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.

Vectorworks Tip 321 – New Wall Worksheet Funtion for Walls

I was making a report to calculate wall areas. I found a new function to calcluate the area of a wall component by its name. =COMPAREABYNAME(C='Wall-External', 'cladding'). You used to be able to find the area of the wall by its component index number, but I like this one much more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 320 – Viewports Part 2

There are several ways to make a viewport, but in this tip we will look at the easiest way. Draw a shape around the area that you want in your viewport. Go to the Menu bar and choose View > Create Viewport. Fill in the preferences for your viewport and click on the OK button. In this case we have chosen to place this viewport on a sheet layer. You can add as many viewports as you want; each viewport can show a different view or different layers.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 319 – Marionette Part 3

When you are dealing with a node in Marionette you have to supply an input. The node then does something to the input and the result is the output. If this node is part of a network, then the output will be carried to the next node. So you could use Marionette to make a rectangle then extrude it. If you want Marionette to make a rectangle, then you have to give it the correct inputs. If you want that rectangle to be extruded, then that also needs the correct inputs.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 318 – Editing Wall Styles from the Object Info Palette

I used to find it a challenge to locate the wall style I want to edit in the resource browser - I usually have too many wall styles. In Vectorworks 2016, if you have a wall selected, you can edit the wall directly from the object Info palette. Click on the wall style pop-up menu, choose edit wall style, then edit the wall style.

Friday, October 16, 2015

VectorWorks Tip 317 – Use Viewports To Create Drawings

The most efficient way to create drawings is to use viewports. Viewports allow you to create as many plans, sections, elevations, and details on the same sheet. The viewports can be any scale, which allows you mix up the viewports on the sheet and have plans and details on the same page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

3D Modelling Special Interest Group – September 2015

We were really fortunate to have one of the users present one of the renderings they have done based on the modelling that learnt from the sessions. We then discussed the principle of removing colour from the rendering so that the client can appreciate the form of the building without worrying about the colours or textures, which lead us onto a discussion about using these line drawings to trace over to create the renderings that suit your company style. We looked at the website of a company called studioDB ( This company uses a technique that I taught them several years ago which is to create your models in Vectorworks, render them in a head on line or wireframe view and then trace over the to add the colour, the textures, the artistic flair that your clients know and love.
Another new feature in Vectorworks 2016 is the ability to export your model as a 3-D PDF. This means that you will be able to export your model to your client and they’ll be able to use Adobe Acrobat reader to look at the model. Adobe Acrobat will allow the user to visit saved views, turn off walls or objects they don’t want to see, cut sections through the model, change the view, et cetera.
Next we looked at subdivision modelling and how powerful this can be. First of all, subdivision modelling has a new interface with coloured arrows to represent X, Y, and Z on the subdivision face. These do move as you twist and move your subdivision model around. We looked at how quick it could be to create a simple tent, then we looked at a sunshade, and then we looked at how to create a complex shape with subdivision modelling. This was only a quick introduction to subdivision modelling and will certainly have to come back and visit this again.
Finally, we looked at marionette. This is a completely new way of thinking about your objects in Vectorworks. Marionette is what they call a Visual Scripting Language. In simple terms this means that you can create complex shapes without having to understand the Vectorworks scripting language in detail. You drag nodes (which do something) to form a flow of instructions (very much like a recipe). Information flows from node to node along something called wires. This is again something we going to come back to and look at in detail.

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Vectorworks Tip 316 – Marionette Part 2

The basic concept of marionette is the concept that it is a network of nodes which do something and wires which carry the information. Each node requires an input. The node then carries out some instruction, and then outputs the result.
Join us for a webinar on this:

Friday, October 09, 2015

Landmark_SIG_079 Special Interest Group September(pm) 2015

The main part of this session was around image props. The attendees want to look at the height of the image props, how they were created, and how they can incorporate these into plants. After that they want to look at some 3-D modelling.
There is an Australian website (OzBreed) that has several Australian plants created as image props, formatted for Vectorworks, the can be downloaded from the website. To start with we had a look at the OzBreed website, found out where to download these image props and then downloaded several.
We looked at the location of the image props in 3-D, and why they are where they are. We also looked at how to change them if you're not happy with their elevation. An important part of using his image props is to locate them on your computer in a place that Vectorworks is able to access them. We went through the exact location that you need to use in order to make them easy to find.
We took these image props and we incorporate them into plants so that we could make the plants the way we wanted. We also looked at using these image props as part of a plant a symbol and whether you can incorporate the entire planter as a plant object.
Next we looked at some 3-D modelling. Ideally we need to create a pergola. In order to do this we used the architectural object "column" but most of the work we did with simple extrusions. By creating one rafter, it could then be duplicated by creating one beam, it can be duplicated. In order to duplicate columns and beams we used the move by points tool. The user also wanted to create a curving bracket, which is straightforward if you draw it in screen plane, then extrude it. Once extruded, it can be copied using the mirror tool or the move by points tool. Finally, we put in a sun so that we could see our completed pergola.
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Landmark_SIG_078 Special Interest Group September(am) 2015

This session was the day that Vectorworks 2016 was announced, so some of the attendees wanted to know what was new. We started by looking at what is change with site modifiers.
The first thing you’ll notice with 2016 is that the toolbar for site modifiers has been changed so that you can now choose the type of site modify you want to create directly from the toolbar. There is also the option to snap to a contour which means that as soon as you snap to a contour it sets the elevation of your site modify to that contour.
We had a play with a couple of the site modifiers then the users wanted to look at some urban design 3-D modelling. In some places there is a trend is to have rough sawn timber on the outside of buildings creating vertical sunscreens. These are easy to create if you use the new subdivision modelling capabilities in Vectorworks 2016. If you then you subtract solids you can cut out the parts you don’t want leaving a series of horizontal or vertical rough sawn timber pieces.
After we had fun with the 3-D modelling, one of the users wanted to know how to use these pieces of timber with a solar animation to get the ideal rotated angle. Ideally they wanted to have the timber allow the winter sun, but keep out the summer sun. We discover that that’s reasonably difficult and that the timber has to almost horizontal in order to do that job.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 315 – Editing Sketch Rendering Styles

I am a big fan of sketch rendering in Vectorworks, not because it tricks your client into thinking that you have drawn by hand, but because it allows the client to see where you are in the design process. However, the sketch rendering styles that ship with Vectorworks do not suit my own handwriting style, so I usually edit these. First, apply sketch rendering to your view or viewport. Then go to the Render Settings and chooseSketch Options… This will open a dialog box for you to choose sketch rendering settings from your default content, or you can click on the Edit… button to choose the settings you want. In the editing settings you can choose several options to make this sketch rendering style similar to your own and drawing technique.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 314 – Marionette

Vectorworks 2016 has a new concept called Marionette. Marionette has been described as a visual scripting language. So let me explain that. What this means is that you have the ability to create a script using a visual system. In simple terms, you would start by creating something, then you might do something to it, then you might do something else to it, finally you have your output. Notice that the information is starting on the left-hand side and travels across to the right.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Interactive Workshops September 2015 (1509) – Getting Ready for Vectorworks 2016

Every year Vectorworks updates, which means that every year you have to prepare for it. The purpose of this workshop is to go through the various things that you have to do to prepare for an update. Vectorworks 2016 has … Continue reading visit

SST_1507 – Site Modifiers in Vectorworks

In the previous month we looked at creating a site model, which is great but we will need to modify the site. That is what this manual is all about, Site Modifiers. A Site Modifier is a  specific object for changing a site model.  A Site modifier can be a range of objects, but their intention is to change the form of the site model.  Vectorworks includes a several tools for creating site modifiers. Some tools are designed to create other objects (hardscape, massing model, roads, etc), and they have options to create site modifiers as well. Some tools are designed to report information about the site or they can be used as site modifiers (Stake, Grade).
Contents [draft]
  • Introduction
  • Site Modifiers
  • Pads and Boundaries
  • Cut and Fill Calculations
  • Hardscape
  • Stake Object
  • Landscape Wall
  • 3D Polylines
  • Stepped Wall
  • Grade Tool
  • Texture Bed
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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Vectorworks Tip 313 – Textures on the Overall Wall or on the Wall Component

If you assign the textures to the wall components, you have a better way to make sure that you get the correct texture on the wall. The other way to assign textures is to assign textures to the overall part … Continue reading visit