Sunday, October 15, 2006

Viewing DWG/DXF Files

Sometimes I have to import or export my drawings to DXF or DWG. Importing isn’t such an issue but when you export a VectorWorks drawing to DXG or DWG, how do you know what you are sending, what will it look like when the other person gets it. 
Ideally if you have AutoCAD (and why would you) you can open the files and view your exported drawings. What if you don’t have AutoCAD? 
Someone suggested this site on the internet:
You can download a free DWG/DXF viewer for windows and macintosh from SolidWorks. I tried it and it works well. It’s a recommended procedure to check the drawings that you send to people. 
This software has a simple interface, you get to see what you have exported so that you can add a disclaimer to you email to say that you have checked the exported drawings and they look correct. 

Friday, October 13, 2006

Texturing Extruded Objects Doesn't Work

Sometimes you apply a texture to an extruded object and it still won’t render. What’s wrong?

Here is a typical example. You’ve made an object and you made the correct texture, but still the texture is not showing up.

You can see on the Object Info Palette that I have applied the texture correctly, but if you look at the Attributes Palette you can see that the object has no fill. This means that it will stay wireframe.

Look at this example. I have changed the Attributes Palette so that the object has a solid fill. Everything else has remained the same.

Now the object is displaying the correct texture.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How To Save Corrupt Files (maybe)

How to save a Corrupt File (maybe)
This trick doesn’t always work, so it is a last hope solution. If you can get most of you drawing using this method, you may only have to redraw a small amount. Also, this trick only works with Design Layers, so all the annotations that you add to the viewports will be lost.
There is one trick that I have given out a few times lately where the file is corrupt or crashing frequently. Remember that this works sometimes, it doesn’t always work. If it can work then it is a life saver. I have sometimes used it to access a file that is so corrupt that it won’t open.
This trick uses WorkGroup Referencing. Refer to the VectorWorks Architect Manual, or the VectorWorks Landmark manual (also covered in the archoncad manual Setting up Large Projects available at ).
Leave the corrupt file closed and open a new file.
• From the Menu Bar chose
Tools > Workgroup References…
• We have to add the file that is corrupt, click on the New button.
Find the file on your computer. Then click on the Open button.
• The New Reference dialog box gives you control over which layers to attach to the current file.
Select all the layers that you want, but do not select any layers that have layer links on them, layer links can not be imported. Remember that only Design Layers can be imported.
Then click on the OK button.
• So far this is just the same as the manual. Now for the trick.
• Delete the Workgroup Reference. This will break the link to the corrupt file.
• You get a dialog box asking you what to do with all the resources that you have referenced into the current file. Choose to keep them all and they will all stay in the current file, imported from the corrupt file.
• The Workgroup References dialog box is empty. No files are currently linked, but the layers that you choose from the corrupt file remain in your file, and all the information on the imported layers comes in as well.

If this method doesn’t work the first time try importing the layers one at a time. Attach one layer, Save the file. Remove the layer. Save the file. Attach the next layer and so on. You may find that only one of the layers is corrupt. If you do, leave that layer out and attach the others and remove them, keeping all the resources.
You could end up with all but one layer saved. That is better than redrawing the complete file.
You should also have a backup strategy so that you could go back to yesterdays file, or the day before. That file may not be corrupt.

7th July 2009
I know people that are still accessing this blog, but it was written 3 years ago. Vectorworks now has a new interface for this area, so some of the instructions need to change.

You access the References from the Tool Menu, choose Organization...
Click on the References Tab
Click on the setting button.
Choose Design layer import

For detailed instructions on using Workgroup Referencing try this short shart manual:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

How To Send Large Files via Email

Sometimes I get my clients trying to send me large files over the internet. Even if you compress your files you might still have trouble sending large files. 
Here is my solution:
This site allows you to send large files (up t0 100Mb). The way that it works is that you upload your files and an email is send to the recipient. They get a link where they can download the big files at their leisure. 
Works really well....

New Rendering With HDRI Backgrounds

VectorWorks 12.5 introduces a new rendering options with HDRI backgrounds. HDRI means High Dynamic Range Image and it means that you can create more realistic rendered views. I used to use a program that allowed you to add environment maps, images that would be reflected in shiny objects. That’s what the HDRI backgrounds are all about. Making and environment that can be reflected. 
If you render a view with an HDRI background, you will notice the reflections of the background in the ball. This is the beauty of the HDRI backgrounds.
This will be a huge improvement in the quality of our renderings, but it takes longer to render. 

Friday, October 06, 2006

How To Get Rid Of The 2D Stuff in 3D Views

Often you want to have a view of your model, so you change to a 3D view. It looks OK, but then you notice all the 2D stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of the 2D stuff? You could have it on a class and turn the class off.

There is a quick way to get rid of the 2D stuff. From the Menu Bar choose:
View > Stack Layers
This is the same view with Stack Layers turned on. Notice that all the 2D stuff has vanished?
Stack Layers is only available in Architect and Designer versions of VectorWorks.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Which Manual Should You Buy?

If you are interested in buying one of my manuals you might wonder which manual would suit you. I have tried to offer my advice on the manual order page, which says that if you are new to VectorWorks and want to buy the Architect manual, you are advised to buy the Essential manual as well. 
If you are new to VectorWorks and you want to buy the Landscape manual, you are advised to buy the Essential manual as well. 
The reason for this is that the Essential manual covers the stuff that I consider to be essential knowledge for using VectorWorks. I used to say that this manual covers the foundation knowledge that you need to build on if you want to use VectorWorks effectively. 
So, to summarize, when buying one of my advanced manuals ( architect , landscape) you should also buy the Essential manual UNLESS you are sure that you know all the basic stuff (how to use layers AND classes, viewports/sheet layers, graphics etc).