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Rotate truss rig Vectorworks 2018


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I've been using Vectorworks for a over a year now and the new truss tool that came out in 2018 is a great inprovement on the workflow!

The only struggle I find myself in is the following. When you setup for example a triangulair truss shape with the new truss tool you can set the angle when placing the truss. When you wanna change that angle later on in the design proces you can't change the angle anymore since the option is not available in the Object info pallete. It's available with the 'straight truss tool". On the other hand you have the well known hybrid object error.

I came acroos this tutorial on service select: https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/forum/13-entertainment-and-previsualization/&do=add in which this Light designer used an interesting work around with viewports on a design layher. Is this the only way into rotating a truss rig on the x and y axes?


Thanks in advance.





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I am still on VW2017, but the DLVP is the way I handle these types of things. It’s quite beneficial for other reasons as well. Asssuming you might have truss, lighting, video, scenics etc on a truss, the DLVP allows you to move and rotate in 3D space the entire structure and contents regardless of what classes are turned on. It also allows for a simple way to detail automation. If a truss moves during a show all you need is to duplicate your viewport and move it into any position you want. Then, class your viewports by position. Simple. 

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Hi Andrew and Scott,


Thanks for the quick replies guys!

Ah, nice one. That was exactly the one I was refering too! Awesome stuff. Real eye opener in using the saved views too.

Thnx Andrew!


Scott, I presume you mean Design layher Viewport with DLVP?:$ Regarding the last part of your post, would it be possible to animate the movement this way?








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Landru is correct about this. 


DLVPs do not necessarily allow you to animate structures but they do give you an extremely simple way to detail the automation without any additional drawing or geometry. This works well for presentations assuming you are only using stills, and for detail elevation, section and isometric drawings. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not really, however, this is it in a nutshell. First of all, note that I typically keep my drawings on one primary LAYER and instead use CLASSES to organize the drawing, but I don’t believe it matters. 


1- Create a new LAYER in your drawing. This layer will ONLY be used for a truss or ladder structure that needs to be rotated in 3D. 


2- add the structure/truss you need to this layer. There is no need to rotate it or assign a Z height. 


3- add lighting fixtures to the structure exactly as you would when installing or prepping the rig. This is one of the serious benefits of working this way as you already have the necessary shop geometry in 2D. No technician wants to prep some three dimensionally rotated structure. They need to know that is what is going to happen to it, but is generally not how it is assembled. 


4- add any other scenic or lighting elements to the structure as required. 


5- go ahead and class all your elements like you would on your standard design layer. 


6- if there are no lights on this structure, you will need to add a renderworks light of some sort. It can be turned off, but you need one. I actually do not know why this is but you cannot rotate a viewport if it does not have a light object of some sort. Spotlight lighting fixtures work for this. Hopefully someone can chime in as to the reasoning for this. 


7- select “create viewport” from the VIEW menu. When the create viewport dialog opens, select your primary drawing layer in the “Create on Layer” drop down. 


8- now you have a viewport if the items you have created on your main drawing layer. Very important: select the viewport and select “Classes” from the Object Info Palette. At the bottom, check the “Use current document’s class visibilities” as this will allow the VP to act just like the rest of your drawing. Not doing this can lead to all sorts of confusion later on. 


9- I suggest creating specific classes for your viewport structures. Then you can make duplicates that allow for showing the structure flat for shop work, angled for presentations and 3D drawings and this also allows for showing the structures at various locations if automated. 


10- select your viewport and rotate and move into the desired location. 


Hope this helps. 



Edited by scottmoore
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Hi Scott,


Sorry for the late reply. But thank you! it certainly helps. I had not added a light to the viewport yet which is why it wasn't working for me. 


Perhaps us lighting people are amongst the few that like to angle hybrid symbols? And this feature was specially made for us?


I added Lighting instruments to my layher and i noticed all the tilts where pointing in random ways. in the design layher they are all straight. Do you know why this is happening? I added a screen shot of it.







Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 13.59.31.png

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As mentioned, I have no idea why a lighting object is required to rotate a viewport. That seems quite random to me and I would love it if someone would chime in on that. 


As to random focuses, I am not entirely sure what I am seeing in that image, however, I can tell you that Spotlight lighting devices do respond correctly to focus points in your primary design layer from the design layer viewport. Because of this, the 3D portion can often look a little odd as the fixtures “on the ground” on the specific truss layer are still pointing at the correct focus point.  Spend a little time experimenting with this to see how it works. I don’t think that is what you experiencing though. 


Working out your class structure for your DLVPs is important for managing your output.  One item that doesn’t belong on the design layer would be rigging points as you do not want to rotate those. 


Regardless, spend some time working with DLVPs and I think you will find you like them.  Certainly a very interesting workaround to a common design concept. 

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On ‎10‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 8:58 AM, scottmoore said:

As mentioned, I have no idea why a lighting object is required to rotate a viewport. That seems quite random to me and I would love it if someone would chime in on that.


Other disciplines use DLVPs in situations for which raking/tilting them would be problematic and this limitation is a bit of protection.  For example, an architect might use DLVPs to replicate a single hotel room layout many times.


Make sense??


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9 hours ago, C. Andrew Dunning said:


Other disciplines use DLVPs in situations for which raking/tilting them would be problematic and this limitation is a bit of protection.  For example, an architect might use DLVPs to replicate a single hotel room layout many times.


Make sense??

Interesting. Perhaps I am being a bit cavalier when I say “just don’t rotate it”. :-)

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Hi guys,

I just wanted to say thank you to all who contributed to this thread.  I've just used this technique for a big rotated truss structure for the first time and it works great.  I used to make a copy and convert all the truss to groups and have special lighting symbols that weren't hybrids and it was a lot of extra work.  This works really well.


One note to future users - I am accustomed to making my viewports by drawing a rectangle over the objects and then using that as the crop.  This can create problems in other viewports down the road.  I was making a front elevation of the whole stage and half the truss structure was clipping due to limitations of the crop.  So I remade the viewport, but just selection the truss structure and then Modify>Create viewport.  Works perfect now. Thanks again.



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I tend to use this technique a lot, even when I do not have rotated truss elements. It is quite handy when you have a lot of truss stacked in close quarters vertically, so instead of creating a bunch of extra classes to allow you turn certain trusses on and off to create your printable output, you simply turn on/off the requisite viewports. All other classes stay the same. To that point, our drawing templates already have default layers onto which we can create specific  truss elements and we have default classes for those layers. 


Another really handy reason to do to do this is moving a truss (X, Y or Z) in a drawing is as simple as clicking and dragging. Of course, that worked regardless if you have turned your truss into a lighting position. Your lights will follow along, but what about truss borders, other scenic items, video panels, audio cabinets or other production items that may be attached to that truss?  Using a DLVP for a truss solves that problem completely. 


Just a thought. 

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  • 1 year later...

Hey Team,


Has this changed in 2019? I have 2 of Mr Dunning's demo files on this and the rotation of the DLVP works perfectly. If I create a blank drawing with truss and lights, then create my DLVP and try to rake that viewport I get the Hybrid warning and it wont let me rotate it. Ive tried copying his symbols, his truss, everything and I cant get around the hybrid issue. Any help?

Hybrid Object.PNG


Actually turns out that others in the company with the exact same symbols can rotate their DLVPs, it must be some local setting I have on my machine. I cant even imagine what it might be.

Edited by Haydenovative
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Heya Team,


Problem solved thanks to Mr Dunning. The issue I was having is simply fixed by making sure that the viewport doesn't have any layers turned on other than that of the original model. Having empty layers turned on in the DLVP stops it from being rotated. Once I blocked everything except for the original models layer I was free to rotate the DLVP all I wanted. Thanks everyone for your input!

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  • 6 months later...



New using DLVP, seems to be a great tool but I'm facing the same problem Sebastian posted about the 3D orientation of my fixtures. 


I go through this steps:

1. Draw my design on top/plan view with lights (position field filled) and trusses (converted to hanging position)

2. I run "Create Plot and Model View"

3. I get my DLVP, I rotate it to obtain the desire result: in this particularly case its a +90º rotation to see my "ex" top/plan design vertically in a new front view.

4. When I get the viewports I do the +90º rotation, trusses are okay but fixtures get a random 3D orientation.


PS: I try including Z Rotation on them also, but it doesn't solve the problem


Here some images:

Top:Plan Original Design.png

Top View DLVP.png

Front View DLVP.png

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hace 36 minutos, markdd dijo:

You need to assign focus points to the lighting devices. The focus points should be on a seperate design layer to the lighting devices and not be included in the DLVP.


One thing to take into account:


I first put the focus point (in this case I used two) referenced to the original design, this way doesn't work. You must put the focus as if you were focusing the "DLVP Fixtures" 

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