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John Thomas

Selecting CAD obj based CAD program

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I hope this is the right place to post this question...if not, please direct me to the proper location.

I am working on plans for a major remodel to my home, and while I started in ACAD LT due only to having some experience with it at work...I was quickly disappointed after finding out how just how limited my drafting skills are, and how much effor is involved everytime your wife says what about moving that over there??? [Roll Eyes]

I have run across several programs...VW 12 as well as Chief Archtect to name two which seem to meet my needs. Any comments from users re: how easy VW 12 is to learn? I consider myself a relatively quick study...but I don't want to spend months getting up to speed just for this project.

Unfortunately no demo is available for VW 12, but I have demo'd CA 10 and did find it to be pretty straight forward. One hitch w/ CA is my preference to use a Mac to do the work.

In any case, any pointers, or reviews which you might think would be helpful are appreciated.

Thanks,

John

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John,

If you're only doing one project (or even 2) you won't need the Architect version of VW

The Fundamentals version has walls, roofs, doors, windows etc. Architect has more stuff, but most of it is project management-y things.

Demos used to be available, have you checked with your local distributor? You get a 90 day money-back period with purchase anyway, so you might want to consider that.

and, btw, it's really pretty easy to learn after grasping the basic concepts.

HTH,

N.

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Nicholas,

One of the reasons I didn't go there was because it isn't clear from the www site whether the home design features are in Fundamentals, or what is specifically excluded. I was leaning towards CA or VW due to the 'object oriented' approach. I was hoping to add a large crutch to my poor drafting skills by essentially drawing in one view and having most of the other views take care of themselves.

Can Fundamentals do the same thing? wall styles, windows, doors, etc?

Thanks,

John

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Yes,

all those things are there, you draw in 2D, you get the 3D model built "for free".

you just get more, and more specific capability with the other versions.

N.

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Are you planning on creating your own construction drawings? If not and all you want to do is get your ideas mapped out in 3D with some dimensions on look at the Sketch Up program.

Do take a look and you get an 8 hour full working trial version to download. watch all the tutorials to save time. you may even complete it before times up !!

For a one off, learning VW or any other production level CAD program seems a little OTT in my opinion.

Good luck

Alan

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John,

Why not contact an architectural student. Get recommendations from the professors. You'll probably get the design for free or almost free.

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Thanks for the replies. While it may seem OTT to spend $1400 for the s/w, architects/designers are routinely getting $20-50k to do similar work in my area. I've worked out several designs, even brought in an architect (acquaitance from kids school) to assist in design development, so at this point it is more an issue of working out the details for submission to Planning...besides, I like doing this sort of thing. [big Grin]

From there I do intend to produce CDs. Using CA, I am already nearly there for the planning submission, probably need a few more days of relatively uninterrupted time (hard to find). But constantly borrowing a friends computer stifles the learning experience to some degree.

I'm just about at the point of ordering VW and trying it out on my Mac. If I find it too hard (compared to CA), well then either I order CA myself, or pay my friend to use his computer/program.

Thanks,

John

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John,

I'm a long time VectorWorks user and have found that Chief Architect is much better for doing what you've stated because of the VW?s long learning curve. Much of that learning curve is a product of the poor range of videos and the complex abilities of VW. For learning, Chief Architect makes the entire process so fast and simple that you wouldn?t be where you are with your project now without some professional tutoring in VW. When it comes to good learning videos, it is hard to beat those provided with Chief Architect.

Just as important you'll find that Chief?s specialized tools for doing home design and their subsequent fast 3D rendering will make your session time with the wife much more productive. If you also plan on doing the landscaping portion, the simple tools and their automatic 3D visuals will certainly be more engaging, appealing and communicative than what you'll accomplish in VW with many times the effort and time.

With all that said, had you said you wanted to build commercial structures, or wanted to do professional level Landscaping drawings, design creatively shaped objects, and many other neat professions on which to develop a design practice, it would be hard to beat the overall abilities of VW. VW's long learning curve comes from its ability to do just about anything you can think about. While Chief Architect assumes you'll be staying in the home design market and don't need strong CAD tools for creating objects not already provided. Chief's documentation abilities aren?t as good as VW by a long shot, but they?ll do everything you?ve stated and then some.

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Roger,

Thanks for that, you've been very helpful. The additional capabilities are very tempting...It is apparent even from my brief exposure to Chief that there is a market for those willing to work w/ homeowners to quickly develop plans and 3D models for their new 'dream' home. So many people cannot envision the final product w/out good 3D representation.

That said, I'm pretty busy w/ my career and family, so there's no guarantee that I'll find the time to start a side business.

As I think I mentioned previously, my desire to move to a Mac based program was driving this decision...and VW seems to be the best for that platform in this price point.

thanks again,

john

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One program you should seriously consider looking at is PowerCadd, which is mac only. In many ways it provides DRAWING TOOLS second to none.

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I downloaded PC, but at the risk of proving I am dense, haven't found it very intuitive. And I haven't found very much in the way of training clips or other tools to assist me...any suggestions?

One reason I was attracted to VW was the 3D capabilities...my cad abilities are basic...frankly I was looking for the easy way out. I have no doubt that someone w/ talent could take most programs and produce greast results...

Heck, I just played some of the clips for sketchup and I'm amazed at what some people can do w/ that s/w...but I'm under no delusion that I could produce anything close to that.

john

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John

Worries me in your last posting, it's your remark that....

"Heck, I just played some of the clips for sketchup and I'm amazed at what some people can do w/ that s/w...but I'm under no delusion that I could produce anything close to that."

Sketch Up has got to be one of the easiest programs to use and create with, so if you feel the work shown is beyond you I'm concerned how you'll manage with the more complex 3D solutions such as VW etc.

Don't get me wrong I don't regard VW as difficult, but I'm approaching it from a different priority and perspective.

Going from board based to computer aided I was looking for the program that suited me, my career and requirements.

In that respect, Vectorworks was at the time, and for the most part still is, the best solution.

Don't know Chief Architect but have heard good things about it. Is it not Windows only though?

You mention your busy life and family commitments, which I see at odds with spending time learning a professional program such as VW to undertake the remodelling of part of your home.

For a "one off" I'd even be tempted to do it the way an old dinosaur like me did it pre VW - by hand if i didn't have the equipment already..

Anyway glad you to the time to look at Sketch Up, it's one of my favourites along with VW of course.

Alan

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John,

I?m in Alan?s camp where people think SketchUp is about as easy as it gets when it comes to 3D solutions. I?ve been able to create a lot of architectural objects with it and just love how well it works. Before I found SketchUp I had been using VW to create my 3D models, but since most of everything I need in 3D is now done in SketchUp.

If you go down the SketchUp road as well, you?ll discover that you almost can?t group things early enough, but not grouping them will cause you a lot of headaches. Also, Layers in SketchUp aren?t much more than visibility switches and don?t provide any ability to keep objects disconnected. Still, when you build in SketchUp I recommend you use Layers as you would use Classes in VW.

For learning SketchUp Dennis Fukai?s 3D Construction Modeling will show you the correct way to work in SketchUp and you?ll find your productivity jump off the ground when you learn the lessons he teaches. Dennis? book is out of print but it keeps showing up on Amazon for < $30 used.

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Alan,

Thanks for the reply. I wasn't clear regarding my impressions of the work shown for sketchup. Most of the images look as though a professional illustrator did the work.

My talent is for copying, not original art work. To that end, I am sure I could do a fair job of re-creating my home or even the addition w/ sketchup. You are right, it is an easy program to use.

I was running through some of the tutorials yesterday, and my kids were engrossed. They wanted me to buy it right there just so they could play w/ it. At $500 that's a little steep if I don't intend to use it for the home project...but who knows, as I go through more of the tutorial, I may change my mind.

For options, yes, I used ACAD LT to develop the plan and elevations, but, since I don't do this for a living, I was having a tough time taking the next step...filling in the gaps, etc. Making the drawings look professional. Chief Architect does that...yes it is windows only, but that is where I spend my days, and up until 6 months ago, I had no experience w/ Macs.

My wife can't seem to visualize my 2D work, even w/ scale elevations, it doesn't click for her...but after one weekend w/ CA, I had a full 3D model of the job...minus a few details, but not too many. Now she is engaged and (maybe unfortunately ;-)) asking questions and making suggestions. That is what I was hoping for w/ VW. To find a program that will do that on a platform I have grown to love.

john

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John

Download and have a look at the two Architect Product Tour Movies: http://www.nemetschek.net/architect/tour.php

- ARCHITECT Product Tour:

"This overview demonstrates how to create plans, perspectives, and elevation views using the features of ARCHITECT."

- ARCHITECT Commercial Product Tour:

"This overview demonstrates how to create floor plans and a 3D model of a small commercial building using the powerful but easy-to-use capabilities of ARCHITECT."

You also might find it useful to download and look at some of the other VW 12 and VW 11 movies as well:

http://www.nemetschek.net/upgrade/demos.php

http://www.nemetschek.net/upgrade/11demos.php

These two movies are particularly good:

- Architectural Massing Example:

"This demonstration highlights how VectorWorks' 3D tools and commands are used to create an Architectural Massing model. Using VectorWorks' new "push/pull technology," you can easily sculpt basic shapes into interesting 3D forms."

- Creating Unconventional 3D Forms:

"See how VectorWorks' 3D technology can be used to create some unconventional 3D architectural forms. While VectorWorks has always had a strong set of tools for the creation of architectural elements, the program's new 3D technology makes creating these shapes even easier."

These are some VectorWorks tutorials on the University of Liverpool website which will help you learn the program: http://www.liv.ac.uk/abe/students/vectorworks/index.shtml

You will find that VW is more than capable of achieving what you want, and more.

[ 01-18-2006, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: mike m oz ]

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Mike,

The produce tours were very helpful. After watching them, I'm surprised people say VW is more difficult than Chief. The interface and methods seem very similar, at least at the high level shown.

I like what I see there.

Thank you.

john

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John, the reason people feel that VW is more difficult to learn than CA is that VW is just a much broader program, i.e. it has more scope, and therefore there is much more to learn. You can draw anything with VW, and this is not the case with CA, which is very competently "tuned" towards single-family residential projects.

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well, wish me luck, I've placed my order for VW...should arrive by Friday! You may see more of me on here in the near future! Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and responses.

john

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John Thomas ... welcome aboard... as this posting clearly shows ... VW and it's community of Users are both World Class... you will definitely enjoy the ride.

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Thanks, I look forward to it. Looking over the posts, here and elsewhere, it's great to see so many people willing to give their time helping others solve their problems.

john

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i know this comment is a bit late but, here is something to think about. try to work out a detailed building section before you start modeling if you can. do this in autocad LT if that is what you are really good with. this will help you a great deal when you start to model.

i am currently working on an "exist condition" project and took the time to work out my site notes w/ 3 sections. now all i have to do is model since i have worked out the errors.

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I agree with Mechanix. Work out the vertical elevations of all floors, roofs, porches, crawl spaces etc. I do this with a hand sketch that has references to the layer names. This sketch is then tacked to the wall over the monitor. The VW model setup function accomplishes this electronically; however it would be really nice if the graphic displayed during the setup routine were available for reference. As an alternate if it could be printed so I could tack it over my monitor to replace my hand sketch it would be really neat.

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That is a good idea...I've done most of that as my design is actually nearing completion at this point. Most of the work will be in generating the sections and details once I've input the basic house model from my current 2d work.

To that end, does anyone have advice regarding using a survey I have as a reference layer? I have it in a dwg file...and wanted to use it in a similar manner to what VW shows in the tutorial where they use a sketch and then draw over it. Is that possible?

I thought I could then 're-input' the points pretty precisely (there are only 20-25 anyway) and create a DTM from that...

thoughts?

TIA

john

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