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Another Productive Day with VW

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I'm working on modeling a complex, curved window.

First, I find I need to go through my 2D details and make all their components Screen Plane so that I can use them in the 3D environment of my window symbol. (They weren't all Screen Plane because VW likes to randomly switch from Layer Plane to Screen Plane, with no clue that it's switched...). Time well spent.

In the 3D component of the symbol, in a Side View, I try to draw a line 22" above the floor so I can position my sill detail. But there's no meaningful X or Y coordinate available in the OIP - until I change my line from Layer Plane to Screen Plane. Fine; that only took several frustrating minutes.

I then try to drag my 2D sill detail (a group) to its proper position. Instead, the entire group distorts (maybe it's been stretched?...). Finally I find that if I switch from "Screen Aligned (?!?!)" to "Screen Plane," I can move my group. Now my time fighting with VW exceeds my time modeling the window.

Last I want to remove my 2D details from the symbol, but save them in case I need them later (it took SO long to get them aligned and all...). I place a 2D locus so that I can easily align the details with the symbol's origin later. Since I can't snap to the origin (??), I look to the OIP to set the X,Y for the locus at 0,0. But even though my rulers show 0,0 for the symbol's origin, in the OIP my locus is at something like X=1,024' and Y=1,940'. Huh?!?!?!?

This is ridiculous, yet these days it seems to be the norm for working with Vectorworks. I feel trapped between the extraordinary time and energy I've invested in VW over the years, and the time, energy and expense that would be necessary to switch to another software.

I hope that VW's extensive dysfunctionalism will be addressed with VW 2014. In spite of its issues, I think VW has the potential to be one of the best.

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I completely identify with what you're saying. And I think there's some sort of bug with respect to the co-ordinate system within symbols. I was fighting with it yesterday and there was all sorts of weirdness. It has something to do with the 2D space and the 3D space being separated and not aligned (You can see it by editing the 3D part of a symbol in top/plan and then right clicking and switching to the 2D part. The rulers shift even though they shouldn't).

I work almost entirely in 3D but have my plane set to Screen Plane almost exclusively.


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"I work almost entirely in 3D but have my plane set to Screen Plane almost exclusively."

So, basically, your workaround for the endless problems associated with using planar objects in 3D space is... not to use them in 3D space. To work as if still using VW 2008...

Too bad, as planar objects with the Layer Plane mode seems to be one of the more significant "improvements" to VW since 2008. It certainly is well disguised as such: modeling with planar objects in Layer Plane mode is great... kinda like SketchUp. But then things seem to rapidly go downhill from there when you...

Try to edit an EAP. Or worse an EAP with a fixed profile. Or dimension or move something in a front or side view. Or work in a group(?). And of course working in 3D symbols is problematic. And viewports too (at least in that working in sheet layer viewports seems to cause the design layer's mode to sometimes randomly switch from Layer Plane to Screen Plane...).

So!! I think you guys may be onto something; I think I will try working as you do, just with the Screen Plane mode (while trying to forget the time, energy, effort & money spent trying to go beyond VW 2008...).

Thanks for the responses! Hopefully VW will be more bearable, if not antiquated...

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I am tired of new "innovations" being designed around antiquated tools and concepts.

For years now, Sketchup has been such a breeze to work with because one isn't bogged down with having to understand "layer plane" "screen plane", "UCS","planer objects",etc... My son has been using Sketchup since he was about eight years old.

Time and time again, I see many of these cad companies simultaneously loose sight of both the user's needs of the software, and whom the users are using the software for.

If; at the end of the day, we are essentially drawing stuff in order to effectively communicate something, is the software actually helping us do that, or getting in the way? Every tool, both old and new, should answer that question before it's employed. "Screen Plane vs. Layer plane"; is it really relevant anymore?

(To be honest, I'd love to see software keep track of how many times a particular too is used or not used. What if we just paid for the software based on the tools we actually used? Of course I have wished this of my cable company for many, many years.)

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My main comparison is Cinema 4D, which I use almost daily in tandem with Vectorworks (Nemetschek's own fault for this comparison). In C4D you just work in 3D period. Everything has 3D co-ordinates (none of this x, y and sometimes z). Some parametric objects are assigned to planes, but in a fluid, incorporated way. The object handles are 3D aware and easily constrained to the axes (no wild NURBS points move off in space here while reshaping). It is an environment designed for 3D. They recently added working plane technology (from VW I think) and I can see one or two places where I might need it, but I haven't turned it on yet. Its just not necessary. A far more powerful tool is multiple viewports looking at the model. This I use all the time.

VW on the other hand has become super convoluted for working in 3D. Instead of adding layer plane / screen plane in a clumsy way, VW should have added multiple viewports for working in 3D first. Sure I often have layer plane objects on the ground, but layer plane objects in any other orientation are just crippled 3D objects. And what the heck is Screen Aligned plane, yet another half baked thing we don't want or need.

The direction forward really is about simplifying. The whole point of sheet layers is to get most 2D out of the 3D space. The whole advantage to VW is easily creating 2D working drawings from a 3D model. (If I could create 2D working drawings in C4D I'd drop VW in a second....)


PS. one of the strengths of C4D is that it separates 2D, 2.5D and 3D snaps. VW has mushed everything together which compounds the problem.

Edited by Kevin McAllister
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It sounds like Cinema 4D reminds me of working with Archicad. So much so that we used an entire separate application for Annotating/Viewing/Printing drawings from the Archicad software. What was nice about this method was the second app was free, and could be installed on any machine. (This was mid 90's, so I have no idea if it still works that way.)

"Sofware that doesn't get in the way" should be the mantra of any successful program.

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