I’ve been using Rhino and just a word of caution, it is primarily an industrial design 3D modeling program and I’ve found that it does not work well for large scale applications. It exceeds in designing small elements, which can then be exported into other programs that work better with land manipulation.
I think this conversation is great because for the past month I’ve also been trying to figure out what programs work best for Landscape Architects. I see CAD continuing as the industry standard but as firms begin to work in 3D and complex rendering programs I find myself a bit lost trying to figure out what programs work best for what I need. We often have to use programs that were not necessarily designed for what we are using them for and it can be frustrating. Anymore it seems like we need the following programs
1) Auto Cad to design in 2D
2) A 3D site land manipulation program
3) A 3D model building program for smaller site elements (like Rhino)
4) A rendering program (like V-Ray)
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Vector Works and it sounds like it may accomplish all the above items in one program, hope to give it a test drive soon.