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Tom Klaber

BIM | Goodbye Design Layers - Hello Super Layer

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@line-weight- I read through your Top/Plan evolutionary dead-end. You are right.  And I think we are essentially talking about the same thing.  

 

3 minutes ago, line-weight said:

 

I get the impression many are in some kind of denial about whether the existing system, using top/plan view, actually works, once you are trying to generate info from a 3d model. I'm not sure why this is. Is it because they are designing totally different types of buildings than I am? Am I too fussy about my floorplans actually being readable? Is there something that I'm missing?

 

 

No - this is a real issue.  I really do think because Design Layers and Top/Plan have been the foundation of the program it is hard to imagine it without them.  Compared to Autocad - both of these features WERE the competitive advantage.  Compared to Revit they are what is holding the software back.  

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Just now, line-weight said:

The key is sorting out how floorplans are generated.

 

This is likely why I don't bump against the same issues. Because I don't often use hybrid objects, I'm either showing true top views or cutting a section to generate plans...... works fine for most of my things but clearly is a problem for architecture.

 

KM

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1 minute ago, line-weight said:

 

I don't think layers need to be done away with or renamed as "levels" or anything. People can use them as they wish.

 

The key is sorting out how floorplans are generated.

 

 

No you do not have to get rid of them,  but layers just stop being the primary or best way to organize  your information Model. 

We already have stories and levels - their role just needs to be increased - then your BIM model is on the Model layer - then all your overlays, and details, and 2D crap are on their own layers - just like now.  

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7 minutes ago, Kevin McAllister said:

 

This is likely why I don't bump against the same issues. Because I don't often use hybrid objects, I'm either showing true top views or cutting a section to generate plans...... works fine for most of my things but clearly is a problem for architecture.

 

KM

 

Yes, it's basically because architectural drawing conventions use certain types of diagrammatic symbols for drawing things like doors and stairs when on a floorplan. What is conventionally drawn is not exactly the same as what would be drawn if you just took a slice through them.

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I second that.

But I don't know what is further away from a perfect generated floor plan drawing,

a true horizontal Section or the faked Top Plan View Illustration.

Maybe you have to mix them both by VPs to get it a step further.

 

But somehow Top Plan View Comic Style also isn't interesting for me in general as.

it isn't available in Elevations.

Just used because much faster than a similar appearence with shading and HL that

you have to use in Elevations or Sections.

Edited by zoomer

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14 minutes ago, line-weight said:

 

Yes, it's basically because architectural drawing conventions use certain types of diagrammatic symbols for drawing things like doors and stairs when on a floorplan. What is conventionally drawn is not exactly the same as what would be drawn if you just took a slice through them.

 

There are drafting conventions for theatre and entertainment as well but I've always been an advocate of clarity over convention. A well chosen section cut from an accurate model is often better than a simplified convention graphic.

 

Kevin

 

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It's important to remember that VW as they are offering it to us users is a "one size fits all" program.  Even with the various modules that are sold to specific industries the core of the program remains unchanged.  So design layers and classes are used differently by different users in different industries probably even in different countries.  They have to because there's no going back once you buy into the VW universe.  As i used to tell my students: Everything exists ON a layer and IN a class.  So get used to it.

 

I don't think I would be happy if design layers went away.  My workflow demands that there be containers for objects and the way that design layers work, works nicely.  But that is very specific to my industry. 

What we are all striving for is more control over the tools offered to us.

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2 minutes ago, zoomer said:

I second that.

But I don't know what is further away from a perfect generated floor plan drawing,

a true horizontal Section or the faked Top Plan View Illustration.

Maybe you have to mix them both by VPs to get it a step further.

 

You have to either do that, or use auto-hybrids very heavily. But they currently have too many limitations to be really useful. (Hence the other thread about an overhaul for autohybrids)

 

In any case, with either method, you are left with a certain amount of cosmetic repair work to make plans presentable.

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And I agree with Kevin.  I'll throw a convention out if it's too much time wasted and I can convey my meaning more clearly a different way.  I remember as a student being criticized for printing my light plots in color, because that was not the standard.  But it's a lot easier to read when you are under the gun and trying to get a show done on time and in budget and the Master Electrician doesn't know what a standard is anyway!

 

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2 minutes ago, Kevin McAllister said:

 

There are drafting conventions for theatre and entertainment as well but I've always been an advocate of clarity over convention. A well chosen section cut from an accurate model is often better than a simplified convention graphic.

 

Kevin

 

I agree, clarity is the priority.

 

But sometimes the reason a conventions exists is to improve clarity.

 

For example, a door swing line makes clear that something is a door and not a fixed segment of wall, and whether it swings in one direction only, or both.

 

The arrow on a flight of stairs indicates whether they are going up or down.

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1 minute ago, grant_PD said:

And I agree with Kevin.  I'll throw a convention out if it's too much time wasted and I can convey my meaning more clearly a different way.  I remember as a student being criticized for printing my light plots in color, because that was not the standard.  But it's a lot easier to read when you are under the gun and trying to get a show done on time and in budget and the Master Electrician doesn't know what a standard is anyway!

 

Well, unless you have emailed the plans to an electrician who only has access to a b&w printer, which until recently would not be unusual, or he takes a photocopy, etc etc. These things do often have good reasons behind them, even if we might need to re-assess some of them as technology changes.

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16 minutes ago, line-weight said:

 

You have to either do that, or use auto-hybrids very heavily. But they currently have too many limitations to be really useful. (Hence the other thread about an overhaul for autohybrids)

 

In any case, with either method, you are left with a certain amount of cosmetic repair work to make plans presentable.

 

 Yes, so I think it would be much more intelligent to include that intelligence one time

directly into Plugin Tools than let users create those 2D appearances for every part again.

Edited by zoomer

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15 minutes ago, line-weight said:

Well, unless you have emailed the plans to an electrician who only has access to a b&w printer, which until recently would not be unusual, or he takes a photocopy, etc etc. These things do often have good reasons behind them, even if we might need to re-assess some of them as technology changes.

Well...yes.  But I had already mapped my colors to line weights and styles anyway.  My point being that drafting in the sense that we all know is is probably more fluid and changing now than in any other time due to technology.  We need to understand that conventions were agreed upon as means of satisfying the principles of economy as well as communication.  I'm not trying to burn down the house of conventions here, merely recognizing that in my lifetime we may well see the demise of drafting as we knew it. 

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2 hours ago, Tom Klaber said:

For example:

If I have a double height space with windows; unless those windows happen to be wholly below or above the story split - I have to model them all twice - but make sure that the duplicates are not being scheduled, and make sure they are classed differently so they do not show up in 3D.  I also have to choose if my wall is going to be a two-story wall, and then duplicate that wall on the story above - again classed seperately because it should only show up in plan - Or I need to artificially break the wall - which will cause all sorts of texturing and rendering problems.   Then if there are changes - I have to make all the changes twice. 

 

By the way as a bit of an aside - my approach with these kinds of situations is that as far as is possible the 3d model should be coherent, and any bodging takes place in the 2D realm.

 

So, instead of modelling something twice and switching the various duplicates on and off in different views... I think it's better to model it correctly, once, then make the 2D floorplans etc look right by whatever means are necessary, which might mean fiddling around with cropped viewports or manually drafting on top or whatever. A pain but it seems less likely to cause errors in the long run. As far as possible, the definitive source of information is the 3D model and everything derives from that.

 

My thinking is also that it's more future-proof...hopefully, as (if??) VW gets better, then the way the 3D model is constructed doesn't change too much - but the way information is extracted from it does.

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25 minutes ago, grant_PD said:

Well...yes.  But I had already mapped my colors to line weights and styles anyway.  My point being that drafting in the sense that we all know is is probably more fluid and changing now than in any other time due to technology.  We need to understand that conventions were agreed upon as means of satisfying the principles of economy as well as communication.  I'm not trying to burn down the house of conventions here, merely recognizing that in my lifetime we may well see the demise of drafting as we knew it. 

Sure, and ideally that will mean that the convention at some point becomes that we just hand over a 3d model, and much 2d drawing convention becomes irrelevant, but we do need to find a way of dealing with that transition period when lots of us will still have to present information to people who are used to those conventions.

 

I think that those who don't work in architecture maybe underestimate how important this is, because especially at a construction stage, managing the communication of constantly changing information can become pretty complicated, with a large number of disparate people needing to be co-ordinated. Plus the range of scales you have to provide that info in which might range from 1:200 down to 1:2, and remain legible.

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57 minutes ago, line-weight said:

Sure, and ideally that will mean that the convention at some point becomes that we just hand over a 3d model, and much 2d drawing convention becomes irrelevant,

 

I also think it will go in such a direction.

Everybody plays with his own 3D Model, somewhere is the complete 3D BIM model

and whenever some 2D documentation is needed it comes out of a BIM Viewer

like Solibri, customized to the contents for each party.

Edited by zoomer

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On 16.11.2016 at 4:54 PM, Tom Klaber said:

I think it is time that we put some serious thought into moving on from Design Layers - they are unnatural and problematic when constructing a BIM model.  Obviously, we would need to keep design layers for traditional delivery, so we can not lose them entirely.  So my proposal is that if you are building and information model - you create or desi BIM super layer.  This is where the whole model will be constructed.  Single Layer Project.

 

So essentially we would need to think about what new functionality we would need to build an information model on a single layer.  

 

I think as far as file organization we already have most of what we need. - Stories and levels cover all of the Z control you need.  Then, without the design layer visibility issues, you can easily have objects span multiple stories. Saved Views will then step into fill the visual control void.  Rather than controlling what design layers are on - they will simply control classes and where the cut plane is - and you will be able to bounce between plans that way.  Classes might need a little bump in functionality - maybe having "Class Sets" to easily turn off items that get in the way - but we more or less have that now with the nesting. 

 

As far as I can tell, the only thing you really need is real plan-section cuts.  Right now VW just flips the design layer into Plan view and all objects switch to their top plan view.  Works OK - but this is not a true plan cut.  Even with AutoHybrid symbols - you have to decide where the cut is.  Windows are always cut, regardless of where they are in the wall.  In this new Super Layer future - VW would need to generate the plan from a true cut.  This seems possible.  Section cuts do a pretty good job of showing wall components.  Things like doors and windows will need to smart where if they are cut - they change to their top plan mode - if they are below or above they switch to those modes.  Seems doable.

 

As far as file set up, plan sheets and saved views would be auto generated at a default 4' above any "Principle Story Level" (or something like that) - that would be able to be modified later.  All objects could be associated with a story levels (Multiple if need be) so you can turn off levels to speed things up if need be - like a secondary class system. You would still have other design layers.  So if you are drafting traditionally - no worries - business as usual.  If you building an information Model - you can use these layers trace paper overlays or use them as the places where accessory drawings like 2D details are stored.

 

The more I think about this - the more it seems like BIM delivery requires sunsetting the design layer as the principal file organization.  Love to hear your thoughts. 


 

 

i've read this thread partially, but the initial ideas don't make much sense for me. the first thoughts, before i read the whole thread.

 

1. we need objects that can be exported to the ifc model, and we need objects that can be omitted. classes alone wouldn't be enough.

2. dropping the design layers and maintaining the stories won't make the elements spanning more than one story. the elements will still be assigned to their proper story.

3. we need stories for the ifc definition, and for the energy calculations. no item outside of the story will get calculated. look at the ifc hierarchy: the project, the site, the edifice, the story, the space... do you want to turn ifc upside down?

4. what are the 'world levels' for? another name for known functionalities? 'world levels' get created when the model is in google earth anyway - assigned to the world coordinates. 

5. generally dropping the design layers would mean to loose one of the control levels. then vectorworks won't be any different than archicad, and, sorry, autocad (when adesk manages to have it in n dimensions, too. although i know that autocad will be sacked one day ;))

rob

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the only advantage would be to have the armedia vr model working again: they have probably lost track with vectorworks because you could have seen the model only when everything was on one layer ;)

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there is no chance that the 2d drawings will disappear soon. the model, as rob snyder from bentley research team points out, is not favouring the information focus. that's why they e.g. develop hypermodelling. i don't see any of the construction workers willing to dispense the 2d drawings for their work. looking at the models yes, but no, say, bricklayer party will go out to the site without physical (read: printed) base of their work. 

or we assume that the houses will be printed by the machines, then probably you may be right. 

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I don't have time to read through this thread thoroughly, but to toss in my 2 cents' worth:  1 - "BIM" is a bit of a misnomer.  What most people mean by "BIM" is 3-D modeling.  Embedded information, which is the real meaning of BIM, is not seen on screen and the term seems to have nothing to do with the topic at hand, except to give it a certain cache.  2)  Layers are for selective visibility, and getting rid of them would do away with a major capability of VW.  Having both layers and classes gives us more control.  I can't imagine anyone who really knows VW would seriously consider getting rid of layers.  3)  I'd say that if you can't handle layers, just use one - except that you would lose the "story" capability.  I find stories problematic anyway because when you paste an object from one to another, it doesn't account for the Z level baseline of the layer being pasted to, and appears at the wrong height.  So I don't use stories, but from a logical point of view, as others have pointed out, it would be more sensible to tag objects as belonging to a story whereby they would augment their Z value by that story's height relative to the 0 datum.  I can understand why VW engineers originally set up the story capability as linked to a layer, because that's how 2d was being done - different levels of a building were sorted by layer into separate floor plans, and this was being done before there were sheet layers.

 

I do agree with the basic premise that it could be possible to model the whole building on one layer if we had appropriate ways to output horizontal sections mapped to floor level sheets, and if there were a more logical way to handle the "story" parameter.  At the same time, I for one would find it very inconvenient to be unable to isolate sets of objects by layer.  It would get to be an unholy mess to see anything.

Edited by P Retondo

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13 hours ago, P Retondo said:

I find stories problematic anyway because when you paste an object from one to another, it doesn't account for the Z level baseline of the layer being pasted to, and appears at the wrong height. 

 

Going slightly off the thread topic, but yes! This is really irritating. It applies to pasting between layers with different Z heights too. It's a right pain when you accidentally draw something on say a "roof" layer and want to move it to where it should be. You have to go and look up the two Z heights, find the difference, do a paste-in-place and then move the object by the right Z value. There should be an option to "paste in place using global XYZ" just like there should be the same for Auto Hybrids.

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No problem with Stories Z's.

At the moment, a Story doesn't appear without a Layer bound to that Stories Z.

At that point it behaves like any Layers with any manual Z baseline.

 

And that is great to just copy your first Floor elements into second Floor Layer

and the sit on correct heights. Principally.

 

 

4 hours ago, line-weight said:

 

Going slightly off the thread topic, but yes! This is really irritating. It applies to pasting between layers with different Z heights too. It's a right pain when you accidentally draw something on say a "roof" layer and want to move it to where it should be. You have to go and look up the two Z heights, find the difference, do a paste-in-place and then move the object by the right Z value. There should be an option to "paste in place using global XYZ" just like there should be the same for Auto Hybrids.

 

 

That is why I asked for an Option to temporarily deactivate Layer heights and use World Z height instead, since VW 2014.

 

There was a time in VW when the Push Pull Tool changed the Layer of edited elements unwanted to the active Layer,

by ignoring Layer Height Levels. Which meant that the elements kept their world Z heights although changing to Layers.

Which you had to correct again manually.

In 2 hours you were able to screw 80% of your models elements Z-heights.

 

As keeping Z-Heights when exchanging between Story Levels is sometimes a needed workflow,

I use to workaround by Helper Lines placed on each Stories base height like a scale to be able to do some world height

Exchanges between Story Heights.

Like Facade Panels you will want stacking from first Story but need to include them in each Stories Layer for visibility and

organizational reasons.

Edited by zoomer

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we're modelling in the relative heights, not some world z-values. you don't know how will your edifice be placed on earth, and even if you know, when the relative zero of the edifice changes (it may change many times, too), all your world z-heights go to hell. nobody designs in world heights. the storey principle with associated levels in vectorworks is ok, and should remain so.

rob  

Edited by gester

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2 hours ago, gester said:

we're modelling in the relative heights, not some world z-values. you don't know how will your edifice be placed on earth, and even if you know, when the relative zero of the edifice changes (it may change many times, too), all your world z-heights go to hell. nobody designs in world heights. the storey principle with associated levels in vectorworks is ok, and should remain so.

rob  

When I say "global XYZ" and zoomer says "world Z heights" I think we are both talking about the XYZ co-ordinates that apply overall to the model, not to the planet earth.

 

Sometimes - well, very often - I want to place something relative to the model's 0,0,0 instead of the layer's 0,0,0 or the Auto-hybrid's 0,0,0. That's all.

Edited by line-weight

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Yes,

in 3D Apps it is usually called local vs world origin.

Where world origin is the internal App origin,

and local origin is the origin of am object, better locator or container,

which contains its own world and origin. So similar like a VW Layer.

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