Chief Architect vs 2020 Design


Recommended Posts

Oddly, it doesn't take as much time to do everything from scratch as you might think - going 20-20 to CA, or CA to 20-20. I do it all the time.


I work for fun, not $$ at big orange 24 hrs a week. I will NOT work there full-time. I enjoy working with customers - face to face. I really enjoy seeing their faces light up with a good CA rendering. Orange's ver of 20-20 is crippled and can't import or export in any format. 


Some only want to sell/advise/design cabinets. I'm a whole project thinker and cannot stand the limitations of 20-20. If they have a coffered ceiling, windows matching the roof slope, bay window, stairway, etc., with good measurements, I can very quickly model it in CA. We have libraries for most of the major brands of cabinets, so graphically representing their door of choice, or getting close, is quickly done, too. In my opinion, 20-20 is best suited for box-jockeys and not designers.  I sold so much per hour that they had to change their way of ranking K&B associates. They are still trying to get rankings right, and I'm still raising heck about it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TheKitchenAbode said:

Hopefully Mark will chime in on this

LMAO- I was writing out the long version when your post came up-short answer is as you say.

2020 exports:

  • 3D DWG which comes in as a symbol with no faces or textures,
  • 2d DWG floor plan which you can trace BUT best to only include walls an openings AND most 2020 jockeys don't draw a complete room -all in all waste of time just as well off with PDF, print it and read dims while drawing.
  • XML file which can be imported into Envisioneer. The main advantage it creating editable elevations and dimensions that don't disappear, or creating a decent structure in EV that can't be done in 2020
  • it will import SU files but not export but I don't think that would help anyway.

As Cheryl says it doesn't take that long and to do start from scratch. To make a decent PBR you need a complete structure (at least 4 walls (though I always have adjacent rooms), roof and foundation, non of which is in 2020.

When I first switched I went back and forth between the two for about 2 years. Initially 2020 first then CA, then Chief for everything but did an item list in 2020 to get pricing (on some brands). Once I figured out how to get a good cabinet schedule and then generate pricing from that it has been CA all the way.


IF someone approached me I might do a one-off IF they were going to bite the bullet and switch because:

  • The next 2020 support payment would cover half almost half the cost of Chief but they should also plan on at least one training
  • As Cheryl points out -better results in the long run with less frustration and it would my service would cost less that way
  • I would venture to say that I've been able to produce better kitchens and drawings faster using Chief than with 2020. Once you are doing slightly better kitchens there is no contest, none.
  • A search through assorted posts I've made on the forum provide enough information to get good schedules and deal with pricing either with on line ordering, using 2020 just for price, or with spreadsheet template (there is more coming on that, just not finished and undecided how it will be offered)

When I first switched over to what I do now, drafting and assistance, I considered working from 2020 users and files and upgrading my copy of Envisioneer. After a short period of time I decided that I only work with people using Chief. For interior projects where there is a cabinet supplier they supply drawings to drop into Chief-PDF, DWG and renderings. There's a cost if I'm supposed to create renderings to include those elements (done from scratch).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...


53 minutes ago, Grumpka said:

 I'm excited about the possibilities of working with both 2020 and CA together.  Seems you can import export objects from one to the either... interesting ideas in my head,.

Yes 2020 can export a 3D dwg or dxf, a 2d dwg of a floor plan, last I knew they had not added elevations but matters not.

I investigated that road a few years before I switched and was pretty dissapointed so didn't make the leap then since I thought using both would be essential (around V8 of CA)


The problem is that a 3D dwg is a pretty dumb object, it will come into CA as a symbol with a single texture. You can't explode it, can't change to multiple textures or do much else besides resize it. If you want textures or just a part of it you will need to take a side trip through another program first and manipulate the dwg there. (Actually there is a way, kind of advance to hack out a part of it with the delete surface tool but just as well redoing the object first) Altering 3D dwg I use Turbocad mostly, occasionally SU, there are other options. It's rarely worth using a 3D dwg if there is any other choice or it's a very complex object where adjusting is faster than making from scratch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Grumpka said:

2020 could export to Sketchup, and you had the option to leave cabinets as individual blocks, or explode them.   I'll mess around with it a bit.   

Think you'll be disappointed, the only symbol type I never import is cabinets. A-Chief does not give them the same intelligence as native cabinets, B- there are lots of things I can do with Chief cabinets that I see people asking for on Kevin's 2020 forum that they can't do.


2 hours ago, Grumpka said:

You can't change the interior texture of a box or individual components of the box, just the shelves.  That should be in the same material menu as shelves. I'm shocked that this is something missing or not in an obvious place. 

Not native or built in (I always start with F1, then the reference manual then search the forum-tips or symbols) In this case search the forum


2140026677_cabinetinterior.thumb.png.dc8cc6d3e7ee178ba8bc11fc4a2114f6.png-two ways to do it- one as a door symbol in the back, the other as a shelf. Posts by me and perhaps Alaskan_Son (for shelf, maybe?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

As a builder , designer , contractor , woodworker , I would say chief wins !!! Unfortunately it is all about the marketing end !!! The only real advantage I see to 20/20 is how 20/20 can do there take off & set the order , however putting in a little extra time , the material list can be exported to accomplish the same . 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now