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Screen Plane - Layer Plane

Bruce Kieffer


Dear NVW, get rid of the screen plane and layer plane mess. I waste more time trying to figure why an object behaves unexpectedly, only to find that the plane is set wrong, either in the working plane drop down, or the OIP. I want a 2D tool created object to be 2D, and if I want that object to act like a 3D object, then I can change its attributes in the OIP. I can't be the only user frustrated by this. I think it's caused by your (NVW's) premature implementation of the unified 2D/3D workspace, and I rate that as mostly a failure.

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Hi Bruce

I have to disagree. I'm finding that I'm more productive in 3D modeling using layer planes.

I do goof up and draw in the wrong plane occasionally. But only slightly more often than I draw something in the wrong class.

I would like to see a couple tweeks:

1. Assign keyboard short cuts to change to layer or screen plane. Maybe a modifier of the same short cut to change objects to layer or screen plane.

2. Have a preference for screen plane to be more persistent. ie., if screen plane is selected, have it stay selected during a fly over. Or have it return to screen plane in left, right, front, back views, etc. if it switched to layer for a flyover....

3. Improve text on working planes. Make it visible in rendering modes. Make text attached to data on a working plane not go crazy in open GL. (bug submitted)


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Bruce if you persevere you will get used to the new way of working. It is different but it provides more capability.

Working Planes are much easier to set, particularly with the Planar Face mode. These can then be saved via the Working Plane palette. Saved Working Planes can then be selected from the Active Plane pop up on the View Bar. Immediately to the left of this pop-up there is a look at Working Plane icon so you can draw directly on the Working Plane.

On the View Bar immediately to the left of the Standard View pop-up there are two icons. One is for Working Plane and the other is for the Active Layer Plane:

- When you have the Layer Plane mode selected the standard views are relative to that working plane (this also works with the Rotated Plan view).

- When you have the Active Layer Plane mode selected the standard views are relative to the Active Layer Plane.

Being able to draw on Working Planes and then model directly with the Push/Pull tool is a very effective way to work.

The Extract tool now has a mode to extract Planar objects. These can then be edited using all of the normal 2D drawing tools and commands, including Offset and 2D Reshape.

The 3D Modeling in Vectorworks manual available from NV explains the new concepts and working methods very well.

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i still find it all a little confusing. The most annoying thing about it all is that VW automatically decides for you which setup to use and it'll only give you the 3D option when it wants to.

For me, it should work EXACTLY as it did in previous versions, allowing the user to then decide how, when and where to change the view option to include the new abilities if necessary. Not oblige you to work as it says.

It DOES offer good possibilities as Mike suggests, but some great aspects seem to have been lost.

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Bruce I couldn't agree more.

It seems to me that most of the bugs and problems in workflows have come since 2010 and layer/screen planes have screwed up a lot of basic functions.

As far as I am concerned 2009 SP5 was the last good edition.

Objects are often displaced when editing and only reset when cycling through plan view and then back to the current view in use. This is just another 'little' issue that seems to have started since the layer/screen plane implementation, and is a real pain.

...and for all the so-called improvements we still don't have 3D dimensions.

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I must disagree. They are just 2D dimensions on a layer plane. Wear the layer plane has to be set before applying.

They are not associative

They don't recognise 3D arcs/circles

They don't work in a viewport (2D circles still have to be overlaid)

They don't render properly in a viewport (A second viewport in wireframe has to be overlaid).

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Bruce, I did not set any planes to make those. Only went to a Front View and used the dimension tool, then back to Top/Plan and used it again. Then, in Top/Plan, I dragged the "front" dimension to where I wanted it at the rear of the cube. FWIW I always keep "layer plane" as the default...

GWS, yes I see your point(s). Still, like I said, if you need 'em they do work...

Personally I find all the same annoyances and shortcomings that everyone else does. I would love to see these 'features' made much much more intuitive in the future. Both the functionality and the workflow could stand some improvement. Filing "Wishes" is one really good way to help make this happen. Believe it or not, the people (yes people!) who create VW's do listen to their customers. In fact they are one of the more responsive software companies I've ever known.

That said, there are many limitations (some obvious, like budget and time; some perhaps less so, like legacy compatibility) which make the development perhaps slower than anyone (perhaps including NV) likes.

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Perhaps the solution is to get rid of the layer plane/screen plan concept in some way. Right now the default is to have one of these two concepts be the default plane. But, and it's most likely my lack of sleep, I am under the impression that they switch back and forth as I move about, use any 2d tools, use the default isometric views. That's mostly where my confusion sets in.

In this new system I'm proposing, we could keep the layer plane and screen plane. But they would be not the default setting for any tool, view, or anything else. The default would be the manually set working plane. If you wanted to work on the layer plane, then you would select it and it would not change no matter what you did until you selected another plane. Same goes for the screen plane.

I feel like right now the system is in a halfway point to this. We are encouraged to use the working plane tool and use the new modeling tools, all of which I love. But then I'm discouraged from using them because I find myself stumbling around the layer plane or screen plane is suddenly activated.

I am guilty of not reading manuals, and so have not looked at the aforemenentioned "3d Modeling for Vectorworks." If it explains clearly how and when to control the planes than I have been able to intuit, then perhaps it's worth a read. I have though, not found anything in the manual that comes with software package that tells me this information.

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For modelling I've found the best way to work is make everything Layer Plane. If something has to be Screen Plane then it can be easily switched via the OIP.

The It seems to me the areas of confusion are:

- The view changes which occur when you are stepping back through the history of an object.

- Hybrid symbols where the 2D part is a Screen Plane object rather than a Layer Plane object because of the view changes when editing the 2D part.

With the latter:

- When you edit the 2D Screen Plane object you end up in Top/Plan View to do the edit and when you exit you end up in Top/Plan View. ie. you don't end up back in the view you where in when you started editing.

- When you edit a 2D Layer Plane object you remain in the view you were in. You can edit in this view and if you do you will remain in that view when you exit. If you change the view you will then be in that view when you exit the symbol.

It seems to me that this confusion could be solved by the following protocol:

- When editing the view remains as it is unless the user changes it.

- On exit from either a history edit or a symbol edit you are returned to the view you were in before you started editing.

Edited by mike m oz
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As i said before the bouncing around from plane/screen/layer to plane/screen/layer just get's in the way.

Whilst i'm certain the VW designers and programers have our best interests at heart when they dream up a new concept, the practical progression often misses the mark.

There ARE many improvements, but the obligatory choices made by the App should have more Pref choices so once selected that's how they remain, so YOU decide when you view or use one plane or another, not VW. Right now, some options disappear in the OIP if you select a different one.

It may already work, but not very well.

VW needs progressive steps towards it's new abilities, not enormous leaps without the necessary stages needed to get there.

Fully Operational Fillet/Chamfer, EAP, Multiple Extrude and 3D Dims would have been better considering for how many years they have been requested.

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I can understand an accepting point of view from the cognoscenti but for the likes of myself, I find it disheartening to realize the perpetuity of it all...having to learn all the new work-arounds and short-comings with each release is problematic for me...and now somehow the reality of having to subscribe to this definitely removes any luster of a new release. Having it be a subscription somehow makes it seem worse than simply purchasing a new version (now it appears to be more expensive to merely buy a license without "Service Select")

I mean, I really thought this release was a breakthrough but it is proving too complicated and I don't see NVW changing. I suppose that I just have to suck it up and acquiesce to the fact that I have to perpetually pay for perpetual problems or give up, drop my subscription and become fluent in the 2011 work-arounds and issue resolutions and just live with it as a static program or maybe even revert to something earlier.

Sorry to have hijacked this thread with my Vectorworks-around epiphany.

So to get back, why can't all processes and creations be 3D on the layer plane? and then plan,side views read as 2D?

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Exactly my point!

FIX it to the "Old Working Plane" by Default, you know the one i mean, That USEFUL format VW used to use! "THEN", and only then, if "WE" want to change the plane we're using, WE decide!!


P.S. not shouting, just emphasising

Edited by AndiACD
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Because different people use the program differently.

I want to have a way to attach annotations that don't move when I change the view such as titles and notes. This is Screen Plane.

I want the ability to project 2D objects so they do move with the view such as dimensions. This is Layer Plane or Working Plane.

Different modes for different purposes.

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