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Archicad v VW Architect


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I am aware that VectorWorksArchitect V12 is a new release & i have browsed this forum & read related info on this subject.

What are the Advantages to VectorWorksArchitect New Licence @ $4000Au inc Renderer.

V Archicad V9 other than the $3000Au in 3 years on upgrades V7 to V8 to 8.1(maintenance) to V9 & Now V10 is Due Probably another $1500 to get fixes/enhancements for V9 just 12 mths on.

My main needs are Plans Sect Elv Detailing documentation & 3D Visulization of models as a selling & design tool.

I have never used VectorWorks or Autocad & i would expect a transition would take some time to be productive. I would love to hear from an archicad user now on Vector Works or a VectorWorks user considering going to Archicad

[smile] Mac User

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I was a VW user (v9), then switched to Archicad (v.8), then switched back to VW (all on a mac) , so I've been there...

In a nutshell, Archicad is a much tighter constructed piece of software than VW. It's parametric controls over 3D objects are excellent and it has a streamlined interface that is relatively intuitive to use. Most of its functionality works as described, and the components do translate well to and from schedules.

That said, I found the 2D tools extremely primitive, dimensioning was clumsy, the overall "hand" of the program was pretty sterile, and on my machine at least, the responsiveness of the program was extremely slow.

By comparison, VectorWorks has the broadest range of capabilities out there. Components like ArchiTerra, ArchiForma, etc... are built right into the base program. It does organic modeling liken to FormZ, landscape design, sketch rendering, and now soft-shadow rendering. So, it's incredibly versatile.

I would say that about 80% of VectorWorks is totally functional. The other 20% requires a lot of ingenous work-arounds on the part of the user... but the good news is that by and large there are work arounds. In general, if there is something I need the program to do, there is not one, but two or three ways that this can be accomplished.

In the end, what tipped the balance for me was:

I looked ahead and saw that at the rate VW was developing, it would rapidly overtake Archicad - each release over the past three years has shown a huge committment to developing the software's capability. I figured that if it didn't do what I needed just yet, that it was coming. Further, I figured that if my firm grows to support several workstations, I'll be able to expand my software $4000 is a lot for one, but x (3) it starts to become prohibitable.

Perhaps this will help ... If you have more specific questions, I'd be happy to respond.

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I would second Matthew's evaluation. I've used AutoCAD (in more than a couple of its various flavors), VW/MiniCAD, ArchiCAD 8&9 & CADVANCE. I've dabbled with SketchUp, MicroStation & DataCAD.

ArchiCAD is the gold standard. It is a supreme 3D design/modeling tool. But, after working with VW for so long, I found it a bit awkward in developing 2D CDs. It does some things very cleverly and others very quirkily. So does VW for that matter.

VW is working toward being the gold standard. It has been getting significantly closer with each new version/development cycle. While ArchiCAD has been spending much of its time lately tweaking what it does, VWA has been taking HUGE steps in its functionality to match ArchiCAD, while squashing bugs.

In the US, there is a big price difference between the two packages, a difference in VW's favor.

After spending 1 1/2 years on ArchiCAD, I will admit I was very reluctant to move back to VW. There are things I do still miss about ArchiCAD. But after diving into VW 11 & 12, I've got the VW bug again, looking forward to each new versin and putting my two cents in with forums like this, hoping I can give some worthy feedback to the developers in Columbia.

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I am another user who started with MiniCAD, tried ArchiCAD, and then came back to VectorWorks because of its advantages.

The VectorWorks advantages come from:

- Being able to choose how you want to work.

- The inherent flexibility and adapatability.

- The more comprehensive 2D and 3D capabilities.

- The ready availability of resources.

ArchiCAD is very whiz bang at the design end if you want to design with their suite of parametrics. Get outside of this though and it becomes a problem unless you invest in add ons, or get into GDL programming. VWs built in modelling capability allows you to model almost anything without needing add ons or programming. Also getting the total job done from concept right through to working drawings is much easier and straight forward in VW.

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I used Archicad in the late 1990's (version 5.5).

When I started my own office I chose Vectorworks. I imagine Archicad could work well if you are willing to buy into their system of extracting 2 dimensional drawings from the 3D model. However, I found this approach far too limiting and time consuming for highly detailed, custom work. In addition, the Archicad's 3D model approach required either major compromises in the drawing graphics or time consuming work arounds to generate the kind of drawings I require.

For me, Vectorworks is a much better tool for producing the 2 dimensional plans, elevations and details that are the bulk of my work. It's a great program for drafting.

Surprisingly, I also have found Vectorworks more versatile for 3d modeling; however, the version of Archicad I am familiar with is now 6 years old!

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Q4U, since you've now heard from the users, I'll venture to jump in (as a long-time former user). Since you can't build anything significant in either VWA demo or AC demo (since neither will let you save), why not buy VWA (and training materials) under the 90 day money-back guarantee? This will give you a complete experience with the cost of shipping being your only risk. (I know AC won't let you buy on these terms, maybe that says something about learning curve?)

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why not buy VWA (and training materials) under the 90 day money-back guarantee?

(Is that normal practice) If the 90 day Guarantee or Subscription is available in Australia i may take up the offer when i come to a decision, There are a few logistics to be worked out yet & (Like Archicad) there is no SA Support or User Group. [Frown] In the meantime i may get the training materials any how. [smile]

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

If you're in Australia, you should be buying from Ozcad, our distributor down there (based in Sydney). Julian Carr (Mr. Ozcad) provides fantastic support. I know Julian does provide a MBG, but I'm not sure if it's 90 days or shorter (some of our distributors are shorter, for international logistics reasons).

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If you're in Australia, you should be buying from Ozcad, our distributor down there (based in Sydney). Julian Carr (Mr. Ozcad) provides fantastic support.

I Have been in touch with Julian & he said he will have the tutorial cd's next week & there are two CDs in the VW 12 set and two CDs in the VW Architect set.

I would like to know which would be better to get considering VWA comes with a training cd with purchase.

Hopefully the support is Fantastic (if i get a reply It will be better than what we get from Graphisoft Aust)

In fact this forum is Great so far no one has said RTFM. which from what i see so far is great on explaining what a item does but not the processes involved to do it but it might get better yet.

On the Archicad subject are there equivilents to this in VWA ?

To draw a wall of known length the procedure is

click starting point & drag in desired direction shift+r numerical length enter.

With Dual monitors

Draw floor plan view in monitor/window1 & see the 3d view in monitor/window2


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"On the Archicad subject are there equivilents to this in VWA ?

To draw a wall of known length the procedure is

click starting point & drag in desired direction shift+r numerical length enter.

With Dual monitors

Draw floor plan view in monitor/window1 & see the 3d view in monitor/window2"

Drawing a wall with known length: Click to start wall, (tab) toggles you into and through X,Y, and Length fields. You can enter the value into one or more, (return) locks in the value, click sets the vetex and your on to the next wall segment.

Reviewing 3D progress: VW doesn't have a secondary window, instead ... I, like most people have set up a series of hot keys to change the view to a number of different isometrics. The regeneration time in switching views (at least in wireframe) is almost instantaneous. While in 3D view, you can modify 3D objects (like Archicad). The bonus, is that you aren't constantly regenerating two windows and it improves the overall speed of the program. If you like, you can leave it in 3D and draft in that environment as well.

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"ArchiCAD is the gold standard."

I dont know anything about gold standards either


You're got to be kidding right? ...Go tell the engineers, Builders and other consultants that...they'll roll over laughing

That is what Graphisoft said about Vectorworks after they finished reviewing V12 inprovements.

Taproot Thanks

i got a pm about walls & monitors about the same time you posted.

Thanks i will retire with the input & Demo to learn & decipfer. [smile]

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Chris Manus

VectorWorks Power User

Member # 146



There is No Standard Dude,The closest you'll get to a Gold std is greater variance and use of data ...the best alround program is yet to be developed..but for now this is it.-HTH

1. Standard or gold etc were not my Quotes i was quoting a previous post

2 You have obviously been a user of vectorworks for some time (indicated by your user #)but all you have done is Criticise others opinions with no explanation as to why or how & with what authority or rational you concluded these statements.

To be able to make a decision on which tools to Purchase for use in your trade one would need more than this.

How about providing a list of the


(Does & Does Not)

(Can & Can't)

(Is & Is Not)

Based on your Personal Experience & Usage of both Programs which you obviously use regularly & know a lot about.

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Originally posted by Roman:

Speaking of Vectorworks vs. ArchiCAD, I'm trying to figure just to how to take advantage of the BIM approach in Vectorworks.

Are there any simple tutorials out there in how to make a complete 3D model which is then taken into 2D working drawings?


Try these links.



The BIM is in my opinion the goal towards which VW and many other CAD programs are heading. And I think, from an architect's point of view, it is a fantastic idea. But, I'm not sure there is even a definite standard to it, just yet. I "dived" into VW exactly a year ago because I got tired of 2D's inability to better control the design enough to avoid simple and dumb but costly and embarrassing coordination errors. Not being able to go to seminars in the US, the learning experience was quite a trip. But, there is no going back. Designing in 3D is very close to the ideal (until some type of holographic CAD comes around); you are able to make richer, more coordinated CDs.

[ 01-16-2006, 12:20 AM: Message edited by: Ramon PG ]

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll jump in way late to say that I'm an AC9 user who's coming back to VW now that it's reached 12.

AC is not the gold standard of anything, save over-blown promises, buggy software and a prohibitively restrictive way of modeling.

Their BIM claims are outlandish, as there is no user-friendly way to get BIM information out of the program. With several days effort, you'll at most window and door schedules.

The worst part is the inability to model in 3D, at least from my perspective.

The best part of AC vs VW, IMO, is that the model is the model. In 3d you don't just see one layer occupying the same sapce as another, as in VW. But, with 12, VW has mostly fixed this problem by automatically stacking layers.

If you haven't purchased yet, ask you AC reseller to rake a wall. Make one end 1m high, and the other end 2m high. The reseller will have to place a roof over the wall, perform a boolean subtraction, and then create a layer on which to hide that roof. If he ever deletes that layer, or moves the wall, the boolean will not stick, and the wall will lose its rake. AC is full of that kind of nonsense.

I am just getting back into VW, however, and I don't really know what kind of work-arounds and pitfalls await here.

Some people are going a third route, building models in Sketchup and exporting to 2d CAD programs for drafting. This may seem like a step backard from the BIM dream, but Sketchup makes modeling so easy, you'll always want to work with it. I am just beginning to go down this path myself, using VW12 as the CAD program. We'll see where it ends.

Check out the work of Greg LaVadera for examples of SU + 2d CAD.

My advice: avoid Archicad, especially version 9, as V10 is due out in Feb/Mar. Maybe you can re-evaluate V10.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Q4U, I don't know what you mean by "updating to an Aust version." Since you're apparently in Australia, you'd by VWA from our AU distributor (OZcad), who sells the version of VWA localized for the OZ market. In other words, the only version you COULD buy would be an OZ version. Am I missing something here?

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I will be mike

I won't be handing out anymore dosh on Archicad Even if i have to wait a short while to get VWA 12 & renderworks.

But i have made a decision & it aint Archicad 10 > Graphisoft Australia can take the credit for that "The Arrogant Prick's"

Thanks to all for the input you have given its been very helpfull.

My research is at an end. After trialing it i actually like it a lot & Vectorworks is the way i will go. [smile]

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