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TFP/Personal Arch versions & software choice (long post)
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* December 03, 2015, 06:22:02 AM
Going to finally redraw all my "stuff" early next year for same house that I've had for almost 40 years in prep for some major renovations.   I did 2D plans way back when (25 years ago?) in a DOS package.  Did a lot of work later in FP8, but designed a new out-building 3-4 years ago with TFP15.  At that time, TFP16 was out, but 15 was much cheaper and there didn't seem to be anything compelling in 16 for me.

Now starting research on software for redraw.  At this point, I'm looking at continuing to use TFP15 or get Personal Architect or Chief Home Designer Pro.  I have not yet downloaded the trials.  I don't need to submit plans to anyone, so printing requirement is minimal.  The 3D version was "good enough" then, so I doubt I'll need photo-level rendering now.

As I understand, TFP16 was a subset of Envisioneer 7, not sure of matching PerArch version (if it existed then).  Would be nice to know what features have been updated since then.  Most of what I'm finding is, of course, the new features of Envisioneer 11; most of the links that I've found so far in the CadSoft forum for older versions' "new & improved" no longer work.  Anyone have ideas/links?

The Chief product features look pretty good from the specs & several of their videos, but there are several issues: price (of course), required web connection for license validation every 14 days (my box is non-web), and no Jack or Allan to hold my hand when I have problems (highly unlikely that they would remember me from my active FP8 days on the Imsi FP forum, but I sure do remember them fondly).

FP/TFP pretty much met my needs and I was able to use workarounds to overcome most problems.  But the following are what I remember as giving me the most trouble -

Terrain.  What I have are relative elevations at key spots like slab corners, not a contour map.  IIRC, my drawn plot size was something like 375x375 (ft) with elevation changes within a 10 ft range, varying slopes.  Because of slabs (5 of them) & landscaping issues, I really need this to be pretty accurate.  On one of my older FP versions (10?) there was a mesh that worked pretty well, but that's not available in TFP or (per Allan) PerArch or even ProArch.  This is one of the big reasons I'm even considering Chief - it looks like it has a lot more control in this area.  For CadSoft, I know Jack and Allan say use Plateaus.  Maybe I need to find some way to convert my elevation points to a contour map so I'd have a better chance.  Most likely that I will have separate drawings for "outside" (complex terrain, simple interiors), "inside" (simple terrain, complex interiors) and "plumbing/wiring/hvac" (simple terrain, simple interiors).

Rafter tails.  In my house & matching out-buildings, the rafters/trusses and the tails are 2 separate entities.  The rafters/trusses are spaced 16" oc and the (cedar or treated pine) tails are separate 4ft-6ft pieces 24" oc with rounded bottom corners.  This means drawing a solid (or "fake solid") elements at the 5:12 pitch which FP could not natively do.  A kind soul in the TurboCad forum did this for me years ago.  FWIW, I still have TC9 pro, but never really took the time to learn it.  Chief cannot create solids either, but they think they can help me create the effect with surfaces.  Any idea of what TFP/PerArch can do?  I can fake a lot of horizontal & vertical stuff, but these angled puppies with contours...

camera movement.  I didn't have much of a problem with FP, but I found the cameras much harder to control with TFP.  Any change now with PerArch?  The Chief demo makes it look pretty simple and even allows you to define a trail for walk-throughs.

I know the trials will tell me a lot when I get to them, most likely after Christmas.  Just organizing my thoughts, setting expectations & getting background now.

Diane
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 07:22:28 AM by dianedebuda »

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* December 03, 2015, 08:58:07 AM
#1
Hi Diane,

First of all, for what you are trying to do, I don't think there is any compelling reason to go beyond  TFP v15, as the  changes are relatively minor when it comes to drawing the basic plans. If you go to the Products page on the Cadsoft site you will find a comparison of Personal Architect with the other higher priced versions. If you go through the things that it list for Personal Architect you will be able to work out what has been added and whether they are of interest to you. I suspect there will probably not be anything consequential.

If you got to Chief Architect it will be a whole new ballgame starting from scratch learning the program and redrawing all the plans. Personal Architect will use your existing TFP 15 model.

Terrain:  If you have only a few fixed points where you know the height, then you need to draw a Plateau at each of these levels but one way or another, even if you had a Mesh system, you would still have to work out the levels in between them and come up with estimated contour lines. Bear in mind that plateaus stack on top of each other so all of the contours or Plateaus has to add up to the levels that you know. The plateau height setting is the distance between each level you have. If you have one 5' and another 6' then that Plateau is 1' high. Hope that makes sense.

Rafter tails
: You can create almost any shape in TFP using the Floor tool for example. In an new project turn off the Terrain, select the Floor tool, right click and choose By Picking Points. Draw your Rafter Tail shape, using a diagonal for the curved end and set the sizes to what you want. Right click the angled line, select Curve and drag it to the shape curve you want. Set the "Floor" thickness to the rafter thickness. You now have your rafter laid on its side. Now what you do is go to File/Export and export it as a 3DS file. Note where you save it. Now you can open your actual house project, go it the Exterior Accessories part of the catalogue, right click and choose Add Element. In the dialog box that opens select Import Geometry from File and go to RafterTail.3DS file that you saved before. During import you can turn it over so it is the right way up. When you insert it you can also set the angle to match the roof. It is now part of your catalogue and can be used in a any future project. The size and angles can be changed at any time. See this topic for other examples and details of how to do it http://forums.turbofloorplan.com/index.php/topic,1130.0.html

Camera Angles: Personal Architect is the same as TFP. They did introduce a Navigator where you controlled the movement  within a small circle, but I turned it off as it was always in the way and in my opinion did not help. I can't really recall much difference between V8 and v15 as far as cameras go. TFP also allows you to plot a path for a walkthrough and record it as a video.

Hope those comments help.
Allan

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Allan Chesney,
Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia
www.alchesdesigns.iinet.net.au

TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Pro V16.0.C1.901
Envisioneer Construction Suite V9.1.2.1234
TurboCAD V17 Professional


* December 03, 2015, 01:27:26 PM
#2
Pretty sad when it gets to a "don't waste your time/money" on an upgrade. :(

I only have a single out-building in TFP15; everything else is either in the old DOS cad or FP8.  So I'm in for a massive redraw, no matter what.  I did go through the features list for Personal/ProArchitect + pro packages before posting and that's why I opted for PerArch if I go the Cadsoft route.

Terrain  Didn't think about having a plateau per measurement. Got about 50 points - will that choke TFP?

Rafter Tails  I see the theory now of how to do it.  Interesting.

Camera movement  Maybe I just have faulty memory, but I swear the mouse movements were different between V8 & V15.  Could be my imagination.  Guess I'll find out when I reinstall.

As always, thanks.
Diane

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* December 09, 2015, 08:24:17 AM
#3
Hi Diane,,

I did not mean to imply that there were no improvements in later versions only that they were probably more advanced features that you would probably not use much if at all. There are many changes in the photorealistic rendering but you said earlier that you were not interested in that. No point upgrading if you won't use the later features.

The 50 points in your terrain would not all be different levels surely?  Even so, if the were, it should not worry the program as they are only simple lines creating a mesh, not complex objects.

You may be right about the cameras in V8 - it is a long time ago!

Allan

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Allan Chesney,
Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia
www.alchesdesigns.iinet.net.au

TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Pro V16.0.C1.901
Envisioneer Construction Suite V9.1.2.1234
TurboCAD V17 Professional