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Struggling to render drawings



Hi, I'm really struggling to render my drawings - I'm a former autocad user so I'm not sure if this is part of the issue. When I'm drawing I draw with the line tool (rather than shapes), as such when I go to fill certain areas of my drawing it doesn't seem to recognise where my boundaries are. I've screenshotted below some joinery I'm drawing, when I try to colour in the carcass it fills the whole elevation in (in a patchy way). Would love to know how to rectify this, many thanks in advance!Screenshot2023-09-18at13_38_43.thumb.jpg.d55d46a9afad5cfcecf8e6c7d8d3d19b.jpg



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The first thing you will need to do to be successful in VW is to not treat it like it is ACAD. It is a completely different program and you need to use it the way it was designed to be successful and reduce your frustration.


VW is based on shapes if you want fills.  You can use the PaintBucket or Lasso mode of the Polygon tool to "pour" a polygon between your lines and fill that.



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just to add to what Amanda and Pat said....


I'm a former AutoCAD user.  To do this task in AutoCAD you would typically use the "hatch" command and either pick a point inside an existing boundary, pick a boundary, or draw one.  If that boundary was not closed, chaos would rein on your hatch.  Vectorworks is similar in that it needs a closed boundary or you get the results show in your image.  Vectorworks is different than AutoCAD because entities can have a fill, essentially a built in parametric hatch of sorts.  So, when you are rendering 2D drawings, you might find it helpful to follow these conventions:

  • create classes for objects with the same desired graphics
  • draw items "by class" so they inherit their graphics from the class setup.
  • use separate classes for hatches/fills.  Things you might want to separate into different classes... Shadows, object fills by material or color, plants, color vs B&W fills
  • get familiar with draw order, send to back, and opacity to get the best 2D graphics effects.


You could do everything with the attributes panel, which would be like drawing 'by object' in AutoCAD.  However, it's usually faster in the long run to adopt a "by class" workflow as a project gets bigger and/or you develop a library of objects to use in future illustrations.

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Thanks guys, particularly Jeff Prince! I don't really know how to use classes so will swot up on that. Since I posted I've been using more shapes, arranging the order etc which has helped. I also read somewhere about highlighting some of the lines and going to modify/ compose to create a shape. I also grouped lines when drawing an object which is good for manipulating/ ordering (although saying that, now I seem unable to colour in the object I've grouped so need to figure that out now!). I understand where you're coming from Pat but I'm trying to learn as I go and I'm not familiar with how VW works compared to Autocad so it's all a bit trial and error at the moment. It's getting easier so will persevere... 

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12 hours ago, Camila85 said:

I don't really know how to use classes so will swot up on that.


This is essential.

As already said, VW Classes are ACAD (or any other CAD beside VW) Layers

It is just another name.

Do not try to use VW Layers like ACAD Layers.


As already said, VW "Design Layers" (DL) happen in Model Space

(and are an additional extra Option to organize/separate in Model Space,

which other CADs usually do not have)


And aech VW "Sheet Layer" (SL) is basically a Paper Space.

And the "Viewport" system is basically the same as it is in ACAD,

including an Annotation Space.

(just that it is much easier in VW to get the scale of everything correct)



So for ACAD users not yet used to VW, to start drawing,

just ignore VW "Layers" for now but use VW "Classes" like ACAD Layers

Edited by zoomer
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I appreciate all your responses, thank you! I've spent the past 4 hours watching videos on the VW certification University site (also half of yday) - I'm still a bit overwhelmed by the amount of info and struggling to grasp classes (feels a bit like labelling components in Sketchup). It's just also tricky as I work for myself (interior designer) so have deadlines and find myself losing a lot of time trying to understand how it works. I was previously drawing floorplans and elevations in AutoCAD and rendering them in Photoshop (very common practice in the industry) - as you can imagine time time-consuming but also a nightmare if you have to revise your CAD drawings, as you then have to re-render the whole thing. I know it's worth me learning now to save time in the future on projects. My needs for VW should be pretty simple compared to architect complex drawings but I know it's worth persevering, I just will probably have lots of niggly questions to ask as I navigate my way 🤪  

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KISS. If it is a 2D design, draw everything with 2D (We use Screen Plane...) rectangles or polygons - Set the Line and Fill colors (Shape Color)  in the Attributes to a desired color, pattern or hatch 


NO lines allowed - This way your design will already have a look ie:color fill - vs filling in the boundaries at a later point in time.


Remember that Filled rectangles or polygons in VectorWorks cover up what is behind them. As stacks of paper on your desk may cover smaller items underneath.

     NOT something that is usual and customary in other legacy CAD applications. Use this to your advantage!



Draw with Rectangles NO lines allowed.pdf

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3 hours ago, Camila85 said:

struggling to grasp classes (feels a bit like labelling components in Sketchup).


I think VW Classes work exactly like (other CADs) Layers.


It is just that in VW you have an additional seperation system on top - VW "Layers"

So usually you will not need to uses as many VW Classes as you may have needed

in other CADs.

As an example, in VW you may use an extra Layer for each Story. So there is no more

need to create Layer (VW Classes) duplicates like 1stfloor_WALLS, 2ndfloor_Walls, 3rdfloor....


In Autocad you may separate Stories by using separate files and referencing them together.

(But you can do so in VW too. So another system for organization on top)


And because VW always had Classes + Layers,

the explanation is

- Classes are WHAT (classification)

- Layers are WHERE (As Layers can have a Layer height assigned for stacking Elements in 3D)


This allows to very easily and quickly change visibilities.

E.g. show all elements but only from one Story or show only Walls but for all Stories.



A simple example for you interior design workflow using VW Layers could be

- Layer_0_MyNewDesign

- Layer_1_ExistingBuilding


While VW Classes (former ACAD Layers) may look like

- furniture

- floors

- ceilings

- stairs

- coverings


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Thank you! I'm now wondering if I used Autocad correctly as the only way I really used layers was by using the drop-down menu and by choosing different line weights/ colours for different items such as furniture/ walls etc. Seemed pretty straightforward but I didn't really even need to hide visibility for what I was doing - I've also only being doing interior design using cad for just over a year so this could also be the issue of me not using it properly.  I'll keep watching videos on it and hope the penny drops haha

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Without wanting to confuse things ... an object that's in one class can be inside a container object that's in another class.


This means you can do stuff like independently control something's visibility *and* its appearance when it is visible, using only classes.


Is that actually parallel to how layers work in eg. Autocad?


It's one reason I always feel that using thin sheets of tracing paper as an analogy for the way classes work in VW doesn't really work. On the other hand, you *can* use VW layers like thin layers of tracing paper, if you want. Especially if you are working in 2d.

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