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3D - From SketchUp to Vectorworks (newbie)

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Hi all,

 

I've used Vectorworks for many years, but only to do 2D work (plans, sections, construction drawings etc.) and am pretty confident at it (at least the bits that I use!). I would like to start using it for 3D. At the moment I use SketchUp to create a model, then Photoshop for post-processing. I would probably stick to Photoshop for some work, but make use of much better rendering within VW.

 

I am hoping that there are people in the same position as me who have some advice, tips and resources to share, as I pretty much plan to teach myself, and would like this to be in as efficient a way as possible.

 

Are there things you always wished you knew? Have you found any amazing blog posts or tutorials? Are there libraries of textures or objects that you'd recommend?

 

All advice would be appreciated - I have a good project to learn on, and excited to get started!

 

Thanks!

 

Fi

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Can you specify what kind of 3D / Projects you want to do? 

 

For example I work with the Landscape Architecture Tools (Landmark) can do pretty much next to everything that Vectorworks allows for this field. But, for example, my Architecture knowledge isn't much more than the basic tutorial about how to set up walls, windows, doors, etc. 

 

The 3D tools, free form, NURBS, subdivision, etc... are great for any details and/or object that you want to create from scratch. There are plenty of tutorials about those on Youtube.

 

Vectorworks learning curve is a bit higher than SketchUp (which is extremely easy to learn), but Vectorworks is much more rewarding in longer term and the learning curve is not even deep. I use both as my work tools currently and for some time already.

 

You can also model/create an object with SketchUp and import it into Vectorworks or vice versa.

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I always have my students start with the 4 basics of Modeling:

 

Extrude

Extrude along path

Sweep

Lofts

 

Understanding those 4 principles first will give you a great base to work from.  From there you have to analyze the objects that you are trying to build and break them down into smaller parts and then see which of these 4 principles will best serve you in getting to that goal.  Understanding screen plane vs. layer plane will make the process easier as well.

 

e.

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I also like how easy it is to learn SketchUp and maybe a bit faster in and easier

it is Modeling vs VW.

But I think SketchUp produces often geometries that other CAD don't like very

much. And when I think that you can create similar in VW + much more with

real geometry, have everything in one App to to do BIM, extract Plans and

do Renderings ... I would skip SketchUp and get used to VW 3D and do

everything from there.

 

Although VW 3D supports Solids Modeling, Meshes, SubD; Nurbs Surfaces,

for Architecture I would recommend using primarily BIM Tools and add

manually Solid Modeling only where custom geometry is needed.

 

 

Another option to SketchUp,

if you prefer to use a simple sketchy Tool for preliminary design is

"Shape" from Bricsys. Currently Windows only but also free to use.

If you manage to get used to its easy but different modeling workflow,

the advantage is real Solids geometry in DWG format.

Shape's DWGs beautifully import into VW as true Solids.

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I had so bad experience in the past when I accepted clients SketchUp Models

and tried to make them editable in CAD Software. Maybe that changed meanwhile.

Do you have any simple example files that show SUs qualities ?

Or is there any DXF or better Export, beside VW SKP Import ?

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14 minutes ago, zoomer said:

I had so bad experience in the past when I accepted clients SketchUp Models

and tried to make them editable in CAD Software.

It is likely that it was more the client causing the issues because of improper/sloppy modelling. I've seen similar issues with DWG files from those who e.g. know how to use Illustrator or Powerpoint and do things in a similar way in AutoCAD.

I've tried Shape for a few minutes and it works really nicely, also because it is a simplified user interface compared to Bricscad which has the same tools and more. Maybe something for VW to have a look at it for a simplified workspace for basic 3D modelling like SketchUp.

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I played and tested SketchUp 2017 a bit.

It isn't really that bad.

I think you are right, many problems in SketchUp may be related

to the one sitting in front of the SketchUp Monitor :)

 

It has even DWG but that doesn't better with the Mesh Geometry.

Although I think it does a great job to fix to cm units even I drew by free hand.

So DWG doesn't make much sense into Bricscad.

 

But SKP Import into VW is interesting. Either by Mesh, that you can

force to Solids (by force), or by Architecture elements.

Which needs some pre organization in SU and some post organization

in VW but produces some interesting results.

(As long as you avoid any curved geometry)

 

But Why creates old fashioned legacy VW Floor Objects instead of Slabs ?

 

 

Shape, I like their reduced simple Solid Objects in Resource Library.

And read a Mac Version will be coming.

Meanwhile I am fit enough in Bricscad's or Shape's Direct Modeling.

It is even fun for me now, although quite different.

 

I would prefer modeling in Shape for the clean UI, but meanwhile I got so

used to many Full Bricscad Features like Structure Manger so that I can't live

without these anymore. I think I rather should clean up my Bricscad UI instead.

 

But from all Apps I use that stated that you can do the same as in Sketchup,

although workflow is different, I think Shape comes nearest to SketchUp

in simplicity and speed.

But would be even better if it would better follow some common OS and CAD standards.

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@phinhi, Ske....p NO if you are drawing with the wall tool and adding windows you are already drawing in 3D.

take the step you won’t look back, one model and all your elevations are done, and lots more.

everyone here will help and show you either how to do it or at least point you in the right direction.

 

This video may assisty

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFVsO16nAZ0

 

Edited by Alan Woodwell

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On 24/01/2018 at 7:39 PM, Art V said:

It is likely that it was more the client causing the issues because of improper/sloppy modelling. I've seen similar issues with DWG files from those who e.g. know how to use Illustrator or Powerpoint and do things in a similar way in AutoCAD.

I've tried Shape for a few minutes and it works really nicely, also because it is a simplified user interface compared to Bricscad which has the same tools and more. Maybe something for VW to have a look at it for a simplified workspace for basic 3D modelling like SketchUp.

 

Haha yes - absolutely. I have seen some absolutely horrendous models, almost to the point of being broken and unusable. One of the downsides to being able to create warped and unreal Escher-like geometry is that it can all go horribly wrong. Plus lots of people don't understand groups and components and are very lazy, which makes it a horrible job to have to use their models.

On 24/01/2018 at 1:59 PM, EAlexander said:

I always have my students start with the 4 basics of Modeling:

 

Extrude

Extrude along path

Sweep

Lofts

 

Understanding those 4 principles first will give you a great base to work from.  From there you have to analyze the objects that you are trying to build and break them down into smaller parts and then see which of these 4 principles will best serve you in getting to that goal.  Understanding screen plane vs. layer plane will make the process easier as well.

 

e.

This is incredibly helpful - thank you. I actually teach 2D and am hoping eventually to extend this to 3D, so some academic rigour is definitely welcome!

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Great - thank you very much for all this information - incredibly helpful. I've got a good simple project to get started with and hopefully all will be well and I'll pick it up quickly. Definitely a lot to learn, but there're new tricks in this old pony yet! 

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On 24.1.2018 at 9:09 PM, zoomer said:

Shape, I like their reduced simple Solid Objects in Resource Library.

And read a Mac Version will be coming.

Meanwhile I am fit enough in Bricscad's or Shape's Direct Modeling.

It is even fun for me now, although quite different.

 

Beside for Windows, Shape for Mac Version is now available too.

Pretty stable now. DWG and Solids from Shape import beautifully

and lossless into VW.

It's free.

(beside an email address for registration) 

Edited by zoomer

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Hello Zoomer and other contributors, how do we force SU meshes to solids? 

Is it a fundamental shortcoming of the SU - VW workflow that SU objects come in as meshes? An architectural model imported as meshes would seem to have limited (if any) meaningful use in the VW environment...particularly if the model needs further development in VW. What do most people do in this situation? 

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hi,

 

have you even tried ifc as export-format from 3d geometry from sektchup to vw?

 

the imported mesh via ifc into vw, looks like the mesh in sketchup.

 

 

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I refuse clients SketchUp models when possible.

I tried a few times working with them in Modo.

Even in professional 100% Mesh App, it is no fun.

 

The biggest mess are SketchUp's coplanar double Faces if

Materials assigned to both sides.

Some users even try hard to structure their Elements by

Layers, Groups and Components. But what you finally get in

is mixed up anyway.

Opposed to Shape, SU geometry is just as the name promises,

a Sketch.

 

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Thank you Zoomer et al., your answers help a lot...good to know there's really no way to improve the SU-VW transfer and the limitations are essentially with SU. 

In Australia a lot of VW architects are using SU for their conceptual modelling then VW for 2D drafting. We're trying to nudge them across to VW for the whole lot. I can see the attraction with SU...it's incredibly fast and the ability to apply a texture by face is very powerful. I'm investigating equivalent workflows in VW. So far the push/pull with sub face is as close as I'm getting to a SU like experience. But of course we produce solids this way and textures will be applied to the whole solid - not a face...so that's a fundamental difference/shortcoming. I'm interested in a continuous pathway in VW from concept solid modelling through to VW objects then (obviously) tech drawings. Using solids we can extract polygons (via the inner boundary - paint bucket) which we can then use to 'create objects from shapes' to walls, slabs etc. It's probably a conceptual ambition to work this way...and questionable as to whether it would be practicable...but it would be really good to get others thoughts and ideas on the matter. 

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I think for 3D sketching, SketchUp will always be easier, more intuitive and faster.

Geometry wise there shouldn't be anything that VW would not be able to produce.

 

I think the recommended way to color a Solid's single Face is to extract that Face,

nudge it a nanometer in front and apply a Material.

But then we're not far away from just replacing the Box with 4 BIM Walls and 2 Slabs ...

 

If you can live with giving up the graphical editing and go to parametrical editing

and can keep Extrudes, often their individual Material on top/side/bottom Faces

is often sufficient.

 

I don't think you will get people away from SketchUp into VW.

You could try to "Shape" them 😉

 

Maybe it is less of a pain if we see clients SketchUp Designs just at what they are,

just a 3D sketch, like a PDF underlay in 2D, or a point cloud in 3D.

And use it that way. Maybe prevent snapping to them, activate Grid Snap and draw

over with VW Walls, Windows, Doors and fill Slabs in with the bucket.

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Hi,

We are small architect company who are in a similar situation as have used Sketch up for a number of years to produce quick models that we export as favoured scenes and export to photoshop to be rendered manually.  

 

We don't get too deep into the modelling as leave the detail to be added on PS as an image.   That said we have VW 2018 for all 2d bread & butter drawing work, and are aware we are probably missing a trick and should use VW for model building to get our money's worth form the licence fee we pay, and could get a much better model as a result.   Having read the interesting discussion above, I can see it's not as simple as I'd hoped!

 

It seems we have to go back to stage zero and learn how to build the most basic 3d models (which I'm trying to do right now, hence this post) in VW.  

Unfortunately due to the pressures of work, I need a quick result and have quickly hit a wall in VW as I don't recognise the commands or tools compared with Sketch up.  Extrude is about all i can use and have made a couple of wire frame boxes for my building but cant even manage to put a pitched roof on it never mind what I'd like to do!  

 

Is there any nice, simple video on how to build a basic house form on VW 2018 fundamentals?  You know, simple pitched roofs, blocks, floors, etc.?    If we can get this in hand, I may then understand more of the tech jargon mentioned above! 

 

Any suggestions / help welcomed!

 

Adrian

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If you can model properly in Sketchup then you should be able to model in VW as well, however the more advanced 3D stuff is in the Design Series (VW Architect, Landscape, Spotlight or Designer). So depending on what you are trying to do this might explain why you are hitting a wall with some things.

 

As someone commented earlier in this topic, knowing the basics of extrude, extrude along path, sweep and loft will get you a long way in VW. If you know how to do this in Sketchup then it works almost similar in VW in most cases, at least it does in the Design series. I'd have to switch to a Fundamentals workspace and try to see if there is a substantial difference compared to a design series copy of VW (have switched from Fundamentals a long time ago and have never used that workspace ever since).

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4 hours ago, RG Architects said:

but cant even manage to put a pitched roof on it never mind what I'd like to do! 

 

Myah, not as ergonomic or self understanding as I would wish.

But once you get finally used to the Tool it does what you want.

 

It is called "Taper Face Tool"

and it works by ... ah ...

Selecting another Face than you want to rotate, first.

Which means to select that special neighbored Face that touches the Face, you initially want,

where the special Edge is, which means the Axis, around which you want to rotate your Face.

And after that you can finally choose your desired Face to rotate by snapping or angle input.

 

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5 hours ago, RG Architects said:

Unfortunately due to the pressures of work, I need a quick result and have quickly hit a wall in VW as I don't recognise the commands or tools compared with Sketch up.  Extrude is about all i can use and have made a couple of wire frame boxes for my building but cant even manage to put a pitched roof on it never mind what I'd like to do!  

 

Is there any nice, simple video on how to build a basic house form on VW 2018 fundamentals?  You know, simple pitched roofs, blocks, floors, etc.?    If we can get this in hand, I may then understand more of the tech jargon mentioned above! 

 

EDIT: I just saw that you’re on Fundamentals, so this won’t really help you.

 

Have you worked through the ‘Getting Started Guide for BIM - Architectural’? Parts of it feel like it hasn’t been updated for several versions, but it does offer a basic primer to using the parametric 3D tools in Vw:

http://www.vectorworks.net/training/2018/getting-started-guides/bim-architectural/creating-roofs

Edited by rDesign
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Thanks for your comments, plenty to look into.  Regards using Fundamentals, we used to operate Design & Architect versions but past downturn in work lead to economising on new licences!   I think we are accepting we have to start at the beginning of 3d modelling in VW if going to learn it properly.  By comments above, it seems like the route of using SU for initial concept stuff, then importing to VW is perhaps not so efficient as a basic massing model will need to be rebuilt in elements in VW if we intend to do better rendering and scenes, or BIM.       Depends what we want / need from each project model, but we like a 'go to' process for each model that is the same.  ...might be more queries shortly!

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I would take a look at what Jonathon Pickup at archoncad has to offer by way of maximizing VW.  He helps a lot of people understand the process of VW workflow.

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17 hours ago, BBeaumont said:

@RG Architects Adrian, I take it you've seen the attached document 'Switching from SketchUp to Vectorworks'? Also downloadable here

xlth.pdf

 

There’s also an accompanying video HERE

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