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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Interactive Workshops August 2015 (1508) – Roading


In the sections we look at the Vectorworks roading tools. Roading is a slight challenge for Vectorworks, and that it’s not really a roading design package (which is a sophisticated topic) but it does have roading tools that can be used to create the majority of the things you need. I kept roading out of the site modifiers sessions so that we could give them adequate time.

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Interactive Workshops July 2015 (1507) – Site Modifying

There are several options for site modifying. You can add extra source data into the site model to modify it, and you can use site modifiers like roads (good for roads and paths), pads (good for flat or uniformly sloping areas), hardscapes, landscape walls, 3D polygons, and stake objects.

Each site modifier follows the same strategy. The site modifier has a 3D part the will change the site model and a boundary. The Boundary is a planar shape that defines how much of the site model will be affected. The Boundary is flexible and it allows you to choose the extent of the site modification. If the boundary is close to the site modifier, you will have a steep slope. If the boundary is a long way from the site modifier, you will have a gentle slope.

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Interactive Workshops June 2015 (1506) – Site Modeling

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. When you create a Site model Vectorworks will make an Object that can show one type of information in a 2D view (2D contours) and a different type on information if you are in 3D view (3D contours or extruded contours etc.). Using this hybrid object is a good way of combining the 2D contours and the 3D site model into one object. If you are used to earlier versions of Vectorworks then this will be a very different way of working. The Plug-In Object allows you to turn on or off the existing and proposed site models.

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Interactive Workshops May 2015 (1505) – Roofing

Cover ImageIf 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 outline of the roof.

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Introduction to the Archoncad Website April 2015

When users join this web site, it’s possible that they might find the extent of the information on the site daunting. I have been using this site for years (after all, I created it), so I know my way around. But what if you are new? I thought it would be nice (and useful too) to have an online session to show all the new users around.

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Interactive Workshops April 2015 (1504) – Rendering

Cover ImageRendering 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. 

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Introduction to the Archoncad Website

When users join this web site, it’s possible that they might find the extent of the information on the site daunting. I have been using this site for years (after all, I created it), so I know my way around. But what if you are new? I thought it would be nice (and useful too) to have an online session to show all the new users around.

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Interactive Workshops March 2015 (1503) – BIM for Landscapers

Cover ImageThere is a lot of talk about Building Information Modelling (BIM) in relation to architecture, but not a lot of talk about Building Information Modeling 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 3D representation. It can also have plant data attached to it, and you could create your own data and attach that to the plant as well. 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.

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Interactive Workshops February 2015 (1502) – Lighting

Cover ImageLighting 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..

We start out by looking at the lighting options such as environmental lighting, ambient lighting, and background. These are important to give your overall scene the correct tone and shadows. Next we looked at the different types of lights that you can apply to your model. Using the correct lighting and managing it settings is crucial if you want your building is to read correctly. Finally, looked at bringing all of these techniques together to light a scene using a viewport. You could divide lighting into two main components, Lighting Options and Light Sources. Light Sources the lights that you place in the scene to light the project. There are several types of like source that you can add, each one for a different visual effect. Lighting Options control all the other aspects of the scene.

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What is the Archoncad Website all About?

image061This is a short introduction to the archoncad website. We will be looking at the resources that are here and how to use them. If you are new to my website you may find that this introduction will allow you to get a lot more from this website.

There are several manuals, movies, podcasts and library files here. This webinar will help you to find where things are stored and how they are tagged.

Please register for the Archoncad Website Introduction Webinar on Mar 16, 2015 9:00 AM NZDT at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Interactive Workshops January 2015 (1501) – Stories, Layers, and Levels

Cover ImageThese sessions followed the online manual and covered the topic of Stories, Layers and Levels. Design layers have been around for a long time, stories have been around for a few years, but levels are new to Vectorworks 2015. The purpose of these sessions was to cover the topics in the manual and make sure that the attendees understand the concepts. 

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Interactive Workshops December 2014 (1412) – Wrap-Up for 2014

image015At the end of each year we traditionally have a wrap-up of all the topics that we have covered. This gives us an opportunity to have a look at the manuals that we have covered this year as well as changes that we have made to the website or other parts of the subscription. In previous years we have used this opportunity to look at the manuals as well as what topics we should cover the following year, what changes we should make to the manuals and what new special-interest groups we should be thinking of.

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Interactive Workshops November 2014 (1411) – Introduction to Walls

2014-11-12_20-20-10It doesn’t matter if you are creating architecture, landscaping, set design or 3D modelling, drawing walls is important. The purpose of this manual is to cover all of the major techniques of drawing, editing, and managing walls. You might think that drawing walls requires nothing more than a couple of clicks. While you can certainly draw walls with a couple of clicks, there is a lot more to walls than that. These workshops looked in depth at how to draw, edit and manage walls.

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Interactive Workshops October 2014 (1410) – What’s New in Vectorworks 2015

2014-10-15_14-04-40Every year Vectorworks gets updated and there are always lots of new features. But more than needing new features what we really need to know are the benefits of these new features. Features are nice, but benefits have a reward – they make Vectorworks easier to use, faster to use, more powerful.

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Interactive Workshops September 2014 (1409) – Introduction to Textures

2014-09-26_10-08-03If you are going to present your work in a rendered way, textures are fundamental. Putting textures on your models helps your clients to understand what materials you are planning. Textures have a lot of power, but if you haven’t created textures before you might find this power confusing. These sessions focus on understanding the basics of textures rather than focusing on some really cool or powerful tricks. There are four basic parts to textures (color, reflectivity, transparency and bump), so in the sessions we try to look at these parts individually and at the end of the session bringing all of them together to create a texture.

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Interactive Workshops August 2014 (1408) – DXF/DWG

We often have to work with consultants and clients that do not use Vectorworks. DXF or DWG (AutoCAD) is usually the best way to do this. It will allow the you to use their information in Vectorworks, or it will allow them to import your work. I know there are other ways to work with consultants using other file formats like IFC, but DXF/DWG is still the most common.

There are also several options with importing and exporting these files, so it’s important that you understand the implications of these.

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Interactive Workshops July 2014 (1407) – Libraries – Managing and Creating Your Library

Libraries seems to be the one area of Vectorworks the causes the most confusion. It seems that users get confused about their own Vectorworks library, where they should store parts of it and where is the best place to store all their information. It’s tempting to think that you only need to have one library file and you can put all your resources in there, but this is not the way that Vectorworks likes to work.

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Interactive Workshops June 2014 – Spaces – Room Finish Schedule

On larger projects it can be a challenge to create a list of all the rooms and their finishes. This manual looks at using the Vectorworks Space object to control the room finishes and create reports on the finishes.

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