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Out of my depth: what to show in a demo?


Kool Aid

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On Wednesday I'm supposed to show VW to a set designer (mainly film & commercials) what VW might be able to do to her. She has used 3DS and AutoCAD and specifically dislikes the latter. She also wants to get a Mac, so she's not stupid!

Presumably she wants to discuss camera angles and things like that (for which I don't even have names) with the director & producer. Creation of sets, of course, but to what level of detail?

Yes, it would be good to have someone else to do the demo, but none of the possible elses is available, so that's not an option.

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I use it for set and scenic designs all the time. It's much better suited for proof of concept than ACAD or 3DS due to the hybrid 2D/3D environment. It's much easier to set up shop and construction drawings from VW. The renderings are okay, good enough for clients that would be looking for set designs. Camera views and the ease of working in perspective view are also great to show clients. Since I'm usually acting as an overall production designer, I find it's much easier for me to incorporate all of the technical elements from the departments of the gig into VW, from the lighting and audio designs to projection angles and sightlines.

Certainly VW has it's bugs and failings, but between 3DS and ACAD, I'd go with VW anyday.

What type of scenic designs is this person working on? She's certainly going to be better off with this product than the other options for TV/film designs. I might be able to offer more insite, but I'm crunched on time while getting ready to fly out on a gig which we used VW to design the scenic elements. :)

Edited by Fergy
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It seems to me the Getting Started booklet is a very useful adjunct to your presentation. I wouldn't dismiss it quite so readily. It does have a section dedicated to Spotlight and if as you say your client is a VW novice then this gives them a reliable bottom up reference guide.

Of course charm, experience and a sample project set will do the rest.

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It seems to me the Getting Started booklet is a very useful adjunct to your presentation. I wouldn't dismiss it quite so readily. It does have a section dedicated to Spotlight and if as you say your client is a VW novice then this gives them a reliable bottom up reference guide.

Spotlight tips, guides, manual references, videos etc. relate only to (theatrical) lighting, which in this case is rather irrelevant. Throwing a 100-page book about lighting to a set designer is not likely to impress.

Of course charm, experience and a sample project set will do the rest.

Well, yes, that's the trouble: those I don't have?

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Nicholas,

That is a very kind offer, thank you very much!

I'll see how this First Contact goes, focusing on The Set, with a couple of lights just for the show. Hey, maybe their lighting man person gets interested, too?

At this point it seems that my big problem is to tone down the lighting aspect of Spotlight, so that the client does not think she is paying big money for things she does not need. There are precious few features that aren't in Fundamentals that she ? I imagine ? would really need:

Column

Door

Human Figure

Ramp

Stair

Stack Layers

Table and Chairs

Window

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As someone who is a set & lighting designer, though for theatre, here's my two cents worth -

- its true that Spotlight is somewhat lighting heavy. Its also more theatre/event oriented. Myself, I recently upgraded to Designer to broaden my tool set.

- one of the most important features of the Industry series over Fundamentals is the ability to import/export PDFs.

- the batch print / batch export PDF features were what drew me to upgrade to Spotlight years ago. The expanded title block features are also a must for bigger projects.

I think you'll find that the set designers' job varies from project to project and that Vectorworks will be used in various ways. Sometimes it a 2D drafting tool, sometimes a 3D visualization tool, sometimes a layout tool and often as a thinking tool. The ease of incorporating visual reference (ie. jpg, pdfs, tiffs, etc.) makes it way more user friendly than Autocad.

For film, I can imagine something like Camera Match would be indispensable, especially if you are doing location work.

I must admit I've been using it for so long (since Minicad 5) that I can't imagine doing a project without it.

Kevin

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Good points, Kevin!

Maybe a set designer's job is not entirely unlike an architect's job after all.

That might be it: we do basically the same thing ? sets for people & ?things?. Why, like the Truman Show? Someone designed the Cosby family home, too.

All the world's a stage set,

And all the men and women merely players extras in a commercial.

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Hi Kool Aid,

When I first started using VW Spotlight, I was using it to show room lay out, camera angles, Fire Marshal Drawings, and even 3D models.

All without any lighting!

If your client/producer can visualize well, some times just the wireframe drawings will work. Otherwise just use the ambient light.

It's tricky, but if she is used to working in ACAD, she may see the advantages of the speed and special tools that VW offers.

Good luck & keep the faith!

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Trying, surely. But what's the point in trying to be helpful if you haven't a clue about the subject matter? Messrs Archoncad & Oz are NOT set designers and it is glaringly obvious that they know even less about that profession than yours truly.

When you have only a hammer, all problems look like nails?

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