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Major frustrations with Section Viewports

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I've been struggling to use Section Viewports - I'm about to give up on them as being too undeveloped to be useful. I think I'm going to go back to doing things using the old Cut 2d Section and Cut 3d Section tools, unless someone can suggest some workarounds. Here are my issues:

1) The cut-through objects, especially at doors and windows, look like junk with all the extraneous lines. Using the "Merged Cross Sections" setting gets me about 30% there in terms of the graphics.

2) Background objects never look even close to acceptable, graphically. We don't want walls in elevation to have the same lineweights they do in plan. If I try to use the class override for background objects, walls still display in their native lineweights and colors. I've tried using a gray line for background objects, and what I get is the gray line with a fat black line behind it at the edge of every wall.

3) I've tried using Section Viewports to generate elevations when foreground objects are in the way. All textures are mapped either 90 degrees off, or in a completely crazy way. I have a conventional fireplace that looks like it was built by an over-achieving student of Gaudi. Walls show with the interior textures on the exterior.

In short, an interesting idea that needs a lot more work to be actually useful. While I appreciate the effort and usually don't mind contributing to the "work in progress" aspects of the program, I've wasted a disastrous amount of time setting up my drawings and fussing around in the expectation that this tool could be made to work.

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Pete, all points taken and agreed! I however DO use SVP's, but I use them as a base over which to trace. So basically, what I'm doing is drawing the section (just like I used to) but it's MUCH faster because I have the "basics" already there. So for example, if I have a roof beyond, all I need to do is draw over it (or use the new poly to inside) with the poly tool and give it a hatch. Etc. etc. The other aspect that is different is that I no longer need to line up all my sections and elevations horizontally in order to find all the relevant points (in relation to each other) BUT I DO need to model everything accurately for my system to work properly.

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Nevertheless and in full agreement with the above: I find them very useful as a design tool.

(In the Good Old Days, 1:20 sections were my primary design vehicle. My drawing board was 1200mm wide and I had a chair both sides of it. I also had two normal 900mm wide drawing boards, facing the main board on each side. One for floor plans etc, one for details etc. Oh, I almost forgot: I had also an easel for perspective sketches, done with charcoal, colour pencils, felt-tips, brushes and what have you. At the back there was the model shop...)

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Peter, thanks for confirming that you find these problems as well, and I agree with you and Petri that perhaps the tool is better than nothing (but, IMHO, not by much).

Petri, thanks for your comments. I still do initial design work by hand - my pencil is smarter than my mouse!

Michael, I have tried your suggestion in the past, and it is a workaround. I find that when I convert a viewport to lines, it scales down and has to be scaled back up again, by 48 or whatever.

My major points are that 1) there is a bug that causes wall lineweights and colors to display behind the global background object class settings, and 2) the merging of section objects doesn't work in a way that gives usable results. There should be a capability for selecting various "void" spaces in the section to include in the opaque outline, by clicking on the spaces, for example. Or, alternatively, there should be a floor assembly tool, like the wall tool, that includes floor component, framing space, and (sloped if so desired) ceiling component. Same goes for the roof object. Then these void spaces would be treated correctly in the way that walls are.

I personally would not have been satisfied to issue the Section Viewport tool in it's present form.

By the way, I have found that it is possible to work around the wall linestyle bug noted above by manually changing the class settings for every wall class visible. This is a bit of a pain, but fortunately the eyedropper tool will transfer these settings from one viewport to another.

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Adding to the above comments, I find that getting doors and windows to behave with respect to linestyles is virtually impossible, because despite editing the class to which the "symbol in wall" is assigned, only if the actual objects in the symbol are assigned an edited class do they behave, and that is overidden if for a door or window "Use Part Line Styles" has been enabled. In short, this bug needs to be fixed, there is no real workaround.

Second, I find that objects that are included in a building model via WGR->Layer Link are not treated the same by the section tool! They aren't included in the section boundary. This would appear to be another serious bug.

Edited by P Retondo
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I still do initial design work by hand

Everyone should do the same! It is shameful (and eventually a disaster) that kids don't learn to draw by hand.

As comes to me, nowadays my space requirements are a fraction (literally) of what they used to be and I don't cut my fingers with the knife (model-making) or razorblade (drafting) particularly often.

Most of the pencil/felt-tip work I can now do on an A4-pad, in my favourite easy-chair. Yes, thanks for asking: by back is a lot better!

I'm not sure if computer graphics will reach the level of sophistication of manual drafting by a skilled person during my lifetime (which obviously is a rather short period). The representation of The Grand Design is quite difficult to convert to a set of Rules.

In the old-fashioned section, one was able to arbitrarily choose what to show and how to show it. My "section lines" were 3-dimensional, so to speak - ie. varied in location at different z-levels, but not necessarily in a rigid, geometrically-defined manner. (Hopelessly unclear explanation, I'm afraid!)

As we want to Automate and Systematize everything, we are all too often forgetting Communication. Which, mind you, is the main purpose of drawings...

My wife has practically abandoned CAD, except for purely technical drawings, most of which she has farmed out to yours truly, the aspiring Indian (country, not Native American).

While she does beautiful VW-drawings, she feels that they still don't communicate well enough and (especially) don't have "personality".

Back to the drawing board, people!

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i sketch all over the place: at work, in caf?s, in the kitchen

that's pen and paper: btw, greaseproof sandwich wrapping paper is great sketch paper if you're in a London sandwich bar..

i'm right back into 3D in VW and share frustrations about the exact way to get the model to generate decent 2D. It seems to me there's quite a bit of fiddling to be done to do this.

A real-world guide fr the Netmetschek whitecoats on this score might be interesting.

On the other hand, renderings are probably closer in spirit to 19thC construction drawings than one imagines. Colour was a big feature of construction drawings in the neo-Gothic or any of the 19th C English styles. Builders love coloured drawings. Colour goes down well all round.

I find the value of modelling is to keep my interest in a project live. That's a tremendous deal, frankly.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Pete, you say:

"there is a bug that causes wall lineweights and colors to display behind the global background object class settings"

In a tightly controlled document (consisting of only a few walls), I'm unable to reproduce this error in 12.5.1. Could you send me a file that will illustrate this problem, or, alternately, submit it as a bug to bugsubmit@ ? I will be glad to personally follow up on it. Thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Class overrides only work in viewports if the original object was drawn by class. If you have a wall class and set it to a .30 mm line weight, but manually assign a .50 mm line to a given instance, then the viewport will be unable to override the manually-assigned line weight. That might be what you are experiencing.

Until viewports intelligently recognize depth, I simply force nearly all objects in the viewport to a light line, then trace over objects I want to "pop" with heavier lines, generally in the annotations space. Still requires manual fiddling, but still faster than the old Cut 2D/3D Sections in most cases. Now if only viewports would update faster ...

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