The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Vectorworks/WYSIWYG

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sayen, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I teach at a high school, and I'm interested in introducing my students to design software being used in the field. The two biggest titles seem to be Vectorworks and WYSIWYG, with WYSIWYG being the only software I have experience with. Since Vectorworks doesn't feature a demo, at least that I could find (I even tried the sales email I found through a link here), I've tried to learn what I can by reading through tutorials online. It strikes me as a very complicated alternative to WYSIWYG?

    I spent a fair amount of time reading old posts about both programs, but I didn't find any discussions as they might relate to students.

    What I want to do is purchase a set of laptops and allow students to do design work, checking out the laptops for home or just being able to carry them into the theater. I have the funds setup to begin the process this year.

    For those of you who have used both, do you have any thoughts on which would be better for high school students? Both seem to be almost equally common in the industry. Any thoughts on ease of training, anything like that? If you were hiring an intern out of high school, what would you want them to know?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Likes Received:
    46
    I only have experience with VW, but I love that **** program to death. Plus, VW is FREE for students for one year. So they can install VW on their home machines (for one year).

    Right now, I'm trying to figure out the 3D portion of VW, and have yet to really take a stab at it. If someone reading this has some 3D experience, and wants to shoot me a PM, that'd be cool.

    Everything I've learned about VW has been very informally, self taught, online tutorials, IM discussions with CB members, and real-world critique of final products. Like other areas of theatre, it just takes some time and energy, but the final product is awesome. That, and LW4. On the latest project, I worked a lot with VW and LW4, and my workflow become pretty fast. Exporting data from VW to LW4 is a breeze.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,366
    Likes Received:
    2,741
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Vectorworks is, primarily, a drafting program, onto which visualizer functions have been added. WYSIWYG is, primarily, a visualizer program, which can handle drawings and paperwork to some degree.

    In my opinion, and those with whom I work, (where cost is not an issue as they can afford to use anything available), there are three essential programs, each for a different task:
    Vectorworks for drafting the plot.
    Lightwright for handling the lighting database.
    ESP Vision for visualization, plus either "console emulation software" or the actual console.

    As for what I'd want a high school graduate to know, being fluent in Vectorworks, (for which a free student license is available, click the link above), is much more important than knowing either Vision or WYSIWYG. At the intern level, drafting skills are going to be far more important than designing/computer rendering skills.

    Just my 2¢. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I agree with Derek to fully. Having a grasp of good CAD program can only help them in the field. Visualizers can be learned later, but really need that good grasp for laying out a design. And the current price point for students on VW '08 is amazing.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,392
    Likes Received:
    1,789
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    I will be using both WYG and AutoCAD with High School students this year. We have an emphasis system, so the WYG will be a stem off of that. For teaching purposes, I think WYG would probably be the way to go. No, its not the industry standard, but my opinion is at this level you just need to get the kids hands dirty, let their college teach them the industry. The reason I like WYG so much is the "real world" nature of it. You drop a light on a batten, turn it on, and can instantly see it in a full 3d model. WYG was built to do this, vectorworks had that.

    You need to also ask some other questions around your district. Unfortunatly, at the school I will be at this fall, I don't believe that the industrial arts teachers teach a drafting class. If they did, I would really push all my students to take that class. You will still need to teach hand drafting. You don't need to go extremely far with it, but it will make things easier later.

    Now as far as Vectorworks goes, I personally hate the program. I think it is a great design program, but beyond that I can't stand it. I use AutoCAD for everything that is not lighting. I learned in AutoCAD, and now can not stand not having that command line. Most people who like AutoCAD in the real world are like me, people that build things for a living. We want real measurements all the time, and we are always dealing with real measurements. Not that vectorworks does not have "real" measurements, it just tends to be a bit slower to get things exacly the way you want. Its just the way I am.

    So... I would look at WYG if you are going to have another program to teach as well for traditional drafting. If you want an all in one solution, go with vectorworks.
     
  6. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    Actually Vectorworks is free to students for as long as they are students. Each license is good for one year however it is renewable upon proving that you are in fact still a student. I just recently re-activated mine.

    Edited to add: Oh yes, about ESP. If I'm not mistaken, isn't that one of the visualization add-ons for Vectorworks? Our copies are in the mail so I can't wait to start playing with it. However, if it is an add-on, that would also require Vectorworks knowledge which is another reason to go with Vectorworks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,366
    Likes Received:
    2,741
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Re: Vectorworks vs. WYSIWYG

    You are mistaken. Neither requires the other. If one prefers, he could do the plot in AutoCAD and then import into ESP Vision. ESP does offer a plug-in for Vectorworks Spotlight, but one must still have a license for Vision.
     
  8. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,392
    Likes Received:
    1,789
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    There is also LD assistant for AutoCAD, from what I can tell, it has been getting pretty good reviews.
     
    Serendipity likes this.
  9. Serendipity

    Serendipity Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Southern California
    I would recommend offering VW, for a couple reasons. Aside from the fantastic price (FREE!) it has a good learning curve if you're familiar with basic drafting and/or computer applications. Plus it is available for Mac and PC (unlike AutoCAD) But mainly, drafting (specifically CAD) would be more useful sooner. For example, I don't think I'll be designing in any theaters that have access to ESPVision for quite some time, however I'm using my VW with my normal conservatory work (whether I'm assisting or designing).

    VectorWorks is completely customizable, as in the menus, tool bars, work space is under the control of the user. I suggest getting them to know the tools before letting them muck up their workspaces.

    I've never had any contact with WYSIWYG or ESP Vision, and although I would like to learn, I'd much rather get a strong basis in 2D/3D drafting and VW rendering first. A few people mentioned Lightwright, which I definitely love, although if you're on a limited budget, they can do the basics in Excel.

    I'm really glad you're making this available! I'm a high school student and my school doesn't offer any CAD lessons, and was lucky to have a lighting luminary I could get to give me an Independent Study VW class during a TA block. Sounds like a great plan.

    (And if any of you want an intern with VW proficiency... ;) )
     
  10. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thank you for the input! Based on responses I think I have more research to do, including finding a local copy of VW to play with. We don't have any industrial arts classes, so no drafting for us, and I doubt I'll have time in the course of a year to teach computer drafting and a lighting program. My plan was to draft the sets myself, and allow them to import the set for design work. We're a small school and most students are only with me for a year or two thanks to scheduling, so I have to limit what we cover to still accomplish quality tech work.

    Software cost isn't a problem - since I don't order textbooks yearly I found out I can tap those funds for other teaching resources.

    This would be much easier if you all would give the same answer, you know?
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,392
    Likes Received:
    1,789
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    As crazy as this sounds, I think you are the ideal candidate for google sketchup. If you don't have time to teach a full drafting package, this is the way to go. Also, its free for a basic workable version. The pro version does add some pretty usefull things. I use sketchup to 3d a groundplan, import that into wyg, and render away. The first rendering was done completely in sketchup, the other two are designs that started in vectworks by the scenic designer, I 3d'd them in sketchup and rendered and lit in WYG.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    This is very cool, and very intuitive - thanks for the suggestion. I can definitely see students picking this up in a couple of days, especially if I pre-design stock elements such as flats or platforms.

    Were you able to export from the free version to Wyg, or did you need the pro version to handle the file types? I can get pro for free as an educator, but that won't help student seats.
     
  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,392
    Likes Received:
    1,789
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    All you need is to be able to do a DWG export, which I believe the free version will do. I have not used the free version for some time, so I can't remember.
     
  14. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Might i suggest if you go for W then you might want to think about having your students purchase their own flash drives and dongles for future use. I've used both programs both a student and as a professional. Personally I feel like vectorworks is a better learning program while W is a better advanced program. I've spent many hours in the drafting studio just playing with Wyswyg and that has been helpful as a desighner, but as an M.E. I just think kids should get the chace to know what it looks like in "real life" (as real as we get in this biz) before they start thinking entirely on computer screens. It really is a diffrent world, no matter how advanced a program is. (the color's have alwasy been a little off on W.) Wyswyg will help you as a teaching tool because you can show posibilitties much easier, but for drafting nothing really beats pencil and paper. As a student having to hang a plot. Id rather have a vector works plot, because the black and white is just easier for me to read. When the program was first introduced at my school a lot of young electricans, came to ask me questions like, " What is this purple number," and which one is the floor and which one is the grid. All the cool colors of Wyswig are awsome but can get confusing if you don't know exactly what tyour looking at. You can set the colors to anything you want, but defalts will cause you problems.

    And that's my two cents.
     
  15. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,392
    Likes Received:
    1,789
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    You can plot in wyg and in VW any color you want. My plots in WYG are just as readable and usable as vectorworks drawings, hand drafted, or LD asst/AutoCAD. Color is just a drafting aid, I always plot everything in B&W, mainly because getting a D sheet printed in color is about 3x as much. I think you were given poorly drafted plots, its not the fault of the program. For lighting, everything beats pencil and paper in my book. Scene design lends itself very well to hand drafting, lighting paperwork is a completely different beast. Anyone here who has done an Inst Schedule, Channel Hookup, and Plot all hand drafted knows why we draft plots on a computer. Everyone should hand draft a plot once, just to experience this exact thing.
     
  16. thenelsontwins

    thenelsontwins Member

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Ah, the age old question.

    I believe that students will find the drafting in VectorWorks to be far nicer than WYG. WYG does some things very well, while VectorWorks does others. Of course once you throw AutoCad into the mix it all kind of goes crazy.

    For simplicities sake, I would personally choose VectorWorks for students, they get a more 'standard' drafting program which will give them a greater understanding of CAD. It also will generate renderings fairly well. But the paperwork generation is pretty weak.

    I was told by VW that Lightwright is their preferred paperwork export format.

    Yeesh. I love to hate and hate to love Lightwright.

    Since VW is like AutoCad with mittens, I have found it fairly easy to bounce back and forth between ACAD and VW, when I have to.

    Personally I don't like using VectorWorks or WYG and I have worked in places that utilize them...and love them, for whatever reason.

    I still am a cranky old AutoCad 2009 guy because that is what I know and am most comfortable with. After 12 years of using it on a daily basis and working with the Scene shop and project managers, it is what I am fastest in and understand. But ACAD either blows people's minds or terrifies them to death as it is a pretty archaic and complex system. If VW ever comes out with something that acts more like ACAD, I'll use it full time, but until then. I keep plugging away in ACAD!


    If they have NO CAD experience, VW. It translates well with the 'real world' if they turn in to architects or engineers, it is simple, self explanatory, and inexpensive. AND it does some really cool stuff.

    I have found many people in my field that grew up with ACAD and were actually good at it, then they bought VW and couldn't understand it. They kept looking for the complicated, or perhaps a better way to say that is 'less obvious' ACAD way do do things. AutoCad to me is amazing. It does EVERYTHING but it will not do it if you don't tell it to. In ACAD you 1) have to know what you want to do, 2) you have to know how ACAD wants to do it, and finally 3) you have to know how to tell the software to do it for every step. There are workarounds, but no shortcuts. You have to know a LOT of stuff to start really getting into the guts of it.

    That being said, VW does a LOT for you, it takes a lot of the trial and error out or drafting. It simplifies problems. It seems to me that yes VW does a great number of things, but it does those things FOR YOU. You don't have to tell it everything, but coming from ACAD, I don't appreciate those features and find them annoying and just don't get it at times.

    It is like the difference between playing cards and being shown a card trick.

    I digress...

    But we're not building a bridge or a skyscraper. So, if the student is starting fresh...VectorWorks because it is a good way to get their feet wet and still have use of a powerful CAD program, without all the insane ACAD features and depth.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  17. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Soooo, the follow up. I love the advice here, thank you all. I looked into the two, and did a trial of VW. I decided with our schedule, I won't have time to teach it (15 students, full shows, assemblies, concerts, etc). I looked into Wyg, and the darned educational license requires all of the computers to be networked to one dongle...so no real way for students to design on their own time outside of a computer lab. The full version is prohibitively expensive, something around $2500 a license, and that's before the computer. I just can't justify that per student in a public high school, and that's assuming I had the funds in the first place.

    VW is still on the horizon now, and I'll just have to figure out some way to integrate it into my curriculum next year. I'll probably use Google Sketchup to create an auditorium, and at least give student the experience of 3d modeling for the time being. I figure once I build it they can still add in lights to an existing model - not the same, but at least they're thinking in the right direction.
     
  18. joeb

    joeb Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ohio
    It seems like you've made up your mind here. However, just so you know, it is possible for you, as an instructor, to also get a free educational copy of vectorworks. The aforementioned link to a free student educational version has a drop down menu where you can choose to be an instructor. It is still the educational version (with the only modification I've noticed being a printed "educational Version" or sim. on the plot). I filled out the form honestly, marking myself as an instructor. They emailed me with a serial number within 24 hours, and the DVD was received within 4 or 5 business days I believe. Quite the deal, though I do wish VW featured text input. Doing everything with a mouse and palettes makes me long to type in commands and coordinates.
     
  19. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Not made up my mind, just feeling temporarily backed into a corner. Thanks for the info on the instructor version, I'll check that out right now.
     
  20. TimOlson

    TimOlson Member

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    LOL you think a bunch of LIGHTING folks will agree -- on ANYTHING?

    from my experience, people either love or hate VW. sometimes I do both at the same time.

    the reason I went with VW is because, back in the day, when people were tossing numerous drawing/drafting programs around (and the entire program would fit on a floppy, and there was no copyright protection, and we were just evaluating stuff anyway) I found the predecessor of VW (mini cad) to be the easiest and quickest way to get a light plot done. I'd had zero experience in computerized drafting but I did have a few drafting classes when I was in High School.

    I took a class at LDI a few years ago which really helped me "glom" onto the beginnings of working in 3d. there is also a GREAT tutorial section on the nemetschek website that has about 25 narrated training episodes (to date).

    VW 2008 has been able to accomodate all Autocad drawings, can export to previous versions of VW, and even at full price (2K for the whole package) is still a third of the price of Autocad. VW has really great viewport capabilities, can do both layers and classes (unlike AutoCad), and with the spotlight functionality is really usefull for generating plots, room layouts, seating charts, and everything else you need to be a pro these days.

    Offering VW to students for free - and I've been assured it's the complete, unadulterated version, with no limits and no horrible "student copy" bleed on outputs- will no doubt launch VW into more schools and become the defacto platform for the next gen of LD's.

    peace, Tim O
     

Share This Page