I'd like to hear what people have to say about these two drafting programs. If one better than the other? I'm getting ready to purchase, and I'm having a hard time deciding which way to go. I haven't been able to find reviews that are prompted by the software developer.
I'd appreciate your input.
I'm located in the Pacific NW of the US - nowhere near Australia. However, I do appeciate your comments.
I am not sure what your background is when it comes to using any kind of CAD software, but before you purchase you might consider the following:
1. If you are new to using CAD software Vectorworks Landmark might be the way to go. I own the software and it has a lot of capabilities a lot of software programs do not.
2. If you have worked in Autocad in the past you might consider LandFX. It's Autocad compatible as an easy add on or you can get their stand alone version of FX CAD which is the latest version of Autocad without all of the Autocad bells and whistles. Trust me you will never need all of the bells and whistles that Autocad builds into their software and the FX CAD is plenty powerful.
Full disclosure, I own both programs, but I am only using Land FX exclusively. My clients and associated disciplines I work with use Autocad exclusively and when converting and importing and sharing files autocad to autocad is the way to go. Even though other cad programs say their files can be saved in a .dwg format it adds a lot more steps and isn't as compatible as they would like you to think. IMHO. I have used Autocad for over 15 years and the LandFX add on was a simple transition. And its quick to learn. Landmark Vectorworks has a huge learning curve if your mind has already been trained in Autocad. Terminologies are different so the process of developing a design is more difficult and time consuming. That being said, if you have no CAD background what so ever Landmark might be the way to go because you haven't had your head poisoned to draft in any other matter. Just keep in mind the end user and who you might be collaborating with. If you work with outside civil engineers or architects you might want to stay in the Autocad world.
Sorry if I have blathered on here a bit.....hope some of this is helpful.
Great response. I worked in two different civil engineering/land survey offices doing civil plans for twelve years. There are sometimes some issues with non-native dwg files when they are received by the CE's.
I looked at FX CAD and Land FX using Intellicad. I liked the landscape specific things in the programs, but I am so used to working with AutoCAD or ACAD Lt that I have just stuck with using ACAD Lt.
Be careful to understand that FX CAD is just the engine - you still need to pay for the Land FX module on top of it. It comes to about $2k if I recall correctly.
I do just residential and an occasional small commercial job and always 2d, so my needs are not huge.
I'd go with FX if I did go forward with more a landscape specific program for the reasons Dennis mentioned.
I just upgraded to AutoCAD Lt 2016 just 5 days ago. Mulled FX CAD briefly, but stuck with LT.
Andrew, I believe that FX CAD is basically Autocad LT, but you are right there is a cost associated with it. I'm not sure why you can just use the LandFX add on with Autocad LT but i am sure there are some kind of proprietary features that prevent it from happening. A couple of times a year LandFX does offer some pretty good sale incentives with deep discounts on their products. If you can hold out for a sale its the best way to go.
Acad Lt is $et up so that NO add ons can be u$ed.
FX Cad was very similar to Acad Lt when I last test drove it. I just wanted to point out that there is more than one component that you have to purchase and not to get fooled by the single price of FX CAD ($1,595). You still have to buy Land FX ($1,295) as well, it seems. I'm not going to shell out $2,900 to automate my plant schedules and get a few extra graphic shortcuts, but that is only because I've learned lots of ways to quickly get the same things done. If not, it would probably be worth it.
ACAD Lt is about $300 a year as a subscription, but you can still get a perpetual license for $1200, but that ends this month. It is just drafting and won't support Land FX or any other add on.
Did you get enough to form an opinion on your original question?
Thank you all for you input. It has helped me make a decision.
We are officially, albeit slowly, transitioning our small practice to VW Landmark. I've been running two trials back to back on different computers to try and get the hang of the software and although I've been tinkering and watching all the videos I can for several weeks I can say with certainty that I am still just scratching the surface.
The reason we made the switch is because all of our consultants work in 3d from civil 3d to archicad/revit. We also work on 3D, but go between three programs daily to study design features, illustrate, and document. SIM is the future and I feel like we are getting ahead of the curve.
I love that VW emphasizes design in their branding, and recognizes the landscape architecture profession with tools we really need, very powerful tool I might add. VWL reminds me of a combination of Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, ArcGIS, and Sketchup. Very powerful tool, but learning is a bear!!
RObert, I'd love to connect with you again at some point about training!
12/31 - I bit the bullet and purchased VW Landmark. I'm also working my way through the videos and feel it's going to be a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed. I was hoping to work through a small design that I have to do in VW, but have decided that I better just keep plugging through the videos until I feel I have a better grasp.
I also would love to connect with others about training. I'm a single person operation with no one to ask questions of. I did purchase the Service Select, which has already paid off. Service Select was worth doing in my opinion.
Thanks for reporting back Kathy.
If I were a student, I would be learning VWL and after a couple weeks I'd feel just fine drawing up a site plan and playing with site mods What makes things more complicated in the professional world is need for accuracy and file interoperability with other consultants. I've spoken with Robert before and he is very knowledgeable of VW. Shoot me an email through my website if you want and we can stay in touch.
I purchased VWL about five years ago. How are you doing with it now after over a year working with it? It took me a while to get it figured out but that's mostly because I am so busy running my own design/build and maintenance company and I'm a mom....just no time! Lately I've been doing one on one go to meetings with Eric Gibley, the VW main instructor. That has been very beneficial and not too terribly expensive. I am a service select member, too, and have found it worth the money as well. I don't live near Denver (the closest city where VW workshops are held) so the go to meetings are a great alternative, I can work on my questions directly, and I think at the end of the hour I've learned more than I would in the workshops.
Anyways, just wanted to connect with another VW user. I do think it's a great Mac based software specific to landscape design. I plan on doing more contract drafting work in the future.