Jump to content

What is the concept behind the 2D/3D disconnect?


Recommended Posts


I am demo-ing Vectorworks 10 and going through the tutorial CDs.

There is something that I do not understand and isn't explained properly.

What is the conceptual reason that the 2D and 3D environments are disconnected? How does that help anything?

Thanks for any tips.


Link to comment

I don't know quite what you mean by "disconnected".

There are separte 2d and 3d environments, and there is a hybrid environment - 2d and 3d together.

Most plugins and symbols are hybrid objects meaning the 2d and 3d is created at the same time.

Other than that, basic shapes are either or.

Although, 2d objects can easily be converted to 3d objects with the convert to 3d or extrude commands.

Objects like walls, windows, doors, roofs, floors, furniture, cabinets, sinks, tables, chairs, etc are all hybrid.

If you are referring to views as "disconnected" such as other CAD programs that all you to have a split or quad split screen to draw in any one of four views, that's just the way the program is - simple. Keeping drafting simply while maintaining the ability to draw super complex objects has been a forte.

[ 01-22-2004, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Katie ]

Link to comment

Hi Maz, I'm new too.

I think what you mean by disconnected is "Why are they distinct object types?" Other programs treat everything as 3-D stuff, some of it just happens to have a thickness and/or Z-origin of 0.

Here, things are either 2-D (lines, dims, locus points, etc.), 3-D (extrudes, maybe Nurbs surfaces), or hybrid.

The real WHY of it all may never be fully understood. It might have to do with some obscure programming decision in an ancient version of MiniCad. I would guess that it was implemented to save memory in the drawing space, sorta like the Y2K date styles.

Our task is to just get used to it as quick as possible so we can get back to real work.

[Roll Eyes]

Link to comment

Hi Katie & Beaster:

In the 3D chapter in the CD tutorial it is demonstrated how making changes to a 3D object does not necessarily affect the 2D representation and vice versa. The voice over even says this.

Am I wrong in my understanding of this?

If there is such a disconnect, what purpose does it serve? Because obviously it is expected that when you make a change to a 3D object, you expect the change to be applied to the 2D representation of the object as well.

Beaster's speculations seems right.


Link to comment

3d modelers may not appreciate this feature but architects and engineers like myself certainly do. The main reason for this is to create construction plans which are representational in nature. For example, we don't need to see door knobs and hinges in our doors when drawn in our floor plans since only a line and arc would suffice. As a result, we can have a much more detailed 3d model without cluttering up our working drawings with unnecessary details.

hope this clears things up.


Link to comment

"In the 3D chapter in the CD tutorial it is demonstrated how making changes to a 3D object does not necessarily affect the 2D representation and vice versa. The voice over even says this."

This depends on the object type you are editing I suppose and in which direction you are editing the object.

If you have an extruded rectangle and edit the 3d portion to chagne the z height, the 2d is never affected.

If you split a cube, in 2d, the object reflects this split.

If you have a hybrid object, editing the 3d component usually won't have an affect on the 2d such as the examples and purposes Ariel mentions.

In the case of a door, window and other plugin based object, you don't need to be in an edit mode to change the measurements since all settings are controlled in the Obj Info Palette and both 2d and 3d are updated at the same time.

Link to comment

OK. Then I misunderstood the CD explanation.

I understand Ariel's explanation and as an architect appreciate that distinction between 3D/2D representations.

My confusion was based on a perspective view of some 3D solids (boxes and cylinders) in the tutorial that had a plan view projected over them. The plan showed a completely different configuration than the 3D view. That really threw me off. I still don't get why that was so. But based on what I read here, there isn't a disconnect between the two environments.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Link to comment

Hi again:

Still working on the 3D/2D relationship in VW and have the following question:

I know I can draw an object an view it from any angle. But I can't figure out how I could draw an object, say a rectangle, while I am in angled view, say isometric AND see the object be drawn isometrically.

So far, when I try doing this, the object is always drawn in top/plan view, even if the working plane and the view are isometric.

Any idea what I am talking about?


Link to comment

lol re hangover from autocad...

I guess because it is nice to design an object while you are looking at it in a 3D view (isometric, perspective or other).

Say you've drawn a flat-roofed house and want to see what it would be like to add a pitched roof to it. Rather than going to elevation mode, adding the pitched roof and going back to isometric mode, it would be nice to just try different roofs while you are in perspective or isometric view.

I do understand and really like the simplicity of VW. At this stage I am trying to understand all its features and limitations so I know what I can and can't do....


Link to comment


I think you are wrong about that and others on this site are confirming this.

Your can see an object in isometric view but you cannot add isometrically-seen shapes to that object while you remain in that isometric view.

This is a program limitation that will probably get resolved in future versions.

Link to comment


Originally posted by Maz:


I think you are wrong about that and others on this site are confirming this.

Your can see an object in isometric view but you cannot add isometrically-seen shapes to that object while you remain in that isometric view.

This is a program limitation that will probably get resolved in future versions.

(a) Go in an isometric view.

(b) change your working plane, if needed.

© choose a 3D-tool, like 3D-polygons, 3D-primitives or NURBS

(d) start drawing like you do in 2D - along your working plane.

There are variations to this, but it's the same principle. If you need screenshots, just let me know.

B.T.W.: it of course also works in perspective view.



[ 01-27-2004, 05:18 AM: Message edited by: BaRa ]

Link to comment

Hi Chris,

I see your point. And you're absolutely right. The logic (and the tools) that applies to 2D, should also function in 3D. That would have two benefits. First, it would reduce the amount of tools and commands we're currently using. Add volume would do the same as add surface. Second, it would enhance the user interface, because you wouldn't have to mind whether you're in 2D or in 3D. So it would be a double win if NNA were to implement that.

On a side node: IF NNA ever manages to implement this, they should also rethink the wall tool. Right now it's impossible to make a decent logical connection between walls that allows you to place a window symbol in a corner (overlapping two wall elements). It's also impossible to make a windows that spans several floors, because the walls on the different layers have no relationship. We should also be able to incline the wall tool (non-vertical walls). And we should be able to make 2D sections of walls, with the same kind of fill as you get in plan view.

Anyway, lots of things that can be improved. Nevertheless, IMO it's still a very versatile and very good application.



Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello BaRa a.o.

I just stumbled in on this discussion; I'm an architect working with VW, but as a teacher at art school (back in the days of Minicad 4 or 5) I decided that I needed a simple 3D modeler for architecture, to learn my students the basic principles of 3D computer graphics.

I found Exception (made for Macintosh by a French architect, Jos? Herrando) and got so used to it, that I still do all my 3D work with it. The program is not developed any further, so I guess I have to step into the 3D world of VW, but . . . . oh . . . . I wish it had the brilliant interface of Exception.

One can draw in all views; views can be switched by pressing the spacebar; data can be inserted by mouse or numerical etc.

It has serious drawbacks now and is completely focussed on architecture but still.

Macintosh users can take a look at version 4.7.11; it's free now (no OSX version), at


Gerrit Velthuis

Link to comment

Hi Gerrit,

(of mag ik ook gewoon "dag Gerrit" zeggen?)

I've never used Exception before, so I can't tell whether I would like the interface or not. But I do understand how you feel. VectorWorks has a great interface in 2D, and since the introduction of NURBS it also has the technology for very powerful surfacing and solid creation. But it doesn't have an easy 3D interface.

It would really please me and a lot of others on this board (not to count the ones "in the closet") if NNA managed to improve the 3D interface. Take a look at 3DMax, Maya, C4D, StudioTools, Rhino, Sketchup (and probably also Exception) - they all have a more fluent way of working in 3D.

So NNA, if you're listening, make us 3Dusers happy and please pretty please redesign the 3D user interface. You've done a lot of great things lately - better DWG handling, better image export, better 3D modeling tools, better and faster 2D, to name but a few. It would be a shame if such a nice tool as VectorWorks would stay incomplete because of it's "ancient" 3D interface.

(I would model you a guy begging you on his knees in an attempt to convince you, but I fear that with the current 3Dinterface in VW, it would take me waaaaay too long [Wink] )



[ 02-11-2004, 05:32 AM: Message edited by: BaRa ]

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...


I currently use both Vectorworks and FormZ and I think the VW interface is really easy once you get in in to drawing on the computer. VW does 90% of what I need. When I need to get into intense 3d with complex curves and solid models for developing prototypes I go to FormZ and get gray hairs. I have been very spoiled by the Vectorworks interface it's too easy. Go to the Formz.com web page download the demo and see what I mean.

Bob Tiedemann

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...