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jeff prince

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Posts posted by jeff prince


  1. I use Slab Styles to control the display of textures, using the components within a style to govern the display.

    If I need a different texture for a particular hardscape, I change it in the Slab Style.

    I don't bother with using the class the hardscape object is placed on to control texture, rather use classes to organize the objects.

     

    The problem and benefit of Vectorworks is there are a variety of ways to do things.  Complex objects like hardscapes and walls begin to lose their utility if one does not create them in with a consistent strategy.  I use the method described because I can switch between construction assemblies quickly by selecting slab styles rather than edit.  I have a reasonable expectation that my sections and reports will be correct if I follow the process.  The minute I start deviating from a chosen process is when the problems creep in.

     

    Hope it helps.

    • Like 1

  2. 2 hours ago, Todd said:

    Very impressive work and videos!  The overview and experience are much appreciated. Thanks also for the Mac-GPU tips. I've got some great next-steps!

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed them.   Wish I could share some of the more interesting work I’ve been doing, darn confidentiality agreements have to be respected though 😞


  3. @Todd I would want something with more power personally.  The spec you shared has integrated graphics only and does not have an additional GPU, which is preferred.  I don’t know if you would be able to successfully run a separate monitor with that setup and a 13” screen is pretty small in Vectorworks even if you hide lots of tools.  8 GB of ram is low, especially if you hope to run additional Apps while VWX is running.  I suppose if you are doing 2d drafting with limited use of the planting tools you would be fine.  Hopefully someone with experience on such a machine weighs in and gives you an opinion.  Things slow down when running on slower clock speed computers with limited ram, especially as the drawings get more complex graphically, not necessarily 3D.  You might get more bang for your buck with a PC too.

     

    if you haven’t seen it, here are the recommended specs for Vectorworks.

    https://www.vectorworks.net/sysreq

     

    hope it helps.


  4. @Todd You choose a model with a GPU in addition to the integrated graphics.  In reality, they are both "built in" from the factory.  If you look at the MBP configuration page, there are options to choose from in regards to GPU.  I preferred this to getting an external GPU from a 3rd party.  I don't know which is better, but I'm happy with mine and I am working almost entirely in 3D.  My wife's windows machine has integrated graphics with no additional GPU.  Even though the machine has a faster processor than my MBP, it's super slow in comparison.


  5. @Todd I'm hijacking your thread since you are a fellow landscape designer and perhaps new to Vectorworks to tell you some of the stuff I wish someone would have told me early on 🙂  I have so much fun on my projects AND make higher profits now that the steep part of the learning curve has been passed.

     

    If you are good at Sketchup and new to Vectorworks, I encourage you to embrace the 3D workflow inside Vectorworks.  I switched from AutoCAD + Sketchup and immediately began working directly in 3D for almost everything.  It is super fast for my stuff and I enjoy not having to jump between programs to get what I want.  

     

    The architect on the project below mentioned it would be nice to have some landscape elevations for preliminary discussion, after I had submitted my plans.  I had developed that project as 2D since I all I was doing was planting and irrigation for City approval.  He sent over his Revit model, I dropped it into the site and set a couple of viewports, nothing pretty - just a quick study.  Since I configure my all of my plant library assets to have image props or models affiliated with them, this was literally a 5 minute job, the majority of which was spent waiting for the Revit to import.  The nice thing about it was I identified an opportunity to place some architectural trellis on two of the building's walls that would enhance the architecture.  Had he not sent over the 3D or at least some elevations, the opportunity would have been missed on this simple project.  It also helped me quickly identified a heavily shaded planter next to a building entrance, which led to changing out some plants real quick.  I think having the 3D on these quick churn and burn projects is especially helpful for these reasons, even if I am working on a flat site with a relatively small scope.

     

    On the large residential projects with site topography and landscape grading, it is now essential to my work, see the last video.  I take it a step further by taking my own aerial photography and build my own site models for those types of projects, usually going from having no information on the project to generating high resolution georectified aerials, a photo textured site model, and contours to build a Vectorworks site model within 24 hours of the site visit and drone flight.  For the project in the last video, I built the entire existing conditions model and existing architecture completely from photographs and fully in 3D.  Now it's ready to receive the design treatment, which will largely generate the grading for me with the use of some site modifiers and hardscape objects in the Slab Modifier configuration.  Sections will be as easy as the planting elevation I mentioned earlier.  I will never receive CAD or a survey for this project, yet it was completed quickly by leveraging the drone workflow and Vectorworks 3D.  How I wish I had all of these toys at the beginning of my career.  I say toys because even the mundane parts of every project is fun and the graphic quality high.  I can finally model a complex design faster than sketching and developing hand drawn perspectives, which was not the case 20 some years ago when I started.

     

    The video also features plant objects I cobbled together, displayed in Twinmotion.  I can't imagine going back to a 2D workflow (except for my passion for hand drawing) or sketchup for the vast majority of my projects and I do it all on an older MBP.

     

    If you read all of this, I probably sound like a Vectorworks salesperson.  In reality, I have my complaints with it and the lackluster support I have received from the company.  The saving grace is that I am making more profit on my work now compared to my old workflows, so I tolerate my grievances and look forward to further improvements to our tools.  Playing with Twinmotion is of course fun too 🙂  Hope it helps you on your journey.

     

    1175378609_ScreenShot2020-08-04at4_23_07PM.thumb.png.25b979aa548baf6239b166e0b64d5e46.png268948899_ScreenShot2020-08-04at4_20_53PM.thumb.png.8977b955dafe51323465420fcaef57db.png1362961783_ScreenShot2020-08-04at4_21_43PM.thumb.png.8ca357e8932aa540d23add04ca5d6a8c.png

     

     

     

     

     

    • Like 2

  6. 6 minutes ago, Todd said:

    I'm assuming you have an external GPU...

    No external GPU for me.  I bought the MPB with an upgraded GPU in addition to the integrated graphics, which is very important in your purchasing decision.  You can turn the GPU off and use the integrated graphics to save battery power when not using programs that need the GPU.  Comes in handy on planes when watching movies or doing spreadsheets, though I have more experience with the former than the latter 🙂

     

    • Like 2

  7. 15 minutes ago, zoomer said:

     

     

    If you also run realtime GPU render solutions like Twinmotion.

    You will really want a dedicated powerfull GPU.

     

    But that's the idea.

    If you start with your integrated GPU and run into limits, you can still

    upgrade to an external GPU.


    very true.  I turned my gpu off just to see how VWX and Twinmotion behaved.... it was unusable for the most part.

    • Like 2

  8. @Todd yes, you can do sketchup workflows.  I replaced sketchup with vectorworks once I got good at it though.  I regularly import 3D Warehouse content into Vectorworks.  Sketchup ran really well on my MBP also, I just don’t need it anymore since I can do everything I need with Vectorworks and the occasional Twinmotion.  I texture almost everything in Vectorworks These days.

    • Like 1

  9. @Todd I'm a landscape architect and  use a macbook pro, but as @zoomer you'll probably want one with a GPU.

     

    Not sure what an entry level project is to you, but be aware that a Vectorworks file can get large quickly and it's easy to load it up with all kinds of graphically intense objects, especially if you design in 3D.  I have several residential projects in 3D that are over 1GB in file size and use a lot of 3D objects to make them come to life.  Once you start developing projects that were done in traditional 2D in 3D instead, you will likely never go back, it's just so much faster.  So, you might want a good computer.

     

    My MBP is the 2015 version (2.5 GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeo 2GB GPU)

    It was a rocket when I bought it and still performs pretty good on complex projects, though I am taxing it severely with the 3D work.  The only time I am slowed down is when I render.  Fortunately, I don't do that often, just spinning my models around in openGL

     

    If money is tight, consider buying a used machine like mine or newer.  Depending on the types of projects you do and how fast you advance your skills, it will probably last you a while.  Then once you have a handle on the software and find your hardware limits, you can upgrade to the latest stuff if you need to.

    • Like 1

  10. 58 minutes ago, Jonnoxx said:

    And if you've been along from the beginning ... what a Ride it has been ...!!!

     

    It certainly has and will continue to be.

    I started back in the early 90's doing manual drafting for an architect and moonlighting as an illustrator.

    While my love is in traditional media, Vectorworks at least gives a nod to that heritage with its beautiful graphic qualities fused with 3D power.

    Graphic quality was one of the determining factors.  Tools should be visually appealing if our work is to be 🙂

    • Like 4

  11. @Jonnoxx You make some excellent points that I had to weigh heavily before switching to Vectorworks personally and evaluating it for deployment across a department within a large firm.

     

    11 minutes ago, Jonnoxx said:

    The "switching problem" between Revit and competing packages (and vice versa!) is not a straight-forward decision. 

     

    There is a significant sunk cost (investment of money and expertise and building an ever-increasing project legacy!) in an existing software (whichever that is) of both workflow and expertise that cannot be suddenly casually uprooted without VERY significant consequences (some of which are only discovered very painfully afterwards). 

     

    The software cost is negligible in comparison to the period of reduced efficiency during transition.  Large firms can mitigate this with training, standards, and hybrid workflows during transitionary periods.  Small firms and solo practitioners who do not have in-house training and R&D really get penalized here.

    All firms had to manage this during the transition from CAD to BIM with the added burden of the 2D/3D transition.  I'm old enough to remember the same growing pains when we transitioned from hand drawing to CAD as well.  So yes, firms have to adapt during industry disruptive cycles.  It's funny that a particular software company is partially responsible for this disruptive event though, the other portion of blame resides with firms who ignore MacLeamy/Paulson Curve and actively work against it.

     

    11 minutes ago, Jonnoxx said:

    So, need a couple of Revit operators quickly? Check!  Need a VW expert?  Not so fast!

    There is some truth to that.  I almost passed on Vectorworks for this reason.

     

    If a firm is more of a domestic chop shop operation with thin margins and pushing projects entirely through BIM quickly, you've got a business killing problem potentially if you can't find staff.  However, these noted design firms typically use a whole suite of modeling tools, some bespoke, during design.  They train their employees on using their specialized or proprietary systems for design and fabrication.  They entirely REBUILD the projects in Revit once they hit Design Development.  Sometime this is done in-house, but more typically it is with a joint venture partner in the country where the project is and/or through outsourcing to one of the many BIM sweatshops around Asia and eastern Europe.  The dirty secret behind a lot of glamorous BIM projects is they are developed by people who are far from BIM experts.

     

    They are juggling chainsaws, driven by the illusion of profit rather than process.

    That, or they are simply designing buildings that are too complicated for their abilities to document 🙂  

    I imagine it is a bit of both in all honesty with a healthy disregard for the aforementioned curve(s).

     

    They wonder why their profits are flat while their operating expenses are increasing?

    It's not the software price that is killing them, it's their process.

    Shrinking design fees and more competition for those contracts is eroding profits because the process is inefficient.

     

    Firms that get it will survive this disruption aggravated by the pandemic, 

    those who don't write open public letters or develop stockholm syndrome with their software provider.

     

    Maybe it's time to go back to ink and mylar?

     

    • Like 1

  12. @Jonnoxx Some good points, though it's hard to take that open letter seriously.  The publicity stunt just demonstrates the firms are operating from a position of serious weakness if they can't change to a different software package.  It's not like there aren't off the shelf choices that can replace Revit and do a better job.  I mean if they were worth their salt they would just pull a Frank Gehry and "develop" their own software if their hardship is so severe.

     

    I find the Blender example extremely compelling after watching a documentary on the founder.  What they have done with their 3D package is just amazing and has a lot of potential to be disruptive in AEC.  The current generation of graduating or recently graduating architecture students are facing a reality of limited job prospects and aren't running out to buy Revit, but probably will invest some time in learning Blender.  This will push that platform forward kind of like how AutoDesk became ubiquitous by emulating the sales model employed by drug dealers 😉 

     

    • Like 1

  13. Welcome aboard.  I switched from AutoCAD a few years ago.

    You have discovered one of the current limits of the tool.  There is a lot of discussion here on the forum about stacked walls currently, and the border condition you depict is essentially that.  If having 3D geometry depicting that condition is critical, you could accomplish it with a couple of work-arounds.

     

    @Tony Kostreski here's something relevant to our discussion on stacked walls.

    • Like 2

  14. @Tony Kostreski Thanks for your interest in this topic.

    I like the ideas elements you shared and can think of a whole lot more.  I will spend some time thinking about this and providing some examples of some common wall features and creation methods in the coming days... the wall of text that follows could really be explained better with some drawings 🙂

     

    I think there would be a lot of interest in this for many.  If there is serious interest from Vectorworks, I bet an industry work group composed of your clients, both here and through direct outreach, could be formed that would really help define what is needed.  This could be a great way to inform the programmers of how we think and what we need before tackling a complex tool.  Including your clients that do not participate here on the forum would be very important IMHO given the importance of a powerful wall tool to both architects and landscape architects.  The more voices the better.

     

    Some basic thoughts for now...

    Landscape walls share some of the same needs as the Railing/Fence and Wall Tools, though they have some special conditions that may not apply to either.

     

    I'm initially thinking of footings and batter (as you pointed out) but also the requisite Site Modifiers for retaining wall condition as being major areas of interest.  Following terrain and/or retaining could benefit from a streamline workflow.  The current method of creating a retaining wall could benefit from style definitions that include all of these features.

     

    Landscape Walls often feature repeating elements that follow the path of the wall such as:

    voids in panel, decorative ironwork (within a panel or on top of it), columns with footings, pilasters, variable panel design (different panels with different heights along a single run of wall), stepped wall tops (including angular tops as in my example), attached trellis systems, and the list goes on.  I think understanding all of these relationships would be helpful in developing a tool to do it, but it cold become cumbersome if not well thought out.

     

    Landscape Walls also feature unique elements that are placed such as gates and openings, similar to the door and window tool, but with variable header conditions (usually the lack of one).  A tall wall may have a header for an aperture or pedestrian passage.  While a typical 6' property wall or 3' screen wall may have openings for gates or passage that do not have headers.  The current wall and door tools do not seem to resolve the headerless situation.

     

    Design Method

    When I am designing a wall concept, I usually start by drawing an elevation and section of a typical panel to define the general look and structure.  It would be nice if this was echoed in the generation of a wall style...

    Essentially stacked and offset components which follow the "path" of the wall  in an editor that presents the panel design, similar to how the Railing/Fence Tool works, but with refined functionality of how we build wall and hardscape styles.

     

    Functionality

    When I use the hardscape tool, I love that I can change it's representation quickly.  Landscape Walls would benefit from the same approach, but need some special consideration for 3D.

    Some 3D type options for walls might include:

    None - 2D only

    3D - projects without a site model or where the designer places the 3D on constructed geometry and objects

    Project to Surface - for following the site model.

    Retain Surface - with built in retaining wall modifiers created that can be edited after the fact independent of a style.

    Aligned - more thought required on how this would work and interact with or influence hardscapes and other objects... just spitballing ideas here.

    Texture bed - landscape walls could be used to create edging and borders not defined in a hardscape's border.  I could see a use for this mode on most of my projects.

     

    • Like 2

  15. I was talking to an architect client today that works in Revit about this.  He says no problemo in Revit using Stacked Walls.  A little research on the forum here indicates architects have been asking for this feature for a long time.  Why hasn't this been added to Vectorworks? It's a fairly common architectural requirement.  Architects must be going mad, especially if they have a door in a wall like the video below.

     

    This video shows a typical architectural situation.  Note the window assembly in the stacked wall, that's nice.  Also note the detail at the top of the CMU, that's great.

    https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/revit-products/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2020/ENU/Revit-Model/files/GUID-A470102D-0CD9-4410-9561-DEE4D7C6C057-htm.html

     

    Wall Sweeps and Reveals in Revit look pretty powerful too.  Please Vectorworks, please.

    • Like 3

  16. @Michal Zarzecki I know that this happens after I change the slab style for a border.  Initially, it retains its border joint settings with this new slab style.  However, if I click on the "draw border" checkbox in the OIP to remove it and then click on it again to add the border back in, the crazy spacing happens.  It changes to a fraction of an inch that does not correspond to the active hardscape preferences settings, so who knows where it gets the value or why it changes.


  17. @Michal Zarzecki I'm glad you started it to, we are like a little support group suffering together 🙂

     

    1. Yes, this happens all the time.  For me the joint spacing resets to an infinitely small setting that makes it look black in plan view.  I don't know what makes it reset either.

     

    2. Post a file containing the objects, it's hard to say what's going on.  Sometimes you have another object floating on top of your hardscape that can create this illusion, as in the case of 'create object from shapes' and not selecting 'delete source object'.

     

    3. I use defined slab styles for main areas and borders to control thickness, so my thickness settings are in those slab styles, not the Border Thickenss setting in the OIP (which inherits the overall thickness from the total buildup in the slab style).  You can select a defined slab style and convert it to 'unstyled'.  Once you do that, you can edit the border slab components to get the thickness you desire without updating the source style and affecting other hardscapes that may use the source style.  You can then save that modified style for use in other areas if needed.

     


  18. Hi @Tony Kostreski

     

    Thanks for your recommendation and example.  The worksheet trick is certainly handy.

     

    I wish we had the capability to create wall styles with the addition of vertically stacked components though, seems like it would make the process simpler. Imagine if you could create a wall style for the attached file and simply create the wall by drawing a polyline and having the cap and knockouts position themselves as part of the wall definition.  Maybe I'm dreaming and it's too complicated, but it would be convenient for designing quickly instead of modeling.  That's the thought process we followed in 2D design... Draw the wall in plan with the 3D in our mind and then refer to an elevation and sectional detail to explain what's going on.  In this BIM world, we define hardscape and wall styles using this notion and apply it, but are limited to stacking of these features along one axis, hence the requirement to model.  I think once we get into modeling features instead of applying styles, we lose some of the power of a BIM workflow.

     

    I use EAP frequently when modeling, it's especially useful in more complex situations like this railing following a stepped and sloped wall... though a bit complicated to execute.  I ended up building that wall as a solid because I couldn't figure out how to get a wall object to behave as desired, though I suppose it could be accomplished with wall projections.  If a 3D representation wasn't needed in that project, it would be faster and easier to describe the features in 2D.  I think that's were a lot of people get hung out to dry in BIM, we are faced with hybrid 2D/3D workflows that break the promise of BIM or have to adopt direct modeling workflows to describe fully in 3D, which has a time penalty during creation and revision.

     

    430500804_EAP-curvedsteppedwallwithrailing.thumb.png.142b108209d61393845fd5cb409681b6.png

     

    wall example.vwx

    • Like 3

 

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