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plantkind

Help Considering Vectorworks Landmark

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Hi everyone, 

 

We're currently evaluating Landmark with the trial version and considering switching to the platform! Currently on SketchUp + AutoCAD LT. Conceptually into the BIM aspects of Vectorworks.

 

  • My main concern is that it's overkill for the scale project we're doing. Small urban residential properties with hardscaping + planting. Anyone have experience using Vectorworks with this size project, as opposed to large public projects?

 

  • Any tutorials on minimizing the toolsets and interface. Seems like about 50% of these palettes and tools we'll never use. My plan now is to basically figure out what everything does, and then hide based on our needs.

 

  • The plant libraries is very limiting (too many maple trees and hydrangeas for us) and was wondering if folks have experience adding other catalogs. I've watched the videos on how to do this, but overall it seems more complex than are needs are. We'd mostly like to be able to add the plants we commonly use, many California Natives. We have our own CSV files from Airtable with our plants.

 

Seems like Vectorworks is super powerful and could have lots of potential. Thanks for any thoughts!

 

Best,

~ Ethan

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Hi @plantkind,

 

Check out this webinar on The Power of 3D Modeling. In it, I used a small urban residential project I did when I was still practicing. I'm happy to discuss further with you if you'd like 😊. A good follow-up webinar is Save Time with Hardscapes & Data Tags.

For minimizing toolsets check this The Basics: Tool Palettes and Workspaces. The Vectorworks University in general is a great resource.

 

For plant libraries, you can import your own CSV file. Simply place this .csv or .txt file in the plant database folder. Easiest way to find this is open up the plant database in Vectorworks and select "Explore". Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 3.30.07 PM.png

 

Best wishes,

Tony

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Awesome, thanks will check those out!

  • Image Files → For importing a CSV, possible to bring in image files as well, or do you add those manually after importing the CSV?
  • 2D and 3D Representations → When importing a CSV, how do we go about assigning 2D and 3D elements to each of our plants?

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2 hours ago, plantkind said:

My main concern is that it's overkill for the scale project we're doing. Small urban residential properties with hardscaping + planting. Anyone have experience using Vectorworks with this size project, as opposed to large public projects?

 

I think the majority of VW Landscape users is working at this scale.

 

 

2 hours ago, plantkind said:

Any tutorials on minimizing the toolsets and interface. Seems like about 50% of these palettes and tools we'll never use. My plan now is to basically figure out what everything does, and then hide based on our needs.

 

I think there is not much need to hide tools but of course you can

hide everything you don't need by customizing your Workspace.

(So far I didn't hide anything, I just rearranged Palettes for my needs)

 

I think VW is one of the CAD Apps with the most less steep learning curve

to begin with. Might be a bit harder with already a background from the

world of Autocad.

 

 

2 hours ago, plantkind said:

Seems like Vectorworks is super powerful and could have lots of potential.

 

I think it is very powerful and easy to use on the other hand, once you get used

to VW philosophy. VW was always a great Tool for pleasing cute 2D drawings

and it has 3D, BIM with generated Plans and 3D Visualization capabilities.

So you can impress your clients and have a quite effective Tool.

 

 

I would advice to watch some of VW's feature how to videos on their YouTube

channel to see what is possible and get an overview on how it works and is used.

Then try an evaluation copy and play with it and try to get a feeling for VW and

if that could work for you.

If that wasn't enough or no real time to test, I would try to ask for another trial period,

ask questions to a local distributor or simply further ask about specific workflows

here on this Forum. This a vital Forum with some really competent engaged users,

lots have also Sketchup, some even Autodesk, knowledge.

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I try to avoid residential and work mainly 1 to 10 hectares , plus farms and then some regional things. IDK how you work (and this year and prob '21 too are gonna be very different!) re 2D\3D. I do 3D all in  sketchup - but I generally avoid 3D wherever possible, and for larger jobs use QGIS.

 

My experience is that the plant data side of VW is overmarketed, especially if you use a lot of different plants. I tend to just use coloured areas and point a worksheet at them and do some sums. It works fine to 500k plants easily. 

 

The interface is a bit greedy - most good CAD\Raster tools (QGIS, BricsCAD, Rebelle, Sketchup etc) enable you to hide everything -but VW is hard to do that.

 

Despite these failings it is still the best tool for general landscape as it is one of the few CADs with a built-spreadsheet - it's not excel that's fer sure - altho' I hear good things about 2020, and Marionette looks like it can weave some magic. BUT AFAIK VW still doesn't do vertical curves which is amajor failing when it comes to making a nice kerb across rolling terrain.

 

This is the best forum to learn about VW; I've been using since 2005ish .

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Thank you everyone!

 

Super helpful points, insights, and resources 🙂

 

Excited to keep exploring. I'm signed up for a 4 hour Landmark seminar next week, so that should really start to get things going.

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@unearthed Have you not updated your signature in a while. It reads that you are using VW 2012 sp4. If you are then you have missed a lot. 😉

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@rowbear97 No my sig's up to date. I use a mix of CADS plus VW andf I do a lot of hand-drawn, and digital-watercolour graphics.

 

I only use VW in 2D mode as I do not trust it's handling of 3D volume data after a couple of bad experiences. It is also very slow compared to other 3D-capable tools. A number of my sites are very large and VW IMO becomes less reliable when sites exceed 3km across. It still lacks the ability to handle vertical curves and the Property Line \ Landscape subdivision lot module lacks 

- full control of annotations
- topolological polygon editing \ autoupdate of adjacent polygons

 

Most bells and whistles added in the last 10 years do not simplify my workflow. To make me want to upgrade I'd want at least some of the items here forum post 20200311 I also am against photorealist presentations as, in general, they do not lead to the sort of conversations that help make great spaces, so I don't need all the graphic capability.

 

Marionette is attractive  and may short-circuit a lot of my wishlist but needs a bit more time on the stove. The GIS tools are not really fit for purpose, other than shapefile file import I do not use the I have QGIS for that. All VW needs to do is ensure their shp file import\export tool works correctly, does not destroy data and enables people to add new fields.

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@plantkind

 

Hey Ethan,

 

I switched to VW after 20 years of AutoCAD.  I have done projects ranging from residential back yards to regional masterplans in AutoCAD.  Switching to VW was easy and a much better tool for the work I do.  The plant library was one of the deciding factors for me, though I have to highly customize it for the regions of the world I work in.

 

Typically, software vendors in the AEC space over-market and under-perform.  And while VW is far from perfect and could use some improvements in site modeling BIM, it is superior to AutoCAD in ever way for a landscape designer.  The included symbol libraries, extendable plant database, irrigation tools, and BIM functionalities are a huge added value compared to vanilla AutoCAD IMHO.   I find the standard graphics to be visually pleasing and more aligned with my preferred aesthetics.  The modeling and rendering features have replaced sketchup for my needs.

 

During my time in Kuwait, I was doing a lot of R&D to modernized our landscape architecture practice within a large AEC firm.  I had my staff transition our autocad and excell plant library to VW.  I also purchased a copy of Filemaker Pro for doing some heavy modifying of the database for other purposes, like running it on an ipad to collect data in the field and generating custom plant books/cut sheets.  I poked around with VW for 6-9 months in order to learn it and develop a 3D & BIM workflow for my staff to follow.  Surprisingly, this was time well spent and the transition was less painful by watching lots of tutorials and doing a few practice projects first to refine the process before committing to a large project in VW.  I created my office, my house, and an old project in VW to test everything out without the pressure of deadlines.

 

Now that I'm back home, I'm using all that research in my private practice.  I find developing projects in 3D/BIM with the available tools to be vastly superior to my old AutoCAD 2D/3D practices.  While I am not a full master of VW worksheets yet, the functionality for calculating materials and quantities reduces errors and time required to do take offs.  Even site data collection by aerial drone and full 3D design in VW has proven to be extremely cost effective for me in the residential sector.  Here was my first attempt at it on the residential scale:

https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/63372-thanks-for-making-computer-work-fun-again/&do=findComment&comment=322275

 

FYI, I leave the entire interface active.  This encourages you to press buttons and learn about tools you didn't realize you might actually use 🙂 

 

hope it helps,

Jeff

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@jeff prince oh thanks for the thoughtful response!

 

using File Maker is interesting, that's one of the issues I have it feels like the data is all stuck in VW and not very open or mobile device friendly.

 

and the point clouds is another feature didn't realize might work a bit on residential level

 

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On 4/12/2020 at 2:58 PM, plantkind said:

@jeff prince oh thanks for the thoughtful response!

 

using File Maker is interesting, that's one of the issues I have it feels like the data is all stuck in VW and not very open or mobile device friendly.

 

and the point clouds is another feature didn't realize might work a bit on residential level

 

My pleasure.  I kind of felt the same way about data being stuck in VW at first.  Once I realized how to interact with it and how Filemaker(FMP) could help take things further, I became happy again.  So much of what we do in this industry benefits from having database skills.  I ended up making all kinds of things not related to VW in FMP.  I started with the plant database, then did a personal recipe database, and eventually graduated to developing a project management system to keep track of my projects and staff.  I took a while to learn, but the time savings in searching for information and eliminating duplication has paid off.

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