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Vectorworks Architect 2011

I've been using VWArchitect since the early 90's. I have a design-build business, so my CAD use is more sporadic than most full-time designers. I tend to design one project at a time, then build it, then design the next one. I originally chose VWArch because its solid modelling platform most resembled the process of creating a building out of solid objects (wood, fasteners, concrete, etc.). It also allowed me to model and render buildings and objects in a somewhat life-like way, which was a big plus in communicating with clients. Prior to VWA, I used first a pencil, and then Auto Cad (2D). Dollar for dollar, as a design-builder, VWA is the best and most useful tool in my arsenal.

Of the various upgrades over the years, 2011 is a huge one for me. There seem to be fewer changes than previous years, but every one is huge! The new push/pull tool has made sketchup completely irrelevant, and the enhanced 3D environment completely changed my working process into something more intuitive. Given that I do quite a bit of timber framing, my process pre-2011 was to draw all objects in 2d and extract them - occasionally checking 3D views to see how it was progressing. I now skip the 2d step, progress much faster, and make fewer mistakes. The new slab tool with its controls and options is an important one for me, as big of an upgrade as the wall controls were in 2010. Rendering keeps getting better and easier, though it seems to keep using more video capacity and prompted me to upgrade my hardware. I have a silly little complaint, I wish that 2011 had a different logo than 2010, as I have confused them and chosen the wrong application a few times.

Given the amount and complexity of tools that VW has added over the years, a crucial piece of the puzzle for me has been the tutorials, manuals, and movies from Jonathan Pickup of Archoncad. Though they are gradually getting better, I don't find the VW help files hugely helpful and Jonathan has gotten me back on track countless times. I would say that prior to finding him, I was only using VW at 15% of what I am now, and as long as I keep reading and watching his tutorials I'll eventually get much more competent and efficient. His VWArch manual is always next to me as I work.