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New Topics Wanted - Vectorworks Training Content

PVA - Admin


  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Do you have a training topic wish? Perhaps you want to learn how to do something specific with Vectorworks? Maybe you want to learn how to use a particular command or tool? Or perhaps you would like to learn about a specific workflow? Well, let us know what items would be most useful to you that you don' already see available for Vectorworks. 


If you have an item you'd like us to consider making, please reply to this post, including as many details as you can. We'll be constantly monitoring this and merging it with our list. Thank you for your feedback.

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Real world cut and fill data, how do you get them out of vectorworks with the current set of site modifiers.

I've seen many VW videos where they keep talking about optimal bldg placement on a site by balancing the cut and fill volumes, but none address the following reality of site excavation.

When you do cut and fill of a bldg footprint the "fill" is most often not the same material that you cut out of the site. Under slabs and footings is one type of fill and then fill around the bldg's fndt wall is another type for proper drainage, etc. Also, when you excavate for placing a bldg's foundation the retaining edge is usually done at an angle for safety reasons (usually 45?) not vertical as per the current options of the site modifier with retaining edge!

So I'd like a step by step tutorial of placing a bldg on a site and then which site modifiers to aply in order to be able to extract the volumes of the various fill types.

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Being able to insert doors and windows into a wall construction at a location of my choosing and being able to design cills / thresholds / lintels and reveals that look like the real thing.

Current problems.

Inserting doors and windows into wall constructions - This should be a user controlled option and not set as centre of frame only. If we were allowed to say specify the insertion point in relation to the front or rear face of the door/window frame and specify the thickness of the frame, windows and doors would sit correctly within walls instead of an arbitrary location which has a knock-on effect to everything else in this post.

Reveals: Check reveals not permitted (yes a custom end-cap is possible but it then over-rides everything else) - This has been a standard product in other design packages for a number of years (even back to Autocad 12 + AEC)

Internal reveals to soffit and jambs: Playing around with the No. of wall components to create reveals doesn't work for all but the most basic of wall constructions. The use of insulated reveals and cavity closers (insulated or otherwise) has been common practice for a number of years (at least 10) - why can't VW accommodate?

Window cills (Internal or external)- Just does not work. The only way I can get something to display even partly correct is to create an individual cill symbol for the internal and external leaf and insert as individual wall components - Is this the only way that VW will work.

Lintels: It would be nice to be able to insert a standard lintel into the construction, standard steel lintels have been used for many years. Why does VW not allow for them?

It is also impossible to create a stooled window cill (email me for a description if you wish)

Door thresholds: Work OK but not properly for internal doors the threshold does not extend the full width of the opening beneath the frame (which is the definition of a threshold), but external doors have to have a custom symbol created aka window cills.



Chartered Architectural Technologist

VW Architect 2014 w/renderworks (been using VW since 2008)

imac 27" OS (Mavericks)

3.4 GHz Intel Core i7, 1 TB HDD, 16 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

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I'd like to +1 the previous two suggestions, especially the last one! VW is way behind it's peers in this respect. VW has so much good about it, but is really impaired by issues like this.

These may exist already, I know aspects of them are dotted around inside of various tutorials about other things but:

I'd like a tutorial which focuses on how to create curved 3D geometry and how to render it efficiently:

I'm finding it tricky to figure out how to combine the different 2D/3D line/polygon/shape tools, making/adding surfaces to extrude, additive/subtractive solids, extrude along path, multiple extrude, using and orientating extrusions in relation to work planes, how to take geometric information from one object to another and how to organise these objects and retain the ability to edit geometry and position of objects in relation to one another.

I'd also like a tutorial showing clearly, step by step how to make 1.symbols, 2.plug in and 3.hybrid objects, which also discusses what distinguishes these different object types and the pro's and cons of using them for various operations.

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I'm trying to bring in georefenced data from a Garmin BaseCamp application. Is there any way that I can convert a .kml or .gpx file to a .shp (online perhaps)? I haven't been able to find a working converter yet. If not, is there any way other way to import a file while keeping the georeferenced data intact? I believe I can convert a .kml to a .dxf in sketchup (by downloading plug-ins) but this leaves me with no georeferenced data. Any help is appreciated.

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Site modeling in VW LM - from start to finish, with examples of common tasks, similar to Tamsin's Residential book (Old Testament), but with the New Testament, i.e., site modeling.

Good examples of how various users are creating VW Plant Lists from the VW Plant Database, and how they are preserving/importing them from one update to the next. A good step by step tutorial on how to take your plant lists and get them into the new year's release.

Lighting, HDRI backgrounds, outdoor scenes and the camera tool.

Those are three ideas. Thanks for asking.

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I'd like a detailed tutorial on how to set up a construction cost estimating worksheet based on our model. Preferably organized with the standard CSI Masterformat divisions, and have template files available to get started.

This should include demonstrating how to extract onto ONE worksheet the data from various components that make up a model; PIO's, symbols, custom modeled extrudes, etc.

If possible, it would be nice to also show how we could then link our take-off worksheet to and external cost database spreadsheet like those from RSMeans cost books.

Edited by Fritsch
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Explanation of the Texture Shaders in RenderWorks. What does each Shader mean? How do the values change the Shaders? How to control Bump Maps? There are hundreds of possible combinations, but very little technical information about how to achieve specific results. For example, how would one create a bump map for standing seam roofing? a linear texture with raised ribs every 16"? Frankly, I have experimented with these for years (since VW 2011 introduced the new format) and I only get predictable results by sheer accident.


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I would love to see workflows with importing/exporting recommendations for working with other major CAD/BIM/3D applications (i.e Revit, AutoCAD, Microstation, Archicad, Sketchup, etc.)

It seems that it's always a matter of trial and error in terms of the best ways to export & import files with consultants & colleagues. It would be great to know...

- Which formats work best with which applications?

- What effect do each of the settings (for the above formats) have on the end result?

- What are the Best Practices for importing files?

- What are the recommended instructions to give to other who are exporting files for our use in VW?

Demystifying the process in both directions would be a huge help in keeping Vectorworks viable and competitive.


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This may not classify as a tutorial but anyway, it would be very very useful to have a sort of "not to do" list of common mistakes.

I really love VW and its logic but many times it is frustrating to obtain weird results because of bugs. My guess is that some of those bugs happen because VW don't expects me to do things in certain way, so I think it would be very usefull to have a list of avoidable behaviours based on your expertice.

I am proposing this because the bug submit section it's a only one way comunication so you never realy know If you were right or wrong with what you have sent. Also because I feel that with the releases of new versions of VW each year the time left to submit all the things you find while working on the one you have purchased before the next one appears is very very short.

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For adding/designing Scenery;

1) how to add surface painting and textures to the fa?ade of the element (manipulation of working planes) (inserting wall-hangings, pictures, wall sconces, etc.)

2) the correct way to build architectural features on the scenic fa?ade

3) proper VW fashion on how to build actual platforming, etc.

When building your Theatre--the VW way to build-out:

4) Seating Risers & steps/stairs

5) Architectural Features; pillars and various obstacles

6) Insert Roof Trussing (many theatres use the steel trussing and needs to be a part of the renderings on how lighting hangs and scenery fits, etc.

Many of the above might be a standard part of Architect Workspace--but how does VW want us to manipulate it in Spotlight? Many are just extrusion work-arounds. Is there a VW "Proper Method" for doing so?

Thank you.

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For VW Architect, on the Extrude Along Path. I'm fighting it in trying to add trim/moldings to my kitchen drawing, from base boards, base shoe molding, door casing & back bands. I have the molding profile as a Polyline. The difficulty I'm having is in plan view, what position should the molding profile be in to follow the polyline with out having to always edit the profile, which is confusing. I usually have to reposition it multiple time to get it in the correct position in the 3D modle. In plan view should I turn the molding polyline perpendicular to the path line? In other words doing this in a perspective view is the better way to do it so the molding profile is positioned perpendicular to the path with the correct point of the molding touching the beginning of the path line?


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
on the Extrude Along Path. I'm fighting it in trying to add trim/moldings to my kitchen drawing, from base boards, base shoe molding, door casing & back bands.

This video by Sean O'Skea gives a very good starter tutorial in how to accomplish that:

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is there a way to link a detail bubble to the actual detail on a separate page.

for example - if you cirlce a corner of your plan on sheet A-101 and that detail is found on A-702, is there a way to link the bubble detail and the enlarged detail automatically so that if the enlarge detail moves to another page due to layout or for what ever reason, the bubble on A-101 will update automatically?



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Thanks for asking. We need a series of workflow tutorials on translating SU models to VW, fixing the segmented lines, applying textures, translating to parametric objects, etc. This could apply to whole buildings or smaller components like furniture, appliances, light fixtures, etc. that are abundantly available for SU but not so much for VW.

Jonathan Pickup, you are the BEST at this! I really appreciate the way you break your videos into short 3-5 minute segments. I bet you could write a whole book on this. I mean, think about how many architects model with Sketchup and translate to something else for construction drawings. Just a thought...


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