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Phil hunt

Vectorworks 2017

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There's actually some great discussion going on in this thread. I agree with many of the things being said on both sides. I some times wonder if a lot of the trouble has come out of the yearly upgrade cycle and the question are there enough "whizzbang features". You only need to look at recent releases of C4D to see they couldn't sustain the pace they had been adding them at. This years upgrade is downright boring. The whizzbang should probably be measured across two upgrade cycles and probably aren't the features that should be promoted in advance. They're not really targeted at the existing user base.

Right now it looks like the philosophy is to add new features but as long as they get close to good enough, development stops and they move on to another new feature and the old one gets abandoned. Where as I believe that you make sure what you already have is maintained to be best in class before you develop new features.

Lots of these - Text Styles, fractions, tracking, Auto Hybrid, Drawing Coordination, Layer Plane/Screen Plane to name a few. There's also a lot of inconsistency because approaches have been changed at various times - e.g.. I can renumber Section Viewport drawings in the OIP but other viewports need to be renumbered by selecting the Drawing Label in its annotations.

To be honest. I am not sure if Vectorworks is best in class of anything.

I HATE this marketing speak. I got into a heated email exchange with VW marketing a few years ago about this. Which class? What's the comparison? My beef at the time was with 3d modelling tools. I was drawing a comparison to Form Z, a solids modeller in a similar price bracket. It had so many more features than VW had at the time and my point was that it was clearly best in class when it came to 3d modelling.

Overall I feel like the ship has been slowed, turned and is now starting in a more positive direction. And there's no question Jim has been a big part of that.

Kevin

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I suppose the marketing folk like to use "Best in Class" for us since there is literally no other software package in our "class". We do such an unusually large array of different and somewhat unrelated things, lol.

FormZ is a good example, its focused tightly on 3D modeling and knocks the crap out of Vectorworks in a lot of pure 3D modeling showdowns, but if you asked it to spit out a window schedule from what I understand it would just blink at you. But nonetheless, since it's close in price it invites direct comparison. Especially when in the automotive industry "Class" is generally tied to price.

(However, you will absolutely hear my voice say "Best in Class" in some of the commercial segments. Marketing writes the non How-To portions. Brushed my teeth extra hard to get the taste out afterwards.)

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I suppose the marketing folk like to use "Best in Class" for us since there is literally no other software package in our "class". We do such an unusually large array of different and somewhat unrelated things, lol.

This means VW is competing in a variety of different classes... not necessarily that its creating its own class :-)

In my business I coined the term the multi-useless place. This is a theatre that was made to do a little bit of everything instead of one thing well. The result is a space that does nothing well....

Kevin

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THAT is the pitfall. Jack of All Trades is a great strategy only as long as you make sure you don't let yourself become the Jester of any. Which in some cases we have let happen. (Lookin' at you Texture Mapping and Stairs.)

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I also want to point out that Jim is not the problem ;)

I hope he will be the solution soon.

I 100% agree with Altivec. Or with other users.

And it doesn't look like there would be a problem with user base because

every individual users wants completely different things. It looks more like

the majority has the same problems with VW.

And I can't imagine that this has only recently changed and wasn't available

the other 25 years before.

Comments were always quite clear on the forums since I joined.

If there has been a serious interest the opinions have been heard.

I think in about 6 weeks we will know more.

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JimW, are we still manually updating hidden line viewports in 2017?

I agree with many of Altivec's observations, except that I accept that higher end rendering should be passed onto another package, but I would insist that the C4D-VW pipeline be rock solid. We as a micro studio are expected now to provide more renderings of our drawings so this becomes ever more important to us moving forward.

I think that when you become aware of the competition and what they offer, you see more clearly where VW needs to spend their development resources. Some users here (eg Kevin McAllister) are very proficient at using VW and other packages - the shortcomings become glaringly apparent and frustration grows.

I've played with a demo version of Archicad 20 over the last two days. VW on steroids!

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It looks more like

the majority has the same problems with VW.

Prblem is though, nothing is done about them.

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1.

except that I accept that higher end rendering should be passed onto another package, but I would insist that the C4D-VW pipeline be rock solid.

2.

I've played with a demo version of Archicad 20 over the last two days. VW on steroids!

1.

100% agree.

2.

Regarding that VW DE tells that VW BIM is far superior over Archicad's,

I should try the demo after 6 years again too.

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2.

Regarding that VW DE tells that VW BIM is far superior over Archicad's,

Sorry Zoomer, I haven't had my coffee yet - I'm not sure what you mean by this post

Edited by Kizza

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I am confused.

So you spend time on the link between VW and C4D. That's a given as it has been mentioned several times. As you know my single biggest issue is texture mapping and I raised this again and again in relation to the SUB-D tool.

I couldn't wait around so I spent time learning Bodypaint and I am comfortable with this now. Albeit the route back into VW is quite poor.

So your strategy is to push me to C4D to texture. So now I am in C4D why do I need the Sub-D tool in VW? The modelling tools are much more advanced. Hang on why do I need the limited shaders in VW......and so on.

I simply don't get it

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JimW, are we still manually updating hidden line viewports in 2017?

Kinda, they now by default will update when you print or export so that you don't need to think about it, but only if they're out of date. You can do this with Renderworks viewports as well but it takes much longer.

We are ALMOST to the point where Hidden Line rendering can be done as live and quickly as OpenGL, but not quite, we still have to drop some things like surface hatches, transparent textures and wall stacking line correction while in motion, quick sample:

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I am confused.

So you spend time on the link between VW and C4D. That's a given as it has been mentioned several times. As you know my single biggest issue is texture mapping and I raised this again and again in relation to the SUB-D tool.

I couldn't wait around so I spent time learning Bodypaint and I am comfortable with this now. Albeit the route back into VW is quite poor.

So your strategy is to push me to C4D to texture. So now I am in C4D why do I need the Sub-D tool in VW? The modelling tools are much more advanced. Hang on why do I need the limited shaders in VW......and so on.

I simply don't get it

That is a fantastic question.

The current line of reasoning I have heard is this:

Vectorworks with Renderworks gives you enough tools to get you WAY beyond plain 2D graphics and elevations, but it does not do it as easily or quickly as dedicated rendering applications do.

Subdivision is functionally not useful IF you have and use Cinema4D, its modeling tools for raw 3D geometry are simply superior. Period. But the large majority of our userbase doesn't yet use 3D fully so many of them never hit that. You and I and many here push Vectorworks way further than average, so we feel the sting when you hit a wall like we currently have with Texture Mapping.

Now to clarify since this was mentioned a few times above, I am NOT letting the mapping issue slip into the category of "This can be handled by other apps" specifically. I do feel that full UV unfolding and image painting is extremely complex not only to implement but also to use (its hard for most people to get their head around even in the best rendering software) but a perfect example of how to solve this without getting crazy is ArchiCAD's surface painter. They have a dead simple UI that just lets users click on faces and then map that face individually. That would solve half the problems currently inherent in texturing work in Vectorworks where you're limited to ONE mapping type for a whole object. I feel not necessarily EXACTLY this method, but something similar may be the way to go to cater to power users while not introducing a huge amount of engineering overhead for a disproportionately small (but honestly, growing) segment of users.

This is also another place where Analytics comes into play, once 2017 starts flooding us with information about how users are using Vectorworks and what tools and modules they work with, I will have hard numbers to swing like a club when I'm in meetings about "What do users want?" rather than having to play the assumption game.

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Sorry Zoomer, I haven't had my coffee yet - I'm not sure what you mean by this post

And I always thought your day would start many hours before mine ;)

I could bring in some quotes from the forum but that wouldn't be fair.

As you know my single biggest issue is texture mapping

If I remember correctly that has finally reached the responsible developers.

And we heard that there is an ambition to better C4D exchange even in

2 directions, I think your wish and many other improvements will fall out

as a side effect for compatibility reasons.

Ok, until now the role of RW is really dubious.

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I can explain why we got Caustics and VR before things like Texture Mapping were fixed quite easily:

VR does not affect any other aspect of Vectorworks. Even if it was completely broken in a SP and couldn't be used at all, the Door tool would still work, the Rectangle tool would still do it's job. It is an extremely low risk, high market visibility feature. It was low hanging fruit and they chomped at it.

Caustics wasn't designed by us, it was added a few versions ago by MAXON and was, in engineering person-hours extremely easy to implement. Not as simple as flicking a switch, but important enough to interior scenes realism that it was picked. Again, this feature has no chance of breaking anything that already exists in Vectorworks, it is kind of a safe island that has no risk of hurting anything else.

When engineering finally makes the call and goes hitting Texture Mapping with a stick, it will affect EVERY object in every document that users textures in any way. It runs the risk of altering the appearance of existing documents when users upgrade to the next version for instance, a path that is seriously watched and protected whenever possible, we never approve of a software upgrade changing a user's file appearance. When it happens, it gets the hammer as soon as possible.

Understand that I by no means intend these to be justifications for why we haven't upgraded important tools over multiple versions, just so that you can get an idea of the motivations behind the choices we've made.

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currently analytics doesn't tell you that I popped into C4D and back again because it's .OBJ on the return journey?

Yes I project what I do onto the whole user base and assume they must all be doing the same thing.

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currently analytics doesn't tell you that I popped into C4D and back again because it's .OBJ on the return journey?

Right now, it'll tell us you did an OBJ import or export, as well as tell us if you use Send to Cinema4d but ONLY if you have gone to Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences > Session > Error Reporting and set it to "Send crash details and usage patterns" (I think thats what 2016s is called it has a new name in 2017 and more options for how much you send) and that isn't on by default.

So while we are getting some feedback for 2016 users, it isn't as widespread as it will be in 2017 where that option is mentioned in the installer UI and on by default, which means most users will have it on since many people don't ever touch the installer settings at all.

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I do feel that full UV unfolding and image painting is extremely complex not only to implement but also to use

+ 100

But I don't think that users that ask for UV Mapping are really thinking of a

complete UV unfolding system.

But the most basic projection mappings like planar, cubic, cylindrical, spherical, ...

should work. And these are quite rudimentary currently in RW and uncomfortable

to use.

Plus some fake or workaround options to allow path extrudes and such to

be mapped reasonably looking for landscapers.

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I can explain why we got Caustics and VR before things like Texture Mapping were fixed quite easily:

On the other hand,

someone touched the cameras to add new features and now I can't use them

anymore for a whole release cycle.

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I can explain why we got Caustics and VR before things like Texture Mapping were fixed quite easily:

On the other hand,

someone touched the cameras to add new features and now I can't use them

anymore for a whole release cycle.

Please remind me about this or point me to the thread where we were ( im pretty sure) talking about it before in a few weeks, I want to chase it down further. Half the people I was working with report cameras now working fine in 2016 and the other half are seeing issues after sp4 that they claim didn't exist. No point in filing things until Sept but I don't want to forget about it.

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We should start a things to remind Jim about thread.... soon there will be tagging for posts and we can just add the official "Remind Jim" tag instead.

KM

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Please remind me about this or point me to the thread where we were ( im pretty sure) talking about it before in a few weeks, I want to chase it down further. Half the people I was working with report cameras now working fine in 2016 and the other half are seeing issues after sp4 that they claim didn't exist. No point in filing things until Sept but I don't want to forget about it.

I will remind you.

As you know my talent to avoid off topic postings it is spread over many threads ;)

I think this one covers most :

https://techboard.vectorworks.net/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=223325

I too think have experienced further issues with SP4 like problems after changing

active layer.

The main problems with cameras arbitrarily jumping to origin or completely to

nirvana, multiple camera activation, unwanted activation of view crop or so

persisted from SP 0-4 for me so far.

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When engineering finally makes the call and goes hitting Texture Mapping with a stick, it will affect EVERY object in every document that users textures in any way. It runs the risk of altering the appearance of existing documents when users upgrade to the next version for instance, a path that is seriously watched and protected whenever possible, we never approve of a software upgrade changing a user's file appearance. When it happens, it gets the hammer as soon as possible.

Your assurances about breaking old files is fine, but worries me quite a bit.

My work and I suspect most other users is 'project based' meaning most files are inherently time limited. Granted some projects are multi-year, even in my little corner. Keeping a broken tool in case I have to review an old project is a poor trade off. Updating minor parts to adapt to new features is a small price to pay for getting rid of old issues. "We've always done it that way" is a weak argument but a strong blockade.

If something looks funny on import (warnings?) then it would be much simpler to have old versions available. Other software I use does this, and it's not such a big deal, except for licensing issues. And I'm sure there are other solutions.

On other subjects - I too support your efforts Jim, in getting the rest of the company to see things from our point of view. This has been quite an interesting thread!!

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I do feel that full UV unfolding and image painting is extremely complex not only to implement but also to use

+ 100

But I don't think that users that ask for UV Mapping are really thinking of a

complete UV unfolding system.

But the most basic projection mappings like planar, cubic, cylindrical, spherical, ...

should work. And these are quite rudimentary currently in RW and uncomfortable

to use.

Plus some fake or workaround options to allow path extrudes and such to

be mapped reasonably looking for landscapers.

I completely agree with Zoomer on this. We don't want or need a complete UV unfolding system, just the basics as Zoomer outlined.

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I do feel that full UV unfolding and image painting is extremely complex not only to implement but also to use

+ 100

But I don't think that users that ask for UV Mapping are really thinking of a

complete UV unfolding system.

But the most basic projection mappings like planar, cubic, cylindrical, spherical, ...

should work. And these are quite rudimentary currently in RW and uncomfortable

to use.

Plus some fake or workaround options to allow path extrudes and such to

be mapped reasonably looking for landscapers.

I completely agree with Zoomer on this. We don't want or need a complete UV unfolding system, just the basics as Zoomer outlined.

Agreed, sorry if my lengthy posts made it seem otherwise, that's what I want as well. We can come to a happy medium on a texture mapping feature set that will be plenty useful in Vectorworks alone without needing external software unless the user REALLY wants to take it elsewhere. Currently, the limitation forces even the average user trying to work with textures to look elsewhere (either exporting to C4D or roundtripping to Photoshop) and I think that's the major issue.

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I do dabble in programming so I don't necessarily agree with your view point that improving texture mapping will break current objects. Clearly VW already is storing texture mapping attributes that are stretched and UV mapped on imported objects. Its just they choose not to show or allow us to alter these attributes. Internally this done by having a unique mapping type other than planer, perimeter, etc... This same approach can be used to "not break" current textured objects. For example, instead of changing the current"plane" mapping, introduce a new one called "scalable plane" so only new objects created with this mapping type would be affected.

This isn't something I really understand personally, that's just how it was explained to me by engineering. Apparently it certainly isn't impossible, but there are a lot of "strange" workarounds in the background of objects like Doors and Windows that have component classing to make things work, and it isnt guaranteed that something will break, but that it presents a high enough risk factor for it to be over a certain threshold.

I personally only understand the basics of how this kind of thing is handled under the hood, but I've spoken to enough engineers with the same line of thinking that I believe them when they say Here There Be Dragons when it comes to this sort of thing.

Again; It certainly isn't impossible. I think this is mostly just the reason it has been such a long standing limitation. And in any case, logical justifications for concern or no, I'm going to continue to poke them with a stick until it is significantly improved.

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