Friday, December 31, 2010

archoncad web site updated for 2011

At the end of last year, I asked my subscribers to rate my performance for the year. All my users said that the service I provided for the subscription was beyond their expectations. Some users told me they had never seen a service like it before, and many scored me 10/10. So for my subscription, there were no complaints.

However, there were several complaints about my archoncad web site, which isn't really part of the subscription. They noted that my web site as confusing, disjointed, and looked tired. I have to agree. I have wanted to update my web site for some time now, and this has given me a lot of useful feedback. I have not finished adding all the short manuals to my web site, but there are 11 short manuals currently listed.

I have spent some time over the holiday period to update my archoncad web site and my Vector-workout subscribers web site. They are now clean, more consistent, and they should make it easier to find what you want. The archoncad website is still branded as the archoncad web site, and the subscription web site is now branded as the  Subscription Service.

See the new home page here...

See the new Vector-workout subscription website here...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vectorworks Tutorial Manuals

I was reading a thread on the Vectorworks email list the other day. The user was having trouble with a concept in Vectorworks. By the time the user had asked his questions, waited for answers and asked further questions, they must have wasted several hours. The answers to most of the questions were in the Vectorworks Essential Tutorial manual.

I realize I should have told the user this are the very beginning, but I was not aware that the user had my manuals, and in the past I have been told off for promoting my manuals instead of answering the user's questions. But the reality is that if the answer is in one of my manuals, it will be fully explained with screen shots, detailed descriptions and movies. In this case I did not answer the user, but at the end of the thread, the user noted that the answer had been there all along.

The moral of the story is that if you have one of my manuals, look for the answer in there, if you find the answer, it will be a full and detailed answer, and it will save you a lot of time waiting for an answer from others.

If you do not have any of my manuals, get them, they have a lot of information in them. If you are upgrading your Vectorworks, you might be tempted to not buy one of my manuals, after all, you have been using Vectorworks for some time. But, what if you do not know everything, wouldn't it be worth it to have some additional information.

Check out my manuals here...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread House with Vectorworks

The First Gingerbread house in Vectorworks!

DSCF7091Here is the final ginger bread house test. We wanted to make sure that it all worked.

Here is the final big house.

This has been great fun. I modeled the house in Vectorworks, used viewports to create all the parts of the house, so they could be printed and used as the cutting templates.

Then it only took us several hours to make the gingerbread, cook it, cool it, ice and decorate the house.

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blog for Vector-workout Subscription Service

I have set up a private blog for my subscribers. This will allow me to write tips and tricks, and detailed instructions. It means that my subscribers do not have to wait for the CPD Monthly manual to arrive, and it means that I can create a blog with instructions that is too short for the manual. 

The blog has been available for a few days and already my subscribers are enjoying it...

G'day Jonathan,

Just like to say that I like the set up and layout of your blog for subscribers. Really well presented and set up, nice work. I hope you You pick up more subscribers with the new layout.  - Derek (Aust.)

This is from one of my subscribers. He is a regular attendee to the online sessions, so it is nice to hear that he likes what I am doing. 

Click here to see the blog... (you must be a subscriber to see this follow this link)

Read more about Vector-workout Subscription.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Creating a Custom Color in Vectorworks 2008-2011

With Vectorworks 2008, there was huge change to the color palette. From now on we are not limited to 256 colors, and you can arrange colors in palettes to make them easier to find.

To create your own custom color, you just need the color information (CMYK, or RGB numbers) and the attributes palette. 

Go to the Attributes Palette.

Click on the Solid Color Fill part of the palette, just under the Fill style button. 

Click on the Standard Color Picker button, the first button. 

Subscribe here...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

online webinars for Short Sharp Training - December 2010

As part of the Vectorworks Support subscription, we have monthly online meetings. The December meetings will be a round up of all the topics we covered this year, especially looking at the extended movies in the manuals that we did not have time to cover during the online sessions this year. I also want to show you the plans I have for the beginner and expert meetings, and we will be starting the expert meetings this month, looking at the start of customising Vectorworks.

Book now for the online sessions in December 2010, round up and Q&A.

Presentation 30 minutes. Q&A about 30 min.

Session 1  Monday, December 13th, 2010, Time: 4:30PM - 5:30 PM NZST Register:

Session 2  Wednesday, December 15th, Time: 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM NZST Register:

Session 3  Friday, December 17th, 2010, Time:10:00AM - 11:00 AM NZST  Register:

NEW! Expert Sessions 
These new sessions are for users that know much of the basic use of tools, but really want to get into the detals. We will start with some vectorscript. We will look at customising Vectorworks, and some simple script building. Each session will be the same, you only have to attend one session.

Monday, December 13th, 2010, Time: 8:30PM - 9:30 PM NZST Register:

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010, Time: 10:00am - 11:00am NZST Register:

To attend you must be a subscriber to attend these webinars. See this blog for more details. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Introduction to Vectorworks for Exhibit and Museum Designers

If you are working in Museum or exhibit design area, you might be wanting you use Vectorworks, but do not know how to get started. I have been talking to museums for some time, and I now have a course outline, exercises and a calender organized. This course has been tested at the main New zealand museum called Te Papa, using an online classroom training system, so I know this works.

This course is designed to teach you Vectorworks from the beginning, so if you are working in the museum or exhibit design areas, and you haven't got up to speed with Vectorworks, this is the course for you.

The course is offer in two parts, so you can choose which one you need to attend. Choose part 1 if you are a beginner, and choose part 2 if you have some knowledge of Vectorworks.  Each session approx. 60 mins duration online, with approx. 60 min homework each session. Each session has a limit of  4 people which will allow time for some individual training.

View calendar...

Course Outline
Part 1
Session 1 - Getting started
This session gets you started with Vectorworks. You will learn the basic interface of Vectorworks and the basic concepts for using Vectorworks.

Session 2 - Creating a Simple object
In this session we will apply the basic learning to creating a simple object and making drawings from this object.

Session 3 - Creating Drawings
This session expands on the concepts we learn about in session 2, but we learn a lot more about viewports.

Session 4 - Creating Text and Dimensions
Drawings without text and dimensions are useless, so in this session we will learn how to deal with text and dimensions.

Session 5 - Drawing in 2D
This session is designed to bring together all the skills from the previous session. This session will test your Vectorworks skills, but if you complete your homework it is achievable.

Session 6 - Introduction to 3D Modeling and Planar Graphics
In this session we will make a simple 3D object using 3D modeling and planar graphics.

Session 7 - Drawing a Simple Building
In this session we will learn how to draw walls and insert door and windows.

Session 8 - Creating  Drawings From a Simple Building
This session, we apply the strategies we learned from sessions 2 and 3 to a building, including how to create internal room elevations.

Cost $249.50US
View calendar...

Part 2

Session 9 - Introduction to Worksheets
Worksheets are so important. They allow you to count and report items in your exhibits. This sessio is needed to get you started.

Session 10 - Importing DXF and PDF Plans
You often have to work with other consultants, or with existing information. In this session, we learn how it import and manage this information.

Session 11- Converting Imported Plans into BIM
After we have imported the plans, we can make the building in to a model. This will allow us to walk though the model, as well as using the model to create floor plans, elevations, and sections.

Session 12 - Creating 3D Views and Walk Throughs
Now that we have our model, we can set up 3D views of the exhibit, and make a walk-though movie of the exhibit.

Session 13 - Symbols and Image Props
In this session we will learn how to make a photo into an object for the exhibit. This could be a painting, sculpture, or jewelry. These techniques will speed up your exhibit production, and allow you to create a report of all the objects. If you use a rail system for your exhibits, we will use this an an example for creating symbols and image props.

Session 14 - Attaching Data to The Exhibit Pieces
Building on form session 14, we will attach information to our exhibit pieces, so we can count or report them.

Session 15 - Textures and Rendering
Making textures and rendering is really fun, and you can see what you exhibit will look like.

Session 16 - Questions and Answers
This session is to wrap up the training and answer any outstanding questions. You will need to complete a final project to pass this course.

Course starts in the new year. Each Session approx. 60 mins duration online, with approx. 60 min homework each session.

Cost $249.50US
View calendar...

If this course does not satisfy your needs, please comment so I can adjust the course.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Calendars by Jonathan Pickup

Last year, several of my clients asked me if I would consider making some of my sketches into a calendar. I have completed this now, and I have two different size calenders available from

I have a few clients that are using these calenders as gifts to their clients.

The first calendar is a smaller version and it has sketches from my travels through USA and Europe.

For more information click here...

This calendar much bigger than the first one. This calendar also has some of the same sketches from my travels in USA and Europe.

For more information click here...

Use Vectorworks to Make your Gingerbread House

Season's Greetings. Here is a seasonal use for Vectorworks. Learn how you can use Vectorworks to model a full size gingerbread house, and use the model to print out the template for cutting out the parts.

This one-hour webinar will be interactive, and it is ideal for a beginner that wants to start Vectorworks with a simple project. Along the way we will learn how to draw simple walls, a simple roof, how to match the walls to the roof, and how to generate the wall elevations. Along the way, we will also learn about some of the important organizing concepts of Vectorworks, using design layers, classes, viewports and sheet layers.

Each year, my daughter I make a gingerbread house. For the past few years we have used the same design, a house that I modeled in Vectorworks and printed out full size as a template to cut out the part and stick together with icing.

This is our first version. It is very similar to our own house.

This is last year's gingerbread house. It is the same model, but we decorated it differently, including the snow on the ground (secrect trick for this).

And Here is the mock up for this year's gingerbread house. This is more ambitious. There are 12 walls that have to be drawn, and 8 roofs. In Vectorworks I am able to print each wall full size, and each roof face.

This is a fun use of Vectorworks, but it does show you have you can use BIM, and you will learn some valuable Vectorworks techniques for drawing buildings, creating elevations and using viewports.

There is an extended blog showing you how to use Vectorworks to make a gingerbread house on my subscribers blog. If you are a subscriber, you can view the blog here.

If you want to subscribe, join here.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Vectorworks 2011 used for Creating Golf Greens

One of my clients is a company called TigerTurf Golf & Lawn Ltd. They create synthetic grass surfaces for putting greens, tennis courts, and many other applications.

They recently completed a golf putting green north of Auckland, New Zealand.

The design originally started in sand (yes, really modeled in wet sand). The design was discussed for a couple of hours with Phil Tataurangi at Remuera GC making a sand model of what they thought the client  wanted.

The design was sketched out roughly by hand, and given to me to draw in Vectorworks. The reason we use Vectorworks to draw the putting green is that the plan looks nice, the green and bunker can be dimensioned, and the areas are accurate.

We spend some time online, discussing the fringe area, bunkers, and the putting green shape. Vectorworks makes it easy to make the shapes smooth, and the polyline shapes are easy to edit. As we edit the shapes, we can easily update the areas, which also calculates the price. 

When we are finished, and the client agrees, it is off to site for construction. Vectorworks is also used to create a construction grid (@2m crs) for the contractors on site to lay out the green. This speeds up the setting out of the green, because prior to Vectorworks, the setting out used freehand drawings, with only a few dimensions. 

When it is finished the putting green looks superb. It may not look very large in this photo, but the overall green is 35m long (115') and 25m  wide (82').