Monday, April 20, 2009

Vectorworks Folder or User Folder?

In earlier versions of Vectorworks there was no user folder. All the things you wanted to customize could be done in the Vectorworks application folder. You can still do it this way, but Vectorworks now has user folders. A user folder is stored away from the Vectorworks application folder, so it can be challenging to find it and maintain it. So should you carry on with the old method?
The problem with the old method, is that if you re-install Vectorworks for some reason, as I am doing today, then you loose all the custom data you have created. I have to teach on Vectorworks 12 this week, so I’ve had to re-inatall Vectorworks. Now I’m finding that all my custom data is no longer there.
Setting up a user folder is a nice way to work. Vectorworks now creates a user folder on your computer to store all your custom settings away from the Vectorworks application folder. When I re-install Vectorworks all my custom data  will still be there. 
I recommend you store all you custom templates, library files and plug-ins in the user folder. 
27th April 2008
I’ve just been helping a client today. They have just suffered a computer meltdown and have had to re-install Windows. Unfortunately, their user folder was in the C:\Documents and settings\user\Application Data\... and so on. When they re-installed windows, they lost the user folder. 
If they had stored the Vectorworks user folder in My Documents, they would still have all the data. And, if you use My Documents, you can set up your backup system to backup your user folder. Then, you won’t loose anything. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Should you draw Elevations in 2D or 3D?

This month the online user group is looking at creating drawings. When we get to the part about drawing elevations and sections, there is a lot of discussion about whether you should use the 3D model, or use 2D drawings for the elevations. 
If your 3D model is fairly accurate, then you should use it to make the elevations. There is always a lot of discussion about BIM and elevations is an area where you get the advantages of the 3D model. This does mean that you have to model most of the things you want to see in the elevations. But that shouldn’t be too hard, after all Vectorworks does have tools to make site models, floors, walls, roofs and doors and windows. You can draw complex roofs that curve and custom made balustrades if you want to use the 3D modeling tools. So why would you NOT use the 3D model to draw the elevations?
As a friend pointed out to me this morning, 2D elevations are familiar. We have been drawing 2D elevations for such a long time, it’s hard to think of other ways. I was taught 2D drawing before CAD came along, and I sometimes find myself falling back to the 2D elevations on some projects, mainly because it’s familiar. But is it better?
If the building changes, the 3D elevations can be updated quickly, but the 2D elevations have to be manually edited. Some people say that they more over the line weights with the 2D. That might seem to be true, but the 3D elevations can still have extra lines, hatching and notes added to them.
Try the 3D elevation method. It might be strange to start with, but it will be more effective in the long run.