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Vectorworks, Inc Employee
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Posts posted by klinzey

  1. @jay_coke It is what I originally suspected and probably the most common mistake people make when building symbols. The geometry in the lighting device symbol did not have a texture applied so the geometry of the lighting device was casting a complete shadow, not allowing the light to escape from the lighting device geometry. I edited the symbol and applied the default instrument texture to all the geometry in the symbol and then rendered.

    Pink Clouds v2021.vwx

  2. You can leave cast shadows/soft shadows on for the light but adjust the shadows option for the texture(s) applied to the objects.

    Fair warning, soft shadows are very soft.


    Screen Shot 2020-10-20 at 1.26.55 PM.png

    You need to use the settings on both the light and the texture to achieve the desired results.  This also means you need to apply a texture to an object, if there is no texture applied the object will be rendered with cast and receive shadows on.


  3. @JacksonBGray From your email address it looks like you may be using the educational version?  You should get an email confirmation once your information is verified.

    If you were given a new serial number please look at the email and verify the version, each version of Vectorworks uses a unique serial number so the 2021 serial number will not work with 2020.
    If you are still having issues I would contact tech support directly.

  4. I have seen this before with other applications when pushing the Mac hard fro a long period of time.

    Make sure you plug the charger directly into Macbook, no hubs or adapters.

    Use one of the connectors towards the rear.


    If you search around you will find recommendations from some people on which ports to use for power and which ones to use for data because of the architecture of the boards. From experience it's been passing power thru a hub that has caused most of the issues.

    • Like 1
  5. @BenG It's very strange that you are getting the error when not launching Vectorworks. When you check your task manager does it show Vectorworks running? Do you have any 3rd party launcher utilities installed?

    The process should be started when launching Vectorworks, it doesn't start up on it's own.

  6. Could be many things, can you post the file or a sample?
    The first place I would look are your texture, all Renderworks modes use the cast & receive shadow options set by the texture.

    The lighting devices supplied by Vectorworks have the Default Instrument texture applied to the geometry with the cast shadows option unchecked to allow light to come out of the fixture.

    Also look for objects in the path of the light that do not have a texture applied, I've seen them act differently in OpenGL and Renderworks when casting shadows.

  7. "Additional Default Records" works just like the "Light Info Record", data is only read from the record when the lighting device is placed or replaced. The information does NOT sync automatically when data is changed on an existing lighting device.

  8. Did you make any changes to the default instrument texture?  or import another fixture into the document?

    Can you still the light, but not the shutters?

    Did you turn on soft shadows?

    Try using a gobo and see if it renders. Shutters and gobos are very similar to the renderer.

    Try to copy and paste one of the lights to a new file and see if it works in a new blank file.

    • Like 1
  9. Accessories now utilize the parts record to determine which part of the fixture they rotate with. If there is no parts record attached it defaults to being placed at the front of the fixture and rotating with the body of the fixture, as this was the default behavior for all accessories in prior versions.

    For clamps and other accessories that attach to the base of the fixture the parts record should be attached to the symbol and the Base filed should be selected.

    Concept: Lighting accessories


    We will look into the issue of the geometry not updating after editing the symbol.

  10. Preparing High-Quality Textures in Vectorworks for Export to Vision 2021

    In Vectorworks, textures are composed of “shaders” that control color, reflectivity, transparency, and surface details like bumps and indentations. The shader settings include default options such as Brick, Plastic, and Cloth, or the option to use image files. Vision works best when images are provided that match the size and complexity of the textured objects.


    This workflow describes the image requirements and shader settings in Vectorworks that result in high-quality textures in Vision. Several of the shader settings in Vectorworks do not apply to Vision; only the useful settings are described below.



    Vision’s default texture resembles a non-reflective gray plastic. Special tips are provided for creating metallic textures that clearly reflect the surrounding scene.


    Getting Started

    1. From the Resource Manager, do one of the following to open the Edit Texture dialog box. For an overview of the parameters, see “Creating a new texture” in the Vectorworks help.
      • To create a texture, click New Resource. Select Renderworks Texture, and then click Create.
      • To edit an existing texture, right-click on the texture resource, and select Edit from the context menu.
    2. If you’re editing an existing texture, remove any shaders that do not use image files. For example, de-select Metallic, Glass, or Noise if these options were specified for the Color, Reflectivity, Transparency, or Bump shaders.
      • Initially, removing these shaders will make the texture look less realistic. The following steps will add high-quality details.
      Correct Incorrect
      NoProceduralShaders.png ProceduralShaders.png

    3. When using image-based shaders, select images with sufficient quality. The optimal resolution depends on the size and detail requirements of the textured object.
      • For example, a guitar string may only require a 1x1 resolution Reflectivity image, whereas a mountain may require a 4096x4096 Color image for adequate detail. Typically, a resolution of 256x256 or 512x512 is sufficient.
      Correct Incorrect
      HighRes.png LowRes.png

    4. If the texture has just one color, set the Color shader to the desired Color (this is an exception to the image-based workflow). An image-based shader should only be used to provide multiple colors and more detail.
      • To create a metal texture, use a full black (0,0,0) Color shader. Do one of the following to specify the black shader:
        • Set the shader to Obj Attributes and specify a black fill color for the object.
        • Set the shader to Color and select the black Color from the Edit Color Shader dialog box.
      Metal Color

    5. All Reflectivity shaders should be set to Image. Brighter images reflect more light.
      • Non-metal textures should use grayscale images.
      • Metal textures should use colored images that match the metal’s color.
        • For simple objects with a single color and no fine details, use a small-resolution image. For example, use a 1x1 silver image for a guitar string.
        • For complex objects with multiple colors, use larger, more detailed images. For example, use a 512x512 gold Reflectivity image for a glittering set piece.
      Non-Metal Reflectivity Image Metal Reflectivity Image
      Reflectivity.png MetalReflectivityImage.png

    6. The blurriness of a reflectivity image determines how blurry or sharp the reflection appears. To set the blurriness, click Edit next to the Reflectivity dropdown in the Edit Texture dialog box. The Edit Image Reflectivity dialog box opens; enter the Blurriness percentage. Lower values create sharper specular highlights and more mirror-like reflections of the object’s environment.
      • Enter lower values for smooth and shiny metals or plastics. Enter higher values for carpeting, rough plastic, or dull metals.

    Tips for Best Performance

    1. To add detail without slowing the program, apply a Transparency shader or Bump shader to a low-polygon extrude instead of using a complex mesh object.
      • Transparency shaders should use black and white images with no gray. White will be rendered and black will not.
        • For example, create a chain link fence by applying a Transparency shader to indicate the gaps.
      • Bump shaders should use grayscale images. Black represents the elevated, or “bumped,” areas and gray shows the indentations. Lighter shades of gray look more indented.
        • For example, a brick texture should use black for the bricks and gray for the sunken mortar.


    Verifying Texture Quality in Vision

    1. Export the scene as a .mvr file, then change the extension to .zip, and extract the contents.

      Extract MVR

    2. Check the quality of all exported images. In Vectorworks, replace any images that don’t meet the requirements described above.

    3. Import the .mvr file in Vision.

    4. Add lighting and environmental features for more realistic renderings. In the Document Preferences, specify a Background Color or Panoramic Background for the scene, and then experiment with the Sun Azimuth and Elevation settings and the Ambient Color.

      Panoramic Background

    5. In the Vision Preferences, set the Texture Quality to Very High.

      Texture Quality

    6. Do the following in the Document Preferences:

      • Select Render Specular to check the specular reflectivity. Metallic objects should use the metal’s color.
        • White indicates high reflectivity.
        • Black indicates no reflectivity.
        • Gray indicates low reflectivity.
        • Color indicates metal reflectivity.
      Correct Incorrect
      CorrectRenderSpec.png IncorrectRenderSpec.png
      • Select Render Normals to check the bump and indentation effects. Verify that the protruding or indented geometry is facing the right direction:
        • Red indicates left-facing normals.
        • Green indicates top-facing normals.
        • Blue indicates front-facing normals.
      Correct Incorrect
      CorrectRenderNorm.png IncorrectRenderNorm.png

    7. On the Properties palette, check the Specular Power for various textures. This value depends on the Blurriness setting in Vectorworks.

      Metal Cloth
      MetalSpecPow.png ClothSpecPow.png
      • High blurriness results in low specular power, and vice versa. This means that rough and dull textures will not have bright highlights or clearly reflect the environment.
      Blurriness Specular Power
      100% 1.0
      80% 4.0
      50% 32.0
      20% 256.0
      0% 1024.0

    8. If the color of a metal texture does not look right, try lowering the Blurriness value in Vectorworks.

    9. Turn up the Ambient Intensity with the Document Preference or keyboard shortcuts. Navigate the scene to verify that textures look right in full ambient lighting.

      Correct Incorrect
      CorrectTexturing.png IncorrectTexturing.png


  11. Try using the DMX recorder in Vision to record part of the cue you are seeing the issue.

    Play it back with just Vision running and see if the problem happens the same way.

    Render out a movie using the DMX recording and see if that looks the same. (Use a resolution like 720.)


    If the movie looks correct then Vision isn't keeping up with the real time rendering for one reason or another.

    If the movie doesn't look right then it's either something with the DMX or Vision but with the DMX recording it should be the same every time.

    Playing back the DMX recording in Vision should look the same every time.


    If the Vision file, DMX recording, and the EOS file are small enough you can post them here. (The DMX recording is usually large, but zips up to be very small.)

  12. What console and protocol are you using?

    What fixture(s) are having the issue?

    Dies the same random thing happen every time you run the cue?

    Is the cue that's having issues or is it the transition between cues where you are seeing the problem?

    Are you on an isolated network? Vision listens to all DMX traffic on the network, so if there is someone else transmitting on the same network Vision will see it and process it.

    If you are running the free version of EOS, and possibly others, remember it randomly backs out the DMX to prevent you from using it for a real show.

  13. We have found that because of the way ETC Nomad works, it must be connected to a network to obtain an IP address. If it does not have an valid IP address it does not transmit network packets even if you are using the same machine. (No, the loop back address doesn't count.) You have the right ideal with the hub, but nut needs to be a router rather than a hub or a switch but it doesn't have to be connected to the internet.


    You can run Vision and Nomad on the same machine as long as the machine obtains an IP address from the router.

    The DMX packets are broadcast across the network and Vision will see them, no special configuration is required.


    Are both machines Windows machines?

    We have users running Vision on the Mac report issues when connecting with sACN, possibly because of multi-casting or router issues, so try using ArtNet.




  14. The Vision library files should be shared between Vision and Vectorworks if everything is the same version on the same computer.

    If you are using different versions or manually updated the library in Vision or Vectorworks they may be out of sync.


    Short of deleting and re-installing Vectorworks and Vision I would contact tech support so they can verify that the library files are in the correct shared location. 

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