Tools That Speed you From 2D to 3D – Spaces

Spaces can be used at the early stages of the project to create the concept. You can use them to show areas and volumes, allowing you to create the plans quickly, as well as beating able to show the client a quick 3D model. Many clients struggle to visualise the plan in 3D, so the spaces are really useful for showing the 3D form. If you have the 3D form, you can create solar studies, or you could use the spaces as a wireframe and sketch over them. An important part of the spaces is that they remain valuable right through the design and documentation process for calculating areas, budgets, occupancy, room finishes, etc.

How to Draw a Detail

Creating 3D models is the fun part of Vectorworks, but contract documentation is the longest part. In most countries contract documentation accounts for 45-50% of the architectural fee. This makes it the single biggest part of the project.

You can can use the BIM principles to speed up the creation of Plans, Sections, Elevations, and you can use it to help create details, but you still need to create many details that are not generated from the 3D model.

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Sketching on the iPad Again

I am reading a book I haven’t looked at for many years “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. This is a great book about drawing and sketching, along with her other book “Drawing on the Artist Within.” In both books she focuses on sketching as a technical skill, not a talent.

But why is sketching important, and is it only important to artists and architects. The answer is that it is important because sketching is not about art, it is not just about drawing, it is about looking and seeing the world, it’s about perception. Edwards believes that teaching the skills of drawing helps students to see the world and it helps them to use the right side of the brain to “see in new ways, with hopes that they would discover how to transfer perceptual skills to thinking and problem solving.”

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Why You Should Draw In 3D, Using BIM

Why draw in 3D (BIM)? I often hear people say that I will learn the 2D first and then I’ll think about the 3D. The reality is that if you start by learning to use Buildling Information Modeling, as you build your models, you will also be creating your drawings. If the model changes, you can update the drawings with a click. You could call this an introduction to BIM.

I recently saw several customers that are using 2D only for their contract documentation. Some were not using viewports and none of them were using worksheets. Vectorworks has a fantastic ability to attach information to objects and report this information.

I truely believe that building the model seems harder, but the drawings are much quicker to create, and if you have to make any changes, the drawings are much, much quicker to update.

My workshop manual and webinar topic for July is how to make this transition from 2D to 3D. If you are a subscriber, book now…


Linking a Building to A Site Model



There can be a real challenge linking a building to a site. Site plans are normally drawn with North straight up the page, building plans are normally drawn so that they are orthogonal on the page which doesn’t match the orientation of the project on site.

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Vectorworks Tip 441- It’s Quicker To Use BIM (Building Information Modeling)


I often hear people say that I will learn the 2D first and then I’ll think about the 3D. The reality is that if you start your projects by using Buildling Information Modeling, as you build your models, you will also be creating your drawings.

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Vectorworks Tip 440 – Adjacency Matrix

Vectorworks spaces have the ability to create and read Adjacency Matrices. OK, but what are they and how do you read one. In simple terms, the Adjacent Matrix tells you the relationship between rooms. The Adjacancy Matrix uses and scale from o to 5. 0 means that the rooms have no need to be near each other, 5 means that the rooms have a strong relationship.

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Vectorworks Tip 439 – Creating a Curved Roof


I used to create a curve roof using several components (roof face, extrusion, roof face). Recently, I’ve been using another technique to create my curve roof. The first step is to create a polyline with the inside shape that you want. This makes it easy to create the correct curve for your roof.
The next step is to extrude that polyline to the required length. Now you have a 3-D object you can use the shell solid tool to give this object to thickness. Now that you have required roof, you can use the Fit Walls to Objects… command to get your walls to fit to this curve roof.

Vectorworks Tip 438 – Things Energos Needs (that you may not have thought of)


There are two things that you may not think that Energos requires. The first is that Energos needs to have a Heliodon in the same design layer as the walls. It uses this Heliodon it on to find the location of the site. It needs have the location of the site because the climate data changes from location to location. The other thing that you may not have thought of is that Energos requires spaces. It requires the spaces so that it knows which rooms or parts of the building are habited, and it also needs these spaces to calculate the volume.

Vectorworks Tip 437 –  Creating A Viewport That Fades Out


I saw on the tech board, somebody was asking for a technique that would allow the viewport to fade out. I think you can achieve this now if you put an object in your viewport with a transparent gradient. In the image you can see I created a gradient that changes from solid white to transparent. I used the attribute mapping tool to control where the transparent and solid parts are, and I also used the attributes palette to change the gradient from a linear gradient to a radial gradient.

Sketching on an iPad

If you get my newsletter you would have seen this sketch (all images copyright Jonathan Pickup 2016).

This sketch is from my trip to Chicago for the design summit and it was drawn on my iPad. I have been using my iPad, Apple Pencil and sketching software (Procreate).

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Vectorworks Tip 436 – Creating a Curved Stair


In this example I’m using the Circular Stair tool (remember this is part of the legacy tools that you will have to add to your workspace). Like the simple stair, the curve stair allows you to create a quick curving stair, which I find is useful for concept drawings where you do not want focus too much on the detail. The Object Info palette has all of the options that you need for the stair.

Vectorworks Tip 435 – Advanced Energos Settings


These are the settings that you use to control the detail of Energos. There are several options here that you will need to check through to make sure that you have the correct settings. There is also an advanced settings area where you can control even more of the detail.

Vectorworks Tip 434 – How to Edit A Symbol


There are several ways that you can edit a symbol. You can right click on the symbol on the drawing area, you can right click on the symbol in the Resource Manager, or you can double-click on the symbol. Choose which part of the symbol you want to edit (2-D, 3-D, wall hole component, or symbol options). Remember the changes you make to a symbol will affect all instances of the symbol and the entire drawing.

How to Draw A Section

How to draw a section

A section is a drawing that shows a cut through an object. Many CAD programs will do this for you, but you also nee to know how to draw one of these for yourself so that you can understand the technique behind it.

Start with the plan view and protect the lines down. Next, project the lines from the elevation across to give you the heights. Add the thickness to the object.

In this view I’ve used the same technique to project the lines down from the plan, but this time of drawn a cross-section through a site. Notice how I’ve project of the lines down wherever the contours cross the section line. This is what you need to do to give you the correct site cross-section. Many CAD programs give you the ability to create a site model, and create sections where ever you need them.