2d/ 3d

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    I have been researching 2d/3d Landscape Programs for sometime.

    I am stumped on what to do. Before I started my landscape company 4 years ago, I drew custom homes with Autocad for several years. I downloaded a trial copy a couple of days ago and it was like riding a bike in that I had no probleming instantly drawing. Despite this it does seem like a “Landscape Specific” program such as Vectorworks, Realtime Landscape Architect, or Pro Landscape would be better suited to Landscape Design in the professional sense. Further complicating my decision is the fact that one of my biggest clients uses “Pool Studio” from Structure Studios. It is a Direct X based program. They are coming out with a landscape specific program that interacts with Pool Studio directly and am wondering if this program is the route to go to directly interface with them.

    My issues are;

    1. What is the most efficient way of drawing?

    2. I have to do 3d as my largest customer does, and I need to match what they do, so what is the best real 3d program?

    3. What is the most likely program to still be around, throught the recession, etc?

    4. do I just stick with hand drawing?

    5. Does anyone have any experience with any of the alternative programs like Design Cad 3d, TurboCad Pro 3d, etc?




    Thank you for the reply.

    Really good work by the way.

    I am still torn however on my decision. I agree that a 2d cad program with sketcup for the 3d should be fine. My issue is my largest client using Pool Studio and so I need to decide if I want to go with my own solution or if I should use Structure Studio’s (they make Pool Studio)new landscape program that would work great with my largest clients solution?


    The link for the Landscape Program the is like the pool program is here.



    Hi Jeffrey!

    I think that it all depends on what you think is best for your business! I personally would never cater the programs I use around another business! I give you that advice from personal bad experience! What if that company goes out of business? What if they stop using you for some reason? Then what?

    My advice to you would be to do what is best for your own business! If that means that you learn and use this 3D program that your pool company uses then that is a good decision for you! For me and my firm, we use programs that are universally recognized by Architects, Engineers, and the like! Our focus is on design and not building and that is where our businesses are different and so software programs are typically different…..

    I think you should, first and foremost, continue to do what works for you now and slowly incorporate new programs into your reportoire of tools you use to do great business and stay on the cutting edge and one step ahead…..

    My business is built around Sketchup, Hand Sketching and Rendering Techniques, and AutoCAD, LandFX, Photoshop, Iluustrator…..This is our core of programs…..That is not to say that we don’t learn new programs and progressively advance our skills to keep up with the latest technology and practices….That is one of our key goals and objectives: Being Innovative and staying ahead of the curve!

    That being said, let me reiterate the fact that you need to continue to do what is working for you and then incorporate programs that will help your business grow and not just learn a new program that one of your main clients just to continue doing business with them…..

    I have learned from experience to never put all your eggs in one basket…..

    Anyway, I am rambling and probably repeating myself now…..I am sure you will make the right decision…..

    Hopefully my comments will help you to at least have an outside perspective on what I perceive your situation to be……


    Have you dabbled in any other CAD program, like Turbocad or Vectorworks?

    The Autocad sticker price is steep!

    Clayton Munson

    I agree with Brandon, work with what you know and do what’s best for your business. I use AutoCAD, which gets me my base for design. On top of that I have added LandFX which is quickly growing to be a great landscape specific software. It does work with other cad type programs as well. And has added a conversion command which quickly translates all of your plants from CAD into SketchUP 3D. I then use sketchUP for any 3D work.

    I agree that the AutoCAD sticker is steep. But just like everyone else they are hurting for business as well, and are constantly putting out new promotions. Also after that initial payment for $400/yr you will receive every new release. At the rate they are releasing versions that’s been every year since at least 2005. All this goes for LandFX as well. You also get great tech support with both programs.

    Also look into the software that your clients are using and search for a program that is compatible with it. What formats does it export in? (DWG, DXF, and so forth)



    Thanks for the reply.

    Great advice.

    The file format the Vizterra uses is it own. It can import anything, but it “smashes” it into an image. All it can export is it sown format and any image format.

    It is a very flexible program, and is really professional. It simply is kingd of out there by itself.

    Do you use a workstation for Autocad and landfx?

    Clayton Munson

    I do use a workstation, that’s what the company provided. I prefer a desktop, it feels more comfortable to me. Usually has bigger screen, separate mouse, and tend to be faster when it comes to RAM and Processor, if it’s not it can be upgraded easier than a laptop. Laptops are great for their mobility but when working with a program like CAD that is so dependent a pointing device you would still have to have space to set up your laptop and have room for your mouse. PLUS I would prefer to leave my work at the office. Once you allow yourself to work at home it becomes hard to stop.

    I think the most important thing to look at when choosing a program is what formats the program is compatible with. If you start expanding your client base and work with architects and engineers you want to be able to easily pass files back and forth without losing data and information.

    Eric Gilbey

    Jeffrey, For about 12 years I used AutoCAD, and would have to say when I switched over to Vectorworks Landmark, I wished I had done so sooner. Specifically for the use of 3D. If you want to keep your project in one program from beginning to end and have high quality 3D rendered presentations, you should evaluate Vectorworks Landmark. A benefit of the 3D in Landmark is that the 3D objects created are informative and not unintelligent modeling. For one example, the site model (DTM) you create can actually be represented both 2D and 3D and can reflect existing and proposed changes and provide cut and fill calculations. The software has been around for over 20 years, so they aren’t going anywhere, and they do a great job importing/exporting files, including dxf/dwg files.

    Jacob Fellous

    Hi Jeff,

    As you know now, we recently started working with AutoDesk AutoCAD to make Pool Studio and VizTerra, our newest Landscape software fully intergratable with AutoCad. This feature is almost completed and will be made available with our next update. Should anyone have any questions about Pool Studio or VizTerra, let me know and I’ll be glad to help you any way I can. Thanks in advance!

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