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). Continue reading
A site model is a way of looking at 3D data (spot levels or contours) in a way that allows you to see complex 3D models and 2D representations. VectorWorks uses the 3D information to create the models based on the data to help you understand the 2D and 3D nature of your site.
First you have to put in 3D data, such as spot levels, contours or surveyor’s file. Then you ask VectorWorks to create a site model from this data. VectorWorks uses a set of algorithms to analyze the information and then creates the 2D and 3D representations. The algorithms can be thought of as a set of mathematical assumptions that are used to calculate the 2D contours and 3D model. Because of these assumptions you may get some odd shaped contours, or 3D models that don’t look as you expected. A Site Model is not reality, it’s a mathematical model of the data you give VectorWorks. Better data – better Site Model.
Roofs in Vectorworks are powerful, but most users do not understand how much they can change and edit the roof. The purpose of this manual is to show you how flexible the roof is, and what to do in complex situations.
If you are an architect it will be unusual to create a building that does not have a roof. If you are a landscaper then it is useful to create a simple building with a simple roof that reflects the building that you working with. Roofs in Vectorworks can be made from walls or from planar objects (rectangles, polygons, etc.). You need to have this shape to define the extent the roof.
Rendering is one of the fun parts of using Vectorworks. Rendering is where you bring together the lighting, the textures, and the rendering settings to create the kind of visual presentation that you want. Vectorworks has a huge range of options when it comes to creating your rendered views. Do not forget to look at the manual on textures and the lighting manual before you start to render your project. You have to do all that preparation work first. Continue reading
Building Information Modelling is a powerful way of dealing with landscape information in Vectorworks. There is a lot of talk about Building Information Modelling (BIM) in relation to architecture, but not a lot of talk about BIM in relation to landscape. The principles behind BIM can be used to speed up the production of your landscape projects and drawings.
One of the important aspects of BIM is that you can attach information to objects that may not be printed (non-graphic information). For example, a plant object will have not just its plan representation, it will also have a 3-D representation, it can also have plant data attached to it, and you could also create your own data and attach that to the plant. One of the discussions I have had with landscapers is the ability to attach to each plant the amount of water that it needs for irrigation or being able to attach the embedded energy for each square meter of concrete.
Lighting is the most important part rendering. I always say that good lighting can make a mediocre model look great, but poor lighting can make a great model look terrible. It’s really important to get good quality lighting on your model.
This manual will be looking at the different types of light sources you can put in your model along with the other lighting options. Putting in the correct light sources and managing them is fundamental to showing your model in the best possible way..
Design layers are one of the fundamental organizing concepts in Vectorworks, They are used to break the design into manageable chunks but they should not be confused with classes. Use design layers and classes to create the structure for the file which enables the creation of drawings using viewpoints and sheet layers.
Every year Vectorworks gets updated and there are always lots of new features. But we need to have more the new features – what we really need to have are benefits. Features are nice, but benefits have a reward, they make it easier to use, faster to use and more powerful.
As I did last year I have included a table with Needs/Features/Benefits. This table should assist you in finding your need, the feature associated with that need and what the benefit to you should be. Following on from that table is a detailed explanation of all the main features that are included in Vectorworks 2015.
Libraries seems to be the one area of Vectorworks the cause the most confusion. It seems that users are confused about their own Vectorworks library, where they should store parts of it, and where the best place to store all their information is. It is tempting to think that you only need to have one library file that you can put all your resources in there. However this is not how Vectorworks is set up.
On larger projects it can be a challenge to create a list of all the rooms and their finishes. This manuals looks at using the Vectorworks Space object to control the room finishes and create reports of the finishes. Another manual (1404 Introduction to Space Objects) looked at the basic concept of space objects, what they are, how to create them, and how to set their preferences. If you are not familiar with space objects, you should start with that manual. To report the information from the spaces, you will be using worksheets. Vectorworks will easily create the required worksheets for you, but if you want to understand how to control the worksheet in detail, refer to the manual on worksheets (1405 Back to Basics – Worksheets).
Worksheets – Worksheets allow you count and schedule items in Vectorworks. For example, you can count all the trees on a site, schedule all the doors on a particular floor of a project, count up and schedule even find the weight of a bracket in a 3D model.
Spaces in Vectorworks are special objects and they are very useful. Unfortunately, they are only available if you have Vectorworks Architect or Designer. If you have Vectorworks Landmark, you will not be able to use spaces. Spaces can be used to create conceptual
models, quick 3D form studies, bulk and location studies, finishes schedules and much more. Continue reading
IFC Exporting and Importing. There has been a lot of talk recently about Building Information Modelling. In some countries this has become a major topic because some governments are moving towards a situation where all projects will be delivered using BIM principles. A major part of BIM this is to use IFC to export and import information from other parts of the project.
Introduction to Planting – Planting in Vectorworks is very important for designers and landscapers. But not every object in Vectorworks is a plant, only specific objects can be thought of as plants. A plant is the combination of 2D graphics 3D graphics and data. These are combined together to create what Vectorworks calls a plant.
Introduction to BIM – BIM (Building Information Modeling) is not just about drawings, it is about the way you create your design. BIM is not so much about the model as it is about the activity of Building Information Modeling (creating the 3D, creating information and making that information available to others).
At the end of the year we always go through the topics that we have covered in the manuals and some of the Special Interest Group topics. This month I have created a manual with one page for each monthly manual, so that you have a short manual that you can look through quickly to see all the topics from this year.
These are back-to-basics exercises, so that you can focus on basic techniques. It is easy to forget these basic techniques unless you practice them. The other day I was helping a client with a complex shape. The shape needed stretching, but when they used the Selection tool, it had the effect of changing the shape. What they really needed was the Reshape tool (refer to the exercise called Stretch).This is why it is so important to keep your basic skills up to date.
When a new version of Vectorworks comes out, it is important to look at the new features and how they benefit you. Every year we look at what is new in Vectorworks and we try to look at how these new features can be used in your workflow.
Sometimes, it’s tempting to look at the new features and think that they are minor. In 2014 there are several features that look minor when taken on their own, but taken together with the other features, the result is an improved and more productive workflow.
It is all very well learning how to customise Vectorworks, learning how to create your own Vectorworks tools, and other cool stuff. However, if you do not know the basics very well it is a waste. It seems such a waste to go back over the basics again, but I really feel that learning the basics well makes you faster and more productive.
CameraMatch is a huge timesaver. Firstly, CameraMatch saves the time that it would take to model the existing surroundings. Secondly, CameraMatch saves the time it would take to match your current view to a photograph.