Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vector-workout Guide to Quick Conceptual Design

Earlier this month, my Vector-workout Subscription covered quick conceptual design. I felt that this is a very powerful area, and I wrote a lot about the session on this blog, so please visit that page for a long description about this.

I have expanded on these notes and combined them with my earlier manual on Residential Conceptual Design, to create a new Vector-workout Guide to Quick Conceptual Design.

This manual covers all the steps from editing your workspace to make Vectorworks quicker to creating a solar animation movie of the project.

Briefly, Vectorworks is very powerful in the early stages of a project. We can use Vectorworks to check our building areas to make sure that the project of this size and bulk, can be placed on the site. This is very effective for small complex sites, and for larger commercial projects where land coverage is important.

Once you have the building area, it is a simple task to add the cost of the building. This can be completed in a short time, so you can see if the project is acceptable. This is like a short feasibility report, where you can tell the client the rough (very rough) order of costs for a building of this area and level of quality.

Using massing models, you can check the sun and shadows on the project, to see if you will have the spaces you think you want.

You can import or create a 3D site model and use this to create 3D planes that show you the restrictions on your site. This is a quick visual way to see how close to the boundary you can build and what height is allowed in the project location.

You can use space objects, or 3D modeling to create a 3D concept model. 3D modeling is now very quick and powerful if you use the Push/Pull tool and working planes. So, I have added these techniques to the manual.

As you model, you can check the model against the site restrictions, and create solar studies for different times of the day, and days of the year.

The Vector-workout Guide to Quick Conceptual Design covers all this, and it covers it with a movie-based format. This format makes it easy to get the information quickly, without a lot of reading.

Buy the manual here...

Review of this manual posted here...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Productivity Techniques in Vectorworks

In April 2011, the Vector-workout Subscription webinars will be looking at productivity techniques. I believe that if you make sure you are using these techniques, you can save a lot of time. If you are not using these techniques you are loosing over thirty minutes every day (over two hours a week, a day a month...).

The productivity techniques fall into categories:
  1. Make your workspace more efficient. Get rid of tools you don't need, make others easier to find. 
  2. Learn the basic tools really well, they will power your Vectorworks.
  3. Learn about the other tools, the ones that don't look so easy. 
  4. Set up your Vectorworks system to make drawing productive.
  5. Use Vectorworks everyday, even if it's only to practice.
  6. Stay up to date with the software, update when a new patch comes out, upgrade when you can.
  7. Stay up to date with training. Attend monthly meetings and the online communities. 
For our online webinar, we will be looking at all these topics. Some of the topics are easy to cover, like the last 2, but others require a lot of demonstration, so most of the webinar will be focusing on the first four topics. These topics are the ones that are the hardest to discover on your own. 

As an example, in last month's webinar on the quick site analysis, I showed a few tricks for drawing polygons quickly, and then reshaping them. This trick saves me a few seconds, but it also saves me a lot of aggravation. For me, saving the aggravation is as important as saving time.

So, the aim of the webinar is to make you more efficient, to make Vectorworks easier to use, to to make it more fun to use Vectorworks. 

If you are a subscriber, you can book now for the April online sessions.

If you want to find out about subscribing, read more at this web site. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vector-workout Subscription - More Online Sessions

We have been building up the number of subscribers in the Vector-workout Subscription. This is really pleasing. I have been running this service for over four years now, and we have now got to the point where we are getting all the online sessions filled up.

Ever since the service started, we have had online meetings (workshops I call them). I initially started with 3 online sessions each month, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at different times of the day, so users can choose what suits them. This month there are so many users wanting to be in those meetings, it seems time to introduce more online sessions. So In April I will be trying out sessions Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, still at different times of the day. These sessions are designed for everyone, from beginner onwards. I always create a manual for these sessions, so you can follow the topic, and so you have something you can come back to.

A few months ago, I started a new type of session called Beyond Beginner. These sessions are not for experts, but they are not for beginners, and they focus on questions and answers around a topic. I'm happy to report that these sessions are becoming as popular as the workshops. Initially I started with just two Beyond Beginner sessions a month, but from April that will be increasing to three sessions a month. So, you will be able to find a session on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Check out the calendar here...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Starting A Project Quickly with Vectorworks

This month, I am running online webinars on how to get started with a project quickly in Vectorworks. I have been asked to show how to get started. The project I will be looking at will be a domestic project, but you could easily apply these techniques to commercial projects. We will start with a site with a building on it. We need to make sure that our current site complies with the the site coverage. Then we will split the site in to two sites, one with the existing building, and one with a new building. We need to find out how much building can be placed on the new site, while still complying with the site coverage requirements. My belief is that you should be able to do this quickly, say within 30 mins. If the building does not comply, you are wasting all you time on the project. It would be better to phone the client after 30 minutes and tell them that unless they change the size of the house, the number of stories, or their requirements, the project can not proceed.

Vectorworks has the capability to to this analysis easily, using worksheets. We will be learning to set these up correctly, so we can make any adjustments and check the calculations. We will be able to add extra buildings, like garages and sheds, edit the floor plan of the proposed building and so on. We can check our calculations almost instantly to see if we are still complying.

That is all pretty cool, but it gets better. After playing with the layout, we can quickly jump to a 3D view of the proposal to change the solar animation for different times of the year. So, after getting our areas right, we will be getting our design right, taking into account the adjoining properties and sun.

I think that Vectorworks makes all this so easy. The presentation to this point takes about sixty minutes, but if you practices this, it could be less, maybe thirty minutes. If you learn these techniques, you could be calling the client within half an hour to report the coverage on site that would comply, the cost of the project and issues with the sun and shading. That is powerful stuff.

I have now created a movie-based for this, called the Vector-workout Guide to Quick Conceptural Design, which you can buy from this web site....

If you are not a subscriber, you are missing out on this type of training each month. Subscribe here...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Join is an independent online community for Vectorworks users. It has forums, events, blogs, and so on. The community has been set up by a friend of mine and I want this community to grow. There are nearly 1000 members, and we need more.

Please visit and join. Once you've joined, add me as a friend.

Quick Conceptual Modeling in Vectorworks 2011

I have many clients that use other programs to start a conceptual model, but I believe that Vectorworks is very capable at conceptual modeling. Not only that, if you can start your model in Vectorworks, you can carry on with Vectorworks until the project is completed, saving you all that re-drawing time. Conceptual models can be spaces, volumes, (and with the new planar objects and Push/Pull tool in Vectorworks 2011, and shapes that can be changed quickly.

In this webinar, I will be creating a quick site model with 3D building constraints. I will create a quick conceptual model and link this to the site. There are ways to do this so you can edit the model directly on the site to make sure you maximize the concept for the sun, the 3D constraints and the adjoining properties.

Read more and book now...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Helpful Appication for Importing AutoCAD Files into Vectorworks

I saw this tip on the Vectorworks discussion list. I looked into this a bit more, and I have added screen shots so that it makes more sense.

Read more... (you have to be a subscriber to follow this link).

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