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Katarina Ollikainen

Vectorworks, Inc Employee
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Posts posted by Katarina Ollikainen

  1. Hi,


    There are many different workflows for plants and plant data and there will always be certain users that need/want something very specific. However, I always recommend to skip the plant catalog and instead create the plants as plant styles and then save them in your user folder/library. This is where all your resources should be collected (unless you're working in a studio where several people need access - then you should create a workgroup library instead) and this is where you go when you need to use them. The plant tool can read the files straight from the library and you only have one single place to keep updated.


    I do appreciate all constructive comments - suggestions on how to make the tools better are very valuable, especially as the Plant tool is up there on the Roadmap and we are doing preparatory work on it right now. Anyone who has suggestions on how to make it better, please go to the Public Roadmap and leave your comments there -  I'll read all your comments if they're placed under the Plant Data heading. https://www.vectorworks.net/en-US/public-roadmap

    Workflows are the focus for the work we're doing right now, both for the plant tool and the other tools we have in Landmark. To get a 'red thread' through all the parts, from creation of content and analysis of input material, to the final output of plans and 3D models. A lot of the work that has been done now for 2023 are paving the way for later improvements.


    A few points about planting plans and as responses to a few posts above. Sorry if it's a bit longwinded - I'm passionate about planting and planting plans - it's the most fun part of a project:

    • My plant library used to be around 1800 plants - they were all created as plant styles and contained the crucial data required to be able to pull out plant schedules, maintenance guides, biosecurity comments, images etc. but I didn't use it as a plant selector. This is not what your plant library ought to be about. The plant world is so immensely large that it would be a shame to limit yourself to only the plants you have created. You'll always have the base of hard-workers that you know intimately, but outside of that you want the freedom to explore and research, visit nurseries, read and find new plants to use. This depth of knowledge would be a full-time job to keep updated in a database and there are websites out there (for example PlantPartner in the UK) who are focusing on only this and on creating plant specifications and supplying you with images both in nursery settings (so you can see the root ball) and illustrative images. There are some very exciting things coming up regarding how to connect some of this to Vectorworks.
    • I don't use 3D in my plant styles (except for trees). And I keep the 2D very plain, except for colour. Planting plans are construction documents, not illustrations. If I want to do an illustration, I use a Landscape area with mostly green plants and just a hint of accent colour (see below). That way you get a much fuller look with a fraction of the work. For the 2D, you can turn off the colour by simply turning off the class for the plant colour fill, and voilà -there is your B&W drawing. You can also use the B&W shortcut key to affect the whole drawing in one go and to get a grey scale.
    • If you're on Vectorworks 2022, you can create your plant styles with only the basic size and specification info. Then, when you've finished the planting plan, you can pull up a schedule with all the fields you're interested in and add data to the plants right there. This will be pushed into the plant styles and you can then use them to update your plant library (if you want to save the data). I'm not talking about spread and height here (although you can actually change this via the report as well) but things like number of breaks, minimum cleared stem, girth circumference, root ball size, etc. This is data that will change from job to job so there is no reason to put in time to  create a library with all of this as a starting point.
    • There are some very exciting news coming in 2023 for illustration of plants
    • The schedules have also got a look over for next year so you'll find some perhaps more usable plant schedules. A tip - look at the schedules marked Metric. However, the pre-formatted schedules are only there as suggestions - you can create schedules after your own needs and add as much or as little data as you like.
    • Plant photographs and localised data: this has always been an issue. The sheer volume of data and images that would be needed to cater to our truly international user group is gigantic! If you want to collect images for your plants, you can add them to the plants - again, there are coming some exciting new ways to use these in 2023.
    • Shade studies for winter - again, you'll be very happy, very soon... And the Heliodon is a fabulous tool for accurate shadows. Have a look Danilo Maffei's webinar on shade analysis here: https://university.vectorworks.net/mod/scorm/player.php?a=61&currentorg=articulate_rise&scoid=122




    Screenshot 2022-08-16 at 18.56.58.png

  2. This is definitely towards the top of the list for improvements of the plant styles. However, it's connected to many other parts of how the plants are working and we want to make sure the benefits follow through all the way from data input to output of plans and schedules instead of just fixing one part of the workflow.


    Constructive input is very important - make sure your voice is heard by going to the roadmap and leave comments on what you think are the most important for us to focus on - https://www.vectorworks.net/en-US/public-roadmap . Everything posted there is being read and looked at and put into context of workflows and the bigger picture.


    • Like 1
  3. Hi, there are a few question-marks here, but first of all - are you trying to import the architect's drawing to yours, or yours into their file? I'm only asking as there are different considerations depending of which way the exchange goes. Yes, if you're referencing the architect building into your file, then you can theoretically just manually move the building into the correct place, rotate it and use your coordinate system, but if you're sending them your file, you have to make sure you both are speaking the same language.

    The problem comes when the architect is setting up their file in Project North (which is understandably the easiest way for them to work). I'm taking it for granted here that the architect file you're working with is setup correctly with the project north and project coordinates, not just 0,0 in the bottom left corner of the building.


    You're doing it correctly in your end by setting up your file with your project close to the Internal Origin and aligning the User Origin so you get the correct cartesian coordinates in your file - this is perfect if you don't have to consider incoming files. However, to ensure smooth collaboration, you must make sure that everyone collaborating on the project have the files setup with the same Internal Origin.

    When this is the case, you can import (or reference) your file into the architect file and rotate it around the Internal origin (or the other way around). This will keep the coordinate system correct. Please note that it has to rotate around the Internal Origin, not the User Origin.

    I would suggest asking them for the Internal Origin's geographical or cartesian coordinates and then make sure you have your file set up with the same IO (this is normally the way it goes, as a project mostly starts with the architect and the landscape has to align to what is already setup).


    This will give you a solid workflow for whatever you want to do with the files later.

    I've added a link below to a document on Revit collaboration - it talks a lot about the issue with origins and how to collaborate between landscape and architecture. even if you don't collaborate with a Revit user, there are a lot of very useful directions in it.


    Let me know how you get along.





    • Like 3
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  4. Hi Amanda,

    Nice looking planting plan.

    Are you using the plant tag or the data tag? If it's the data tag and you've added it to the viewport (as I would recommend), then you should be able edit the style itself and change the size, or scale it in the settings if that is set to 'by instance'.

    (And if you're using the data tag, they wouldn't scale - they would stay the same even if you're changing the scale of the viewport.)

    However, if you're using the built in plant tag (as I guess you are), then you have to go back to the design layer and change the size there (Text > Size) - you can't do that in the viewport. If you're scaling the viewport, then you're scaling the font as well - they're 'part of the image'.



    • Like 1
  5. I know this is a basic suggestion, but have you tried the f key to focus on the project (if nothing happens, sometimes you can go into the right-hand structure list and select one object and then use the f)? If you have a site model, it might be at a higher elevation, and sometimes (depending on how clean your file is) your main model won't be centred at import. 

    Site models imports beautifully into TM - plants are a bit more tricky - if you're using image props, they won't be useful in TM. I normally ignore importing trees until the last step and then replace them with TMs native trees (you can 'batch'-replace), as you then get both the growth-ability, seasons and movement.


    • Like 1
  6. Hi,

    The Plant tool has 'graduated' in 2022 so plants are now 'true styles' - this has changed a few workflows and you've got many new great possibilities with it.

    You can now use the worksheet to push data back to the plant style itself and hence work more actively with it instead of just using it for a report. This is a huge advantage, for example if you have sent out the plant schedule to a nursery and have received a list of subs or available scheduled sizes. You can then go in and edit the styles via the worksheet instead of having to go in to each individual plant style and change this. This is an important step in keeping the planting plan 'true' to what is being built and something that is often missed in a workflow. 

    You can even change the spread and height of a plant via the worksheet and this will then be adjusted in the drawing.

    However, this has removed the ability to (via the worksheet) put in info, different per each instance of the style - if you change something belonging to the style, it will 'push' to the style itself for all existing instances in the file - hence the warning. You can see the effect this has if you go in to the style and look in the 'Planting Schedule Comments' field - your number has become a part of the plant style itself in the file.

    The only difference for your workflow is that you have to respond 'yes' to the pop-up warning. We can discuss this with the developers and see if it's possible to add an opt-out for the warning, so you don't have to do this every time. Theoretically, this would be possible - however, this is such an important change in how the worksheet interacts with the styles, that it might have to be there. I'll keep you updated on what they say.


    I know change is always a bit cumbersome in the beginning, especially if it inflicts on a preferred, ingrained workflow. I do hope you'll find the changes to the plant styles positive as a whole, even if the numbering of the plant list has changed slightly.

    I'm also interested in how you're using the worksheet - I can't see any quantities in the list above, so maybe you're using it as a key or legend? 

    • Like 2
  7. Hi Tara,

    I've just made a quick test of the example you're describing and I only get 25 trees. Can you share your criteria for the selection, please? Maybe I'm missing something?

    You can see below what I've been using. I've summarised the items for Latin name and summed the values for count, hence only one line.

    Screenshot 2022-01-29 at 06.50.25.png

    Screenshot 2022-01-29 at 06.54.39.png

  8. Hi Laura,


    The plant tag has been included in the style after requests from many of our users. It also a part of making the plant styles work more like the other styles in Vectorworks. I understand that this new setup doesn’t suit everyone, and I would wholeheartedly recommend using the data tag instead if you find the new settings incompatible with your workflow.

    The data tag is super flexible, you can change the look and the content and you have much more control of the placing of the tags. 
    I was very doubtful to the data tag at the beginning, thinking that ‘I already have a tag in the plant tool’, but I had to eat my hat after using it for a while. 
    The biggest advantage is that you can place the tags in the viewport (where all annotations belong) instead of in the design layer. 
    You can also align the tags much easier working with the data tag. 
    I’ll post a link to a short recording of a good workflow a bit later today. If you still have any questions after that, let me know and we can set up a Zoom to go through it.

  9. Hi, what version are you working in? If you're before 2022, the issue is probably that you have set the Plant tool preferences to a size other than the style setting. The settings here are 'sticky', so if you've used them for one plant, they'll stay on until you manually change them. I suggest to always place all plants with the settings 'use plant style' for all available fields. If you later have to change some instances, you can then do it via the OIP.

    • Like 1
  10. You could use the pad with retaining edge. Set the pad to desired level and then the Landmark > send to surface command, the 'fit the retaining edge' mode. (see screenshot). This will create a nice and even edge at the top, draping the existing site model.

    Screenshot 2021-08-11 at 10.52.24.png

    Screenshot 2021-08-11 at 10.49.33.png

    • Like 1
  11. Hej Lisa,


    Yes, unfortunately, it's not possible to create non-vertical edges with the landscape area at the moment, but it's definitely on the wish list!

    At the moment, I resort to modelling. I've modelled some of the most common tree pits and added materials to these, so I can get a report on quantities. 

    If you're calculating C&F, you can then also add site modifiers (3D polygons placed in the Site-DTM-Modifier class) to the edges of the pit.

    I assume you wouldn't need all the detail in your model, i.e. membranes? 
    You can also add things like pipes going through and get the correct volume by subtracting the volume from the pit (the same way as the rootball)

    Screenshot 2021-02-25 at 15.35.02.png

    Screenshot 2021-02-25 at 15.44.28.png

    Screenshot 2021-02-25 at 15.44.02.png

    • Like 1
  12. There is a way to do this but it's a bit involved and everyone opening your file would have to have the same setup, otherwise it won't work (the fields in the plant catalogs and the Plant styles are separate 'entities' so even if you can add anything to the catalog, they'd need a corresponding field in the plant style as well). A better way to do this might be to use one of the existing fields for the specific kind of information that you want to use, even if the 'title' is wrong. (You can change the heading in the worksheet when reporting on the plants or just refer to the field in the data tag, if you're using them). Or, the best would be as Tony suggests, create a record and attach it.

    • Like 3
  13. Hi Scott,


    I don't know if you're still looking into this one. I would suggest that you're using Data Visualisation instead of viewport override.

    Attached is a screenshot of two landscape areas in three different viewports. The first one is without any DV, in the second one I've asked it to look at the individual names in the Landscape areas and coloured them different grey according to this.

    In the third one I've done the same thing but asked it to use hatches instead. Of course you can choose anything you want as the parameters, this is just an example.


    You have a much bigger scope with Data Visualisation - and from 2020 you can use it in design layers as well, not just viewports (I often use it for planting schemes where I want to see (while I'm working) how much of the planting is deciduous and how much is evergreen).

    Screenshot 2020-08-16 at 13.00.14.png

  14. Yes, you can set them up exactly as you want them. They're much more powerful, AND more future-proof as well - if the same tool is used through all the disciplines and for all different geometry, there will be more reason to develop it and fine tune it.

    Start by using the data tags that comes with Landmark, and when you know exactly what you want, create your own style.

    • Like 1
  15. Hi, why don't you use the data tags instead of the built in tags in the plant tool and the landscape area tool? It is much better, you can place the tags in the viewport's annotation and they update if you make changes to the planting plans, just like the built in tags.

    You wouldn't have an issue with them showing up in the other viewport either.

    • Like 1
  16. Hi, any CAD program has a 'safe-zone' where you can work. If you're too far away from the internal origin (you should always have this visible so you can see where you are. Turn it on by going to Tools>Origin>Locate internal origin), otherwise the rounding of large numbers will play tricks with your geometry and the overall performance.

    There are several ways you can achieve this.

    If your file is NOT Georeferenced: Ensure all layers and classes are visible and selectable, select all (cmd A) and use the 'fit to objects' command to see everything. Then draw a circle around all the geometry (remember - ALL the geometry has to be included, even that tiny rogue text block fifty miles from the main drawing area). If the circle is more than 5km in radius, move your geometry closer to each other. Important - ensure that the centre of the circle is on a whole number (so the origin will end up on a whole x and y) - otherwise you'll never be able to precicely  align your model with somebody else's work if you export it.

    Next step is to go to Tools>Origin>Centre drawing on internal origin. This will do what it says on the box - the drawing will be centred on the internal origin. It will not affect your x and y coordinates.


    If your file is georeferenced, you have to set up the file correctly with the project origin lining up with the internal origin before you import anything. This is a vital step and should be included in the template setup.

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