Monday, December 12, 2016

Knowledge is Perishable

When Vectorworks introduced the Python language into Vectorworks I decided to learn about Object Orientated programming. I enrolled in a class at the local Technical Institute. I really enjoyed learning about it and I did really well. With regular practice, homework, and working an a major project, I became reasonably skilled.

Before the exams started we were given a few weeks to study. Unfortunately, instead of studying I worked on my business. I thought that my knowledge would remain in my head even though I wasn't studying.

On the day of the exam I sat down with the exam paper and I looked  through the questions. The questions were really easy, we covered all the topics in class and all the questions looked really familiar. However, when I went to answer questions, I could not get the knowledge out of my brain and onto the paper. In those weeks when I should have been studying my knowledge gradually vanished. I didn't realise at the time but knowledge is perishable.

If you don't keep refreshing your knowledge it gradually vanishes, and even though you know you should know something, you find hard to remember the answer. This is exactly what happened to me and my exam. I knew I should know the answers but I just could not recall the knowledge.

The same thing happens with your Vectorworks knowledge. If you do not keep refreshing your Vectorworks knowledge it gradually vanishes. The Vectorworks techniques that you use every day are fine, you are refreshing your knowledge every day. What about the techniques you do not use so often? Sorry, but you gradually lose your ability to use them.

But I have a solution! My subscription website has regular monthly meetings that cover a huge range of topics. Users that regularly come to the sessions report that they learn something new at every session. So, not only is it a good place to refresh your knowledge, it's also a good place to expand it.

Knowledge is perishable, keep up-to-date!

Subscribe now!

archoncad End of Year Webinar

At the end of the year I have webinar where I go through all the topics that my subscribers and I been through in the previous 12 months.
Normally, my webinars are restricted to my subscribers. At the end of the year webinar I like to open it to the public so that everyone can see what I have covered. You can also contribute to these webinars by telling me what topics you would like me to cover next year.

Vectorworks Architect Asia

I have just completed a new course called Vectorworks Architect Asia. What makes this course different is that it is designed for countries with warmer climates they have higher density populations and build from masonry construction. So, like the other Architect course, the course covers site modelling, creating quick bulk and location, layers and stories, drawing walls, creating roofs, and creating drawings. The main difference to this course is that it uses different construction, building density, and design.

Check out the course here…

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Vectorworks 2017 Online Courses Available

img_0334I have create 4 new courses for Vectorworks 2017:

  • Fundamentals
  • Architect
  • Landmark
  • 3D Modeling

These are not like the manuals I have previously written, these are online courses that use video to teach you. The courses are broken up into logical chapters and some chapters have several movies. When you have compeleted the lesson, you can move to the next lesson and so on until the course is completed.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fixing Computer Issues

(There might be offensive language in the YouTube clip)

When my computer, phone, or Vectorworks misbehaves, I follow the advice from the IT Crowd, and restart the thing. I know this sounds like simplistic advice, but it so often works.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 440 - Adjacency Matrix

Vectorworks spaces have the ability to create and read Adjacency Matrices. OK, but what are they and how do you read one. In simple terms, the Adjacent Matrix tells you the relationship between rooms. The Adjacancy Matrix uses and scale from o to 5. 0 means that the rooms have no need to be near each other, 5 means that the rooms have a strong relationship.

For example, the relationship between the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom might have a number 5 relationship, they should be next to each other.

In this example we will use the master bedroom. We want to find the relationship between the master bedroom and the ensuite. Start with the the room name and follow this to the right. Now follow the diagonal down.

Now go to the other room, in this case the ensuite. Follow this room to the right and follow the diagonal until you intersect the diagonal from the other room.

The next example is the relationship between the master bedroom and the double bedroom. Start with the the master bedroom and follow this to the right, then follow the diagonal down. Now go to the other room, in this case the double bedroom. Go to the right and follow the diagonal until you intersect the diagonal from the master bedroom.

In this example the relationship is a -, or no relationship. So if I was the designer, I would make sure that these rooms are not near each other.

My final example is the relationship between the master bedroom and the outdoor area. If you follow the matrix you find that the score is 3. This means that the rooms have to be close to each other. You have to be able to easily access the outdoor area from the bedroom, but they do not have to be right next to each other.

Once you have this Adjacency Matrix, you can use many other Vectorworks tools and commands to create spaces, create a concept design, and later on, use the spaces to create the walls.


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 438 - Things Energos Needs (that you may not have thought of)


There are two things that you may not think that Energos requires. The first is that Energos needs to have a Heliodon in the same design layer as the walls. It uses this Heliodon it on to find the location of the site. It needs have the location of the site because the climate data changes from location to location. The other thing that you may not have thought of is that Energos requires spaces. It requires the spaces so that it knows which rooms or parts of the building are habited, and it also needs these spaces to calculate the volume.


Friday, June 03, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 437 -  Creating A Viewport That Fades Out


I saw on the tech board, somebody was asking for a technique that would allow the viewport to fade out. I think you can achieve this now if you put an object in your viewport with a transparent gradient. In the image you can see I created a gradient that changes from solid white to transparent. I used the attribute mapping tool to control where the transparent and solid parts are, and I also used the attributes palette to change the gradient from a linear gradient to a radial gradient.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Sketching on an iPad

If you get my newsletter you would have seen this sketch (all images copyright Jonathan Pickup 2016).

This sketch is from my trip to Chicago for the design summit and it was drawn on my iPad. I have been using my iPad, Apple Pencil and sketching software (Procreate).

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 436 - Creating a Curved Stair


In this example I'm using the Circular Stair tool (remember this is part of the legacy tools that you will have to add to your workspace). Like the simple stair, the curve stair allows you to create a quick curving stair, which I find is useful for concept drawings where you do not want focus too much on the detail. The Object Info palette has all of the options that you need for the stair.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 435 - Advanced Energos Settings

These are the settings that you use to control the detail of Energos. There are several options here that you will need to check through to make sure that you have the correct settings. There is also an advanced settings area where you can control even more of the detail.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 434 - How to Edit A Symbol


There are several ways that you can edit a symbol. You can right click on the symbol on the drawing area, you can right click on the symbol in the Resource Manager, or you can double-click on the symbol. Choose which part of the symbol you want to edit (2-D, 3-D, wall hole component, or symbol options). Remember the changes you make to a symbol will affect all instances of the symbol and the entire drawing.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

How to Draw A Section

How to draw a section

A section is a drawing that shows a cut through an object. Many CAD programs will do this for you, but you also nee to know how to draw one of these for yourself so that you can understand the technique behind it.

Start with the plan view and protect the lines down. Next, project the lines from the elevation across to give you the heights. Add the thickness to the object.

In this view I've used the same technique to project the lines down from the plan, but this time of drawn a cross-section through a site. Notice how I've project of the lines down wherever the contours cross the section line. This is what you need to do to give you the correct site cross-section. Many CAD programs give you the ability to create a site model, and create sections where ever you need them.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 433 - Creating a Dogleg Stair With the Simple Stair Tool


The Object Info palette gives you the options that you need to create a quick dogleg stair with a simple stair tool. The important part is to make sure that you have enough gap between the two flights of stairs.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 432 - Setting up an Energos Project


Energos doesn't just look at the insulation on your walls, it looks that the entire project and looks at the properties of all of the components of your walls, slab, and roof. This means that if you want to use Energos to analyse the energy in your building you have to set up your project correctly. Walls have to be drawn correctly, rooms have to be connected to the walls, and slabs have to be properly constructed. Of course this is using common BIM principles so setting up the project should also include making sure that your stories, layers, and levels are also well considered. It might seem like this is a lot of work to set up a project, but these are the things that you should be doing already because using these BIM principles will speed up your workflow from concept to contract documentation.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 431 - How To Create a Symbol


In the past we have had several posts about how cool symbols are. Here we will look at making a symbol. Actually, its really straightforward. Draw the 2D and 3D information that you want, select it and use the Create Symbol... command from the Modify menu.

Most of the troubles I see are from users not make the information correctly. Make sure that you have use the correct line weights, classes, and graphics.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Drawing Basics - 3rd Angle Projection

Third angle projection is a common way of presenting information to others. In simple terms, a third angle projection has a plan at the top left of the page, directly below this the front elevation based on the plan above, and to the right of the front elevation a side view of the object.
In engineering drawings this is often the only drawing required by a manufacturer. For landscape and architectural projects this may not be the most suitable way to present your work. For example, your plan may be so large that you can only fit that plan on a page.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 430 - Creating a Left Stair With the Simple Stair Tool

Unlike other stair tools, the simple stair has all of its options on the Object Info palette. This makes it extremely quick to make the changes to the stair. In order to create a left stair, you can choose this option from the Object Info palette.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 429 - Energos - What is it?

Energos is a way of calculating energy requirements of the building. In some countries the building code focuses only on insulation values, which controls the amount of heat that escapes from the building. This is a limited way of looking at energy consumption building because it takes no account of the energy produced inside the building, or any energy that is brought into the building to help keep it warm. Energos on the other hand looks at the entire project including insulation, orientation, ventilation, solar energy, et cetera.
We are covering Energos in the June archoncad Interactive Workshops, Book Now!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 427 - Cool Tricks With Symbols – 4

Using symbols for plans and elevations. One of the earlier posts noted that a symbol instance is consistent throughout the file, so that if you update the symbol definition every instance of that symbol will update. One of the cool tricks is to use your symbol to create both a 2-D and 3-D versions of the symbols that you want. A door might be an example. You could create a symbol that had both the 2D and 3D part of the door. That way if you update any part of the door both your plan view of your symbol and your elevation view of your symbol ( in a separate design layer) would both update.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Drawing Basics - Line Weights on Elevations

In a previous post we talked about how important it was to have line weights to to help communicate information on your drawings. This also applies to your elevations. When I was taught to draw I was taught to use different line weights on elevations to help people to read the elevations. What this means is that there should be a hierarchy of line weights that help people understand what parts of the project are projecting forward and what parts are in the background.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 426 - Creating a Straight Stair With the Simple Stair Tool

For concept design, I think the simple stair takes a lot of beating. It's easy to use, it's very quick to use, and it gives you some pleasing results without too much bother with settings. Because it is a simple stair, you have very limited graphic and handrail abilities, but remember the conceptual design, you don't want to have too many options.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 425 – Project Sharing on Dropbox

At present we are not allowed to create project sharing on dropbox. Project sharing has to be set up on a network system, either in an office, or using a VPN (Virtual Personal Network). Sharing systems like dropbox, box, et cetera use a system that project sharing will not work with at the moment. I have no way of knowing, but I hope this will change in the future.

We are covering Project Sharing in the May archoncad Interactive Workshops, Book Now!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 424 - Where To Put Site Modifiers

Many uses believe that the only place that you should store site modifiers is on the same layer as the site model. While this works very well, it is not the only place that you can locate your site modifiers. The site model settings dialog box allows you to choose where site modifiers can be located. They can be on the same layer as the site model, on any layer, on visible layers, or you can select which layers you want to put your site modifiers on.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 423 - Cool Tricks With Symbols 3 - Records

Some objects in Vectorworks already have information attached to them. Symbols allow you to attach your own information to them using record formats. This allows you to create a symbol that has your own specific information attached and this information can also link to text and the symbol so that when you update the information on the Object Info palette the text and the symbol will also update. I am covering this at the design summit in Chicago, so you might still have time to come in join my session.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Drawing Basics - Line Weights

Line weights are extremely important. A drawing that has all of its lines with the same weight (same line thickness) is difficult to read. It's a very common practice to use different line weights to represent different parts of your drawing. To start with, all the background information should have a thin line, and objects that require emphasis should have a thicker line.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 422 - Creating a Complex Stair With The Custom Stair Tool

Building on from the previous posts about the custom stair tool, if you remember that the stair is a kit of parts you can assemble all the parts you need to create extremely complex stairs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 421 – Project Sharing – Privileges

When you are setting up a project sharing project you will want to limit the privileges of the users. Not everybody should have administrator privileges. There are a range of privileges that allow users different access to the file. The administrator has full privileges allowing them to add or remove users, change the privileges of users, change any resource in the file, etc. you can also create users that have limited access to parts of the file. The restricted access to the file can prevent people from updating or creating new layers, updating or creating new classes, editing resources, and is also a read-only privilege that doesn't allow any changes at all.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 420 - What Is A Site Modifier?

In simple terms a site modifier is a special object that will allow Vectorworks to change (or modify) a site model. Not every object can be a site modifier, but there are a large number of objects that can be. A site modifier needs a three-dimensional object to tell Vectorworks where to make the changes to the site model (sometimes called a pad), and it also requires an object to limit the extent of the change (called a grade limits).

Vectorworks Tip 420 - What Is A Site Modifier?

In simple terms a site modifier is a special object that will allow Vectorworks to change (or modify) a site model. Not every object can be a site modifier, but there are a large number of objects that can be. A site modifier needs a three-dimensional object to tell Vectorworks where to make the changes to the site model (sometimes called a pad), and it also requires an object to limit the extent of the change (called a grade limits).

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 419 - Cool tricks with symbols 2 - Auto Class

The next amazing track with symbols is the ability to control what class the symbol will be assigned to. For example, whenever I use a symbol for a lighting switch, it is always assigned to the class that I require (services – electrical), regardless of the active class on the view bar. This means that I can activate my symbol and not have to worry about what my active classes, the object will automatically be assigned to the correct class. This dramatically improves my productivity because my objects are automatically assigned to their required classes. I will be looking at using symbols to create and manage your libraries at the design summit in Chicago

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Detaling Basics - Cold Bridge

A Cold Bridge refers to a break in the insulation in the building that allows the transfer of heat. Usually this is a break in the insulation that allows the heat to escape – which can also be thought of as the cold coming into the building. This often occurs at building junctions and requires careful detailing. This also occurs with areas of different insulation values such as the studs on a wall.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 418 - Creating a Dog-Leg Stair With The Custom Stair Tool

Remember that the custom stair tool is designed to be used as a kit of parts. This means that to create a dogleg stair we need three parts: a straight flight, a U-Landing, and a straight flight for the final part of the stair. Once you understand that the stair uses a kit of parts, it becomes much easier to create the stair that you want.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 417 - Setting Up a Project for Sharing

Setting up a project for project sharing is reasonably straightforward, but make sure you store the project in a suitable location so that everyone ca access it. DO NOT store this project in a online syncronised folder (like Box, Dropbox, etc). Set up the Admin privelges and start working. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 416 - DXF/DWG Dimensions

If you get the units wrong when you're importing a DXF/DWG file, you will end up with information that is the incorrect size. This can be fixed, but it is better to get the units correct. One of the techniques I use is to check the scale settings to see if the scale looks about right for the units chosen.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Detaling Basics - Pressure Differential

Pressure Differential is the difference in pressure between the inside and outside. If the pressue difference is great, water can be drawn up vertical faces, through gaps, and into the building. The solution is to have air seals at all joints.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 414 - Creating a Straight Stair With the Custom Stair Tool

The custom stair tool is not part of the default workspace, you have to edit yourself from the legacy category. The custom stair tool is very flexible and is designed to be used like a kit of parts. In this tip will just look at a simple straight stair, but in later tips we will look at more complex stairs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 413 - What Is Project Sharing?

Project sharing is the ability to have several people working on a project where all theinformation is saved in a single project file. In the past you could use Reference Files, but these only shared information in one direction. Project sharing allows several people to share the information in both directions. We will be covering this in manual and online sessions in May 2016. Book Now...

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 412 - DXF/DWG Units

If you get the units wrong when you're importing a DXF/DWG file, you will end up with information that is the incorrect size. This can be fixed, but it is better to get the units correct. One of the techniques I use is to check the scale settings to see if the scale looks about right for the units chosen.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 411 - Why Use Symbols Instead of Groups?

Symbols give you incredible abilities to attach information edit the information and control repeatable objects. In this example I've created a file with 100 tables. In the first file the tables are using the table and chair object. This file size is 10 MB. In the second example I've created one table and chair (exactly the same table and chair as the other file) made it into a symbol and repeated the symbol instance 100 times. This file size is .3 MB. This is a dramatic reduction in the size the file by using symbols. So my first reason for using symbols is that they're much more memory efficient. I will be looking at using symbols to create and manage your libraries at the Design Summit in Chicago

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Detaling Basics - Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is where the water is moving. Generally, this is where the water is being blown by strong winds. I have used the roof example, which is common where I live. The wind often blows water up the roof slope, and under flashings. The flashings will stop a lot of the water, but without a stop end on the roofing, the water can enter the building.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 410 - Curved Stair

This is like the simple stair but for curved stairs. This means that it is useful for simpl curved stairs, but it is not useful if you want detailed stair. Like the Simple Stiar, this is great at concept stage.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

SST_1604 - Subdivision Modeling

Subdivision modelling is a new area for Vectorworks. It was introduced it Vectorworks 2016 and it will allow Vectorworks to create extremely complex smooth curving shapes.
Subdivision services have been around for some time as a computer technology, but not implemented in computer programs very often. The subdivision surfacing techniques employed by Vectorworks have been developed by Pixar Inc. and Vectorworks are using their system.
“subdivision surfaces are polygon mesh surfaces generated from a base mesh object through an iterative process that smooths the mesh while increasing its density”
Because this is a new technology for many Vectorworks users it it may seem unusual in the way that you edit a subdivision surface. in the chapter on basic concepts I will explain this new technology and how you can edit objects.

Vectorworks Tip 409 - Selecting A Subdivision Handle

The subdivision handles allow you to pull, stretch, scale, or even rotate the face of your subdivision surface to change shape. When you select the subdivision handle you will get the transform widget (if using the transform mode). This is one of the basic concepts of using subdivision services, being able to select the subdivision handle that you want. You can select more than one subdivision handle and move them all together

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 408 - DXF/DWG - Line Weights.

Older versions of AutoCAD did not carry line weight information and they used to use colours to represent line weights for printing. Some users of AutoCAD still use colours to represent line weights. When you imported DXF/DWG file you can specify which colours are equal to its line weights. Vectorworks uses line weights directly without reference to colours to this technique can convert the objects to the correct line weights.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 407 - Symbols And Groups

Groups are a collection of objects, while a symbol is a special object in Vectorworks that is designed to be used with repeatable objects. The symbol uses the concept of an instance (a symbol on the drawing) and the definition (the information used to create the symbol). When you place a similar new drawing you are placing an instance, when you edit the symbol either from the drawing or from the resource browser you are editing the definition. When you edit the definition of a symbol every instance of that symbol in the drawing will update. I will be looking at symbols at the Design Summit in Chicago.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Detaling Basics - Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is where the water is moving. Generally, this is where the water is being blown by strong winds. I have used the roof example, which is common where I live. The wind often blows water up the roof slope, and under flashings. The flashings will stop a lot of the water, but without a stop end on the roofing, the water can enter the buildin

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 406 - Simple Stair

This tool is ideal for creating A simple stair, as its name implies. It is not suitable for creating complex tears or stairs that link between floors. This stair is available on standard landmark workspace, but it is not available in the standard Architect workspace. You can add this to your workspace by customising your workspace, you will find this stair in the legacy category. One of the cool tricks you can perform at this stair is using the Split tool on it. The stair becomes a solid object, and by double clicking on it you can go back to adjust the original stair.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 405 - Splitting A Subdivision Surface

Starting with a subdivision primitive is all very well, but it does limit your ability to create complex shapes. What you need to be able to do is to split your subdivision into parts that allows you to stretch the design into shapes that you want. When use the edit subdivision tool, you will find several modes on the toolbar. One of these modes allows you to split your subdivision. This is what you need to do to create some of these complex shapes.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vectorworks Tip 404 - DXF/DWG - Drag And Drop Importing.

If you can locate your imported DXF/DWG file in a Finder window (file explorer) and you can see your Vectorworks drawing window, then you can drag your DXF/DWG file from your finder window onto your Vectorworks drawing window, and Vectorworks will then import that DXF file. This is known as drag and drop importing and it works not just with DXF/DWD files but it works with all file importing formats.