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Mark Aceto

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Posts posted by Mark Aceto

  1. 5 hours ago, twk said:


    Unreal has bought out Quixel now. Making megascans available to all UE users for free! Also, free Twinmotion extened to the 1st quarter of 2020.




    Not sure what the gameplan is for UnrealEngine, but they seem to be making alot of assets free.

    Would be beneficial for the Devs @ Vectoworks look into a direct import/export process.


    Good news if you scroll down on that link:



    Previously, we’d announced that Twinmotion would remain free until November 2019; once downloaded, you can continue using the free version indefinitely. Today, we’re extending the free availability until our next release of Twinmotion, which is anticipated to ship in the first quarter of 2020.


    • Like 1

  2. Well, considering that VW2020 was released over a month ago, it's up to SP1, and there's only 1 person complaining on 2 pages of this thread (compared to 19 pages for Mojave)... looks like we're out of the weeds, and it's safe to stop following.


    Well done, Team VW, and see ya next year!

    • Like 2
    • Dislike 1

  3. 16 hours ago, DMcD said:

    I'm not sure if this should be a Catalina post or a Mojave post… It's both really.


    I spend the weekend with the new VW 2020 working in Mojave on a 12 month old touchbar 15" MacBook Pro. The tiny screen isn't ideal so I changed to a Mac Pro with two 30" Apple monitors also running 2020 and set the MBP to upgrade to Catalina (on an external SSD.)


    What I found was the normal hatful of rain.


    VW2020 crashes more than VW2019 on Mojave on either computer. Too much to be acceptable and I'm too busy to bother to bug search for another company who ought to do their own bug fixes before release with a 12 month old OS.


    VW2020 doesn't work at all well with the Mac Pro and 30" monitors. The screen graphics are woeful but more importantly, there are huge problems with screen refreshes. For example, you can double click on an object to edit it… for example to edit an extrude… and the screen shows the original image with stray handles all over the place so you can't tell if you are in edit mode or not. Heaps of problems along these lines forcing a Z key refresh every time you do a command to make sure you're seeing the right things. 


    Objects appear to hyperspace, disappearing off-screen and requiring recentring all the time and groups won't ungroup etc.


    On the same computer, VW 2019 works fine or probably will until I get to work to be told I have used up my registrations and have to send a stamped addressed postcard to VW to de-register an installation.


    Catalina took all night to install… about 24 hours between connecting an external USB 3 SSD, cloning the original HDD and then updating. The installer sat for hours on 11 minutes remaining. Once that had finished, I found that a handful of key apps… including Aperture (not news there) and all the CS6 Adobe programs wouldn't run, so I disconnected the drive and went back to Mojave and VW2019.


    I honestly don't understand why VW releases happen like this. Why not release as a beta version for the first 9 months? I think it was May to June before 2019 was stable enough to really use. And for me, not being an architect, there's little reason to use the update anyway and the 3D history 'feature' doesn't appear anywhere, in spite of reading some very vague documentation in the help pages.


    Not entirely happy! I wonder if my 'service select' (no idea what that actually means in English) program can be delayed by 12 months?




    OK I'll take the bait... 


    #1 anyone upgrading to Catalina right now is taking a huge risk with their business (most professionals I work with are perpetually one year behind on macOS, and we have no issues). Furthermore, you're accepting huge trade-offs (no 32-bit apps)... And for what? Subscription services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV?


    #2 sounds like you're experiencing graphics hardware issues with old equipment (not the MBP). 2020 really takes advantage of GPU over CPU. My 2014 MBP was choking on 2020 vs 2019. This is a good problem to have because the solution is new hardware that isn't 5+ years old. Easy peasy.


    #3 VW2020 is probably the most stable .0 and .1 release I've experienced since I've been using it (2011). From the outside looking in, there are signs that they focused on shipping a stable .0 release over packing every single new feature into it at launch (future SP updates will add features).


    I ran 2019 and 2020 side by side in Sep/Oct, and now that I'm migrating to a new 2019 MBP (and starting new projects), I'll only be installing 2020 SP1.


    Honestly, holding VW accountable for Apple's nonsense is a losing battle. It's beyond frustrating how many things Apple breaks every year. Us long time Mac users just want them to leave well enough alone.


    • Like 3

  4. 1 hour ago, grant_PD said:

    Mark, you and I are on the same page, didn't mean to freak anyone out about removing RW


    I was just thinking that from a development point of view, you have to have a Not Great RW package to do all of the 3rd party syncing we use and enjoy.  Otherwise the textures need to be mapped externally, geometry needs to be optimized externally etc.  So by necessity we can do renderings in VW, even if they are not worth the time/effort.  


    The Lumion sync is the best sync of all of the 3rd party products I have seen so far.  C4D is good and while I haven't implemented Redshift yet (C4D's gpu renderer) I'm guessing it's going to be pretty good and getting better.  


    I build scenery for dark rooms with lots and lots of lights, internally lit scenery, I love the environmental add ons of twinmotion/lumion but I would rarely use them, and shudder at the thought of having to re-light every time I update a file.  


    Hahaha cool totally on the same page 👍🏼


    • Like 1

  5. 2 hours ago, chaz said:

    @Mark Aceto, sounds like we're in similar industries. I'm a production designer for a company that does corporate events. Personally, I work more on the trade show aspect of these; we have other designers who work on stage productions. As such, I won't make much use of rain, snow, setting suns, moving cars, etc; though sometimes I do a little outdoor work. Decent people in renderings is very welcome, though.


    Thinking about it, I agree that using an external renderer for presentations is fine. I use OpenGL and Custom Renderworks a lot that live on sheet layers but very often my high end renderings are used in live presentations where sheet border and title blocks aren't desired and get cropped out if I include them.


    Thanks for the help and tips all.


    Yep, I work on a mix of everything from concert/tour design to events/festivals, so the outdoor entourage is only applicable to half the projects. I have yet to have a need for swimming fishes or falling snow (and massively regret adding that to the conversation lol).


    Working with everyone from production and scenic designers in Rhino/Cinema to lighting designers and video engineers in VW, production riggers in VW/Braceworks, production electricians in VW/Lightwright, venues and vendors in AutoCAD... I spend most of my time pulling all of that together into VW. As of 2020, I'm finally able to pull a GIS basemap into the drawing for the project I just started this week which is beyond epic.


    There's literally no competition to VW for that work. By "literally" I mean no other 3D app out there can do all that, and that's why I'm a huge VW nerd, and a constructive critic. I have a lot of skin in this game.


    That said, I've seen important pivots in the past few years:

    • The end of Moore's Law
      • GPU performance has picked up where CPU performance plateaued
      • Multiple slow cores is the CPU trade-off from hardware manufacturers
      • VW is still choking on single-core performance
      • OpenGL is about to be sunset, and Metal is in the VHS or Beta lead but... 
    • GPU-biased realtime rendering
      • Render farm stills lost the render war
    • Smaller design teams/studios are breaking out rendering from technical drawing

    So as much as I love the utopian idea of Cinema/Redshift baked into VW:

    • The reality of that watered-down port teased in VW 2022 will probably be outdated by 2022 when Apple releases ARM CPU's on MacPad Pro's, or MS Surface Pro Morpheus folding 27" hybrid, or whatever flying cars and hover boards we're using by then
    • Cinema/Redshift exist today, and VW syncs with them 
      • Same with Lumion
      • Excited about Twinmotion
    • I cannot overemphasize the paradigm of keeping the file size down when collaborating with other teams (whether Project Sharing or not)
      • Most collaborators are working on laptops, so I cannot sandbag them with a 300MB file cluttered with entourage and textures

    The old paradigm of the all-in-one is splitting in two:

    1. 3D model and plates in VW
    2. Renders and animations synced to external GPU-biased app

    Therefore, please PRIORITIZE VW development according to those shifts in the software and hardware industries instead of putting resources on releasing the killer feature of 2017... 2 years from now.


    • Like 2

  6. Whoa - hang on. No one suggested removing RW altogether.


    My points are simply:

    1. A realtime screenshot of Unreal / Twinmotion / Lumion looks just as good as something that takes an hour in RW
    2. Prioritize syncing with external apps

    As of 2017, realtime rendered still images are a must-have (real-time animations are a nice-to have).


    By “photo realistic”,  I meant GPU -biased.


    I stopped rendering anything other than OpenGL and hidden line in VW years ago because it’s a waste of time.


  7. On 9/30/2019 at 2:37 PM, chaz said:

    Just came across this on architosh.com:


    "Our LiveSync technology enables our support now of Lumion, and we are working on support for Twinmotion and Enscape as well." - Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CEO


    Thanks for the link - that was a surprisingly informative read!


    Based on the quote pasted below, there will continue to be parallel development for:

    1. Syncing with Cinema, Twinmotion, etc. aka the "VGS"
    2. Cinema and Redshift ports baked into VW

    Likewise, the new VW fly-through animation feature is a massive improvement over the previous (virtually unusable) implementation but can't possibly compare to Twinmotion, and it's library of entourage, path-based vehicles, seasons (falling leaves, snow and rain), fish swimming in ponds... 




    Are all the rendering models available? And how far will you take this animation system? Will you support pushing the scenes to third-party systems like Cinema 4D?


    All rendering modes are supported. And you can create 360 panoramic rendered animations with one click. We will not do the object-based animation anytime soon because we are focusing on creating the plugins for all the real-time and interactive renders. Our LiveSync technology enables our support now of Lumion, and we are working on support for Twinmotion and Enscape as well.


    The new animation overhaul is huge for users because it will empower them to build path-based animations quickly and easily and then save those animations as editable objects for further use downstream in the design-document process.


    What you are asking about is setting up animation scenes in Vectorworks with the new tools and pushing those to other tools for more advanced work. We have created a system based on our VGM technology which we are calling the Vectorworks Graphics Sync or VGS. We are aiming to do that for you in a very efficient way. Additionally, Maxon’s Cinema 4D, our sister company product, has acquired the real-time engine called Redshift. I don’t know when it will be available for us to integrate but it will be something we will try to do as soon as we can.


    So it seems like the intention is to provide VW users who don't want to pay for external render software with basic functionality (and the promise hope for realtime rendering with Redshift). Meanwhile, users who want to dive down the realtime rendering rabbit hole will have the option of paying for external render apps that sync with VW. Seems like everybody wins but I really hope syncing to external editors that already exist are a priority to porting watered-down versions someday.


    The distinction I'm seeing in the entertainment industry is:

    • Sheet layers for drawing sets will always exist for plots, plans, perspectives, and paperwork
    • Sheet layers for presentation is going the way of print media
      • Realtime screenshots of Unreal/Twinmotion/Lumion have already been taking the place of Cinema renders for the past few years

    Therefore, looking ahead and skating to where the puck will be, the old way of thinking "we need photorealistic visualization baked into VW so it can live on a sheet layer" is not something we really need anymore. Bids are awarded with realtime renders/animations more and more. The process begins with Cinema/Unreal/Twinmotion/Lumion to present the concepts (choose one), and ends with VW (modeling on the design layers, followed by plating on the sheet layers).


    So I hope that old thought of "we need photorealistic visualization baked into VW so it can live on a sheet layer" isn't still driving VW development of how we'll present to artists and clients in the future.


    Plus keeping renders out of the VW drawing keeps the file size down. 😎😎😎


    In the meantime, please continue prioritizing development of a faster, multicore, (insert the usual gripes)... parametric BIM kickass plug-in 3D modeling and 2D plating app that syncs with the best-in-class realtime render apps (and leave the heavy duty render development to the best-in-class realtime render apps).


    Speaking of kickass plugins, what's up with ConnectCAD? Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?


    • Like 1

  8. 20 minutes ago, Andrew Pollock said:


    Despite the fact that this is a 2012 iMac, I can navigate around the model without any lag. Almost as well as my iMac Pro. Hmmm. No crashes or glitches yet.



    Your 2012 iMac's 3.4GHz base clock speed is faster than 90% of Apple 2019 lineup :/


    BTW gorgeous design!


    • Love 1

  9. BTW I'm experiencing a handful of bugs on Mojave with Mail and Safari that I've spent hours on the phone with Apple senior level tech support trying to fix. By creating a guest user account, it seems like most of those bugs could not be replicated.


    For perspective, this 2014 MacBook Pro shipped with macOS 10.9 Mavericks, so the macOS version history is:

    1. 10.9 Mavericks
    2. 10.10 Yosemite (don't even get me started)
    3. 10.11 El Capitan
    4. 10.12 Sierra (my personal favorite)
    5. 10.13 High Sierra
    6. 10.14 Mojave

    Keep that in mind when someone in this forum says, "I'm not having any issues on my 1-year old computer..."


    Now imagine VW beta-testing v2020 on a feature-limited beta version of Catalina, and everything is working wonderfully but they know - they know - they're about to unleash this on every random config of who-knows-what people have done to their 2012 MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM and 1GB VRAM ... 


    That's what the next 3 SP's are for (and whatever Apple continues to break with each of their subsequent updates).


    • Like 2

  10. On 9/11/2019 at 8:14 AM, SVA Architects said:

    I wasn't only quoting you Mark - just acknowledging that your post got me thinking again.  I think we are all swaying from a love of Mac and VW and memories of rock solid stability and security to persistent and increasingly recent reality checks.  Most ( me for sure) bought into Apple many years ago as Windows 3.1 was such a poor Mac clone and a wind up and Autocad just was not intuitive for architects.  

    We bought into VW as it was a Mac program back in the 80s and Apple was great.

    What we had and still want is fading into the past.  We have such a legacy of VW CAD files that we just have to somehow make it work rather than be switchers into the unknown...


    All good. I had a handful of conversations yesterday with colleagues that use VW on a Mac (and Windows), and they all said, "I love using my MacBook Pro for day-to-day stuff but I need a Windows workstation dedicated to Vectorworks and my other 3D software."


    But I think that's our sad workaround for Apple having a beef with NVIDIA and a Faustian bargain with Intel. Neither of which is VW's fault. Plus VW isn't the one that screwed up the Mac Pro for 6 years (and then offered an insanely overpriced "solution") and the MacBook Pro for 4 years (and presumably will offer an insanely overpriced "solution"). It's Apple's race to lose.


    That's mostly hardware though. And the thing with hardware is that it has to ship without issues (or at the very least, a 4-year keyboard warranty) because Apple can't release a software update to fix a hardware problem. And that's why macOS and VW (and literally every other software) will always be buggy on release day. And there's nothing wrong with that.


    I'm just really glad that VW has aligned their release schedule with macOS, and offers us cool features like Dark Mode, especially when that meant creating all new icons and other UI elements for us Mac users. They could be like Lumion and tell us all to go f**k off.


    Now if only VW would stop adding Russian doll dialogs nested inside menu items and palettes with more tabs, and more buttons to click and click and click and click into... and then click back out of click click clickity click click... with every single new release. Free the palettes!


    • Like 2

  11. 13 hours ago, SVA Architects said:

    So having read most of the posts now on this subject - what most are saying amounts to the fact that a Service Select subscription is a bad idea for Mac users.  Having paid for another year, the temptation is to download the latest version of Vectorworks right away.  The advice seems to be not to do so but rather to wait until it works well with the latest version of OSX (which based on 2019 and Mojave takes almost one year.)  Otherwise we are paying for an upgrade which is not yet compatible with the Mac OS of a similar period of time.  Having chosen this year not to renew Service Select I am looking longingly at the email links VW have sent me extolling the virtues of VW 2020.  However does it work with Mojave as well as the latest version of VW 2019?  How long will it be before either work with Catalina?


    Since you quoted my post, I hope you didn't get any of that from me.


    Here's what I'm hearing in this forum:


              Apple: Catalina is so buggy, delay the release from Sep to Oct.


              Vectorworks users: Service Select is a bad idea. I'm switching to Windows.


    I pick my battles with VW, so when it comes to holding them responsible for delivering an issue-free product on day 1 of Apple's release day, I'm not going to die on that hill.


    As a Mac user since the 80's (with the exception of 99-04), I test drive the new release of VW each year on the side until my colleagues, designers, vendors, etc. are all ready to turn the proverbial keys at the same time (usually sometime between SP 2 and 3). As for macOS, I typically wait until .3 or .4 (Mojave was such a mess, I waited until .6). It's all relative, so I'm still on an annual upgrade cycle with both products. Therefore, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything (except frustration).


    For the record, I love that VW releases are in sync with macOS releases because that's the smallest window of waiting for me. Common sense: give them both a couple months to squash bugs now that they're in the wild. It's software not hardware.


    My only gripes about Service Select are:

    • Getting hammered with a $700 bill every March instead of pro-rating it (with an annual contract)
    • I want single sign-in with my other sign-in name (not the one that my 2013 boss gave me)


    • Like 2

  12. 16 hours ago, Vladislav Stanev said:


    My philosophical view on this is that GIS is still as complicated, especially the coordinate system component of it. However, with the new feature, you can see if you are correct at all times as you can always use the Geolocate tool, and see how you drawing fit the globe.


    It's like before you only had to infer to other files to find the mistake, where now you can see the background from the beginning and know when you made it misalign.


    Your first step should always be to setup the CRS (coordinate system). This is especially true if you work with survey DWG files, which were the source of confusion and complexity before, as DWG doesn't carry CRS. This way whey you imported it in 2019, it would get moved to the center automatically and thus break the GIS.


    In 2020, you should setup the CRS in Vectorworks, then import the DWG with the GIS option on, and your data will land perfectly on the GIS. And, you can verify this by using the Geolocate tool.



    The Licensing/Copyright is always a concern when using geo images from services. This is true for ESRI or WMS servers. You should read the licensing for each service you are planning to you always and make sure you can use it in your project.


    The default satellite and map services that we use from ESRI come with a restriction on image download.

    This means that we will strip the images form the VWX file on file save. All other export or print will contain them.

    When you open this VWX file back up, you'll be able to see the Geoimage objects and update them to get the images back.

    So all the context is saved and the image can be just re-downloaded.


    In an SP release, we'll make it so the images will be saved if you are logged in ESRI user.


    Note, this is the same for the geo-image texture that we'll create for Site Models that have the option to texture with GIS image turned on.



    see above about licensing. we'll not save those images in the main release. SP will make those images be saved when logged in ESRI user. Then it will affect the file size depending how much pixes are being stored, which you have control over, trading size for image quality.


    All of this sounds like a grand slam.


    Just received this in my inbox from ESRI, which might help folks dig into GIS best practices: http://proceedings.esri.com/library/userconf/proc19/index.html


    Speaking of the old fashioned way, I believe one of the benefits of this new method is access to more recent sat imagery, right? So it could be 3 months old instead of 3 years?


    Again, really hoping for an updated GIS Tutorial... 🤞🏼🙏🏼

  13. 1 hour ago, bgoff said:

    @drcrescencio yes, as a mater of fact all you need to do is set a point on your blank sheet. It will then ask you to choose a coordinate system, and you can simply type an address or the coordinates of the site. Its that easy! and if you choose to ensure your positioning and accuracy you can use the Gret Circle tool to check the length over the coordinate system and site. 


    What's the file size of the sat image? Whenever I've done this (the soon to be obsolete way) with a screenshot (on a 4k monitor) of Google maps (and then scaled to the drawing), it bloats the file size.

  14. 35 minutes ago, bgoff said:

    The short of it! YES! the main piece here is the ability to set the design layer 0,0 to your geolocated point and have everything lineup and import correctly. As far as GIS functionality for drawing, its only a few simple clicks to perfection!


    Excellent! Can't wait to try this out! If there are new tutorial videos or webinars in the works, that would be icing on the cake!

  15. 46 minutes ago, bgoff said:

    @Mark Aceto As far as imagery, As far as I know, satellite or liar imagery, however you could create your own maps in Esri and link to those. As far as I know there is free map content and there are other services that exist that are free you can link. But for a full fledged Esri account with all the bells and whistles, that would require an Esri paid account.




    I'm talking about accomplishing what's shown in this webinar that originally aired in 2011:




    A lot of city gov websites have all of the GIS data I need (for example, Virginia Beach VA) but it gets trapped into ArcGIS 2D imagery (basically a Google Map that shows other data for boxes that I've checked) inside their proprietary software.


    Honestly, I'll figure out the pricing later. In the meantime, I just need to know if I can get all the data demo'd in that 8-year old webinar into VW 2020.


  16. 13 minutes ago, bgoff said:

    @herbieherb as we only support imagery, we can link to any WMS server.


    Hope this helps!



    Now I'm going down another rabbit hole of the difference between WMS, WFS, WCS, WMTS and WPS. Could you elaborate on "imagery" vs data (not LIDAR).


    Also, is this service free or will it be like AutoTURN that wanted me to subscribe for $500/year (so I've never used it)?



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