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# Better Walls & Floor Plans as horizontal Sections - New Type of Layer

## Question

Layers should have an option whether they are 1.) the equivalent of tracing paper, or a 2.) vertical spatial container.

1. "Tracing Paper" Layer

Everything would be as it is now.

2.) "Spatial" Layer

Hybrid and 3D objects would appear on every layer according to their actual 3D dimensions. We could draw walls that span several stories (without the problem of seam lines in sections and elevations). The need to draw vertical building elements several times on several layers would disappear.

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer

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Thomas, prior to the introduction of Stack Layers many of us used two layers for each building storey. One for 3D and hybrid objects, and the other for all 2D information.

Stack Layers has made the need to do that unnecessary, but it can still be done. A methodology best used in conjunction with Saved Views.

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Mike, I am talking about something completely new (for Vectorworks), not about a workaround.

This is what I am suggesting:

With "spatial" layers "on", you draw a wall with a base level of x and several stories high only once. It will automagically appear in every layer in between. There is no need to worry in which layer to draw that wall or to draw several walls in different layers. The wall will be the same object in each "spatial" layer.

The 2D representation of that wall should be a horizontal 2D section through the wall. The height of that section should be at an offset to the layer z. (In most of europe we would set that to 100cm above finished floor height). For gable walls, or if you have wall peaks, etc. the 2d representation would of course be different in each layer.

The same would be true for roofs. The 2D (floor plan) representation of the roof should be a horizontal 2D section through the roof. A big roof spanning more than one floor would again appear on several "spatial" layers. There should be an option of displaying the lower part in hidden line rendering and the "invisible" upper part in dashed lines. This would be still only one 3D roof object, appearing in several "spatial" (floor plan) layers, each time in correct 2D appearance.

The same should be true for columns, and every hybrid or 3D object big enough to span several floors (or "spatial" layers).

Walls will of course accept windows and doors in each layer separately. The base z values of windows in every layer are locked to the layer z of that respective layer. If you change the layer z of that layer the windows will move with the layer, whereas the wall will keep its z values, wall peaks, etc. in place.

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer
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It's a no brainer if you ask me Thomas. It's how a virtual building modeller should work. Unfortunately I think we're a little held back by a general modelling paradigm.

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I think that's a wonderfull idea. It will be another way of thinking but a more natural one. This way you can think of a plan like a horizontal section. And if the roofs and walls can show their components in these horizontal sections, it will be easier to draw the building.

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I have already discussed my proposal a bit, and there was the concern, that it would represent too a radical shift from the way Vectorworks works now.

While this would indeed be radical for those who want to use it, there would be absolutely no need to do so. If the user wishes, everything would stay the same, and he could happily continue to use Vectorworks as he is now.

There would be a simple checkbox for "spatial" layer. While there would be some "under the hood" changes, other than that tiny checkbox in the layer dialog we would not need much additional, and potentially confusing changes to the user interface.

There was also the concern of converting older files and compatibility.

I suppose compatibility would be excellent, because we could create high walls like that right now. Only it would not be very convenient with many windows above each other. Other than that it would simply be a matter of display. Checkbox "on" and the wall will appear in other design layers, depending on its height. Checkbox "Off" and it will revert back to its original design layer.

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With "spatial" layers "on", you draw a wall with a base level of x and several stories high only once. It will automagically appear in every layer in between. There is no need to worry in which layer to draw that wall or to draw several walls in different layers. The wall will be the same object in each "spatial" layer.

Even though ArchiCAD still has its 'story' layers like VW this is basically how it works, walls/pillars/stairs longer than a story height show up in the next story up/down as they do on split levels, the representation and visibility on each respective layer can be adjusted as you wish. One 'difficulty' that comes to mind is how to keep track of for example windows, this leads to a wish i've had for a while that lets windows punch holes in more than one wall/object at a time if placed on them, even if they are on different layers.....thus you could create separate layers for each story of windows (other objects) and have them punch holes in the wall in the correct place.

Edited by Vincent C
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Even though ArchiCAD still has its 'story' layers like VW this is basically how it works, walls and pillars longer than a story height show up in the next story up as do walls and pillars on split levels, the representation and visibility on each respective layer can be adjusted as you wish.

It's a no brainer if you ask me Thomas. It's how a virtual building modeller should work.

I agree. The underlying philosophy, the "modelling paradigm" is already invented. The point is how to elegantly integrate it into the Vectorworks universe without breaking anything.

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The point is how to elegantly integrate it into the Vectorworks universe without breaking anything.

I guess the main work involves the Top/Plan view (essentially the plan section view) and its representation. Plus of-course the countless hours of making the PIOs sufficiently intelligent.....guys/gals at tech have their work cut out

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Certainly a provocative paradigm shift to consider...

At first ...to avoid confusion & conflicts ... possibly only accessible via WGR import from a separate Spatial Model File ( which does not support Layer Z values ).

All the Objects within the Spatial Model would know their actual cartesian values.

Once imported into the standard Working Layer File all the Objects would populate the pre-assigned Z Value Layers as if by magic ; )

This way we could have the best of both worlds and remain version compatible.

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Plus of-course the countless hours of making the PIOs sufficiently intelligent...

You mean to dumb down the PIOs and dispose of unnecessary 2D code. 60% of the code in my own PIOs is actually a crude hidden line rendering, hand crafted in vectorscript, replicating the already present 3D Objects in 2D.

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer
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My simple solution, allow objects to be members of multiple layers.

This would allow a stair tower or similar multi-story element to be organized as a single object.

Exclusive layers are an artifact of drafting methodologies (such as pinbar) not modeling methodologies (general, building, or otherwise).

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My simple solution, allow objects to be members of multiple layers.

I respectfully disagree. While this may seem simple at first, it would require a sophisticated and possibly confusing user interface (a layer dialog for every single object) and it would break compatibility in many places.

In my proposal Your stair tower (a 3d or hybrid object) would automatically appear in every layer where it is needed. The necessary info would be extracted from its 3D coordinates, whereas 2D objects would stay where they belong (in their one and only layer).

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer
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I think this is an excellent wish and a MUST for the future of VW. Implemented through layers or through objects I don't mind either way but Nemetschek needs to implement this in VW2011.

As mentioned ArchiCAD has the feature and it's extremely powerful and automatic (which a lot of archicad tools are) and VW has to do a lot of catching up.

Please, Nemetschek, incorporate this technology in VW 2011 (I know it's too late for VW2010).

Thanks,

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Plus of-course the countless hours of making the PIOs sufficiently intelligent...

You mean to dumb down the PIOs and dispose of unnecessary 2D code. 60% of the code in my own PIOs is actually a crude hidden line rendering, hand crafted in vectorscript, replicating the already present 3D Objects in 2D.

I'm quite out of my league here.....but i was mainly referring to the PIOs showing up in different ways on different layers....don't know if this is a PIO or Layer thing......

I don't really know in what direction NNA should go to solve this one.....one thing that happens in ArchiCAD is that you 'lose' objects.....pillars or walls seem to be hanging in between layers and don't show up on either......it's not a bug but a result of a combination of settings that make it this way, ie changing Layer heights but not adjusting wall and pillar Z values.

Edited by Vincent C
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Please, Nemetschek, incorporate this technology in VW 2011 (I know it's too late for VW2010).

I hope something like that is already in the works for 2010

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I have to do a presentation about two drawing programs this week and I took Vectorworks Architect and Chief Architect. Vectorworks Architect comes out the best, but I was suprised about the intelligence between objects. VW has really good intelligence for each object, but not between them.

An example of this is wen you place a stair, walls that go through them will be lowered just under the stair, and not only the whole wall, but just the portion where the stair is. I think that VW needs this kind of intelligence between the objects. Like stated above, windows can that punch holes in walls even if they arent in them but just because of thier location and size.

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I think that VW needs this kind of intelligence between the objects.

Amen to that.

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this idea would solve the problem we have of creating stair shafts with windows.

some windows are split between floor levels.

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This is a very old wish list item. The problems with objects spanning several stories are still not solved.

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5 hours ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

This is a very old wish list item. The problems with objects spanning several stories are still not solved.

And the solution proposed is still the best, make plans just sections that look down. Or look up for reflected ceiling plans. This is exactly how it was explained to me first time I had to draw one on the old drawing board. It's not really that big leap in terms of mental or computer model given clip cube can plan section on the fly already.

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I am holding my breath for VW 2018 - the user interface (checkbox and cutting height) is already there!

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Thomas, when the Layer Cut Plane is defined the components of walls parts which are completely below that height don't show.

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I didnt try that. If so, this would be somewhat wrong in my opinion. Symbols and plugins which are completely below or completely above that height should be hidden (or optionally be shown with dashed lines).

I tried a triangular wall (gable wall), and the Layer Cut Plane did nothing at all. I consider this as broken, or as placeholder, in the current implementation. However, this could be almost the entire user interface we would need for my original suggestion. This and a dialog box with some options.

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I know I saw a plug-in somewhere that allowed objects to be seen on multiple design layers regardless of the design layer it was originally drawn.  I am trying to track it down now.

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3 minutes ago, Tom Klaber said:

I know I saw a plug-in somewhere that allowed objects to be seen on multiple design layers regardless of the design layer it was originally drawn.  I am trying to track it down now.

You may be thinking of the Extension plug-in at http://hippocode.com/

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