than VW. If VW losses out then we all lose out in Europe. By the way I love 24!

7. When I have drawn elevations in 3D as quickly and they are as presentable to a client as ones drawn in 2D I will believe you and NNA. Which is the whole point really as this is what NNA claims it can do and it has not done it for me yet or VW tainers or those more experienced than me.

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You just keeping going around in circles.

Somehow want to labour the point about us using version definition i.e Standard or foundation but to what end I am unclear. Sure its just called Vectorworks on the packaging so what. Not admiting you were wrong, i.e. the Katie quote.

Make claims about other CAD programs "The sketch facility in all CAD programmes has been around for a while" but fail to name one or its price.

Fail to tell us which other CAD software you have actually used, have direct experience of and in doing so substantiate your claims that they are faster, more accurate or better for say producing 2D elevations and presentations.

You don't draw 3D elevations. You create the model which gives you 2D elevations as a consequence. Granted this does not work in the way some users have expections of, you have to do some additional work cleaning lines etc.

But I'm sure others more experienced can explain the best approach to this if you asked or even if you did a search on this site to find related posts.

It's my opinion that you are struggling to get up to speed using Vectorworks in your workflow. You seem to want to take out your frustration over this at every opportunity in this forum.

It seems to me the basis of your arguement for Vectorworks not doing what it claims is because you can't do it so therefore its not possible.

I know, as I'm sure you do really, that it is a very capable program, and in the right hands able to easily do all the things it claims it can.

I don't claim to be brilliant in using the program, I get by would be my description, but I don't blame my lack of capability or speed, in comparison to others, on Vectorworks the program.

I can remember sending the wife and kids out one Saturday for the day and sitting down to try and get my head round this Vectorworks thing. I laugh now at what I'd produced by the time they came back but like any journey I'm getting there one step at a time.

Its a "tool" I enjoy and use it every day of my working life to earn my living. I hope you will as well one day.

Hope we can help.



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Having read any number of your posts here, I've genuinely wished we could spend a day in the same room. I'll bring my computer, you bring a project.

Without knowing a thing about your VW vendor, it's hard for me to imagine you being more poorly serviced. Nearly everything you've asked about seems so very achievable, that I'm just confident enough we'd have a good time figuring things out. (Hopefully that's not merely arrogance speaking.)

This, of course, doesn't address your wish for Sketching to be included in the basic Vectorworks package. I guess I don't have an opinion?I value the additional features of Architect and Renderworks. Nor would I be able to satisfy your desire for less "Americanization" (probably my biggest blind-spot, since I very much need things to work the way they do).

Absent a near-future trip across the big puddle for either of us, I would encourage you to consider buying the Architect and possibly the RW packages and giving them a go for a couple of months. I could not disagree more with your CAD suppliers. The enhanced Wall and Roof features in Architect alone would likely pay for themselves in a few hours. (In fact, if I were NNA I'd have serious issues with those kind of comments from my representatives.) If the additional features don't add considerably, send them back for full refund (presuming your distributor honors NNA's policy).

Please understand, I come without other CAD experience (unless you might consider MacDraft, but it's pretty weak). I made the decision to go with MiniCAD just as it became Vectorworks, jumped in with both feet, and haven't looked around much since then. I'll certainly have to take an accusation of going around with blinders on, but I can tell you that I (and many others, far better than me) have found VWA to be an extremely productive environment. I have two drafters working for me, both of whom were trained on AutoCAD, that comment frequently about how much more intuitive and productive they find VWA to be.

I guess I'm just wishing there was a way to better help you build on the strengths, without ignoring the weaknesses, and feel like your productivity is more rewarding.

Good luck,

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