Rendering is a fun art of using Vectorworks and in the past we have covered lighting (1502), but we covered it from the point of view of interior and architectural lighting. This manual is about exterior lighting, which suggests that we should be looking at nighttime lighting for architectural and landscape projects.
This means that we have to think about our rendering from a completely different point of view. Instead of trying to make sure that everything is visible, we’re trying to create a mood. We have to consider things like the moon, the night sky, the lights on the building, the lights inside the building, street lights, garden lights, et cetera.
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.
At the Vectorworks Design Summit (April 2015), they announced that Vectorworks 2016 would include a new visual scripting language. This new scripting language is called Marionette. This is what Wikipedia says about visual scripting languages in general:
In computing, a visual programming language (VPL) is any programming language that lets users create programs by manipulating program elements graphically rather than by specifying them textually. A VPL allows programming with visual expressions, spatial arrangements of text and graphic symbols, used either as elements of syntax or secondary notation. For example, many VPLs (known as dataflow or diagrammatic programming) are based on the idea of “boxes and arrows”, where boxes or other screen objects are treated as entities, connected by arrows, lines or arcs which represent relations.
Every year we get an upgrade to Vectorworks. Usually we get a few exciting features, some features that don’t look very exciting but a very beneficial, and many small corrections to existing tools. This year is no different.
For Vectorworks 2016 we have five major new technologies:
We will be covering these technologies in detail, probably later in the year or early next year, but in this manual there will be a brief overview of these technologies.
As well as these major changes to Vectorworks there are also some subtle changes to the interface. Often, these changes do not seem very dramatic, but history shows us that these changes tend to make it easier to use Vectorworks, making us more productive.
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. Continue reading →
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:
The Roadway (NURBS)
Roadway (Custom Kerb)
Thelast two tools are very powerful and most of the manual will focus on those.
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.
I believe it is very important to learn to draw walls regardless of your profession. I believe that walls are useful for architects, landscapers, set designers, and engineers.
If you’re doing architectural work, then it should be absolutely clear why you need to use walls to draw your projects, but that’s making a large assumption on my part. The reason I assume that you should be using walls if you’re doing an architectural project has because walls do such a great job of creating the 2-D plan and 3-D part of your buildings. I know some clients would rather use rectangles to draw their buildings rather than learn how to use the walls properly. This might be all right to create a sort of plan, but it certainly will not help you if you want to create a BIM project. Walls on the other hand can replicate the look that you want in plan, but they will also create a 3-D part that you can use as part of your BIM project.
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.