In the past we have had several posts about how cool symbols are. Here we will look at making a symbol. Actually, its really straightforward. Draw the 2D and 3D information that you want, select it and use the Create Symbol… command from the Modify menu.
Most of the troubles I see are from users not make the information correctly. Make sure that you have use the correct line weights, classes, and graphics.
Using symbols for plans and elevations. One of the earlier posts noted that a symbol instance is consistent throughout the file, so that if you update the symbol definition every instance of that symbol will update. One of the cool tricks is to use your symbol to create both a 2-D and 3-D versions of the symbols that you want. A door might be an example. You could create a symbol that had both the 2D and 3D part of the door. That way if you update any part of the door both your plan view of your symbol and your elevation view of your symbol ( in a separate design layer) would both update.
Some objects in Vectorworks already have information attached to them. Symbols allow you to attach your own information to them using record formats. This allows you to create a symbol that has your own specific information attached and this information can also link to text and the symbol so that when you update the information on the Object Info palette the text and the symbol will also update. I am covering this at the design summit in Chicago, so you might still have time to come in join my session.
The next amazing track with symbols is the ability to control what class the symbol will be assigned to. For example, whenever I use a symbol for a lighting switch, it is always assigned to the class that I require (services – electrical), regardless of the active class on the view bar. This means that I can activate my symbol and not have to worry about what my active classes, the object will automatically be assigned to the correct class. This dramatically improves my productivity because my objects are automatically assigned to their required classes. I will be looking at using symbols to create and manage your libraries at the design summit in Chicago
The first trick with symbols is that you can control their insertion point. If you would rather use groups you will find that you cannot control the insertion point of the group. For example if I create a symbol for furniture, I can choose where the insertion point of that furniture might be. For a bed, it might be the centre of the bed head. For a table and chairs, it might be the centre of the table. If I’m using a symbol for electrical switches, I might set the insertion point an inch off the switch so that my switch appears to hover just off the wall. Creating suitable insertion points for your symbols dramatically improves your productivity. I will be looking at using symbols to create and manage your libraries at the design summit in Chicago
Symbols give you incredible abilities to attach information edit the information and control repeatable objects. In this example I’ve created a file with 100 tables. In the first file the tables are using the table and chair object. This file size is 10 MB. In the second example I’ve created one table and chair (exactly the same table and chair as the other file) made it into a symbol and repeated the symbol instance 100 times. This file size is .3 MB. This is a dramatic reduction in the size the file by using symbols. So my first reason for using symbols is that they’re much more memory efficient. I will be looking at using symbols to create and manage your libraries at the design summit in Chicago
Groups are a collection of objects, while a symbol is a special object in Vectorworks that is designed to be used with repeatable objects. The symbol uses the concept of an instance (a symbol on the drawing) and the definition (the information used to create the symbol). When you place a similar new drawing you are placing an instance, when you edit the symbol either from the drawing or from the resource browser you are editing the definition. When you edit the definition of a symbol every instance of that symbol in the drawing will update. I will be looking at symbols at the Design Summit in Chicago.
In this session we looked at the Attributes Defaults, as there still seems to be some confusion on the 2 types of defaults that you can have. After this we looked at creating symbols and the relevance of creating classes to use inside the symbol, and classes that should be applied to the overall symbol. This sometimes causes some confusion, and there is a blog that might explain this concept. The rest of the session looked at this in detail.
In this session we looked at how to create a window with a sloping (raking) head and a sloping (raked) sill. It is possible to make a window or windoor object that has a sloping or raking head, but not a sloping or raking sill. If you create a symbol for the 3D component of the window you want, it can be used with the Vectorworks Window (Use Symbol Geometry). This technique cannot be used with Windoor, but you can get around this by adding a dummy window for the schedule. Continue reading →
In this session we looked at note databases and how they work with the Callout tool. This includes how to place a callout, how the callout can get the text form a database, how to place the callout as a keynote and how to connect the callout to a legend. We looked at how the note database is structured, how to create your own notes database, how reconcile notes in a file if the notes in the database are updated. We also looked at how to create a series of internal room elevations using a plan viewport.
If you are going to use a library, you have to create symbols. When you create a symbol, you have to think about how that symbol will be used because this will have a major impact on the insertion point you use for the symbol.
In this session we covered creating an outside patio / deck with steps (on two sides), a quick way to create a planting area, roadways, making symbols, controlling textures on roads, the major difference between Roadway (Poly) and Roadway (NURBS), the power of Roadways (Custom Kerb), how to make sure that a symbol, e.g. a car, follows the rise of let’s say a car park, using the Heliodon Tool, and changing the OpenGL settings to show shadows
One of the class options I’m not very keen on is Active Only. The reason I don’t like this very much is that always causes trouble with objects that are inside groups or symbols. It goes back to the basic concepts of Vectorworks that groups and symbols are container objects that have classes separate from the objects inside the container.