High Design VS MacDraft-The Comparison and the Conflict,Oh My!
This is a commentary for those already using MacDraft ,for those that are still "on the fence" on deciding which CAD app for Mac to use, and for those still looking for a CAD app for Mac that is both affordable,powerful,but easy to use.
I had a conflict to resolve. It had been a tough choice betweem MicroSpot's MacDraft (www.microspot.com)and iLexsoft's High Design (www.ilexsoft.com)CAD for Mac. After days of looking at both the MicroSpot web site and ilexsoft's site,I,ultimately, chose High Design for Mac.
I will comment on both CAD apps and explain my decision and choice.
Both apps are by far the most rich,and feature laden for their costs which come in at different price points for differnt user versions. Price points were similar for both apps
Both have easy User-intuitive interface designs for approaching the goal of creating great-looking drawings,easily.
Both have support for transparency,support for bit-mapped images,support for layers and of importance,support for AutoCad. Either in the form of .dwg and/or .dxf file formats.
Both have powerful & flexible drawing,editing and text tools.
MacDraft has been with the Mac community for awhile (up tp version 5.5)
High Design is a relative new-comer at version 1.1.1
But after all the direct comparisons, I found that ilexsoft High Design offered more of everything that MacDraft had.
High Design pricing is a little more expensive than MacDraft, but the program offers so much more in return for the slighly higher price.
This is an app that was designed from the ground up to be an easy to use OS X native application and drawing program and the company's efforts show everywhere
Many features of its Application interface are built into the drawing window environment,very similar to AutoCad, and is much simpler and elegant feeling with minimal pallettes. I felt that MacDraft,while not pallete intensive,either, just relied too much on a pallette driven layout and I can forsee future versions only getting worse. (I use pallette heavy apps like Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop everyday,but I get tired of navigating,adjusting and moving around palettes constantly in order to work on a drawing. An specific drawing app, such as CAD,even with image editing features, it should not contain a lot operating pallettes. Every commonly needed function should be easy to find and tightly integrated into the interface without inducing pallete clutter)
High Design's working environment feels friendlier,more inviting.
In addition to layers,High Design has support for multi-sheet drawing documents. These multi-sheets reside within the same drawing file much like a word processing file. There is sheet,layer and object/text,color transparency. Transparency can be adjusted for all instances.
MacDraft has support for both native AutoCad .dwg and >dxf formats.
High Design only supports import/export AutoCad .dxf file formats currently,but this may change. As it stands this .dxf file exchange format works well for between High Design and AutoCad releases 12,14 & 2000.
Plus, High Design supports import/export of every conceivable bit-mapped format in existence including native Adobe Photoshop file format (.psd).Bit-map support also extends to 3d and video/animation/modeling programs.
Better color support as well as a decent set of tools for commonly needed editing and enhacing of imported/exported bit-map images.
Very Large drawing area ideal for architectural,site, and community planning work. (I am a product designer, so this may not be too useful to me, but having the ability to work up ideas and sketches within a large drawing space is always desirable).
More complete handling of text/fonts plus text transparency and additional enhancements. Support for color gradients,transparency,custom fills and hatches make the use of this program for decent professional-looking rendering a viable,possible option than just doing rendering from another app and importing rendered images into High Design drawing file.
MacDraft has custom fills and hatching,also,but High design had a larger default library to start from and I felt the way the program creates these was easier more intuitive (for me at least).
A "mock" 3D extrusuion function designed for extruding 2d shapes simulating a 3d shapes that can be filled for mock 3d illustrations from within High Design.
A Photogrammetry tool that allows a user to create perspective-corrected drawing view from a photograph(photos with recognizable geometric shapes/patterns) based on programmed photo angles programmed into this function routine. (When first release introduced this,it did not work well at all. In High Design 1.1.1,this function works very well,now and works with many more varied -angled photo images.)
Additional automatic bit-map image compression to keep drawing file sizes down and keep the app running smooth (no noticeable bit-map quality loss)
Selective plotting of specific areas in a drawing file.
High Design doesn't have the database collection and reports functions that MacDraft has,but I didn't need these.
These points are what swayed me to the other competition.
I just wanted to make people infomed of another available options based on
my comparisons. It comes down,basically to the "More is More" theory.
MacDraft is in the same calibre as High Design and is,no doubt, a great app for its price.
ilexsoft's High Design is a little more expensive,so you get a little more value, in my opinion,much more value. Ultimately it comes down to both what the user needs and wants and the price users want to spend