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Going to have a web meeting (free, using Zoom.us) July 11th at 2 pm Eastern Time ends at 4 pm Eastern, limit 25 attendees. Will be recorded (if I don’t muck that up).
If interested get in touch - markmc at markjamesandco.com
what you do (KD, dealer, builder, etc) anything in particular you are interested in (no promises but I’ll see if I can make adjustments) how long you’ve used Chief, current version and what you used before if anything.
This is open to all but keep in mind it’s meant for kitchen designers and others who need to create a cabinet order or develop pricing working in Chief Architect (call it a 2020 refugee camp
In general- creating a schedule with all the information needed generate an order in a spreadsheet template of using an online ordering system. It’s based on part of the system I’ve used with Chief for the last few years as a kitchen designer/dealer updated for X10 (70% of it will work in X9-time to upgrade) The general idea at this point it:
Basic cabinet configuration
Using the OIP for mods and accessories
Defaults-basic face configuration, OIP for defaults, few quirks & gotchas in the default settings
More cabinet configurations, saving to library,
library management for brands and projects and defaults
Quick design sample
using hotkeys and replace from library
Adjusting the modifications per item
Getting non-cabinet items into the schedule -moldings, millwork, corbels, etc.
Schedule and Export
Schedule set up, multiple schedules
Checking the schedule against intent
Exporting the schedule, adjusting the spreadsheet
tricks to speed pricing, using pdf catalog for lookup, in a spreadsheet template, checking (brief)
Using an online system (the only online order system I currently have access to is a complete custom brand I’m going to use a portion of a recording I made in the past for this but may reach out to someone to work in that part)
Q & A
IF time allows I can touch on creating detail drawing for the manufacturer, checking the details against the print.
Current attendees not all are forum regulars- CharlesVolz, Cheryl_C_Crane, scottharris, Susan Durling, Andrew, GerryT, Paul Machado (maybe on vacation), Robert Zebrowski, a few folks from QCCI (on a single feed), Tim_Houston, Johnny
Scott Harris suggested that to start this thread, in light of the upcoming webinar I'm doing -
to "also spark a how-to pricing conversation" I'll incorporate anything relevant from this into the webinar.
So-Cabinet dealers/ kitchen designers, using Chief, how are you doing pricing? What problems are you running into? What do you find lacking in Chief ? (aside from an actual price catalog which I don't expect to happen)
For myself- been using Chief since X3. At first I would redo in 2020 to get pricing (usually just with an item list). But for a very long time I've carried brands that don't support that or Chief. Eventually I found a way to get some of the needed informatin into a schedule in Chief and get it out. I've used Chief schedules combined with either online ordeing system or a spreadsheet template (depending on brand) for every job for about 5or 6 years now. For along time it was kludgy.
Since the advent of the OIP in X9 things got manageable, the additons to the OIP in X10 were a huge leap. I combine cabinets saved to a library folder per mfg, default settings, some cabinet hacks turning miscelaneous items into cabinet doors, and using "schedule freindly" items to add things like moldings to the schedule..
or why you don't need 2020. This video shows how to move labels and codes from a cabinet schedule into an manufacturer online order platform. At a later date I'll do something showing how that schedule is generated in Chief (some of which has been posted in the past)
The file size is too large to post AFAIK and I don't know how to do embed codes yet so here is a link to a page with the video.
Link to page with video
Rest of web site has never been finished-one of these days
I’m thinking of making the switch to CA from 2020 v11. I’ve always been interested in the software. The simple things that CA seems to do so easily that are just so time consuming in 2020 such as wall dimensioned elevations, detailed professional notes, the renderings produced so easily are just light years ahead of 2020. I realize there have been many threads about the difference between them. If any of my concerns have already been spelled out in another thread or videos please copy the link in your response.
My current company hired me because of my 2020 skill set, but I've always believed that CA is the real program that can really blow the minds off any Higher end client.
Right now we export our finished 2020 layouts as a CSV. File then import it to a program that prices out all of our jobs (equilibrium). I’ve read that you could make a cabinet schedule and create a csv. File out of that? Doing this will be vital to making the leap, If so I’d love to find out more about that process. If this can be done it will put the owner of my company at ease. He will be opposed to this change simply because most of our cabinet Manuf. don't support CA with catalogs. I’m looking for reassurance from you guys that even though there is no Cab brand CA catalogs it is still easy enough to create door styles that are similar, cabinet colors will be easy to mimic.
The templates seem to be more user friendly as well as working within them, and I’d love to know if there is a video showing how to use them. I’ve attached a typical presentation that I give my customers w/2020. I’d love for someone to attach some examples of preferably kitchen jobs they’ve done for there customers w/ CA.
I'm 28 years old I've been using 2020 for 5 years I went to a vocational school where I used AutoCAD for about 3+ years since then have used updated versions of AC. So I want to believe it will be an easy transition. Feel free to email me with any info in regards to major differences between the 2 programs or an sample layout presentation.
I look forward to hearing all of your different thoughts.
I hope I'm not overstepping here (the moderators can always move this or delete me)
I was asked to compare the two programs by someone this week since I have fairly extensive experience with both. A number of years ago I'd written something on this forum in response to that question, think it was around X4 or 5? That was generally positive toward Chief but acknowledge some important weaknesses. Several versions later and the improvement to the program for kitchens in measurable. So since I had to write something anyway I thought I'd share it here. The first part is what I slammed together yesterday morning rather quickly. The second part I added today to fill it out a bit, again quickly so excuse the lack of editing and any drivel included..
Reply and note follow.
The short answer would be if you are looking at design build there is simply no contest. There may be some larger DB firms that use both but no one in their right mind would try to get adequate drawings for construction, build, serious remodel from 2020. Where I used to work we needed to do that to a certain extent. Then there were 6 designers, now there are 4 I believe. To solve problems they resort to either CAD or in many cases pencils.
I'd suggest that watching the presentation videos on line would be a good idea. Granted from both companies those are as much marketing as real life use.
I started using 2020 in 2000, I got Envisioneer (similar to Chief but imports 2020 files) to work with 2020 in 2010. Started with Chief X3 in 2011 so I stopped updating 2020 at V9 but continued to use it as an adjunct for several years. At first I was a somewhat reluctant user and a harsh critic/gadfly about CA's shortcomings. Today I am a true believer. I have kept track to changes in 2020- they have been negligible when it comes to fixing long standing problems IMO. Note since that time 2020 has moved to V11 with a few in between updates, CA is currently at X9 and will have another full upgrade next spring.
When to use 2020-if business model is to compete with the box stores, or target primarily budget minded customers, draw kitchens with a minimum number of walls and need to get decent pricing quickly using a semi custom cabinet brand from one of the conglomerates-it can be a good choice.
2020 has a larger market share in kitchens so the labor force of people who know how to use it will be wider. That said many higher end kitchen designers can't or won't use it and look on it with absolute scorn.
does pricing within the program - reliability of pricing depends on design catalog, drawing. Keeping retail pricing updated within the program is an art form and rarely done. The advent of on line pricing tools from mfg's makes in program pricing moot unless you run a mill IMO.
It could be argued that 2020 protects you from yourself preventing the KD from including items are not available. In terms of protecting you from design mistakes, as used by most operators (who are porne to override settings) I'd say Chief wins.
If you are a really good user it can possibly be easier to change brands mid-design. However you need to be completely familiar with the catalog of the brand you are changing to. In many cases operators resort to a new drawing.
Stability has improved a little since I used it, however when it goes it goes and repair is not for the simple user. Support still sucks.
Apparently there is now a work around that will get back disappearing user dimensions and notes most of the time.
Changes to the rendering engine get mixed reviews. Can be nicer, can be more challenging.
When to use Chief. Business model is design matters more than price, you care about the final result, better brands of cabinets, most any amount of custom, need to draw accurate spaces/buildings, need detailed drawing for manufacturer or installer, need to move walls, need demo/construction plans, need electric plans. Need to represent stairs, split levels, vaired height rooms (floor or ceiling), any odd type of buiding. Simply the ONLY thing I can do in 2020 that I can't do in Chief is get instant pricing.
Single downside is the learning curve is a bit worse though getting up and running to begin with is easy enough. (That said when I first got CA I took an 8 hour on line class, promptly got the flu and did not get near the program for a month. Then drew up a 2100 sq ft house with highly detailed cabinets in kitchen, LR, hall, walk in closet, another closet, master bath, bath, and office hobby work space. Though the drawings are not up to my current standards)
Working- unlimited tabs, elevations, multiple perspective views, editable in all views (though some things work better in one than another)
Stable-rarely crashes, even more rare to lose much work.
Drawing walls and adjusting them is so easy that there is no point in not drawing a complet room. I generally draw most if not all of the floor in question though some outside the area under consideration is approximate. Yesterday I drew first floor of a colonial as built-primary area the kitchen with some windows and such for other rooms from photos-basically show whatever affects views to or from kitchen- in an hour.
Changing things- changing colors or doorstyles is far faster. Changing cabinet configuration, custom cabinets, moving walls, windows, doors, no contest.
Changing brands has a few issues (I have a system though The main issue currently is the height of the top row of drawers.
Presentations-clients and contractors are routinely impressed with just the standard (quick) perspective views. Incredibly fast. More photo realistic renderings take some learning, altering materials is easier than in 2020, getting colors truly accurate is a bit of a challenge. (Paint OTOH from the Benni Moore catalog is nicely accurate with decent lighting for Ray Traces. ALL colors look different in Traces than in standard though.
The ability to quickly alter cabinets (or anything else) live in 3D is incredibly useful for clients.
Dimensions- I've worked out systems for this that are fast. Automatic dimensions are only a little better than 2020 but far easier to adjust. Adjusting any dimensions is easier. They are also stable (never disappear on you)
Drawings- just no contest when it comes to dealing with print layouts. A print layout can bring in drawings from multiple plan files or other sources. Elevations can be edited, views and layers controlled.
Stability- rarely crashes, have never lost any significant amount of work. Plays nice with the rest of the computer (I'd had 3 complete re-installs using 2020)
Support is superb.
User library is always accessible. Save ANYTHING- cabinets, moldings, doors, furniture NOTES, details.... Replace from library allows designing with generic rough cabinets and quickly changing them to things you already have stored.
Automation-macros- there are a number of built in text macros and many more available for small fees from some users on the forum. They will also write custom macros as needed. Incredible time saver.
There are some things that require "work arounds' a few that are inexplicably stupid-clipped corners is a bugaboo to me. There are a few others, I've worked out methods for all of them that are generally easy.
NO PRICING-there never will be IMO. However as of X9 a system to have accurate codes for all cabinets AND modifications in a schedule has become a reality. Getting that information into a spreadsheet or an online order is also fast and easy.
Building materials- I don't deal with the material list and from what I know there are quirks with it. However many builders have worked out how to deal with it hence can get a decent materials list for an entire building or part of for everything.
Terrain, roofs, stairs- while these can at times be challenging they are virtually impossible in 2020.
To sum up- I"ve used half a dozen 2D CAD programs, DataCad, 2020, AutoKitchen (one day), Pro Kitchen, Envisioneer, Chief Architect and learned to draft with a pencil, run Linux, Windows and 6 months on a Mac with Final Cut Pro, have no idea how many other programs I've dealt with (went to school for tech writing for a while)
CA is one of the best software packages of any kind that I have ever dealt with. and it has continued to improve based on user feedback every year.
I added the following to this post, not in original message. (this is all as of X9)
Chief will NOT protect you from designing with something unavailable in you brand, or impossible to make. Be well versed in what you have available to order.
Framed cabinets in CA don't account for that extra reveal you get so watch out when placing wall cabinets next to deeper talls. If you are not getting flush sides your dimensions will be off.
Cabinet interiors (as of X9) will match the exterior and there is no reasonable way to change that. If you are using the cool new open door feature to show clients something and using standard cabinets where the interior will not match be to inform you client. One partial solution is to change the color of the shelves.
Same goes for cabinet bottoms- pay attention in case you need to order finished bottoms on wall cabinets.
With X9- Chief did a great job fixing nomenclature for cabinet sides shown in the schedule. Automatically finished sides are almost as good as they are in 2020 but have a few quirks. Be sure to check you finished sides before ordering (I set the default to unfinished so I have to)
I mentioned that changing brands has a few issues. It is doable but much harder than it needs to be, more so if you want the top row of drawers accurate. That will take some practice.
I mentioned clipped corners. A few years ago they fixed the sizing to match industry standard- great. They did not fix how they work. If you place a 24” deep clipped corner cabinet next to a 21” deep cabinet (SOP in my world) the clip will disappear. There are work arounds (which is all I use for them, never use the feature.
Stile extended to the floor (base cabinets only) which Chief calls a “closed toe” (never ran into that name myself) was given an “always present” option in X9- not disappear when next to another cabinet- BUT there is no control of each side. You get it on both or not at all. (I don't use it at all because of that)
Manufacturer catalogs have NO cabinets in them. I don't find this an issue but you should be aware. They have door styles, molding, colors stuff like that.
Adding modifications and or accessories is general manual, more difficult than in 2020. But X9 had provided a way to make much of that far easier. You need to learn how to use the OIP (object information panel) look on the forum.
Finally- there are more than enough important productivity tools that are only in the Premier version to make it worth the extra cost. IMO if you are working in kitchens and need Chief you need Premier. Use ctrl + S key often, the F1 key a lot, read the Reference Manual, follow this forum (read everything at least a little), say thanks to the folks at Chief when you think of it.