joedesign30

Frustrated With Chief ....may Be Going To Softplan

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All CAD programs are a work in progress, otherwise we'd all be using the final version. Why not use more than one CAD program to get the job done for now?  DWG import/export makes that fairly easy.

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I worked with Softplan 2016 for about 6 months and completed a dozen projects before moving over to Chief in July (I'm very happy I did).  Softplan is not very intuitive but quite powerful and has some features still lacking in CA (doors and stairs are better in SP). However, changing wall definitions, creating complex roofs, adding to libraries, working with Sketchup objects and a few other things are a real pain. If you read the book (required to get up and running), you will see that it is VERY procedure oriented.  You start here and then do this, and then you can go to the next process.  Get out of sequence and all hell breaks loose in terms of productivity. Be prepared to take at least 100+ hours get a full project done the first time through.

 

Softplan is really designed for the high-volume builder who is cranking out small modifications on a handful of stock designs they build over and over.  SP can't be beat for that type of work which is why it has a loyal following.  

 

If you are doing one-off designs then CA is much better IMO and more 'fun' to use (if there is such a thing after working every day on the computer).  

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I show you how to maximize Chief in a few simple to follow training videos at ChiefTutor.com - Check out the Cashing In Section

 

You get Samples, Templates, Symbols and step by step HowTo's for life, as a Prime Member.  

 

We also offer many many Free Samples and the awesome ability to solve your model issue as a training video. 

 

All that and more @  ChiefTutor.com

 

Now I know Softplan has nothing like that..!!!

 

 

Image2.jpg

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10 minutes ago, DMDesigns said:

I show you how to maximize Chief in a few simple to follow training videos at ChiefTutor.com - Check out the Cashing In Section

 

You get Samples, Templates, Symbols and step by step HowTo's for life, as a Prime Member.  

 

We also offer many many Free Samples and the awesome ability to solve your model issue as a training video. 

 

All that and more @  ChiefTutor.com

 

Now I know Softplan has nothing like that..!!!

 

 

Image2.jpg

 

 

 For you guys that don't know,  David Michael and his  Chief Tutor is one of the best learning tools.  His vids have always been my favorites to go to.  And for any newbies out there,  one of the best things you can do is to become a PRIME MEMBER with him..........  Hey  David.......  do I get a cut of the revenues?  

 

But seriously,  his stuff is some of the best.

 

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Just now, dshall said:

 

 

 For you guys that don't know,  David Michael and his  Chief Tutor is one of the best learning tools.  His vids have always been my favorites to go to.  And for any newbies out there,  one of the best things you can do is to become a PRIME MEMBER with him..........  Hey  David.......  do I get a cut of the revenues?  

 

But seriously,  his stuff is some of the best.

 

+100

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SOFTPLAN - it is VERY procedure oriented

 

this would drive me crazy .....

 

Lew

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For anyone looking to go to Softplan over Chief or vice-versa at this stage is somewhat a silly idea at this point IMO.  When I bought CA 4-5 years ago it wowed me what the app could do with simplicity over the "big BIM" boys.

 

If I was looking to make a change today, I wouldn't switch to Chief.  The other apps have made 2-3x the strides year over year than Chief in the same time period.  Though I think that right now Chief still does traditional/standard residential better that other apps, that lead is shrinking very quickly.  Going forward if Chief still tries to connect the DIY app with their "pro" version this will hold the app back from implementing the tools we professionals are asking for.   I dont see this changing in the years to come, and now all the big BIM applications are getting closer to what Chief is doing while also flying past Chief in many key areas.

 

 

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i love chief architect x8. I have had chief for 2 years and still learning new things. I design residential and commercial. If I have an issue I put it on chief support or chief forum.

I takes awhile to learn any program.

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10 hours ago, Archnot-Boltz said:

And as I've said at least once before, Softplan and Chief should have an affair (without wearing dongle protection) and the offspring would benefit all of us. User definable wall heights, floor platforms and ceiling hgts that don't readjust because you've moved a wall etc.

 

Learning curve wise, I self learned Softplan 8/9 while working for a builder through a temp agency during a 5 month span. At some point during that time period, I purchased a Chief '97 demo cd and manual for $25.00 (a terrific value and marketing device) and started playing with the program on my home computer. Compared to AutoCad (tried ACad 10, DOS version beginner's course at our community college and hated the interface), and DataCad (good price, promising 3d but very difficult to learn and use) both Softplan and Chief were the only two that drew walls in an intuitive, user friendly manor. Both programs allow a person to be self taught and become real world usable, fairly quickly.

 

At first, Chief seemed a bit "Micky Mouse", like one of those $50 homeowner CAD programs (and it kind of was: re: identical interface as 3d Home Architect). Unfortunately, to a degree, all of Chief's current shortcomings are related to it's "Homeowner CAD" roots but it continues to improve (grow up). In my short stint using Softplan, I never got the hang of their cryptic roof tool (sort of like Chief's cryptic Terrain Tools). Softplan did have a killer roof dialogue box graphic which showed your birds mouth seat cut and HAP (height above plate)  which you could adjust on the fly, which I would like to see implemented in Chief. Each program had good things to offer and Chief always had a slightly more user friendly intuitive feel that allowed the interface to get out of the way and allow me to draw. Lately, since the X-versions, I've been fighting the the loss of some of that intuitive feel. When I purchased Chief "97 I paid $599.00 or 699.00 on sale. At the time Softplan 9 or 10 was about $2 Grand, or I would probably bought Softplan because of it's material list (gives wall framing lumber count versus lumber lengths and had a good wall framing detail per wall section, similar to what Chief now has). 

 

Not having any real CAD background using AutoCad etc, I found Chief and Softplan to have much less intense learning curves compared to any other software I've tried to learn since. I started learning ArchiCad one summer in an architect's office a few years ago and my brain could not wrap around the drawing interface (having been spoiled by Chief's for over ten years). After 3 months, there was no way I could attempt to do a project in ArchiCad.  I did see and use some CAD tools in ArchiCad that would be nice to have in Chief but I would expect Chief's developers to be continuously reviewing their competitor's software and user interfaces.

 

Lately, I've been contemplating purchasing Sketch-Up Pro because I'm having a lot of difficulties with Chief's framing tools (inconsistant floor and roof truss behavior- I don't understand why Chief does roof trusses so cryptically).I've read about an architect that uses Sketchup to create complete sets of construction drawings (I wouldn't mind seeing Chief merger with SketchUp). I also hate the default automation of Chief's deck framing tool. I would like to just draw a closed polygon (still don't understand why Chief calls a polygon, a poly-line?) and set the framing parameters (joist size, spacing etc) and manually add my beams (boxed or dropped) and add a railing later. I don't like defining my deck perimeter using a railing (glorified wall tool). Chief's roof tool is the most versatile and creates the most stable areas of a drawing (roof doesn't automatically change hgts when you move walls or adjust floor hgts etc.). I wish they would stabilize or provide floor platform thickness and floor elevation locks so that a floor platform remains as drawn when moving interior partitions. Nuff said.

 

I too have heard that Softplan's management is no where near as accessible and friendly as Chief's regarding issues and program suggestions. For now, Chief works best for me but I'm constantly looking over the fences to see if Softplan's grass has gotten any greener. Would like to hear more from current Softplan users regarding roof creation tools, wall heights and floor platform stability, oh yeah and do they allow you to draw a foundation wall that doesn't incorporate the sill plate in the calculation (eg" 97.5" for an 8' high cmu or poured wall in Chief)? Better yet, I'd like to hope some of those improvements are in X9-BB

Have you found more stability with X8 or X9B ?

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All CAD programs are a work in progress, otherwise we'd all be using the final version

 

Telling it like it is ....

 

Lew

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This is what I was concerned about in my above post.

 

Quote: "Chief's roof tool is the most versatile and creates the most stable areas of a drawing (roof doesn't automatically change hgts when you move walls or adjust floor hgts etc.). I wish they would stabilize or provide floor platform thickness and floor elevation locks so that a floor platform remains as drawn when moving interior partitions."

 

Yes, this is very important and urgent. Has X9b fixed this ? If not then, can we please make serious progress in XX thanks.

 

Like we can lock a roof plane, we should also be able to lock room heghts etc when making any changes to the 3d model to overide automactic rebuild updates that throw the modeled room shapes out of place. 

 

I would say, that this is the biggest of all problems with Chief Architect, If we can fix this in XX we would have landed on the moon with XX. A giant step forward for Chief Architect and small step forward for the programmers of this app.

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I am  Reading forums constantly and am always surprised when someone complains about Chief and the learning curve.  I have used and own Revit  and I was an old Auto-Cad user. I checked out Softplan  just before Chief and I have to be honest it sucked compared to the ease of Chief Architect. I am not saying that to be mean its the truth.  

 

You have to take the time to learn Chief and the learning curve is not hard at all. Yes I am still learning new things about Chief and that is how incredible the program is for residential design. The new updates just get better and better. There is still a few quirky things that I do not like which Chief is constantly trying to improve.  Reading through forums it surprises me that people ask basic questions proving they do not want to take the time to learn on their own. I asked a few of them in the beginning but  I realized it was not the software it was just me so I buckled down and really learned the program which I am still doing.

Chief while not a strict Cad program has more than enough Cad capabilities to do residential design

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We might not be moving as fast a the big BIMs but we are more advanced than SP in many ways. I do like how you can draw and edit walls in a 3d overview with SP once we get this along with a few more features we will have fully surpassed them. It's good to have healthy competition in the same league as it helps advance the residential apps we use.

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13 minutes ago, mthd97 said:

I do like how you can draw and edit walls in a 3d overview with SP

 

This can be done in Chief.  Is there something that can be learned from SP that you can share that would make Chief better?

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I liked how in SP you can right-click on the window in a brick wall and specify brick ledge.

 

 

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I love Chief and was a Softplan user many years.  I switched and there's no going back, however the fact that this thread has almost 7000 views should be sounding some alarm bells over at Chief HQ if they know what's good for them...

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A big one for me is being able to have wall framing options in Softplan so we can show advanced framing the actual way we want it built.

 

Another big one is Softplan ability to do a full takeoff instead of just a material list.

 

And then the "Options" function in SoftPlan which allows you to upsell a basic design to buyers.

 

Ability to get the lot coverage area with one click in SoftPlan.

 

SoftPlan has a lower computer hardware requirement.  I designed and laid out an apartment complex consisting of four 12 unit buildings on a 2.5 acre parcel using my laptop in SoftPlan.  In Chief, I had to buy a souped up gamer computer just to design a single fourplex.

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25 minutes ago, parkwest said:

A big one for me is being able to have wall framing options in Softplan so we can show advanced framing the actual way we want it built.

 

Another big one is Softplan ability to do a full takeoff instead of just a material list.

 

And then the "Options" function in SoftPlan which allows you to upsell a basic design to buyers.

 

Ability to get the lot coverage area with one click in SoftPlan.

 

SoftPlan has a lower computer hardware requirement.  I designed and laid out an apartment complex consisting of four 12 unit buildings on a 2.5 acre parcel using my laptop in SoftPlan.  In Chief, I had to buy a souped up gamer computer just to design a single fourplex.

 

The concept of "drawing modes" in Softplan versus Chief's highly sophisticated and elegant annotation sets and layer sets approach blows Softplan, not only out of the water, but out of this galaxy. Are you kidding me? 

How about those damn lollipops for roof plane manipulation what the heck were they thinking?...

How about kitchens, rendering ability? 

Not even close. 

Also layouts are so much more powerful in Chief, albeit not as intuitive at first. 

 

Not to mention Chief's secret weapon - this site and its amazing community. Especially that relatively small group of experienced users who just have no limit to their generosity, everyone knows who they are. 

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Even though I have no plans to switch and go to the dark side, it does interest me to here about the features of SoftPlan and Envisioneer.  I wonder if there are any Chief Architect users that use to be Envisioneer users?  I looked into Envisioneer before I ever invested in Chief Architect through CA's Rent-to-Own program.   I don't believe I ever heard of SoftPlan until I got on this forum.  It seems to me Chief Architect, SoftPlan and Envisioneer are all in their little bracket trying compete with each other.

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14 hours ago, payettedesigns said:

I am  Reading forums constantly and am always surprised when someone complains about Chief and the learning curve.  I have used and own Revit  and I was an old Auto-Cad user. I checked out Softplan  just before Chief and I have to be honest it sucked compared to the ease of Chief Architect. I am not saying that to be mean its the truth.  

 

You have to take the time to learn Chief and the learning curve is not hard at all. Yes I am still learning new things about Chief and that is how incredible the program is for residential design. The new updates just get better and better. There is still a few quirky things that I do not like which Chief is constantly trying to improve.  Reading through forums it surprises me that people ask basic questions proving they do not want to take the time to learn on their own. I asked a few of them in the beginning but  I realized it was not the software it was just me so I buckled down and really learned the program which I am still doing.

Chief while not a strict Cad program has more than enough Cad capabilities to do residential design

 

I agree with this post 100%.  I've learned the software mostly by trial and error (a lot of error)...and could not have gotten anywhere without this exceptional forum.  Also...Joey Martin got me off and running with a session...a very wise investment on my part.  He was a very big help.  

 

I also wonder if the guy that started this thread...joedesign30...gave up on CA or what.  I don't see any posts past 2014.  Maybe he decided to join the dark side...

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21 hours ago, payettedesigns said:

You have to take the time to learn Chief and the learning curve is not hard at all.

 

I have say Chief is a mixed bag.  Some otherwise complicated modeling they've made incredibly simple and easy - but the flip side they've also made otherwise very simple things either overly difficult or flat out impossible.

 

I think when comparing Softplan, Chief is superior in many, many ways.

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Yes true, some things are overly complicated in CA and every CAD app has it's long winded way's of doing things too. I think we could show that SP does have some very good things about it that we can improve in CA. I agree with the parkwest list, especially the ML point but CA is better for Designers and SP is better for Builder quantity surveyors IMO. A merger or takeover would be worth it for me. I really like SP SL add on.

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