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erminio

Reducing exported DWG files size

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Hi guys
I wanna submit a request based on the topic linked below

 

https://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/51777-vw-17-massive-file-size-for-dwg-export/&page=0#comment-259615

 

In my opinion VW till the 2014 release was great in exporting 2D manageable DWG files with many Viewports, while maintaining a good compatibility
From 2015 till now every viewport doubles the file size
In effect Vectorworks creates a symbol with the FULL drawing inside for each Viewport included all nested symbols
So if you export the only model space with about 10 symbols in a DWG file, its size could be for instance 10MB, while the same file exported in in 7/8 Sheet layers with 4/5 Viewports for each one can reach the file size of 170/200MB with 1300 blocks/symbols inside
For each Viewport a new AutoCAD layer is created, so you really can't work

Every time I was exporting in Vectorworks 2014 and then to DWG, but 2014 isn't compatible with High Sierra 

It should be nice having a flag, permitting you to export in the old way at the cost of a minor (not sure about that) DWG compatibility

 

 

Erminio

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For 2018, a single floor plan sheet layer viewport for a 2000m2 building exports at  ~14MB DWG, typically. This is huge. I've unsuccessfully tried to find out why the exported DWG is so large. There are only vectors in the viewport, not images etc.

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Hi @erminio

 

Perhaps exporting only Design Layers would work for you? And then exporting Sheet Layer contents to 2D graphics? 

 

The following is meant for anyone else searching the Vectorworks Forum for information relating to this behaviour: 

 

This is an intentional change in behaviour and implications are explained in the Vectorworks 2017 Help manual pictured below.

1666720143_ExportingSheetLayerViewportstoDWG-VW2017Helpexcerpt.thumb.png.67f436243f77e2df2ffa1bc0960cc49f.png

 

Understandably, this will create a larger file as the Design Layer content is populated in the DWG export for each Sheet Layer Viewport included. In the Vectorworks 2019 Help manual suggests one could change their workflow or the export options to create the desired info for the end user. 

2008951307_ExportingSheetLayerViewportstoDWG-VW2019Helpexcerpt.thumb.png.5d61cf0116d5c92bb6b8385fad8144c6.png

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On 8/19/2018 at 9:48 AM, JMR said:

For 2018, a single floor plan sheet layer viewport for a 2000m2 building exports at  ~14MB DWG, typically. This is huge. I've unsuccessfully tried to find out why the exported DWG is so large. There are only vectors in the viewport, not images etc.

Hi JMR,

sorry for late answer: unused symbols, nested symbols in there?The link I posted treats well the argument

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That doesn't seem to be the case. I've noticed that If I export a saved view rather than a sheet viewport containing the same information, the file size is 2MB or less.

 

However, then any text linked to custom data doesn't export, and neither does custom data. A bug? 2018 SP6.

 

Custom data is not that large a dataset in this case, only 5-10 fields with a little text or numbers.

 

In any case, it would seem this data might have something to do with the file size.

 

 

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On 1/17/2019 at 4:23 AM, Jeremy Best said:

Hi @erminio

 

Perhaps exporting only Design Layers would work for you? And then exporting Sheet Layer contents to 2D graphics? 

 

The following is meant for anyone else searching the Vectorworks Forum for information relating to this behaviour: 

 

This is an intentional change in behaviour and implications are explained in the Vectorworks 2017 Help manual pictured below.

1666720143_ExportingSheetLayerViewportstoDWG-VW2017Helpexcerpt.thumb.png.67f436243f77e2df2ffa1bc0960cc49f.png

 

Understandably, this will create a larger file as the Design Layer content is populated in the DWG export for each Sheet Layer Viewport included. In the Vectorworks 2019 Help manual suggests one could change their workflow or the export options to create the desired info for the end user. 

2008951307_ExportingSheetLayerViewportstoDWG-VW2019Helpexcerpt.thumb.png.5d61cf0116d5c92bb6b8385fad8144c6.png

Thank you Jeremy

I apologise for late answer, but didn't receive notification of reply

Have to control why

I know what you mean, but for me it's not the answer for best compatibility from and to AutoCAD

I simply have to create just one viewport for sheet layer

Not so smart but works

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2 hours ago, JMR said:

That doesn't seem to be the case. I've noticed that If I export a saved view rather than a sheet viewport containing the same information, the file size is 2MB or less.

 

Exporting the content visible in a Saved View will always be smaller than a Sheet Layer Viewport showing the same view because (as per my earlier post) when you export a Sheet Layer with Viewports, it exports the Sheet Layer content but also exports - separately - all the content present in the Design Layers shown in the Viewport. Please see the explanation above for why this is the expected result. 

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@Jeremy Best

 

Thanks. For us the problem with exporting saved views is that they don't export texts linked to custom records (properly). Please see below a screenshot. On the left is a saved view export with some record-linked text missing (but curiously not all), on the right is the same view exported from a sheet layer, in which everything is ok. If I open the dwg with the missing text, also the attributes (custom data) is missing. On the sheet-exported dwg it is there and perfect.

 

This is why I have to export all floor plan dwg's from a dummy sheet set, where there is only one viewport containing the appropriate DL.

 

Addionally, for some reason the LTS scale is at 1, if the dwg is exported from a 1:50 saved view. The sheet layer 1:50 dwg export LTS is correctly at 1:50. This can be confusing to an engineer receiving the drawing. However, in both cases the actual measurements are correct.

 

kuva.thumb.png.95a4e52a22652a915143a17b6a9f8ffb.png

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On 8/19/2018 at 9:48 AM, JMR said:

For 2018, a single floor plan sheet layer viewport for a 2000m2 building exports at  ~14MB DWG, typically. This is huge. I've unsuccessfully tried to find out why the exported DWG is so large. There are only vectors in the viewport, not images etc.

Tried to avoid exporting groups as anonymous blocks?

This normally increases file size

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Thanks, I'll have to check that. I don't really use groups much, though.

 

I've noticed that adjusting hatch scale to a bigger value greatly decreases file size. Now I'm able to achieve 4MB files from sheet layer export.

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On 2/1/2019 at 3:22 PM, JMR said:

Thanks, I'll have to check that. I don't really use groups much, though.

 

I've noticed that adjusting hatch scale to a bigger value greatly decreases file size. Now I'm able to achieve 4MB files from sheet layer export.

Really?

This seems interesting, even if I can't understand the reason

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On 2/1/2019 at 2:35 AM, JMR said:

For us the problem with exporting saved views is that they don't export texts linked to custom records (properly). Please see below a screenshot. On the left is a saved view export with some record-linked text missing (but curiously not all), on the right is the same view exported from a sheet layer, in which everything is ok. If I open the dwg with the missing text, also the attributes (custom data) is missing. On the sheet-exported dwg it is there and perfect.

 

I note that the missing text/record items are different colours (which I thought denoted different line weights in DWG native software). Which makes me wonder if your Saved View just has the Classes of these items 'invisible,' while in your Sheet Layer Viewport those same classes might be visible. 

 

If these Classes are visible in both your Sheet Layer Viewports and the Saved View, then this might be a bug in which case I suggest you submit it to Vectorworks or run it by Tech Support for your region. At the moment I can't warrant the time to get my head around the layer scale results you're getting (but it sounds like it might be working as intended considering DXF/DWGs only support one scale at a time) so I suggest you run this one by Tech Support too. 

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Thanks, I checked but it's not class visibilities.

 

I also ran a test in 2019SP2 with the same results...the culprit seems to be the text/record link - for saved views, some of the symbols with linked text won't export the data (and thus the text). For a sheet layer viewport, curiously, it works fine.

 

Now, if I go into the symbols, those ones that work display the linked text class gray in the OIP when selected, and those which don't work display it normally. It's the same class. Why these links work when exported from a sheet viewport, is a mystery.

 

I'll have to run this by tech support.

 

As to the LTS it's just a line type scaling variable in Autocad, it should be set at the intended drawing scale. Otherwise dashed/dotted lines will show as continuous. From a sheet layer viewport it works fine, but previously there was a bug with LTS there,too.  I'll bug submit.

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On 1/31/2019 at 2:35 PM, JMR said:

If I open the dwg with the missing text, also the attributes (custom data) is missing.

It could be that the missing text somehow got converted to Extended Entity Data. This data is attached to the object but normally not visible and you would need to use the extended entity data editor to retrieve it. I don't know if this is actually happening as I would have to test this.

 

The other possibility is that it may be failing in some cases due to there being symbols/objects in the records instead of just text and that only export from a sheet view does make it export properly. Are the attributes in the exported DWG file full DWG style attributes or just exploded attributes showing what it in Vectorworks.

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On 2/1/2019 at 3:22 PM, JMR said:

I've noticed that adjusting hatch scale to a bigger value greatly decreases file size. Now I'm able to achieve 4MB files from sheet layer export.

You could think of hatch scale as line density. The smaller the hatch scale the higher the line density becomes. Like in physics a higher density means a higher weight, the principle applies to DWG files in an equivalent way i.e. a higher (larger) file size in DWG files. There is usually some tipping point where it become an issue.

 

I've had DWG files where people used a hatch with a scale of 0.001 to mimic a solid fill. Removing the hatch and using a solid fill reduced the file size  from approx. 1.4 megabytes to 3 or 4 kilobytes, i.e. from 100% of the original file size down to approx. 0.2% of the original file size.

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On 1/31/2019 at 2:35 PM, JMR said:

Addionally, for some reason the LTS scale is at 1, if the dwg is exported from a 1:50 saved view. The sheet layer 1:50 dwg export LTS is correctly at 1:50. This can be confusing to an engineer receiving the drawing. However, in both cases the actual measurements are correct.

If I remember correctly saved views of design layers export at 1:1 as design layers are technically speaking on a 1:1 scale and the 1:50 scale is just a viewing thing hence the LTS of 1 when exporting from a saved view, while sheet layer viewports are actually scaled representation and as such will export with scaling to have the scale on the layouts (equivalent of sheet layers in VW for those not familiar with DWG files) export scaled into the model space (DWG equivalent of design layers).

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Something that may help, as I run into the DWG file size issue as well, is to create a copy of your file and delete all design layers, classes, viewports etc. not used on a sheet layer prior to exporting that specific sheet layer. This may significantly reduce the initial exported DWG file size as it reduces the export to the items really shown and cannot include design layers etc. that are in the viewport but set to invisible for that viewport on the specific design layer.

 

You can tell VW to exclude invisible classes from exporting to DWG but you can't do the same for invisible design layers. If some classes are used on layers that are visible and layers that are invisibile in a viewport it will still export those invisble layers and items on it.

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Thanks @erminio for raising this important issue and thanks @Art V for offering a possible solution.

 

Fact is, this process should just be a simple, straightforward process and does not require VW users to come up with 'workarounds' to make it work.

 

We use Vectorworks in 3D, and there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to get our models into a usable DWG file to our consultants, collaborators and consultants. 

 

We have spend many hours in our office trying to resolve this issue, and in the end the only possible way to create a usable, small-sized DWG file from our 3D model is to 'save as' a PDF, reimport the PDF to VW, and explode the PDF just to get the lines.

 

Not ideal at all but no other options we have found so far. 

Edited by Amorphous

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8 hours ago, Art V said:

. Are the attributes in the exported DWG file full DWG style attributes or just exploded attributes showing what it in Vectorworks.

 

They are full DWG attributes, at least look like it - they are editable in DWG.

 

Thanks for all the good advice!

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12 hours ago, Amorphous said:

We have spend many hours in our office trying to resolve this issue, and in the end the only possible way to create a usable, small-sized DWG file from our 3D model is to 'save as' a PDF, reimport the PDF to VW, and explode the PDF just to get the lines.

 

Copy and convert in lines the model and then export from a new blank file?

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12 hours ago, JMR said:

They are full DWG attributes, at least look like it - they are editable in DWG.

If you have ATTDIA set to 1 (on) and you do an edit of one of the attribute lines you get a dialog showing all the attributes for that item to be edited? If yes then it is ok, if not then they are probably just text items.

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15 hours ago, Amorphous said:

We use Vectorworks in 3D, and there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to get our models into a usable DWG file to our consultants, collaborators and consultants. 

One thing to keep in mind is that VW 3D objects and DWG 3D objects can be quite different and it could get converted in ways that will keep the appearance of the object but not necessarily the editability. E.g. some solids may get converted to meshed/triangulated surfaces etc. It can happen the other way around too as solid hatches can turn up as a bunch of filled triangulated areas in 2D at times. The ODA DWG libraries have become better in the past few years for 3D conversions but there will still be things that won't translate smoothly from one to the other. So it really depends on your 3D objects/models how usable the export will be. The more complex it is the more likely you will have issues.

 

2D exports are mostly fine, except from some things like text styles etc. that VW has not yet fully implemented even though it is in the ODA libraries. 3D is something I rarely bother to export to DWG unless it is simple stuff or if I really have to at the client's request.

 

You could try exporting to Rhino3D format first and then from Rhino to DWG, but that requires having Rhino available. It can make things a bit better at the DWG end. It works th the other way too, if you have a messy 3D DWG file (i.e. lots of meshed/triangulate surfaces) then importing it into Rhino first, save it as a Rhino3D version that VW supports and then import the Rhino3D fill may give a (sometimes much) more usable 3D import than directly importing the DWG file.

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Personally I get best results by exporting in  IGES/SAT but I think the problem is exporting in AutoCAD

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On 2/13/2019 at 2:55 AM, Art V said:

One thing to keep in mind is that VW 3D objects and DWG 3D objects can be quite different and it could get converted in ways that will keep the appearance of the object but not necessarily the editability. E.g. some solids may get converted to meshed/triangulated surfaces etc. It can happen the other way around too as solid hatches can turn up as a bunch of filled triangulated areas in 2D at times. The ODA DWG libraries have become better in the past few years for 3D conversions but there will still be things that won't translate smoothly from one to the other. So it really depends on your 3D objects/models how usable the export will be. The more complex it is the more likely you will have issues.

 

2D exports are mostly fine, except from some things like text styles etc. that VW has not yet fully implemented even though it is in the ODA libraries. 3D is something I rarely bother to export to DWG unless it is simple stuff or if I really have to at the client's request.

 

You could try exporting to Rhino3D format first and then from Rhino to DWG, but that requires having Rhino available. It can make things a bit better at the DWG end. It works th the other way too, if you have a messy 3D DWG file (i.e. lots of meshed/triangulate surfaces) then importing it into Rhino first, save it as a Rhino3D version that VW supports and then import the Rhino3D fill may give a (sometimes much) more usable 3D import than directly importing the DWG file.

 

Thanks for the suggestion @erminio @Art V, they are indeed good ‘workarounds’ for this severe Vectorworks shortcoming. I will try them out.

 

But the important issue here is that exporting from Vectorworks to our consultants/ contractors in DWG format is a frequently-occurring process in our industry. To reiterate: it is something that EVERY architect needs to do regularly in their workflow. 

 

SO WHY IS THIS SIMPLE PROCESS MADE SO DIFFICULT IN VECTORWORKS?

 

Vectorworks should- ‘out-of-the-box’ - be able to export to these industry-standard documents (ie DWG) without users wasting valuable time and multiple steps to find work-arounds. If we tally  the wasted charge-out time we all put into to ‘trial and error’ to find a workaround, we’d probably be a lot more profitable.

 

I have put a senior VW architect onto the case of finding a solution to this problem and he spent two days on various combinations of settings and methods. We have nothing replicable, easy and efficient. It is up to Vectorworks to give us a solution.

 

@Jim Wilson to recap- we cannot export our 3D Vectorworks model to usable 2D DWG files (by usable, we mean DWG files of a reasonable size that doesn’t crash upon opening). In any given project, there are multiple sheets we need to export, so the best way to achieve them is with the ‘publish’ tool and select DWG. This is broken and needs urgent attention. 

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On 2/1/2019 at 4:22 PM, JMR said:

Thanks, I'll have to check that. I don't really use groups much, though.

 

I've noticed that adjusting hatch scale to a bigger value greatly decreases file size. Now I'm able to achieve 4MB files from sheet layer export.

Well, bummer.

 

I got confused and actually the above is not so.

 

I can get a 4MB file from a saved view, but not from a sheet layer.

 

I ran the following tests exporting from a sheet layer:

 

-viewport hatch scale at 1 ~ 15MB dwg

-viewport hatch scale at 20 ~15MB dwg (=no effect)

-deleting all other DL's from the file, other than those visible in the viewport ~ 16MB(!) dwg

 

To sum it up, if there is only one viewport on a sheet layer at 1:50, and there are no other DL's present in the file than those visible in the viewport, the export from the sheet layer is 15MB, while it is 4MB from a saved view.

 

However, exporting from a saved view we get the beforementioned custom record unlinking issue.

 

 

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@jmr,

 

Would you, please, send the document which you are talking about so that we could analyze the export?

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