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Jake DeGroot

Locking/Password Protecting Files PLEASE!

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Hello All,

With every new release of VW, I hope and pray that some sort of file protection system will have been implemented and every time I am disappointed. Are there any plans of some way of locking or password protecting files? Could a file be saved/exported to open only with Vectorworks Viewer functionality? That would be PERFECT. Can we put a password on unlocking objects? (less perfect, but still good). I want recipients of the file to be able to see it completely and manipulate their views, but no have access to resources and not be able to change the file. Any ideas? Any Vectorscript solutions out there?

Thanks

Jake

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Most operating systems have a built in functionality like this.

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On 11/22/2006 at 11:37 AM, Jake DeGroot said:

Hello All,

With every new release of VW, I hope and pray that some sort of file protection system will have been implemented and every time I am disappointed. Are there any plans of some way of locking or password protecting files? Could a file be saved/exported to open only with Vectorworks Viewer functionality? That would be PERFECT. Can we put a password on unlocking objects? (less perfect, but still good). I want recipients of the file to be able to see it completely and manipulate their views, but no have access to resources and not be able to change the file. Any ideas? Any Vectorscript solutions out there?

Thanks

Jake

I absolutely agree with and request this. I am a Lighting and Scenic Designer. In the past everyone was fine with receiving and sharing pdf's of our drafting. Now, as each year passes the request for the actual VW file is increasing with exponential frequency. My drawings contain many resources (Symbols, Textures, Worksheets, Scripts, etc.). I have painstakingly created over many years and frankly I do not want to put those up for grabs. Just like plug-ins and scripts can be locked, it is past due time to allow  our resources to be locked as well. This should be at the forefront of the programmers to do list!

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I am curious what your agreement for services says.

If you agree to send PDF, then they cannot require a vwx file. If your agreement requires a Vectorworks file, then you have to supply it. 

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9 minutes ago, Jonathan Pickup said:

I am curious what your agreement for services says.

If you agree to send PDF, then they cannot require a vwx file. If your agreement requires a Vectorworks file, then you have to supply it. 

 

This type of information is often not specified in the Entertainment Industry and there may not be a contract, just a verbal agreement. There are no standards for these agreements and designers/draftspeople will often use their own digital assets for creating drawings. The timelines are also often short (eg. a week or less). Because things can be more component oriented, keeping control of those digital assets can be an issue. The fees are often smaller than say architecture, so having your own assets can make you more efficient when working to a fixed fee. I keep a large library of assets and when creating a new asset for a project I often do it "on my own time" so it becomes part of my personal library. This approach will also benefit clients, since they then have access to my existing library of assets. The downside is that when file sharing you need to make a choice about what to share because VW doesn't give us a user friendly way to control our assets.

 

(All of this is independent of design elements designed specifically for a project/client, which obviously you would share when file sharing.)

 

Kevin

 

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One issue that can arise is that the end user rely s on the CAD information to scale of use information your design layer that was not intended or not accurate as often happens and the only intended information is on the sheet layer and you get sued.

This is usually the risk that we find weighs heavily so we use a disclaimer the the recipient must sign prior to us releasing the document.

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If you are really interested in protection, just ungroup everything before you send it. Convert all symbols and PIOs to groups. But you will break a lot of the functionality of something like Spotlight that expects them to be symbols.

 

How would you like them to be locked? So they will only function in that drawing? So they can't be copied or duplicated? As you say, you do this to make your work more productive. In many years of working and training in VW, I have rarely found a time that what made sense for one user ever made sense for another. Yes, there are basic workflow similarities, but almost everyone is an individualist.

 

If you really want to lock things down, we could probably work with you to create a PIO wrapper that would not allow changes except under your serial number. But even then, if they are willing to blow everything out to lines, they would still be getting some of your content. Probably better to just accept the small amount of piracy that exists and trust that your ability to use it better will give you an edge.

 

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As a electricians who receive files from Lighting Designers, often PDFs, to hang and circuit the rig, we always request the VW file.  Without the VW file we are handcuffed.  We have so many tools to help us fit the rig into our space and circuit it that we can do the  job 10 faster and more accurately with the VW file.  While in some ways we are special, I'm the author of AutoPlot, I'm sure this is true of many facilities.  If you want to lock your resources (I'm not sure how this would be accomplished) fine, but if we don't have access to the lighting device parameters, and we can't replace fixtures.  All of that work will get done when you walk through the door.  Not giving the facility ME a fully functional VW file, when asked, is shooting your show in the leg.

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There have been some good points brought forward here. In my previous reply I was only trying to give context for those working outside the entertainment industry. Locking items is a fairly common wish in the forums. Some other examples -

 

https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/53325-encrypt-or-lock-down-marionette/&tab=comments#comment-267567

https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/53396-password-locked-layers-feature-request/&page=0#comment-267923


I often collaborate in workflows where I share things freely so this is not a day to day need for me. But there have definitely been times where I would like to maintain control over something I've created in VW. Most often is detailed 3d prop elements that I've added to a set model for rendering purposes. Usually the easiest solution is to purge them from the drawing since they're not essential to whoever I'm sharing with. Pat's suggestion of converting to lines in an interesting idea.

 

I've noticed sometimes I get Autocad exports from people that are the flattened sheet layer only so clearly there's a method in Autocad.

 

I doubt there is one catch all solution. It also seems like there are already a variety of technologies used by VW in the background to do versions of this (locked PIOs for developers, fingerprinting for controlling which versions can use which library resources).

 

Ultimately if I were to wish for one version of locking, it would be a way to have an object in a shared file expire based on an amount of time. While the object was valid  it would function normally as you would expect. Once it expired it would either delete itself, replaced by a loci, or it would decompose itself (lines if it was a 2d object, 3d polygons if it were a 3d object). Sort of a weird idea, I know, but it would serve its purpose in every scenario I can think of.

 

Kevin

 

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When I have these concerns it's generally to protect my assets generated around the lighting, such as scenery, props, architecture. In such cases, I usually provide that info as a layer in PDF form or otherwise flatten the content.

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On 12/10/2017 at 11:42 AM, Kevin McAllister said:

This type of information is often not specified in the Entertainment Industry and there may not be a contract, just a verbal agreement. There are no standards for these agreements and designers/draftspeople will often use their own digital assets for creating drawings.

 

The speed and informality of a lot of our work is so different than other industries that it's seldom understood, in my opinion.

 

On 12/10/2017 at 11:42 AM, Kevin McAllister said:

The timelines are also often short (eg. a week or less).

 

Exactly. This is something I wish all software developers understood first-hand. Some sectors of the entertainment industry are unfathomably fast-paced.

 

For example, between 7a this morning and noon, I had to model, texture, and light two different sets from scratch for a tv show and render 3 views of each. Five hours to arrive at a finished product, something other industries might take weeks or months to do. Which is why every time a task takes 5 clicks instead of one I shake my fist in the air a little bit. Or when a simple functionality doesn't exist.

 

The extra time spent on those inefficient processes quickly adds up. For example, this morning's models incorporated a bunch of masked Image Props, which require far too many clicks to create (see this thread: https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/45348-image-props-should-auto-recognize-pngs-with-transparency/ ). 

 

Not to get too off-topic, but the point being that sometimes the small changes we ask for could reap huge benefits for our workdays (and our clicking fingers [and our sanity]).

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