epodcast194 – Interactively Scaling a Viewport By Dragging


You can’t change the scale of the viewport by interactively scaling it (using the selection tool  to drag the corner).  But you are allowed to do this to a group. If you make the viewport into a group, then you can  and interactively scale it.

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epodcast193 – Plants and Row Spacing


Vectorworks 2017 introduced a change to the plant spacing. in the past your plant spacing was a specific number and that was it. Now, plant spacing can be a specific number or it can be “Best Fit.” The idea of best fit is that Vectorworks will try to put as many plants as it can using the spacing that you have specified,  but it will always place plant start click and at the end click. As well as that, Vectorworks added the option to have the row spacing different from the plant spacing.

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epodcast192 – Custom Door Leaves


Vectorworks has the ability to create custom leaves for a door. You can use this to create any door shape that you want. The only thing to look out for is that the door leaf has to be a 3D Symbol. The 3D objects have to be simple (extrusions, add solids, subtract solids, or generic solids). You can also use this technique to create partial height doors (bar doors).

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epodcast191 – Story Levels With Symbols


This is a new technique in Vectorworks 2017. You can use a level to control the insertion point of a symbol. In this example I have a symbol for a power outlet with a 3D component. If you create a level for this symbol, you can set the height of the symbol using the level. When you need to change the elevation of all the power outlet in that story, change the level elevation. All the power sockets on that story will update.

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Object Styles – What Are They?


Object Styles are a combination of a Plugin Object and a Symbol. When you place several Plugin objects in your drawing, they are all individuals. When you make changes to one of them, it does not affect any of the others. A symbol in the drawing is an exact copy of the one in the Resource Manager. When you place several in the drawing they are all the same. When you edit the symbol definition, they all update.

An Object Style is part way between a plugin object and a symbol. The object style can control all of the parts of the plugin, or just a few, you choose. You can make it more like a plugin and have more flexibility, or you can make it more like a symbol and have less flexibility.

Saving Favorites/Bookmarks

When you use websites,especially my web sites, there are often pages that you want to go back to. The way to get back to these pages is to save the location as a bookmark or favorite. If you are using Google Chrome, Opera, or Safari, then  watch the YouTube video. If you are using Windows 10 Edge,  then click on the link below to read about saving favorites with that web browser.

Windows 10 – Edge

Vectorworks Tip 443 – Resource Manager 1


The old Resource Browser is dead, long live the Resource Manager!

Alright, seriously, the Resource Browser has been replaced with a new Resource Manager. This resource manager does a lot more than just replace the resource browser, It Is now implemented throughout vector works every time you need to find a resource. This is a fantastic improvement.

The first thing I found with the new Resource Manager is that it has an auto hide function. But in order to make this useful, moving out of the way so that you do not accidentally activate auto hide.

Symbols and BIM

Symbols are excellent for using with Building Information Modeling. They can be created so that they have the 2D part, the 3D part, and the information that you require.

You can use classes to control the 2D and 3D portions of the symbol, so that the symbol can appear differently in various viewports.


Tools That Speed you from 2D to 3D – The Wall Tool

imageThe Wall Tool is one of the most important tools to speed up your drawing from 2D to 3D, regardless of your profession. If you set up design layers correctly, the wall tool will give 3D for free. But that is only the start of what you can do with walls. Walls make it easy to draw complex plans, you can assign the wall components to classes (allowing you to create several viewports of the same walls that show different information), you can add data to the wall (and the wall has a lot of data already), and the wall is created in 3D (with different elevations for each component).

I have heard of some users that use lines to draw walls, and some users that use rectangles. But this is inefficient. When you draw using walls, it is easy to insert doors and windows (they will create the correct wall opening in the wall for you), they are easy to join together (there are joining tools), and when you move a wall, all the connected walls extend automatically (saving time).

We will be covering walls in the July workshop (book here) and manual (SST_1607).

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…