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Compusoft Winner Review (Initial Thoughts)
#1
I've had a play this weekend and I'm not sure if it is the right product at the moment. I hope I'm wrong but the way the catalogs are organised might not suit the market I'm in. I use one cabinet manufacturer combined with doors from several different manufacturers. Articad handles that well as the same cabinet can have doors from several different manufacturers.

In Compusoft Winner at the moment I have 3 catalogues available, which are PWS, Burbidge and their own generic catalogue Design1234. None of the other door manufacturers from the component market are available, so no TKC, Multiwood, Marpatt, Uform, Trade Mouldings etc. I was aware of this before I signed up but figured the 3 combined would be enough to cover most kitchens.

The problem is that each of the 3 catalogues I do have have a completely different set of cabinets (similar configs but completely different codes) attached to them so over time I will have to navigate through 3 completely different sets of cabinet product codes depending on which door I choose. 

I have the option of creating my own custom catalogue and that may overcome the problem but I've got a feeling that it will be limited to the doors from the catalogue it is based on and will still not have interchangeable doors between different door manufacturers. I can change catalogues part way through a design but it creates an alternative design with different cabinet product codes rather than updating the current design.

I'm going to ring support tomorrow and find out what can be done. I was aware that I was going to be limited to 3 catalogues as most of the others are permission based dependent on whether you have an account with a given manufacturer. Most of the catalogues are from manufacturers that will only deal with showrooms so they are of no use to me.

On top of that the PWS catalogue was last updated on May 13th 2015 and the Burbidge one on February 12th 2013.

Also there may have bit a bit of smoke and mirrors in the way the rendering capabilities were explained to me at the show. It will certainly not be anywhere near as fast as I was lead to believe regardless of what processor is used. Having used it for a while I have a far greater insight into how it was demonstrated at the show.

It is a great product from what I can see and is far more comprehensive than Articad but it may not suit how I work. Time will tell.
[-] The following 2 users Like andy5405's post:
  • Colour Republic (20-03-2016 12:08 PM), Daz Gizmo (20-03-2016 01:54 PM)

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#2
That doesn't sound good Andy.

Is the range of units available in each cat not because it is more specific? For example 1 manufacturer may do lets say a full height 1970 larder door, where as another might not. One might do a 1210 & 1340 dresser door and another only a 1210??

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#3
That could be the reason but it doesn't make sense as there are lots of units in the PWS catalogue that couldn't be made with PWS doors as the sizes don't exist. So it doesn't seem very much like a PWS specific catalogue.

The Burbidge catalogue is very different from the PWS catalogue although their door matrix is virtually identical.

The Compusoft Winner generic Design1234 catalogue looks very much like the original Mereway cabinets and product codes that some cabinet manufacturers still use as a basis for their cabinets today. 

I'm still getting my head round it at the moment but it seems a bit messy right now.

The good thing is that the functionality of the program is way ahead of Articad. That is immediately apparent. I'm not convinced by the graphics at the moment though and won't go into my possible reservations about how it was demonstrated at the show until I have had a chance to investigate further.
[-] The following 1 user Likes andy5405's post:
  • Daz Gizmo (20-03-2016 01:54 PM)

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#4
"The good thing is that the functionality of the program is way ahead of Articad"

In what way Andy?... I bet everything.. Tongue2 

.... I do think that Articad's interface is a bit archaic as it's appearance has not changed that much for many years apart from adding the ribbon and a few other bits. 

What happens for example if you had a dresser that needed to be 10mm taller (from 1210 to 1220) for a 30mm granite top... does this throw up a wobbler?

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#5
Not sure about the dresser, I will give it a try.

Background rendering is a nice feature with a management tool to be able to monitor what is going on and prioritise the queue.

I haven't used it since the weekend so can't remember anything more specific at the moment but the interface and layout is so much better organised than Articad.

I am going to spend some speaking to support when I get an office day and see if I can make the catalogue system work for me.

Can anyone tell me when Articad last updated their PWS doors and does their catalogue include the Mornington doors?

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#6
I've had a lot more correspondence with Compusoft and they have been very helpful. All my support calls have been answered promptly by a fully qualified person. That's all good but unfortunately in it's current form it looks like it won't be of much use to me as someone who is in the "component" market. They are more geared to "complete" solutions where cabinets and doors are made by the same manufacturer.  

They do seem to better understand my concerns now though as I have explained that I always use the same cabinet manufacturer and if I look at options in a quote it will only be the doors that change. After some conflicting advice it does seem that every time a door manufacturer is changed all the cabinets change to the cabinets attached to that door manufacturer. There is no way round that. Each of the 3 catalogues have different cabinet codes and a different set of cabinets. It will map your old codes to the new cabinet codes in the new catalogue but that becomes laborious and very inefficient as I will have to remember and customise 3 separate lots of codes. 

They are relative newcomers to the component market and I don't think they fully understand it yet. It's a shame as everything else looks really good and I couldn't praise the software's functionality enough when compared to Articad. 

I haven't had a chance to fully explore the graphics but I'm fairly certain that is one area where Articad is superior to Compusoft. That also seems to be the case judging by what Compusoft use as demos on their website compared to what Articad produces. Articad used by in-house experts is clearly more capable and as mere mortals I'm guessing we will not achieve those levels. (Apart from Daz of course who is clearly superhuman!)

In summary I would say that Compusoft Winner is streets ahead of Articad in almost every way you look at it. Everything is just so much more professional and the support is excellent. It just might not be the right software for me despite all that.

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#7
That really surprises me Andy as I thought that would have been something that every independent would need to be able to mix manufacturers.  Wow2

I am sure it will come the more they get feedback from the likes of yourself and others... ThumbUp

Have you done any renders yet??

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#8
(26-03-2016, 03:34 PM)Daz Gizmo Wrote: That really surprises me Andy as I thought that would have been something that every independent would need to be able to mix manufacturers.  Wow2

I am sure it will come the more they get feedback from the likes of yourself and others... ThumbUp

Have you done any renders yet??

I was surprised but that is the current setup. They have only been targeting the component market for about a year and it looks like they have some more work to do. Anyway we have agreed to cancel my lease and for now I shall continue with VR Kitchen.

I did try some rendering but not enough to make a definitive statement. From what I can see it is not as good as Articad.

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#9
Evening chaps, 

This thread made for interesting reading after I myself looked in to Compusoft at KBB. Discounted it as soon as they didn't have an up to date Burbidge catalogue and you can't use Sketchup models. 

As you know Daz I had my meeting with Charles today and if I can give any advice I'd recommend sticking with Articad. 

Simple reason is that the renders are going to get even better and we have now begun a pathway to improving the basic tools and interface.

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#10
I'm all for Articad improving the basic tools and interface as that side of it is really bad in my opinion. They have made great strides with their rendering but it is such a messy program to use. Nothing seems to be in the right place, there's far too little context sensitive right mouse click options and the program help was atrocious. The help support staff were very good when I could get through to them but that rarely if ever happened. Calls were always answered promptly but only by someone untrained who would take my details for a ringback from a qualified member of support staff that could come between an hour to a day later.  Even the hour option wasn't much use as I would invariably be busy either talking to a customer in the showroom or be on the phone myself. 

As I have already said Winner was light years ahead in this area. The program interface and functionality was intuitive and clearly better designed. The program help was web based and really comprehensive with a clearly laid out index that was easy to navigate that stopped a lot of unnecessary calls to support. When I did call, which amounted to 10-12 calls over the time I used it my calls were answered promptly every time by a qualified member of their support staff. What was even more impressive is that the 1st 4-5 calls were pre-sales enquiries direct to the support no when half of their support team were at KBB. So they even managed to shine in this area whilst running a skeleton crew.

That's why I was so disappointed that it was unsuitable for my use in it's current format. I would want one set of cabinets and at least 6 interchangeable door manufacturer catalogues from the market leaders in the component market. They would need to kept up to date and integrate properly with Compusoft's built in pricing system.

That would win me back but maybe only at the show price which was an all-in lease cost of £110/month (ex VAT) which included all updates and support. I could buy Articad outright at £2495 (quoted show price but I'm sure it's their normal price and there was no real show offer) with support at £32/month. That makes the 3 year cost of each fairly similar with Compusoft at £3960 and Articad slightly cheaper at £3647.

However I would own Articad outright from the outset and still only be leasing Compusoft at the end of 3 years and the terms on the 2nd 3 year lease would almost certainly be their standard lease price of £215/month. So in years 4-6 Articad would only cost the support price of £1152 (36x32) whilst Compusoft would rise to £7740. 

The 6 year costs of purchasing Articad outright and paying monthly support would be £4799 whilst Compusoft on a lease would be £11700 (36x100 + 36x215). Compusoft on a lease at the standard price of £215/month throughout the 6 year term would be £15,480. 

The prices for owning Compusoft that were quoted to me at the show were as follows. Normal price to purchase of £4000 plus £100/month support. That would make the 3 year cost of ownership including monthly support £7600 with ongoing support in years 3-6 costing a further £3600. (The show price I was quoted was £1995 to purchase with £100/month support, so 3 year cost inc. support of £5595)

Sorry if all the above was long winded but it may be useful food for thought for any other people facing the same decisions as me. My conclusions are that Compusoft Winner serves the complete market extremely well and would no doubt be a good choice for many showrooms and worth the extra cost. They have  lot of work to do in the component market and if they make those improvements it's a viable alternative to Articad. However depending on what prices prospective purchasers are offered Articad's rendering capabilities would probably swing most people towards Articad rather than Winner. If Compusoft can crack the component market and include their built-in pricing it could swing the balance back in their favour.

Either way I'm sitting on the fence for now to see what develops and shall continue with Nexus Cad for the time being. It's basic but it's very quick and does the job for most KFF members.

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#11
I've made similar comparisons and was also tempted by the low show price leasing offer.  Unlike yourself I don't think the pricing function of this type of software works unless there is a very robust and comprehensive catalogue, which the English manufacturers just don't have.  I far prefer to keep my visuals doing what they do and then keep the price lists to a manual task.  

I think it would be far easier for Articad to sort out the 'messy' menus than it would be for Compusoft to sort out the catalogue pricing!  Hopefully these are the steps forward we can help them along with.  At least we have a voice now.

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#12
I've got an interesting day coming up tomorrow. I will be having a day's Easy Quote training in the Compusoft building in Loughborough! I have promised to behave.....

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#13
Hi Andy i'm about in Loughborough tomorrow morning first thing just oppersite there offices at NS plumbing picking up some bits.

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#14
Could meet for breakfast?

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#15
Yes could do there's a wickes just around the corner I could meet you there about 8.15 theres a cob van in the corner I use if I'm over that way.

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#16
See you at 8.15. I'll be in a green vivaro.

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#17
Ok Andy I'm in a sprinter Big and white

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#18
Nice to meet you, I think that must count as KFF's smallest ever social. A cup of tea by the burger van outside Wickes. I'm not sure if it fully qualifies as a social as there was no alcohol involved!

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#19
(20-03-2016, 11:27 AM)andy5405 Wrote: I've had a play this weekend and I'm not sure if it is the right product at the moment. I hope I'm wrong but the way the catalogs are organised might not suit the market I'm in. I use one cabinet manufacturer combined with doors from several different manufacturers. Articad handles that well as the same cabinet can have doors from several different manufacturers.

In Compusoft Winner at the moment I have 3 catalogues available, which are PWS, Burbidge and their own generic catalogue Design1234. None of the other door manufacturers from the component market are available, so no TKC, Multiwood, Marpatt, Uform, Trade Mouldings etc. I was aware of this before I signed up but figured the 3 combined would be enough to cover most kitchens.

The problem is that each of the 3 catalogues I do have have a completely different set of cabinets (similar configs but completely different codes) attached to them so over time I will have to navigate through 3 completely different sets of cabinet product codes depending on which door I choose. 

I have the option of creating my own custom catalogue and that may overcome the problem but I've got a feeling that it will be limited to the doors from the catalogue it is based on and will still not have interchangeable doors between different door manufacturers. I can change catalogues part way through a design but it creates an alternative design with different cabinet product codes rather than updating the current design.

I'm going to ring support tomorrow and find out what can be done. I was aware that I was going to be limited to 3 catalogues as most of the others are permission based dependent on whether you have an account with a given manufacturer. Most of the catalogues are from manufacturers that will only deal with showrooms so they are of no use to me.

On top of that the PWS catalogue was last updated on May 13th 2015 and the Burbidge one on February 12th 2013.

Also there may have bit a bit of smoke and mirrors in the way the rendering capabilities were explained to me at the show. It will certainly not be anywhere near as fast as I was lead to believe regardless of what processor is used. Having used it for a while I have a far greater insight into how it was demonstrated at the show.

It is a great product from what I can see and is far more comprehensive than Articad but it may not suit how I work. Time will tell.

I'm new to the Forum but do have expertise in Winner, and when I browsed this section I had to join in.

I've tried loads of different Kitchen software and definitely prefer Winner due to its speed and usability on the presentation side. I've not really used it on the ordering side as the kitchen company I worked with had their own database of products. However, used solely as a sales and presentation tool the conversion rate of the designers went up with the real-time walk-throughs and more so with the jump to producing sets of photorealistic drawings in pdf before the clients arrived. These more than the VR walk-throughs as Winner doesnt ray trace the walk-throughs so less than convincing that you are standing in your future kitchen. However, the combination of the two is very compelling. 

As an Architect I'd used AutoCAD for decades but I still prefer Winner on balance when compared to say software based on the AutoCAD family for this type of 3D modelling. From 'fag-packet' sketch to a set of fully rendered photorealistic pdfs can be as quick as 30-40 mins for a simple, fully-dressed bedroom to about 2hrs for a large kitchen. Please note that this doesnt include actual render times which I usually do in the background as I'm working. Have a look at these examples I've done for a NE kitchen designer.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=14rU_t5...hHsQK2lCsu

I'd say 10-15mins per view/drawing to render with a mid-range PC spec with a graphics card. Double this duration if you don't have a card! As you can see, the results are almost indistinguishable from reality if you put the effort in to 'dressing' the spaces with accessories. To get the time down you do have to be inventive with the tools that Compusoft have provided.  Interestingly, after a few visits to their training centre I don't think they know what the programme is capable of, in terms of workflow, and how fast you can become if you adopt certain 'tricks'! 

Also, making your own catalogues isn't as hard as you might think* and if you investigate 're-purposing' say a PWS catalogue and hacking it a bit you can have your own bespoke catalogue with new cabinets not found in the PWS catalogue. 
*Compusoft tell you that you can make your own catalogues but the text only type, not the type of catalogue that you can insert 3d artifacts into your drawing! NOT true, as it's easy to tinker with! 
I've even managed to create a set of bespoke printout forms as the originals are just a set of coded up Word RTF files!

If you rake around a bit and know a bit about paths and the registry you can even save the whole of your project and export folder to the cloud for free and move from home to office without having to mess about with export and import or pen drives! You can finish on your work PC and when you arrive at the other (or any PC with a copy of winner and a similar set up) you can simply continue. 

I'm hoping that the above helps users with Winner realise that it has more to offer than even Compusoft let on (maybe as they can compile you a bespoke catalogue for £1000s, they can give you cloud for £120/yr etc) and also to how far you can push the rendering side of things and how quickly you can achieve this if you use your head and think outside the box.  

That's all I've got for now!

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#20
(03-04-2018, 02:58 PM)Gariloki Wrote: I'm new to the Forum but do have expertise in Winner, and when I browsed this section I had to join in.

I've tried loads of different Kitchen software and definitely prefer Winner due to its speed and usability on the presentation side. I've not really used it on the ordering side as the kitchen company I worked with had their own database of products. However, used solely as a sales and presentation tool the conversion rate of the designers went up with the real-time walk-throughs and more so with the jump to producing sets of photorealistic drawings in pdf before the clients arrived. These more than the VR walk-throughs as Winner doesnt ray trace the walk-throughs so less than convincing that you are standing in your future kitchen. However, the combination of the two is very compelling. 

As an Architect I'd used AutoCAD for decades but I still prefer Winner on balance when compared to say software based on the AutoCAD family for this type of 3D modelling. From 'fag-packet' sketch to a set of fully rendered photorealistic pdfs can be as quick as 30-40 mins for a simple, fully-dressed bedroom to about 2hrs for a large kitchen. Please note that this doesnt include actual render times which I usually do in the background as I'm working. Have a look at these examples I've done for a NE kitchen designer.


I'd say 10-15mins per view/drawing to render with a mid-range PC spec with a graphics card. Double this duration if you don't have a card! As you can see, the results are almost indistinguishable from reality if you put the effort in to 'dressing' the spaces with accessories. To get the time down you do have to be inventive with the tools that Compusoft have provided.  Interestingly, after a few visits to their training centre I don't think they know what the programme is capable of, in terms of workflow, and how fast you can become if you adopt certain 'tricks'! 

Also, making your own catalogues isn't as hard as you might think* and if you investigate 're-purposing' say a PWS catalogue and hacking it a bit you can have your own bespoke catalogue with new cabinets not found in the PWS catalogue. 
*Compusoft tell you that you can make your own catalogues but the text only type, not the type of catalogue that you can insert 3d artifacts into your drawing! NOT true, as it's easy to tinker with! 
I've even managed to create a set of bespoke printout forms as the originals are just a set of coded up Word RTF files!

If you rake around a bit and know a bit about paths and the registry you can even save the whole of your project and export folder to the cloud for free and move from home to office without having to mess about with export and import or pen drives! You can finish on your work PC and when you arrive at the other (or any PC with a copy of winner and a similar set up) you can simply continue. 

I'm hoping that the above helps users with Winner realise that it has more to offer than even Compusoft let on (maybe as they can compile you a bespoke catalogue for £1000s, they can give you cloud for £120/yr etc) and also to how far you can push the rendering side of things and how quickly you can achieve this if you use your head and think outside the box.  

That's all I've got for now!

Thanks for sharing and welcome...
I have been using the RedSDK Render Engine for many years now which is used in ArtiCAD and TurboCAD. One thing I would like to know about Winner, can you keep the Tone mapping controls fixed when rendering?
Tone mapping is an important step to get the best out of RedSDK and I recently found out that Winner uses this render engine too. We have to adjust this especially when the Sun and lights are used otherwise the renders come out a bit dark. Increasing the lighting brightness often leads to darker images as this is due to the tone mapping clamping the brightest pixel and the darkest.

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