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Posts posted by aersloat

  1. That theta group stuff looks pretty cool. The basic vectorworks package should probably do you just fine. I don't know that any of the "industy add-ons" would do anything for you. If you are going to be doing any presentation stuff you might want to consider renderworks as well. It isn't all that amazing a product, but it does okay for the money.

    If you have the time you might want to beta test that theta group stuff. I would guess that most of their issues are interface and unit related.

  2. I don't know much of anything about widows, but if you go to versiontracker.com and check their windows tab and do a search for "pdf" you will find a few free and shareware tools for generating pdfs. There is probably a ghostscript implementation for windows as well. In general you will need to generate a .ps (postscript) file first using Adobe's postscript printer driver.

    Or you can just buy Adobe Acrobat.

  3. What kind of plot files? For what purpose? If you just need to get something output so that a service bureau can plot the files there are at least two free options:

    1> output the files in adobe acrobat format (.pdf) using the OSX printer drivers. There are extensive discussions elsewhere in the forums regarding the many options for creating and editing pdf files.

    2> get your service bureau to download the free vectorworks viewer, which will let them open and print your files.

    As far as buying a plotter is concerned... if you browse the forum topics you will find that there aren't really any good low cost options yet. HP's higher end postscript plotters work great (the 1055cm for instance) but the plotters which rely on software ripping don't work natively yet. There are 3rd party products on their way, but they aren't quite ready yet (microspot).

  4. GJ

    You might want to try out another PPD file other than the HP1055cm one. I wouldn't call the current release of the PPD entirely complete as well. There seem to be a few bugs.

    Apple's printer driver (and associated PDF and .ps renderer) uses the PPD to give you page sizes, rotation, and resolution. It always has. PrinttoPDF and PDFWriter were good in that under OS9 they bypassed Apple's postscript printer driver. I have never used either. Under OS9 we used Distiller on .ps files generated by Apple's Laserwriter (postscript) driver.

    If you are having resolution problems, try sifting through the options in the PPD. Rotation problems I could see-- the 1055 PPD has a confusing array of layout options. You will have to select the option under the printer specific options-- ie rotate: true or false. Try both-- I know that one of them works. As far as file size is concerned-- it may be that your fonts are being embedded and weren't or if you have raster graphics they are being handled differently-- like the preview image is different. Adobe Acrobat (full version) will "optimize" your PDF file for you and should take out anything extraneous. That may cut down on the file sizes. My guess is that Ghostscript will do the same.

    The MacGhostView program has a precompiled "macps2pdf_osx" application which is drag and drop. It is hard to get any quicker and easier than that.

    Good luck. If you have any success with alternate PPDs you might want to post that information here (or actually in the printing/plotting forum).

  5. I am surprised that you are having so much trouble generating acceptable pdfs. If you write the file to postscript (under output options tab in print dialog) you have a few options for ripping the file into pdf. Adobe Acrobat Distiller is not carbonized yet, but works in Classic mode. PStill is another option. It can be found on versiontracker.com. I haven't really used it.

    The best alternative may be MacGhostView, which is a front end to ghostscript and will view the raw .ps file as well as rip it into pdf. Of course since OSX is BSD Unix you can compile ghostscript yourself and run it via command line. look at fink.sourceforge.net for a debian package manager which will happily install ghostscript as well as x windows and such for you.

    PStill and MacGhostView are shareware and commercial. Acrobat is of course commercial. Ghostscript isn't.

    Adobe Acrobat itself (not the reader) works pretty well under OS X. Often it will "render" the file better than Preview. You can of course edit the pdf file as well as check font embeddment, etc. Remember though that Acrobat Distiller is needed to convert ps to pdf.

    The other option is to open VW 9.5 in classic mode when you need to output final pdfs and use printtopdf under classic mode (assuming it works under classic mode). Get info on VW 9.5 and toggle the open in classic button.


  6. Defjef,

    What you are saying just isn't true. The posted upgrade price for VW 8.5.2 to 9.5 is $225.00 for the first copy. This is LESS than what you originally paid for the 9.0 upgrade. Go to store page for VW 9.5: https://secure.nemetschek.net/store/vectorworks.asp and select the second button down: VectorWorks 9.5, Upgrade from VectorWorks 8.x. Click continue. I don't know where you were getting $550 from, but maybe Andrew was right and you want a free upgrade to VW Architect...

    In my 9 years of dealing with Graphsoft, Diehlgraphsoft, and Nemetschek NA, one thing that I can say without hesitation is that they have always been very fair with the cost of their product, the cost of upgrades, and the cost of support (free.) They have always been extremely responsive to customer service concerns and tend to interpret any dispute in the light most favorable to the customer.

    By all means upgrade to 9.5. So far it has performed well for us.

  7. HP is funny in that some of their products have postscript emulation, and some have native postscript. In my experience with HP printers, their emulation can sometimes be problematic, especially when combined with VW (keep in mind that this was a while ago.)

    And yes, emulation can be either software RIP based or hardware based.

    I believe the Apple Laserwriter 8500 was the first printer out with Postscript level 3 and that was a while ago. According to the literature, level 3 provides better quality. I haven't been able to tell the difference. My guess is that getting the 1200 dpi would make a much bigger difference than level 2 vs level 3 as far as grayshades and perceived quality. I must say that for our money, the 600 dpi that our LW 8500 provides is more than adequate.

    I would avoid postscript emulation in a production machine. HP's higher-end plotters all have real postscript-- and there is a reason-- the overall quality and reliability is better. In evaluating your printer make sure you look at the replacement cost for consumables as well. Good luck.

  8. Hmmm. If the file looks fine in Acrobat then it might just be related to the postscript interpreter that they have in their machines. Does Apple's Preview view the files correctly? I would try it with a TrueType font. You might have better success. Another thing that you might want to try is to skip the pdf step and output the file straight to postscript (.ps) [Output Options tab in the Print Dialog.] They should have a utility for sending postscript files directly to their plotter. Their tool is probably based on GhostScript. Which brings up the point that you can use MacGhostView (look on versiontracker.com) to preview the .ps file. I would say that if MacGhostView can render the rotated text correctly then the problem is on their side. If it can't, the problem is with VW, the font, or the OSX printer driver.

    Let me know how it turns out-- I am curious. All this information is turning out to be a good resource.


    Okay, since I am curious about these things I just ran a little experiment. I took a file I have been working on and rotated some of the text. I also dropped in a rotated section marker. We used to use Graphite MM but have switched to Tekton as OSX has no MM support. I output the file to .ps with the VW print options (rotated text and postscript only) both checked and unchecked. There was no difference in the size of the .ps files that resulted. I previewed both files in MacGhostView. Both rendered fine. I believe that MacGhostView substitutes the embedded fonts on the fly. I converted the files to pdf using macps2pdf, which is part of the MacGhostView package. Acrobat rendered the resulting file perfectly and reported that Tekton was embedded. I also printed the file on our LW 8500 and it looks fine. So, try the MacGhostView preview method.

    [ 02-08-2002: Message edited by: aersloat ]

  9. If you can get your hands on a second hand Apple LaserWriter 8500 I highly recommend that printer. It will print tabloid size (12 x 24) which is conveniently 1/2 the size of Arch D sheet. This makes it very convenient for printing check plots. It is also very happy with 11x17. You might try ebay.

    I would also recommend that you look at GCC. They are at www.gcctech.com. Their Elite XL series is very competent. We helped another firm set up one and it seemed to work very well. They have OSX drivers available. I think I heard somewhere that GCC actually made the LaserWriter 8500. Anyway, HP has had problems with their postscript implementation in the past and I was not happy with an earlier large format HP laser printer that we had at another firm.

    Xerox also has 11x17 postscript printers like the DocuPrint N2825. They have an OSX installer.

    All of the above options seem price competitive with HP, if not cheaper.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Was the text visible in the pdf or was it missing only in the hard copy? Was it a postscript font? Have you tried to substitute another font in its place with the same results? Nothing jumps out at me and I can't recall seeing anything like that.

  11. Kurt,

    Did you physically put the PPD on your OSX machine? If not, try doing so. You will probably want to put it in the classic system folder. Try to then manually selecting the "Printer Model" in print center when adding the printer. If that doesn't work try the 1055cm ppd-- that should give you the paper sizes, although all the setting will not be right. That may or may not work.

  12. VW 9.5 has been working beautifully for us on OS X as well. It took Nemetschek a while longer than anticipated, but I think they did a great job. As far as interface issues are concerned, I have found that not having windowshades in the palettes has been a pain and has slowed me down somewhat. This is especially true since I work on a dual USB iBook and screen real estate is somewhat limited. It has been great to not worry about memory management and general system instability. I haven't have VW 9.5 go south on me yet, but it is nice that when other things crash, like Mail, they don't bring VW down with them.

  13. Depending on the job we use two different service bureaus as well as kinkos. We have only used pdf files as we have not wanted to deal with them using the VectorWorks viewer. As far as I know they all have postscript native output devices. We did have some trouble with a third place. We do not tend to have overly complicated plot files, although we do have an embedded .eps in our title block and we do use shading.

    It is wise to keep in mind that if it isn't broke, don't fix it. If there are no compelling reasons for you to upgrade then you probably don't want to-- especially if it forces you to use workarounds. For us OSX has been great, although less than half of the office has been upgraded so far.

    I agree that it would be nice to have a dedicated forum for printing or output. After all, VectorWorks is useless to most of us if we can't get things down on paper and to our clients and the contractors.

  14. I didn't realize that there were compatibility issues with MacPlot. You could still try to run the VW output through a pdf file and then to your existing macplot. That should work. Set up a 'postscript translator' desktop printer and then run the output through macghostscript. Open the resulting pdf file in acrobat and output through your existing macplot. If is were me and it meant saving $350 I would try it. You might have to tweak things a little along the way. Fred, are you on VW 8.5.x still? If so you could try the VW 9 viewer to plot, if not, the 9.5 upgrade is free, right?

  15. Send them as .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files. There are several freeware/shareware pdf ripping programs available for macs and, I am sure, windows. On OSX, pdf generation is built in. I would recommend making sure that your service bureau have copies of the fonts your use as font embeddment does not always work depending on you rip method.

    You could also send them as raw postscript (.ps). You can use GhostScript to preview them first if you want.

  16. If your volume is that low you are probably better off using a service bureau. If we have a job bigger than 20 or so pages we send it out anyway because it is just easier for us. They can make reproductions at the same time. It is also easier for us to bill our clients a set amount from kinkos or our local service bureau than to itemize numbers of sheets plotted internally. For check plots we usually print 1/2 size on our LaserWriter 8500.

    Another solution, or rather workaround, if you need to get around plotting in OSX w/ VW 9.5 would be to plot a file to PDF using the methods posted elsewhere in this message board, open the PDF file with Adobe Acrobat set to "open in classic environment," and then plot using macplot on the classic side. This isn't as big a pain in the butt as it sounds. I don't know if Macplot works in the classic environment of OSX though.

    [ 01-25-2002: Message edited by: aersloat ]

  17. I feel compelled to throw in my own $.02 on this topic. I don't think it should be incumbent on Nemetschek to provide a list of preferred printers or plotters. There are just too many issues, and too many devices for them to be able to do so.

    So what are you supposed to do? Well, this forum is a great start. VectorWorks doesn't do anything special on the printing side of things. Unlike some other CAD programs, VW has always relied on the standard system printer drivers. This has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, if you can print from any application, you should be able to print from VW. On the downside, Nemetschek is a little more limited in terms of print options, like automatically swapping a color for a pen size.

    On the Apple side of the equation there is one thing that you need to look for: postscript. This is especially important if you are looking for something that will last. A network postscript printer should continue to work with your mac despite any system software changes. For instance, none of our four postscript devices had any issues at all with the transition to OSX.

    One thing to be wary of, in my opinion, is software RIPs. HP's site indicates that the 500ps is a software RIP. You can't be sure that the software will continue to be updated or work through system software updates or transitions. The software RIP also does all of the heavy lifting, and printing will probably be slower and tie up you machine more than with a printer that has postscript built in.

    In short, if you need to get wide format output on a Mac and you don't want to use a service bureau you should look for the following:

    Native, real Postscript (not emulated)10 (or pref 10/100) baseT ethernet connectionRAM expandability

    Either AppleTalk or LPR will suffice, but the way things are going you should look for LPR. Basically, an LPR printer/plotter will allow you to assign an Internet address to it. USB is fine for use by one computer, but Ethernet is faster and will allow you to share the plotter. An external print server will also allow you to share the plotter, but shouldn't speed up output.

    If you want to speed up the printing/plotting process maximize your RAM in both you computer and the plotter.

    Avoid plotters/printers which rely on any special software sitting between your computer and the plotter-- especially third party software. Some device manufacturers don't advertise the fact that they use postscript emulation or software RIPs, so you have to ask very specifically. Some manufacturers will mention "Postscript Compatible." That usually means emulation. I mention this because VW has, in the past, had some problems with emulated postscript.

    By the way, we have an HP 1055CM. It was pricey, but has been very reliable, and pretty fast.

    Hope this helps some.

  18. No Problem. Let me know if this works for you. If not, I will post a more detailed tutorial with some screen shots.

    I think that the most important feature in OSX for our industry is its ability to natively produce PDFs from ANY application. We have bound up sets of drawings and specs in PDF format for years-- but it was a fairly involved process (though not difficult). We also archive drawing sets internally on CD-ROM in PDF format.

    PDFs are great ways to exchange drawings with contractors and clients and work very well with service bureaus too.

  19. It would be nice to have a few more export/import options. Cinema 4d is a no-brainer-- aren't you guys one big happy family now? But also now that we are OSX'ing it would be great to have a Radiance exporter. This would be a big boon, especially to the Lighting Design folk. I would also like to see some better integration with a schematic design modeler like SketchUp (hopefully coming to the Mac) or DesignWorkshop. I know the Artifice guys are in bed with the PowerCADD folk, but we should have better options than just DXF for that stuff-- especially since those two Apps are just polygonal modelers.

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