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What do you use?

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Disappointed with the wiggly line facility on VW Architect 11.5 not being available on Standard VW. A lot of my clients do not like the hardness of CAD drawings. All disciplines use it and so it should be on the Standard. There has been a big discussion on it on the Nemischek Technical Board.

The problem is that even after some training and several months practice I am not really satisfied with the 3D results of VW. My elevations drawn in 2D looked a lot better, more subtle and you could add hatches, line weights, etc. The VW 3D elevations and axos and perspectives do not have hatch, there is a horizontal line at each floor level, windows are too American, roofs are difficult , especially with dormers and rooflights - it is so time consuming.

Even my trainer and software seller say that no UK practice uses VW for 3D work and hardly any of them use Architect or Renderworks - most are now using Sketchup.

So the purpose of this message was to poll:

1. How many of us use VW for 3D elevations, axos and perspectives?

2. Or do you all draw your elvations 2D?

3. Or do you use other software for 3D work?

4. If so, which software do you use - Renderworks, Artlantis, Piranesi or Sketchup?

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Michael - your trainer/software reseller is talking through his a*** again. Are you sure the advice is unbiased.

UK examples I know of that use 3D are

- Jonathon Reeves Architecture in Bristol: Jonathon manages to produce very good 3D (I wish I could do half as well). http://www.jrarchitecture.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

- Glenn Howells Architects: Birmingham and London. Have won many awards. http://www.glennhowells.co.uk/

- Faithfull Architects in London

I am sure if you asked in VW user groups that you would find there are many other firms in the UK who use VW for 3D and do it well.

It seems to me that you are convinced SketchUP is better. If so why not just run with it.

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Well I suppose that's 3 practices out of the several hundred in the UK!

Besides JRA is more of a visualiser / trainer than an architectural practice.

No I am not sure the seller advice is unbiased but they are one of the main dealers in the UK.

As I said, I have been using VW to do 3D and I am disappointed with the results. Where do I go from here without spending loads on several rendering and 3D packages.

And the whole purpose of my question was to poll other users on what they use and find best for them.

Which you did n't really answer.

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Although not involved in Architecture I think the conversation I had this morning may be of relevance.

I was discussing with my client how far one goes with a project based on what you are expecting to gain from it. Do you model everything in fine detail for a speculative pitch ? What is the client expecting to see from your presentation in terms of visual and detail? What do you expect to achieve with your software.

I think a lot of it depends on previous experience and working practises and I think to be honest these have changed over the last few years. Certainly from how I approach a project.

To my mind no one approach is correct, no one size fits all and you tend to find people only change when something stops working for them or stops producing the results you want or need - in other words, making money.

My choice of Vectorworks was based on the idea I could model my design in 3D, use this for rendering the coloured visuals, all be it in an external program, and if the pitch became a job the working drawings would come via the 3D model without having to start from scratch.

With the high turnover of free pitching and the consequence of low percentage in success rates many companies want quick design ideas, in the shortest time and tend to worry about the detail when they win the job.

So they want the pretty picture first and worry about the detail afterwards. The idea is that the client only understands a pretty picture may be dumbing down the process or insulting your clients capabilities but in many cases I've found this not far short of the mark to be honest.

This may not appeal to your professional sensibilities but I think the marketplace has driven companies to work this way. Certainly within the industry I working in.

So to hopefully go some way to answering your question I use Vectorworks for design and modelling in 3D, Artlantis for colour rendering, and Vectorworks for working drawings. I have Cinema 4D which I hope to move over to for rendering because of its superior results.

That's as it stands today, but I also look and monitor what is happening in the software market, find Sketch Up to be getting good results from one of my clients, and will simply buy whatever is need, within reason, to get the job done. In other words - make money.

Just as different clients and projects are approached differently but from the same core discipline so it is with the tools that we use to do the job.

My opinion, which may of course differ from others.


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Michael - for me I use VectorWorks because of its versatility and flexibility.

I have used both ArchiCAD and AutoCAD and find VectorWorks better because it allows me to work the way I want to.

Depending on the context and the needs of the job I can choose to:

- Electronic draft with lines and hatches.

- Draw with fills, gradients and patterns.

- Model with or without textures.

I can actually do all three in the one job if I wish, and most importantly I can do it all with the one program. I don't need to export to another program to obtain any of these capabilities.

In addition to this I can model almost anything I need without having to use add-ons or other programs.

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As pretty much all attest, different approaches for different projects & clients.

A recent case for me was a client who wanted a very modern home but purchased a lot with a review committee looking for extremely rustic forms and materials. I model the forms in 3D in VW as I design to aid myself in the visualization. For this client the clean hard lines didn't scare them off because that was what they liked and we could explore options quickly. When it came to presenting to the board I took a 2D line copy off it, adjusted lineweights, used the superb image fill function and then Doodled it. Doodle has a few more options than the sketch command as yet. It turned out everyone got what they wanted.

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I have my own practice in South Florida and use Vectorworks as my CAD / Rendering package. I'd guestimate I only "model" about 1/4 of my projects, and then some to different degrees. I do exterior and interior renderings, and sometimes only to a "rough" level (no textures, no fancy lighting, no backrounds, etc.. I then trace over and work further with markers, but get very effective and accurate shaded and colored "sketches". But I also do some "realistic" renderings with Renderworks and get VERY good results. Although I may start with the same document I'm using for my CAD documentation, I always end up having a stand alone file for the 3d stuff. This allows me to focus on getting the right areas developed properly and so can better focus my effort. Sometimes enhance (adjust colors, contrast, add images, collage, etc) renderings with Photoshop.

Hope this helps you in your assesment.

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"Even my trainer and software seller say that no UK practice uses VW for 3D work and hardly any of them use Architect or Renderworks - most are now using Sketchup."

Geez i dont know what planet he is on.

How well really does he know vectorworks.

I would say very little.

Sure some jobs I do extensive model presentation and others a bit less.

Nearly all jobs (except small alterations ) I do at least 50% modelling at minimum.

To hear a comment as qouted above tells me this dude is covering his butt for not knowing vectorworks very well and as a trainer and Seller,NNA should give him the proverbial boot.

This is not blind loyalty but to take on board what is quoted would be .

If you jokers in England are using vectorworks like this struth something is major wrong with the whole setup there.

Just my thrupence worth anyway


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Dont take it out on me .

Thats how the comment was said i ddint say it that way I thought I was only repeating what was being said.

I feel Sorry for Michael if he is dealing with that sort of support.

I think my comments may have helped to identify the source possibly of the problem and its not vectorwoks.

I was taking the rational to the next conclusion to identify how ridiculous it was(the trainer comment),I wasnt judging I was rationlizing.

Please dont judge me.

No offense ever intended.

Regards Brendan

[ 03-24-2005, 04:57 PM: Message edited by: B.Balemi ]

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Knowing full well what is required in UK re. Planning, Building Regs etc, I can honestly say I don't do a single bit of 3D in VW, but only 2D...And use SketchUp for the 3D studies...I've even had to use AutoCAD for a bit again as required by some of the other consultants. Doesn't matter for me. I don't mind using either AutoCAD of VW. Both have +'s and -'s...More -'s on the ACAD side... [big Grin]

I've had very good results with the the SketchUp + VW combo's...I know you can achieve almost the same results with VW, but I prefer SketchUp. That's just my preference.

Believe it or not, I've even done a few CAD drawings done and then gone over them by hand, to get that true hand drawn look. Some watercolour over them with a nice SketchUp model goes very well with the planners!

VW is a fantastic 2D & 3D package, I just don't need the 3D side as I've found a better tool for 3D things. Use the right tool for the right job, and make sure you feel comfortable with the tool!

All the best!

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sounds like somebody just doesn't know how to use the software or have an imagination to get the results they need.

I do the drawings for an architect who likes to present hardline cad drawings to clients, a big mistake I think. Many changes come back simply because the clients needs to feel they have some input in what looks like a finished product. the ironic part is we can easily make 3d and plans look "sketchy" and less threatening, without plug-ins and upgrades.

There are endless possibilities, it just requires learning the software and using your imagination. a good trainer can also make a huge difference.

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