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Posts posted by SamIWas

  1. Thanks everyone for making me think.  I got it all working.  The original problem was not drawing on the "ground".  That as fixed by either using 3D polys, or using the 1160 variable.  Then, I couldn't get the polys to go away.  That was fixed with the DelObject calls, which for some strange reason, I missed.

  2. 6 hours ago, Pat Stanford said:

    Check and see if the CreateCustomObjectPath command is more to your liking. It will make a solid object instead of a bunch of surfaces.


    It is a newer command and more likely to work they way you are asking for.



    I couldn't figure out how to make that one work at all.  I have managed to get the strange rotation issues dealt with by using 3D polys as the path and profile instead of rectangles.  But I still can't get them to go away once the extrude is made.  I'm left with the extrude and floating polygons.

  3. I am trying to do a very simple extrude along path in Vectorscript to basically make a square or circle tube box.   When drawing, I simply create a rectangle for the path, a rectangle or circle for the profile, and run "Extrude Along Path".


    I have managed to get Vectorscript to make the object, but I'm running into a few problems:

    1. It seems to draw these things on screen plane rather than using basic world coordinates.  I tried setting the plane, but that didn't appear to do anything.

    2. It leaves the 2D objects there.


    This is a test section of code.  It should create an 80x80 box of 2" square tube.  It does, but it is always perpendicular to the camera, and not flat on "ground level".   I tried using "SetWorkingPlace".  I know I'm doing something wrong, or leaving something out.  Any leads?

                    struc2:= LNewObj;

  4. 9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

    I have zero experience with Cinema (or Rhino, or SketchUp, or other 3d modeling software).  Does Cinema have some kind of optimization that automatically treats duplicates as equivalents of vwx symbol instances?


    No.  I believe what Cinema does is just save the object as two splines, their location, and the location of the sweep.  So, instead of saving a crapload of polygon info, it's just saving the poly line definitions, which is just a few numbers, and the locations, which is just some coordinates.  It's a tiny snippet of text.  As far as the more complex geometry, I'm assuming it just has a different method of storing the definitions.


    9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

    The vwx file size of 1Mb for the 100 symbol instances doesn't seem out of line. The curve in my ball foot profile is vwx highest resolution.  Visually, there is NO difference between the instances and the duplicates.  File navigation in vwx is definitely better with the symbols.


    The 1Mb file size for the symbols sounds much more reasonable.


    9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

    I'm concerned that vwx file size is typically larger than other related software, as are many other users. I definitely don't want Vectorworks to have bloatware file size (or does it already?).  But is big vwx file really a problem? Just because it is a big number? Are the main issues file transfer and storage?


    For me, the main issue is transfer and storage.  It's pretty much impossible to email a VW file.  You have to go through web transfer of some sort, which is a pain.  Some of our Dropbox folders are multiple gigabytes (one show is 35GB), which just chews up hard drive space when you are linked to multiple shows.


    9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:


    I see some lag in my bigger files, but not usually a standstill. In my limited use, the software is generally very stable.  And I'm on a 4 year old Retina laptop.


    I have a 6-year old iMac that I run on at home, and it is also quite stable.


  5. 18 minutes ago, Benson Shaw said:

    I don't know the engineering answer to those ideas.  I think the sweep increment is part of the overhead, as well as the profile and offset from 0,0,0.


    Try this in your own way, but here is some file size data from my testing of a new blank file with a "ball" foot.


    Set up

    •Profile is a 3 segment polyline starting at 000, short corner vertex for flat bottom, arc vertex to make the bulge, corner vertex for flat top.

    •Sweep around 000 for total 4" diam, 4" tall"

    •No color fill, no texture.

    •Select the sweep, then Edit>Rectangular Array 10x10 to make 100 duplicates:


    File size data

    • Sweep at .70° increment (default)>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.614 MB
    • Sweep at .70° increment (default)>10x10 rectangular array = 100 copies of the sweep> Save, Close, Get Info = 57.1 MB
    • Reopen>Delete all but the original sweep. Change increment to 10°. Array to 100 copies>Save, Close, Get Info = 47.3 MB
    • Reopen>Delete all but the original. Set increment .70°. Create Symbol of the sweep. Array 100 instances>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.938 MB
    • Reopen>Delete the Sweep & all Resources (file is blank)>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.143 MB

    The sweeps are about .5MB ea.  The symbol instances are about .01MB ea. 




    Man, that's just wrong.  A file with 100 simple sweep objects taking nearly 50MB of space?  Just tried it in Cinema with 1000 4x4 sweeps with 1˚ increment and 1˚ detail on the rounded profile.  3.2 MB file.   I've always thought the file sizes of VWX files were a little ridiculous.  That sounds like an engineering issue to get such a huge file size with 100 simple sweeps.

    • Like 1
  6. 19 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

    15 mb doesn’t seem huge, but there are savings available esp via symbols.


    Create symbols for any repeating elements.


    The round feet - are those sweeps? Small increments?  4 symbol instances are about .25 file size of 4 sweeps. Modeling via NURBS lofts might be even smaller size symbol than sweep symbols.


    Side assembly - symbol containing the machined board symbol and molding symbol. Mirror for opposite side.


    Door assembly - Create a nested symbol containing symbols of the cross battens, frame pieces (is left frame a mirrored version of right? Top a mirror of bot?), backing board, hardware. Mirror sub assemby symbols s and whole door symbol  as needed. 


    Pulls & hinges nested in the door symbol - instances of symbols containing  pull or hinge object symbol and screw symbols.


    Curved geometry, eg extrude along path moldings with intricate profiles,  and PIOs can be heavy file overhead. As noted above, generic solids can save size. Modeling directly with  NURBS (eg lofts instead of sweeps) or converting to NURBS can also reduce size. 






    Should parametric 3-D parts take much space at all?   A sweep should take very, very little space.  It's two poly lines to the program, and the file shouldn't have to store the actual 3D info.  But, VW may not function that way and may save the full 3D information.  


    Cinema 4D is much, much better at managing file size.  Even my biggest projects with tons of high-poly sculpted 3-D objects are well under 200MB.  I have some where an entire museum gallery model including a sculpted sand floor, a lighting grid, a ramped glass deck, and a dozen sculpted poly objects has a file size of 10.5 MB.  Another is an entire museum exhibit...every wall, case, scenic object, pipe, and lighting fixture, for a 10,000 square foot exhibit...total file size is 45MB.  Contrast that with my current smallest soundstage with a simple mid-size apartment set, a tiny room set,  and a few lights...file size 155MB.  I do have a lot of lighting symbols and some textures files,  but still...

    • Like 1
  7. The container solution is exactly how I do DMX addresses, because it's the only real way to deal with it.  An alternative, but error-prone way of dealing with it, is to use a user field for your display info.


    I really want VW, or at least spotlight, to have an "auto calculation" parameter type where it could auto-create certain field styles based on a combination of other field info.  I use this extensively in Filemaker.  For instance, when I have a Universe and Address field, I have a separate field which auto calculates to the universe, a dot, and then the address in three-digit mode (Universe 6, address 37 calculates as 6.037), for paperwork.  This would be invaluable for things like circuit name and number,  so that circuit 2A 5 doesn't become 5 2A when you rotate your symbol.  

  8. I programmed Vectorscript for ten years before I finally delved into creating custom plugins.  I don't know why it took me so long. If you can write Vectorscript, it's pretty simple to create a custom plugin.  I've now created numerous tools for cabling, networking, racks, and others.  I did it for the same reason you are looking for: to have the info on the shape panel instead of the data panel.  And because with a plugin, you can do drop-down menus, checkboxes, enter actual dimensions, hide parameters based on others,  etc.  So much more versatile than data.

  9. On 11/9/2017 at 5:19 PM, Don Seidel said:

    While a Filemaker user for some 20+ years, I enjoyed the fact you could get an awful lot accomplished without fancy scripting/programming. My point about it being year 2017 is that ODBC is supposed to be the magic key to link to different DB's. As long as you have assigned fields in each DB to sync, the process should be just so simple. There's only 3 options for crying' out loud; force data one direction, the opposite, or sync (with most recent entry as conflict resolution).


    Yes of course the programming is more involved that that, but why on earth can't the interface be just so simple? For example: I take a Window plug-in and insert it into a wall, with options I choose. It's done. Next task. There's no desire or need for me to learn the programming language to make that happen.


    I have been a Vectorworks and Filemaker user since around 2004.  I write complex scripts in Vectorscript and entire multi-table, relational, script-driven databases in Filemaker.  I still, after more than a decade of trying, cannot get VW and FM to talk to each other over ODBC.  Every few months, I get the desire to try again, and every single time, it's an abject failure.  Something that should be fairly simple (especially for someone with a fairly deep understanding of scripting) and would change the way I develop my workflow, but I just can not get it to work.  


    If someone has managed to get VW and FM to talk over ODBC on a mac, I would love to hear from you!!  


    Obviously, it can work because LightWrite and Vectorworks do it.  

  10. On 9/1/2017 at 1:04 PM, JimW said:

    Right, those are some that (at least primarily) make their own UI rather than using included system elements. C4D for instance has its own version of the menu bar contained within the application window which gives them greater control that I am jealous of.


    For me, Cinema4D's UI is the best UI out there. Infinitely customizable and easy on the eyes.  You can arrange your windows however you want, group them, tab them, adjust the font and color or every item. Just great. 

    And FAST. 

    • Like 1
  11. 31 minutes ago, halfcouple said:


    Yes, that's exactly the point!


    And many thanks to digitalcarbon for the video! This exactly describes my daily pain with VW Hidden Line rendering !


    Yes. All I need is what OpenGL does with "show edges", but actually showing all of the edges (or better yet, based on angle)  and no shading. That alone would fix everything I've been looking for. 

  12. On 11/3/2017 at 4:20 PM, zoomer said:

    I, on the Apple side, still hope for a Touch Monitor from Apple.


    You better watch it!  I asked for this on a Mac users forum and was strongly criticized for even suggesting such a thing.  Essentially, if Apple doesn't have it, then Apple should never have it because it's not a product which should exist.  


    But, what I found is that MacOS doesn't even support touchscreens.  As in, you cannot go buy a touchscreen and plug it into your iMac or MacBook and use it.  Amazing.  EDIT: I should add that I mean standard, off-the-shelf touchscreens.  

  13. 4 hours ago, Miguel Barrera said:

    You can also use ODBC to connect to databases either from VW directly or programmatically with vectorscript. You can find a connection example at




    and all routines at




    I've been trying for more than a decade to get Vectorworks and Filemaker to talk using ODBC.  Not with Vectorscript, but just through their built-in options.  I was successful like one time many years ago for a brief trial on one file.  It amazes me how difficult it is to get that working.



    As for the OP, exporting all of your info should be a pretty simple script.  I have a large number of scripts which import information out in tab-separated files for import into Filemaker.  They all use the calls Sam Jones specified above:

    • Open(filename)
    • PutFile;
    • Write;
    • WriteLn;
    • Tab(1);

    A quick example of just the write lines:

            Write(GetRField(h,'LED Ribbon','ID'));Tab(1);
            IF GetRField(h,'LED Ribbon','Location')='' THEN WRITE ('-') ELSE Write(GetRField(h,'LED Ribbon','Location'));Tab(1);
            IF GetRField(h,'LED Ribbon','Position')='' THEN WRITE ('-') ELSE Write(GetRField(h,'LED Ribbon','Position'));Tab(1);


    These are all using the same record format, but you could use any number and mixture of them.

  14. On 9/18/2017 at 1:18 AM, Gabriel Chan said:

    Interesting how we set up our lighting plots. Always so much to learn on the forum :) I usually set up my plot with layers for the venue, scenic (one layer per act/scene), and for lighting, I tend to split them into overheads, floor/booms, Front of House. They get more complicated with the DLVP for vertical positions, but that's generally the gist of it.


    I guess it's a matter of preference as to how MA layers are setup. I usually patch by position, which granted is definitely a more laborious way of patching as opposed to "genre". I do that because its easier for chief electricians to trace patch IDs on the console and sometimes, technicians (not the chiefs of course) get rotated on shifts, so that makes things somewhat easier. So exporting layers to MA via Position came naturally in my option.


    So let's say if we do patch by "genre", would the new class options by VWX Spotlight help? Those new classes such as "Lighting-Moving Lights", "Lighting-Conventionals" that are automatically, and somewhat annoyingly added. Just thinking out loud.




    Sure. Then that goes back to designing my VW plot layer or class structure  around the grandMA patch: Having to build classes solely for patch. Then I have to make sure all those classes are turned on or off in whatever viewports and saved views. That is a LOT more work then just being able to specify a patch layer in a user field. 

  15. 6 hours ago, Gabriel Chan said:

    I wouldn't actually say that the VW drawing needs to be designed specifically around the export. In fact, with the way I already draft lighting plots, the plugin sort of works intuitively; you get a few options as to how you want to approach the export, so there might be one that suits others better.

    As for deriving from user fields, of course that's a nice thing to have, but then that means entering data twice, once in your patch and then in the user fields. Seems like more work and room for error. The point of the plugin is to streamline workflow so having another user field data entry sounds counterintuitive?


    Not sure I follow.  The plugin gives you four options for exporting layers from Vectorworks to MA: Design Layers, Classes, Fixture Type, or Position.  Now, I don't know how you draft your plots, or how you do your layers on MA.  But I know that my plots have layers for scenic, rigging, fixtures, cable, racks, etc.  And I have classes for lots of things, but I do not class fixtures based on layer.  In no way would I design my Design Layer and Class structure around exporting to MA, so those two are out.  Fixture Type and Position remain.  On MA, I have layers separated by "genre"...so "Conventional", "Movers", "LED", "Worklights", "FixtureMart".  Since those don't jive with anything I would do in Vectorworks, those are out.  


    I'm not sure how having a user field for layer is entering data twice.  Where am I entering the layer info in the patch and a user field?

  16. 7 hours ago, jah011 said:



    Symbol you included has no record fields etc... or it doesent work with my VW? just checking. it  looks like standard symbol with text.


    Ill try Help files for adding record fields, first time i hear about it.





    Did you go into the data tab of the Object Info Palette?  If you don't see the fields there, then you definitely have an issue.


    If you want the data fields on the shape tab, then you have to create a custom plug in object, which is a whole different animal.

  17. I have a PIO that I've created which has some text elements and those text elements must have a background fill to be readable.  My VW preferences are always set to create text without background fill, and unfortunately, this appears to affect PIOs regardless of PIO code.  


    This is a snippet of the code:

    TextFont(GetFontID('Avenir Next Bold'));

    No matter what I set FillPat two, it doesn't seem to make the text have a fill color.  I'm not finding something to set the fill color attribute to "solid" without using FillPat.  Am I missing something?


  18. This could be done as a plugin object, which would give you more control, or as a simple symbol with a record attached, which would be easy and could be made in minutes with no scripting involved.


    For the simple symbol, do the following steps (not detailed with every step):

    • Draw your symbol as it will be needed, with the text formatted in place
    • Select all objects involved, and create the symbol, being careful to select the right insertion point
    • Create a record format with the fields you need to change in the symbol such as height and depth (in this case, it will only change the visible text labels).
    • Add fields to the record format of the number type, and format them as a dimension.
    • Edit the symbol
    • Make sure nothing is selected in the edit symbol window and attach your new record format in the OIP.
    • Select each text field then use the "Link Text To Record" command to assign a record field to a text object.

    The attached file has an example.

    Data Symbol.vwx

    • Like 1
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