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Tom Klaber

BIM | Goodbye Design Layers - Hello Super Layer

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On 11/20/2016 at 4:10 PM, P Retondo said:

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.

 
 

How oddly condescending.  Saying that the true meaning of BIM is not seen on screen simply seems like you are not all that familiar with the process. The beauty of a true BIM model IS that the embedded information is seen on screen - the model and schedules are one and the same - the information is being adequately represented.  And the issue at hand is the fact that design layers corrupt the information in the BIM  making process.

 

I have been building 3D models in VW for well over a decade now - never had a problem with Design Layers until I tried using them to manage my BIM model. If you are just building a 3D model - then the only thing you are using Design Layers for is visibility - while maybe not ideal - is workable. The problem comes in when you are building and information model.  Now that model is no longer responsible for just your renderings, but also your plans, elevations, and schedules (the information part).  Because objects can't be on more than 1 design layer - you are forced to corrupt the model and information by either artificially dividing your object or worse - duplicating them in order to get the needed output.  This is very much a BIM problem.

 

On 11/20/2016 at 4:10 PM, P Retondo said:

  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.  

 
 

I know it as well as almost anybody.  Design layers are great for traditional CAD workflow - no doubt.  But they get in the way when you are building an information model.  If the only thing they are giving us is visibility control - then that function would be better served by stories or levels because objects could theoretically be on more than 1.  

 

On 11/20/2016 at 4:10 PM, P Retondo said:

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.

 
3

It is not that we can not "Handle" layers - design layers are the only way to organize your model right now.  If you are building a BIM model, you HAVE to use layers.  The issue is not that they are too cumbersome or complicated, it is that they are too limiting. Look at Vectorworks' suggested workflow for handling a two story space with a window that falls between stories.   There is no way to look at that and not recognize a fundamental problem with the internal organization of the software.  There must be dozens of threads with similar questions, and right now there is no answer.

If we could offload the visibility control to stories, and maybe a sped up clip cube, and generate plans from live cuts - Design Layers would no longer serve a purpose.  We could keep them around for the 2D folks, and as trace overlays, as mentioned before, but you would no longer have to artificially chose a layer for objects to live - they would just be where they need to be.  

Edited by Tom Klaber
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On 11/18/2016 at 7:07 PM, gester said:

 

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

 

 

1) Correct, classes are not enough.  Stories and levels would take over the visibility and selection control currently offered by Design Layers.

2) No. The whole issue we need to solve is that for many objects there is no 1 proper story.  In the proposed system, objects that span multiple stories will have the ability to be assigned to multiple stories by auto-detection with manual overrides.  The live plan cut would generate the plans - so you no longer have to duplicate or divide objects.

3) Stories will stay, they will just decouple from design layers. 

4) I will let Zoomer answer more completely - but my understanding is that levels are always in reference to a story. A world Level would be a level that you set in reference to the 0'0 of the world or project rather than the associated story.  So maybe something like an awning could be attached to a 14'-0" above world level rather than being set relative to an internal story layer.

5)Design Layers would live on to facilitate 2D workflow, and to act as trace overlays, and the place where any non-modeled details can live.  For BIM, the visibility and exporting control would be taken over by stories and a more intelligent clip cube.  

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@line-weightit really doesn't matter if you call it world-z or xyz or global-z or fischer-z (sorry for the musical drift) or the likes. if something is depending on the storeys' structure, you can't rely on the values named before. we need storeys, so we need the relative 'z' values, there's no way around it.

sure, the 3d modelling or animation packages don't use storeys, so they can work with the global project 'z', but vectorworks is an engineers' tool.

Edited by gester

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@Tom Klaberwe need objects' containers that can be assigned to the storeys, as said above, the classes are not enough. practically every cad/bim software uses layers, so the whole action would be to rename design layers into something different. or do you want to invent another control level, beside storeys and classes, and not being layers? well, then the whole software will have to be designed a-new.

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on the other hand, the multistorey elements would be great, because it may work well with the schedules, and generally with 4d models and animations, but it has to be compliant with the energy calculations from the models (6d), too, which heavily relies on the storey principle.

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8 hours ago, Tom Klaber said:

5)Design Layers would live on to facilitate 2D workflow, and to act as trace overlays, and the place where any non-modeled details can live.  For BIM, the visibility and exporting control would be taken over by stories and a more intelligent clip cube.  

 

Why not just upgrade layers to be regions of confined 3d space in a hierarchy not just pancakes in a stack?

 

For BIM we could have more complex hierarchies of regions that match say IFC hierarchies so export is defined by the user.

Legacy would be a simple hierarchy and In between we could make the hierarchy as deep or shallow as we like.

One system not two so we can train people from simple to complex with the same mental model.

 

Regions could then be both clip-cubes but also a collection working planes.

 

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Layers (with Classes) are a nice and important Feature to organize visibilities and edit-abilities

of a 3D Model and still valid for modeling.

 

What we BIM-miss is

 

1.

Objects spanning multiple Stories will automatically, or even manually controlled, appear on all "relevant" Layers.

 

2.

Objects spanning multiple Stories will be fully available for interactions on these other Layers.

Like inserting a Window in such a Wall or editing the Wall from another Layer even the original Layer is invisible.

 

3.

Intelligent "Section Viewports" that work similar like Hybrid Objects but work automatically.

With an "Above Cutting Plane" dotted, "Below Cutting Plane" dashed and "Cut Plane" Part,

 

4.

Which can be edited and used like a normal Design Layers and work in Real Time.

 

5.

Intelligent Plugin Objects that show a Scale Dependent appearance and detailing.

 

6.

Intelligent Wall Joins that are Aware of 3D Height Level differences.

Like an L-Joining of 2 Walls with different Heights and Elevations will use the correct "capped" Join Mode for all

Components. Correct interactions for a) the lower part where one Wall will extend the other, b) the intersection part

and c) the upper part where the other Wall extends.

 

7.

Vertical Stacking of Wall Components (still a 2D Thing, just a change in Extrude Direction)

and full 3D intelligence (like a Wall Top sloping sideways when extended to a Roof)

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BTW,

 

While # 1-7 totally unrealistic to expect before VW 2025 as it seems to totally

contradict to the way VW is designed today.

Looking at the Cutter Slice Tool, I think it works on the active Layer only (?). So all complex

interactions and relationships are connected to current Layer System.

 

Therefore Tom's "Goodbye Layers" does not necessarily means Layers must go but those

BIM and 3D improvements likely need something completely different as a separate Addition,

beside the current Layer System.

Even these additional Architectural Features may negatively interfere with Spotlight, Landscape

and Fundamental.

Edited by zoomer

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the most important feature for bim is the slanted walls that are still missing in vectorworks.  i can live with the other ones, as long as they can work with 3rd party bim evaluation softwares, or i can find workarounds. let's focus on what's really important for the full-fledged bim, and in comparison with the competition.

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This has been an interesting thread and having read through "most" of it.  I do have a better understanding of what @Tom Klaberis driving at and I have to agree.  My only caveat is the storys/levels tool that I find is needing some tweaking.  Just check out this important thread under Architecture.  I still don't use it for building my models.  If that end of things could be looked at and enhanced I could see the idea of a "Super Layer" very intriguing.  A super layer would have a lot of advantages/application for any model really, architecturally speaking.  Walls could be drawn differently.  For instance  walls may be drawn only as structural elements with finishes drawn as a separate wall style as they may span several levels.  With that, information such as volumes, area, etc.  could be much more accurate.  Split levels may be less of a hassle.  I suppose though that with materials drawn separately the added feature of placing windows and doors through multiple wall styles would need to happen.  Possible?

 

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37 minutes ago, Markvl said:

Walls could be drawn differently.  For instance  walls may be drawn only as structural elements with finishes drawn as a separate wall style as they may span several levels.  With that, information such as volumes, area, etc.  could be much more accurate.  Split levels may be less of a hassle.  I suppose though that with materials drawn separately the added feature of placing windows and doors through multiple wall styles would need to happen.  Possible?

 

That would be great.

 

Would make Wall Joining much easier and reliable when you see it in 3D.

What currently works beautifully in 2D, but fails in 3D where each level difference in joining Walls would need

a separate Wall stacked over others.

Which isn't possible currently either as 1 Layer can handle 1 Set of Walls to join only and an endless set of Layers

per Story isn't applicable because of different dependencies (Energos and such ?) and impractical either.

I like a differentiation between structural and wrappers anyway.

 

And that would need that Windows and Doors will cut more than 1 Wall at one time, in Walls Y as well as Z direction.

Like some of the BIM-Light Apps just use Solid Walls and Clipping Volumes like VW has for Symbols,

which simply cut through any Solids.

I still don't get why a Window or Doors really needs to be assigned or aware, in which Wall it sits in (?)

Is it not enough that a Window has a position in Space to be defined and all "related" Walls know that they inherit

a Recess ?

 

Or can and should Walls and Slabs be seen as single Volumes over their whole bounding box for the 3D Model only,

And all Components will happen in 2D Sections and intelligent Worksheets only,

to make it easier from the Software Side ?

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14 hours ago, gester said:

@Tom Klaberwe need objects' containers that can be assigned to the storeys, as said above, the classes are not enough. practically every cad/bim software uses layers, so the whole action would be to rename design layers into something different. or do you want to invent another control level, beside storeys and classes, and not being layers? well, then the whole software will have to be designed a-new.

7

It is not so nearly as drastic a suggestion as people think.

Design Layers can continue to exist as is - but they just would not be used to assemble a BIM model.  Instead ,you would convert a design layer into a BIM Layer - where the entire model would be assembled.  Regular design layers will continue to live along side this new BIM Super Layer.

 

Stories and levels will take over the visibility control that used to be handled by design layers.  The upgrade here is that these objects will be able to be assigned to more than one story or level.  So you no longer have to duplicate objects to make sure they show up in plan, or deal with the texturing issues with walls that are split up all funny. When you want to only see the 3rd floor, you would turn off the other stories and only objects assigned to the 3rd story (through Z-height autodetection with manual override will be shown.)  The other possibility is just a really smart clip cube that will simply cut away all other floors.

 

Plans will be drawn by live section cut.  So you now simply model the building as it is going to be built - and the plans will self-generate based on the cuts you assign - rather than based on layers.

 

Again - design layers can continue to exist.  For BIM they would be the place were 2D details are drawn and could be used as trace overlays.  If you are continuing to deliver your projects traditionally, you can continue to use design layers as you do now - which they are well suited for. 

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1 hour ago, Markvl said:

This has been an interesting thread and having read through "most" of it.  I do have a better understanding of what @Tom Klaberis driving at and I have to agree.  My only caveat is the storys/levels tool that I find is needing some tweaking.  Just check out this important thread under Architecture.  I still don't use it for building my models.  If that end of things could be looked at and enhanced I could see the idea of a "Super Layer" very intriguing.  A super layer would have a lot of advantages/application for any model really, architecturally speaking.  Walls could be drawn differently.  For instance  walls may be drawn only as structural elements with finishes drawn as a separate wall style as they may span several levels.  With that, information such as volumes, area, etc.  could be much more accurate.  Split levels may be less of a hassle.  I suppose though that with materials drawn separately the added feature of placing windows and doors through multiple wall styles would need to happen.  Possible?

4

 

Yes!  

I started this thread a while back- interchangeable finish assemblies. 

https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/44982-wall-with-interchangable-assemblies/#comment-228621

 

I think the finishes would still be a part of the wall assembly - so windows would still work the same way - you would just assign the finish from your finish database - to be applied on this wall from '2nd Floor FF Level' to '2nd Floor Ceiling Level' - or something like that. 

 

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16 hours ago, Matt Overton said:

 

Why not just upgrade layers to be regions of confined 3d space in a hierarchy not just pancakes in a stack?

 

For BIM we could have more complex hierarchies of regions that match say IFC hierarchies so export is defined by the user.

Legacy would be a simple hierarchy and In between we could make the hierarchy as deep or shallow as we like.

One system not two so we can train people from simple to complex with the same mental model.

 

Regions could then be both clip-cubes but also a collection working planes.

 

 


Yes Exactly...upgrade design layers to Super Layers!

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1 hour ago, Tom Klaber said:

(..) you would convert a design layer into a BIM Layer - where the entire model would be assembled.  Regular design layers will continue to live along side this new BIM Super Layer.

 

(..)When you want to only see the 3rd floor, you would turn off the other stories and only objects assigned to the 3rd story (through Z-height autodetection with manual override will be shown.)  The other possibility is just a really smart clip cube that will simply cut away all other floors.

 

Plans will be drawn by live section cut.  So you now simply model the building as it is going to be built - and the plans will self-generate based on the cuts you assign - rather than based on layers.

 

Again - design layers can continue to exist.  For BIM they would be the place were 2D details are drawn and could be used as trace overlays.  If you are continuing to deliver your projects traditionally, you can continue to use design layers as you do now - which they are well suited for. 

 

as i agree with the second part of the post, for the first sentence i don't think it's a good idea, when referring to bim.

 

please keep in mind that a federated model is not a homogenous thing, but a patchwork of different contributions. you guys encounter both designers' input, and parts of it will be replaced by the workshop models by the manufacturers and other delivery sources. the layers would have to be living also in the bim environment, just to enable splitting the content into many different objects and elements - or you find a way to decompose your super layer and populate it with 3rd party contribution.

 

if you're on the building site and from the contractors' pov, the model is not a clean aggregate of geometries, but a composite of many objects and aspects where 3d geometry is not the most important thing, sometimes even of a very least importance.

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7 times absolute and total agreement from my side!!!

 

8 hours ago, zoomer said:

1.

Objects spanning multiple Stories will automatically, or even manually controlled, appear on all "relevant" Layers.

 

2.

Objects spanning multiple Stories will be fully available for interactions on these other Layers.

Like inserting a Window in such a Wall or editing the Wall from another Layer even the original Layer is invisible.

 

3.

Intelligent "Section Viewports" that work similar like Hybrid Objects but work automatically.

With an "Above Cutting Plane" dotted, "Below Cutting Plane" dashed and "Cut Plane" Part,

 

4.

Which can be edited and used like a normal Design Layers and work in Real Time.

 

5.

Intelligent Plugin Objects that show a Scale Dependent appearance and detailing.

 

6.

Intelligent Wall Joins that are Aware of 3D Height Level differences.

 

7.

Vertical Stacking of Wall Components

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5 hours ago, Tom Klaber said:


Yes Exactly...upgrade design layers to Super Layers!

 

Ummm... well except If I'm reading you correctly your suggesting a single boundary-less space in the file.

So while I agree with the problems stated I think the best solution is in the opposite direction.

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On 11/21/2016 at 11:07 AM, line-weight said:

 

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.

 

 Yes, lineweight, I agree completely with your idea that there should be an option to paste in place either 1) relative to the Z–height settings of the layer being pasted to, or 2) relative to the Z height settings of the layer being pasted from.  That way, in the case of 1) you could duplicate objects from one layer to another to replicate them on a different story, or 2) move objects from one layer to another without having to adjust their height.  

Edited by P Retondo
Misspelling
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On 23.11.2016 at 5:13 PM, Tom Klaber said:


Yes Exactly...upgrade design layers to Super Layers!

 

Is Bricscad's object structure manager something that correspondents to your imagination of a Super Layer ?

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OK, found some more information :

 

"STRUCTURE panel allows to examine the BIM model. By default, the structure of building elements is organized by spatial containment. Building elements are grouped first by Building, then by Story, then by BIM type, then by composition. This organization can be fully configured: any property, including all abovementioned ifc properties, can be used as a grouping or sorting rule."

 

I think this is cool.

 

So something like our Layers, but in a tree structure like our Classes.

Created automatically.

Each Building on Site (in File) can have its own Story settings.

(Existing vs New Buildings, Split Levels, stage of Buildings, Additions of Prototypes ....)

Independant from our Layer Stacking (?)

 

Not sure if that will also control Visibilities or just Selections ?

 

Edited by zoomer

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On 11/23/2016 at 5:03 PM, Matt Overton said:

 

Ummm... well except If I'm reading you correctly your suggesting a single boundary-less space in the file.

So while I agree with the problems stated I think the best solution is in the opposite direction.

 

No - not boundary-less.  On the contrary - FILLED with divisions and containment.  Story divisions that are then sub-divided by level divisions.  

 

I have been trying to think of an analogy.  I think its like you are building a prefab house - but instead of everything being in one place - you have to separate the building into these different warehouses/workshops, and objects can only be in one workshop or another.  For the most part - dividing by story is OK.  We will build the first story in Workshop 1 and Second story in Workshop 2.  But then....you have to ask yourself - 'Where does the chimney go?' You both want it in one piece, but also you want it in multiple places.  Or where does the window in the double height space go - W1 or W2? You have to choose - and but you have to install a second window in the other warehouse so that you can see it when you are working there.  As the building gets more developed, you start running into those types of questions more and more.


So instead - if you just build the house all in the same warehouse - but build scaffolding all around.  The scaffold is like the stories and levels.  So all the elements can be in one place - they can  just be where they need to be - you do not have to choose - yet you still have access to the second floor and first floor and objects that span between them can be accessed from both.

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21 hours ago, zoomer said:

OK, found some more information :

 

"STRUCTURE panel allows to examine the BIM model. By default, the structure of building elements is organized by spatial containment. Building elements are grouped first by Building, then by Story, then by BIM type, then by composition. This organization can be fully configured: any property, including all abovementioned ifc properties, can be used as a grouping or sorting rule."

...

 

 

actually the hierarchy starts with 'project', then 'site', and then the elements you've listed.

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On 23.11.2016 at 10:43 AM, zoomer said:

(...)

7.

Vertical Stacking of Wall Components (still a 2D Thing, just a change in Extrude Direction)

and full 3D intelligence (like a Wall Top sloping sideways when extended to a Roof)

 

ok, how do you want to show it in 2d drawings? you'll probably need the proper section level - and an adjustable one (higher or lower along the wall length where the stacked elements exist)...

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Hmmh,

for the plan views, I think they have to show their Section cut plane and and everything below

that you can see, maybe even things in dashed or dotted styles.

Every further information needed that does not fit into a plan view for any reasons, needs an

additional Section or Detail (?)

Edited by zoomer

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1 hour ago, gester said:

 

actually the hierarchy starts with 'project', then 'site', and then the elements you've listed.

 

Yes, just the way you see/control it in an IFC Viewer like Solibri.

 

My question was if that System is something in a direction like Tom can imagine for Super Layers ?

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