JimW

Vectorworks 2018

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It is my great pleasure to share with you what we've been working on: Vectorworks 2018.

This release was a bit unusual in that it turned out to be a number of large features and scores of small features intermixed, with very few in between. Many of you reading this may have already had a look at what was coming in the Teaser Tuesday section, but for any just joining us:


https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/forum/71-teaser-tuesdays/


There we cover the features in a good bit of detail and branch out a bit in a number of discussions, definitely worth a look if you haven’t read through them already.


Below, the official launch commercials for Vectorworks 2018:

 

 

Then we have the more focused feature videos about some of the more important or otherwise impactful features included in this release:

 


Finally, in the below post, a comprehensive listing of user-facing changes that didn’t make it into the marketing material, but that you may find important and useful nonetheless.

I am now free and clear to discuss any and all parts of Vectorworks 2018, ask away!

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This list is an attempt to list and briefly explain all of the features added to Vectorworks 2018 that may be missed by the official release material. Any features already teased or that can be found in the feature video list will not be found here. I have also stripped out any back end reengineering tasks that will not be directly visible or obvious in their effects to a user.

Feel free to ask for more information about any of the listed features below if anything isn’t clear and I will do my best to clarify. We can only make so many videos, but massive walls of text are kinda my specialty. I have attempted to cluster these by area of interest for easier reading:
 

 

General Interest:

 

PDF Export included in Fundamentals

Exactly what it sounds like, Vectorworks Fundamentals now includes PDF Export capability. This feature was a direct response to user feedback.

 

Mass and Force Units and Saved Units Settings

The Units dialog was reworked to allow for saving sets of units, primarily useful when switching between metric and imperial frequently, as well as allowing for the expansion needed into Mass and Force unit tracking required for advanced modules like Braceworks.

 

Create Animation Video Resolution

It is now possible to directly control the export resolution of animations, rather than relying on the current size and aspect ratio of the drawing window. This allows users with only 1080p displays to export to 4K, users with 5K iMacs to export at 1080p, etc.

 

Foliage

This little guy is pretty cool. It is used to create hedges, ivy, or other volumetric areas covered in leaves. The user interface was a bit odd until I realized what it is intended for, it allows the defining of a 3D solid to be covered in leaves (defined as symbols, so really you don't HAVE to use leaves if you have another idea) or multiple planes to be draped with plant material, as you might see draping from a flower box or an awning. More to come on this tool as I work with it more. (This is a visual accessory tool more than it is a Landmark-style plant tool so I have included it up here).

 

Vectorworks Unicode Conversion Phase 2

This is the technology required for Vectorworks to support characters from other languages not only as parts of text objects, but also as layer, class, resource and file names. Coincidentally, this tech also allows you to use emoji in these item names as well. You’re welcome. (OR We Are So Sorry, depending on how you feel about emoji I suppose....)

 

Improved Access to Vectorworks Help

Many users, upon being shown the Vectorworks Help for the first time often comment that they did not know it existed. To help make this more obvious, an unobtrusive “?” icon has been added to many palettes, dialog boxes and other popups that when clicked will take you directly to a help entry for that item.

 

Resource Name Conflict Dialog Improvements

We clarified what exactly when happen when importing a resource into a document that already has an identically named resource, making it more obvious which was Cancel and which was Rename Imported Resource.

 

Custom Dimensions Dialog Improvements

This added a Duplicate button to the Custom Dimensions dialog, letting you duplicate to quickly create a slight variant of an existing set of dimension standards rather than making you create a new one from scratch.

 

Installer Visual Improvements

The installer now allows full customization and streaming so that recent information can be communicated through it directly and allows the showcasing of current projects. This also allows distributors to tailor what is displayed to their own market.

 

DXF/DWG Transparent PNG Images Support

Exactly what it sounds like, PNGs included in DWG imports now support their transparent alpha channels.

 

Overwrite an Existing Publish Set

A simple change that lets you save overtop existing publish sets rather than making you save with a new name, deleting the old one and renaming the new one to the old name.

 

Scale Objects Improvements

You can now not only click to points to designate the current distance when using Scale Objects, but also to designate the NEW distance. This feature was a direct response to user feedback.

 

Import Image Enhancement

A change direct from a wishlist request, this feature lets you choose when you import an image if you want to import it simply as a bitmap (the way it always worked) import it as an Image resource (previously done during the editing of another resource) or to do both at the same time, adding a bitmap to the drawing area at the same time as it creates an image resource that other resources like textures can use without forcing the user to re-import the same image.

 

Document Tab Support on Windows

Caught the tabbed document display on Windows up with Mac.

 

Edit Class(es) Dialog Improvements

Revamped the Edit Class dialog to be more consistent with our newer pane system for dialogs as well as improve support for displaying this dialog on lower resolutions.

 

SPS System Tray Manager

We added a management application for controlling the Site Protection Server, adding controls for start/stop, reset and other common commands normally only available through a web UI.

 

Mesh Simplification

During and after import of Mesh geometry it is now possible to simplify, or reduce the number of faces that make up the mesh, while still retaining texture mapping. Simplifying meshes will both reduce filesize and increase navigation speed.

 

3D Grid Axes option improvement

In previous versions, some elements of the 3D axes indicators remained even when disabled if the grid was also enabled. We added another checkbox letting users control this; removing the 3D grid completely, or showing the 3D axes separately from the grid are both now possible.

 

Vectorworks Remote Integration

We have added the Vectorworks Remote plugin to the regular installation and workspaces of Vectorworks, removing the need to add it as a plugin afterwards.

 

New Network Protocol and Save options for Project Sharing

A lot of under the hood changes, but the most visible being users can no choose from SMB, AFP, or SMB AFP combined which is not recommended. This lets you have a little more control over what protocols are being used without needing the network to be reconfigured fundamentally.

 

Record Format Conflict Improvements

Previously when importing a resource that contained a record with the same name as an existing record, you were limited to Rename or Replace. Now there is an option to Merge the two records, keeping existing fields and adding new ones from the imported record.

 

Detail Callout Marker: Oval, Rectangle and Round Rectangle Modes

New default shape configurations for Callouts in addition to the simple polyline mode.


 

Architectural:

More IFC Data for Space Object
In previous versions of Vectorworks, only 21 parameters of a Space object are mapped, this improvement increases that number to 100 parameters deemed useful to include.

 

Standard Plug-in Styles

We brought the Style functionality added last version to Windows and Doors to the following object types:
 

Bath-Shower

Cabinet Base

Cabinet Utility

Cabinet Wall

Campanile

Column

Comm Device

Compartment Sink

Desk

Door

Elevator

Escalator

Fireplace

Grab Bar

HVAC Damper

HVAC Diffuser

HVAC Elbow Duct

HVAC Flex Duct

HVAC Outlet

HVAC Splitter

HVAC Straight Duct

HVAC Transition

HVAC Vertical Duct

HVAC Vertical Elbow

Incandescent Fixture

Pilaster

Ramp

Receptacle

Shelving Unit

Switch

Tables and Chairs

Toilet Stall

Window

Workstation Counter

Workstation Overhead

Workstation Panel

Workstation Pedestal


 

Plug-in Object Style Catalogs

We organized the extensive lists of styles available for things like Windows into a Catalogue system, to avoid overloading the user with options when they go to select a style.

 

New Option for Placing Walls in Create Walls from Spaces

Additional options for aligning the edges of walls created from a Space object, as well as an option to specify whether this placement is relative to the wall overall or relative to the core component specifically.

 

New Option to Dimension Exterior Walls

Added support for automatically dimensioning to the core component or relative to the core component of exterior walls.

 

Improved Roof Geometry

Significant improvements to the quality of roof face and roof face component join geometry.

 

Multiple Component Editing for Walls, Slabs and Roofs

When editing a Roof, Wall or Slab style, it is now possible to multiple-select any number of components within the style and edit them in a bulk operation.

 

Callout Multileader Enhancements

Callouts with multiple leader lines can now have each leader lines attributes controlled separately, they do not all need to adhere to the same pen, arrowhead or line style.

 

Roof Hole Cutting Options

Vertical, Square and Splayed cut options for objects such as skylights and dormers that cut holes in Roofs.

 

Styled Wall Component Heights by Instance

Rather than forcing users to create a new wall style to manage multiple component offset values, these offsets and heights can now be controlled by distance.

 

Make All Attributes By Class for Wall, Slab, and Roof Dialogs

A simple button when editing a Slab, Roof or Wall style that will set all possible attributes to obey the object’s class, saving MANY clicks.

 

Shapefile Export included in Architect

Previously only Vectorworks Landmark could export Shapefiles, Vectorworks Architect now has this ability as well.

 

Wall, Slab, and Roof Component Functions

Primarily for export to IFC, components now include a “Function” category to denote their purpose in a component’s data.

 

BIMobject Improvements

In addition to cleaning up file organization, we now allow for a simple hybrid object rather than separate 2D/3D components.

 


Entertainment:
 

Export Conventional Fixture Settings to Vision

Makes it possible to export focus, shutter cuts and gobos to Vision, removing the need to refocus lights manually after import.

 

Hanging Position

We will give the user the ability to associate objects other than the Lighting Device to a position. We will be updating the “Lighting Position” to a more generic “Hanging Position”. This will keep the same functionality, however it will now work with all Spotlight objects and not just the lighting device. It will allow all Spotlight objects to snap to it and track the movements. This will also allow better integration of Braceworks into Vectorworks for load calculations.

 

Resource Selector Integration into Spotlight

The Resource Selector interface we recently added to objects like Plants, Windows and Doors.

 

Add DMX Input Identifier to Lighting Device Symbols

The location where power and DMX data cables are plugged into a DMX- controlled fixture, also known as whips, or tails, is critical for proper pre-visualization and onsite setup of equipment. This task will only add geometry to existing symbols to show where this is on the fixture.

 

Update Hoist

This task will update the current Hoist tool to give the user greater flexibility by allowing them to use custom hoist symbols, and simplify the graphical display and specify safety standards required by some countries. Additional parameters were also added to support Braceworks.

 

Stage Ramp Improvements

Added a new parameter to the stage ramp tool to set a start incline height for the ramp. This will allow the user give the ramp a different start incline height not related to the “Z” value of the ramp.


 

Site Design:

 

Tree Survey Import & Export

Vectorworks now has the ability to directly import tree surveys, creating either 2D/3D loci, or Existing Tree objects automatically.

 

GeoTIFF File Import

Exactly what it sounds like. We now support GeoTIFF georeferenced TIFF files.

 

Third-Party Plug-in Improvements

Included checking for version compatibility as well as prompting for automatic restart when installing third party plugins.

 

Drip Area Update

Added a Branching configuration, as well as additional graphical controls for lines.

 

Hardscape Attribute Mapping Improvements

It is now possible to use the Attribute Mapping tool on hardscape objects regardless of their configuration.

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Thanks Jim - 

 

Guess you're due a break, but can I ask a quick one?


I've been saying it for a couple of years now, but I do think the VWX UI is overdue an update - I realise that there is a reluctance to this as you don't want to sacrifice familiarity for existing users - but I do think it's due.

 

Was interested that the Promo video which plays whilst 2018 is installing shows a much cleaner, UI (which I know isn't OS specific - though you could argue it was shown on a Mac)

 

Just wondering what your thoughts are on this - and whether it is a policy to keep with the existing UI for the time being.  For me, even just a darker interface would be a start.

 

Nothing like starting off with a biggie!

 

Andrew

 

 

 

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Also - worth pointing out that Braceworks is an add on module for an extra cost?

 

EDIT > Apologies - I see the new truss insertion tools ARE included.  The analysis is an extra cost / separate module.

Edited by Andrew Davies

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10 minutes ago, Andrew Davies said:

Also - worth pointing out that Braceworks is an add on module for an extra cost?


Yes, Braceworks its it's own module like Spotlight or Landmark. Though there are elements of it (Namely the new truss placement) that are included as improvements to Spotlight regardless of whether you own Braceworks or not.

 

11 minutes ago, Andrew Davies said:

Just wondering what your thoughts are on this

I have many thoughts, most of which can be found here:

For commercials however, they're likely always going to stylize. We've worked to make sure that the dialogs and menus used in these marketing materials actually exist and have just been reskinned for the commercials, not functionally misrepresented.

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Thanks Jim

 

Apologies - hadn't seen that thread.  Thanks for going to such lengths to explain.  Will take a look through and add thoughts to that thread.

 

Best,
Andrew

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1 hour ago, JimW said:

This list is an attempt to list and briefly explain all of the features added to Vectorworks 2018 that may be missed by the official release material. Any features already teased or that can be found in the feature video list will not be found here. I have also stripped out any back end reengineering tasks that will not be directly visible or obvious in their effects to a user.
 

 

Thanks for this list and all of your other efforts Jim! This information is far more important to many of us.... ideally it should appear on the Service Select portal as part of the launch :).

 

29 minutes ago, Andrew Davies said:

I've been saying it for a couple of years now, but I do think the VWX UI is overdue an update - I realise that there is a reluctance to this as you don't want to sacrifice familiarity for existing users - but I do think it's due.

 

Was interested that the Promo video which plays whilst 2018 is installing shows a much cleaner, UI (which I know isn't OS specific - though you could argue it was shown on a Mac)

 

I love the look of the promo videos and feel that whoever has that creative control should be tapped for the visuals of the UI. But that said, after seeing this years release I think the UI update needs to wait. In my opinion there are still many other items that are still a higher priority.

 

I'm going to take a wait and see approach before I comment much more.

 

Kevin

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1 hour ago, JimW said:

For commercials however, they're likely always going to stylize. We've worked to make sure that the dialogs and menus used in these marketing materials actually exist and have just been reskinned for the commercials, not functionally misrepresented.

 

I don't get it.

I think this is SO embarrassing.

 

I want exactly the App as promised in the Videos.

Not that graphical mess I have on my screen.

 

What's the meaning of Dacia including teaser images

from Mercedes into their Flyers.

 

Let that guy at least control the hex values and gray contrasts of the VW App,

desaturate the Icons and control the fonts.

I would pay him.

>:(

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I want to chime in and mention that we also added some new stuff to Marionette for those interested, my personal favorite being the ability to create Marionette Menu Commands which now allow you to use your script on selected objects in your document.

There is also now a Valve node that will allow you to toggle whether nodes past that point will run or not (great for debugging or conditional network running)

 

And a small set of other nodes that can help enhance your Marionette workflow were added as well.

 

Feel free to reach out to me personally or on the Marionette Forum to get more details and short examples!

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3 minutes ago, zoomer said:

 

I don't get it.

I think this is SO embarrassing.

 

I want exactly the App as promised in the Videos.

Not that graphical mess I have on my screen.

 

What's the meaning of Dacia including teaser images

from Mercedes into their Flyers.

 

Let that guy at least control the hex values and gray contrasts of the VW App,

desaturate the Icons and control the fonts.

I would pay him.

>:(


That's why we make sure that all the feature videos, the bulk of the new version material, show the exact UI and how to interact with it, so no one will get the wrong impression.

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3 minutes ago, JimW said:


show the exact UI - so no one will get the wrong impression.

 

O.o

 

>:(

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Same thing with last year's promotional material. All I keep thinking is I wish VW actually operated and looked like that!

Edited by Christiaan

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30 minutes ago, JimW said:


That's why we make sure that all the feature videos, the bulk of the new version material, show the exact UI and how to interact with it, so no one will get the wrong impression.

 

To follow on zoomer's point, the Subdivision UI as shown in the 2018 commercial does not show the 'exact' in-program UI. 

 

Question: I saw that new cloth and metal Renderworks shaders were introduced, but I haven't found the feature video on what specifically was added, nor was it included in the list of new features in the original post.

 

Is there any further info on this? Thanks.

Edited by rDesign

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I think we should open separate threads about each new feature.

Lots of questions from my side about the new shaders.

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12 minutes ago, rDesign said:

To follow on zoomer's point, the Subdivision UI as shown in the 2018 commercial does not show the 'exact' in-program UI. 

Right, those are the flashy launch commercials from the marketing team, not the feature videos we make in Support that show the tool and command usage. 

 

12 minutes ago, rDesign said:

Question: I saw that new cloth and metal Renderworks shaders were introduced, but I haven't found the feature video on what specifically was added. Is there any further info on this? Thanks.

Didn't have time for them to get feature videos, the first in depth info on them will come at the Design Summit in my presentation, and either just before or after that I will post about them here. I could summarize them but they're very visual improvements, you can see some detail on them in the brochure:


http://www.vectorworks.net/ebooks/Whats-New-in-Vectorworks-2018-Brochure

 

6 minutes ago, zoomer said:

I think we should open separate threads about each new feature.

 

Agreed, feel free! I can answer all questions about the new Cloth, Metal and Shadow Catcher shaders.

 

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VW 2018 yay!! 

I wanted to join the conversation to mention a couple of Rendering features that are not included in this video.

 

Improved Indirect Lighting
A new indirect lighting algorithm that produces faster results with more bounces. Your interior scenes will be better lit in a shorter rendering time with 16 bounces instead of 8.

 

New Parallax Mapping (Improved Bump Shaders)

A new option in all the bump shaders that gives realistic looking bumps without adding to the render time. Use parallax mapping instead of displacement mapping whenever you don't need the actual geometry to be displaced.

 

New Metallic Shader (Reflectivity Metallic Shader Overhaul)

A completely new metallic shader that uses CineRender's reflectance channel. Produce realistic looking metals without the need of a light object aiming at the material, brushed metals or even metallic paint! Put a layer of lacquer on top of your metals using the clear coat settings. A better metallic shader has been one of our top requested rendering features.

 

New Cloth Shader (New Reflectivity Shader)

Vectorworks is now capable of producing woven materials procedurally. Choose one of the presets to start with and go from there. Each preset represents a different weave pattern.

 

New Shadow Catcher Shader (New Transparency Shader)

This feature was also requested a lot. Now you can easily composite Renderworks renderings with other images including the shadows and reflections in the rendered scene. Just wrap a shadow catcher on a ground object to catch the shadows in the alpha channel. When exporting the rendering with alpha channel support, all parts of the shadow catcher wrapped object will be invisible but the shadows (and/or reflections) that fall onto that object.

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I just want to say God bless whoever added the center->out option to the event seating tool!   It behaves more like I've wanted it to in the past now!  THANK YOU!

Edited by Wes Burrows

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Hi rDesign:

For Renderworks there is a new Cloth shader, the Metallic shader has been overhauled to show much better metals, there is a new Shadow Catcher shader for compositing, the Interior indirect lighting is faster and better, and there is a new Parallax bump mapping option that works better and faster than displacement.  These are all going to be mentioned at the Design Summit at Jim's training sessions.  I'm sure there will be more specific videos for these later if there aren't some right now.

 

Edit: Selin is on it, got to this before me!

 

Selin and I will be available during the Summit for any questions or conversations related to rendering if you'll be there!

 

 

Edited by Dave Donley

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7 minutes ago, Selin said:

VW 2018 yay!! 

I wanted to join the conversation to mention a couple of Rendering features that are not included in this video.

 

Improved Indirect Lighting
A new indirect lighting algorithm that produces faster results with more bounces. Your interior scenes will be better lit in a shorter rendering time with 16 bounces instead of 8.

 

New Parallax Mapping (Improved Bump Shaders)

A new option in all the bump shaders that gives realistic looking bumps without adding to the render time. Use parallax mapping instead of displacement mapping whenever you don't need the actual geometry to be displaced.

 

New Metallic Shader (Reflectivity Metallic Shader Overhaul)

A completely new metallic shader that uses CineRender's reflectance channel. Produce realistic looking metals without the need of a light object aiming at the material, brushed metals or even metallic paint! Put a layer of lacquer on top of your metals using the clear coat settings. A better metallic shader has been one of our top requested rendering features.

 

New Cloth Shader (New Reflectivity Shader)

Vectorworks is now capable of producing woven materials procedurally. Choose one of the presets to start with and go from there. Each preset represents a different weave pattern.

 

New Shadow Catcher Shader (New Transparency Shader)

This feature was also requested a lot. Now you can easily composite Renderworks renderings with other images including the shadows and reflections in the rendered scene. Just wrap a shadow catcher on a ground object to catch the shadows in the alpha channel. When exporting the rendering with alpha channel support, all parts of the shadow catcher wrapped object will be invisible but the shadows (and/or reflections) that fall onto that object.

 

So, so shiny:


Screen_Shot_2017-09-12_at_12_15.28_PM.png

 

Screen_Shot_2017-09-12_at_12_12_12_PM.png

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Thank for the reply - I'll be looking forward to the feature videos on the RW improvements. 

 

@Selin- will the 2018 changes to the Reflectance shader correct the black textures issue that was occasionally seen in 2017 when importing C4D Materials? 

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Just now, rDesign said:

 

@Selin- will the 2018 changes to the Reflectance shader correct the black textures issue that was occasionally seen in 2017 when importing C4D Materials? 

Yep, they should be fixed. If they're not than that's a bug that I'm going to work on soon.

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4 minutes ago, rDesign said:

Thank for the reply - I'll be looking forward to the feature videos on the RW improvements. 

 

@Selin- will the 2018 changes to the Reflectance shader correct the black textures issue that was occasionally seen in 2017 when importing C4D Materials? 


For anyone else following this, these are the previous issues uncovered in prior versions related to the reflectance channel:
 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, JimW said:

 

So, so shiny:


Screen_Shot_2017-09-12_at_12_15.28_PM.png

 

Screen_Shot_2017-09-12_at_12_12_12_PM.png

 

I know that promotional videos are created in other software since Vectorworks doesn't animate, but out of curiosity, are the still images included in brochures like this 100% Vectorworks? They certainly look like they could be; I'm just curious. :)

 

Those pans look great!

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9 minutes ago, rDesign said:

 

@Selin- will the 2018 changes to the Reflectance shader correct the black textures issue that was occasionally seen in 2017 when importing C4D Materials? 

 

 

Not sure if that really changed for VW 2018.

 

Before you start to import the C4D Materials,

make sure all Texture Images used in Materials exist in a "tex" folder beside the file.

 

This is not automatically the case, like when you put Materials from C4D's content Browser

into the Material Editor. If you have access to C4D, do a "Save Project with Assets".

This will create a copy of the File including the tex folder with all necessary resources.

 

Black Material Previews are used in C4D to tell the user that C4D does not find the texture

location and image file and that you should take care of..

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8 minutes ago, Andy Broomell said:

 

I know that promotional videos are created in other software since Vectorworks doesn't animate, but out of curiosity, are the still images included in brochures like this 100% Vectorworks? They certainly look like they could be; I'm just curious. :)

 

Those pans look great!

Yes! (Can't speak for other visuals but the rendering ones can be produced 100% with Vectorworks)

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