September 30, 2009 at 4:22 am #172837
brand new to Land8. I am a proficient user of CAD for over 10 years. I recently began my practice and evaluated numerous CAD alternatives. I consider myself pretty software saavy and a quick learner. Saw Vectorworks 09 ad and decided to give it a try. All I read is how “easy” and “quick” this software is. Even read it in numerous forums here today. I am on 60 days and counting and I have never used a more frustrating and difficult product. Am I the only one who struggled with the switch? I would love to hear some good detailed feedback about others experience. I purchased after the 30 day trial thinking things would begin to click, but its has yet to do so…..September 30, 2009 at 7:42 am #172845
i have trained several people to use Vectorworks. You have to stop trying to use Vectorworks like another program, try to learn the basic concepts. I have a quickstart guide that might help, http://www.archoncad.com/quickstart-guides.html.September 30, 2009 at 7:46 am #172844
here is a quickstart for everyone, just make sure you open it with Adobe Acrobat reader.September 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm #172843
I understand that all software comes with a learning curve. SU for instance boasts a short curve, to which in my experience I would agree. And it was totally different from CAD as well. I am curious as to other’s experience to the switch. Tried it, but went back to CAD/LFX? Jumped right in and never looked back? Struggled for months but finally feel proficient? In these snippets I have yet to read anyones struggle with the switch. Mine is more of a struggle with Intermediate tasks: fillet of 2 curves, extending an arc to another arc, efficient timming of lines, not having to match prop the plant tags each time I create a new plant ,etc.September 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm #172842
Quick thanks to Jonathan for the quickstart pdf and the responses from guys at Nemetchek. I was given some good encouragement by some of their guys as to others in their client base that has gone thru similar growing pains, as well as some help thru some of the intermediate level issues I was facing. No doubt they have a great focus on customer service.October 1, 2009 at 11:44 am #172841
As you look down the line of Autodesk huge list of products, features for landscape architects dont seem to be a consideration. LandFX came about ($1800 add on) and it does a great job. I feel that if you are using CAD as an LA and dont have LFX, your losing a ton of production time. I would need more than LT for CAD which pushes the $ up a bit. LFX also adds onto BricsCAD ($500). Throw in Photoshop or Illustrator ($600ish) to render and Sketchup ($500 – they are eliminating CAD import on the free version) and now your talking some good cash just for one seat. Vectorworks seems to have all of those in one package for $1700-2200 and a large user base/support. Their marketing sells itself, and it sold me. However, initial research prior to and after purchase showed a lot of comments in forums and testimonials claiming it “easy to learn”, etc.. After a few months, I havent found the switch quite as easy and was curious as to the experience of other users who either switched with ease, struggled thru the switch with victory, or tried but went back to CAD.October 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm #172840Eric GilbeyParticipant
Andrew, In talking to more and more landscape architects each day who have similar years of experience in AutoCAD or other general CAD programs, the idea of switching is definitely a pain point…though the pain of the expense in maintaining AutoCAD and any other add-ons are causing them to weigh the pain points…to switch or to stay put. Smaller firms seem to make this choice to switch more easily, because the ability to move a handful or less stations over to a program like Vectorworks Landmark involves a smaller upheaval than what a 20+ station firm would incur. What makes them decide to switch is the landscape specific design elements, the ability to work in 2D/3D at the same time, the ability to integrate SIM (Site Information Modeling), and the ability to go from start to finish within one program versus 4-5. I can vouch that the leap to Vectorworks from AutoCAD is a leap, and as you mention the landscape specific design tools eventually make it worth the jump…for productivity sake, and usability. The start-up is just as challenging for an AutoCAD user making the switch to Vectorworks as it would be for a hand-drawer jumping into CAD. Taking on a new workflow that seems to be very time consuming at the start, will turn into a more efficient workflow that saves them time and frustration in the future…imagine if you would have to put away your CAD tools and do it all by hand again…you would know for sure that the efficiencies of your current CAD workflow are huge compared to hand-drawing…but the point of making that switch is where it seems most difficult…once your past it, your off to being more efficient and wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner. I recommend making the transition as gently as you feel comfortable…keep the other program running while you get to know the new one…its always best to get your toes wet first before jumping all in.October 2, 2009 at 6:58 pm #172839Matt SprouseParticipant
I appreciate all the discussion on this topic. I have a 5 person landscape architecture firm, and I have run AutoCad exclusively for 15 years. I’m almost embarrassed to say that my first version of Autocad was MS DOS based! I move in and out of frustration with AutoCAD. It is a program originally designed to draw engineered mechanical parts that, over the years, has been modified by Autodesk and its users to their individual professions. That said, only until recent years have there been quality overlay products available that really help with the day-to-day drafting use for landscape architects (years ago, we just wrote our own LSP routines).
I am now exploring taking my firm in a new direction. Any change is hard; but, if you look at the growing trend of software and what people are beginning to create in free programs like Sketch up, you begin to see that traditional design firms could get left in technological dust if they aren’t careful. We are also a multi-OS office. My partner and I run on Macs while the staff still draft on PCs. Autocad has never (and I believe will never) write their program for Macs, which is a shame.
I am very interested in what Vectorworks has to offer in its 2010 version of Landmark. For the cost of one seat of Autocad and Land F/X, you can by almost 3 seats of Vecorworks and have the same functionality.
On top of that, my staff (that has been reduced due to the economy) is very excited about the change. They are all old command-typing, space bar-using Autocad veterans, but the idea of coming out on the the other side of the recession with new skills and tools is attractive.
For me, it’s about the big picture and having an advantage over my competition.October 2, 2009 at 10:44 pm #172838
Matt, when you make the change get good training. your investment in training will pay for itself in productivity many times over.
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