Interactive Workshops April 2017 – Creating Drawings For Building Projects

Cover ImageThere are some powerful techniques for setting up drawings for a landscape project. Although, these techniques are not unique to landscape projects. Almost all the techniques covered in this manual can be used for creating drawings for any project. Regardless of your profession, you can apply the techniques that you learned in this manual.

You might also have noticed that some of these techniques are too large to cover in this manual and you have been referred to other manuals. Please have a look at these and other manuals to learn more about these techniques.

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Interactive Workshops March 2017 – Creating Record Formats

Cover ImageIn these sessions we looked at why we would want to create Record Formats, what we can use them for, and how to report them once we have used them. We looked at some intermediate topics like linking the record format to a symbol and linking the record format to text inside a symbol. We finished by looking at some advanced topics like using record formats with IFC, modifying objects using the records and Data Visualization on viewports.

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Interactive Workshops February 2017 – Creating Drawings for a Landscape Project

Cover ImageIn these sessions we looked at creating drawings for landscaping projects. These projects require that you use Design Layers, Classes, Sheet layers, and Viewports. This is similar to setting up drawings for any project. In these sessions we looked at when to use design layers and classes, how to create viewports and how to link viewports together.

These sessions are not about how to draw the landscape, they are about how to make the drawings from the information that you have.

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Interactive Workshops January 2017 – Resource Manager

The Resource Manager is an extremely important part of your Vectorworks interface. It allows you to look for resources (hatches, line styles, wall styles, plants,  et cetera). So it’s important that we understand how to use it because it is will make you more efficient and improve your productivity.

The Resource Manager palette that you see on your screen is just one part of the total concept. Vectorworks uses the Resource Manager for many objects and tools to allow you to find the resources that you need when you use that tool.

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Interactive Workshops December 2016 (1612) – 2016 Review

1612_review It has become a tradition to have our last session of the year review all the topics we covered previously this year and look at the topics that we might want to cover next year. It has also become a tradition to open up the sessions to everybody, Not just subscribers. In that way we hope to get a broader range of suggestions for topics for next year.

This year I also tried something new, creating a special manual that links all the online manuals.



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Interactive Workshops November 2016 (1611) – Interior Design (it’s not just about kitchen design)


It is tempting to think that if we covered the design of the kitchen, that would be enough. But also like to show you how you can use Vectorworks for creating more of an interior design that showed details of the kitchen, how the kitchen connects to other rooms, demolition, and furniture. We would also like to use the three-dimensional models of our furniture to create the drawings.

We will be using Building Information Modelling principles. So as well is drawing the plan will also be drawing the three-dimensional parts of our design. This is what will allow us to create the drawings from the 3D model.

We will be looking at many aspects of Vectorworks, from simple concepts through to some of the new techniques in Vectorworks 2017.

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Interactive Workshops October 2016 (1610) – What’s New In Vectorworks 2017

cover-imageFor Vectorworks 2017 we have five major new technologies:

  • Resource Manager
  • Camera Match
  • Structural Member Objects
  • Irrigation Tools
  • Virtual Reality

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 them.

Last year there were several new technologies introduced and these have had a major upgrade this year:

  • Subdivision Modeling
  • Project Sharing
  • Vectorworks Graphics Module

As well as these major changes to Vectorworks there are also some 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.

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Interactive Workshops September 2016 (1609) – Quick Concept Modeling

cover-imageVectorworks has the ability to create quick conceptual models, this will allow you to create a site plan, existing buildings, proposed buildings, and then analyse the areas of these buildings compare to the site. As well as being able to create the plan information you want, you can also create the three-dimensional information really quickly. In the sessions you’ll see that with in 40 minutes we have the ability to create solar studies so that we can check the design. This is valuable information about the layout, cost, impact of adjoining buildings and planting, and it should improve your understanding of the site and constraints.

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Interactive Workshops August 2016 (1608) – Roof Accesories

Cover ImageVectorworks has the ability to create roofs from polygons and walls, and it has the ability to automatically generate some roofs accessories, but not all the accessories that you might require.

For example, Vectorworks will create roofs, facias, and soffits, but it will not create ridge flashings, barge flashings, barge boards, gutters, and downspouts (downpipes).

As we have seen from other manuals, it’s important to model as much as necessary to complete the elevations. So if Vectorworks does not create these parts that you need, how are we going to create them?

That’s what these sessions are all about. First will look at creating a standard roof and the standard accessories that Vectorworks will create, because some of them can be very useful. Then we will look at how to create the other accessories that we require, but Vectorworks won’t create automatically.Create


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Interactive Workshops July 2016 (1607) – From 2D Drawing To BIM

Cover ImageJust lately, I have been teaching several users who want to move from using a workflow to using Building Information Modelling (3D workflow). In the past, I had several users who would say “I want to get to the under my belt first then look at 3D.” This suggests that 2D is a productive method and that 3D is a luxury. This completely misunderstands the way Vectorworks creates drawings. 3D is not a luxury, it is an intrinsic part of the modelling/drawing process.
When you use Vectorworks effectively the 3D components are easy to create, they will create your drawings, and when you update the model it will update your plans, sections, and elevations. Not only is this fast and easy, it also saves lots of errors.

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Interactive Workshops June 2016 (1606) – Energos

Cover ImageEnergos is a system in Vectorworks that allows you to look at the overall energy consumption of your project. It includes the summer and winter climate and it uses the building elements in the file to do the calculations.

This means that you have to use a full BIM model to create your project you have to have a Heliodon for the climate data, spaces for the volume, heating systems, cooling systems, and shading on the windows.
When you have all the data, its is quick to create the Energos report. This manual will be looking at how to create the building elements, how to add the energos data to these, how to choose which building elements should be included in the energos calculations, how to add the heliodon, and how to control the Energos Project Data.

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Interactive Workshops May 2016 (1605) – Project Sharing

Cover ImageSome projects need more than one person to work on them. Maybe the project is large, maybe the deadline is short, but either way, you need more than one person on the project.

Normally, you can only have one person working on the file at a time. So, you could divide the file up of the pots, you could divide the file open to parts that you can reference, we could set up a system that shared all of the information. Either way, it is all about sharing information on the project – Project Sharing.

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Interactive Workshops April 2016 (1604) – Subdivision Modeling

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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.

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Interactive Workshops March2016 (1603) – Alterations and Additions

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In these sessions we are going to cover setting up an Alteration and Addition project. I sometimes call these rennovation projects, but as someone recently pointed out, rennovation suggests repairing. These sessions are really about setting up an existing building which we can then amend to suit.

We will start with a discussion about measuring an existing building. There are several ways to deal with this:
manually measure the project:

  • laser measure and manually record
  • laser measure connected to tablet
  • measured electronically with iphone
  • subcontract to surveyor

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Interactive Workshops February 2016 (1602) – Building Takeoff

Cover ImageIn these sessions we looked at creating a building takeoff report. In order to do that we covered the basics of creating worksheets (which is the technique we need to use to create a report). We also looked at designing a building takeoff, because while Vectorworks has the ability to report all the information you require, it doesn’t know yet what information that might be.

It is most important that you understand the concept of using worksheets. We have covered worksheets and other manuals, and I will not be repeating some of that information, but I will be covering enough for you to understand how a worksheet is designed to be used.

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Interactive Workshops January 2016 (1601) – Outdoor Lighting

1602, Outdoor LIghting, archoncadRendering 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.

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Interactive Workshops December 2015 (1512) – Wrap-up for 2015

SST_1512For several years now the last session of the year always reviews the topics we have covered during the year. This is a great opportunity for subscribers to catch up on any topic they may have must and to ask questions about it. I also like to use these sessions to have a look at the topics that uses would like me to cover next year. I usually have a couple of ideas for topics, but it’s a good idea to make sure that I cover topics that the users really want.

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Interactive Workshops November 2015 (1511) – Marionette


Vectorworks 2016 includs a new visual scripting language called Marionette.

Marionette works by connecting nodes together with wires. The data flows from left to right, from one node to the next down the wire. Each node does something simple and then passes its output to the next node. To create a script, you drag and drop the nodes to create a series of steps, at the end of this you get the object that you want. It might look complex, but once it is set up you can look at different variations by editing any of the node inputs. Each node is a Python based script (allowing you to edit the script) and you can turn the marionette object into a plug-in object if you want.

Some other CAD programs have had this kind of visual scripting language available for several years, and the feedback from the users is that this is a very powerful way to create your designs. It might look complicated to use this technology, but it does mean that you don’t have to understand the programming language, you just have to understand what simple steps you want your objects to go through. You might say that it will allow complex programming for everybody.

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Interactive Workshops October 2015 (1510) – What is New in Vectorworks 2016

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:

  • Energos
  • Project Sharing
  • Point clouds
  • Marionette
  • Subdivision Modelling

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.

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