Jump to content
  • 3

Screen and Layer Plane - Pain Points and Wishes

PVA - Jim


  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I need to ask all those of you who struggle with Screen Plane and Layer Plane to detail for me your use cases and how you wish we handled things instead. I need examples (preferably with screenshots or screen recordings) of what you are doing when the Plane system gets in your way or slows you down. 

We acknowledge there are a wide array of different issues with the Plane system, but even among users in the same industries there are wildly differing opinions on how it should be changed for the better, and even more difference of opinion between users who work in unrelated fields.


In this thread, please keep the responses limited to:


1) What problems you encounter with Screen/Layer Planes, with visual examples

2) What are you doing when you encounter these problems

3) If the problems didn't exist in older versions but exist today

4) How you feel the problem could be solved for your specific scenarios

Normally I encourage open debate, but I ask that in this thread the responses are only direct feedback from you to us, please refrain from debate or criticism regarding what another user is doing or why they may be doing it. In this thread, all needs are legitimate regardless of their origins.

Please feel free to link to or copy from other threads if you have already provided examples of what I have described above. We are still actively viewing and reviewing the older threads on this issue, but wanted to start a larger repository that was purely feedback in the form of a Known Issues thread. Thank you.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Recommended Posts

  • 0

I get annoyed when I even think of it.


Screen Plane is, at it says, "Screen" Plane.

So oriented to your screen and its current temporary view to the scene.

No matter how the 3D Axis are oriented in that view.

So far so fine - if anyone needs something like this.

(Like for pre-choosing a Border before creating a Viewport !)


But where Screen Plane used in VW, Symbols, View Borders and such,

it isn't meant as a real Screen oriented Plane at all !


VW has a strong 2D legacy. That means that 50% of its Functionality and

Tools work in "Top Plan" and 2D Context only. Z-options are excluded or limited all over the place.

And that means 2D "Top Plan" => XY Plane !!!


When you are in something like an Extrude EDIT Mode => again 2D only,

in an Isometric View, to work in context,

You will want work in a Layer or XY Plane,

(inside the internal Extrude Coordinates, opposed to World Coordinates, as it unfortunately looks in VW 2017)

But you will NEVER EVER draw on a real Screen Plane,

that would be oriented or glued to your Monitor Panel and orientation.





And now think of all new curved Monitors that get released.

I fear maybe these will lead to a distortion of my Viewports at the end.



Link to comment
  • 0

@zoomerAgree! Annoying!



Elaborating on Zoomer's comments and my previous theme of confusing nomenclature related to screen/layer in symbols.


Extrude Edit context is another layer/screen pain point because of potential confusion in the way things are named:

  • OIP>Plane button of the extrude source object -  This button displays "Extrude #xxx". No intuitive definition of that term when 1st encountered. It apparently means the plane on which the extrude source object resides and acts as a temporary working plane (not screen, not layer) during edit actions. No other choices are offered in this OIP pull down. OK, a single choice in the pull down is annoying but only mildly confusing.
  • ViewBar >Drawing Active Plane button - displays "Extrude #xxx".  Screen Plane is additional choice in the pull down.  If Screen Plane is selected, a new object draws on the screen plane, but at final click to complete the shape, the new object automatically reverts(?) to the extrude working plane (Extrude #xxx). Confusing because the screen plane is offered, but not viable. Solution: grayed out? 


I still think Screen/Layer works OK. I can't force a situation where it does not work as desired, or find situations where I expect different results. I just don't like the inconsistencies, mainly in applying/defining/explaining the words needed to implement the drawing actions.


On 9/4/2017 at 1:20 PM, zoomer said:

And now think of all new curved Monitors that get released.

I fear maybe these will lead to a distortion of my Viewports at the end.

Flat and curved screens are just a temporary waypoint in the progress of design work.  Viewport distortion, and even the VWX tiny screen elements will be non entities in just a few years when we are all projecting our incredible design work via our new bionic eyeballs:





Edited by Benson Shaw
can't leave it alone
Link to comment
  • 0

OK, Extrude was the wrong Example for my war against screen plane.


For me it makes some sense if the 2D plane used in an Extrude is called "Extrude #xxx"

(OK, "Extrude Plane" would look a bit better)

As its never a "Screen Plane" nor necessarily XY = Layer Plane.


But there were other examples, which I meanwhile forgot, where the Plane was called "Screen Plane"





Although I wished that Extrudes would always extrude perpendicular from their 2D original's surface,

no matter how positioned in Space and use no other plane than VW world coordinates.

And for the rare cases where someone needs to manipulate the original 2D Geometry of a wildly

rotated Extrude in Space, you have to set a custom plane.


Much better than today where the "Extrude #xxx" Plane may be temporarily dislocated and even

showing the geometry around or the grid at the wrong place.

(Can't remember how often I destroyed my geometry that way)

Edited by zoomer
Link to comment
  • 0
4 hours ago, zoomer said:

For me it makes some sense if the 2D plane used in an Extrude is called "Extrude #xxx"

(OK, "Extrude Plane" would look a bit better)

As its never a "Screen Plane" nor necessarily XY = Layer Plane.

Agree - Extrude Edit plane is not and should not be called Screen Plane. Also may not be layer plane, so needs word to differentiate.


More comment:

"Extrude #xxx" plane is a way of indicating the working plane of the source object at the time of edit. This working plane might correspond to the layer plane. but might not. Eg the source object may have started on the layer plane, then rotated 3d, or might not have started on the layer plane.  The edit window manifests in same view as the drawing, and a working plane pink rectangle indicates the working plane hosting the source object. I think this is proper.  Edits can proceed in this view or other views.  The View Bar> Look At Working Plane button flattens (?) the view to an equivalent of Top/Plan of the working plane.


Extrude#xxx is one example of another name for a plane, but this plane it names is not geometrically distinct from a working plane associated with a planar face of an object. It may not need its own word.  The Vectorworks User Interface uses many words and indicators for the plane status of the drawing and objects: Screen Plane, Layer Plane, Working Plane, Extrude #xxx plane, Symbol Definition plane, and probably other labels/words.  For me, these words are not at all a problem of functionality of the various planes, particularly screen plane. My complaint is that all these words make overly intricate language and are not well documented. Several of the words have same meaning. Solution? Roll over tool tip with practical definition? Change the naming system to use fewer words?


5 hours ago, zoomer said:

Much better than today where the "Extrude #xxx" Plane may be temporarily dislocated and even

showing the geometry around or the grid at the wrong place.

Does this still happen with extrudes?  I used to see the source object (in Extrude Edit window) holding the position of its initial creation when the extrude object is moved to a new location.  This still happens with Site Model source data, but I'm not seeing it with Extrudes.



Link to comment
  • 0

It might got a bit better over SPs but I still have seen that.

Yes I think that as long as you don't ever move or rotate your Extrude everything stays fine.

In many cases, cut-n-paste objects from one Extrude to the other was simply impossible.

Although both Extrudes where just copies, so translated in the same way.


And sometimes it seemed that these issues cured (temporarily) after you edited other objects

before you return to edit Mode, just like the offset between VW and Extrude plane found together

again for a certain time.


Another thing to mention is that I mostly create Extrudes from more than one 2D object.

Like using 63 rectangles for my Columns or Facade Posts and those things.

Edited by zoomer
Link to comment
  • 0

Just to add. The pic below is of one of our working drawing packages. We use the 3d model to generate, per design layer, much of the technical imagery (wall components eg) But we also use a lot of 2d lines symbols etc to complete the technical package. The image on the left is the 2d with the model underneath in 3d, the image on the right is in top plan. That's the way we work. The issue we have with screen plane/layer plane, is that the programme inexplicably switches between layer & screen plane. So you can be working on a group of 2d objects and discover they are in 3d or layer plane because you haven't noticed the switch. If this happens the programme (understandably) thinks they are 3d objects. When they are 3d objects they confuse VW and it often crashes, and produces poor renders with the (2d now 3d) objects in. When you get to the level of working drawings this becomes a real problem, reversable I admit, but very irritating. The most simplistic example I can give is adding section lines to a design layer. When copied they turn into 3d/layer plane, not screen plane on other design layers. I'm rambling. Does this make sense! Just wanted to add this to the discussion.  


  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 0

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think there is one simple issue with screen plane and layer plane that causes most of the confusion.

And it's mostly a matter of conception or terminology.


We shouldn't see screen and layer plane as two sides of one medal.

Instead everything should be drawn on layer plane. And then there should be something like a checkbox like 'ignore perspective'.

If you check this checkbox, it causes the object to 'pop' off, and stick to the screen or to the plane of a viewport for annotation purposes or like an image prop.




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.

Answer this question...

×   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...