Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Help Vectorworks to be better

Most of us want Vectorworks to be better. In the latest e-Dispatch from NNA, Sean Flaherty tells how you can help. there is a function in Vectorworks 2009 to allow error reporting to NNA. 
“ if you're keen to help us improve our product, we need you to take action that will give us more specific data. By selecting, "Send crash details," our team of programmers here gets notified automatically of any crashes and where in Vectorworks they occurred. If you'd like to help R&D improve Vectorworks even more, please elect to send us "usage patterns" also; this helps us see what events led up to a particular crash. To allay any privacy concerns you may have, we never see the data in your drawings. In addition, the information we collect is very tight and has no impact on your software operations, though it has the potential to have a lot of impact on our development.”
So, if you want to help, go to the menu bar. Choose Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences... Then click on the Session tab. Here you will find the settings Sean is talking about. 
If you don’t see the error reporting on your Vectorworks preferences, that means you need to upgrade to the latest version. The new Service Pack 2 has the error reporting. If you have Vectorworks 2009, upgrade to Service Pack 2, it’s free.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dimensioning In Viewports

I have a client that is having trouble with dimensioning an elevation. The view needs to be and elevation of some joinery. The easy way to dimension this is to use sheet layers and viewports. 
The plan viewport is easy to deal with. Put the dimensions in the design layer, the same layer as the walls and cabinets. 
The Elevation viewport is different. If you place these dimensions in the design layer, you will not see them in this viewport, they will end up in the plan viewport. 
The trick with elevation viewports is to add the dimensions to the Annotations part of the viewport. 
Right mouse click on the viewport. 
Choose Edit Annotations.
This takes you into the viewport annotation editing area., Notice the button at the top left to exit. 
Now you can add the dimensions.
When you have finished, click on the Exit Viewport Annotation button. 
There is your drawing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Amazon Announce Kindle 2.0

If you haven’t heard of it, Amazon (the online book seller and store) has announced the Kindle 2.0. The Kindle looks useful because it can hold a whole library of books in one device. Unlike smaller devices,  the Kindle has a special screen that makes it easy to read. Some people are saying that it is as easy to read as a real book.
You get the books into the Kindle wirelessly. This seems to work only in USA, so it will not work where I live until they change the system, I will not be able to try one out. It’s a shame, because I can see a real use for this as an office system. 
Other people are saying that the new Kindle is good, but they won’t be upgrading. Of special note is the lack of conversion tools to get any book into the Kindle. This means that you will not be able to grab a manufactures PDF manual and quickly get it into the Kindle. If you could, then you could take the kindle onto a construction site with the manuals you need on it. 
The Kindle is so close to being a fantastic device. 

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Online Training for Vectorworks 2009

I have been working on a way to make my training available to everyone, regardless of where they are living. I have run some trials and Now I think I have a pretty good system worked out. 
In the past I used to run my courses in a classroom over one or two days, depending on the course. This meant a lot of traveling for me and often for the clients as well, as most of the courses were in Auckland. The challenge is how to get to a lot of people that are spread out in many locations.
At the end of 2008, I tried a system using online training. One course had 2 people from Auckland and one from Connecticut. It worked really well. then I tried a Landmark course with people from Auckland and Christchurch. It worked really well :
“I just wanted to say thanks for the online training. The fact that I could take the training from my office was a huge help. Jonathan showed me just how easy Vectorworks is and allowed us the time to put the task to practice during class time. Being able to ask questions along the way also made a difference, it helps to understand what you are doing at the time rather than being confused all the way to the end.

"I hadn't really given Vectorworks much thought. We had the package for 2 years collecting dust so to speak before we found out about the online classes. I'm still not up to speed on the whole package but there is some comfort in knowing the I can request a class on a particular skill and should enough other participants want the class that Jonathan can make it happen.”
That has given me the confidence to add more course and set them up on my calendar. There are courses for landscapers, architects and users that want to get more out of 3D modeling. To see all the courses and the schedule, click on this link.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Camera Match Tool for Vectorworks

Matt Panzer has updated his fabulous Camera Match tool. 
This tool allows Vectorworks users to quickly and accurately align a 3D view to an existing photograph.
Other features in Camera Match 2009 include anti-aliasing for mask objects, which blend the edges of the mask with the rendered model, as well as a more streamlined workflow that automates the creation of render backgrounds as needed.
Camera Match 2009 is free to all Camera Match 2008 users, and it can be downloaded from It will also be released soon in the localized Italian and German versions. The Camera Match plug-in can be purchased from the website for $100.
I have used this tool on projects where you need to match a view to a photo. This tool really works and it will save you heaps of time. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Podcad Podcast for Vectorworks

I’ve rally been enjoying listening to the Podcad Podcast. The podcast is made by guys in California, Dan and Pat. They know a lot about Vectorworks and a lot about what’s going on. 
Don’t forget to tell them I sent you.