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jeff prince

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Everything posted by jeff prince

  1. @bc I’ll have to play with it at some point. I’ve always been a fan of PDFs for presentation output, but not put too much effort into exploring the notion of using it to capture real world geometry. Thanks for the suggestion.
  2. @line-weight I’m optimistic about the future of point clouds in VWX and the whole notion of reality capture. It’s a pretty mature workflow for civil, petroleum, and construction engineering. I saw quite a bit of that in Kuwait. Architecture and Landscape Architecture is always last in line for technology development and adoption. I usually wait for tools to become relatively designer friendly before I take the plunge, but this technology is so amazing that it was hard to ignore.
  3. @bc I think importing the PDF makes sense for notes and sketches done in the field. I'm hoping for something with more precision for items measured and drafted in the field. A friend suggested investigating Autocad, or any CAD really, designed for the iPad. Maybe I'll look into that at some point. Interestingly enough, I had to revert back to paper sketching yesterday due to the heat. My iPad kept overheating. Such is life in the desert and a big consideration when trying to use these tools.
  4. @Benson Shaw Thanks man! I generally do not trust the shape files provided by the counties I work in, there always seems to be some kind of error or problem when I have used them. Oftentimes, there are glaring errors that you can see, such as vector data not lining up with geotiffs and being off by up to 10 feet. Other times, it is more subtle, like a property line that was drawn incorrectly in their SHP file, like a line being located where a PUE actually is. As a result, I usually draw the property lines based upon the legal description, geolocating it by looking at the plat and the survey monument it is tied to if my project does not have a survey available. I have found survey monuments in my counties to be dead on, which makes sense since it is the basis for all other work with these imaginary lines 🙂 Generally, it is easy for me to find a reliable survey monument online and sometimes in the field. This almost always lines up with the georeferenced aerial I create with my drone (in other softwares). I prefer to have a project professionally surveyed and use that workflow. When I do this on my own, it's just out of professional curiosity and has little bearings on my actual design work. I think we have to remind ourselves that all this GIS data is sometimes of unknown quality and should be taken with a grain of salt. I trust my surveyors, engineers, and major monuments. It's hard to trust a government agency that produces geotiffs that look like oblique photography in some cases 🙂 I'm still wrestling with importing GIS data into Vectorworks. When I was working in Kuwait in meters, things worked fine. Now that I'm back in the US, importing my geotiffs, point clouds, and obj meshes is problematic. They require scaling by strange factors, like 2 x the meters to feet conversion. They sometimes come in at the wrong location, by huge distances. Admittedly, I need to review why this is happening in VWX as it is likely a setting issue, but I know others here on the forum experience the same problem. In fact, the VWX video on point clouds makes mention that you have to scale and move the point clouds to get them to line up. It's kind of ridiculous.... When I do this in other softwares with the same data, my geotiffs, point clouds, and meshes just snap right in where they belong geograpically because that location information is embedded in the files. I make sure the data I generate is set to a known coordinate system, projection, and units. I'll follow up on this with my next project. I intend on reviewing the import process step by step to see if it's something I'm doing.
  5. @line-weight thank, glad you found it interesting! My wife’s eyes kind of glaze over when I triumphantly present my latest work 🙂, so I post this stuff here for your enjoyment. I also kind of hope the folks at Vectorworks are paying attention to this workflow. It’s huge, usually with LIDAR, in aerial survey, environmental analysis, large scale construction monitoring, and infrastructure planning. It’s gaining a foothold in design as well. I used to hire a plane to do this kind of work, now I can do it with a machine that fits in my backpack. I agree with your comments on detail and accuracy, it’s certainly not survey quality work. Part of interpretation and tracing revolves around knowing the construction type. If you have something that is block modular, rectilinear, and built by a reasonably skilled crew... you can get within 1/2” in most cases 🙂. Having the knowledge about how things are built goes a long ways in quickly recreating things without measuring. Architecture can usually benefit from a ground based scan and be highly accurate when required. I do this mostly as a professional challenge for myself and to save time with data acquisition. It’s pretty nice to be able to review the entire site visit from oblique aerial photography. There is all kinds of stuff you miss when walking around a large site. Plus, the wide aerial vantage point reveals patterns in the landscape that are difficult to perceive from the ground or on Google Earth. That handrail on the stepped wall at the end was pretty fun. It was built off the drone footage and a walk thru video. I measured it today just for comparison and to develop a construction detail should I decide to mimic it elsewhere. The only bust was on the rebar pickets ( I faked it with a texture), height of the lower rail (Off by 1/2”), and connection details (couldn’t see). I got the slope of the steps (block modular) and steel framing (Assumed standard profiles) correct. 20 years ago I would have struggled with all that because I didn’t have the needed experience. Now it just flows during modeling. The drone I used on this was a 1st generation Mavic Pro. I used to have an Inspire as well, but the lower flight time was problematic. While the mavic camera is not as nice as the Inspire, it is more than adequate when configured correctly. I probably have about $2000 into it with all the accessories (batteries, props, memory cards, camera filters, ipad holder, glare hood for the ipad, etc). I fly it with my iPad for these kinds of jobs, so that’s an expense that should be factored in. Doing it on a phone is okay for motorcycle videos, but on not on this kind of work. I like to see the photos it is taken on the iPad so I can see if I got the focus and other settings correct. That’s very difficult to do on the phone. If you shoot 300+ photos of a site and find out they are out of focus when you get back to the studio, it’s heart breaking and makes digital mapping less accurate. I unusually shoot two sets of the same photos, but with slightly different settings, as cheap insurance. That’s where having lots of batteries and memory cards is a benefit. Oh, I almost forgot the software for reconstruction, that can get pricey depending on what you use. I bought the drone to take photos and video of my adventures and already had an iPad Pro for other purposes. Only later did I develop a method for using it for my work due to a lack of aerial photography in the country I was in and having a lot of time for R&D with my employer. If I didn’t have all the gear already and an interest in figuring this out, I would just hire one of the many companies out there to collect the data for me. Drone based aerial photography is a cutthroat business in the western US. There are a lot of hobbyist shooting real estate, they should generally be avoided because they usually can’t actually produce maps or engineering data. If you find a skilled map maker who is reasonably priced, keep their number handy. hope it helps, Jeff
  6. This is such a vexing problem, I had to run through some more experiments before retiring for the night. All of my effort had been around creating image props, so I started there. I then decided to make a new Plant Object using the same texture I had been using all along, only having VWX make the imageprop as part of defining the new plant. This yielded a successful result, though it does not solve the greater problem I identified earlier in this thread with regards to how VWX exports alpha channels applied to 3D model textures and standard user created image props. I have no idea of what is going on under the hood, but maybe there is an explanation that can be offered? Still, the 3D model issue is unresolved, so I hope to hear something on that @Dave Donley when you have a chance.
  7. So 2 years have past since I set out to find the best way to create image props with Alpha Channels. The question was never properly answered by by tech support when I had a Service Select membership. Seems that there are some magic settings needed to get VWX to behave when exporting to other software formats, notably C4D. Read my story of woe below. Hopefully a solution manifests itself soon. None of my imageprops will export correctly, VWX is altering the Alpha Channel on export! 100s of manhours wasted potentially 😞
  8. So, I'm heading out to a project site to tomorrow to verify a few things and collect information that needs to be incorporated into my VWX model. I still use an ipad for this purpose, but still don't have a clean and efficient way to recorded the information so it comes directly into VWX. I'm loading my iPad up with PDFs generated in VWX. I'll probably mark them up in Bluebeam on the ipad. I'll then come back to the studio and have to reenter that information into VWX. Isn't there a better way? Shouldn't there be a better way? If it wasn't so hot and sunny here, I would be tempted to take my laptop and edit in the field just to alleviate the frustration of doing the same work twice.
  9. I just wrapped up the existing architecture on my new project and made a quickie video showing some of the processes I use. It's not a highly polished tutorial or anything, just some sharing for you folks. This is the third home I've modeled in Vectorworks. It's the largest and most complicated to date. I think it's the fifth time I've incorporated data from a drone I fly into a vectorworks project. I will be field verifying some dimensions tomorrow to see how well I did. This entire work product was produced without a survey or any field measuring beforehand. Kinda crazy, kinda cool. Imagine how much better it would be if VWX imported point clouds and obj models at the correct units.
  10. oops, forgot to include the images VWX plant on left, my plant on right Hacked VWX plant texture on left using the same source texture used on the plant on the right. (proportions are different of course)
  11. @Dave Donley is there a specification for how to make the image props VWX includes in the program? Let say VWX decided to have a staff member or hire a company to make a library of plants, I imagine you guys would require the responsible party to produce the textures that meet a set of standards guaranteed to work with VWX. Reason I ask... I just opened the Color file VWX exported for a default VWX plant and pasted my texture into it using a photo editor. I then saved this file to effectively replace the default VWX texture. I then opened up the C4D export file in Twin Motion and it works fine, mapping my texture onto the VWX plant with transparency. This leads me to believe that there is some magic formula I am not aware of for making textures and/or image props suitable for export. Maybe the solution is a very simple setting that I can’t seem to be able to identify.
  12. @Dave Donley Thank you for your reply and continued interest on this. Forgive my ignorance, but I must not understand what you mean. When I export to C4D, it creates two image files, one for Color and one for Transparency. For VWX default plants: The Color image of the plant and has an embedded alpha channel representing the background. The Transparency image shows the background as black and the object as white. It imports into Twin motion just fine and I doubt that Twin motion uses that Transparency file since the Color file has the alpha baked in. For my image props created from edited photos: I create an image with the same properties as the VWX Color image, the alpha looks identical. However, when I export to C4D, VWX alters my Color image’s alpha channel, turning it black. I’m struggling to know why this is because it makes no logical sense in my mind. I’m just not seeing how my images are different than the VWX library’s plants. This is why I’m going nuts, it has nothing to do with Twin Motion, it’s happening during VWX export. Twin Motion does a great job importing the Color image with an embedded alpha. The problem seems to revolve around either VWX export changing my alpha OR some flaw in the method I am using to make these images. If it’s me, I just want to know how to make my images properly. If it’s VWX, this could be a larger problem that few have noticed. Thoughts?
  13. @Dave Donley have you discovered anything with this. I was hoping to work on my plants in a week or so, but have been holding off due to this alpha channel issue.
  14. Interesting question, I would like to know how to accomplish this too. You can export your render with an alpha channel. thats handy for dropping your rendered objects onto a different background. I’m not sure if it is possible to export each object with an alpha... I doubt it. If it’s not possible, i suppose you could turn off classes or layers, render, and export each one individually. Seems like a great job for a script if the scene was complicated, but it could present too much work in an image editor to reassemble. It would be cool to have a render method that facilitated changing DOF after the fact. I had an actual camera that could do that.
  15. @HEengineering I agree with your sentiments. When I was evaluating programs for adopting a landscape BIM workflow, VWX ticked the most boxes. That being said, I look forward to refinements to features such as grading, point clouds, geotiffs on a site model, irrigation, and modeling of landscape features. The bones of VWX seem to provide a nice structure for really making these workflows dance. I came from an Autodesk background using AutoCAD, Land Desktop, and Civil 3D. I was never excited to use any of those tools because of the look and feel, but they did the job. During my evaluation phase of VWX, I threw a few very large projects at it to see what would happen in regards to site model and grading, the harbor being the most complicated. I have seen several people here comment on the need for better roadway tools and I have to agree. The latest upgrades to the hardscape tool give me hope for the future 🙂. The problem with being a landscape architect on BIM is that I not only have to be an expert on the landscape side, but also Architecture and Civil Engineering with the way things are progressing. I’ll post the project I’m working on right now once it gets to a significant milestone. It’s a home on a 2 acre hillside with retaining walls, sloped driveway, hardscape at different levels, natural washes, and lots of existing vegetation. Oh, and a giant house with a split level floor plan, stairs a rooftop patio, and other tricky details. It’s the most complicated project I have done to date with these tools, but far from the largest.
  16. Yes, I have an uneasy relationship with site modifiers and save frequently when using them.
  17. I have no idea why that is happening to you. It doesn’t happen to me.
  18. @HEengineering Thanks, it was tough to learn how to use it. I never figured out what it was doing for that line. I seems like it was a bug because when I tried to edit that particular contour, it ended up putting a hole in my site model 🙂. The harbor has been off my desk for a long time. I’m working on a new project with some extensive topo, so I’m eager to see how it turns out. I’m guessing it will work out in the new project because I generated the the contours from a point cloud and validated them in a different program before bringing them into VWX.
  19. Here’s the online help system’s address for 2019: http://app-help.vectorworks.net/2019/eng/index.htm#t=VW2019_Guide%2FLandingPage%2FWelcome_to_Vectorworks.htm I find that using google helpful to locate instructions and techniques. I usually enter “vectorworks 2019” along with whatever I am looking for and get good results. There are many videos on YouTube as well. Jonathan Pickup’s Archoncad is a tremendous resource for learning the program as well. https://learn.archoncad.com
  20. The problem with the VW service select method is highlighted at 5:55 of the video. "Again, the units here really doesn't matter because we are going to rescale it. There is no way that the photos to 3D models could know what scale and units this was produced in". Yikes! AutoDesk Recap or the Pix4D suite of tools have no problem determining the geographic location and size of images taken by drone. The data is present in the drone photography and quality software knows how do do the math to create usable surfaces and point clouds. This is of critical importance, could you imagine if we had to arbitrarily scale and rotate traditional surveys or architectural models during a typical project development? And we thought the new icons in 2020 were amateur.... With the latest project I posted, I do the real work of measuring and interpreting the drone photo model outside of VWX because I can't rely on half baked scaling and rotating methods required in VWX. This can't be hard to solve, VWX needs to step up and offer usable solutions rather than novelty features that presenters get giddy about in marketing videos if they want to make customers happy rather than disappointed ones. You can see that arc with me in this thread. I was all excited by the potential at first, mostly because I was exploring and researching. I attributed the difficulties due to my apparent lack of knowledge, figuring I get better with time and experience. After intensely studying the process in multiple softwares, consulting with my civil engineers and surveyors, and analyzing the processing results from different software packages, I have learned where the achilles heel is. I love creating in VWX, it's beautiful for design within a CAD/BIM environment. However, if the engineering side of things don't get fixed and present themselves in elegant workflows, I will really have to question why I have invested so much time, money, and effort in adopting VWX. Most small firms don't want to maintain multiple softwares, workstations, and the employees needed to operate them to do what should be simple. If VWX wants to be relevant to Landscape Architects adopting BIM, they need to focus on our design process and optimize the software to be a trusted part of it. Yes, VWX your elegant drawing window with it's beautiful graphic attributes bring me happiness whenever I need to make something. But if you really want to fulfill the promise of Landscape BIM, less marketing and better workflows is the path to follow IMHO. I want us all to be successful and profitable, let's make it happen!
  21. I watched that video back when I tried this the first time. Popped for Service Select to use their point cloud service, tried to get technical support on a few things such as point clouds and the plant database. Largely left to wither on the vine or figure it out myself. So I haven't renewed my service select and do my point cloud work in another platform. Really makes me wonder why I am aggressively pursing Landscape BIM in Vectorworks with these broken workflows 😞
  22. Well, the honeymoon appears to be over now with the upgrade to 2020. Nearly a year has passed since I last leveraged my drone for residential work. Went out this week to look at a new project and put the bird up in the sky. I spent a brief amount of time on a site and collect a vast amount of data. The data gets crunched online using other software solutions. I get nice high resolution 2D geotiffs that surpasses anything I can buy commercially. So clear and accurate I can determine plant species from 150' above ground level with 1/2" per pixel resolution, flying at 20 mph. I can see individual pavers, railings, steps, count the pebbles around the fountain if I was so inclined. The 3D point cloud and mesh is good enough to establish rough grading, determine top of wall heights, and provide a virtual site visit in case I forget something. The I go into VWX... I end up having to move and scale the model in unpredictable ways in order to get something to usable after hours of trial and error. I end up relying on outside software to generate the contour lines that I can use to make a site model since digesting the point cloud is beyond VWX's appetite. And to add insult to injury... I can't add a georeferenced image to the site model, that priviledge seems to be reserved for the ESRI enhancement to the site model settings. I have to create a renderworks texture of my wonderful georeferenced image and then manually scale and offset it until it lines up with model features that I recognize such as plants, walls, or driveways. This is not an enjoyable way to spend a Friday evening, even with social distancing greatly impacting my social life 🙂 6 hours to take properly georeferenced data having to scale, move, and line it up in VWX? Importing a geotif should be automatic, not some silly game of pin the tail on the donkey via render textures. Your import of point clouds needs to work correctly by recognizing georeferencing and units. It shows up in other packages flawlessly, remains broken in VWX 😞 Come on guys, this is the future and it is happening now. Fix our tools by talking to those of us in the trenches making it happen. Develop workflows that embrace our industry practices, not fight against it. I don't need ESRI data, I need to import my data and that of my consultants quickly and accurately like Autodesk lets me do. Thoughts @tekbench @ericjhberg
  23. Thanks for the reply. I figured it was the software and not the operator ruining my work today 🙂
  24. The program comes with various standards you can import. I uses the AIA classes for my work.
  25. I set this problem on the shelf hoping a solution would manifest itself, it has not. I sure wish someone from Vectorworks could shed some light on this problem, even if it something broken with my workflow.


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