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Thread: What AutoCAD program/s should I learn?

  1. #1
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    What AutoCAD program/s should I learn?

    I am currently a student looking to enhance my resume.

    I already know how to use AutoCAD (and a bit of AutoCAD Civil 3D and wondering if i should continue with Civil), but seeing how there are more versions offered within the AutoCAD line, I am curious to find out if there are other AutoCAD programs employers like to have potential entry level employees know besides the stand-alone AutoCad.

    Secondly, I I have read posts suggesting to learn Adobe Photoshop. Is Photoshop similar to Autodesk 3ds Max Design or Adobe Illustrator? I am unfamiliar with all three softwares, but can someone advise me on whether i should just stick to one software or not? and what should these softwares be?

    I dont have a specific field of planning that i plan to go into as a career, so i am trying to be as flexible as possible for the future.

    Thanks for any help!
    Last edited by Fipper; 24 Feb 2012 at 10:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    For planning you should probably forget autocad and go with ESRI products. You will find them easier to share.

    Autocad is probably better suited for engineering and architecture. Our modelers use transcad, but I'll be darned if I know whether that is based on autocad or something else. I know its made by Caliper, but have no idea if it works with autocad
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    From a designer perspective, knowing AutoCAD with ArcGIS is a big help. Assuming you know how to draft in CAD, being able to convert GIS shapefiles and import them into CAD through AutoCAD Map 3d is a big plus (combines the accurate CAD with GIS for base mapping/exportining/sharing).

    If you can master this with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign) you will be pretty handy for planning design firms, and score more points if you can hand render.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  4. #4
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    It depends on what type of drafting do you want to do. If you want to work in architecture or landscape architecture, then I would sharpen my skills in Auto CAD. If you want to work for a civil engineering firm, then I would learn Microstation. If you want to work in structural engineering or industrial design, then I would use Revit or SolidWorks.

    I have used AutoCAD extensively over the past 7 years, more so on the design/drafting/redlining side than GIS. Do you use buttons or the command prompt to draw? Which specific .lsp files do you use? Do you know how to modify the command prompt using .pcp files? Do you know how to modify/create plot styles (AND how to calibrate a stand-alone plotter)? What Auto CAD standards have you used on projects? On the industry-side, what are the various components to a sheet set? Can you draw a titleblock, crunch out a detail, list notes/specs? How do you audit errors, nest xrefs, change scales? Dimensioning and drawing leader lines is an art in itself. Do you know how to calibrate precision on a trackball mouse? Auto-CAD is a very versatile tool, especially for the design side in planning. I am sure you are a whiz at Auto CAD, although as a student it's still a hard sell (prove me wrong). Personally, I would work at refining your skills in Auto CAD first before tackling on new programs.

    I work as a jack-of-all-trades planner/non-planner with software experience ranging from AutoCAD to GIS to Flash to blah, blah, blah. I pick up new skills all the time and what I have learned is that employers start treating you like a full-service cafeteria, they will take a little of this and a lot of that. That's not a bad thing, and you WILL find work easily (if you know how to market and brand your skills) but grabbing every single software program under the sun is not going to be of value to an employer if they don't use it themselves. 3D CAD experience is not needed for a CE firm cranking on road profiles and specs. They want a Microstation flunkey who can crank out drawings according to standards and quickly move onto the next project.

    Hope this helps-
    Last edited by nrschmid; 01 Mar 2012 at 2:02 PM.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Do you use buttons or the command prompt to draw? Which specific .lsp files do you use? Do you know how to modify the command prompt using .pcp files? Do you know how to modify/create plot styles (AND how to calibrate a stand-alone plotter)? What Auto CAD standards have used on projects? On the industry-side, what are the various components to a sheet set? Can you draw a titleblock, crunch out a detail, list notes/specs? How do you audit errors, nest xrefs, change scales? Dimensioning and drawing leader lines is an art in itself. Do you know how to calibrate precision on a trackball mouse?
    These are handy questions to really prove if i candidate "knows" autocad or simply just put on the resume because they took a class or 2.

    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Fipper View post
    Photoshop similar to Autodesk 3ds Max Design or Adobe Illustrator? I am unfamiliar with all three softwares, but can someone advise me on whether i should just stick to one software or not? and what should these softwares be?

    I dont have a specific field of planning that i plan to go into as a career, so i am trying to be as flexible as possible for the future.

    Thanks for any help!
    Illustrator is a vector illustration program. Photoshop works mostly with images (non-vector) so they are really not the same. I have worked in Adobe Illustrator for 9 years and Photoshop for about 6 1/2 years. 3ds Max is a 3D-rendering program, so you are really comparing apples to oranges to galoshes. I found Illustrator to be somewhat easier to work with than Photoshop if you just want to crank out illustrations on the fly. Photoshop can be very complex with layers and masking, etc. On several projects I have used combinations of related and unrelated software. I have used Adobe Illustrator to render GIS maps (such as adding individual tree symbols with drop shadows or ripples on water). A few years ago I worked on streetscape design guidelines that combined hand-sketches, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. I did this over several years of trial and error.

    The bigger question is what do you want to do? Do you want to do planning or do you want to play around with different types of software programs?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Fipper View post
    Photoshop similar to Autodesk 3ds Max Design or Adobe Illustrator? I am unfamiliar with all three softwares, but can someone advise me on whether i should just stick to one software or not? and what should these softwares be?

    I dont have a specific field of planning that i plan to go into as a career, so i am trying to be as flexible as possible for the future.

    Thanks for any help!
    Illustrator is a vector illustration program. Photoshop works mostly with images (non-vector) so they are really not the same. I have worked in Adobe Illustrator for 9 years and Photoshop for about 6 1/2 years. 3ds Max is a 3D-rendering program, so you are really comparing apples to oranges to galoshes. I found Illustrator to be somewhat easier to work with than Photoshop if you just want to crank out illustrations on the fly. Photoshop can be very complex with layers and masking, etc. On several projects I have used combinations of related and unrelated software. I have used Adobe Illustrator to render GIS maps (such as adding individual tree symbols with drop shadows or ripples on water). A few years ago I worked on streetscape design guidelines that combined hand-sketches, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. I did this over several years of trial and error.

    Before you invest time and money into learning and practicing these various programs, the bigger question is what do you want to do?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #8
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    it depends on what your planning to work on

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