Help to find cheap design programmes

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GRAPHICS Help to find cheap design programmes

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    Stephen Lovering

    Hey Guys

    I am in a position where I need to purchase Photoshop and AutoCAD for my desktop computer. I have just seen how much these programmes cost and its mind blowing that anyone other than a firm could contemplate buying a copy. Does anyone know of any way to get these programmes for free/cheap?


    Any suggestions would be great



    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I use AutoCAD LT which costs about $900.

    There are many Intellicad programs out there which are full ACAD clones that run around $300.


    there are free photoimaging programs like or Gimp, but they are not the same as photoshop – maybe good enouh for what you want to do or maybe not.



    In response to illegal bootleging, Adobe has moved to monthly subscription service for their latest suite. It’s not a bad option because you can bill the cost to your client… I think Photoshop costs like 60 bucks a month. I wouldn’t doubt if Autocad moved to a monthly subscription as well in the near future.

    Stephen Lovering

    Cheers guys

    Robert Anderson


    Not sure if you feel you need to buy AutoCAD specifically or that’s what you are familiar with but I would suggest that you look into Vectorworks Landmark. As someone who started out on my own I evaluated all that you did and made the move away from AutoCAD and have been very happy with the results. VW Landmark gives you 3d along with site planning, grading, and planting design all at a fraction compared to AutoCAD and the needed add-on to get these features.

    Best of luck and please write back if you have any questions.

    Stephen Lovering

    Hey Robert

    How much of a transition is this to VW? I am not that proficient in AutoCAD anyway and to be honest hate the programme so that would not be a big deal, i am very proficient in Sketchup and Photoshop though and i am thinking that if this VW is a 3d software it will make my sketchup skills obsolete!

    Also how do you find working with Engineers/Architects etc who for the most part use AutoCAD?

    Thanks for the input!

    Tosh K

    Just buy a version or two older (in the case of AutoCAD the file version change is only every 3 yrs ’04, ’07, ’10, ’13; in Adobe’s case it differs), it seems like half the time I have to save down for a consultant anyway.  And if the client is in Revit, they have to save out the files into AutoCAD anyway.

    AutoCAD and Adobe have gone to subscription (both may get rid of the buy-to-own) their reasoning being they can do updates on the go w/o waiting for releases.  There’s a good chance SketchUp will as well.

    Mitch Howard


    Here is a link to the Vectorworks folks. They do free webinars on a regular basis. This link is for a VW Landmark Demo that should be a good look at the basics. If you join the newsletter, you also get free access to a wealth of past demos. Well worth the time.

    Good luck.

    Robert Anderson


    In one of my most recent clients we found that if the staff was familiar with Illustrator or Indesign they liked the user interface better than AutoCAD and these individuals learned more quickly. The biggest challenge is the difference in use of the command line in AutoCAD. If you are like me and you solely used the command prompts there was a challenge with finding the right command.

    As for the cooperating with Engineers and Architects it is a mixed bag. Just as with other Firms that have moved to Revit we have asked these firms to export DWG files. This has not been an issue to date. The only added demand on you will be having to export to DWG for them to use. This is a simple one click command and we have not heard of any issues on there end.

    Best of luck on your endeavors.

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