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Advise an unreformed VW2008 user - time for change?

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I've been using Vectorworks for quite some years - but have not upgraded beyond the 2008 version. Partly because of the cost and partly because it seems to mostly do what I need of it.

For various reasons I'm now considering moving with the times and upgrading to the latest version.

I use VW for architectural drawings. And really I just use it for 2D drafting (3D stuff I tend to do in Sketchup). So I am aware I'm not using its full capabilities.

Part of my question, really, is whether I should change the way I use VW. Start using its 3D (and BIM?) capabilities.

I mostly do fairly small projects and they very often involve alterations to existing buildings. In the past, investigating possibilities of using 3D functionality (not just VW but other programmes) I decided it wasn't really worth it, because it seemed like I was constantly using workarounds to force a system that seemed designed for newbuild projects with standard components, to accomodate all my non-standard components, wonky walls of old buildings, and so forth.

However, I'm aware that times have changed, I'm a bit out of date with my knowledge and it may be that now, 3d drawing methods are more flexible and starting to set up my drawings in that way would make me more productive.

So, should I carry on as I am, with an old version of VW, and stick to the devil I know, or fork out for the latest version and start using more of its full functionality?

Any thoughts appreciated.

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This is a complex question - while there is some very real truth to - if it ain't broke don't fix it - the nature of software / hardware compatibility occasionally necessitates upgrades.

I do VW consulting and most of my work revolves around this very issue. I would be happy to speak with you in depth - learn more about your situation and help you make this decision.

Feel free to write me an email - tklaber@gmail.com

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My suggestion is to upgrade to the latest version of Vectorworks. The 3-D modelling has change substantially since 2008. Vectorworks is so much quicker now for 3-D modelling, even if you don't use walls, doors, and windows, and so on. I find Vectorworks so quick for 3-D modelling, I would like to see you using Vectorworks rather than other programs.

You haven't mentioned it, but am wondering if you have Vectorworks fundamentals or whether you are thinking about upgrading to Vectorworks architect. Vectorworks architect has several features that make it much more powerful than fundamentals, and these will improve your ability to create 3-D models and turn them into drawings.

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I feel your pain. I am able to crank out 2d drawings rather quickly um err, using brand "x" software. But I was tired of lines and arcs and generating sections and elevations is quite labor intensive. The tools in VW architect were very appealing. I love doing plans with the wall tools and associated file tools. I struggle setting up the model correctly so that elevations and sections are correct. For me I think it is a matter of investing more time. Right now my work load dictates that I be productive every minute of the day and then some. So my investment is gathering dust!

I was just glad to hear someone else was in a similar predicament.

There is a lot of help available here on this forum.

Hope it goes well with you!

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There are two questions really.

The first is whether to upgrade from 2008.

I will do this in some form because of various issues including the fact that sticking with 2008 limits me upgrading OSX.

I have an opportunity to purchase a secondhand license for 2011 or 2012, and may do this rather than forking out for the latest version.

The second is whether I should be thinking about fundamentally changing the way I use VW. As previously mentioned, creating a 3d model then generating plans/sections etc from that, rather than just doing everything as 2d drafting.

The second question sort of applies regardless of what version I'm using. In fact I have 2008 Architect, but don't use all of its features. However, if I do decide that I should change my working methods then I can see that it probably strengthens the case for upgrading to the most recent version.

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Vectorworks is so much quicker now for 3-D modelling, even if you don't use walls, doors, and windows, and so on. I find Vectorworks so quick for 3-D modelling, I would like to see you using Vectorworks rather than other programs.

Do you find it better than Sketchup?

I have done 3d CAD since early days of Autocad when you had to type in the command line. A gradual continuation of these skills saw me through to doing 3d in Vectorworks, until about 4 or 5 years ago when I realised Sketchup was so much quicker and more intuitive, if you just want to do a model for visualisation/testing ideas.

Maybe VW 3d has caught up in the meantime.

My main query's not really about the use of 3d for visualisation etc, though. It's about using 3d models to generate my 2d working drawings.

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My personal view: upgrade to the latest version.

VW has proven a reliable tool for you for years now and the latest version has so many stability and feature improvements that you'll never regret it.

You don't have to radically change your workflow at once. You can continue to work exactly as you have been and slowly begin to test/adopt and enjoy the benefits that the latest version has to offer.

Again - you won't regret it - & I have an uneaten hat to prove it!

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I feel your pain. I am able to crank out 2d drawings rather quickly um err, using brand "x" software. But I was tired of lines and arcs and generating sections and elevations is quite labor intensive. The tools in VW architect were very appealing. I love doing plans with the wall tools and associated file tools. I struggle setting up the model correctly so that elevations and sections are correct. For me I think it is a matter of investing more time. Right now my work load dictates that I be productive every minute of the day and then some. So my investment is gathering dust!

I was just glad to hear someone else was in a similar predicament.

There is a lot of help available here on this forum.

Hope it goes well with you!

Indeed, sounds similar to my situation.

It's a question of whether investing that time will actually pay off. Or will I still be fighting the system to give me (as you say) elevations that are correct, and drawn the way I like them.

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This is a complex question - while there is some very real truth to - if it ain't broke don't fix it - the nature of software / hardware compatibility occasionally necessitates upgrades.

I do VW consulting and most of my work revolves around this very issue. I would be happy to speak with you in depth - learn more about your situation and help you make this decision.

Feel free to write me an email - tklaber@gmail.com

Thanks. I may email you tomorrow.

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Go for it col3740. Vw has improved substantially since then with both the 2D and the 3D being substantially more capable. The collaboration abilities are also miles ahead of where they were then.

Vw 2015 does however require a modern computer to run on. Don't even contemplate trying to run it on a 7 year old computer.

You don't say what your work type is or what version you are running. If it is building you should be using Architect. Fundamentals is capable but it lacks the capabilities of the Industry Versions such as Architect, Landmark, Spotlight and Designer.

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It's architectural drawings that I do.

At the moment I've the choice between spending about £650 on VW2011 Designer + Renderworks, or about £2000 on VW2015 Architect.

Is the 2015 version worth the extra cash? Are the differences significant?

Edited by col37400

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Obviously my opinion is biased, however I would like to point out for your considerations; Vectorworks 2011 is NOT compatible with OS X 10.9 (or 10.8 really, I have has users reporting serious issues) and therefore most likely will not be compatible with the very soon to be released OS X 10.10 either.

http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/1261/Vectorworks+Operating+System+Compatibility+List+2014-8-27

If you need to upgrade to either of these two OSes or you will be buying a new Mac soon, Vectorworks 2011 may not be a wise choice.

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col37400,

I'm getting into this conversation late, but wanted to give you my opinion of drawing in 2D v. modeling.

I work at a small remodeling company and was also doing everything in 2D. I'd draw my plans and create my elevations, etc. all with polygons. I had done it that way for years in VWArch/RW, and became good at creating fast drawings.

Fo me, the problem with a 2D methodology reared it's ugly head whenever there were changes, whether from the job site changing (being incorrectly measured in the field) or from a client change. It was also very time consuming to present multiple designs during the conceptual phase.

Beginning with VW2011 (I'd used VW since v2006 I think), I decided to give modeling a try and invested in training. After doing 2 to 3 2-hour training sessions (using skype and screen sharing), I felt proficient enough to jump in. I've never looked back. In fact, I find it difficult to believe that I ever used the program as a 2D drafting system to begin with. I'm able to use layers to present different concepts within the same space. I get all of my elevations from section viewports. I use the time I've saved to do more with the overall presentation. I submit modeled drawings to my cabinet company to clarify details on custom pieces. I can demonstrate the differences in compound moldings to clients. The list goes on and on.

By switching layer and class visibility on and off within the viewports, I'm able to copy and paste viewports to get multiple drawing very, very quickly.

I think the key is to invest not only in the software (I'd go latest and greatest), but also in the training. You don't necessarily have to buy training, but I assure you that you'll consider it a great investment if you do.

In my humble opinion, modeling in 3D and getting your 2D drawings from the model is by far quicker and easier.

Good luck!

EDIT: I should've included this info when I originally posted. My trainer was a fellow community member here, BCD. He was really able to break through the mental walls I'd built up against using VW in 3D. Very knowledgeable, and I recommend his training services whole heartedly. You can visit his profile here: Excellent Training

Edited by Chris Fleming

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comments on 2d projection drawing system compared to 3d modeling

Yup, that's pretty much exactly how my drawings are laid out at the moment! I'd gladly leave all that messiness behind.

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col37400,

I'm getting into this conversation late, but wanted to give you my opinion of drawing in 2D v. modeling.

I work at a small remodeling company and was also doing everything in 2D. I'd draw my plans and create my elevations, etc. all with polygons. I had done it that way for years in VWArch/RW, and became good at creating fast drawings.

Fo me, the problem with a 2D methodology reared it's ugly head whenever there were changes, whether from the job site changing (being incorrectly measured in the field) or from a client change. It was also very time consuming to present multiple designs during the conceptual phase.

Beginning with VW2011 (I'd used VW since v2006 I think), I decided to give modeling a try and invested in training. After doing 2 to 3 2-hour training sessions (using skype and screen sharing), I felt proficient enough to jump in. I've never looked back. In fact, I find it difficult to believe that I ever used the program as a 2D drafting system to begin with. I'm able to use layers to present different concepts within the same space. I get all of my elevations from section viewports. I use the time I've saved to do more with the overall presentation. I submit modeled drawings to my cabinet company to clarify details on custom pieces. I can demonstrate the differences in compound moldings to clients. The list goes on and on.

By switching layer and class visibility on and off within the viewports, I'm able to copy and paste viewports to get multiple drawing very, very quickly.

I think the key is to invest not only in the software (I'd go latest and greatest), but also in the training. You don't necessarily have to buy training, but I assure you that you'll consider it a great investment if you do.

In my humble opinion, modeling in 3D and getting your 2D drawings from the model is by far quicker and easier.

Good luck!

EDIT: I should've included this info when I originally posted. My trainer was a fellow community member here, BCD. He was really able to break through the mental walls I'd built up against using VW in 3D. Very knowledgeable, and I recommend his training services whole heartedly. You can visit his profile here: Excellent Training

Your experience sounds promising. And point taken about investing in a bit of training.

There are various scenarios where, in the past, experiments with 3d-based drawing generation have shown its shortcomings and made me decide to stick with 2d.

For example, drawing old buildings where nothing is straight. Can it cope easily with walls where the thickness varies horizontally or vertically, or which are leaning over?

If I have projects where, say, all the windows are non-standard, do I have to create them from scratch in 3d or is it straightforward to adapt standard ones? And do they have to be drawn in full detail from the beginning, or can they be modelled in a simplified way during the early stages of the project, and still look ok on the drawings?

Again where I'm dealing with existing drawings: sometimes no matter how detailed your survey, floorplans don't quite match up from level to level. In 2d it's possible to fudge this a bit, where it doesn't matter (for example if the bit that doesn't quite match up isn't relevant to the parts where you're doing work). But in 3d would I have to laboriously tweak everything so that the 3d representation didn't have bits where, say, stairs didn't quite match up properly, and hence generate 2d drawings where things look wrong?

Maybe I should download the 2015 trial version and have a play around.

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Your experience sounds promising. And point taken about investing in a bit of training.

There are various scenarios where, in the past, experiments with 3d-based drawing generation have shown its shortcomings and made me decide to stick with 2d.

For example, drawing old buildings where nothing is straight. Can it cope easily with walls where the thickness varies horizontally or vertically, or which are leaning over?

If I have projects where, say, all the windows are non-standard, do I have to create them from scratch in 3d or is it straightforward to adapt standard ones? And do they have to be drawn in full detail from the beginning, or can they be modelled in a simplified way during the early stages of the project, and still look ok on the drawings?

Again where I'm dealing with existing drawings: sometimes no matter how detailed your survey, floorplans don't quite match up from level to level. In 2d it's possible to fudge this a bit, where it doesn't matter (for example if the bit that doesn't quite match up isn't relevant to the parts where you're doing work). But in 3d would I have to laboriously tweak everything so that the 3d representation didn't have bits where, say, stairs didn't quite match up properly, and hence generate 2d drawings where things look wrong?

Maybe I should download the 2015 trial version and have a play around.

Let me point out right away that I'm not an architect. Now that that's out of the way, I guess I have a couple of questions. How "accurate" do you feel you need to be when representing an old building? If we're talking about 1/4" scale plans, some of the idiosyncrasies of older buildings may be a mute point. Not that you wouldn't make note of issues in construction notes, etc.. In a 3D model, do your walls need to lean in or be created out of square? Is the variance in thickness of the walls enough that you need to actually draw it? If walls are absolutely different thicknesses, it's easy enough to do that. I'm not sure I'd do it where the variance was unintentional however. Plaster walls are thicker at the bottom but I wouldn't draw that. However, if 4" thick wall ties or transitions into a 6" wall, I would. I hope that makes sense.

I'm absolutely not minimizing the issue. It's just that I don't know if it's an issue or not. Since I work in residential remodeling, it hasn't been an issue. We always check walls for square, and when possible, I'll make that adjustment by creating walls from a polygon. I've never attempted to adjust the vertical orientation of my walls however (shown a lean).

Typically, I'll use the smallest dimension brought back from the field measures, since I have to be sure that what we design will fit into the space. I haven't had the need to work with multiple stories, so I don't use that feature and I don't use layers in the "traditional" method of representing stories.

As to windows, the tools have gotten much, MUCH better. You can vary and customize pretty much to your heart's content. Certainly enough to represent a concept, create the necessary before and after construction documents, and get take offs.

You should definitely download the trial and see what you think. Just don't get frustrated, because, as is true with any high-end, complex, software package, knowing what everything does, and how to use it is key to your success.

Cheers!

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I guess I have a couple of questions. How "accurate" do you feel you need to be when representing an old building?

It's a good question - sometimes the answer is not very.

But there are situations where a lean or budge or tilt in a wall can become significant.

15293794389_beae563d9b.jpg

This is an (incomplete) section through the gable wall of my flat. It's about 150 years old and has a bulge in it, and the chimney leans over. This is not particularly unusual in London. The deviance from the vertical of that wall is around 100mm or 4 inches, within the height of a room. That becomes significant when you're trying to plan things in a tight space. In my case I was adding insulation on the inside, and creating a vertical internal wall meant stepping between different thicknesses of insulation. There are drawings which show this.

It's also useful to have a drawing which accurately shows the bulge in the wall for discussion with structural engineers, for example.

Even if I were to ignore that 100mm varience (which might be reasonable in many situations), if I were to draw the upper and lower floor plans, with a nominal section cut line at around waist height, say, to represent the avrage dimension of the room, then that wall would be in a slightly different plan location in each. That might not matter for the plans but if I then use that information - assuming vertical walls - to generate a section, it's going to look wrong because it'll have a step in the outside surface of the wall which plainly isn't right.

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If a sketchup > vw2008 workflow works for you, I'd stay with it (especially if you're busy - steep learning curves are bad for health), I'm on 2012 and also do all 3D in Skecthup (plus rendering in Kerkythea) then layout in VW.

For planting I do graphical/3D in SU and export components to VW for counting etc.

My work is all landscape architecture but often with a lot of buildings and irregular sculptural objects (mainly older / wonky etc and very rough measurements / old plan scans - which is getting faster and faster in SU.

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It's a good question - sometimes the answer is not very.

But there are situations where a lean or budge or tilt in a wall can become significant.

15293794389_beae563d9b.jpg

This is an (incomplete) section through the gable wall of my flat. It's about 150 years old and has a bulge in it, and the chimney leans over. This is not particularly unusual in London. The deviance from the vertical of that wall is around 100mm or 4 inches, within the height of a room. That becomes significant when you're trying to plan things in a tight space. In my case I was adding insulation on the inside, and creating a vertical internal wall meant stepping between different thicknesses of insulation. There are drawings which show this.

It's also useful to have a drawing which accurately shows the bulge in the wall for discussion with structural engineers, for example.

Even if I were to ignore that 100mm varience (which might be reasonable in many situations), if I were to draw the upper and lower floor plans, with a nominal section cut line at around waist height, say, to represent the avrage dimension of the room, then that wall would be in a slightly different plan location in each. That might not matter for the plans but if I then use that information - assuming vertical walls - to generate a section, it's going to look wrong because it'll have a step in the outside surface of the wall which plainly isn't right.

I have to tell you that this is a tough one. Surely there are other users who've had to tackle this same problem.

My solution would be to generate the section from my model. Then, I'd draw over the section where needed (to make it more accurate) within the "edit annotations" area in my viewport. You'd be able to generate the drawing you attached pretty easily I'd think. Yes, it would be drawing time outside of the modeling time, but you'd be saving all the time of drawing everything else.

That may not be what you want to hear, but the point is that 2D and 3D modeling methodologies are not mutually exclusive. That's really the beauty of it all. It's a hybrid setup where you generate models and work on "real" structures, and present to clients with models and 2D drawing sets.

You don't have to upgrade VW to try it either. Play around and see what it'll do for you. Then upgrade if you feel it's worth it to you. Then newest versions are much better, i.e. less frustrating, but you already have a good tool at your disposal.

Cheers!

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the link below show how but it was more of a roof situation than wall

but you can do the same. bottom line is that if the parametric tools cannot do it then it is direct modeling. (as shown in link)

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Thanks for comments/videos above, interesting.

I think I need to try doing a small trial project using modelling to get my head around how it all works.

Edited by col37400

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Ok. So, a year and a bit on I'm going to try and re-activate this thread and hope that some of you who commented above are still around.

A while back I moved from VW2008 to VW2011 (managed to get hold of a second hand license).

I've not been using its 3d capabilities until now, though. I have a small project which I thought I'd try setting up as a proper 3d model as a bit of an experiment.

It's been a bit painful getting Vectorworks to do what I want in 3d, having become accustomed to using Sketchup for the past few years. However, here's the (incomplete) model I've made so far.

22780615884_d965bfcfea_b.jpg

The lower floor plan is fairly straightforward. All the walls are vertical and I've made them using the wall tool with multi-layer buildups and so on. Works ok (until now I've never really bothered with the wall tool, just done it all manually).

23041470219_80951fee5f_b.jpg

And I've managed to generate some sections which seem ok in principle (obviously the drawing is incomplete at this stage).

23409456465_101c30a8e5_b.jpg

The upper floor however is more complicated because it's partly in the roof space. I've used the wall tool wherever there's a vertical wall. As you can see on the isometric I've managed to work out how to give wall elements a profile along the top edge (this was very fiddly though), on the two gable walls (which are in fact party walls; this is a mid-terrace house). And I've managed to draw the basic rafter framing etc (I did this by direct modelling).

But the upper floor floorplan doesn't look so great. Here is what it looks like at the moment:

23326896521_112f9fdca1_b.jpg

Normally if I was drawing (in 2d) a floor plan for a roof space like this, I'd choose a notional "cutting plane" height, and this would cut through the plane of the pitched roof and so on. But Vectorworks doesn't seem able to take my direct-modelled roof elements and project them onto the floorplan in this way. It doesn't even seem to know to cut through those gable walls once they drop below a certain height, as they do when they approach the external wall.

So I looked to see if it was possible to cut a horizontal section, in the same way that you can cut a vertical section, and it is - I get something like this.

23113677510_0c4df5548a_b.jpg

This shows the cutting plane properly, as I'd normally draw it. However, unfortunately I now lose the functionality of the door symbols - they are shown as a section through their 3d model rather than as a floorplan symbol with swing line and so forth. And the wall joins show up as mitred. This remains the case if I try rendering that same horizontal section to show wall build-ups etc:

23041765709_9a7950cf9a_b.jpg

This can't be an issue unique to me. What's the normal way to deal with producing a floorplan for a space like this?

It provokes in me the scepticism I expressed at the beginning of this thread about the practicality of using 3d models to generate floorplans and so on...as soon as you stray beyond the built-in limitations of the standard parametric-type elements evetything starts to fall apart and become more hassle than it's worth. But I don't want to give up on making things work this way as I can see the amount of tedious labour saved in drawing the sections alone.

digitalmechanic you posted a couple of your youtube videos earlier in the thread, and I've had a look through quite a few of your others. You seem to have had success in making 3d work for non-standard details (and share my scepticism about parametric elements), and I get the impression that you've had to work out how to get around the same kinds of issues that I'm puzzling over. So I'm hoping you're still looking at this thread and might be able to give some pointers.

Edited by col37400

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