Getting Started Special Interest Group April 2018


In this session, we looked at what to watch out for when creating symbols, how adding a 2D locus to a repeatable symbol helps in lining up copies of the symbol, and how the Render Bitmap tool can help in creating the 2D component of a symbol.

This is a beginners guide to symbols.

Topics covered:

  • 00:20    In starting to look at symbols, we made a 2D kitchen cupboard. We added a line to represent the backsplash and a dashed line to represent the cabinet below. You could turn these into a group, instead of a symbol, and easily duplicate them. However, if you need to make a change, the change will only affect the group that you’re working on, not any other copies. The solution is to make your cupboard into a symbol! That way, you can make changes to the symbol and the changes will show up in all instances of that symbol. I recommend making an object into a symbol if you use more than two copies of that object in a project. We went through the steps for creating the symbol. If the object was a plant, it might work well to just use the Plan Projection Center setting as the insertion point, but the Next Mouse Click setting works better for something like our cupboard. To be consistent, I always use the top left as the insertion point. Use the Story-aware setting only if you’re always going to use this symbol in a file with stories. For wall cabinets, I would use the Insert in Walls setting with the On Edge and No break settings (you can always turn off the Wall Insertion Mode on the tool bar if you need to). We made two symbols—one facing the 0 line and one turned 90 degrees—to compare how they attach differently to walls. This highlighted the need to construct symbols with care. By using symbols that snap to the wall, the symbol will move with the wall if the wall is moved. You can use the Replace button in the Object Info palette to switch out your current symbol for another one. You can use the Select Similar tool—the “magic wand”—to mass replace instances of a symbol.
  • 27:16    The Replace function is really powerful. For my Select Similar tool, I’ve actually saved the symbol replace setup as an option in the Settings drop-down menu. We went through the steps for how to save it. Similar shortcuts can really help you to work more efficiently. If you’re not consistent with the insertion point on your symbols, the symbol might not appear where you expect when you replace it with another symbol.
  • 29:17    Our 2D cabinet symbol wasn’t visible in a 3D view, so we went through the steps to add a 3D component—a kick, a base cabinet, and drawers—to the symbol. All instances of the symbol immediately added the 3D objects! There is the option of scaling a symbol—it will report the same, but the size will be different. Maybe instead of having multiple units, you could just scale them. We also covered how to get sections of a fence symbol to line up perfectly: When creating the symbol, we added a 2D locus—turning on the Master Snap Point and Show Master Snap Point Outside Snap Box options—so that we could snap to the 2D locus to get perfect spacing between added sections. The locus doesn’t show up on a printout. It’s important to keep your 2D and 3D objects lined up. I used a Column object in building the fence symbol—a Column is a hybrid object already, where the 2D and 3D are connected, so the 2D and 3D objects stayed aligned if I moved one or the other. When you send a symbol such as our fence to the surface, it’s the insertion point that Vectorworks places on the surface—that’s why thinking through ahead of time where you want the insertion point to be is so important.
  • 51:24    We finished the session by looking at a 3D model for a Ford Model A car. The challenge was that the Top/Plan view only showed the inside modeling of the car, not an outside view. Making the car into an Auto Hybrid wouldn’t solve the problem. Eventually, we used the Render Bitmap tool to snap a photo of the car in the Top view, which showed the outside of the car. We then turned the car into a symbol and added the bitmap to the symbol’s 2D component, turning it into a hybrid symbol. The Render Bitmap tool is also useful for testing the rendering of a small scene of a project, to make sure that you’re on the right track!

Getting Started April 2018 am

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