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2D Components for Hybrid Objects (but not for Spotlight)

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I was really excited to see a feature that's been on the wish list since I've been drawing booms (every light plot for twenty years) and to my dismay it looks like this feature works for everything BUT Spotlight.


I'm hoping I'm doing something wrong (I'm confident I'm not) because this is a huge missed opportunity to actually allow us to model in 3D and display the information we need as designers without resorting to tricks, model-layers, and increased complexity. I've taken a default ETC Source 4 36 and dropped it into the drawing. You can see in the images (and the file I attached) that this works for all 3D Symbols unless it is a Spotlight instrument. 


I was hoping I could drop my label legends in and view my booms in their real location in 3D rather than creating a separate model space. This is, bar none, my biggest complaint about the way Vectorworks models light plots. We have a great array of 3D tools, but if we want to make a document an electrician is used to reading we need to print that in 2D with legends. The 3D label legends start to bridge that gap, but projecting a 2D symbol in a non top/plan viewport would be a game changer for theatrical light plots. Vertical or off-axis lighting positions have always been problematic. It would be nice to draw them in position so I can export them to Vision/whatever directly and use the 3D tool-suite without resorting to tricks.


I attached one last drawing highlighting a simple rep plot. The areas in orange are the lights that are drawn "outside" the actual 3D model. It is ~ 30% of the plot and this has a lot of redundancy overhead. That's 30% of my plot that I can't easily use Vectorworks to calculate photometrics, focus, beams. This isn't a great workflow and it looks like there's finally core support for fixing the problem rather than the plot and model views (which are not user friendly and are painful to maintain). 


It would be nice to see you take the next step and allow Spotlight objects to project in 2D.









Test File.vwx

Test Working.jpg



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Sadly, this feature does not yet work with Spotlight. Lighting Devices don’t actually insert a symbol instance but rather extracts and manipulates symbol geometry. As such, even if a symbol has a 2D component, it won’t display in a lighting device. 


2D components won’t solve your vertical position issue, only allow for more effortless sections. I’ve had a number of conversations about how Vectorworks can better draw non-horizontal positions. It’s definitely something on the radar. 


In in terms of calculations and planning, I’ll give a shameless plug for Beamdraw, which lets you plan and visualize before creating any lighting devices, focus points, or positions:  https://benghiatlighting.com/software/products/beam-draw-4

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Thanks Joshua,


(I quite enjoy your lineset tool.) I realize there's a lot of manipulation behind the scenes for the lighting instruments, but I feel like most of that complexity exists to support the model-view workflow. The core framework finally has the ability to project a 2D drawing in 3D space other than top plan and it seems like this would be an a great time to move from "2D moved to 3D with some tricks" and just work off a 3D model. 


More to the point: I think (just like you're suggesting with your tool) that most designers either worksheet and move or use an external tool (I favor Capture right now). It would just be nice to have a 3D plot that wasn't a hot mess of design-layer viewports. My workflow is actually just doing worksheets in place with templates as if I was working off pend an paper as it is actually faster than trying to drop in the focus points and move the lights when I'm done. I know I'm not alone in wishing I could actually work in 3D all the time rather than faking it.


Given the circumstances here it might be time to reinvent the wheel in Spotlight. Model-Viewports have always felt like a bad workaround. It seems like this is closer to allowing that to happen. 

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I'm really astonished this still hasn't been addressed. Esp when the Ladder tool was added three or four years ago. So odd to create a tool for vertical positions without the ability to make actual 3D positions without huge work-arounds. There is that awkward moment in my class every year when all the new lighting students are so excited as I'm teaching them Spotlight. Then some kid will say, "This is awesome. Hey, how do you make a boom?"  

Not to cut into Joshua's business but the stuff in BeamDraw should be part of the basic program. 

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