Jump to content

Model Set Up (Revisited for 2019)

Guest Wes Gardner

Recommended Posts

Sounds like the basis for a good set of tutorial videos. And a Design Summit class. Imperial and Metric even. 


Im starting framing a house today and I hope to make time to forensically re-build the model via stories to get a better grip after manually editing my sections for window changes and joist depth updates. 

Link to comment

In fact, I attended the AZ Design Summit and took the Model Set up class.  it quickly went off the rails due to varying degrees of grasp of the subject of those in attendance. I was suggesting that your previous post of getting familiar with making the resources from scratch would be a better agenda for the class materials or at least a directed series of video tutorials on this subject.  one for metric and one for imperial.  


See you in San Diego. 😎

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...

@Wes Gardner I hope you can help me. I used the Two Storey Split Level Trainer that you posted above on Posted November 9, 2018 with, what I thought, was some success. I understand the process that you illustrated in the training but when I applied it to my own small project I've come up against a hurdle. I created walls, slabs, foundations, etc. per the trainer but as soon as used "Create Roof" the exterior walls below the roof disappeared. I used all the same settings as in your exercise so couldn't't figure out where I went wrong. So I thought I'd try an experiment and went into the Two Storey Split Level Trainer and deleted to roof in that drawing and as soon as I applied the "Create Roof" tool, the walls below the roof disappeared as soon as the roof object appeared. Is there a glitch or a setting that I'm not seeing? Any help would be appreciated.


Edited to add, I thought of the answer while walking the dog. Embarrassed at how simple the solution is.

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 5.07.57 PM.png

Edited by MaltbyDesign
Link to comment
Guest Wes Gardner

@MaltbyDesign...glad you got it to work out...I guess mine defaults to that....another issue is don't forget, when the roof command is run, it MAY place the roof in a class that is NOT on therefore making it seem as if nothing happened...


Link to comment


Great job!

For me, the Layer Bound Wall Style gives me the most flexibility while maintaining

some semblance of bounding order.

Coming from other software where when floors are drawn, automatically offsets (bounds) wall bottoms to sub-floor.


As I must work with the sales person who starts/conceptualizes the projects, then take them thru real world building and estimating,

for now, this is the best/easiest option.





Link to comment
  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...
On 12/16/2016 at 9:18 PM, zoomer said:

Sometime things look like a rant but at the end it means that someone really cares about something.




Seems I come from the opposite site and immediately an idea is arising,

Levels and Stories need no more Layers :)

While it may be the same at the end.


With Stories, Layers degrade from their "Where" to another dimension of a Classes "What".

So to say a "What +" as the Story defines the new "Where".


So your "no Story Level" make sense, as it is the same.

I just think for organization purposes, when files get crowded, and even legacy reasons, a separation

between Stories and Layers makes still sense.

Story-less Levels, at the end just means you just need to have 1 single Story at file's Z= 0,00 m.

Or your base level Story if you have more of them, which could be just a default for any File Template.


That way my wish for extra Levels outside of Stories (Facade Boards and such things) could be done

in the current system but there is a wish for a separation as you want to hide these from your normal

Story aware PIO's Level Settings Dialogs.

(So no new feature from VW internals but a UI separation of the functionality already there)


I do not know if Story/Levels are available for Spotlighters and Landscapers at all, but I think they are

also as useful there. Maybe in most cases there's no need for more than 1 Story for them, but Levels, yes.



In you case Benson, where Layers with Z values only still work fine,

I understand the wish to not need Stories but want to have Levels as it is easier.

But I think it is ok to force you to set your 3 Stories one time and forget them - bang.


Stories and Layers do slightly differ and have different functions and I do not see that a

marriage between these 2 makes really sense, as long you need Level's being aware of your Layer heights.

You would still need a second kind of Layer that is not Level-parenting as there are cases where you may

want inter-Story Layers for any kind of things. Even if they are workplane substitutions only to draw at a

special height.

As such a separation is already given by the addition of Stories to current Layers, I think it is good to

keep them.

But some improvements needed to take the fear from users that avoids using Stories.




I always set my Story and Layer settings for any projects.

I don't fear them and they do help a bit.


But indeed I have cases where I even delete Story Binding from Layers and set them back to Z=0,00 at one point

because there is no Story Setting Exchange between files.

I may get in some 3D DWG or IFC files where all Objects Heights are bound to ground, which geometry i want to use directly,

and I am not willing to assign Stories to their Layers, if any, and move the geometry back down manually afterwards,

each time I have to refresh these.






As a new VW user  I was also surprised to see VW (as a 3D BIM tool) is still holding onto 'Layer', a left-over from old 2D drafting platform. 


In a true 3D BIM model ( a virtual building like a database) 'class' and 'story' should suffice.   


Revit only uses 'set' (similar to 'class') and 'level' (similar to 'story') to regulate components in a 3D BIM model.  




Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Finally have (3) different versions of Model Setups.


1. Using Layers only and setting the elevations.  What I have been doing for years.


2. Using Stories with levels, & layers for each level, no wall heights.


3.Stories with levels and (1) layer (slab/floor) per story, no wall heights.

For item 3.

Classes control the level visibility, not the layers other than the single layer per Story.

Levels control the heights of things along with correct settings for walls and slabs.

Levels can be created and used for baseboard, duplex receptacles, switches, etc...

Remember,  levels are vertical position marker or reference or benchmark if you will.


Levels are for reference only.  Nothing gets drawn on a level.

Make sure that you have the needed levels.

Otherwise, when you draw and bound to the expected levels that are not there (created), you will get error message that you are

trying to bound to a level that does not exist.

Need to make sure walls and slabs are set to the correct parameters or you will get unexpected results.





  • Like 3
Link to comment
Guest Wes Gardner

@MaltbyDesign...after spending untold numbers of hours working with both Layer Bound and Level Bound scenarios, I would use the Layer Bound system.  I would consider a Level Bound system IF I were anticipating a lot of floor-to-floor changes in a multi-floor building design + if I were anticipating sending out an IFC file.  Otherwise, I'm not sure there is a ROI.



Link to comment
3 hours ago, MaltbyDesign said:

@taoist Do you find one of the three methods works best?


Depends on how you work.


I have found no difference in my work to setup the different models per se.


All require a vertical layout of Story's, Levels & Layers, or just Layers as in Method 1.l

Even with just using Layers, one still needs to do this.

Once done, save as a template.


Initially it may seem a little confusing if you are used to doing Layers only, you draw on the respective Layers.

You are able to "see" what Layer you are using via Navigation Palette. 

There is no Menu tab for Levels in Navigation Palette.  You do not "switch" to another Level.


In method 3. there is only (1) Layer per Story.  I use the slab (concrete for foundation), (top of subfloor, wood framed floor systems) as my reference for the Story's.


Assuming all classes are visible;

Method 1. Layers only method, change the elevations of the layers.  Visibility is by Layers, regardless of what is on the given Layer.

Easier to "see" as you have the use of the Navigation Palette for the Layers.

If you change a Layers elevation, you will need to change all Layers above it.


Method 2. Story's, levels, layers for each level - again, one draws on Layers and you are able to change Layers, Levels, Story(s) Elevations

Visibility is by Layer.  "seeing" is as in Method 1.

Might consider it as best of both Method 1. and Method 3.


Method 3. Story's, Levels, (1) Layer per Story - What you draw on a given Story Layer (Walls, cabinets, fixtures, etc..) are only things on that Layer.

Everything else is referencing a Level.  Levels visibility is controlled by classes, not Layers, other than the (1) Layer per Story.

"Seeing" (Navigation Palette) is minimal due to all that you have is (1) Layer per Story.

So, in a (2) Story Project (assuming full foundation), you have 3 Layers, maybe 4 if you want to put roof on separate Layer.


Story's are "containers" for Levels, Layers within a given Story.

When one adjusts a Story, everything adjusts with it assuming you have top and bottom references (Bounding) set correctly.


Easier if all Methods are created and saved as a Template instead of doing on the fly.

This way you spend more time drawing in place of creating and editing.

One is always able to Edit (make changes) if need be.



  • Like 2
Link to comment

I think I'm acronym-dyslexic. I had to google 'ROI' 😂

Thanks for your layer/level/story set-up posts always good to hear what other people do.

Just out of interest, how many floors/stories are you normally dealing with in your buildings + does this have any bearing on which system you use? Doesn't sound like it does but thought id ask



Link to comment



I am a PC user which means Windows 10.


Main reason, a lot of other things i do with a computer, no equivalent software for a MAC.


You are correct, does not make a difference, which OS (Operating System)


Normally, max of (2) Story's, with Full foundations.


In regards to levels;

Lets say you have a specific height you want the tops of your windows to be at above the subfloor.

Create a Level for that height.

Then use that Level as reference for your window elevation (Vertical) placement.


Levels can be used for just about anything that requires a vertical elevation height within a story.

Levels are universal.

Adjust each level on a per Story basis.


That is, lets say top of basement windows are even (level) with top of foundation wall.

Then on 1st level (main) you want windows at a different height.


Remember, levels are reference, not a design layer.

Nothing gets drawn in a level.

Levels are a guide if you will.


I suggest using Method 2. that I outlined.

This way, you are able to "see" what layer you are drawing/creating on.

Also, remember whatever class is currently showing , whatever you draw will be put in that class.

So, if you want whatever you are drawing to be in a different class, then change/create to that class first.

Otherwise, you will need to edit later.

Link to comment
Guest Wes Gardner

I typically recommend 3 layers per story - Floor Layout in which walls, doors, windows, cabinets, most everything is placed. Slab where the floor system is placed, the main reason for separating this out is for visualization purposed - I don't want the lines generated by a slab showing in my plan view. Ceiling - once again, primarily for visualization purposes. (For residential, this can probably be eliminated)   I have also created footing layers, this makes it easier to isolate and actually draw the footing under the wall otherwise the snapping gets a bit tedious sometimes. Other layers to consider are HVAC & structural - once again, it depends on the size/complexity of the project.  Overall, some of the gymnastics required are for modeling reasons, others are for visualization reasons when it comes to creating sheets.



Link to comment

Wes, I gotta ask you opinion.  I personally do not use stories.  Perhaps because most of my work is just residential design.  I would rarely have a residence more than 3 levels tall.

To me, I can accomplish the same things that stories does way faster and wayyyy less complicated.  To me stories simply has way too many moving parts.

Your thoughts?


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Guest Wes Gardner

@Kevin K, in your case, based on the size/type of your projects,  I agree - I would not use stories.  However, I'm sure there are folks who have gotten familiar with the level-bound scenario and who have window/door/wall/etc. styles in their libraries that take advantage of that type of set-up.

My advice is to understand both methods of set up and then you can decide what is appropriate for any given project.



Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...