August 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm #168279
Any owner of a small firm or recent graduate can understand that keeping up with technological trends in our profession can get expensive very quickly. The introduction of free versions of programs like SketchUp and the increased presence of Land F/X and Vectorworks in the marketplace has opened up a world of possibilities for many who desire to do more on a tighter budget. Since becoming one of many unemployed landscape architects, Adobe has released two upgrades to its $1500+ industry standard Creative Suite. Not that it isn’t worth every penny (if not more), but frankly, that’s almost enough to have to take a loan out for.
The amazing thing about SketchUp is that with it’s ruby scripting, it opened up a platform for a wide range of designers and developers to add amazing functionality to make a free program more than a toy to play with on the weekend. There is a groundswell of activity in the free/open-source GNU software arena producing high-quality work. I’m curious, how many of you are exploring alternatives to the status quo (AutoCAD, 3DMax, Adobe, ArcGIS), what have you found, and how happy have you been with the results?August 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm #168288Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
I like AutoCAD. I found VectorWorks to be counter intuitive and frustrating for even the simplest tasks. I.E. “How many clicks does it take to draw a line and choose what layer / line type it should be?” SketchUp is OK but it’s time consuming. I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to get the computer to do what I want it to do. I don’t have that problem I have with my hand. As a result, I’d rather draw most “3D” objects/perspectives, it’s faster and I usually only need one or two perspectives. I don’t usually need to spin/orbit/ fly around… it’s neat but not necessary.
Thank you for your post. It has motivated me to check out some of the free/open-source programs. While I’m used to AutoCAD, I do think it’s overkill for 99% of what we do. What free/ open source programs do you recommend?August 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm #168287
Like most people, I’ve been exposed to AutoCAD, Adobe CS, and SketchUp. I really didn’t start getting into 3D until after I became unemployed 1 1/2 years ago and wasn’t CAD jockeying all-day. Knowing how competitive the job market is, I’ve been trying to expand my skills. I’ve taken a cursory look into Vectorworks. I think I need more time with it before I buy into it. I’m still giving SketchUp a shot while using Kerkythea for Photo-realism. GIS, I’ve only scraped the surface with MicroDEM and GRASS (listedon the ASLA website). The most recent I’ve been exploring is that of Photoshop alternatives based on the link below:August 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm #168286
What would you say were the biggest short-comings to GIMP and Inkscape? I also swallowed the AutoCAD pill while in college and think I will be in that boat for a while.August 16, 2010 at 12:20 am #168285Eric GilbeyParticipant
John, I saw your post when you first placed it and was very curious to see where the discussion went. I transitioned from AutoCAD almost 3 years ago (after 12 years of using it), and began using Vectorworks. One thing which I think makes the effort of transitioning from one method of CAD to another worthwhile is the training. Everyone has a different learning style, and certainly some people have the ability to pick up a program and run with it, finding their way via trial and error, while most really need some form of training…no matter what the program is. As you have found with SketchUp, there is a necessity to dig in more to master the program beyond just drafting. As people move away from general CAD programs, for whatever reason, they have to realize that these programs, that are more efficient and informative, do require a different approach… the time/effort invested in properly learning them is so worth it when the result is higher productivity and more to show (and report) from their new workflows.August 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm #168284
yeah, hi, i find the same issue, working on my own for now and using Autocad. Pshop and Sketchup. Thought i might try Vworks, but too expensive to just “try out”. same goes for Rhino, i wanted to try that out, too expensive.
so for now…. just staying with what we know and have, the top software companies probably like it that way..!August 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm #168283
may i ask what is Kerkythea use for? -cliffAugust 17, 2010 at 12:47 am #168282Wyatt Thompson, PLAParticipant
Kerkythea is a rendering plug-in for Sketchup to create photorealistic images from SU models.
http://www.kerkythea.net/August 17, 2010 at 1:30 am #168281
oh thank you, i was wondering about a rendering program for SUP…August 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm #168280
This one is currently free. There are several others that you can download a trial off the SketchUp downloads page. Also, if you’d like the opinion of a more experienced professional, Daniel Tal has a list of non-photo and photo-realistic renderers in the SketchUp group here on Land8.
If you give Kerkythea a try, I would highly recommend downloading and printing off their Getting Started Guide. It really makes sense of the user interface and other sometimes cryptic features. Also, browse the forums.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.