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Contemporary Villa Design

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Background: I have used AutoCAD for years now and just in the last coupleof years have started doing residential landscape designs (I'll do 50-60this year, each taking me about 10 hours, each project costs $20,000-$40,000installed, they're complete new home landscaping, not huge, but not tinyeither).Looking for a way to increase my productivity I looked into a lot ofdifferent landscape programs (LandCADD, DynaScape, Landscape Illustrator,LandARCH etc.). Since landscapes are only about 15% of my work I waslooking for something that would either work like AutoCAD or run inside ofAutoCAD so that I didn't have a steep learning curve.DynaScape: Not bad from what little I've seen but it's a stand-aloneprogram that operates quite a bit differently than AutoCAD. I never found ademo version to try out and I wasn't willing to invest the time intolearning a completely new program so I crossed it off my list prettyquickly. If you don't know any software now, and are going to have to learnwhatever you go with from square one, I'd recommend looking at this, whatI've seen looks very impressive.Landscape Illustrator: I spent a couple of hours playing with this program.It's very basic (and IMHO total crap). It's like using 3D home (or simuliar$30 CAD program to design a $800,000 custom home - Completely unprofessionallooking output and very limited software).LandARCH 2001: This is an add-on to AutoCAD. I liked the fact that thisallowed me to use software/commands I'm familiar with (AutoCAD) while stilladding some landscape specific functions. I don't know if this will workwith AutoCAD LT (I run AutoCAD R14 and Architectural Desktop 3i) but it'ssomething to look into.LandCADD: While some say this is the "Grandaddy of landscape software" Iwas completely disappointed with it. It appeared to have the most promiseof the different programs I looked at (runs inside of AutoCAD or as astand-alone, Quantity Take-off features, Hand-drawn look to prints etc.) butit didn't turn out that way. 1. There's the software's shaky history/future (I first used Arch-Tback when it was owned by Ketiv, then EaglePoint and now Digital Canal) Iwas of course concerned that LandCADD's future would be as unknown as theother EaglePoint products. 2. The lack of knowledgable people to ask questions of wasunbelievable. I'm still amazed that a company selling software couldn'tanswer (what I feel are) basic questions about what they're selling. 3. Lack of a demo version. The saleperson told me there's no demo, theMarketing Director told me there's no demo, the Lead Engineer told methere's no demo, then when I tell them I'm no longer interested in theirproducts they all of the sudden offer to send me a demo? They have a CD youcan have sent to you but it contains nothing more than the "videos" that areon their website. IMO you can't accurately make a purchasing decision bywatching a video of someone else using the software. They also offer anonline seminar which I was never able to attend (if you try to attend itmake sure you register way in advance because the deadline for registeringlisted on the website is incorrect. I registered but never got the requiredlogin information until after the seminar). The online seminar allows youto watch one of their software engineers use the software while you (and abunch of other people on a conference call) ask questions. This is nosubstitute for actually using the software. Sure it has a plant database,but does it have the plants you'll be using? Make sure you look at anysoftware purchase thoroughly. (Landscape Illustrator for instance has "handdrawn" looking plant symbols and that impressed me until I tried thesoftware and found out that the 10-12 hand drawn symbols on their website isall that there are. Sure you can probably make more, but how much time isthat going to add? 4. Don't expect support. Their newsgroup forums are pretty useless(maybe 4 new threads each month) there's just not the user community thatthere is for other software programs. When I called EaglePoint directly toask questions they kick you to your area salepersons voicemail (I don'tthink the salepeople actually work in the office so be prepared to leave amessage and wait for them to call you back). Then when the salespersoncalled me back they weren't able to answer 2 of my 4 (IMO) basic questions.I finally got the Marketing Director on the phone that thinking that I'dfinally get my questions answered but although he was nice and polite, hedidn't know the answers either. He had the Lead Software Engineer call mewho was able to answer most of my questions (though still not all). 5. Pricing. Make sure you don't pay retail. It's amazing how the moredisappointed I became with LandCADDs software, the lower the price went.Summary: Everything that I found of value with LandCADD (quantity take-off,plant database, hatching etc.) can be done with AutoCAD just by customizingit a little (I'm not familiar with LT so it might not be able to do it all,but full AutoCAD can). Whatever you decide, try it before you buy, don'twatch someone else do it (they may be able to hide the softwares faults, youneed to play with it yourself to see what does and doesn't work the way youwant it to). The best thing would be to try the software out on an actualproject or two, this will allow you to see what is good and bad about itbefore you buy it.At this point with your situation I'd be leaning towards AutoCAD LT (nosymbols libraries, you can download more than enough from the web for free)and maybe an add-on Quantity Take-Off module (i.e. Dotsoft makes some goodstuff). I've found that generating a Materials List (Quantity Take-Off) canwaste a lot of time if not automated in some way.HTH,Michael"sconn" wrote in messagenews:fAzy8.22601$


Another software to consider is Nemetchek's Landmark, a new sport of Minicad/Vectorworks. Much more complex, harder to learn and use, but is more full featured.Why not ACAD or its siblings? The ugly learning curve, the need for support(ha,ha), cumbersome and ungainly. I don't know any landscape architects who use it except those who feel they must because their major clients(architects) use it or because of some ill-conceived notion that it is some sort of standard.Splish,splash,back in the water

AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT are available for English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian (also through additional language packs).[16] The extent of localization varies from full translation of the product to documentation only. The AutoCAD command set is localized as a part of the software localization.

AutoCAD LT is the lower-cost version of AutoCAD, with reduced capabilities, first released in November 1993. Autodesk developed AutoCAD LT to have an entry-level CAD package to compete in the lower price level. Priced at $495, it became the first AutoCAD product priced below $1000. It was sold directly by Autodesk and in computer stores unlike the full version of AutoCAD, which must be purchased from official Autodesk dealers. AutoCAD LT 2015 introduced Desktop Subscription service from $360 per year; as of 2018, three subscription plans were available, from $50 a month to a 3-year, $1170 license.

AutoCAD is licensed, for free, to students, educators, and educational institutions, with a 12-month renewable license available. Licenses acquired before March 25, 2020 were a 36-month license, with its last renovation on March 24, 2020.[27] The student version of AutoCAD is functionally identical to the full commercial version, with one exception: DWG files created or edited by a student version have an internal bit-flag set (the "educational flag"). When such a DWG file is printed by any version of AutoCAD (commercial or student) older than AutoCAD 2014 SP1 or AutoCAD 2019 and newer, the output includes a plot stamp/banner on all four sides. Objects created in the Student Version cannot be used for commercial use. Student Version objects "infect" a commercial version DWG file if they are imported in versions older than AutoCAD 2015 or newer than AutoCAD 2018.[28]

Autodesk stopped supporting Apple's Macintosh computers in 1994. Over the next several years, no compatible versions for the Mac were released. In 2010 Autodesk announced that it would once again support Apple's Mac OS X software in the future.[30] Most of the features found in the 2012 Windows version can be found in the 2012 Mac version. The main difference is the user interface and layout of the program. The interface is designed so that users who are already familiar with Apple's macOS software will find it similar to other Mac applications.[22] Autodesk has also built-in various features in order to take full advantage of Apple's Trackpad capabilities as well as the full-screen mode in Apple's OS X Lion.[21][22] AutoCAD 2012 for Mac supports both the editing and saving of files in DWG formatting that will allow the file to be compatible with other platforms besides macOS.[21] AutoCAD 2019 for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) or later.

AutoCAD LT 2013 was available through the Mac App Store for $899.99. The full-featured version of AutoCAD 2013 for Mac, however, wasn't available through the Mac App Store due to the price limit of $999 set by Apple. AutoCAD 2014 for Mac was available for purchase from Autodesk's web site for $4,195 and AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac for $1,200, or from an Autodesk authorized reseller.[30] The latest version available

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