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Don Seidel

Video Tutorials

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The VW "Getting Started" series is most excellent for rapid learning of VW, and getting high value for the product. Certainly the more Users learn, the more loyalty is built for the program as well.

 

PLEASE keep them coming for both basic features and new features. The Apple-tutorial style of quick, concise, limited video is perfect.

 

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We have LOTS of good stuff on the way. Keep an eye out.

(Not going to jinx it!)

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@Don Seidel Hi Don, I just made a nice video on the workflow from one of my recent projects and am planning to do several more to make a series more. Where is the best place to post a link to this, and is it ok to post here or is there a place for this kind of thing please?

 

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Jonathan, this forum is a good place to post. You might ask VW Staff as well. Nice video. Very similar to the workflow in my office (Texas)

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Posted (edited)

Vectorworks has a real problem in regard to urgently needing a PLENTIFUL supply of free, high-quality, useful, up-to-date tutorials!  Yes. Every single one of those boxes needs ticking!

 

Some of the relatively few tutorials put out on You Tube by professional trainers are more an overt introductory advertisement for their further training services, than an ongoing useful tutorial series in their own right.

 

Vectorworks is a VERY complex program, and it's very easy to get lost.  And then very quickly - get STUCK!

 

The "Help Files" are NO help at all !!!

 

They have obviously been written by a team of mainly Technical Writers. 

 

Although Technical Writers generally have a good understanding of HOW the program operates, and are able to describe WHAT the program does, they generally (not always, of course) lack the hands-on experience that comes from personally dealing with the Users to ANTICIPATE the problems frustrated beginners get themselves into. And to reflect this empathy helpfully by providing useful, practical advice in their instructions to users who have got themselves into a bind, and DON'T need a mere recitation of what the program does, so much as DO NEED a helpful ANTICIPATION of what their problem could be.  And most importantly, a USEFUL mini-tutorial on exactly HOW they can dig themselves out of the mess they got into!

 

Who is the often the BEST real source - and repository - of WHAT knowledge and tutorial help should be automatically provided to the Users in the Help section of the Vectorworks program???  It's NOT the Technical writers.  It's the Training Staff.  By far!

 

Vectorworks employs some really excellent trainers, but there seems to be a SERIOUS internal management disconnect with using their expertise to drive the composition of the Help files!  The Help Section should be FILLED with (up-to-date to latest version!) Mini-Tutorials. 

 

A good excellent example of where this is done properly is Autodesk 3DS Max.

 

I appreciate that Vectorworks University is an attempt to fix this problem.  But it is - still - VERY MUCH - an obvious work-in-progress.  Too little, too late!  The webinars are really good.  But - referencing PVA-Jim's YEAR-OLD comment above - there are - a whole year later - still far too few.  What happened to the promise of this coming great change, Jim?  The rate of adding additional new material is decidedly pedestrian!  There need to be LOTS more!  And urgently!

 

For example, as a beginner, I really struggle with understanding how to get a project going from start to finish in Vectorworks.  The shear amount of complexity - everywhere - is overwhelming!  And the program is constantly fighting the beginner with "gotcha's" at almost every turn. 

 

It's like stepping into the pilot's seat of a modern jet airliner for the first time.  And the instructor demands that you have to know everything - in complete detail - BEFORE you can even begin to taxi the plane down the runway. 

 

That's NOT how complex subjects are taught!

 

The first training focus is to ignore most of the instrument panels, and just do the fewest simple steps to get the engines started, then we taxi down the runway, then I get you in the air (Yay! that's what I came here for!).  Now I show you a bit about what the essential flight controls do, then YOU take over for a bit.  Then I show you a bit more.  Here's how we operate the radio ... and the trim .... and ...   And enough for the day.  Now we land.  And then ...  we continue our lessons in this style, gradually introducing you to handling ever-more complexity.  And then, one day, you will do this on your own.  Confidently!

 

The point of this analogy is that there needs to be a graduated series of lessons - over the SAME material - of ever-increasing depth and breadth.  

 

I start with a collection of a few reference drawings: a site plan, surveyor's drawing, initial sketch layouts for each floor.  I look at the Help files in Vectorworks, and find how to import and resize an individual reference drawing.  Great stuff!  But there's immediately a show-stopping problem!  I haven't got just one drawing.  I've got multiple reference drawings!  How do I manage these multiple drawings? 

 

Nowhere can I quickly find a solution to my problem.  User-friendly program or interface?   Not so much, imo, when these simple little gotcha's (which SHOULD have been anticipated by the Help files) catch you right out of the starting gate!

 

The Help files and tutorials that come with the program are obtuse in showing me how they get allocated to each floor, and how I can easily check out that each floor has the correct reference drawing.

 

Stories, floors, slabs, and Layers?  Total confusion for a beginner!  And have I mentioned Classes yet?

 

It's not enough to merely talk about this stuff.  This has to be explained to beginners by way of actual examples in a " real-world" example project.

 

Vectorworks needs a series of dedicated tutorials of complete end-to end projects.  There should be several of these projects, beginning with simple residential projects, alterations to existing houses, then gradually stepping up to more complex examples like multi-story office and residential or hotel buildings.

 

Better still, would be if Vectorworks opened up a dedicated YouTube tutorial channel, which actively - and swiftly - presented tutorials in response to topics that viewers raised.

 

Even better, would be if Vectorworks could actively sponsor some really good trainers to provide their own individual - freely available - Tutorial channels on You Tube.

 

There is real tutorial merit in having a wide variety of different trainers each tackling similar projects (but individually different).  What you didn't follow in one lecturer, may be more easily understood from the style of another. 

 

An excellent example in this regard is Robert Mann, an Australian university Architecture lecturer who provides - imho - the very best tutorial material for Archicad.  Free, in-depth, Up-to-Date (no lazy padding with out-of-date old-stuff baggage from 2008 or 2014!).

 

Robert is an excellent teacher, with an engaging personality and style.  Even if Archicad is not your scene, just check his channel out to see the full extent of the tutorials presented.  Complete projects - from beginning to end!  Some in like 20 -30+ individual bite-sized video tutorials!  Comprehensive is an understatement!  View some of his lectures to see what i mean. 

 

For example, here's the very first lesson (Part 01 of more than 34 parts!) in an example of how to complete a  House Project.

 

 

Now imagine if Mann, or better still, several trainers as engaging and energetic as he is, each did a similar tutorial in their own personal style for Vectorworks!

 

Chief Architect is another program that understands the importance of providing a LOT of up-to-date - and really useful - tutorial material.  Free too!

 

It always amazes me how marketing executives with expensive sales and marketing budgets deliberately short-change the company's long-term marketing strategy by being hesitant and reluctant with providing plentiful and useful - and FREE - training material for the program their own business future depends on!  Nickel and diming in this area of market strategy is a seriously self-defeating strategy in an ever more competitive market.

 

Enthusiastically investing in ACTIVELY facilitating the potential market to learn for themselves how good your program is,  should be a no-brainer!

Edited by Jonnoxx
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I had been using VW in 2D mode since the 90's, but switched to 3D/BIM over the last 2 years.  During this time I've read/watched pretty much anything I could find for tutorials & guidance.  I agree that VW has a real problem coordinating the available resources, keeping them up to date (and labeled as to version number & publication date), and providing a comprehensive getting started guide to walk you through setting up the model and then generating drawing sheets from the model.   

 

VW University is an attempt to consolidate the information, but the navigation, search, and interface are terrible.  

 

The message boards have some good information, if you happen to find it.  In particular, @Wes Gardner has posted some of the best guides and sample files.  I don't understand why the library of documents he has are not publicly available & searchable, but my understanding is that it is not Wes's decision.

 

So, looking outside of VW for free resources, I found these YouTube channels really helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwvftfxlvkvJb6BBr2eqRpw - by @Jonathan Pickup

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCneBbkxJjxNRhKnws0vxWPw - Novedge

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC56qp6QeXSAayDOOHu3BcCA - by @Jonathan Reeves7

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsXFxbjty25SW48uWsTR9DA - MegabitsNZ

 

In the end, the most important resource for me was Jonathan Pickup's VW BIM course, which was well worth the price:

https://store.archoncad.com/courses/architecture/vectorworks-building-information-modeling-architect-2019/

He has a Fundamentals course as well, but I did not need it given my previous experience with VW in 2D.  The subscription site at https://learn.archoncad.com  and https://archoncad.com is also an amazing resource, and a model of what VW should aspire to in providing support information to their user base.  My subscription has expired, so I guess I should use this unpaid endorsement as a reminder to renew.

 

 

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@Jonnoxx  I kind of agree with you assessment.  I find the help menus to be more of a trap than a resource most of the time.  I taught myself AutoCAD back in 1993 using the most advanced technology available at the time.... a well written and logically organized 3rd party textbook written by an architect.  This technology has been lost in the modern age of internet 🙂

 

  @E|FA is right about Johnathan’s resources, He offers the best project based tutorials and explanations of workflow I have seen.  It’s a modest investment of money and time that pays huge dividends.  Ive had some good experiences with some of the Vectorworks University tutorials, the site modeling one that covered retaining walls was particularly good at helping me figure out what I was doing wrong.  The various getting started guides were a good foundation to start with as well.  I’m optimistic that Vectorworks University will improve as it matures.

 

I think we have all had the frustration you are feeling.  I think it is a requisite phase of learning complex things, especially in the absence of a well developed curriculum.  I found taking a systematic approach is what helped me.  I chose one major aspect of design to tackle until I was productive.  I also tried to keep it fun by drawing birthday cards, illustrations, and small 3D models.  My first projects weren’t complete design packages, but vignette solutions to specific problems, exported back to AutoCAD for drawing production. Tasks like drawing a detail, vicinity map, or planting vignette were more approachable than jumping in to a complete package of drawings and wouldn’t fail if deadlines became tight.  The first major thing I built in 3D was my existing home, just for the experience.  I was able to focus on the tools, rather than design, in building that house and site.  Knocking that stuff out was easy and laid a strong foundation for the future.  Before I launched into my first project that was completely done in Vectorworks, I had almost all of my resources built in advance or could easily import them from AutoCAD using this approach.  Drawing templates, title blocks, details, organizing schemes, layers and classes, legends, etc.  When it came time to actually get something productive done, I was able to concentrate on the design elements and not worry about the production side as much.  This made my transition easier after 20 years of AutoCAD.  I still dedicate some time each week learning new things or refining workflow, just last week I dedicated an entire day to build a new series of custom hardscape styles and textures I had been wanting to make, not needed to make under deadline.  The week before that I modeled a client’s existing swimming pool from photographs just for the challenge.  I sometimes read about problems other people are having here on the forum and try to solve them if I see that it is something I could use in the future, usually in areas I have little to no experience in.  Truthfully, I usually have the time to do these diversions because I have been waiting for weeks for technical support to help me with a couple of longstanding issues before launching into a big plant library project 😞  It’s a big program to comprehend if you are trying to fully leverage 3D BIM.  If you don’t keep it fun and do the best you can, it can be overwhelming.

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9 hours ago, jeff prince said:

The first major thing I built in 3D was my existing home, just for the experience.

I did something very similar.  The first 3D model I built was on my own time and for a project that was already in construction.   

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4 hours ago, Inspectorjack said:

VW 2021 help linked me to a 2012 Resource Browser YouTube video this morning!

 

Would you mind sharing the link from the 2021 Online Help, so can we fix the issue? Thanks.

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48 minutes ago, JuanP said:

 

Would you mind sharing the link from the 2021 Online Help, so can we fix the issue? Thanks.

Hello Juan,

 

I went back through my history and it was actually not 2021 help, it was 2016.  I have been searching around and wound up here.

https://app-help.vectorworks.net/2016/eng/VW2016_Guide/ResourceBrowser/Using_the_Resource_Browser.htm#XREF_12623_Using_the_Resource

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11 minutes ago, Inspectorjack said:

I went back through my history and it was actually not 2021 help, it was 2016.  I have been searching around and wound up here.

that makes sense then. 

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