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Export to FormZ

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Has any one been able to export Vectorworks drawings to Form Z? The best I have been able to achieve is exporting root shapes in eps format then saving as a Illustrator 8 files. Then reforming the 3D shapes in Z as solids. When I export as DXF or DWG 2d or 3d shapes become faceted and loose all the smooth surfaces and controls. I have been required to move on to software that can export 3d solid SLA files for creating stereolithography models. To date I have created 14 models in FormZ but the steep learning curve has forced me to do my draftings in Vectorworks first than recreate in FormZ.

Bob Tiedemann

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Bob I have done a lot of formz work that started life in VW. I know about the faceting problem with dxf, that is because the dxf format does not, as I understand it, allow objects with more than 4 sides. Perhaps dwg is the same.

In my case I'm normally not exporting polygons and 3d shapes. I use VW to establish the geometry, the control points for further work. Thus I do not have the problem you mention.

You may be able to resolve some of the difficulty on the formz end, since the import options there are extensive. Also, remember that form z allows you to delete portions of an object based on topology. So you could delete the faceting segments if the number is manageable. And, ofcourse, they will disappear when you render if they are coplaner.

I've found those two programs to be a powerful combination, and I too find VW to be easier and faster for the 2D setup.

I never mess around with eps files.


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Thanks, FormZ will not accept an VW EPS files only Illustrator 8 (ai) format. Illustrator native files retain their bezier control points which saves a lot of time. I have also used this Vectorworks feature to build graphic files for my non-cad associaties. I have used this for package die lines and diagrams to be edited in illustrator. The only problem I have found is VW exports a low of extra stuff, lines and polygons both. I usually edit these out before sharing the files.

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I start most projects by scanning in a sketch and using it as an underlay in VW to develop basic geometry. By only being able to use the bezier tool in 2D for curves is limiting, but that's what we have.

I then import the plan and profiles into FZ via dwg and use those lines to derive surfaces or drive curves for nurbs surfaces. FZ has made good strides in nurbs.

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I have been bouncing back and forth between FormZ and Vectorworks for 6 months now. I can see why you would set you geometry up in VW first, I will try that tomorrow. The FZ experts which I have been using for support have told me it is very common for new users to get lost in 3d space. In addition many of the controls that are hidden in menus within menus. After months of working I found that you can turn off object color in wire frame mode. The local sales rep. Who sold me FZ is also a VW user and was able to help me set up my preferences to replicate VW drawing environment.

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Lost in 3d space....

I think the brain rewires itself with prolonged use. To me it seems easier to recognize what is going on the more I work with it. Sometimes it surprises me when I step back, squint, as see what a wild jumble of lines I am working with.

working with both...

Both have user definable keyboard shortcuts. To whatever extent makes sense, I set of formz shortcuts to match the ones I've been using for a long time in VW.

Unlike VW, where I use layers to control scale only for the most part, I think it makes sense in formz to set up a good layer structure so that aspects of the model can be turned off when not needed. This alone helps in the visualization difficulty when working in wireframe.

I was pretty slow in formz at first, stumbling along like many. After a year or two though, everything becomes very natural and fluid. Nothing I've tried can compare for speed and ease of creating and editing objects.


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