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# Is top/plan view an evolutionary dead end?

## Question

So the basic idea of top/plan view is that it's a kind of symbolic representation of a 3d reality. It's not quite the same as a horizontal section, because drawing convention has it (mostly for good reasons) that in plan view some architectural elements like stairs or doors are shown in a way that's not quite a literal projection of what those things look like from "above".

In vectorworks we can (now) create a plan view of sorts by making a horizontal section.

Or we can go with the "top/plan" view which (in theory) creates much the same but with certain architectural elements show in the proper symbolic way. In reality this doesn't actually work though, as soon as you start dealing with anything a bit complicated. We're given tools like the Auto Hybrid to partly deal with this - effectively the Auto Hybrids let us say "this part of the 2D drawing shall be generated in much the same way as a horizontal section is". So what we end up with is a kind of mashup, where parts of the drawing are generated as a literal horizontal section, and parts are generated as 2D symbols which aren't literal projections. And these bits don't really join together properly, and there are all sorts of reasons why having certain things in these containers makes everything a bit difficult. So it seems basically inevitable that all sorts of things have to be patched up in 2D layers in order to create something presentable.

Essentially in my opinion, "top/plan" view is a mess and just doesn't really work. I don't really see how it can ever work properly in its current form.

Why can't we have a plan view that takes, as its starting point, geometry that's generated by literally cutting the 3D model. Then the symbolic elements like doors and so on are inserted into that in an intelligent way. In my mind it could be as simple (in principle) as a tick box in a viewport setting. So we just have one "plan view" which we can toggle between (a) a literal horizontal section of the 3D model and (b) the same but with things like doors replaced with conventional architectural symbols.

At the moment it seems to work in a completely backwards way - we start off with a 2D drawing that kind of generates the 3D stuff (but not very well) and then we go into 3D and draw all the other bits in a way that either feeds back to the 2D drawing in an unsatisfactory way, or which we just give up on drawing in such a way that will generate things properly in 2D, and chunks of the information end up getting drawn in parallel, once for the 3D model and once for the 2D output.

This just doesn't encourage model-centric drawing, which, I think, is what we're all trying to move to, isn't it?

So, anyway, ultimately my question is whether, in the long term, Vectorworks will move to something more like I describe above, or is the the current "top/plan" view approach here to stay?

Edited by col37400
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## Recommended Posts

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40 minutes ago, digitalcarbon said:

you could actually do this right now with classes but then your classes would get out of hand

You'd probably also end up with objects in complicated nested groups of some kind, especially if (as I do) you use class to control material as well.

I already use class to, for example have an "open" and "closed" door - the door is a symbol made up of various parts each which are classed according to their material. Then there are two instances of that symbol, one in open position and one in closed position. Each instance in turn is in a different class, called something like "visibility_door01_open" and "visibility_door01_closed". This does tend to lead to a large list of classes, although it can be kept in check to some extent using the submenu method.

If there were then also to be LOD visibility classes, they would have to be somehow applied within the symbol but at a higher level than my "material" classes.

I've wondered in the past whether things would work if objects could be placed in multiple classes. This would avoid the need for nesting type strategies. Something could be simultaneously in a material class and a LOD class, for example. It would only be visible if both of those classes were activated. I've not thought it through fully whether this would work!

Edited by line-weight
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7 hours ago, Christiaan said:

I want to carry forward this discussion on support for LOD views as a wish, which I think is a great idea.

So what is the consensus on the best way to do this? View setting? Object setting? A mixture of both?

For designers, it would make the most sense to include LOD settings at the view level, or even at the document level.  Having parts of a drawing set to different LODs wouldn't really make sense, and I don't know of any BIM standards that would support this.

Ideally, LOD levels would support settings at the parametric tool and resource level - elements within the parametric object or resource would appear or not depending on the LOD level set.

I imagine that this is something that would be implemented by VW for tools and resources, and by content providers in BIM shop drawing or product drawing resources that we would bring into our files as designers.

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3 minutes ago, Chad Hamilton HAarchs said:

For designers, it would make the most sense to include LOD settings at the view level, or even at the document level.  Having parts of a drawing set to different LODs wouldn't really make sense, and I don't know of any BIM standards that would support this.

Ideally, LOD levels would support settings at the parametric tool and resource level - elements within the parametric object or resource would appear or not depending on the LOD level set.

I imagine that this is something that would be implemented by VW for tools and resources, and by content providers in BIM shop drawing or product drawing resources that we would bring into our files as designers.

The path of least resistance would be 2 fold - Veiwports would have a LOD setting - and similar to classes - this setting would turn on or off elements.  For this to work - objects would have to have various states - so doors would have multiple representations depending on the LOD level.  Where this gets tricky is that generic objects work find for LOD 100 or 200 - but when we get to deeper - there will need to be away for the user to input the detail information.

Revit handles this differently in that there are scale settings - and certain details are turned off / on depending on the scale of the view.

But Chad is right in the fact that there is a slight conceptual issue here as once you have reached a later stage LOD - there is little reason to "Turn It Off" - once the detail has been developed - it would be silly for Viewports to be showing a LOD1 shot of a model that has been developed to LOD4.  It could be that Autodesk has this correct - that we are really talking about scale.  The VP should automatically understand the elements that need to be shown at 1/4" are different than the elements needed to be shown at 1:2.

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3 hours ago, Tom Klaber said:

The path of least resistance would be 2 fold - Veiwports would have a LOD setting - and similar to classes - this setting would turn on or off elements.  For this to work - objects would have to have various states - so doors would have multiple representations depending on the LOD level.  Where this gets tricky is that generic objects work find for LOD 100 or 200 - but when we get to deeper - there will need to be away for the user to input the detail information.

Revit handles this differently in that there are scale settings - and certain details are turned off / on depending on the scale of the view.

But Chad is right in the fact that there is a slight conceptual issue here as once you have reached a later stage LOD - there is little reason to "Turn It Off" - once the detail has been developed - it would be silly for Viewports to be showing a LOD1 shot of a model that has been developed to LOD4.  It could be that Autodesk has this correct - that we are really talking about scale.  The VP should automatically understand the elements that need to be shown at 1/4" are different than the elements needed to be shown at 1:2.

I agree, except LOD and scale are not exactly comparable, depending on the detail level of the model - an LOD 1 model would have LOD 1 level of information regardless of scale, whereas an LOD 3 or 4 model would have highly developed information in detailed views at large scale, but simpler detail at smaller scale.

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I haven't played the Data Visualisation much yet but could it be used for LOD filtering or indeed any sort of "visual" filtering based on a record value?

So attached is Proof of Concept based on being able to control if doors and windows are open or closed by Viewport.

Uses a record with pop-up list of options, record is attached to versions of the object to distinguish instead of classing. Data visualization then un-draws the ones not applicable.  "Small" snag only works hidden line all render modes bring back all geometry and render them.

Still could be promising for LOD and potentially versioning objects.

Only a proof of concept but looks like records could be a very powerful way of controlling visibility when we don't need full function of a class. If they had the right internal support.

PoC Openings.vwx

PoC Openings.pdf

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14 hours ago, Tom Klaber said:

But Chad is right in the fact that there is a slight conceptual issue here as once you have reached a later stage LOD - there is little reason to "Turn It Off" - once the detail has been developed - it would be silly for Viewports to be showing a LOD1 shot of a model that has been developed to LOD4.

Yeah agreed. We sometimes take a guess at what LOD4 will be, for instance with Wall Styles but then "Hide Details" for early stages, so we might still find a multiple level LOD system more useful than the binary choice we currently have, but maybe LOD is just better dealt with at the object level by the designer. In other words a well organised semi-intelligent library. While placing a LOD4 Wall Style in our model and then turning off the detail at a view level is convenient in some respects, it's not really best practice because we're unnecessarily loading up the model with resources, slowing it down, potentially complicating design choices and potentially exporting those details unintentionally.

I would like scale-aware view settings too, but as Chad notes, that is a slightly different issue.

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On 11/27/2017 at 5:24 PM, Chad Hamilton HAarchs said:

I agree, except LOD and scale are not exactly comparable, depending on the detail level of the model - an LOD 1 model would have LOD 1 level of information regardless of scale, whereas an LOD 3 or 4 model would have highly developed information in detailed views at large scale, but simpler detail at smaller scale.

I agree - LOD and Scale are not at all the same thing - but for this conversation, it seems that these are two methods trying to get at the same capability - to show and hide detail.  A LOD 1 detail would show the same at any scale - because that is all the detail that there is to show.  LOD 3 + 4 would have more information to show - so the question this thread is really asking is - is there a reason to artificially regress your LOD back.  So as you say - for an LOD 3 or 4 - it would should less detail in small-scale - and more detail in large scale - but that is scale control - not LOD control.  How useful would it be to be able to show the same detail at the same scale at different LODs?  After thinking about it - not useful enough to implement a whole new layer of LOD tagging and control.  Maybe the scale issue is not all that different in that you still need a way to tell the program what aspects of the detail are for small-scale VW and what are large scale.  Basically, it just ends up being a 2 state thing - Details ON/Details OFF - I see no manageable way to have varying degrees of detail.

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I think the advantage of an LOD setting concept would be in how the parametric tools work, and how content providers put information together.  There is so much potentially valuable data out there prepared by manufacturer's, but it's prepared at LOD 4 for shop drawings.  Getting the same data at LOD 2 or 3 would be incredibly valuable, but this would require cross-platform, industry-wide adoption of an LOD setting.

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