johnbds

Training Options For New Users

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I am a new user switching from AutoCad  to CA who would like to get up to speed quickly.  Would appreciate comments and information regarding what experienced users have found as the best and quickest ways to learn CA. I have seen ChiefExperts online, any reviews of what they offer would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you,

--John

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Can I ask are you switching from AutoCad 2D to Chief 3D?  Meaning...did you work in 2D or 3D primarily in AutoCAD?

 

ChiefExperts is a good option - i've learned some nice things from them.  I've also enjoyed http://www.chieftutor.com/ as well (and its free).  However, ChiefExperts is much more up-to-date with the recent version of CA than Tutor.  I'm not a huge fan of Chief's own video library as it stays on the surface.

 

As a tip - you need to clear your mind and start from scratch learning CA from the ground up.  For better or worse, CA decided to do things completely different than other apps and its probably the least user friendly app i've used from a transition standpoint - but will be amazed at how well it handles otherwise complex issues.  For residential 3D home modeling it stands alone as far as its speed and process.....so it can also be very rewarding. 

 

You are making a good decision.

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I came from Revit/Archicad and if you have previous 3D experience I think you'll find about 80% very similar, the most unusual aspect is that it is using a room based paradigm and that you can't control levels in elevation views. Once you gotten used to that you'll find that it is very rewarding. It is super versatile and the developers have big ears, I expect great things going forward.

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I came from Revit/Archicad and if you have previous 3D experience I think you'll find about 80% very similar, the most unusual aspect is that it is using a room based paradigm and that you can't control levels in elevation views. Once you gotten used to that you'll find that it is very rewarding. It is super versatile and the developers have big ears, I expect great things going forward.

In that those apps have walls, windows, doors etc - but there is very little similarities to those apps and how they handle things compared to Chief. The paradigm you mention is a good example, and its not a minor thing.  Some of that is good, and some of it isn't.

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Lol. I stand corrected, they are all polar opposites to Chief.  :rolleyes:

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Lol. I stand corrected, they are all polar opposites to Chief.  :rolleyes:

 

i'll lol too then....  i wasn't trying to be rude sorry (although txt often sounds worse), but before landing on CA I ended up taking extensive courses in those apps (and purchased a copy of each).  I felt that between Vectorworks, Archicad, AllPlan, and Revit they all had their own terminologies, but it was only a matter mostly learning like-for-like methods in each.  I've used Vectorworks and Archicad to complete projects.  Revit stood out slightly more unique than the others, but since the others are owned by the same company that could be the reason.

 

My experience lead me to see CA does things their own way.  If you've found Archicad and Revit to be 80% similar to CA then great.  I just haven't found that to be anywhere near the case....and I say that as a compliment and a criticism depending on the tool type.

 

Cheers!

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No worries Johnny, we all have different backgrounds and viewpoints. Ours appears a bit different. You purchased a copy of each, took extensive courses in them, and then landed on Chief? Wow. I envy you being able to do that kind of due diligence. I spent 4-5 years in each but this was sequentially, I never had the funds nor time to evaluate them against each other.

 

Regardless, and in order to aid the OP, assuming he has 3D experience or it won't matter much, dare I at least say the thought process and workflow is similar in these tools with some notable exceptions? He would obviously find that some tools are more refined in one package than another, and that some have strong and weak areas, but in general the work flows are pretty similar. I actually do find the room paradigm/lack of level control in elevations to perhaps be the biggest difference compared to others, can you think of another of the same magnitude when it comes to work flow? The ground level is quirky but I kind of wrap that in the same box.

 

(Since you got me started, as a side note, I find Archicad and Chief very similar elsewise. Archicad has a ton of tools, very strong in 2D and condocs but lacks framing tools, etc. Revit has less tools but is more innovative with families, modeless operation, etc. Not entirely sure, but I think the only one developed by Nemetschek is Allplan, whereas both Vectorworks and Archicad were acquisitions.)

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No worries Johnny, we all have different backgrounds and viewpoints. Ours appears a bit different. You purchased a copy of each, took extensive courses in them, and then landed on Chief? Wow. I envy you being able to do that kind of due diligence. I spent 4-5 years in each but this was sequentially, I never had the funds nor time to evaluate them against each other.

 

Regardless, and in order to aid the OP, assuming he has 3D experience or it won't matter much, dare I at least say the thought process and workflow is similar in these tools with some notable exceptions? He would obviously find that some tools are more refined in one package than another, and that some have strong and weak areas, but in general the work flows are pretty similar. I actually do find the room paradigm/lack of level control in elevations to perhaps be the biggest difference compared to others, can you think of another of the same magnitude when it comes to work flow? The ground level is quirky but I kind of wrap that in the same box.

 

(Since you got me started, as a side note, I find Archicad and Chief very similar elsewise. Archicad has a ton of tools, very strong in 2D and condocs but lacks framing tools, etc. Revit has less tools but is more innovative with families, modeless operation, etc. Not entirely sure, but I think the only one developed by Nemetschek is Allplan, whereas both Vectorworks and Archicad were acquisitions.)

 

Well, I guess if you are saying "workflow" I would admit they are all similar in that regard. 

 

I'm thinking more (in part) fundamental differences in how they treat walls/objects with layers/classes/views, rooms vs shapes, 3d shape objects which can be any building component, and "blocks" vs symbols/components/families etc etc.  Though I wouldn't say its "as-large" an issue as the room paradigm, a fairly large issue with CA is mixing custom 3D shapes with intelligent objects.  In those other apps you can make walls/roofs/floors connect to 3D custom shapes that represent architectural elements.  I realize this could relate back to the room paradigm issue, but that is why (to me) CA is such a different approach....the room paradigm effects and controls nearly everything you do.

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I don't want to side track this thread further, it's really a separate topic but suffice to say that I disagree with a lot of what you're saying. Rooms vs shapes? Product videos sometimes makes things appear very easy, but there is often a reason the grass is greener on the other side, it rains more there.

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Not coming from and AutoCAD, Revit background, I used other cad, and Chief was very easy for me to learn, couple of classes and done. I do have to thank Scott Hall for all his help early on.

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I'm the kind of guy that needs to understand the work flow, and I found some of the house building overview videos on Chief's sample scenes being very helpful. Once I understand how it is supposed to work I can usually hammer it out by experimenting and asking people here on the forum. I must say though that the library system is an absolute mess and it is no coincidence that the Chief demos always have everything needed conveniently collected in user libraries.  :)

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The library is a mess, not sure how to fix it, all I know is I rarely get much benefit from it.

Maybe Google will buy CA and show them how to work a search engine.

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The way to fix it is to put on the cloud and let SSA users add tags and keywords that we all can benefit from. I would also like to see a top category such as Masterformat so that I can easily separate out things like paint colors, etc.

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I don't want to side track this thread further, it's really a separate topic but suffice to say that I disagree with a lot of what you're saying. Rooms vs shapes? Product videos sometimes makes things appear very easy, but there is often a reason the grass is greener on the other side, it rains more there.

 

My comma wasn't in the right place - I was saying "walls/objects with layers/classes/views/rooms, vs shapes".  The point is the other apps let you start from shapes and work back to a structure.  CA needs rooms to build a structure.

 

If you jump to 13:20 this might explain a little of what i'm talking about.

 

 

Here is a fun video in Archicad showing how shapes form structural elements. Obviously this is extreme, and I dont expect CA to do this, but its just a completely different approach to the process if you dont have to worry about rooms.

 

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I absolutely love the Dulles video, it's a couple of years old now, and good inspiration. However, it is a very particular building and lets face it, neither of us will ever do something like this. Zaha Hadid and other organic architects use nurbs based tools for these studies anyway.

 

But to your point I'm quite familiar with the massing tools in Revit, but even if it is a neat tool you can't seriously see that as a serious deficit in Chief, right? I'd like to see a tool similar to this, it is very useful for FAR and energy calculations but nothing that affects my daily workflow. The only times I've ever used massing tools in real life was in architecture school when designing a sky scraper and a hospital. I did all more advanced studies in Maya or 3ds Max, and then documented them in Autocad.

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Not sure what quickly means for you, but like all major software packages, you'll have to put in some long hours of study and more importantly practice in order to attain a reasonable level of proficiency using Chief.  As far as training goes, I find that Chief's training videos and knowledge base articles are good sources to learn from.  Another option to consider is purchasing Terry Munson's book and workbook on using Chief.  If he hasn't just released it, he will soon be releasing a revision of his book for X8.  Obviously, ChiefTalk is a good place to learn some nifty ways to work with Chief.  For example, Joe Carrick and Gerry Teacher have provided some great stuff on using macros to improve work flow and save time.  Almost everyday someone is posting a helpful video on some aspect of using Chief right here on ChiefTalk. I think there's a lot of stuff on Youtube now, including ChiefArchitect's Youtube site. 

 

Lots of routes to go, including those already mentioned but, IMO, the best way to learn Chief is actually using the program and all its tools

 

Good luck and welcome!

 

PS:  I have no experience with other CAD programs so Chief is it for me.

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the most unusual aspect is that it is using a room based paradigm and that you can't control levels in elevation views.

 

 

Nic,

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "elevation views".

But, in Chief, you can control levels, room heights, etc in cross section views and even 3D views by direct dragging or through the dbx.

This is great for massing studies.

If you turn on auto roofs, auto foundations, etc, it is a very fast way to manipulate and visualise a concept.

 

I did a video a while back on this, but can't remember where it is.

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Johnny,

 

I watched the vid, particularly the bit you mentioned on the massing.

I believe Chief can do it just as well AND auto build the roof, foundation, etc as the model is being built.

As I mentioned above in the last post, you are not restricted to drawing in a 2D plan, Chief allows drawing and editing in 3D.

 

If I get time, I will try and do a vid that duplicates what you see in the Vectorworks vid.

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I think I saw that video, Glenn, or perhaps you showed me some stuff at the user group meet. Even so, I think it can sometimes be a bit more intuitive to set the levels in an elevation view, and then use these as constraints for walls. For example, all of these walls go to level 1, whereas these are going to split level 1, etc. Probably equally powerful and possible to do, but doing it on a room basis can sometimes be confusing, at least for me. Suddenly there is a darn closet or something that wrecks havoc.

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I absolutely love the Dulles video, it's a couple of years old now, and good inspiration. However, it is a very particular building and lets face it, neither of us will ever do something like this. Zaha Hadid and other organic architects use nurbs based tools for these studies anyway.

 

But to your point I'm quite familiar with the massing tools in Revit, but even if it is a neat tool you can't seriously see that as a serious deficit in Chief, right? I'd like to see a tool similar to this, it is very useful for FAR and energy calculations but nothing that affects my daily workflow. The only times I've ever used massing tools in real life was in architecture school when designing a sky scraper and a hospital. I did all more advanced studies in Maya or 3ds Max, and then documented them in Autocad.

 

To a lot less scale I need/use these types of tools often.  Not for major support columns at an international airport, but all sorts of smaller things in residential projects I face.

 

The first video on Vectorworks is a good example for how modeling shells can be a quick way to develop and idea.  I just wish CA took some of the modeling tools more seriously and had the ability to allow mixing 3d shape tools with "object" tools.

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