Preston

Event?Theatre Seating -- Is there ANY Information on this?

44 posts in this topic

HELP!

I've tried over several projects to make the Event Seating concept work in the Theatre World!

I'm now just trying to make a simple 4-section seating in a semi-circle. That's basic and simple, eh? NOT!

I can't find any information on how the seats fill the polygon that I've created in which to put my seats! It seems to leave some random space around the seats that I can't figure out. I have created my aisles and measurements that each seating section utilizes and drawn + slected those polygons. I insert the VW stock Padded Theatre Seat from the dropdown menu. Coordinate my Focus Point for the seats and they're facing the correct direction...

Now--why are there large gaps around the section? Why is front row so far set-back? I'm able to 'offset 1st row, but then usually it starts deleting seats as I change it!?!?!

There doesn't seem to be a tutorial anywhere on HOW this tool actually works! And the Trial-and-Error method is only making me angry--not solving anything! :-(

Ideas?

Many thanx, Preston

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will also need to adjust the seat and row spacing to match your seat.

The seat spacing is center to center so set your seat spacing slightly smaller (-.1")that the actual seat width if you want them placed side by side.

The seats (bounding box) must fall completely within the the shape otherwise they will not be drawn. If one corner of the seat is outside the shape it is considered to be in the isle and will not be drawn.

When you are dealing with an inside radius the edge of the seat often crosses the line and will not be drawn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you --- that is what I'm noticing. Not a very clean tool. I suppose I will have to insert and duplicate array along the curved line and then delete the seats I don't want. (the bounding boxes are not following the curviture of the concentric line(s) in which the seats are laid out. (this is common in most all theatres around the world... how could this tool not work for a standard layout?))

Due to the curved-nature of the seating layout, most of the back rows are deleted too! Not helpful, unfortunately. :-(

Any other suggestions?

Happy holidays--Preston

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find myself moving the boundary lines to make the seats fit the area I want.

The location of the focus point seems to also affect the first row position.

It does seem to take a lot of time to fiddle with the various settings. Remember that most can be negative values as Kevin shows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed -

this tool could be useful - but is way to clunky.

Why not have the ability to build in aisles so you can set your general seating area and get a seat count?

seems like many a throw in on the "not worth it" spotlight package. Really I feel I payed for some kind of useful, but fairly half-baked plug-ins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally agree. It's easier to make your seating layout by hand and build a worksheet by hand than to deal with the seating layout tool. It's obviously been developed with only the simplest of seating layouts in mind. Which as we all know occur in reality very, very seldom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL - just came back to this thread again on another project frustrated by the seating tool. It should be such an easy thing to get working correctly.

You get things you rarely use (concentric) and don't get the most obvious - Aisle.

Come on Nemetshek - you are getting so close these days!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

#klinsey--is there any hopes in Nemetshek working this out -- conflicts with he bounding box are severely limiting this potentially great tool!

THX! Preston

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, it's 2016, working with VW 2015, and I'm STILL trying to deal with this seemingly idiotic Event Seating tool. I'm getting so frustrated just trying to get the seats to fill a space. I adjust the space, I adjust the seat spacing, but instead of just adding one row when it WOULD fit in the space, it shifts all the seats, then it will finally add TWO rows.

What the hell does it take to get the seating tool to layout the seats against ONE side of a shape, then adjust accordingly???

Hello, VW...is there any help with this tool?? I'm about ready to cut and paste every freaking seat in the house - I'd waste FAR less time than trying to figure out a tool that has NO help associated with it.

ARGH!!!

I think it's more frustrating that since 2011, I think, I've attempted to use this tool and spent an hour trying to make it work each time.

Very frustrated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could not agree more that this tool is extremely poorly designed. I just started using the demo of this product and this problem alone is seriously making me consider using AutoCAD instead. This should not be such a difficult function to use.

Also, I am trying to make diagrams which feature classroom style seating and it is absurd to me that 18" tables are not included in the default Spotlight Object Library, they are so common...

Does anybody know where I can find 18" x 6' tables to use in Vectorworks or how I can create them myself?

Thanks,

Jeremy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The easiest way to make your own is to copy something very similar and change it. Editing the Event tables is much like editing any other symbol. I suggest making a file that is your own set of symbols, and make it a favorite just so they are always handy.

(Or just download one of the thousands of DWG/Sketchup/OBJ/3DS files of tables.)

Read up on the Resource Browser and how to modify the library if you want to add things to the existing files.

My tip for dealing with the Seating tool is to use the boundaries to change the layout. Don't try to have them match the actual boundary of whatever you are doing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey,

The seating tool is ... not great. Hope this will help you figure out a useful way of getting around the limitations. Most times, I find it simpler to perform "Duplicate Array..." on symbols and arranging by hand. However, for some setups this is just too difficult, so I've learned to fuddle about with the seating to make it "work" on my plots.

Here are a few personal tips:

1. Build your polygons to represent the seating area. Here's a pic of some with some aisles. Work on one section at a time. This is obviously not going to work for engineering drawings or anything but mainly as a Demo or Approximation. Below, you will find the "Automatically Focus" section at the top, a custom section without numbering in the middle, and a numbered section at the bottom (with caveat* see point 7)

LPhhK4q.png

2. Go through the CREATE EVENT SEATING wizard as usual. Select Classroom and choose a basic standard symbol. Seat spacing is NOT ACCURATE and should not be trusted. These settings require a bit of fuss to tweak.

3. Once the boundary is "populated" with chairs, (they are all messed up), go to the Info Panel and select "Show Boundary" and "Concentric". You can also choose the offset option as well. Without concentric you'll get rectangular seating (which might be what you want, but won't give a good effect in this case.)

TJFBqC8.png

4. Now, to properly fill the "space", I use the 'Seating Count: Specify the number of seats' option. This will allow me to expand the possible seating (even outside the boundary margins) and start the process of visualizing. Use values that will fill your seating boundary completely. Here is a good time to tweak the seat spacing to make it more realistic. Manually use the Dimensions tool to confirm spacings if you are trying for accuracy!!!!!!

5. FOCUS FRONT. This will look at your polygon shape and place the BLUE BOX focus dot in the middle of one edge of the polygon. As you click the FOCUS FRONT, it will cycle around the possible edges. I click this to select the "base" edge that I will want to point the seats at eventually. It will look something like this:

BBK6xgS.png

6. You can now use the selection tool to single-click this BLUE BOX and move it to the area of the room that you would like to focus the seats. The result will probably give you a better approximation of the seating arrangement. Now you can tweak the seat spacing further to give a better idea of placement. Still, don't trust those values as they are not representative of the actual spacing. Manual measurement with the Dimension tool is required.

yps4pSG.png

7. You will end up with something like above, and once you are "finalized" now it's a matter of ungrouping the seating. Ungrouping will lose all the live-updates "Event Seating" information, like the Chair Count, seating numbers, etc. If you add them beforehand, when you choose the Ungroup option you will have a whack of stuff in the same class, so it is almost mandatory to set up a separate class for Seating Numbers if you are going to need that kind of thing. Then you will also want to set up a custom Text Style as well as you will find the default size for the seat numbers is ridiculously oversized.

Al8mmE4.png

8. After deleting the out-side-of-boundary chairs, I ended up with this. Manually selecting the chair symbols will give the readout in the Object Info panel of how many actual butts there are. It will require manual touchups afterward for each seat number. Still, even as crappy as it is, a nicer method than trying to manually place a bunch of seating.

jfIKcRk.png

9. If you feel like being...well, you can adjust the "Seats Per Row" to a higher value like 100 to achieve a crazy seating plot. Then you can delete "aisles" as needed and the rest of the seating will be nicely aligned with adjacent sections.

yaeLGVU.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an excellent writeup, not only does it provide a few workarounds, it showcases the faults of the current tool. Forwarding this to the Spotlight engineers now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8. .....Manually selecting the chair symbols will give the readout in the Object Info panel of how many actual butts there are.

Use the Select Similar tool (it looks like a magic wand with a star) to make this process faster. If you double click on it you can set custom options for what it will select. Uncheck everything except Symbol Name. Its so valuable in these trial and error situations.

KM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

We are 8 months further since the last post, and I was wondering if the seating layout issues were solved by now. So I started to play a little with the seating layout tool in Vectorworks 2017, but IMHO this tool unfortunately still does not work as it should. My expection for ANY tool (in any CAD program) would be that it does work with 100% precision, and that it does what you expect it do do.

 

To be sure that it is not me causing the bad results I would like to share how I have used this tool in another step-by-step overview:

 

1. Creating a seating layout based on a polygon

 

VW 2017 seating layout step 1.png

 

2. Setting the seating layout properties

 

VW 2017 seating layout step 2.png

 

 

3. First seating layout I got

 

VW 2017 seating layout step 3.png

 

 

4. Seating layout after using "Focus Front"

 

VW 2017 seating layout step 4.png

 

 

5. Seating layout after using "Use Absolute Seat Spacing"

 

VW 2017 seating layout step 5.png

 

For a simple seating layout like this with straight rows I would expect the seats to stay centered when using the command "Use Absolute Seat Spacing". Furthermore I would not expect any seats outside the original polygon when not using the command "Allow Seat Past Boundary"

 

 

Going further with concentric rows (starting with "Use Absolute Seat Spacing" deactivated) the whole thing became even more mysterious:

 

1. Using "Concentric"

 

VW 2017 seating layout circular step 1.png

 

 

2. Setting the "Focal Point"

 

VW 2017 seating layout circular step 2.png

 

 

3. Activating "Use Absolute Seat Spacing" while "Allow Seat Past Boundary" still is deactivated

 

VW 2017 seating layout circular step 3.png

 

 

So also the concentric seating seems not to be centered and also seats have been drawn outside the boundary although not permitted. Horizontal and vertical alignment of the seating seem to be random to me.

 

 

Last but not least the seating symbol I used:

 

VW 2017 seating symbol 2D component.png

 

 

In case I made some crucial mistakes It would be nice to hear how to get a good workflow out of the seating layout tool.

 

If the described issues seem to be bugs it would be highly appreciated if the seating tool could be updated to a functioning tool. In architectural entertainment design the seating tool would be very helpful, but only when it works as expected.

 

Thanks a lot!

 

George

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Brandon,

 

 

Thank you for the suggestion!

 

 

I just tried the "Create Seating Layout" command in VW2017 (Spotlight > Architectural > Create Seating Layout).

Besides the fact that it is quite irritating that there are different commands to create seating layouts, it is even more irritating that the results are not the same.

Starting again with the most simple seating layouts the only difference I can see is that now the seats do stay inside the boundary when "Allow Seat Past Boundary" is disabled. Horizontal and vertical alignment still seem random to me:


 

Straight rows using the "Create Seating Layout" command:

 

 

VW 2017 seating layout CSS straight rows.png

 

 

 

 

Concentric rows using the "Create Seating Layout" command:

 

 

VW 2017 seating layout CSS concentric rows.png

 

 

I know that there often are several workarounds and options to get a better result, but I would love Vectorworks to create a seating layout centered to the middle axis AND beeing based on comprehensible parameters as a starting point for further customization.

To me it seems the most logical to use the middle axis as the starting reference and to make the seating layout mirror-symmetric to that axis.

With a focus point exactly in the centerline of the rectangle created in the beginning I really would expect the seating layout to be mirror-symmetric, but that is not what I get.


 

Besides this I would expect that the depth of the first row is exactly what is filled in at "Row Spacing" (plus the chosen "Offset 1st Row") for a straight row layout. In case of a concentric seating layout I would expect the minimum depth of the first row to be exactly what is filled in at "Row Spacing" (plus the chosen "Offset 1st Row").

But again this is not what I get.


 

As mentioned before the "Seating Layout" could be a very useful tool when it comes to entertainment design, but therefore it should be more logical in my opinion. Maybe a big wish, but hey: Christmas is not far off ;-)

Regards, George

Edited by TheatreG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I haven't tried the new Seating Section command. I like it a lot better than the old command.

 

1 hour ago, TheatreG said:

I know that there often are several workarounds and options to get a better result, but I would love Vectorworks to create a seating layout centered to the middle axis AND beeing based on comprehensible parameters as a starting point for further customization.

To me it seems the most logical to use the middle axis as the starting reference and to make the seating layout mirror-symmetric to that axis.

 

With a focus point exactly in the centerline of the rectangle created in the beginning I really would expect the seating layout to be mirror-symmetric, but that is not what I get.

 

That's what I would expect too. I would almost always start a seating layout with the centre section.

 

1 hour ago, TheatreG said:

Besides this I would expect that the depth of the first row is exactly what is filled in at "Row Spacing" (plus the chosen "Offset 1st Row") for a straight row layout. In case of a concentric seating layout I would expect the minimum depth of the first row to be exactly what is filled in at "Row Spacing" (plus the chosen "Offset 1st Row").

 

 

This too.

 

I'm not sure why the tool divides up Classroom, Banquet, and Theatre. Ultimately all seating layouts have to meet the same codes. I would prefer to have a seating layout auto adjust if I turn staggering on/off rather than having to start again. Some further wishes -

 

- I wish the dialog box layout had a visual indication of the focus point I selected for reference.

- I wish the layout tool wouldn't allow overlapping seats in curved layouts.

- I wish there was an option to show/hide the boundary.

- I wish the label text was tied to a Text Style instead of being set manually.

- I wish there was a method to select the front and back boundaries from a seat symbol. Often these boundaries are based on whether a chair folds or on armrests and chair backs.

- I wish there was an automated option to remove orphans (rows with minimum numbers of seats based on a user minimum).

 

I do like the fact you can edit the layout and adjust/delete individual seats manually.

 

I've manually added a bunch of these wishes to the Wishlist forum.

 

Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Kevin McAllister said:

 

- I wish there was a method to select the front and back boundaries from a seat symbol. Often these boundaries are based on whether a chair folds or on armrests and chair backs.

 

 

May be missing your point but you can set the row spaceing by mesurment for Font leg to Fron leg or Back leg to Front leg.

 

- I wish there was an automated option to remove orphans (rows with minimum numbers of seats based on a user minimum).

 

 

Currently you can only do this for "curved" in the limits section.

 

 

All good points that we will look into. Thanks for providing constructive feedback! 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, BrandonSPP said:

May be missing your point but you can set the row spaceing by mesurment for Font leg to Fron leg or Back leg to Front leg.

 

Thanks Brandon. I appreciate your followup.

 

I saw this option. It seems to work by referencing the edges of the seat symbol's bounding box not by actually knowing where the legs of a seat symbol end. In practice, these dimensions are all about setting clearances for audience exiting and don't relate to "legs".

 

For example, in a layout with fixed seats, the clearance is measured from the furthest point forward on one seat (usually the leg tip) to the furthest point back on the one in front of it (usually either the leg tip or the top of the seat back). Here's an example using VW default Event Chair-Stacking. Notice even though my "Front Leg to Back Leg" distance is set at 12", in reality that's not what the tool is drawing.Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.29.25 AM.png

 

Usually for folding theatre-style seats, the clearance measurement is from the furthest point forward (usually the tip of the seat when folded or the tip of the arm rest) when folded to the furthest point back (usually the top of the seat back) on the one in front of it. In the example below using the Event Padded Theatre Seat you can see to meet the same code requirement my "Front Leg to Back Leg" distance is set to 3".

 

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.39.37 AM.png

 

Obviously math can be done to figure out the values for the existing method in all of these scenarios but a more flexible control system would be preferred. You can see that "Front Leg to Back Leg" is not an accurate description of anything in these two examples using VW stock symbols.

 

It would also be great if the OIP for a Seating Section also showed the seat symbol name somewhere.

 

Kevin

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again,

 

Thanks Kevin and Brandon for all the additional information and comments !

 

Another one on my wishlist would be the possibility to replace the original "boundary" easily by a different one.

It would be great if this would work the same way as for extrudes (i.e. simply replacing a square footprint by a triangular one)!

 

Regards, George

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TheatreG said:

Another one on my wishlist would be the possibility to replace the original "boundary" easily by a different one.

It would be great if this would work the same way as for extrudes (i.e. simply replacing a square footprint by a triangular one)!

 

Hi George,

 

Actually you can already. Right click on the Seating Section and choose Edit Boundary. It will allow you to either edit or replace the boundary. Unfortunately the boundary is shown out of context so you can't see it in relation to the block of seats created from it.

 

Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@BrandonSPPI've been experimenting a little more with Create Seating Section. Do you know why it doesn't fill the boundary with the maximum number of seats possible? I assumed it was when I was testing things yesterday but didn't notice it wasn't because the boundary disappears. I cut and paste a copy of the boundary for reference and this is what I'm seeing -

 

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.51.40 AM.png

 

Version A is what is created by the command. Version B is what I think the command should create to fill the boundary.

 

Another wish would be the have the preview in the dialog box show and be bounded by the boundary object for reference. Right now it just zooms in to the maximum extents of the seating it creates which gives a false sense that it has filled the area completely.

 

Thanks,

 

Kevin

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kevin,

 

Thanks ! When I right click on the seating layout I can only choose "Edit path", but that works the way you described !

 

Concerning the problem you have with the number of seats: Do you have  "Use Center Of Row As Origin" activated ? Try to dectivate it, maybe this helps.

 

Regards, George

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now