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Everything posted by geoform

  1. I have Windows as well, and have a Logitech mouse with an extra button located just where your thumb would rest. First, I tried a few key combinations + wheel zooming (ctrl+wheel, alt+wheel, etc.) with no zooming results. However, the thumb button seems to have been set at a default for zooming. Because when I placed the cursor over the area I wanted to view more closely, then simply clicked the thumb button (no wheel) the view zoomed up some pre-set amount on that area. I'll try going back into the preference settings to see if I can adjust that zoom ratio for each click of the thumb button. I bet that even if you don't have a third button on your mouse, you'd be able to define the function of any of the mouse buttons to zoom. And actually, while you wouldn't probably want to override the functions of either your left or right mouse button for zooming, you likely have a wheel that can also be depressed, essentially making it another clickable button. For instance, my wheel button activates the pan function when I depress it. Pretty cool. Thanks for asking about this, I'm very new to Vectorworks, and had been wondering if there wasn't a better way to get around in the drawing.
  2. I think I heard about this issue or a similar one, but I couldn't find it posted anywhere. I still have Vectorworks 2011 demo installed, although the demo period has expired. Would simply uninstalling the 2011 solve the problem, or make it worse?
  3. Bryan; Thanks for that, and I think that's the way everyone seems to do it, so there must be a good reason. I don't plan on doing anything radical (like deleting the main plant database) until I have some experience of this feature. I'm just trying to think of good workflow practices to set up as I'm switching from all hand drafting (my current situation) to mostly Vectorworks Landmark. Right now, I have to print out the drawing, to all take-offs by hand (including calculating areas of hardscape, planting beds, lawn, etc.), count all the plants, etc. At that point, I do have a spreadsheet I've created (much of which is a mash-up with things like the Gertens price sheet) so it's not too bad to transpose the material take-offs to a finished proposal. I figured that with all the energy Vectorworks is putting into streamlining this (the landscape area tool, for instance would be an EXCELLENT thing to have set up for initial budget work with clients), plus the improvements to the hardscape tool set (which are going to make costing more accurate), it seems like having all the plant options I have at my disposal (all the local sources, and the prices) that would just be one less step. You're suggesting placing a certain plant (and its symbol, I'm guessing) then changing the plants size in the attributes dialogue. It seems like there are at least three problems I can see with that. For one thing, you're not just changing the pot size, you now have to look up the price to have that reflect accurately in the costing (if you're trying to take advantage of that feature), and reasons two/three combined; I often create group plantings of trees (an aspen glade, for instance) which include multiple sizes and forms of a single species. This is a good technique for starting with a planting that may look more natural. Compare a planting featuring 40 River Birch, all 10' B&B multi-trunk with that same area using 60 River Birch, ranging in size from 7 gal. "whip" to 14' B&B multi-trunk and everything in between. On a larger planting, that's at least 4 or 5 different sizes/forms to pull off a more natural look. So not only is that a lot of extra work in the attributes dialogue to make all those adjustments, but wouldn't changing the plant size for one plant also change the size for every instance of that plant on the drawing? Having the ability to use various sizes and forms of a plant, plus the various costs associated with them, is one of the main reasons I thought going digital would be an advantage, so I'm surprised that no one seems to think setting up the database to streamline that ability is a good idea. But I'll find out this winter when I actually try setting up the database. Early in my career, I worked as a word processor and data entry clerk to help survive the winters around here. So adding plant info to the database is the least of my worries. If there are no real limitations to having the multiple sizes included, I'll spend 2 or 3 days in January to get it done if that'll speed things up next summer.
  4. Now that sounds pretty useful. I use the Gertens Catalog quite a bit, so I've been thinking about importing that. I have the Microsoft Excel file of it (2010) with pricing, sizes, etc. I planned on getting that all sorted out this winter. I've been reading about how some of the users set up their plant databases, and I was imagining I'd do it a bit differently. While this sounds like a lot of extra work, I'd include the various sizes and forms of several of the plants, along with the pricing for each. For example, I often use Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry in my landscapes. It's commonly available in a range of sizes from 10 gallon potted to 8' height balled and burlapped (and rarely, spade-dug larger sizes, but I probably wouldn't need that in the database). Also, in many of those sizes, it's also available in both single stem and multi-stem form. In our region, there are only a handful of trees with that many options. But many of the rest would still be available in a decent range of sizes. Since I haven't done much with the planting design features yet, I'm not sure how this will work, but I'd like to have one plant symbol (although both 2d and 3d so I guess that'd be 2 symbols) associated with each plant. I generally indicate a multi-stem tree with multiple dots. I imagine it would be possible to create 2 versions of the symbol for Serviceberry with the only difference being single or multi-stemmed form. I keep the size the symbol for each plant the same. That should represent something between 2/3 and full mature canopy/outline. So the symbol for each plant would always be the same graphic no matter which size it's available in. If I were more comfortable working with all this, I'd like to copy the entire database to a backup file somewhere, then delete most of the plants in the working file for zone 6 and warmer so I'm not always sorting through and managing those extra plants. I'd then be able to start adding in the data from Gertens, or some of the other nurseries I use. I realize I can create a "favorites" list from the main database, but I'd rather start with a main database of only plants from this region, then have a sub-set of those as my favorites.
  5. How do we keep our Monrovia database up to date without upgrading to Landmark 2011? I'm guessing one answer will be: The new subscription service.
  6. Bryan; Thanks for the great presentation on 2011 Vectorworks features at the Vectorworks Exchange meeting a few weeks ago. I don't have 2011, but I know the hardscape tool has been getting smarter. However, without the ability to work with sloped or sculpted surfaces, this tool will never be valuable in the 3d modeling environment. I can imagine the math and programming required to add this feature might make this a difficult request, but in my opinion, the team working on the hardscape tool should stop whatever they're doing and work on this exclusively until it's a reality. I'm just a beginner at Vectorworks, but I know every hardscape has a pitch/slope, and in most cases, a single (and contiguous) hardscape surface connects (it's the circulation) between different site elements (parking, front entry, lawn, handicap ramp etc.) each of which is set at different elevations. need to meet several different to select an elevation point at a doorway, another one Once that's done, your suggestion that sub-cut, base material, sand leveling bed and paver thickness allowance would be the next logical features to add. This idea would apply to all types of hardscape surfaces from asphalt driveways to permeable paving systems with their multiple courses of varying sized crushed clear aggregates. And while this may seem like too much detail, don't forget about over-dig calculations. How much wider does the excavation and base course need to be to support the pavers. Usually, the base extends 6" to 8" beyond the finished edge of the pavers, and the subcut is often 12" wider. That's a lot of material to be moved and accounted for. As far as the retaining wall improvements, I like the ability to be able to step up the base and top of the wall to help it respond to the site, but I'm hoping someone is working on the batter angle of the retaining wall feature. A large percentage of retaining walls are gravity walls, and they all require a certain set-back per course. Even if this is only 1/2" per 6" of height, that adds up to quite a difference. I would actually be more in favor of the retaining wall feature staying on it's own and not being included in with the architectural walls (if that's the direction Vectorworks is going). In fact, there are several methods of revetment that would be useful to include. I could imagine a dialog box which would offer the choice of wall type (gravity wall - modular block, gravity wall - dry laid stone, cantilevered wall - concrete, even gabions and other types) along with a cross-section showing the variables such as block height, depth, geogrid reinforcement depth and layering, granular (drainage) backfill, base course embedment etc). Vectorworks could make the site modifier wall feature "smart" in all kinds of ways without even touching the engineering aspects. For instance, with modular block walls, you could enter in your block's dimensions and the setback per course and you'd have an accurate representation of the wall in the site model, setback and all. Worrying about a 15" setback from bottom to top on a 10' height wall might seem like a minor detail, and not worth the programming effort it would take to achieve, but often retaining walls are employed precisely because there are horizontal restrictions. John
  7. Thanks Mike! I was using that technique before starting the various Vectorworks Exercise manuals, but they seem to suggest avoiding those settings.
  8. Amazing! It's like Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax "lily pads" were set free by Roberto Burle Marx! Inspiring and graceful solution, not to mention an amazing illustration.
  9. I want to set up my sheet size as 18x24 or perhaps another size to send out for printing. I have a printer that's only capable of 13x19 size paper. It looks like I have 2 choices; either "choose size unavailable in printer setup" or select PDF output instead of a printer (which is what I've been doing so far). I don't expect (or want) to set the 13x19 printer to break up the printing, then piece the smaller sheets together, which I can see is an option. Nor do I need to scale down a larger drawing to fit on the 13x19 size, although I can see the benefit of printing out "test" sheets to see if the layout works. I'm not having any problems, but I'm really just still at the early stages of working through the exercise books and want to figure this out before I get too far along. I'm just wondering if there's a best way to work with sheets larger than my printer can handle, or for that matter, to set up drawings/sheets with no available printer at all (from a laptop on the road for instance). I suppose the answer lies in whether I want to share the documents with other Vectorworks users, or simply send them out to the engineering print shop. This is probably more of a general workflow question, but since I have Landmark and I bet many Landmark users work with sheet sizes much larger than their printers can print, so I thought I'd try here.
  10. Thanks Pat and Bruce; Yes, the pico projectors seem underpowered in a lot of ways, and yet people are playing movies with them, or even gaming. I think for our group, we should at least test them out. I can't seem to find a retailer in the Twin Cities that has the BenQ Joybee GP1 to test, which is too bad because the price drop on the unit makes it a dead-on comparison with the PK301. We'll see what the PK301 can do, and go from there.
  11. Our local user group; Twin Cities Vectorworks Exchange, is looking into purchasing a pico projector for use in our monthly meetings. We've narrowed the choices to two: BenQ Joybee GP1 and Optoma PK301. Both feature led "lamps" which have very long service lives, but only produce 100 and 50 lumens respectively (compared to 2000+ lumens for a typical business projector). Still, we're confident that with our small group and the ability to control the light levels in our meeting rooms, this should be enough. They're both currently available for $399.00 so that's not a factor, although the BenQ is typically a more expensive unit. We're going to test out each of the projectors first hand (running Vectorworks from both Mac and PC laptops) in the coming week, but I wondered if anyone has used either of these and had comments beyond what might be obvious from our tests. Or, if you've had experience with another pico projector you think we should be considering, please let me know. If anyone's interested, add a comment to this post and I can report what we learned and what we decided. Both projectors seem to be highly rated (as far as pico projectors are concerned at least) and seem to work with all kinds of input (photos, gaming, movies). There just isn't much information about their suitability for displaying CAD. We've had good success with standard-issue projectors displaying Vectorworks, but given the cost of the units, and the potential cost of replacing a standard projector bulb, we thought the pico/led would be the best long term solution for us. I apologize if this topic is in the wrong place, or has already been brought up, I just couldn't find it anywhere on our boards. Thanks, John Moe
  12. Ozzie; You answered my question exactly! And it wasn't confusing, as you commented, although I did print out your post so I could have a record of it. I found the scheduled size by right-clicking the plant and editing the definition. I'll try the other technique as well, but that was pretty easy. I'm not opposed to creating custom fields, but having a spot for pricing is nice. I'm a little embarrassed I didn't see that before. I also added the scheduled size to the tag itself. I had Quantity and Common Name already listed on the top tag position. And while the Scheduled Size wasn't listed as an option on the drop-down list of things you could choose to include on the tag, I chose "custom" and guessed the formula for scheduled size (turned out to be Scheduled Size). Good guess because it showed up on the tag right below the quantity and common name. Just the way I do it when I'm hand drafting. Actually I draw the extension line all the way through; between the Quantity and Common Name above, and the Scheduled size and any comments (like "Trained on Trellis" or "Multi-Stem Form") below. But the extension line has been partly to act as a guide when I'm hand lettering. No need for that any more. I've been experimenting with fonts for the labels and text on the drawings. I'm trying to keep everything legible, but really like some of the architectural hand lettering fonts. City Blueprint is already on my machine (standard issue Windows font, I suppose), but I've found a couple of nice fonts on-line. I downloaded one called "Flux Architect" on a "free" font site, but if I like it and decide to use it, I think I can do a PayPal thing to make the font more official for commercial use. I also found two others I like called "Mr Hand" and its bold version; "Heavy Hand". I'm guessing I can set whatever font I want as defaults in my document preferences so they always show up on the tags. It'd be nice if the tags showed up as hand lettered, but some of the notes and keys showed up as Ariel or some other machine font. Also, I agree with you about eliminating (or at least segregating) the plants I know won't grow in Minnesota. I guess I thought I'd be creating a series of separate collections to feature local plants, and maybe even specialized sets beyond that. I notice the plant selection already shows sorted into Perennials, Shrubs, etc. I like that arrangement, but now I just need to eliminate the zone 6 through 10 plants. Although I just started a job for a couple of friends in Texas. And I agree to a certain extent about adding data on an as-need basis. Especially until I learn more about how to do all this, I'll probably avoid doing a mass change to the database. I should probably figure out how to save it somewhere before I start messing it up. I think Jonathan Pickup has a post about that somewhere. But I'd like to at least enter scheduled size for the core plants I use on a normal basis (maybe only about 200 or 300 tops and some of that is just multiple sizes). I'd normally do this as a winter project (here in Minneapolis we have some down time December through March). But since the plant sizes rarely change that's not much of a risk. I might expect to add maybe 20 or 30 new plants each year and retire only a few. Perennials will still be offered in a 1 or 2 gallon pot next year, and while there might be a few new Hosta varieties offered, they're pretty much a stable commodity as far as pot size goes. What will change will be the pricing. And I can probably add that on an as-needed basis as long as when I add the pricing information, it stays in the database so the next time I use that plant it'll still be there. I've created an Excel spread sheet with all the plant pricing (my plant costs) along with mark-ups so I can move from my non-profit status to making a living at this (that's supposed to be a joke, but it's not as funny as it used to be). I'm also in agreement with your idea of creating your own custom plant symbols. I've only experimented with this so far, but with hand drafting I used to only drawing a few different symbol types anyway. 3 or 4 for evergreen shrubs, 4 or 5 for perennials and maybe 3 or 4 for trees. Not much variety, but after adding a bit of color, they'd be fine. So I'm not used to having much choice with style. I'm aware of the "cost" in file size of creating a symbol that's too complicated, but I'm not really interested in that anyway. I do like the way some of the Vectorworks supplied 2d symbols look right out of the box. Maybe I could change the color on a few to give variety, but I'm going to be careful about keeping a consistent look for everything. Color coordination between all the drawing elements is pretty important, so having those choices will be nice, but also a lot of work to assemble. I'll try working with the best ones for now, and maybe try creating some custom symbols this winter. Thanks to someone's earlier post on this board, I was able to find the extended set of 2d plant symbols, and that larger set is enough for now. But it would be worth spending time creating my own custom look. There doesn't seem to be a good symbol for Daylily or other Grass-like foliage (Iris, Liriope, etc.) Nor is there much representation for large-leaved things like Hosta. Let's see if I can draw a useful plan first, then I'll try the custom stuff. By the way, what's the advantage of deleting the database from your previous versions of Vectorworks? Does the transition between upgrades change the way the database works? I know the 2009 and 2010 versions have a different core graphics engine, but did that also change the way the plant list behaved? I bet there are enough improvements to the database (especially the number of fields) that it's just not worth the trouble keeping everything. I really appreciated the inclusion of the Monrovia Plant List, and was wondering how we would be updating this with each year's new Monrovia Catalog. I use Gertens here in Minneapolis for almost everything I plant. So I'll have to manually add anything extra they have until I can figure out how to import their plant list which is available as an Excel spreadsheet. Of course it doesn't have all the fields, but it does have the pricing and scheduled size. It'd be very cool to be able to import and update those things each year! Thanks again.
  13. Thanks Ozzie and Peter; That's exactly the information I want to include on my drawings, and of course it'll eventually allow me to do project costing pretty easily. I'm guessing without cost information, the landscape area function would have only a fraction of it's true value. I'm still not finding any official (VW prefix) field to enter the size information though. Do you add that field, or just use one of the VW-comment fields (maybe that's what you were getting at)? And if you add it, can you make it a VW prefix field, or are they sort of defaults that can't be changed? I know enough about databases to realize getting the fields right before I start will help later, but I'm also realizing that there are data we don't even realize we need yet. For instance, it might be useful to have a field for "root depth" or "root profile" or "root characteristics" if you were designing a rain garden for instance, or planting boulevard trees (and had read James Urban's book on soil) I was in one of Eric's Gilbey's webinars earlier this year (using Vectorworks for Sustainable Site Design) and he talked a lot about using the worksheet fields to add info about a plant's attributes such as aspect (slope and solar orientation) and other things that could help plant selection beyond the usual USDA hardiness zones. He didn't exactly say whether you would add new data categories or if you'd just use the 2 or 3 comment fields to do that. I'm fine with either, but I can easily see adding several fields or re-purposing some of the existing fields beyond the few comment fields allotted. Maybe a better question would be: How much trouble will I be in if I start adding fields? Do they show up in the Data tab just like the VW fields do? Can I create the installed size field as a VW field? Since I'm in Minneapolis, and do most of my work in this region, I'll create at least a Minneapolis database with all the plants that grow in this region. Maybe that's done using the "Favorites" feature (it appears as a check-box in my Landmark 2010) Then I can start adding information like pot size and pricing for those plants. I'm also guessing that there are certain database management techniques that make this work more "sharable" with other designers. Maybe working with the "favorites" method is more a personal, work-flow thing. Either way, thanks for your quick response earlier!
  14. I normally specify a plant's installed size when producing a key, and also directly on the plant labels themselves. An example would be: Japanese Tree Lilac - 6'ht B&B; or: Bodacious Returns Day Lily - 1g (or #1) I'm just starting to learn about the plant database and when looking through it, couldn't find a place to add that. I can use up one of the comment lines if that's what works. But since so many of the plants (especially trees) are available in various sizes from smaller pots to heavier balled and burlapped, plus various forms like single stem or multi-stem. I'm hoping to start adding plant pricing into the database, and would need to create copies of at least 2 sizes of many of the plants (and several copies - each with a different size and price - of many others). Also, the plant size is an important specification for bidding, so that really should show up on every plant and in every planting plan. Did I just miss the field, or is everyone just using comment fields to include this info? I'm running Vectorworks Landmark 2010
  15. Would it be possible to re-issue the 2009 Landmark Training exercises as 2010 files and (most important) replace the older DXF reference data file with one that's up to date and correctly associated to work with my 2010 Landmark? I don't have Vectorworks 2009, and can't open any of the training exercises without getting a broken reference error. Here's what's happening in too much detail: I've just started with the Landmark Training CD which is labeled as 2009 Series TR160 which arrived with my Landmark 2010 software. It's a single CD which takes the user through design of a 3-level park project between 2 commercial buildings. The initial project stage (1A) setup includes importing an AutoCAD file which then becomes the basis for the site plan. Although we receive a message that tells us the AutoCAD file would be saved as a newer version, we can simply say yes and save the file which works out just fine. The problem is with all the subsequent exercises. When opening any of the exercises the first thing Landmark 2010 wants to do is convert the older 2009 Landmark file to 2010. That's fine, but I am immediately given a broken reference popup. I've tried first opening the DXF data source file and converting it to a newer version (keeping the same name, however, and removing the original file from that folder) through the AutoCAD viewer and placing it back into the file folder on my hard drive. That's still not recognized. While this might have been a candidate for posting in the Bug Fixes area, it's really not a problem with the software, which I've kept updated and have had no other problems with so I decided to try it here. Also, this issue makes me think I'll wait until actual 2010 training material comes out to continue training beyond this. I know there's a 2010 version of the Residential Landscape book now available. I'm hoping Jonathan Pickup will also revise his Landmark training (as he's done for the Architect training package) to 2010 as well. John Moe
  16. There seem to be only 2 Landmark-related files (basically plans) present in the data set provided with the Landmark 2010 Getting Started tutorial. The tutorial asks me to open several during the course of the entire process, but only GS-VWL-01 and GS-VWL-04 step 06 are present. I've tried downloading from the website, but they still seem to be missing from the set. Any ideas? Also, there seems to be a problem with the reference file (an Autocad site plan) in the Vectorworks Landmark 2009 training CD. The 2010 version doesn't seem to support the site plan file, or maybe I'm just doing something wrong there.
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