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  1. I know I keep saying it, but thank you again to everyone who has kept this conversation going. I really didn't think I would get this much feedback on this discussion. The Chief Architect community is certainly a helpful one I apologize for my lack of responses recently, just got a bit distracted with something. That was actually my exact thought process which lead me to learn Revit in the first place. It's the same reason why I went directly from MS paint to Photoshop, not bothering to learn the easier-but-less-powerful intermediate programs out there. I figure I'd rather just start at the top, and have nowhere left to go, even if it presents the steepest learning curve. From my pre-selection research, I knew that Revit was the most-powerful-but-cumbersome program, and so I figured that it would give me the highest skill and ability ceiling.... thing is, even with that consideration, I still underestimated just how cumbersome the program really is. It's not just cumbersome in the sense of "architecture is complex, so naturally, these programs will be complex too." Unfortunately, a lot of its cumbersome-ness stems from just bad UX-UI design, and a refusal to modernize or update. Even simple things, like hardware acceleration. That's what got me second-guessing my decision, and made me look into other programs, like Chief. Are you nuts? That's a great building, and a gorgeous model! I don't care if it's not ray-traced, and doesn't have displacement-mapped textures -- none of that takes away from the quality of the actual model. Thank you for sharing this build! I wonder how long it would take me to re-create something like that... Interesting that you say my goals are modest, and that these programs would be overkill, meanwhile some of the features of the buildings I'm looking to make are straight-up impossible to model in Chief, and extremely clunky in Revit. The general discussion seems to suggest that Revit/ArchiCAD alone won't be Enough, let alone too much. That's a very good distinction to keep in mind, thank you for mentioning that. As far as your suggestion goes..... haha... yeah... no time for that. Thank you for your well-wishes though See, to me, that looks so good, and it looks like everything I would need in my model... but I know it just seems that way because I'm not able to see the details, or the actual model. Based on what others here have explained, I'm guessing that the model, as generated by Chief, wasn't enough to prepare all of the construction documents, right? You still had to have structural engineers and the like revise the model, and add details to the construction plans that are accounted for by Chief, right? Still, it looks great! Good to know your thoughts on Revit! Thank you for the vote of confidence in it. As far as your suggestion goes, yeah, fortunately, I'm already familiar with SOLIDWORKS, which I'm hoping can serve as that secondary parametric CAD program, to build the custom features not present in Revit by default. Now it's just a matter of learning how to actually bring custom CAD models into revit and create families based on them. Still though, the cognitive load of all of this is getting pretty intense. Despite my desires, I'm the type of person to get burnt out a lot... As far as the builder thing goes, though... ohhh no, trust me, I'm not overlooking that one - I am the builder. That's exactly the problem though. Although I have several years of experience in these fields, it's not enough to build an entire house just yet. That's why I'm trying to supplement my lack of knowledge, with more planning. Rather than starting the build, only to find that I have no idea how to actually frame a specific wall, I'd rather invest the time to figure it out during the design phase, when I'm in the comfort of my own home, in front of a computer.... not standing on the jobsite wasting time and money. It's like that old parable: the more sweat you expend in training, the less you bleed in battle. I don't have enough experience to just show up on-site and know how to frame everything... so I gotta take the time to frame it all up virtually, and make sure it all comes together. Ahh, but what happens when you ARE the builder too, hmm? See my reply just above ^
  2. That was a very clear and concise explanation, thank you. Your explanation of how making a single unusual change to chief can break its automation was helpful. Your comment though, that I might have glossed over some information, made me realize that I very likely could have, so I went back and read through the thread again. It seems that Richard_Morrison, Johnny, and Alaskan_Son all recommend Archicad, so I guess I will buy a course and start learning that program. I'm surprised that no one at all recommended Revit, but I guess that reflects its gearing towards commercial builds. The only thing that worries me is that, so far, the recommendation to try Archicad has been made solely on the basis of me needing to create "unusual" designs.... but being able to create accurate framing is arguably more important for me. Chief can obviously do the framing in an instant... but only so long as I keep everything traditional.... ... Since I'm not keeping everything traditional, and will need to use a different program, I guess that just means that I'm S-O-L for automated framing, and am looking at manually placing every timber by hand, right? In this regard, I take it most people here recommend Archicad over Revit for manual timber framing? Basically, the only question I have left then is seeing as how I WILL need to use a program other than Chief, which among them have the best wood framing abilities? Or to put it another way, in which program is it the least painful to manually place elements like studs, one by one? Would that still be Archicad? (Sigh) yeah... I know that what I'm looking to do is a tall order, I know that what I'm looking to do is usually done by a whole team... but... I don't know. I don't have the money to be hiring others to do the design work for me, so I'm trying to take it on myself, but like you said, there's a lot. Although I have no basis for this estimate, I'm guessing that designing a complete cottage, with all of its framing and systems, will probably take a few months of constant work, and I don't have a problem with that, I just have a problem with the cognitive load of it all. Learning how to use one program is no problem.... but trying to learn 3, 4, 5 different programs, and use them simultaneously? That's hard. You need one program for the architecture, one program for the framing, one program for the cost estimating, one program for the renders..... just replace "program" with "person" and all of sudden its obvious as to why architectural firms have a whole bunch of employees. And that's not even mentioning that each of these programs costs thousands of dollars that I just... don't.. have. Oh boy. As for contacting the architects responsible for the designs I showed, yeah, that's something I've been wanting to do for years, and I've been thinking about it, but I don't even know where to begin with that one. Still, though, I will somehow find a way to learn more about these builds. I've actually already watched that whole video, thank you! Although the building looks decently nice from the outside, there's really nothing that separates it architecturally from a normal suburban home. Just four walls, roof and a floor, all plumb and level.
  3. Thank you again to everyone who has continued the discussion. I really do appreciate you all taking the time to try and help. Unfortunately, my takeaway so far from all of this discussion (here, and on other forums), is that there really is no one program that can do modern, unconventional building-design well. So, rather than just continue to ask the same question, of "which program is best for me", allow me to just ask this one last question: Clearly, modern, unconventional buildings do exist. My pinterest board of photos proves that. Clearly, SOMETHING must have designed these buildings. SOME program MUST have designed the model, and the construction drawings, or else you just wouldn't be able to build the thing... so... what was it? What CAD/BIM program DID these modern builds use? How did they come to be? Is the answer really that it was just CAD/BIM drafters brute-forcing their way through the program limitations of Revit/ArchiCAD/Chief with a bunch of unpaid overtime? Is the answer really that unfortunately simple? Yeah, I know, I guess I'm just.... disappointed in the industry. Trillions of dollars flow through the construction and architecture industries, worldwide.... You'd think that industry-titans like Autodesk would be able to put out modern, optimized, streamlined programs....And yet, all of the CAD/BIM programs out there are 20 years behind the times. Chief can't do sloped walls, Archicad has no temporary measurements, and Revit.. don't get me started. It can't even do something as simple as use the GPU to render scenes and load materials, and is instead 100% CPU-based, like a program from 1995. I find it sad that even some bush-league videogames are more up-to-date than these massive programs. But anyways, that's just me complaining. Your advice to spend some time with each program is, of course, the only way forward. I tried modelling the wood-framed garden shed in my backyard in Revit, and it was a mission. I also just found out that you can't use any of the standard annotation tools on structural elements because.... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ screw the end-user, I guess. The dream. After seeing how many limitations these supposedly industry-leading programs have, it's starting to seem like Minecraft might be the most powerful building designer of them all Maybe I've been asking the wrong question... now I'm wondering, well, if all of the major CAD/BIM programs have a hard/impossible time handling modern, unconventional builds... how DO those buildings get designed? I mean, something has to be generating the plans, something has to be generating the construction documents.... is it really just CAD/BIM drafters brute-forcing their way through the program limitations with a bunch of unpaid overtime? But yes, I will say this much, the forum here has been wonderful in this thread Thank you to everyone who's commented.
  4. Thank you to everyone who has commented so far! This discussion has been very informative for me. Unfortunately, it seems like although Chief Architect might not be the best program for my use-case... no one really knows what WOULD be best. Both ArchiCAD and Revit have their downsides. So far, the conversation leaves me with a sense of "Okay, Chief is probably not going to work well for the types of builds I want to do.... but it doesn't seem like any program is well-suited to it." Thank you both! That's two more votes against Chief, from people on the Chief forums. Counter-intuitive opinions like that are always the most valuable, because if you can get the users of a product to tell you it probably won't work well for you... then that says something. Jesus H. Christ, that video.. I would never ever want to take on something that detailed, holy. My mind is reeling at the sheer complexity of all the required trims. But also, thank you again for expanding on your points. It's good to know about Chief's CAD limitations. Ahh, well that IS the question, isn't it? Which program IS best for me, for my use-case? It seems like there's not much agreement so far. You raise some very interesting points here, thank you. The lack of temporary dimensions is... very strange. I'm going to start looking into that, to see the workflow in an Archicad build. As far as decor and kitchen cabinets go... well, yeah... Unfortunately, even The Sims has better furnishings than most of these programs. Overall, though, you say that I am better-suited to Chief Architect than another program. What do you think about the points raised here against Chief, by other commenters? Hahaha, thank you.... what could possibly go wrong?. Thing is, I gotta ask, because your first line is leaving me a bit confused.... do you think overall I SHOULD move to Chief, or is your statement more of a "Well in a perfect world, you'd be suited to Chief, but because your main post talks about unconventional design, it won't serve you well?
  5. Thank you! Realistically, I'm not going to design an entire building with only slanted walls, so if I have to manually build the one or two slanted walls in my project by hand, element-by-element, then so be it.... I know there's not going to be one program out there that can handle it all. It's still good to know though that you agree with all the rest, thank you for your comment! It was, thank you very much for your comment! It's interesting that you're the only dissenter here, so far, and with all that experience. Thank you very much for your insight. ArchiCAD is the program I know the least about so far, but when I read Revit-Vs-Archicad posts, it seemed like there were a far greater number of people fanboy-ing over Revit, though their enthusiasm is probably overstated. What I find most interesting though is that you've said what I'm wanting goes way beyond Chief's capabilities, but the others here seem to think it'll handle it all fine. Not to try and pit you guys against one another, but, do you mind if I ask you to expand on why you think I'm going to run into difficulties with Cheif?
  6. Hello everyone, thank you for clicking on my post. It's gonna be pretty long, so I appreciate your time and help, I'm a relatively young independent contractor and graduate engineer. I'm trying to steer my life in a direction that will have me designing and building one-off, small but beautiful homes/cottages for clients, and friends/family. In terms of the types of design I'm going for, it's stuff like this: https://pin.it/nByfQTl Modern, highly architectural, often with unusual elements (at least, unusual for residential builds), like slanted walls, display features made of unusual materials, piers keeping the building suspended off the ground, etc. I have a background in computer-based design, and am already familiar with parametric CAD modelling programs like SOLIDWORKS. Additionally, I've taken about 35 hours of courses in Revit, and can now easily handle all the basics, and create finished projects for simple buildings. What I've started to notice, however, both first-hand, and from forum discussions, is that Revit really isn't geared towards residential, timber-framed, architectural construction. Just trying to build a timber-framed garden shed involves placing every single stud, joist, and beam 100% manually, with arrays and copy commands and the like. Wood-framing add-ons exist, but are phenomenally expensive ($3200 a year was the quote I got from AGACAD's Wood Framer Pro). And heaven forbid you go to change the length of a wall after... I know that Revit is the "powerful but cumbersome" program. I know that everything IS possible in it, but sometimes at so high of a time-cost, that it simply isn't worth it.. This has lead me to reconsider if Revit is the best program for me, or if there are programs better suited to the style of buildings I want to make. This search eventually brought me to Chief Architect. Seeing as I've only invested a few dozen hours into Revit, I don't mind pivoting to a totally new program, so long as its a good one. Now, the reason I'm making this post is because my use-case is a little bit weirder than most, as I will take on all roles related to the design and construction of these buildings: I will be the architect, the interior designer, the framer, the mason, the everything. I will be building these structures entirely with my own hands, doing everything except for the final MEP hookup and installation. (Whether or not this is a good idea, however, is beyond the scope of this discussion. Please just assume that this is what's going to happen). Because of this, I need to create a model that is more detailed than just a pretty-looking box. I need full section views, I need detailed construction drawings, I need proper framing, because the model-making process is the only opportunity I'll have to actually think through the construction, and ensure that my designs are code-compliant and feasible to build. A lot of people have suggested Rhino 3D, or even Sketchup, but, like Solidworks, these are just parametric 3D CAD programs. They just create objects, shapes, volumes. If I wanted to create a stud wall, first I'd have to draw and extrude a panel to represent the drywall.. then I'd have to draw and extrude a single stud, then I'd have to copy that stud in an array. Then I'd have to draw and extrude a top plate and bottom sill, then I'd have to draw and extrude sheathing, then bricks, then mortar, then....and that's all for a single wall. These programs really aren't meant for building construction... These programs also don't have any of the BIM data that I'll need. I can't create door and window schedules in Rhino 3D (to my knowledge), so how will I generate lists of which windows to buy from which manufacturers, at which sizes? I'd have to do it manually. So then it really comes down to Revit, Chief Architect, ArchiCAD, etc... but I don't have the experience to know which program would be best for me. For the sake of this discussion, assume the price of the base-program is NOT a factor, but, that being said, I don't want to have to buy 28 different Add-ons to get a useable program. If anyone can shed some personal experience with these programs, it would be hugely useful to me. I've tried to do my due-diligence, I've tried to browse the web and read forums and discussions, and I know the "Is Chief Architect better than ____" topic is worn out, but nothing I've read has addressed my specific use-case, so I'm turning to the community here, looking for help Any help or discussion is greatly appreciated, thank you all for your time.