Let me give you my views and observations as an industry professional. Eighty percent of my job is drafting and/or working with CAD drawings. I’m going to take the previous posts and expand on them.
The three main programs that are used in the lighting industry are Vectorworks, WYSIWYG, and AutoCAD. Now, some people use other ones but most large lighting companies or freelancers are using those three in some combination. All three have their own advantages and honestly depends as always what your intentions are.
The company I work for uses Vectorworks as their primary CAD software and is also my personal favorite and the program I have the most experience and knowledge about. I am currently running version 12.5 with Renderworks on a MacBook Pro. I use it to not only build lighting plots but also build booth layouts and scenic elements. I know that we also use this program in our fabrication shop to assist in designing custom elements we build. The included symbols are not very realistic but I build my own symbols or get them from a co-worker. The Renderworks side of it is very useful but use ESP Vision for most renderings that are being sent to clients.
Lightwright is actually built into Vectorworks so really unless you REALLY like using lightwright as an independent program, there is no need to use it. Vectorworks can generate all of your paperwork though I have never used it because it’s useless to me. It seems to only be a widely used program in the theater world and not used is many other applications. I use the lightwright feature purely for labeling fixtures easily.
Another popular program is AutoCAD. Liked mentioned in previous posts, to use this program for lighting, you need to install a lot of plug-ins. This program seems to be used a lot by scenic designers and to be honest, I am constantly getting DWG files from scenic designers. Though the entertainment industry this is probably the most widely used program between lighting to scenic to costume design, etc. I have not used this program much but I know a few of our designers that send us their designs use AutoCAD. So it is being used by some of the top lighting designers.
There is also WYSIWYG. Now, I personally have not used WYSIWG in over 3 years. From what I have read, it seems that the latest release of WYSIWG is having a lot of issued and a lot of the hard-core users are complaining a lot of the program is developing. I do not know anyone who has used this for pre-viz. I’m not even sure if it’s possible but I have seen a few renderings and it seems to look fine but I know currently the render engine is having some issues. But I would read posts on the lighting network to see what users are saying about this program. I’ll have to ask around and see what my friends think of this program.
So, here is a brief start to a discussion that I would love to have and get input from others. I can elaborate anything you wish. I did not want to make this post to long, though I think it’s to late.☺
I'm sure I forgot to include some thoughts but I hope you might spark some thoughts for me to post on.
So, ask any questions you might have. I would be more then willing to discuss anything you wish.