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VW 2011 Regen speed


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Hi all -

I'm at a small (currently PC/AutoCAD) design office and we're seriously considering making the jump to Mac/VW. In advance of making a decision, I've been playing around with VW for a few days on a new MacBook Pro / NVidia Geoforce 330 / 4GB ram. Quite frankly, the experience has been a little disappointing.

The biggest issue so far is just plain regen speed which (for me) seriously impacts pan, zoom, regen, move, copy, etc commands. As an example, zooming in on a drawing consisting of (1) line seems to create a regeneration issue, VW looks like it is making lines out of raster graphics. I was previously dreaming of running VW here on Mac Minis but now that doesnt' seem possible. Do I need Mac Pros? Why does VW demand so much graphics performance? Am I missing something?

ANY advice appreciated.


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I've been nagging NemV about the navigation in vw for a long time but I'm not sure if anything will be done.

That is normal for vw at present. While panning the parts of the drawing that where off screen will only become visible once you let go the mouse button. Zooming is the same and jerky. This is one elementary factor where AutoCAD is better. Hardware has nothing to do with it-it's just the way vw is coded. Vw doesn't support hardware like how AutoCAD does unfortunately.

However, bhcuff, Vectorworks is far superior to AutoCAD and you should come over irrespective.

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Guest Mark Flamer

This was the first negative thing I noticed about VW comming from Archicad. It dosen't bother me now as much as it did at first. It still should be improved asap though.

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I have the same painfully slow OpenGL performance in 2011. This is on a file that was created fresh in 2011 so nothing from 2010 to slow it down, and it has barely anything in it - just a few roof faces.

Navigation in OpenGL skips and jumps around with all kinds of visual artifacts. After I changed the image of a RW texture, the old texture would randomly pop up on the screen while panning around. As if that old texture were stuck in some OpenGL buffer.

I guess we need to post some videos on youtube demonstrating this terrible OpenGL performance so that NV can understand what we are complaining about.

What makes this so frustrating is that other 3D software packages work perfectly fine on my computer with none of the OpenGL performance problems that Vw2011 exhibits. So I cannot accept that it is only because my computer is 2-1/2 years old: the problem lies with Vw's OpenGL implementation.



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Apple recommends using only the video drivers that they include as part of their Software Updates. Since I am using the latest version of OS X - my video drivers are up to date.

The Vectorworks 2011 System Recommendations says that OS X only requires a minimum of QuickTime 7. Unlike the Windows requirements for Vw2011 that states using only QuickTime 7.6 to 7.6.6 (higher versions not recommended).

I looked on the Vw2011 Install DVD and for OS X there is not any info about which version of QuickTime it installs (if Vw installs QT at all on OS X).



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VW (IMHO) has the worst graphical view window.

Panning is jerky/jumpy.

Zooming is pixelated.

Panning/Zooming misses parts of the drawing until panning/zooming is stopped.

OpenGL implementation is sensitive at best but generally unreliable and buggy.

Hidden line and other polygon renderings are NOT interactive.

Now vw is good. It has lots of features and in general working with vw is enjoyable. However a lot of the pleasure is taken away by the graphical window.

Just as lightworks was replaced, the whole engine that drives 2D/3D viewing and object generation needs to be thrown out and replaced with something more modern and up to date. If quicktime is an issue then take quicktime out of the equation. Whatever is causing the issue, find an alternative. Maybe DirectX for the PC version?

Anyway, please NemV, sort this out. This part of VW still feels like the old MiniCAD.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Agreed. This problem started with VW 2009 I believe. I thought for the longest time that my computer was at fault (and that's what tech support said as well....video card issue). I went as far as buying a new macbook pro with a better video card, and installed another 2gb ram only to find that nothing changed. It's definitely the software.

Should this issue be posted elsewhere? I realize this shouldn't be a wishlist....but I do wish it would be fixed.

VW architect 2010 SP4, InteriorCAD

Macbook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz

4GB ram, 256MB video

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  • 1 month later...

I agree - the regen speed is pitiful! We just made the upgrade to 2011 and its just not working for me in terms of ease of use or speed. I find the way that VW handles attributes, textures and 3d views just rubbish - it makes it so slow to work with, any change made needs so much time to update. My machine is not the newest but its still pretty well spec'd and VW makes it feel like a real dinosaur.

Upgraded to 2011 to be able to "easily" produce visuals that display materials but am finding it a serious pain to work with. Am actually wishing that we had ditched VW and gone with Sketchup which seems to far outstrip VW in its ability to produce visuals quickly and easily and to edit in a view mode. VW has clunky and unintuitive material controls, awful viewport update speeds and no ability to work in open GL view or hidden line view . . . wish I'd put the money elsewhere cos its not delivered on the promises so far. Am spending far too long waiting to see what things look like in viewports and am not actually able to just get on with work.

Edited by da_muel
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@ da muel. Totally agree. Bought a brand new loaded imac and vw 2011 thinking I would see a huge improvement. Not so unfortunately.

Its better, but it still takes WAY too long to render viewports. Stairs are still finicky to edit. The interface has become more bloated and complicated in an effort to be easier to use. Maybe the combo of 2d drafting and sketch-up is better?

I find myself browsing vw forums while waiting to see what my buildings are going to look like : ).

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Guest Mark Flamer

There are alot of things I really like about VW. Having said that, I believe this needs to be on the top of the development list for 2012. The graphics engine seems to be holding the software back.

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NaeSean - I find myself looking at the sketchup forums while Im waiting Im afraid, dont see this getting sorted for a while (but I hope Im wrong)?!

Having said that I agree with Mark Flamer too - generally I find VW a great tool but I think the really need to up their game and make the graphics / materials side of things much easier and more intuitive. The UI feels very dated compared to other bits of software, its too constrictive and time consuming to be of real use.

The render speeds for getting PDF'd Renderworks VP sheets is actually not to bad cos you can just set it going and do something else, BUT, not being able to work in open GL or hidden line means VW is falling behind other software. Whenever Im trying to discuss changes to drawings its actually a bit embarrassing having to send colleagues away while I wait for the screen to update every time.

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Guest Mark Flamer

I'm optimistic on this issue. The list of features added in 2011 was huge. The 2d-3d integration was a massive undertaking that must have required a complete reconfiguration of the VW framework. This and the licensing of Parasolid shows a strong commitment to the future. I'm sure the development team is aware of these issues and I would imagine they are on the list of things to improve.

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Since VW2008, to my mind Vectorworks has been a turkey - because of the horrible way in which the screen regens on mouse wheel scrolling.

I have tried VW 2009, 2010, and 2011 on about 14 different apple machines - from a 2007 Santa Rosa MBP through to a December 2009 i7 with 512MB graphics card and a one month old i3, plus older mac pros. All do the same thing. You zoom in using the mouse wheel scroll and, the image partially disappears, pixelates, goes out of focus then pings back into focus after just under a second.

If you use the keyboard shortcut to zoom in or out and this doesn't happen - but that's not how you work when you draw is it?

I have been speaking to the UK distributors about this - Computers Unlimited. First of all it was the standard line 'its your graphics card'. I pointed out this was off-the-shelf apple hardware. I made a screen clip of the behaviour and emailed it to them.

Apparently this isn't a bug. Its a feature. Apparently users have been saying how much they really like the way the screen does this - all the pixelation and disappearing lines and slow regens.

Sounds believable, right?

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Guest Mark Flamer

I just tried the keyboard zoom shortcuts and to my surprise, the graphics window is very quick and responsive(in 2d plan view). This is how the mouse wheel should be. 3D openGL is still very slow.

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Guest Mark Flamer

In my mind openGL should be the default working mode for 3d. Wireframe is almost useless and should only be reserved for the largest and most complex models. Its always a little annoying when I select a tool that requires 3d (nurbs curve ect.) and VW switches to an ugly wireframe view.

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Completely agree - default OpenGL all the way! And please please please a better way of applying materials, some folders to put them in so I dont need a separate "favourite" file for each type of material and a serious update to the UI. Its reminiscent of the FormZ material UI when I used it 4 years ago - but not quite as good!

I really hope that this is resolved soon, very soon. I for one am seriously thinking of trying other way of producing "quick" visuals of what Im working on and then detailing in VW. Id rather be able to stick with VW as a one stop shop cos its so good in most other ways and so easy to use.

Maybe my screen might have refreshed now that Ive finished writing . . . ?

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jrhartley's commets are spot on. I too went through a lot of trouble with VW when 2009 came out and was slow to regen. They told me a similar thing....working as designed. I thought they were crazy. "Yes....I like to get headaches after drawing for a short time as my eyes keep trying to focus on things that aren't in focus..."

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I like to give my friends a hard time 'cause they have to use SketchUp in conjunction with AutoCAD. But maybe it's their turn to give me a hard time... 'cause I'm still stuck in 2008!... Which (the major issue of not being able to give my friends a hard time aside) I think I am glad of. Unfortunately.

Might be nice if an NV representative made an appearance in this thread. Something with support for our optimism in the future of VW...

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Agree totally willofmaine - anyone from NV? Ive been keeping my eye on this thread and its been 'hot' for two weeks now.

It wont be a big issue for me for much longer anyway as Im afraid Im jumping ship . . .

Ive managed to persuade my boss to purchase some pro licences of Sketchup. Its quick, intuitive, responsive and uncluttered and I can instantly see what my changes look like - not it 5 minutes. Just got totally bored and frustrated with the regen speed and material pallet in VW. Over time the cost of SU will be saved in the time I would have spent waiting for VW to show me what things look like.

As I said in a previous post I understand that the two bits of software are different we are adding SU to our arsenal rather than ditching VW but if VW was less clunky on materials and the working render speeds were significantly better it would still be our workhorse package. See you at detail stage VW . . .

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they ain't coming...

any longstanding, repeatable glitch

and it's either 'get the latest driver'

or it's a deathly hush

ummm, stairs, call-outs, anyone?

on the graphics front why in the

name of the great spaghetti monster

are we urged to upgrade graphic drivers,

when still using quicktime 7, which has

little or no support for gpu acceleration?!

apple has canned it + quicktime x,

released for mac 2 years ago, ain't

available for windows

painted a bit into the corner?

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This complaint has been around for awhile: This certain kind of lag - Vectorworks Community Board

The linked article in that thread Architosh: Features > Chatside with Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek North America offers some insight into where NV placed the priority to improve VW's performance back in 2008.

(Sean Flaherty): Generally in this release we have made a big push to keep the same kind of feeling overall, because people get into a VectorWorks rhythm as they draw and they like things to happen at this certain kind of lag. It is comparable to 12.5..

Three years later and it seems that things haven't changed much.



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