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3d Home Architect/Chief Architect pro...

Jon_Thompson_--_Bull_&_Thomp's picture

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Yes, I've been using the Chief for 5 years, I like it very much, though it has gotten pretty complicated as it has matured.

Customers do seem to like the axonometric views.

Jon Thompson
Bull & Thompson Builders
Amherst, Massachusetts

(post #172249, reply #2 of 18)

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is 3d architect the best way to get started if you have no cad experience?

(post #172249, reply #4 of 18)

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Montana, thanks for the advise. what do you think about TurboCAD?

(post #172249, reply #5 of 18)

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I recently used 3d Home Architect to draw the plans for my second story addition. Here are my observations. I'd love to hear how Chief Architect compares.

Good Things
-Easy to learn without manual. A simple house can be thrown together in less than an hour
-Auto roof generation is outstanding. Complicated roofs and dormers are a little tricky and not extremely well documented but are do-able
-Drawing/refresh is reasonably quick
-Cost's less than two large combo pizzas

Bad Things
-The graphics and architectural details are barely up to 1980's graphics standards
-Some poor/undocumented error messages(e.g. Error 103) and crashes about once per 5 hours usage
-No support for developing detailed working drawings
-Measurement tool breaks long runs into little pieces forcing user to add them up manually

(post #172249, reply #8 of 18)

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Montana, How did you get a sample copy of Chief? I have used 3D for about 3 years & would like to have a few more features. The version I have doesn't do the roof layout & I am not yet sold on just upgrading to the newest version. Ken

(post #172249, reply #10 of 18)

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I have been a Chief Architect user for the past two years. Yes it looks almost identical to 3D Home Architect. It will do considerably more. If you want to see actual working drawings to a recent job go to www.capecod.net/cad it is my website and you can see a simple cape (yet large). P.S. it wasn't my design it was the customers I only drafted it.

(post #172249, reply #11 of 18)

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I checked out your website. Chief drawings were very nice. I was also impressed with the renderings. Were these done with Chief Architect?

(post #172249, reply #12 of 18)

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I rendered most of it in Chief but a couple of the items I finished in Paint Shop Pro. Renderings are not a Chief specialty.

(post #172249, reply #15 of 18)

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To assign objects like shingles, clapboard, shakes, t-11 etc. it is easy in Chief. To render them to look like photorealistic pictures is another story. If you looked at the picture on my website those shingles on the roof and the siding were done with just a couple of mouse clicks. What you see is about as good as a rendering as you can expect with Chief Architect.

Why don't you have version 7? I saw the next version of Minicad at Build Boston recently and if I purchase another program it would probably be that. It's called Vectorworks and I think it is supposed to be released soon.

(post #172249, reply #1 of 18)

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Yes, I've been using the Chief for 5 years, I like it very much, though it has gotten pretty complicated as it has matured.

Customers do seem to like the axonometric views.

Jon Thompson
Bull & Thompson Builders
Amherst, Massachusetts

(post #172249, reply #18 of 18)

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We previously had a good discussion about 3D Home Architect. I have learned it is a simple version of Chief Architect, made by Advanced Relational Technology. 3D Home architect is about $50.00; Chief Architect is about $700.00. While Chief seems quite a bit more powerful than 3D, is is also quite a bit cheaper than other programs.

Does anyone have any working experience with Chief Architect?

(post #172249, reply #3 of 18)

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For a beginning program and a cheap price ($40-50), it is preaty darned good! I haven't found a better affordable program.

(post #172249, reply #6 of 18)

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My only knowledge of TurboCad is that it is for drafting in general, rather than just homebuilding, as 3D is.

(post #172249, reply #7 of 18)

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Since I started this discussion, I have received a sample copy of Chief. It is almost identical to 3D, except it has many more options. As an example, you can totally customize the roof. Want a 3 foot eave on the south side only? No problem. I'm not done playing with the sample yet.

(post #172249, reply #9 of 18)

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Just call and ask for it: 1-800-482-4433
OR
www.chiefarch.com

(post #172249, reply #13 of 18)

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Hi Montana,

I'm a Minicad 6 user. It too is weak on rendering surface textures, etc, though I like its power/price ratio. How difficult is it to render shingles and clapboards and such with Chief Architect?

Steve Zerby

(post #172249, reply #14 of 18)

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Im in the market for a drafting/design program and from the above posts it seems that Cheif Architect is the way to go. Anyone have any experience with MiniCad7 as a comparison? I'll be using my software mainly for additions, site cut roofs, garages and decks. Id also like something I could do large ceramic tile(multi-room) layouts with. Thanks for any advice...

Dave

(post #172249, reply #16 of 18)

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Hi Jay,

I just haven't had the need to upgrade, as I haven't had any major design work to do for a while.

I actually went to Boston last year for a training seminar on 7. Some things were much better than 6, but I thought I would wait to upgrade till I had a big job in case it jumped another version before then. Was hoping Quickdraw 3D (MAC object-oriented 3D modeling lanquage) would progress more for faster rendering. That technology kind of faded in the meantime.

I expect I will get Vectorworks when they release that. I wonder why the namechange?

Steve

(post #172249, reply #17 of 18)

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Hi Dave,

I've cut my teeth on Minicad 4 and 6. Had some training on 7, but haven't really used it.

I like Minicad for exactly the kind of stuff that you talk about doing. Its big weakness is rendering. If the wall framing feature in 7 really works, that alone would be worth the price. I bought a third-party wall framing utility for 6 and never could get it to work right.

Minicad is supposed to be very similar to Chief architect in price/performance. The learning curve is a litte steep, but not as bad as other 3D things I've tried.

Steve