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  1. Ok. I think my question is answered! Thank you.

    One other question, looking at iMacs including refurbed ones in the apple store - it seems that you can knock a few hundred pounds off with a lower spec graphics card - say,

    NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory


    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory

    in place of

    AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory

    I see in the VW knowledgebase articles that it's mentioned the GeForce ones with "M" suffix are laptop type ones and less powerful, so it's probably worth paying the extra for the GeForce option?

  2. I would be very worried about that, not so much for Hardware concerns, but for Apple's tendency to drop support for older hardware as they rapidly release operating systems.

    If they phase out the 2008-2012 series of Mac Pros, you are stuck on an older OS. It is entirely possible that the version of Vectorworks that will run on 10.13 and 10.14 (or whatever number they give it, I hate their numbering system) will not be able to run on, say 10.12 and that may very well be the last OS that Apple allows on those Mac Pros.

    It's entirely possible that OS X 10.11 will be the last one to run on the 2012 Mac Pros, but we won't know that for another few months. They DO seem to keep the Mac Pro line well updated compared to the MacBook lines, were some of them were phased out after only 3-4 years of life, but I would call it a big risk.

    Sure, a legitimate concern. Although, El Capitan is still apparently supported on mac pros back to the 2008 one, so it would seem hopeful that you'd be good for another couple of releases. But it's an unknown of course, yes.

  3. Here's my attempt at a comparison between buying a new iMac and used Mac Pro at similar price point.

    current iMac 27"

    CPU i5 3.2Ghz

    8GB RAM

    GPU: R9 M390 2GB

    1TB fusion drive


    used mac pro 5,1 (mid 2010) on ebay

    CPU 6-core 3.46Ghz

    48GB RAM

    GPU: Geforce GTX 680 4GB

    128GB SSD plus 4TB HDD

    ---£1750 (I suspect negotiable)

    Ignoring warranties and just looking at specs - does the new iMac potentially win out on account of having a newer graphics card? Or in some other way?

  4. Yes, I'm aware of the warranty issue. Up to a point it's a risk I'm happy to take knowingly. I've done so on all the mac minis I've owned over the years, all of which bought secondhand when 2-3 years old and I've not had any problems. That said, the investment in a mac pro would be more substantial - but there are secondhand outlets which offer a 1 year warranty.

    I could argue that even if I buy "new" mac pro it would be a model released at the end of '13. So buying a model from 2012 doesn't seem hugely different.

  5. Looking to get a new computer.

    For some time I've been a big fan of the mac mini - affordable, and seems to work fine for mainly 2D stuff. Plus, relatively easy to upgrade because I can keep my screens, keyboard etc and sell the old mini on ebay - or indeed do semi-unofficial component upgrades.

    Now I need something a bit more serious as I move into doing more 3d stuff. My options, if buying new, seem to be an Imac (upper end of the range to get the recommended video cards) or a Mac Pro (it looks like the lowest-end one would do me fine).

    But I'm not entirely keen on the iMac because it can't be upgraded and I've already got screens. And the Mac Pro would be very nice but of course expensive and probably overkill.

    So I'm starting to think about getting a second hand Mac Pro. Maybe the mid 2010 or mid 2012.

    My question is essentially... how future-proof will that be - especially with regards to VW? Will I get left behind in a couple of years when my computer is essentially 5 years old? Or is it reasonable to expect that they could hang on a bit perhaps with some component upgrades?

  6. I think I might have worked out how to fix this, at least in some situations.

    It seems that if you have several viewports on a sheet, even if some of them don't have a drawing number label, VW has assigned them a number anyway. So, say you have 6 viewports, and you have one labelled "1" but no labels attached to the others.

    You are then trying to label one of the others "2" but VW is telling you that number's already in use.

    I think this is because it thinks one of the un-labelled viewports is no. 2. It may also think that all the other viewports have a number as well.

    So I think you can sort it out like this -

    apply high-number labels to all those viewports...say, number them 10,11,12,13 and 14. Now they have a label sequence that doesn't cause VW conflicts, and the number 2,3,4,5 and 6 slots are free.

    I *think* it generally then works to go back and re-number those viewports with the sequence you want.

  7. Thanks, glad I wasn't missing some obvious setting at least!

    Too bad there isn't a way to simply display a range of cells in a particular instance of a worksheet. For example, you could set a placed worksheet to display rows 1-60, another 61-120, etc.

    For now, I've placed the worksheet on a Design Layer with a Sheet Layer viewport cropped to the rows I want to display. It sort of works, but if the row heights change at all (from adding an entry that wraps to a new line) then I get a row half cut off.

    This is how I've been dealing with this situation.

    I thought, this is messy - must learn how to do this properly...there must be a way of doing this - at least, maybe in the latest release even if not in VW2011 (which I'm using at present).

    So a bit of searching brought up this thread - and the answer seems to be, no, there is no tidy way of doing this, even in the latest, supposedly BIM-tastic version of VW.

    Is it unreasonable to feel this is a pretty basic capability to be missing?

    If I'm trying to move towards a way of working where as much info as possible is contained within the drawing and associated databases, this kind of thing really saps any faith that sticking with Vectorworks is going to make this easy.

    I can create databases and spreadsheets...but only up to a size that will fit on whatever printed page area I happen to be using? Unless I want to mess around with cropped views which as tsw points out above, are liable to go awry whenever extra rows are added. Really?

  8. When I start a new project I tend to re-use a file from a previous one, deleting the project-specific info but retaining the basic layer/class set-up etc. It's a lazy alternative to setting up a fresh template file.

    So this issue could be related to a problem in the drawing file that gets copied over each time. Thinking about it, the drawing file I'm currently using would have originated when I was using VW2008.

    It's not really an option to rebuild the current file. But I suppose I should think about making a template from scratch for future projects.

    Any suggestions about how to fix it in my current file would be welcome though.

  9. Thanks JimW and no, you're not looking at the wrong thing.

    I did the same as you describe in a new file and everything worked fine.

    I use a custom sheet border and titleblock so tried again, using these, but again there were no problems.

    So I don't know why it seems to be a problem in the file I'm currently working on. But I've had the same issue in other drawing files too.

  10. Interesting.

    If it really works, it would be great - free users up from investing in computing power.

    It would mean that you couldn't do any work whenever the internet's down - which makes me feel a bit uneasy, but perhaps the cost saved on computer hardware could be invested into paying for a fast reliable cable service.

  11. This is a problem I regularly have, using automatic drawing co-ordination.

    I have a sheet with, say, 3 drawings on it. All is fine - the drawings are automatically labelled 1,2 and 3.

    But then I want to add an extra drawing, between 1 and 2. So I want to renumber drawing "2" as "3", and "3" as "4", and then add in a new drawing "2".

    It might let me renumber "3" as "4". But then when I try and renumber "2" as "3" I get an error message saying "That number is already used by a drawing on this sheet".

    And I can't find a way to resolve this. I've tried deleting all the labels on that sheet, and re-applying them but the problem remains.

    The only way I can get it to work is to create a completely new sheet, and then copy&paste the viewports back in, individually, in sequence, with new labels attached. This wastes quite a lot of time.

    Is there something I'm missing here?

    I'm on VW2011.

  12. This is an old thread, and the Issue no longer exists.

    For printing a grayed layer in a particular shade of gray, just set the gray level in the Print Dialog under "Gray level for grayed layers and classes".

    This will not affect the gray level on-screen, but will lighten or darken it on the print.

    Oh...I didn't realise the thread was so old! It came up in a search result and I didn't notice. Apologies.

  13. We need a uniform classing system and ideally one that is set up in the software such that things are automatically classified as much as possible.

    And this is another reason that using classes as a "workaround" solution within VW is not a sustainable solution in the long term.

    For example - having class(es) into which you can put 3d objects that you don't want to see in plan view, because they don't render properly in 2D. That's not going to work once you're trying to share drawings using a uniform classing system that will allow models to display correctly regardless of the sotware package used to view/modify them.

  14. I'm interested to know what people use when working in Vectorworks, both in 2D and 3D.

    When working in 2D do you find that a graphics tablet with pen is better than working with a mouse? If so what size of tablet do you use, and how do you deal with multiple monitors if you use more than one screen?

    Is it worth investing in a 3D mouse? Is it of any use when working in 2D?

  15. 3. One reason for architects not having a high level of design (LOD) is that we need to rely on other suppliers and consultants, and them achieving relevant code/standard requirements. How you document often relates to liability. Much of the information in our designs is for our own information and design, not a performance spec. If you watch Francois Levy's latest webinar at Novedge, he is extremely clear in pointing out, the BIM data he harvests is for his own information, and not as a performance guarantee. If the client wants that, they need to engage the relevant consultant. (http://www.novedge.com/webinar/178).

    I've just had a watch of this webinar.

    Near the beginning he mentions the various "myths" about BIM...quite a few of these matching some of my moans about the difficulties of using it in the real world.

    For example the worry that we become constrained by standard components or what can or cannot be easily modelled in the software.

    This concern is dismissed as a "myth" but the project examples don't convince me at all. The three projects shown simply reinforce my prejudices about what "BIM architecture" ends up looking like. I think other architects will know what I mean. Those projects don't have a high level of non-standard components. They don't involve irregular, historic existing structures. They don't have complex sections or spatial volumes or floorplans with multiple changes in level. You can see that it's pretty easy to break down the designs into floors, walls and roofs - in a convenient way for BIM classification. There aren't places where, for example, there's ambiguity about whether a certain element or portion of an element is a wall or a roof, or where a window isn't fully contained within a wall, say.

    These are designs in which what are arguably really engineering considerations have had a heavy influence. There's nothing wrong with that in principle - I certainly welcome careful consideration being given to thermal performance, passive ventilation and so on. And if there are tools built into VW that make it easier to make intelligent design decisions about these concerns then that is great. But there's a whole lot of other stuff that is important in creating good architectural design that doesn't have much to do with tabulated databases. Software aimed at architects should be aimed at giving the architect more time and freedom to worry about good architectural design - not making it easier for the architect to do other people's jobs (I am thinking of the mention in the webinar about the ease of making a material takeoff for a contractor to submit his tender bid - that's his job not mine!).

  16. Generating floorplans is such a fundamental part of architectural work that it seems rather unsatisfactory that we have to be using the kind of fiddly workarounds that digitalmechanics describes above.

    Layered construction buildups (as in floors, walls and roofs) are also fairly fundamental to the way buildings are put together. The wall tool works ok (until you want to do something a bit unusual). But the workarounds for floors and roofs that digitalmechanics describes (using the tool for single layers rather than to generate whole buildup) should tell anyone designing these tools that they don't really work.

    VW2016 promo videos tell me about Marionette and the ability to generate fancy facades through visual scripting.

    But VW hasn't got good enough basic tools just for generating floorplans and sections from a 3D model! This is what they need to focus on first!

  17. Col37400 – What parametric objects are you using at the moment? What are you struggling to get your head around that is preventing you transitioning to 3D?

    In my "test" project where I'm trying out working properly in 3D so far I've used walls, doors, windows and stairs (and slabs).

    If you have a look at this thread:


    it explains where I am finding issues with 3D. I have now managed to create a floorplan that I'm happy with - but to achieve that I've had to draw certain elements twice - in 3D (for the model only) and in 2D (for the floorplan only). And then switch on/off classes etc in different views.

    So there's a way to make it work but it partly defeats the purpose of working from a 3D model - not having to draw everything twice.

    It's questionable how much time this saves me from my previous workflow where I'd draw the plans (accurately) in VW and then have a rough-and-ready 3D drawn separately in Sketchup (it doesn't have to be as accurate because it was just for my own use in exploring options, and/or for presentation images).

    In Sketchup, I can navigate and edit the 3D model much more fluently than in VW. This will change as I get more practiced in the VW 3D environment of course, but there are certain things that I can do in Sketchup that I just can't in VW. Admittedly I am using VW2011 and it seems that there are a few significant improvements I'd benefit from in moving to the most recent version. But when I look at the cost of upgrading (not just the software - I'd have to get a new computer too) I wonder if it's really worth it.

    As I mentioned earlier in the thread, things like the cost of licences and hardware are perhaps not such a big deal to large commercial practices. But for small operators for me these costs are significant.

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