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Ive tried google sketch, it was very confusing. maybe ill try it again if no one has any other suggestions. I looked into "Cad Pro" the website seemed exactly what i wanted, but user reviews are horrible.


If Sketchup is confusing you need to learn it before you move on to other programs.

I'm finishing 5 years of architecture school and they didn't teach us a single program. You have to sit down and force yourself through one program regardless of what it is. If you can't do that with sketchup then your out of luck.
 

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Oh I have a point, and it's this; Every time this question comes up on CT (and it does frequently), things settle out into two camps: The guys who are pro/semi-pro - and the guys who just want something better than what they can sketch on a notepad.

The guys who are pro/semi-pro ask "what's the big deal? You just pull up the ALT/F9 hit repository, browse over to rendered images, pull a convex linear dissuader on the b31996-lf chair, , blend it into the alpha stream and do a 3 point anchor referenced on the initial x/y minus the incline of the betamax and there's your patio set - here see how easy it is?" And of course they go right on ahead and demonstrate - and when they leave you are left looking at the screen and thinking "WAT THE F DID HE JUST SAY!?!?

If you already had some technical training on electronic CAD, it boils down to picking a system that not only works for you, but works for your archy & the trades.

If you are somebody who is getting into electronic CAD late in the game (over 20, never had drafting in high school/college) then just getting two lines to meet on the computer screen is daunting.

There's a huge fan base for Google Sketchup & Sketch because its free, there's a huge fan base (I know I already said that - but its why the software is so popular). However: it's just general purpose - it doesn't know anything about houses or skateboards. User supplied models help bridge that gap - but unless you have the time to troll those sites where all these bright young stars hang out - it too can be overwhelming.

The one advantage of the consumer grade software, is that you can be making boxes that sort of look like houses with roofs in 15 minutes. They got models, templates, examples - everything.

Your archy may sneer at you and maybe your plan can't be imported into somebody's multi-thousand dollar pro soft - but it may be just the ticket for printing out a quick idea of what a new patio and moving the door would look like.

The one advantage of a brand like Chief Architect (I'm not recommending - just pointing out) is their almost unlimited supply of how to videos plus all the ones people make and put up on You tube. Plus they have trial versions and starter editions.

So back to my original post; Those disks and dongle are stored in a box some place because I only have 24 hours in each day, and I'd rather be good at running my business than expert at drawing lines. I pay an architect, and pay dearly. But in exchange, I get somebody who does only that - and who has some skin in the game.

That's just what works for me. It's different for everybody.
All good points. :thumbsup:

I asked because I downloaded 3D Home Architect trial version from Broderbund years ago, and ended up buying it in the store. I kept it up to date through 4.0. ( I still have the boxed software in my office)
Version 5.0 as you pointed out was released by BH&G, and was a total re-write, not backwards compatible, and did not have the intuitive interface of the 3D Home that I had known.
Fast-forward 20 years and 3DHome 4.0 won't run on my new computer. I started looking around, and found the Home Designer series by Chief Architect. I downloaded the trial version, and it appeared that I had found 3DHome again. I was even able to import my 3Dhome files.:clap:

The basic version is 79.99, and in my opinion would be enough for 95% of the users on this site. Certainly a better option than Sketchup.

The best thing about the company is that you can absolutely try before you buy. You can draw a complete house, you just won't be able to save or print it. If you buy Home Designer Suite for $99 and decide at a later date that you wish you had the features of Architectural ($199), you can upgrade for the difference in price of the two products ($100).
I don't know of any other software company that does that. (I'm sure that there must be a time limit for the upgrade, I wouldn't expect them to upgrade a 2014 version of suite to a 2017 version of Architectural for $100).

I almost hate to see anyone recommend Sketchup because it is so limited compared to the home designer series. It's fine for some things, but if you are a career professional try the Home Architect series. I would be surprised if you ever looked back.

At the other extreme, I also have a problem with the recommendation of Chief Architect (CA). While CA is probably a great program for professionals, Most of aren't going to shell out $1800 to $2400 to draw a few houses now and then. It would be much better to suggest a cheaper version, and to let the user upgrade as their needs change.

I posted most of this in another thread, and the next time this question is ask, I will just link to this post. I do not work for, have stock in, or are in anyway affiliated with Chief Architect. I am however a fan of their Home Designer Series software, and the business model that they use to provide their products.
 

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If Sketchup is confusing you need to learn it before you move on to other programs.

I'm finishing 5 years of architecture school and they didn't teach us a single program. You have to sit down and force yourself through one program regardless of what it is. If you can't do that with sketchup then your out of luck.
I don't know. Sketch up was pretty confusing to me as well. I've been using SoftPlan since I was 16 or 17 and I'm glad I started on that and not sketchup (which obviously wasn't available at the time.)
 

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Design Build
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Sketchup does nothing for me.

I create plans for permit. I use CA to get a solid model. (I bought it over 15 months last year.) Then I export elevations, plans, sections, etc to DWG so I can "clean" things up to what I'm used to using AutoCAD.

I've used SoftPlan and SolidBuilder. Neither felt "normal" to me. Although, SolidBuilder did hand cut roofs and wall panels accurate like a framer would do it.

CA still feels a bit clunky to me when I'm trying to make my layouts exactly like I like. And in such, I can spot a CA set of plans a mile away. Also, any collaboration with others around here are mostly AutoCAD.

The one guy who was a CA phenom that I worked with, was on a PC and I was on a mac. CA has problems with plans and layouts created on macOS Chief then opened on Windows Chief. That ended our drawing collaboration.

Determine your end-state then map the best way to get there. Free is a consideration, but it shouldn't be the ONLY one.
 

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I've seen some really nice Construction Documents done in Sketchup Pro layout but it looked like a tremendous amount of work went into the model.

Having said that, as with any software, the more it's used the easier it is to use. We use it for modeling to show clients what's going on more clearly than 2d drawings and also use it for reference when doing plans. Once one uses it a bit it's easy to pop up a model and it comes in handy. Attached is a snap shot of it being used to help track solatubes down from the 3rd story to the lower two floors.

For submitting plans it's still a 2d world and AutoCADs hard to beat for speed once one is up and running on it.
 

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King of the beach.
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You just pull up the ALT/F9 hit repository, browse over to rendered images, pull a convex linear dissuader on the b31996-lf chair, , blend it into the alpha stream and do a 3 point anchor referenced on the initial x/y minus the incline of the betamax and there's your patio set - here see how easy it is?" And of course they go right on ahead and demonstrate - and when they leave you are left looking at the screen and thinking "WAT THE F DID HE JUST SAY!?!?
I can't believe I never thought of the whole alpha stream thing. That's money in the bank right there.
 

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whoa! so chief architect is like 2 grand? I guess since im just a builder remodel contractor scratching out a living (barely) Im looking for software that is better than sketchup but not 2 grand better. I dont do design or architecture for a living nor do I draft plans all day either. I just need something kinda like ever customer is now wanting cause of the television shows that has every option and design laid in computer so its easy to see their options beforehand.

I know that the shows are spending booku bucks to have those done up probably but its creating an expectation in the customers mind that i will be able to present them their options in the same way.


So.....what are the best bets do you think?
 

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i did just kinda peruse the chief architect website and saw it is indeed 2695.00 but......if its useable for years and years to come, like i could use it for the next five years pretty easily, and its fairly easy to learn and work with, it would be something I could use. And is it once you buy it you own it kinda deal, or do they keep squeezing you for extra money, like oh your software licenese expired please pay another 500 dollars to keep using the software you already bought. But it would take a good minute before i could scratch up 2700 bucks. in the mean time........
 

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whoa! so chief architect is like 2 grand? I guess since im just a builder remodel contractor scratching out a living (barely) Im looking for software that is better than sketchup but not 2 grand better. I dont do design or architecture for a living nor do I draft plans all day either. I just need something kinda like ever customer is now wanting cause of the television shows that has every option and design laid in computer so its easy to see their options beforehand.

I know that the shows are spending booku bucks to have those done up probably but its creating an expectation in the customers mind that i will be able to present them their options in the same way.


So.....what are the best bets do you think?
i did just kinda peruse the chief architect website and saw it is indeed 2695.00 but......if its useable for years and years to come, like i could use it for the next five years pretty easily, and its fairly easy to learn and work with, it would be something I could use. And is it once you buy it you own it kinda deal, or do they keep squeezing you for extra money, like oh your software licenese expired please pay another 500 dollars to keep using the software you already bought. But it would take a good minute before i could scratch up 2700 bucks. in the mean time........
You could start by reading the entire thread. No one can answer that question but you.

And no one has to shell out 2600 bucks for CA and the same holds true for some other design software.

Autodesk for example will let anyone download their entire product line. I think they even offer extended grace periods for laying with their software.

I kept a $200 Broderbund branded version of Chief Architect on my field laptop for years just because it was cheap and quick.

If I had the talent for it, I could have migrated to the fullblown Chief Architect - but I didn't - because I HAVE NO TALENT. Still, the toolsets and principles between the two are the same, meaning I didn't have to completely relearn the software.

Which you will come to find out is daunting.

Which is true for most of us lackeys. We think we do - we go spend the money, buy the expensive stuff thinking that premium will automagically flow thru our fingers and we'll be darn good overnight - but it just doesn't work that way.
 
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I did read the entire thread, if you mean this thread with 2 pages so far. I had follow up questions or was looking for follow up recommendations based off a simpler user. For example I probably wouldnt need to do a full set of plans more than likely. So thats why i posted.

But I am still looking into these software options and I appreciate all who took the time to point me in a better direction than my previous lost and wandering meander.

So am i to understand that Chief architect has various versions some of which might be less expensive? although probably also lacking in certain features i imagine.
 

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well......in what i fear might be becoming my trademark style of askin here first then delving into the software websites, i just clicked on the link posted above for the diy version of chief architect and did see the options are a lot less expensive for the diy style of software and they may be more in alignment with what i will be needing as a semi basic user. im 8 parts craftsman and 2 parts software and technology guy sooooo......

I might wait until my next project and do the trial run. or do you think it has a steep enough learning curve that i would be best to begin my tutelage now.
 

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I would start now because with the trial versions you cannot save your drawings or print. Also Home Designer Pro allows you to do full size construction drawings.
If you need to do roofs and renderings I would at least start with Home Designer Architect which I believe is $199.
 

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Good cad program

I use Chief Architect, AutoCAD LT and Revit Lt. I have primarily used Chief for years to produce my plans. The renderings are great and you can pump them out quickly! I recently have switched over to Revit because I have been working more closely with a local engineer on design work and he uses Revit. I rent my software from Autodesk for $65.00 a month, it sounds like a lot but I generally bill out substantially more than this for drafting work every month. For the $65.00 a month I get AutoCAD LT and Revit LT. Its a good way to go and your are not bound to any length of time, so if it doesn't you will know quickly and not be out a ton of money.
 
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