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Kevin C

VW 2020 Architect - What are the improvements?? - Worse than 2019.

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Can anyone provide a list of product enhancements for the Vectorworks Architect / Fundamentals modules that actually took place this year. We have now upgraded all machines in the office to VW2020 (SP1 came out yesterday - still to see if that stops the crashing) and apart from the changes to introduce 'barn doors' and tinkering with the doors and windows model - but not fixing the underlying issues with the whole module, cannot really seen anything.  I am definitely not interested in a fancy new graphics interface with lovely icons - That does not improve productivity or efficiency.

 

The new and improved Graphics module is to put not too fine a point on it, its not worth the paper its written on, as if anything, Vectorworks is much slower and much less responsive than before, it is also much more liable to crashing - we have even had 'panic reports' from one of the iMac's recently with the only change to the system being the upgrade to VW2020 - This has never happened before.  We have had to change all the graphics settings to "best compatibility" to be able to carry out any work.

 

My understanding of the 'improvements are as follows:

 

  • Live data Visualisation - This is after the fact and assumes that all items are correctly attributed.  Note that the allocations of spaces and zones is integral to this tool.  This is a problem unless the usability of the space tool has been overhauled to a point where it works - the space tool is far to complicated and on a working model, spaces have to be deleted to made the drawing manageable (the program slows to a crawl and to carry out any amendment takes forever).
  • GIS Improvements - It is extremely unlikely that we would use such a tool and there are very few benefits if any from the examples shown that would persuade me to invest in ArcGIS
  • History-Based modelling - Apart from spending an inordinate amount of time to prepare a level of detail that is not required for that vast majority of building projects, I can see no benefit in this tool
  • Graphics module Improvements - As mentioned previously, we have four iMacs in the office, all 27" i7 5K Retina with at least 24GB Ram and 4GB graphics cards (mine has an 8GB) and this 'fantastic new feature' has done nothing but slow the whole system down to a crawl.  If this is an improvement, I can only presume that the extra coding in the program slowed it up so much that VW needed to change the graphics system to try and maintain the status quo - It didn't work.
  • IFC referencing - Have not tried, but way down the line
  • List Browser Direct editing - It is not user friendly, far too responsive.  Is there any way of switching it off???
  • Section views - Only useful if walls and floors / doors windows slabs and roofs all interconnect properly and don't all disconnect at the first change to the model - Wait to be convinced if there is any improvements
  • Walkthrough animation - hopefully this will be good, will wait and see.  But again, not a productivity improvement
  • Widget groups - This is akin to the "improvement" to the OIP last year where you mandated that class selection be carried out using a 'hierarchical display' - not funny and not useful.

 

Can anyone please tell me what functional improvements have been made.  All I really want to for VW to improve what for all intents is / could be, a fantastic program without destroying the systems that actually work and fixing what is blatantly obvious to all working users that which is broken - doors / windows / stairs / roofs / walls etc. I.e. allow us to design a building the way we want to design it and be able to produce proper production and detail information - not just pretty pictures.

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5 hours ago, Kevin C said:

Can anyone please tell me what functional improvements have been made.  

 

In my experience 2020 is quite a lot faster.

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K:

 

These days 4gb vram is barely enough. I'm running 16 but 8 should do it. I'm also running 32GB of RAM in an effort to future proof the hardware a little. 

2020 like others before it, won't be stable until SP2 (and sometimes 3). As functionality goes, unfortunately 2020 is mostly window dressing. There are numerous features and user requests that got ignored.  I've stuck with 2019 for now simply because I don't trust 2020. Too many time-sucking issues to overcome...

Sorry I don't really have anything concrete to offer, but you have my sympathies.

 

 

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Hi Kevin

Thank you for your feedback. I can see that we have a support case open regarding the slowness problems you are experiencing, so the team will continue to work with you through that channel to attempt to resolve that.

Meanwhile, you asked for a full list of features, which you can find here:

New Features Listed in Help System

2020 Additional Features

 

I did want to touch on some of the points you raise in the meantime:

  • GIS Improvements. You don't need to invest in ArcGIS to make use of the services offered with this tool. It enables the easy combination of CAD and GIS data within the same geographic coordinate system.
  • List Browser Direct Editing - no, there is no way to turn this off.
  • Widget Groups - This should not affect your interaction with the software at all. The Widget groups should be open by default, and if you don't close them, everything will still be available to you without extra clicks. You mention that you have been forced to use a hierarchical display for classes since 2019. This is something that you can control within Vectorworks Preferences. Open the Session tab and uncheck Display classes in pop-up menus hierarchically. 

The team will continue to work with you regarding the slowness you are experiencing.

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So far I have not noticed an improvement in speed. In fact my speed has dropped significantly as I am having to wast time trying to find these new icons! There is a long thread elsewhere criticising the new icons. So I would say 2020 is worse than 2019! I am considering a refund!

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Notes Manager - thank you for this. it is very fast when updating the notes. 

Door and Window updates. I'm still playing with the automatic level of detail bit that looks useful. 

 

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19 hours ago, Kevin C said:

it is also much more liable to crashing

That's interesting, I'd like to know more. I've noticed that a few particular crashes in certain circumstances have been completely eradicated. I'm finding 2020 to be, without doubt the most stable. I do, admittedly get the occasional pause, but it always comes back reliably.

19 hours ago, Kevin C said:

History-Based modelling

Probably not useful in everyone's workflow, but for me this is a massive step forward and worth it's weight in gold

19 hours ago, Kevin C said:

List Browser Direct editing - It is not user friendly, far too responsive.  Is there any way of switching it off???

I'm finding this very useful.. Still a little temperamental, but a real time saver.... But a good point raised, a preference option would suit some people.

19 hours ago, Kevin C said:

Widget groups

Initiall you might think that it's a bit cosmetic, but as you work through a file you'll find that the pallettes "optomise" towards your workflow, showing you only really the bits you like to use. Really nice neatening up of the work-flow on a per-job basis.... persevere with this, you'll grow to love it.

31 minutes ago, michael john williams said:

as I am having to wast time trying to find these new icons

I must admit, I'm pretty much 99% keyboard shortcut... as some icons are a bit different. Perhaps having an old/new workspace option might help. Try customising your workspace to suit you. Once I hid a lot of non-used tools I found VW much slicker.

 

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19 minutes ago, RussU said:

Widgets on Object Info-

Initiall you might think that it's a bit cosmetic, but as you work through a file you'll find that the pallettes "optomise" towards your workflow, showing you only really the bits you like to use. Really nice neatening up of the work-flow on a per-job basis.... persevere with this, you'll grow to love it.

got to agree with you on this. i'm starting to love this and when I go back to 2019 i really miss it. 

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Ok, I seem to be in the minority, but my team has not noticed any improvement - only slowdown.  Wed must just be doings things completely wrong.  One thing however that continues to amaze me is that it is assumed that we start a project with a brand new clean set of files every time - this is not the case.  We use styles and objects from libraries that have been built up over years of use.

 

If VW is trying to say that the software will only work to its fullest capability when the project is started and only using objects etc. that have been created in that specific version of VW, please tell us and we will try and change to suit.

 

On another item which was championed as being a new 2020 feature - reduced and optimised pdf file sizes.  Yes, VW gives options for compressing image etc. but the basic pdf file for say a site layout drawing is now far larger than 2019 and hardly compresses at all when using third party compression tools anymore.  Simple line drawings have never been an issue, but if you have any fill or hatch on a drawing and want to add some detail, it's a joke. I now have files which I cannot sent to local authorities because the file size is greater than 5MB - This means I cannot submit for planning consent or building warrant without having too strip all the detail out of a drawing.

 

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26 minutes ago, Kevin C said:

reduced and optimised pdf file sizes

Would you mind doing me a favour and trying something out... I'm not a mac user, but I've noticed a big difference between....

1) Print to PDF

2) File->Export to PDF

3) File->Publish (to PDF)

It seems to me that they all handle PDFs in subtly different ways. I'd be interested, on your particular file, how these different ways of outputting affect the PDF filesize from a Mac

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K:

 

Not sure if it helps but I always reduce PDF file size in Acrobat as part of my workflow. It's tedious I suppose, but does a good job of hacking down file size. I've got it set where exports from Vectorworks automatically open in Acrobat when created, then  file/save as other/reduce size PDF.  And it doesn't matter how the PDF is created in Vectorworks, they show up as the same file size for me.

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Agreed,

 

But if you remember one of the 'improvements' this year was a more compressed pdf file.  This just hasn't happened, just some tools to compress the raster images within the pdf. Not much use when your pdf's don't have any raster images in them.  I don't have full blown Acrobat (4 licences is a lot of money just to reduce a file size!

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Yeah I know its way overpriced. There are others out there that might offer similar compression for a lot less, I just haven't taken the time to stop drinking the Adobe Kool-aid. Since I'm using Photoshop, Indesign, Lightroom, Bridge, and Acrobat, I'm forking over the monthly subscription (ugh). I do use other features in Acrobat.  I frequently have images in my document sets so my situation is a little different I suppose. I'm with you though, so not impressed with 2020 so far. Reminds me of Jaguar in the late 70's. Looks great, fast when it works, but alas, most of the time in the shop, broken.

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