Vectorworks Spotlight

(15)
4.6 out of 5 stars

Vectorworks, Inc. is a global design and BIM software developer serving over 650,000 professionals in the architecture, landscape and entertainment industries. Since 1985, we’ve been committed to helping designers capture inspiration, nurture innovation, communicate effectively and bring their visions to life. With our cross-platform software, designers can build data-rich, visual models without sacrificing the design process, while collaborating efficiently throughout the project life-cycle. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Vectorworks is a part of the Nemetschek Group. Learn how we empower designers to create experiences that transform the world

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Vectorworks review by <span>Todd P.</span>
Todd P.
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Verified Current User
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"There is a reason it is the industry standard."

What do you like best?

Makes creating a light plot or other drawing for the entertainment industry simple. This is software I use and teach. I can take a student who knows hand drafting and get the up and running in just a few lessons. There is no other resources that as many lighting symbols as Vectorworks. They keep the library up to date and constantly adding new items. The program updates every year and each year they offer new features that are helpful. The new cable management tool is revolutionary. Another great feature is Spotlights gobo textures. With this program you can try out gobos in your pre visualizations.

What do you dislike?

Every year its updated and its tough keeping up with new features. Some new versions crash a lot make sure you save often and have at least two backups for each project. You can do some pre visualizations but the control is limited and hard to do with a complex light plot.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Get as many add ons as you can afford. Renderworks is a must to go with Spotlight. If you want to do rendering make sure you have a computer that can handle the extra computer power needed.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Its allows me to easily create light plots for theatre. The resources it provides are priceless. It has more symbols in one place than any other product. Ultimately it saves time which makes me more money.

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Vectorworks review by <span>David G.</span>
David G.
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Verified Current User
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"Despite some flaws, Vectorworks Spotlight is easily the best tool for the job."

What do you like best?

I like Vectorworks' intuitive design tools, handling of lighting symbols and associated data, legend customization ability, and ability to organize elements into both classes and layers. The (general) ease of data exchange between vectorworks and lightwright is particularly helpful and time saving.

What do you dislike?

Vectorworks' handling of work planes is not nearly as smooth or intuitive as Revit, though it is improving. The label legend manager could be much easier to work with as well. The integration with Lightwright would ideally also be smoother (sometimes leading to fixtures disappearing, duplicating or moving unexpectedly). Sometimes the handling of hybrid 2D and 3D symbols can cause frustrations and unnecessary complications.

Recommendations to others considering the product

There are not really any programs that can compete with Vectorworks' light plot drafting ability and integration with lightwright. Though sometimes frustrating, it is the best and industry standard tool for the job.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Vectorworks saves a great deal of time in allowing for the creation of elegant and accurate plots that serve to organize and contain a great deal of important and relevant lighting data.

What Other CAD solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
Vectorworks review by <span>Chris B.</span>
Chris B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Industry Standard for a Reason"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks Spotlight is the industry standard for entertainment lighting drawings for good reason. The built-in tools make the software unrivaled in it's ease of use; the native tools in Vectorworks are add-ins for the big name competitors. Automated fixture numbering, synchronization with Lightwright, database tools, and integrated photometrics make the software a comfortable environment for drafting. It understands what you need to do and speaks the language of the entertainment professional. With each new version there are meaningful and significant improvements which accommodate real world users feedback and, as a result, ease of use and functionality improves annually.

What do you dislike?

Vectorworks, at times, doesn't feel like a precise drafting tool. A light plot usually doesn't require this but attempting to draw detailed elements can sometimes warrant a switch to AutoCAD for a quicker and easier precision drawing experience.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

A great deal of time is saved by using Vectorworks. This is the number one business benefit.

Vectorworks review by <span>Patrick I.</span>
Patrick I.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"I couldn't do my job without Vectorworks Spotlight"

What do you like best?

It is arguably the industry standard for theatrical designers. The listen to their customers.

What do you dislike?

I would love to have a more integrated paperwork solution.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Do yourself a favor and learn this software.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Vectorworks Spotlight allows me to do my job...I teach lighting design in the classroom and onstage.

Vectorworks review by <span>Alex F.</span>
Alex F.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"*The* industry standard lighting software"

What do you like best?

The ability to create comprehensive lighting plots in 2D and 3D, with clear information for a master electrician and programmer, as well as being able to interchange information with Lightwright.

What do you dislike?

The load time is a little slow on Mac, and its 3D engine does not allow for intuitive boom arm placement. A future version with a "smart" boom arm creator would eliminate this problem.

Recommendations to others considering the product

LXFree and possibly also Capture Polar with Lightweight and Wysiwyg.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

It allows me to communicate clearly to electricians, and keep track of inventory of equipment used and the the rental shop order for other items.

Vectorworks review by <span>Harrison H.</span>
Harrison H.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Vectorworks as a Lighting Designer"

What do you like best?

When using Vectorworks I find that the pre-built symbols are most helpful. It saves the time of having to build your own symbols and allows for easy data transfer out of the program. Along the lines of data transfer, I have found Vectorworks one of the most compatible piece of software. Most other programs are just now getting up to the importing abilities that Vectorworks has had for many years.

What do you dislike?

When I do have to create a symbol that is not in the file it isn't the easiest task. It is clunky and your data path can get messed up quickly. Usually it is easier just to copy a pre-built symbol and re-work it but I prefer a ground up approach. I also believe there should be some more pay brackets depending on usage, since it is such a helpful piece of software it would be nice if more people could use it, restricting file size and reducing cost would be nice for smaller theaters and one man outfits.

Recommendations to others considering the product

It is a crucial piece of software for the entertainment lighting industry. If you work in the entertainment lighting industry it is almost a requirement to learn this software. It allows for better communication and clarity of ideas.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

My use with Vectorworks is to communicate with the rest of the design team what is necessary for my light hangs. This eliminates the need for more face to face interactions to explain drawings.

Vectorworks review by <span>Ian G.</span>
Ian G.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A powerful and nearly comprehensive tool for theatrical design. "

What do you like best?

Vectorworks offers a rich set of industry specific features and fulling functioning CAD suite. The ability to work with the files in a number of other CAD suites, also me to work the way I want and for collaborators to work as they are most comfortable. Additionally, the ability to work interoperable with other industry software, like lightwright, makes it an essential part of my work.

What do you dislike?

I wish vectorworks did more towards live visualization to better integrate with my workflow and client conversations.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Vectorworks is the one CAD platform which I've used that retains the drafting table and paper as the final product. There is always a reference to what the end document will be, and that helps with the organizational logic in my experience. However, this does lead to unique taxonomy, such as the difference between layers and classes. These can be the trickiest concepts for the new vectorworks user with previous experience in the AutoCAD or Adobe product lines.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am a lighting, media and scenic designer. Vectorworks allows me to work in a robust 3D environment to pre-plan all of my scenic objects and lighting instruments. This givens me the ability to animate and rapidly prototype ideas with directors, choreographers and other collaborators.

Vectorworks review by <span>Adam L.</span>
Adam L.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"My goto tool."

What do you like best?

The way it draws geometrical primitives and treats them as whole objects. The ease of going form 2-d to 3-d in one step. Vector works is best when using it for lighting design as it has built in communication with Lightwright and both softwares work together. The keyboard shortcuts are nice and customizable and the fluidity of converting between AutoCAD and back is so seamless.

Vector works can be used and is used by lots of people who have their own way of using it and it works for them, but I was taught by beta-tester and learned the program the way it was designed and have been teaching to others this way and they are all happy to learn.

What do you dislike?

There is no app for tablets or smart phones.

The subscription program is great but you no longer get DVDs. For the price at least a USB drive with the software would be sent out, if not a DVD too.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Dont give up if you are having trouble finding symbols you need, you can always make your own and I have done just that many times.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I get to make creative, custom presentations that other software can't do. You don't just have to make draftings of theatrical projects, but can trace PDFs of pictures, scale documents without loosing resolution. There is nothing I can't do or make with this product.

Vectorworks review by <span>Chad L.</span>
Chad L.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Scenic and Lighting Designer for Corporate AV"

What do you like best?

I like how easy it is to train new people on Vectorworks. I have trained several people at my office, and find that most people can pickup the basics of VW pretty easy. I also think that VW is going the right direction with support. They are active on their forums and very willing to help users out.

What do you dislike?

File size is sometimes a problem for me. It is not unusual for me to have files 70mbs and bigger.

Recommendations to others considering the product

There are a lot of people in the industry that use VW. It is a fairly simple program to learn.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

There are a lot of design problems that VW helps me solve. With the integration of Projection Tools I no longer have to use additional software to do Projection Calculations. It seems every year they come out with some tools that saves me from 5 minutes to 15 minutes of work.

Vectorworks review by <span>Joseph L.</span>
Joseph L.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Great program for drafting"

What do you like best?

We utilize it to create drawings for our lighting rig

What do you dislike?

Not much, they have great product support

Recommendations to others considering the product

It is one of two programs that can create lighting rigs with ease, and WYSIWYG isn't as multidimensional

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We need to create drawings on a daily basis for our lighting rigs and VW spotlight has great tools for that.

Vectorworks review by User in Entertainment
User in Entertainment
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Product is good but latest update is a lemon"

What do you like best?

I like the libraries available. Ease of importing dxf and dwg files.

What do you dislike?

The latest version crashes approximately every 10minutes. They release a new version every year and it’s a pain.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Providing lighting plots. It’s easy to send off a plot via email instead of thru the post.

Vectorworks review by User in Entertainment
User in Entertainment
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Spotlight as Primary CAD"

What do you like best?

Vectorworks Spotlight is the industry standard software for lighting designers. The compatibility with Lightwright (and now Lightwright's easy imports into Nomad) means that all my paperwork and work spaces stay consistently labeled.

What do you dislike?

Not particularly user friendly to start with. Building a base of symbols and legends takes time.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Working through online tutorials piece by piece.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Faster paperwork updates. More accurate drawings.

Vectorworks review by <span>Jordan B.</span>
Jordan B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Vectorworks Spotlight is a great, flexible, and accurate program that I use daily."

What do you like best?

I like the ability to detail designs down to millimeters and then see the reality take shape just as drawn.

What do you dislike?

There is a distinct learning curve and I feel there are many areas I could work more efficiently.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Using VWX gives the ability to plan all aspects of a setup, from light plot, to seating layout and see these aspects reflected accurately on show site.

Vectorworks review by User in Performing Arts
User in Performing Arts
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Vectorworks most of the time"

What do you like best?

I utilize the software to help create large theatrical regional theatre productions and very detailed immersive fan experiences

What do you dislike?

The frequency that the program crashes, but 2018 seems to be more stable, the high cost

Recommendations to others considering the product

be fully aware of the costs including the service plan.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The 3d aspects of the software is east to use, and very good

Vectorworks review by User in Events Services
User in Events Services
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"AutoCad user in a Vectorworks world"

What do you like best?

Amazing flexibility and extremely well thought our built in tools

What do you dislike?

There is a huge learning curve for those who have spent years in AutoCAD.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Evaluate your employees for ability in switching. And do not do a cold swap.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Designing large scale corporate events.

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