Vectorworks Trial?


Well-Known Member
>Is there just not a trial of Vectorworks Spotlight around? It looks more powerful than WYSIWYG in the pictures, on the design side at least, but, I'm not buying it without a trial. For that matter, what's Vectorworks run? They don't seem to have prices either. <

I don't think they have a demo version. VW with Spotlight runs $1295 US, but that's list on the VW website, it's cheaper through authorized dealers and MUCH cheaper if used in an educational enviroment.

>Has anyone here used both? Thoughts?

There's been a few posts from folks who use both, but in general, the consensus seems to be that VW is a better CAD program, in that it has better CAD features, including the ability to be used for purposes other then basic light plot drawings. I use mine a good bit for generic draftings of lighting system renovations. Our Production Manager does stage event layouts, etc...

WYSIWYG is geared mostly to lighting, with fewer CAD features and uses, but much better visualization capabliities.

>I am looking at an ETC Express desk, which would make WYSIWYG a lot more useful.

WYSIWYG is of no real use to you as any kind of link to the Express, unless you upgrade the Express to an Emphasis system. There have been other posts on the lighting forums about Emphasis.

The ETC website -, as well as the Vectorworks website - have good information concerning prices (on VW) and features of both.

Steve B.


Active Member
Somewhere on this site I have talked about WYSIWYG and Vectorworks. I don't know who else has experience with either of these programs on this sit but I personally have used both and prefer Venctorworks without the renderworks.
There is an evaluation version available, however I can't find it on their website. I would contact their sales department for demo version. their email is sales(at)nemetschek(dot)net. That said, I have been using Vectorworks since Version 9 and recently upgraded to Version 11, though I haven't used it much as I am finishing up a major project in version 10.5. It is a very powerful program, with a wide range of what you can do. Everything from 2d drawings to full 3d modeling with simulated, focused light beams and atmospheric effects (fog haze rain snow, etc) are possible. About the only thing you can't do is hook it up to a console and previsualize. Additionally, unlike with Wysiwyg, if you need to do technical drawings for some scenery, lighting postions, etc., you can do it in the same program. It also includes the ability to import and export Autocad files, something that has been noticeably been improving, and in v.11, it seems to be quite good. One final thing worth mentioning is it's ability to export files to Lightwright. I could go on and on, but all in all, it's a very powerful piece of software. Hope this helps!


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Interesting and thanks. I was under the impression that you could export your vectorworks design and cues to a light board for pre-done cues. The designers are also doing all of this in combination with the Catalyst system. Granted we also use Vector Works and Lite Write in combination with that program and I don't do computer design at work. Somehow I do know that between the live 3d show playing on the projection screen in sync to the music and the light board, the cues are the same. Perhaps it's a combination of a few programs importing and exporting that's the key. Drafting the stage set might be done in AutoCadd, Vectorworks for the lighting plot, Lite Write for the paperwork along with a Word fill in the blanks request of gear sheet, and Vector Works to watch the show in the live 3D. After that, there is another program out there that does photographic like 3D images for the client to see.

Have copies of some of the above programs and Auto Cadd for home use, never installed them yet. One of these days I'll get around to it thus understand what does what. Until than, autocadd release about 9 was what I last worked with.


Active Member
I called the Vectorworks people for a demo, and the guy told me that their trial doesn;t include spotlight or renderworks. Instead, he recommended I float the money for a copy, and if I'm not satisfied in 90 days I can give it back and get the money back.

I'd rahter get Vectorworks if I'm going to get an LX CAD program b/c of the drafting capabilities, but, I don't like their idea of a trial.


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
You get what you pay for. You can even get free kitchen design software that will even fill in your wall paper for rendering purposes - as long as your wall paper fits witin about 12 catatgories of it in style.

Used to be that you could buy Gerenic Cadd as an alternative to Auto Cadd, and other DOS based systems as alternatives to Auto Cadd itself. With work you could even draft up shows on Genaric Cadd, it would take a huge amount of work to do so however but could be done at less a price. Spend $30.00 and you might even be able to get a even less advanced drafting program to draft with.

On the other hand it has ever been known that a free sample is just that free and especially sample. Just enough to wet your interest, not enough to be all you will need to get the project done otherwise where is the profit? I probably still have long lost free samples for programs like Design Cadd and other versions of it. Nice, but useless in the free version in the end. Perhaps just enough to get you used to the operating system in order for you to really want to invest the money later. Same with free trials of drafting programs. Get you used to it than you have the choice of either sending it back and starting over with something else now that you are used to it, or paying for it.

Vectorworks given a student discount might be a good investment for lighting. Once you have that drafting program down you can go to other systems easier, but I believe it would be the bridge between Auto Cadd and WisiWig. Better yet, why don't you have your school purchase a copy and you spend your time with either it on the closed system, or an authorized copy of it. By the time it's obsolete you will have gotten to college and hopefully a similar situation where the place you works buys the major expensive software. Most people don't have to buy their own expensive programs if used for the benefit of a company you work for. Sorry but you want me to use it... pay up. Given your current school is high tech, they should purchase it anyway. At very least, their discount factor is going to be much less than that of you.

Hope it helps.


Active Member
All I want a trial for really is to see if I like the way the thing works, especially when there's competing programs. Its the sort of program where enough people are using it that I feel pretty comfortable ordering it, but, I still like the idea of try before you buy. The limitations could be as simple as saying no more than 15 stencils in the drawing or something. Plotting a 10 light show with 5 pieces of scenery would be enough for me to figure out if I could deal with the program.

I can certainly get a copy at school, I called them up and wanted to talk to their edu rep, but, they don't seem to think what I want to use it for will count - their education license is for use in classes, not for general use in a school/by a student.
There IS an educational version for individual students available. Cost for the full package (industry collection) is around $230...Vectorworks, Spotlight, and Renderworks is about $200 I would guess. As far as I know this pricing isn't restricted to college students alone, but I could be wrong.


Active Member
YES there is a free trial/demo version availble on CD. It is a special release, where the current version availble for purches is 10.01 and the demo is 10.01B so it is IMPOSSIBLE to crack.

goto and email and ask them if they can post you a copy of the demo cd (software is the same everywhere).

if you dont have any luck with them, PM or email me and I will burn and post you a copy of mine.


Active Member
Ben- Where did you see the Individual Student price?? and where can i get it? Is it cheaper then my school buying it?

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