It's difficult to rate this software objectively, as I have grown with it over the course of many years. I first began using it when it was just MiniCad 2.5 and upgraded every two or three years since. As a lighting design professional and university educator, I have never found a package more useful for entertainment industries. Nemetschek's thoughtful development of industry specific design software has been spot(light) on.
It's definitely expensive, but It's the industry standard for a reason. It's rock solid and can be used for very simple diagrams to very complicated set & lighting designs.
I recently received my copy of Vectorworks Designer 2010. It contains Vectorworks: fundamentals, architect, renderworks, landmark, spotlight, and machine design.
I've been using this software since it was mini-cad, sometime around 1997 or so. Before VW, I used auto cad, sketchup, and chief architect.
In general I've found VW to be the most practical, full featured, and easy to use design software available. The price is also the most competitive in it's class.
I have had mixed feelings and mixed results about upgrading over the years, some upgrades seem to take lots of time to learn, with small results.
Other upgrades have yielded big results with little pain. 2010 has been huge results with almost no pain! I'll digress to the early days of mini-cad.
The first few upgrades came with nice, easy to follow manuals, and good tutorial cd's for a modest price. After a few upgrades, no more books! I complained and was told
that it was a decision aimed at saving trees, how could I argue with that? I have to admit that one aspect of VW software that has consistantly left me underwhelmed
has been the help files. In 12 odd years of using the software, I don't know that I've ever learned anything from the help files, or even found the right file for any issue.
However, that's the only part of VW that I haven't loved - they've more than made up for it in every other detail and about a year ago I solved the help thing.
A year or two ago I easily tripled my use and efficiency of VW by the addition of the manuals, podcasts, video files and personal help of Jonathan Pickup of Archoncad in New Zealand.
He offers invaluable advice and materials to maximize the value of the software, as well as being very pleasant to relate to. I basically use Jonathan's books instead of help files -
they sit next to my computer. Before I even installed 2010, I bought and watched everything he has produced about it and thus the transition was seamless.
2010 is really amazing! The features t...
I have used AutoCAD for over 10 years along with various other packages (Microstation and ArchiCAD just to name a few) and I must say that I was rather worried that I was too embedded into AutoCAD before purchasing Vectorworks DESIGNER. However, as soon as I got this package into my hands and installed it, I realized that it was beyond anything I have ever imagined. It's user-friendly, customizable, easy-to-use, and best of all, they don't force you to upgrade! It has flawless DXF/DWG translation so you can still use this package with others who use AutoCAD - this package will allow you to do so many more things than any other package will allow you to do. The 3D features and Rendering capabilities are incredible and just phenomenal. You must try it.