Forum Replies Created
December 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm #152235
Having just returned from the ASLA Expo, and our customer appreciation party there, I can relay the vastly common sentiment among our users, is that the Land F/X experience is like no other — the service, the quality of product, the response time, and so on.
Go ahead and grab a trial of Land F/X, and I’m fairly certain you’ll appreciate the robust connection to SketchUp, the ease of plant labeling, you name it.
Though we are a small company, we have been doubling each year, while still maintaining an incredibly personal user experience. Call our main number, get right through to someone who can answer your questions and even show you the software, and browse our vast free training resources on the web site.
Should you end up hiring, you’ll find an ample supply of skilled students at the University of Idaho.
Have a great day!
–JSeptember 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm #152502
I’m the CEO and Developer for Land F/X.
Being on a Mac certainly does put you in a spot in terms of just testing our software, as you would at a minimum need to purchase Parallels and a license of Windows.
However, we have an all Mac office here, and Parallels allows us to run AutoCAD, as well as some other PC-based software such as Quickbooks, which is superior to the Mac version.
Your Adobe software and Sketchup will still continue to run on the Mac side. And in fact, that’s a key point — we feel that Sketchup is an ideal 3D interface for landscape architecture, and Land F/X will link Sketchup with AutoCAD (or our branded version F/X CAD). Also if you are going to be doing Irrigation Design, there really is no comparison to Vectorworks or any other software, we have reached the point where 15 years of development have left us with the hard-fought victory of having the best irrigation design software in the world. Planting and Hardscape are still key features, with Land F/X used by many, many firms for such purposes, we just still have some very capable competition keeping us on our toes.
I don’t want to speak for Vectorworks too much, but will just say that it definitely is a nice piece of software, and for those who do not have to be using AutoCAD or Sketchup it really is nice having that integrated 2D and 3D capability in one piece of software.
But I’d recommend you take a look at both web sites, and compare the free training resources. Also, call the number on our web site, and ask to speak with a technician. We pride ourselves on the level of service we provide. We’d even be quite happy to give you a quick web-based demonstration of the software, to make sure it will work for you.
One last point, is that your new Mac should (ideally) last you a good five years. Over those five years, software such as Land F/X, GIS, Quickbooks and others will certainly be ported to having a native Mac platform. But in the meantime, having Parallels gives you the best of both worlds, all from the much easier Mac platform.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 9:02 pm #153134
Well said x2.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm #153137
It just all depends on how you want to define “BIM”.
In the world I deal in, our clients need results. They do not care if it satisfies some made-up term, or uses Proxy Objects or Cloud Services, or any other particular buzzword of the day. They need to get plans done, have the quantities correct, have the plan accurate, and interface with other disciplines.
It sounds like you have a philosophical objection to utilizing an add-on, which is tilting your perspective.
It’s all just software. Anything Revit can do, AutoCAD could be made to do. Lines of code can cause any desired result.
Anyway, we’ll be at the Landscape London show in September, hopefully you can stop by our booth and see what we offer.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm #153139
The BIM portion you are referring to is done in SketchUp, and can be exported to open file formats (IFC, Cobie, etc.).
I am well aware of the capabilities of the software you keep referring to, yet you are apparently ignorant of the capabilities of our software. So I don’t see where this discussion can lead.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm #153142
Again, from the UK BIM Task Force directly:
“little of direct relevance to landscape yet”.
And actually, rootball clashes is the number one request from our users in terms of clash detection.
I get that you like BIM, that’s great. Let’s just agree to disagree on how well it works for LA. Right now I have to get back to work.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm #153144
We stick with standard AutoCAD objects, so the resultant dwg file can be opened by anybody, does not require additional libraries to view, modify, print, etc.
This is called Event-driven development, in contrast to Object-driven. So only when using our tools do the “objects” in the drawing have intelligence. Our object types are Plants (Tree, Shrub, Ground Cover, Shrub Area), Irrigation (Head, Valve, Auxiliary, Pipe), Site (Notation, Object, Length, Area, Volume), and some other miscellaneous ones.
We began as a father and son team working out of a garage over a decade ago. We now serve over 1,000 Landscape Architecture firms in over 30 countries (and we’ve long since moved out of the garage). It’s always been by landscape architects, for landscape architects. So a buzzword invented by Autodesk has never had much traction with us. We work with practicalities, making software that works for our industry.
As for “our own” software — by adding onto AutoCAD and SketchUp, we are able to capitalize off of these industry standard platforms, and just focus on the features for our industry. I feel it ends up being a win-win, rather than having to engineer a CAD program and 3D visualization software.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm #153146
I don’t want to get drawn into an argument on the subject, but I feel pretty strongly that “BIM” as it is thrown around doesn’t fit very well at all for Landscape Architecture. Consider particularly:
– a database of Manufacturers and Model numbers, with warranty information, fire code validation, etc. — this does not apply to landscape at all, are we seriously to use BIM software to log the Nursery and Stock Number of each plant?
– A full BIM implementation has a promise of streamlining and easing building codes, permits, fire codes, you name it. Meanwhile, a property owner does not apply for a permit to change out plant material, and this will (hopefully) never be the case.
There are of course overlaps. But the long and short of it is that landscape and irrigation are, in terms of comparison to BIM, the equivalent of the light bulbs in the building — there is no need to log the make and model, no need to log when they are changed, etc. With hardscape there is of course more direct correlation, but I still don’t see a BIM guideline for the mix of backfill.
It certainly would be “nice” if there was some super intelligent 3D live interface that all the various disciplines could use during the design process, cross-checking plant rootballs against building footings and irrigation lines. Is that a necessity? No. Is it practical, to have every plant rootball and irrigation line drawn exactly as they will be installed? No. Can we move towards this goal? Heck yes. What is the best software for that? I think the answer to this is clearly SketchUp, but there’s certainly plenty of varying opinions on it.
But I think the most relevant point, in regards to this thread, is that the UK BIM Task Force, does not really relate to site and landscape. So it is particularly cases like that that tend to soil the term “BIM”, hence why I particularly don’t like it, and would prefer a better term that does actually apply to Landscape Architecture.
–JMarch 12, 2014 at 5:09 pm #153148
Why don’t you try out Land F/X? 😉
We’ve been doing BIM for Landscape Architects for eight years now.
We personally don’t like the term “BIM”, as it by definition doesn’t apply to Landscape Architecture.
–JFebruary 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm #153153
I had some email correspondence with some of the BIM Task Force in the UK.
I felt that one of the most important points to stress regarding Level 2 compliancy was this:
“A quick review shows little of direct relevance to landscape yet”.
In terms of attempting to actually satisfy Level 2 requirements, that would require generating a BIM spreadsheet, ideally a COBie file, but note that a plant would be a BuildingElementProxy — essentially a nothing.
If your internal team is using Revit, then I would offer your best solution would be AutoCAD/SketchUp/LandFX.
Full disclosure, I am the developer for Land F/X, but working with hundreds of firms needing to satisfy BIM requirements does give me a bit of a perspective.
Civil3D will not offer you anything, other than an empty wallet.
–JNovember 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm #153597
First, if you have 2013, it’s not the full $4,200 to upgrade to the next year.
Although the changes from year to year will never be that stark, putting it off for a number of years will guarantee a large amount of downtime as you acclimate to the now dramatic changes. Staying back a few years is also going to make it more challenging for new hires, who typically have their experience with the most recent version.
As for 2014, probably the most striking new change you’ll notice is the realtime highlighting of objects as you draw a window or crossing selection. It’s pretty cool, intuitive, and saves times.
The Migrate Settings Wizard is optimized for pulling your settings from one version previous, Autodesk’s attempt to make upgrading each year as quick and seamless as possible.
–JJuly 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm #154428
It’s really unfortunate, but a few firms cling to this really inappropriate way to handle plotting.
Color based plotting works great for the AEC industry, and most firms use that, with CTB files to correlate a layer color to a plot thickness. It’s elegant and it works. Meanwhile, Named Plot Styles were developed for those in the Mechanical, Industrial, and 3D visualization industries. With an STB file, each layer can have a named plot style (like Fine, Bold, whatever you wish) or just a straight lineweight assignment.
It is clumsy, awkward, and slows the drafter down. But also takes no more to learn than a few minutes. Certainly compared to the countless hours that will be spent always going to the Layers dialog to see what a layer is assigned, as it’s color is now irrelevant.
But would also agree that it shouldn’t dissuade you from applying! I would be more concerned if they are hiring you to help them count plants.
–JJuly 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm #154479
That way you are mobile, and can have both Mac and PC environments.
–JJuly 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm #154640
The trend in the industry is towards more information, more accurate quantities, realtime cost take-offs, you name it. Firms are demanding it, clients are insisting on it. To tell a client you have no idea what the quantities are, and that they need to ask the contractor, inevitably means you will be value-engineering the project. I just got off the phone with a firm who is working on assimilating all of the design information from several different softwares, into an ability for a project manager to make advanced cost estimation decisions. That sort of bleeding-edge capability just screams of the future to me.
But let’s also not forget the classic reason to have accurate quantities for every plant massing — that’s so the contractor knows how many plants go in that one area, and then it lets you know how many plants are *supposed* to be in that area, as well as the client. That formula from your spacing chart can be integrated into a toolbar button for labeling, and guarantee accurate plans. Labeling planting plans is no different than dimensioning details, it’s all part of accurate and complete construction documentation.
–JJune 27, 2013 at 8:02 pm #154646
I’ve only seen a couple of vaguely usable techniques.
One was to place the Cross hatch in the area, then explode the hatch and use the intersections as snap points for the blocks.
The other was to offset the polyline inward, and use those concentric polylines with the Measure command.
But both of these run the risk of wildly overlapping plants — the former at the edges, and the latter in the interior.
When you say it requires a lot of adjusting, you’re not kidding. But you’re using the equivalent of millions, if not billions, of lines of code, perceiving geometric shapes and their relative distances to each other. It’s a bit of a challenge to translate that into computer code. The only way a computer could approximate that, would be to keep “nudging” individual symbols, attempting to minimize the wasted space. The end result might look fantastic, but it might well sit there chugging for many minutes for a fairly typically shaped area.
I’ve been experimenting with something that is a little of both — basically, give the user a control panel to more easily adjust them, taking ownership of that “nudging” process. Or as I’ve been thinking of it, similar to shaking an irregular piece of tupperware filled with marbles.