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Daniel B. Chapman

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    Scenery, Lighting Design & Production
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    United States

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  1. @Andy I'm pretty sure that's "Architect's Daughter". It is a cheeky drafting font.
  2. @Antti, No the response from Nikolay was off topic (I didn't need a channel hookup) and, honestly, I had forgotten about this topic. I was able to solve this using the Object Function `[#N#]` (which means name). It wasn't intuitive at all, but you can link the text in the Tag to a dynamic text field. I then used that to tag all of these architectural LED instances. Your point about lacking a basic tag in the libraries is valid, this took me quite a while to figure out. I don't remember the full process, but it was worthwhile when I finally finished it. My real problem here was tagging this information to match an outside model for previz. -Daniel
  3. I want to preface `this rant/feature request/bug report` as coming from a long standing user, professor, industry professional, and enthusiast. I'm not really looking for a workaround or a third party tool: I want Vectorworks to natively fix the following issues. I also develop a piece of software that uses the XML Data Exchange so I have a fairly deep knowledge of how Vectorworks functions. These are core issues in the program. MVR does address several of these issues indirectly, but the export and import of raw data is a critical part of many workflows and it should either be depreciated or fixed. File -> Import -> Lighting Device Data Data Import needs to import Position/Rotation data when a fixture is created and the field is included in Data Exchange or via the Import. Currently the tool creates "Orphans" for anything it can't match and ignores Position X/Y/Z. This fails in metric or imperial with the format of `#.##m` or `#.##'`. I suspect this is because anything that is "unmatched" is set as an orphan and the position is ignored. This makes moving data from another program into Vectorworks. As a side note I believe this behavior is present in the Data Exchange workflow as well, because when I add a light and provide `PosX/Y/Z` data via the XML it also appears as an orphan without the correct position. The identifier should also be allowed in mappings a second time as Vectorworks disposes of it if it doesn't match a UUID. As such I can't synchronize another drawing to Vectorworks UUIDs by doing an import, export to sync up the UUID, and then reimporting to try to correct position information. Workflow example: I use my software to examine dimensions offset from zero and correct minor errors like x:=`15'-6.23"` and correct it to x:=`15'-6"` Workflow Example: Export data from Capture 2020 or lower into Vectorworks I suspect there are other fields that are ignored/suppressed and that logic should be audited Data Exchange Seems to suffer from the same issues which is not surprising Spotlight Data Exchange (Feature Request) This API should be documented and exposed. It is a simple XML exchange and I was able to reverse engineer it in a couple of hours, but it would be nice to have some documentation on how Vectorworks processes the files. Excel Import/Export (Feature Request) Given the fact Excel exchange is now standard in the architectural modules I would like to see lighting device data exchanged via Excel in Spotlight as well. We used to have this with the "Editable Worksheet" back in Vectorworks 12 (not 2012)--I can't remember exactly when it was eliminated but that was a huge blow to productivity. It seems like we're basically there again, and, I suspect implementing this would address my concerns above. In Conclusion Can I make all of the above work? Yes, but (as I discovered while teaching a class on lighting design) these tools behave inconsistently and in a clunky manner with no easy solutions. It would be nice to see 10 or 20 developer hours spent cleaning up these scripts and I would be happy to volunteer my time to explain--in detail--the issues to a developer if they don't understand the industry enough to make an adequate feature request. I realize the vast majority of my posts on this forum come across as crotchety at best, but that is because I come here when I have a problem I can not solve on my own. I really miss the basic export/import functionality from Vectorworks as it was a good way to teach how the software thinks, how data works, and why some tools are preferable to others. The database has always been the strength of Vectorworks and this has eroded in recent years. For someone like me who has their own database and workflow for production this amounts to being hamstrung in my workflow. My students prefer to visualize in Capture and draft in Vectorworks, but for the first time I can remember several of them have opted to create paperwork and plots in Capture rather than use Vectorworks at all and this is a major contributing factor, hence my post. -Daniel B. Chapman
  4. I'm teaching a course on 3D drafting I just ran into a situation where I would love to directly edit the rotation values for x/y/z on a 3D symbol or other object. Is there a place to make this available in the Object Info Pallet? Is there any other place to visualize this data?
  5. @markdd Thanks, that does improve it but I'm still seeing the sharp edges. Is there any way to set the smoothing on a texture? With a crease angle of 170 It starts to look a little better, but I wouldn't call this modern smoothing by any means. Are there any other smoothing options?
  6. Is there a way to force Vectorworks to smooth-shade an object? I have some low-poly natural objects that I would like to render as smooth in Renderworks but I don't see a lot of options short of working through the model from every edge. I can easily render this out in a program like Blender but I am interested in recreating the rendering in Vectorworks if possible. Vectorworks (High 3D Conversion) Smooth Shading (this is the same STL file):
  7. Mark, Thanks for the information. I think the 3D loci are an extraneous step. I ran into a lot of issues while trying to edit a symbol afterwards and I gave up on it. I was also unable to reproduce the buggy behavior after creating some new symbols...despite the fact I was able to reproduce it consistently up until that point. I'll chalk it up to a memory error/cache of some sort and just walk away from it. @JBenghiat Thanks, this is what I expected to happen the first time I created the symbol but it ended up stacking everything on top of itself. I didn't think the 3D loci were necessary and they are not. I personally don't use the multi-circuit instruments as I've always found them buggy and silly (and a simple duplicate array is good enough, but when I'm teaching someone else I like to show them the preferred workflow). If we recreate it I'll file a bug report. My workflow was (2D only): Insert the parts as symbols, not instruments Select them all and make a symbol Attach the Light Info Record from the Resource Browser Insert The broken library symbol is the Altman `Light Instr Selecon Aurora Cyc 3`. I deleted the clamps, cleaned it, made it from scratch and it works now, but I can't seem to fix it even by editing the symbol and removing everything but the light symbols. Any additional insight is welcome, honestly this isn't that high a priority, but it is quite frustrating.
  8. I had a friend reach out to me for help inserting a multi-circuit symbol and getting it to work with a database and this doesn't seem to be working properly. I used the `Selecon Aurora Cyc 3` as a test case and it doesn't insert properly (it treats the light as a single). I realized this is because it has a light info record so I created my own symbol out of the parts without the record: When I insert this I end up with just the center cell: The help pages don't indicate a new workflow so I'm perplexed as to what is going on here. The multicell unit created using the menu commands works as expected but it would be nice to have this work with instrument insertion. Can someone point me in the right direction?
  9. @TomWhiteLight @markdd I've updated my simple file to show the Accessories bug, it is a pet peeve. The accessories do show up in the main view but they don't get translated correctly to the Schematic View. Demo.vwx
  10. @TomWhiteLight No, (I've not run into that before). I'm referring to the internal origin on a symbol in this case. The schematic view assumes a "top view" and a center point and the fact we can't customize that is where I think the majority of these issues come from. Basically to get non-horizontal boom to layout properly you need to rotate the original symbol to be normal to the way you want it to display in the schematic view and then rotate that in the world space up. (Long story short: you build the boom flat in 3D then rotate it into your model and it works). The schematic view is displaying the "top view" as the normal of the position symbol you create rather than a normal you can set. (Accessories are just a bug, they need to be fixed so we can add an accessory and have it show up. Fortunately my plots don't really have many scrollers left or this would be a huge issue) Here's the result. I am mistaken, I'm successfully using hanging positions but I don't think I'm using them in the way others are. I've attached a simple file that has the schematics working and not working as well as labels. Basically the root symbol of my hanging position has the normal that is used for the output. That isn't what we're expecting. We're expecting a schematic front or side view to be the 2D representation so we can use complex label legends. A checkbox that says "Use 2D" or "Use 3D" would solve this. I think we need to be able to use a 2D representation from any angle or a 3D representation from any angle. I think what everyone wants is a "show as 2D" checkbox on the schematic view so we can put legends wherever we see fit. Honestly, I'd love that for viewports in general, it would make the schematic view workflow moot. Demo.vwx
  11. @TomWhiteLight Tom, could you point them in the direction of weird origins and normals? I'm very confident that's where the weirdness occurs in the "lighting position" objects. A lot of those plugins have really specific meta-data and they likely need an update. I suspect that's why everyone is having trouble with the hanging positions. (Caveat: I have not used Hanging Positions in over a decade outside of my classroom, and even then I advise against it due to some of the weirdness). It is actually a bummer. I would really like the auto-numbering to work when I'm in a rush on corporate shows.
  12. @markdd @TomWhiteLight (Sorry for the technical language in advance, this is aimed a programmer reading it). For what it is worth I feel like this tooling problem is actually a question of not being clear about the 3D normal rather than a fundamental flaw with the tool. If you look at my original concerns I'm addressing the fact that in order to get this tool to work you need to "trick it" into the right orientation. Basically I'm defining my output by setting my original models to be normal to my expected output and NOT the 3D model. I think the frustration with this workflow is that we build models, but we don't have the tools to "set an origin and normal" for this particular workflow so it means reworking our 3D models. I would suggest adding the ability to override the side views and instead display the 2D component as an option. That's always been the "Hybrid" workflow and it is what makes Vectorworks unique. Coming from a previz perspective (which is the only time I actually care enough about 3D accuracy to do this) the new workflow is a vast improvement. I would really like to see some detailed response from the dev team in how they envisioned this tool being used. I suspect there's a very specific workflow that was programmed but we don't have access to it. This tool might appear half baked but it is leaps and bounds better than the model/plot views which were buggy, slow, and inaccurate. A response from the developers would be appreciated. (I'm using this actively for a complex box boom as well as booms and it is fine, my real concern is that accessories seem buggy).
  13. @Charlie Winter I'm running QLab and some proprietary stuff for most of my designs and Syphon is a way to share a texture between applications on Mac. I output Syphon rather than a video surface and then use programs to stream that over the network or share with another program. Spout is the Windows equivalent. You might want to look into Open Broadcast Studio (https://obsproject.com/). They have a good NDI plugin where you can stream arbitrary content. For a small video wall it should work fine, but for larger surfaces you need some serious processing power and very fast networks to make it work. I generally use NDI for the previsualization side of things as I'm running at half or even quarter resolution.
  14. Thanks, that might be a good workaround. There's a lot of stuff that doesn't really transfer like specific focuses, emissive meshes (my real problem on this one), and and tweaks to textures/camera/etc... It would be great to be able to mere or copy that data easily between scenes. This is especially important if multiple people are working on the project. I was able to work backwards from my most complicated file and just merge the rest into it but the next time I'm in this venue I know I'm going to want to save the tweaks to their rep plot.
  15. I just noticed I can't seem to merge a v3s file into another v3s file. Is there a way to export or copy data between "scenes"? I have some really complicated scenery AND some really complicated projection mapping (fake shadows and a bunch of other silly stuff) AND a complicated rep plot AND the plot for the show. Ideally I'd like to be able to reuse and work on these separately. Am I missing something here?
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