Monday, December 21, 2015

SST_1512 - Wrapup for 2015

At this time of the year it's a good time to wrap up the old year and plan what you are going to do next year. At the Archoncad website we like to do the same thing – we wrap up all the topics we covered this year and we plan what topics are important for next year. Wrapping up the year with a review of all the sessions from this year allows users to catch up on anything they have missed. I create a lot of blogs, movies, tips, and manuals – so it's easy to miss something. This session is useful then to go over the most important topics and make sure that everyone knows what we covered.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 357 - Moving Associative Dimensions

A couple of my clients have complained about the Associative Dimensioning in Vectorworks. I never seem to have trouble with associative dimensions or with moving them. But then again, I have been using Vectorworks so long that I can sometimes forget what it is like for others that are new to Vectorworks. If you want to move an associative dimension you have to click on the right part of the dimension to move it, otherwise you run the risk of moving the associated object.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 356 - Marionette

Marionette is amazing the way that it allows you to create objects so quickly. Of course, you will have to learn a new skill (Marionette) but it is not as hard to learn as scripting. Marionette is capable of manking huge objects, but I think that for most of us, it is idea for creating a simple objects. In this example you can see a 3-Drawer cabinet and a 4-Drawer cabinet that have been made with Marionette. The first object that I made was the 3-Drawer cabinet. Once I got it working, I edited the Marionette object to add another drawer, creating the 4-Drawer cabinet. While the first object took a couple of hours to make, the second object took minutes. I think that this is going to be the big benefit of Marionette, the ability to edit an object to make a new version. Another way to look at this is this that I might make a 3-Drawer cabinet, but another user might borrow my object, edit the code to make a 2-Door cabinet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 355 - Copy Viewport Attibutes

If you choose the appropriate settings with the eyedropper tool, you can copy the viewport attributes from one viewport to another. This includes copying layer and class visibility is, render settings, et cetera.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 354 - Print to PDF

On a Macitosh computer you CAN use File > Print > Save as PDF. This is a built in utility in the macintosh OS that basically just takes an image of what you’re printing and slaps it into a PDF. No layers, no classes, no vector info. If you don’t need any of that, it will make a smaller flat PDF and can be useful

Monday, December 14, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 353 - Camera Effects - Depth of Field

vectorworks camera effectsThe term depth of field describes how much of your photo will be in focus. The camera tool now allows you to control how much is in focus using Depth of Field. But the way that controls how much is in focus is to do with the aperture of your camera. If you're an old school photographer you'll understand how aperture relates to depth of field, but if you're a modern digital camera photographer you may not understand this. In simple terms the larger the number for the aperture (f-22) the more will be in focus, the smaller the number for the aperture (f-2.8) the less will be in focus.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

SST_1509 - Getting Ready for an Update

Vectorworks has annual upgrade cycle. This means that every year you'll have to get used to Vectorworks being updated. But what does this mean? In simple terms, You will be working on an older version of Vectorworks and then you will have to update your project and start working in a new version of Vectorworks.

Vectorworks 2016 includes a new Migration Manager that will help you to migrate your default content, workspaces, and libraries from your old versions of Vectorworks to the new version. However, if you have not arranged your libraries, workspaces, and default content correctly, the migration manager will be of little use to you.

Vectorworks Tip 352- Marionette and BIM

When you create objects in Marionette, you add IFC information for the object into the Marionette network. But you can also add IFC information to the object without editing the Marionette network. After you create your Marionette network into an object, you can use the Object Info palette to add IFC information. When you and IFC information to your marionette object becomes an object that will be exported when you export your IFC project. All when you had the IFC information in this way, the information stays on the object even if you enter the Marionette network and edit it. As with other plug-in objects, the IFC information stays on the object when you change the parameters on the Object Info palette.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 351 - Eye Dropper - Copy Graphic styles

The eye dropper tool is used to pick up the attributes of one object and put those attributes down on one or more other objects. You can pick up the graphic attributes by setting the options to pick up the graphics.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 350 - Setting Up a Perspective Section Viewport

Notes - Page 27If you create a section viewport and place it on a sheet layer, you are limited to using a 1-point perspective. If you want to show a 2-point perspective, you should place the section viewport on a design layer, use a camera to view the section, then use the camera to create a viewport.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 349 - Site model - Site Modifiers (Pads and Grade Limits)

Notes - Page 14
Sometimes there is confusion over the what a pad object is and what a grade limits object is in sitre modeling. The pad changes the site model (it is the 3D object) and the grade limit contriols how much of the site is affected by the pad.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Vectorworks 2016 SP2

Vectorworks, 2016, SP2

I Just noticed that Vectorworks 2016 SP2 is now available for downloading. I was checking my VSS Downloads page and I noticed that it has been updated to show Vectorworks 2016 SP2 as the latest release. Those of you that have been waiting for this, now is the time to get started with 2016. Those of you that have already been using 2016, get the new version.

If you haven't used Vectorworks 2016 yet, prepare yourselves for some new technologies, some new abilities in the old tools, and some subtle changes that will speed you up.

If you are a subscriber, you can see what is new in Vectorworks 2016, we covered the important part on these webinars...


1508 - Roading in Vectorworks

This manual is the last manual on the series on site modelling on site modifying because the roading tools quite often used as site modifiers. Don't forget to refer to the previous two month's manuals (1506 and 1507) for more information on site modelling. This manual looks specifically at the six different roadway tools:
Roadway (Tee)
Roadway (Straight)
Roadway (Curved)
The Roadway (NURBS)
Roadway (Custom Kerb)
Roadway (Poly)
The last two tools are very powerful and most of the manual will focus on those.
The roading tools in Vectorworks are not designed to let you to become a road designer. They are there to allow you to add writing to your concept drawings, but they do not have sophisticated roading controls such as camber, tilt, roundabouts, etc.
The roading tools will allow you to draw a large range of road designs, and the road objects can be site modifies. If you need a refresher on-site modifiers for networks, look at the manual 1507 Site Modifiers. You do not need to use a site model if you want to draw a road, you can draw roads without it.
To refresh your memory, there are normally two parts a site modifier and a grade limits. When you create a road, you have the choice to Use Site Modifiers and a separate choice to Use Grade Limit.

Friday, December 04, 2015

iPad Stylus 2 - Pencil by 53

This is supposed to be a great stylus and my friend Neil says that his works really well. But I have had terrible results with it. I got it to connect at first, but now it won't connect to my iPad. Even when I did get it to connect, I found that the fatness of the stylus made it hard to see where I was drawing.
The design of the stylus is to simulate a buider's pencil. That means that it will not roll away, like all my other styli did.

It is beautifully engineered, well balanced, and it was nice to hold.
It is an active stylus, which means that it has a battery that needs recharging. The battery is accessed by pulling out the tip of the stylus. This a a great way of charing the pencil, you do not need any special cables, you plug the battery straight into a USB port for charging. There is a charge light on it that will show greeen when the battery is fully charged.

I have two main problems with this pencil:
I can no longer get this to connect to any of my sketching apps.
When I did get it to connect, the fatness of the stylus prevents me from having fine and accurate control of the tools. I often found that i would start drawing a line away from my desired location. I would have to Undo and try again.
I have ordered a new pencil, to try this out again in case i have a dud pencil. I will let you know how it goes.

Vectorworks Tip 348 - BIM and IFC

BIM is the activity of modelling, IFC is the format to exchange information. When you are creating objects and loacting them in the project, that's BIM, but when you want to pass that information to another person, you can use IFC to export your project and the information attached to objects.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Architect_081 Architect Special Interest Group November 2015 (am)

Topics covered:
  • inserting a custom door symbol into a wall
  • hybrid symbols
  • dimension standards
  • stake object
  • fixing a bad file

Vectorworks Tip 347 - Align and Distribute From the Contextual Menu

Notes - Page 4
This commnad allows you to select objects and line them up based on thier location, but this command uses the selected objects as the controlling obejct, the other object will line with the object that you right-click on.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 346 - 3D Modeling - How To Make an Object That Turns a Corner

This is not the only way to do this (cehck out tip 349 comming later) but it is one way. The challange is to get an object to turn the corner. If you extrude an object, split it, then mirror it, you can create teh object you want.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Interactive Workshops November 2015 (1511) - Marionette

Vectorworks 2016 includs a new visual scripting language called Marionette.
Marionette works by connecting nodes together with wires. The data flows from left to right, from one node to the next down the wire. Each node does something simple and then passes its output to the next node. To create a script, you drag and drop the nodes to create a series of steps, at the end of this you get the object that you want. It might look complex, but once it is set up you can look at different variations by editing any of the node inputs. Each node is a Python based script (allowing you to edit the script) and you can turn the marionette object into a plug-in object if you want.
Some other CAD programs have had this kind of visual scripting language available for several years, and the feedback from the users is that this is a very powerful way to create your designs. It might look complicated to use this technology, but it does mean that you don’t have to understand the programming language, you just have to understand what simple steps you want your objects to go through. You might say that it will allow complex programming for everybody.

Vectorworks Tip 345 - Auto Join or Not Auto Join

When you join walls, there is a huge difference between walls joined with Auto Join turned off and walls joined with Auto Join turned on. Make sure you use the correct option for your work.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Landmark_SIG_081 Special Interest Group October (pm) 2015

Main topics:
  • creating a site model from an image
  • importing a shape file
  • using GIS information from a local body website
  • site modifier contour mode
  • hardscape changes in Vectorworks 2016

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 344 - Vectorworks Angles vs Survey Angles

Notes - Page 13
Vectorworks, like all CAD programs, uses 0° for the angle of a line that is horizontal (X direction) and uses 90° for a vertical line (Y direction) surveys on the other hand start measuring the angles from North (which is 0°), through East. So a survey angle that is 200° would be shown in Vectorworks as an angle of -120°.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 343 - Site Model Cut and Fill

Notes - Page 15
Every once in a while a client will get confused about what is cut and fill when dealing with a site model. Cut volumes are the parts that are removed from the site model, fill volumes other parts that are added to the site model.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 342 - What is BIM?

Notes - Page 17
In its most simplest terms, BuildingInformation Modeling allows you to create plans, sections, and details from the 3-D model of your project, along with reports on the objects in the project (number of plants, the areas of landscape, the areas of hardscape, etc.)

Vectorworks Tip 341 - Align and Distribute Command

This command in on the Modify menu. It is designed to allow you to align or distribute selected objects. This means that you have to select the objects before you use the command.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 340 - Wall Wall Textures Overall

If you dont like assigning wall textures by components, you can use Overall. This method requires that you choose a texture for a part of the wall (top, left, right, etc). If you are using unstyled walls without components this will be the best way, but you do have to watch out for the direction of the wall, as this will affect the left and right of the wall. If you are not careful you might get the textures on the wrong side of the wall.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 339- Assign Wall Textures by Component

If you use wall styles (with components) it is a lot easier to assign the wall textures to the wall comonents, then on the Texture Settings, choose to have the textures By Component. This will asssign the texture to the entire component, but it makes it easy to get the textures on the correct side of the wall.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 338 - Site Model Settings - Graphic Attributes

In Vectorworks 2016 there is now a faster way to set the graphic attributes on your site models so that it uses the class settings for the line weights, colours, and line styles of the class. This will allow you to usual classes to change the graphic style of your site models after you have created them.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 337 - Creating a Plan Viewport from a Clip Cube

In the same way that you can create a section viewport from a clip cube face, you can create a plan viewport. This is actually called a section viewport but the section viewport is parallel to the ground plane, and therefore it's a plan viewport. This will allow you to choose where to create the plan when you have a complex building that might have windows at several levels.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I use GoToMeeting to run my webinars, but if you are using an old version of rhte Mac operating system, you will have to join via the web app

Vectorworks Tip 336 - Design Layer Section Viewports

You can create a section viewport and place it on a design layer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Adobe Acrobat Reader updated

 I got a notification this morning that Adobe Acrobat reader has bee updated. This is a new version of Acrobat Reader and it has a new interface.  Like the earlier versions of Acrobat , it allows you to open and save PDF’s, annotate them , and mark them. But it also is designed to integrate with dropbox and Adobe’s own Document Cloud, or Creative Cloud (if you subscribe to this service).

download it here:

Vectorworks Tip 335 - Project Sharing - Save and Commit

When you are working on a Working File and you save your work, this work is not automatically sent to the project file. This gives you the option of trying out some of your design before committing it for others to work on. if you want to send your work to the project file you need to use the command Save and Commit. This command will save your work And it will send your changes to the project file. If you do not save and commit, no one else will see your changes.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 334 - Adjust the Site Model Settings to Make Snapping Easier (2)

If you are going to use the Snap to Contour, you might want to adjust the Site Model Settings to give you the correct contour to snap to. The second method is to adjust the Start Contour Offset to change the elevation of all of the contours .

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 333 – Changing the Angle of a Clip Cube

When you start a clip cube it is always orthogonal, but this often does not line up with the model. Rotating the plan does not help, but there is an easy solution. If you select the clip cube with the selection tool, you will see four blue dots at the bottom center of the clip cube. Use one of these to rotate the clip cube to match the angle of your project.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 332 – Using a Clip Cube to Make a Section Viewport.

After you have set up your clip cube, you can use it to create a section viewport. Use the selection tool on the clip cube, and when a side of the clip cube highlights, right-click on it to bring up the Contextual Menu. At the bottom of the menu you will find Create Section Viewport...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 331 – Project files and Working Files

The concept behind project sharing is that there is one Project file, but eveyone that wants to work on the project has a working file. The data is stored in the Project file and the working file, but the data is only sent to the Project File when you Save and Commit the changes. Until then, the changes are only kept in the Working File. 

Friday, November 06, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 330 – Adjust the Site Model Settings to Make Snapping Easier

If you are going to use the Snap to Contour, you might want to adjust the Site Model Settings to give you the correct contour to snap to. The first way to adjust the setings is to change the coutour interval to give you more contours to snap to.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 329 – Adjusting the size of the Clip Cube

It is unlikely the Clip Cube will be the size that you require, but you're allowed to change the size and the easiest way to do this is to use your selection tool. When you click on the edge of the clip cube, then move your cursor around the cube, you will notice different sides of the clip cube highlight. Click on one of the sides and drag to move it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 328 – Section Viewport

Section viewports allow you to cut a section through an object, or several objects. After activating the Create Section Viewport… Command from the view menu, click once to start your section viewport, then click once more for the other end of the section viewport. Click once to define the direction of the section viewport (don't worry if you get this wrong, you can always change it later) and click once more to finish. Remember to name your viewport and choose the sheet layer for it.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 326 – Snap to Contour

This is a great addition to the Site Modifier tool. When you choose this mode, Vectorworks reads the elevation of the countour that you are snapping to and sets the elevation of the site modifier to this elevation. This saves so much time when placing site modifiers. No more guessing or placing 3D loci to get the correct elevation.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 325 – Clip Cube

03I like using the Clip Cube; It is like a 3D viewport crop that is flexible and allows you crop out the parts of your design that you want to hide. The technique is to select an object, then activate the clip cube. If you do it this way, the clip cube will be just around the selected object.

Vectorworks Tip 324 – Name Your Viewports

image145I know that it seems like a lot of work to name all your viewports, but when you want to use the new linked viewports feature or you want to edit the classes on viewports (using visibilities on the organization dialog box), you need to have a way to know which viewport you are affecting or choosing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 327 – Project Sharing

Project sharing allows you to set up a project so that several people can work on it at once. It allows users to check out specific layers (like checking out a book from a library), which prevents other people from working in those layers. Other users can see the changes that go on, but they cannot edit layers that have been checked out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 323 – Marionette Part 4

It's all about the Maths. When you are creating your Marionette networks, you have to remember that it is all about the maths. I'm not that good at maths, but if you want to create objects and move them, or create objects that follow a formula, you will have to practice your maths.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 322 – Changes to the Site Modifier Tool

Vectorworks 2016 has a change to the Site Modifiers tool. The change is that all the Site Modifier options are now on the Tool bar, shown as modes. Now when you want to place a grade limits, you can choose that mode, if you want you place a Pad, you can choose that mode. This change might seem like a small change, but it is one of those changes that makes a big difference to your workflow, making it easier to chose the correct mode for the job.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Vectorworks Design Summit 2016

Vectorworks Inc. have announced the Design Summit for 2016 will be in Chicago, 25-29 April 2016. This year the Design Summit was held at the end of April and it was a huge success. I think there were over 350 people there (more than they expected). As the first Design Summit it was a test and a risk. I’m really happy that it was a success and now we have a lot more notice about the next one. I’m starting to plan my trip now and I hope to be able to help out again to make the 2016 Design Summit even more of a success.
At the moment there is a an early bird price and if you want to be a presenter, get in quick, because your proposal has to be in before 31st October 2015.