Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kindle Reader on iPad updated

One of my complaints about the kindle app on the iPad was when you change to landscape, you only have one page, one really wide page. I found this makes it not as nice to read as the Apple iBook application.

Amazon have released an upgrade to the Kindle app on the iPad to allow 2 columns. This means that when you change a kindle book to landscape, you see two columns, so it looks like two pages next to each other.

This seems like a small change, but it makes the kindle books much more readable.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Office for Mac 2011 Now Available

I'm not normally a fan of Microsoft products, but I do use Office. If you want to share documents and spreadsheets, you need to have Office. I have tried the free OpenOffice, but I really did not like it. The effort I wasted trying to use OpenOffice would have been better spent buying the real Office.

In the end I bought Office for Mac and I have not regretted it.

I read today that this suite of applications has been updated. There are several changes that make this worthwhile. One that caught my eye was collaborative changes. so it should be like using Google Docs, but with more ability to control graphics (which google docs lacks).

I will be upgrading my office suite today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Offset Duplications or Duplicate in Place

I had a discussion the other day with a  client. He really loves using the duplicate command from the Edit menu. He especially likes the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+D (Windows), or Command+D (Macintosh). But he only likes to use this command when the object does NOT jump up to the right.

By default, Vectorworks will offset the duplications so you can see that the object has been duplicated. To change the default, you need to change one of the Vectorworks Preferences. You access these preferences from the Menu bar.

This post has moved here...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: book review

I have really enjoyed reading this book. This book questions the principle of success being down to individual effort. Gladwell uses Canadian ice hockey as an example of success, and how success is partly controlled by other circumstances other than your own natural talent. In the example Gladwell uses, success seems easier depending the month you were born in.

It is common to think of success as being the result of one person's effort. But is that really the case? I know in my situation, I would not be writing manuals and teaching CAD had it not been for the help of several people, and many fortunate situations.

This is a good read, a thoughtful book that will help you understand more about success. I'm going to give this book to my kids to read.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

General Notes in Vectorworks

I had a question today form a client wanting to know if she can use the general notes tool to create general notes with bullet points rather than the numbers that are so common.

I do not know an easy way to substitute the bullet points for the numbers, but you can ungroup the general notes after you have made them.

Showing Thick Lines in Vectorworks

I had a question yesterday form a friend about showing thick lines in Vectorworks. When you draw objects in Vectorworks, you use the line weights you want for printing. But the challenge can be that what looks good on paper, does not look good on the screen. Normally, this is due to the lines that look good on paper are too thin to display well on screen.

check out my kindle books for Vectorworks 2011 here

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vectorworks Movies on YouTube

I have been making movies and posting them on YouTube for some time. I was pleased to see that today I have passed 150000 total views on all my movies. I'm glad that there are some people that like them.

See what others are looking at

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

PanzerCAD Releases CameraMatch 2011 for the Vectorworks 2011

Columbia, Md. (Oct. 5, 2010) – Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. announced today that PanzerCAD has released the 2011 version of its CameraMatch plug-in to be compatible with the Vectorworks® 2011 line of software products.

The CameraMatch 2011 plug-in allows a user to easily align a 3D model view to a photograph. With this plug-in, a user can also superimpose the rendered model into the photograph, saving time by eliminating the need to spend hours creating models of a project's surroundings.

That is the extract from the press release. I must tell you, I'm a real fan of CameraMatch and I'm glad that the developer, Matt Panzer, has updated this fabulous plugin for Vectorworks. I have used this plug in on some projects and it has saved me hours of work. It saves hours of work on every project that you need to visualize. 

One of the new additions to CameraMatch is the clone mode. This allows you to clone an area of the photograph to hide parts of the existing photo that you need to remove. I have an example from Matt Panzer. 

Existing Photo. 

Proposed Vectorworks model with additions. CameraMatch makes this work so easy. You don't need to model the whole house when you you CameraMatch like this

There is a small area of the existing photo that needs to be removed from the back of the house. The new clone mode allows you to copy some of the background of the photo. 

When you use this, you can hide parts you do not want to see. This is so quick. I used to do the same thing in photoshop, but it was always hit and miss to get the right area. 

I have some clients that need to do this kind of rendering. I always tell them " you can't afford NOT to have CameraMatch" 

Maybe I'm not being clear, CameraMatch means you only have to model the NEW parts of the project. You do not have to model everything if you can photograph the scene. The savings are enormous. 

Back to the press release...

Some of the new features in CameraMatch 2011 include:

Completely Rewritten View Calculation Procedure
This “under the hood” improvement makes calculated views more accurate and allows for more difficult situations.

Mask Object's New Clone Mode
The feature allows a Mask object to shift the photo image it displays, which lets a Mask object behave similar to the Clone tool in many image-editing applications.

New Shadow Object
The new Shadow object allows shadows and shading to be placed over the rendered image, eliminating the need to export to an image editor for adding simple shadows.

Other New Features
CameraMatch’s more efficient use of image resources greatly reduces file sizes. Mask and Shadow objects automatically clip any parts of themselves extending past the viewport’s crop.

The CameraMatch 2011 plug-in can be purchased from for US$100. For CameraMatch 2010 users, the upgrade fee is US$40. CameraMatch 2011 is free for students and teachers using the 2011 educational version of the Vectorworks software.

CameraMatch is currently available in English, and German and Italian versions are planned for later this year.

Located in the Baltimore/Annapolis area of Maryland, PanzerCAD has developed plug-ins for Vectorworks software since 1995 and provided architectural design/presentation services since 1994. Learn more at

About Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.
Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nemetschek AG and has been developing software since 1985. The Vectorworks line of software products provides professional design solutions for more than 450,000 designers in the AEC, entertainment and landscape design industries. With a tradition of designing flexible, versatile, intuitive and affordable CAD and Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions, Nemetschek Vectorworks continues to be a global leader in 3D design technologies. For more information, visit

Lastly, Matt Panzer has added a few youtube movies to show some of the techniques with CameraMatch. 
CameraMatch 2011 - Mask Obj Improvements
CameraMatch 2011 - Shadow Object
CameraMatch 2011 - Rewritten View Calculation Procedure
 CameraMatch 2011 - Viewport Crop Clipping
CameraMatch 2011 - Photo Scales with Viewport Scale Change
CameraMatch 2011 - Pixel Dims and Sug Sht Lay DPI

Planar Graphics or Planar Objects in Vectorworks 2011?

One of the new features in Vectorworks 2011 is planar graphics. This will allow you to draw graphic objects in any plane.

I have been thinking about this, and I now believe that calling the objects planar graphics does not describe the objects. I will be calling them Planar Objects form now on. Planar objects is a better description because it is not just the graphics that are on the plane, the whole object is on the plane.

You can get into a problem if you are think of 2D objects and 3D objects. 2D objects would be screen plane objects. Planar objects are not really 2D. the concept of 2D doesn’t really make sense when dealing with planar objects. Sure you used the rectangle tool to draw it, but if the object is on a 3D plane, it is no longer 2D, you can turn it and walk around it.

This is a big change. It will change the way you draw, and it will change the way you think about your drawings. Calling a rectangle 2D will not make sense with planar graphic, because a rectangle can be on any 3D plane.

In this view you can see two rectangles. One rectangle is in the screen plane, this is a true 2D object. The other rectangle is on the layer plane. It looks 2D in plan view, and it looks like a 3D object in a 3D view, but it is still a rectangle. This is a planar object, a 2D object on a 3D plane.

When you use the old 2D tools in Vectorworks 2011, they can be used on a plane. Beware, when you use planar objects, do not expect 2D commands and 2D tools to work the way you want. 2D commands like Rotate Left, and Move... will move objects using the screen plane. If you are using planar objects, and you are in a 3D view, use the 3D commands like the Rotate tool and Move 3D...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

GoodReader iPad app updated

One of my favorite apps for the iPad has just been updated. GoodReader is a very good application for reading PDF files. I have been using it for some time now, and I have tried several PDF reader on the iPhone and iPad.

GoodReader works well with DropBox, the online storage system. The way i use it is to store all my user group notes in a folder on DropBox, then i can access them when I want them on my iPad.

I have formatted the user group notes as half a letter size, so they fit on the iPad. This page size works really well, as it is about the same size as the iPad. That makes the words an pictures easy to read.

But enough about the manuals, back to GoodReader. The update to GoodReader allows you to annotate the PDF.

Select a word, or a block of text and you get a new pop-up menu. You can highlight the text, markup the text or add a note.

If you were attending a meeting with the PDF manual, you could add notes with ideas, or additional information that you picked up at the meeting. This makes the notes more personal, and more useful to you.

The notes look like any other edited PDF, like a small speech bubble. When you tap on the icon, the note window appears for you to edit or update the notes.

You can move the note to a better location.  It's not just notes. you can add sketches and highlights. If the file is not protected, you can copy and paste form the PDF to other applications.

If you have an iPad, I highly recommend GoodReader.

Monday, October 04, 2010

short Sharp Training Monthly - What's New in Vectorworks 2011

The online user group, which I call Short Sharp Training (Monthly) is looking at the new Vectorworks 2011 this month. There has been a lot of online resources looking at the new features of Vectorworks 2011. I do not want to repeat these, I want to look at about 11 topics in detail:

Text Styles 

  • Creating a Text Style
  • Editing a Text
  • Assigning a Text Style to a Text Object
  • Assigning a Text Style to a Dimension Standard
  • Assigning a Text Style to Other Objects
Planar graphics
  • This is a big change. It will change the way you draw, and it will change the way you think about your drawings. Calling a rectangle 2D will not make sense with planar graphic, because a rectangle can be on any 3D plane. 
Push/Pull Tool
  • This can be used to replace the extrude command, add solids, subtract solids, and it is very quick to use. Goodbye sketchup!
Extract Tool
  • This tool has been around for a while, but it has a new very powerful feature. It can now create planar objects from a 3D object or model.
Wall Styles
  • Wall styles are not new, but they have been improved. You now have control over the 3D height of each wall component.
  • These are new. They replace floors and they work with your walls styles to create complex wall/ceiling/floor geometry. 
Working in 3D - 3D Modeling
  • If we bring together working planes, planar graphics and the push/pull tool, we can model objects much faster and more intuitively than before. 
Working in 3D - Building
  • If we bring together the improvements in walls,  slabs and planar graphics, we can model our buildings more easily and more quickly. 
Existing Tree
  • for users outside Australia and New Zealand, this is a new tool, and very useful. You can identify and schedule existing trees on site. 
I see these as the most important changes. They will change your workflow. I want to look at these topics and show how to use them and how to implement these concepts in your work.

This should be a really fun session. Book as soon as you can.

Presentation 60 minutes. Q&A about 15 min.
Cost : You have to be a subscriber to join this webinar. You can subscribe here, or you can join this session for a one-off change of $35US.

Session 1: Monday 11th October 2010 (NZDT) Book here:

Session 2: Wednesday 13th October 2010 (NZDT) Book here:

Session 3: Friday 15th October 2010 (NZDT) Book here: