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Chris J
10-02-2007, 08:42 PM
Have any of you ever heard of a company called DynaScape (Dynascape.com)? They offer design software that is similar to CAD programs, but it is not supposed to be as difficult as CAD. They also offer a free demo tool, and I'm just getting into checking this out. I currently don't have the ability to do the fancy computer aided drawings, but I would like to incorporate this into my presentations if I can find a very (very) efficient way of doing it. I stress "efficient" because I'm not a big fan of wasting a lot of time on creating nice drawings before I receive a down payment. However, I do think a professional drawing would help one get a down payment, so it's a catch 22.

trailboss
10-02-2007, 10:00 PM
Chris, you might want to take a look at Pro Landscape. We have been using it for about 4 years and love it. We use it to draw complete landscape designs and show lighting fixture, transformer and wire placement. It works with autocad - which is nice to be able to import house, pool and property lines from the architect or builder.

Chris J
10-02-2007, 10:05 PM
I don't usually get the opportunity to work with the architect or builder, so I am usually left with sketching it out by hand. I also have NO experience with any type of CAD program. Do you still think I should investigate your source?

trailboss
10-02-2007, 10:21 PM
Most of my work comes directly from the homeowner as well - but on ocassion we get a cad drawing from a home builder or pool builder - which saves us some time. But even if you have to take all of these measurements and enter them yourself the software still has alot of benefits.
We used to hand draw everything but the problem with this is when someone wants to change something. With the software its easy to go back and add, remove or adjust.
Pro Landscape also has a 3D option. You can take a picture of an area and show the homeowner what it will look like landscaped. Theres even a lighting function which allows you to give them an idea what their landscape will look like with lighting. There is a "Lights Out" option where you can adjust how dark the house looks - then you can place lights and adjust spread, brightness, depth etc...
Pretty cool program - its a bit pricey and takes a little while to learn but I would do it again.

Lite4
10-02-2007, 10:43 PM
Chris,
I am an LA. I looked at pro landscape a few years back and found it to be terribly deficiant in the CAD 2D department. And at the time it was not compatible with CAD because it is not done in a dwg. format. It is mainly a photo rendering software, which it does seem to do fairly well. A good program for would be the raincad from software republic. It has a design CAD platform and will allow you to easily convert from a dcd. to a dwg. The Cad looks very professional, and it is fairly easy to learn. If you don't want to learn how to do it. Email me a sketch with dimensions and I will draw it for you and send it back to you in a pdf format you can easily print and give to your perspective client.

trailboss
10-02-2007, 10:53 PM
Chris,
I am an LA. I looked at pro landscape a few years back and found it to be terribly deficiant in the CAD 2D department. And at the time it was not compatible with CAD because it is not done in a dwg. format. It is mainly a photo rendering software, which it does seem to do fairly well. A good program for would be the raincad from software republic. It has a design CAD platform and will allow you to easily convert from a dcd. to a dwg. The Cad looks very professional, and it is fairly easy to learn. If you don't want to learn how to do it. Email me a sketch with dimensions and I will draw it for you and send it back to you in a pdf format you can easily print and give to your perspective client.

Funny, I have a builder that sends me dwg files that I landscape, send back to him and he is able to open it in autocad. Matter of fact if you look at the menu's, tools and buttons on Pro Landscape they look all most identical to Autocad.:confused:

Lite4
10-02-2007, 11:00 PM
Sorry to have offended you trailboss. As I had said it has been a few years since I have looked at it. Perhaps they have made some good changes to the software to correct that problem. Either way Chris my offer still stands to draw them for you. I can email some examples if you would like to see them. Part of my business is doing CAD landscape design for residential, commercial and developement planning.

Chris J
10-02-2007, 11:18 PM
Tim,
I may very well take you up on this offer and pay you a fee to educate me on the features/benefits of using a software program like this. As I said, I've always been lighting only, and I've never entertained the idea of CAD drawings. I'd like to learn it though, and it sounds like you may be a good source for some info. I've got a big Home & Patio show starting tomorrow, so I'll be busy through Sunday then I'll be backed up on business for the next several days. If you will, please remind me and we will discuss this further in the next week or so. Thanks again for the great information!

Lite4
10-02-2007, 11:48 PM
No worries, I'll pm you about it next week. I'll be sending your package tomorrow as well. I'll keep you posted on that.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-03-2007, 08:05 AM
Chris, I own the dynascape Lighting design software. I bought it at their home office here in Oakville about 5 years ago on a product demo day. I was blown away by the apparent ease and functionality of it.

I have never used it even once here at my shop! If you are not well versed in CAD you will have a Massive learning curve (more like a mountain) to become effective with the program. I installed it, started through the tutorials and then becam totally bogged down. The only way that I think this software could possibly assist a lighting contractor is if you were importing drawings and then marking them for lighting. To take the time to actually produce an original drawing of the property would be time and cost prohibitive.

Keep in mind, our lots here are large and irregular shaped with lots of elevation contours. In a typical urban or suburban setting, with flat 50x100 lots or whatever, things would go much faster I am sure.

Have a great day.

Dreams To Designs
10-03-2007, 10:59 AM
Chris, everything so far has been accurate except Tim's review of the current Pro Landscape. I have been using Pro Landscape for only about 4 years so I do not know of it's inadequacies in it's early days, but I can tell you about it now. It is an excellent program if you have the time to learn it and use it efficiently. Not only does it do very realistic 3D imaging, it's CAD mode is relatively easy to use and is compatible with DWG as it uses a CAD engine as it's basis. If you'd like I'd be happy to work with you on a lighting presentation for a client. All I need is a good daylight photo of the home you intend to light and a basic lighting plan you would like represented. I do this for quite a few installers on a regular basis as design, including lighting is the core of my business along with education.

As for Dynascape, it is more intense than Pro Landscape and more involved. It does not do 3D imaging and that can hamper the selling aspect of it. It does great CAD plans with symbols for lighting fixtures and wiring, as does Pro Landscape. For my money and the majority of work that most of us do, I believe Pro Landscape is the better deal, but if you are working on huge projects, including commercial and industrial sites, while working with landscape architects, building architects and many different trades, Dynascape is likely better suited to these applications. Any CAD program will have a learning curve that lessens the more time you put into learning and using the program, but if your business is installations, your time may be better spent on that, rather than CAD drawings or 3D imaging, but that's where designers and landscape architects come into play.

If you want a tool to help you sell more by allowing the client to see what you are going to do, than having someone create 3D images for you would be the best option. If the jobs are large enough that you need a CAD drawing to keep track of locations and materials that is a service that a good lighting designer should offer as well.

You must consider the costs of the software, the computer capable of running the software, a large format printer so that drawing can be printed of a usable scale, the time it takes to learn a relatively intense program, along with training and the time to use it, will it be beneficial or hiring someone as needed to create these images, drawings and material lists for you. A wise man enlists the assistance of others, rather than try to be a jack of all trades.

Kirk

Lite4
10-03-2007, 12:11 PM
Kirk,
Can you post a current 2D drawing as an example of the pro landscapes CAD capabilities. Like I said it has been a few years since I looked at it, I would be interested to see how far they have come with their product.
Thanks