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MartinFahrer

VW 2020 Tool Icons

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Posted (edited)
On 6/5/2020 at 10:26 PM, MartinFahrer said:

True but if clients are looking at the software we use and think it's less than autocad

At the end of the day the client wants a result, drawings and models, if the looks of the software were more important, Revit would not exist, is one of the ugliest pieces of software out there but is the architectural software more used in the world, and that is because delivers a "good enough" drawings with nice BIM tools,  Vectorworks produces incredible looking drawings, but lacks a good set of BIM tools, so we have to go through several workarounds to get there reducing productivity...
If Vectorworks is trying to compete with real world BIM programs, need to fix/update several of our BIM tools, if not, well it would be better to drop the towel and kill it like the Mechanical part of Vectorworks was killed several years ago... Some times I don't understand where is Vectorworks trying to go with the Architectural module..

 

Edited by DBrown
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3 hours ago, DBrown said:

Vectorworks produces incredible looking drawings, but lacks a good set of BIM tools, so we have to go through several workarounds to get there reducing productivity...
If Vectorworks is trying to compete with real world BIM programs, need to fix/update several of our BIM tools, if not, well it would be better to drop the towel and kill it like the Mechanical part of Vectorworks was killed several years ago... Some times I don't understand where is Vectorworks trying to go with the Architectural module..

 

Agreed and sincerely hoping that VW streamlines their priorities for the Arch module. I work for several firms that use VW exclusively; one of which with ~30 active projects typically at $1m budget minimum per, so you would think it would be worth their effort in doing so. Though perhaps not ironic, they are still on 2018 because they don't find the yearly iterations to be innovative enough to maintain SS subscriptions for all their desks. The moot point seems that they should not be burning resources for something as trivial as darkmode while there are individuals in various fields that are frustrated with VW not keeping up with basic workflow innovation. Maybe VW is simply spread too thin; it sure would be nice if they would give a clear indication & communication of where they are heading. @JuanP or other - comments would be appreciated regarding. Thanks

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Posted (edited)

Interesting thread.  Especially interesting is how a discussion about UI improvements has led to a general discussion about the competitiveness and direction of Vectorworks Architect's development.

 

Vectorworks are doing some good things with managing big data (integrating GIS data manipulation) and the gdtf standard and connectcad.  Energos and Marionette have a lot of promise.  These developments could give Vectorworks a competitive position in BIM in a roundabout way. 

 

Managing data and systems simulation is the future of BIM (beyond 3D BIM).   Bentley had already shifted its focus to this several years ago and now Autodesk is shifting the focus of its BIM platform to be the basis for a suite of cloud-based building information management, performance simulation, and analysis tools.  While the Vectorworks' interface and BIM authoring tool need to mature, if Vectorworks leverages its initiatives above, there is opportunity to continue to be a competitive bim platform.  This is where all CAD/BIM vendors must go --- being platforms or components in systems simulation and analysis platforms.  I have used an example in presentations the last several years:  If you take something as simple as a disposable coffee cup, add a sensor network, wireless networking, real-time information exchange, real-time analytics, and responsive controls, then even that disposable coffee cup becomes a complex system of systems that fundamentally changes how its design, construction, and operations must be conducted.  If it is true of a disposable coffee cup, how much more true is it of buildings of all sizes --- even small, simple buildings and furniture?  All building designers, constructors, and operators are in the business of building complex data systems, in an IoT world, whether or not they realize it yet.  Vectorworks is positioning itself for this future (imo).  More immediately and practically, energy conservation codes have become substantially more rigorous in the last couple decades and continue to rapidly evolve, mostly through their adoption of newer ASHRAE 90.1 standards, and the industry is near an inflection point wherein building performance simulation and performance-based design and construction for code compliance are becoming essential to permitting buildings.  So aside from the building as a component in an IoT systems of systems argument, there is also the performance-based code compliance reality that is also practically and immediately driving this industry shift.

 

The opportunity that Vectorworks has is that while many entities are positioning to 'own' the data standards and information management and systesm simulation pipelines, no entity really does yet.  So I think the future of Vectorworks BIM is whatever they want to make it.  They continue to have the foundations to be major players in BIM

 

Separate from tool maturation, the trends toward contractor-led BIM and VDC, contractors (in the U.S. anyway) defaulting to Autodesk products, as well as the push toward IPD and accelerated design/construction schedules all put pressure on architects and engineers to use tools that fit in the GC's VDC pipeline....at least that is what I see in commercial/industrial work.  Since Vectorworks does not offer a complete CSA/MEP suite, Vectorworks needs a compelling argument for its BIM tool to be part of an Autodesk or Bentley or Bricscad BIM pipeline....or Nemetschek has to leverage and market its own suite of CSA/MEP tools in a more integrated way.

 

Revit has major strengths but also some surprising and significant limitations that never seem to get addressed.  So I think there is room for another BIM authoring tool to grow market share in the U.S. and therefore still an opportunity for Vectorworks in the U.S. 

 

 

Edited by jmanganelli

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Posted (edited)

@jmanganelli 

You make some interesting points. The concern as I see it though, is that the typical client (from developer to homeowner) is not interested in the academia of BIM. They want their design to present well to their investors, the building department and/or their spouse; obtain their permit at minimal time and expense so they can proceed with their project. Yes their are niche clients/projects such as passivhaus or other energy efficient concepts and those that are interested in a greater representational model of interactive systems, but they are not how most make their living and certainly not the "bread & butter" of the field. Similarly this extends to the other disciplines such as landscape and event production/lighting design. And even if the mindset of clients may evolve, the bureaucracy of the building/planning departments, and contractors of the world (at least in the US) will assuredly be years behind.  

Edited by VE4
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Posted (edited)

@VE4

For the last six years, I've worked on industrial/biotech/pharma/government/entertainment/large corporate projects with budgets ranging from $1 million to $2 billion total installed cost and in CA, NC, NJ, PA, GA, IL, WV, and FL (Vectorworks gets used on big projects like these, too).

 

The industry dynamics I described are already here for these project types when there is an aggressive schedule for a high capital cost, mission critical facility.  Contractors are already incorporating drones, exoskeletons, ubiquitous RFID tagging, remote inspections, real-time analytics, wearable sensors, extensive use of 3D scanning, eyetracking, VR, 5D or 6D BIM, and limited digital twin technologies on projects even just a few million in construction cost (and have for at least a few years).  When the construction schedule goes vertical (very tight schedules, construction starts before design is done, with many trades working side-by-side and one after the other on-site), such IoT technologies become useful risk and cost management tools. 

 

What I see more recently are these dynamics making their way down to smaller commercial projects.  It makes sense.  Contractors are driving adoption and contractors who do big work will also do small work to break into new markets or when markets are tight.  GCs using these tools drive subs to use these tools, too, and on the large capital projects that I described above, subs already do use these tools.  They also take on smaller work when needed.  So these methods and tools make their way down to smaller, more common light commercial, K-12, and residential projects. And now Autodesk is buying up companies that offer many of these services or replicating them in-house and starting to incorporate them into their ecosystem of tools, also lowering the barrier of entry to use of these tools for smaller projects.

 

These trends are not just academic and they're not 10+ years out.  They're here today in large capital cost and mission critical projects.  Maybe they're 3-5 years out for light commercial --- I don't know --- I haven't done light commercial in over a decade.  But from a BIM authoring tool development roadmap perspective, these dynamics are effectively here already. 

Edited by jmanganelli
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Posted (edited)

@jmanganelli 

Perhaps I offended you by the use of the word academia. Personally I find BIM and all its' potential endlessly intriguing and I'm interested in your knowledge. Again I'm coming from the perspective of the "typical" user of VW and the "typical" client, and with all due respect, the specifics of your work that you detailed would put you in the atypical, high-level user category (that is a compliment). In fact, that is encouraging because if VW is being used by companies/projects with that kind of budget then it means they should be able to maintain a forward trajectory and keep everybody happy. The only reason I mentioned the (very general) financial details of one of the companies I work for is that I believe there is incentive for Nemetschek to continue developing the Architectural module for the single man shop to large conglomerates. That said, have a good evening and let me know if you're hiring haha. Salud 

Edited by VE4

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Posted (edited)

@VE4

No offense taken.  I guess I feel compelled to communicate that there is an existing market for these aspects of BIM (and Vectorworks) and it is part of what makes me optimistic about its future.  Sorry if it came off as taking offense.  I suppose from my perspective, to use a sports analogy, I see Vectorworks like an overlooked draft prospect --- like Julian Edelman or Malcolm Butler --- who has a lot more potential and capability than it is often given credit for having.  I think it is a remarkable platform.  It is usually talked about with respect to small to medium-sized projects, though it is perfectly suited for large projects.  It is discussed with regard to standard contemporary practice, though the capabilities it develops for the landscape, planning, and production/event design markets contain the essence of what it needs to engage an IoT world.  I also feel compelled to communicate a warning that is in concert with some of the apprehensions expressed in this thread, albeit from a different perspective.  While Vectorworks may be well-positioned to engage a data-driven, performance-based design future, it also can't wait to engage it or it will find itself woefully behind.  I think that they're taking the steps they need to take. Time will tell.  Good evening to you, too. 

Edited by jmanganelli
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Posted (edited)

In this article by AEC Magazine points out where Vectorworks is losing its foothold and where is moving, like we where saying, the upgrades and improvements are too few for Architecture, I think this is a terrible perspective if Vectoworks don't focus...
 

Quote

Vectorworks is obviously an architectural BIM modeller, where it slugs it out against Revit and other systems. However, it does have two specific market niches in which it easily dominates, namely landscape design, for which it has a variant called Vectorworks Landmark, and in stage and lighting design where layout and modelling is done with Vectorworks Spotlight.



https://aecmag.com/software-mainmenu-32/1992-vectorworks-2020-update

Edited by DBrown
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15 hours ago, jmanganelli said:

Separate from tool maturation, the trends toward contractor-led BIM and VDC, contractors (in the U.S. anyway) defaulting to Autodesk products, as well as the push toward IPD and accelerated design/construction schedules all put pressure on architects and engineers to use tools that fit in the GC's VDC pipeline....at least that is what I see in commercial/industrial work.  Since Vectorworks does not offer a complete CSA/MEP suite, Vectorworks needs a compelling argument for its BIM tool to be part of an Autodesk or Bentley or Bricscad BIM pipeline....or Nemetschek has to leverage and market its own suite of CSA/MEP tools in a more integrated way.

 

This situation is happening everywhere, all contractors and BIM managers are going to an Autodesk-only world, Vectorworks is not interested in these markets, for some strange reason, even less interested in CSA/MEP tools, proof of that is the ancient set of tools for HVAC and Electrical we have in our package..

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@DBrown

 

Thanks for the reference.  I had not seen that article.

Has Vectorworks indicated that they are refocusing away from offering a full-featured architectural BIM authoring tool?

 

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6 minutes ago, jmanganelli said:

Has Vectorworks indicated that they are refocusing away from offering a full-featured architectural BIM authoring tool?

The article only mentions that Vectorworks can't keep up with other architectural BIM programs and moving focus to areas where has more market...

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Besides the dimensioning tools that looks wrong in Dark Mode, the new icons are very confortable for eyes, when you work long hours in front of a screen, I think the icons are straightforward to use and there are always space for improvement, but the icons for Dark Mode are between Archicad abstract icons and the ultra cheesy icons of Revit.

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Posted (edited)

@DBrown

Since my Service Select Subscription is coming due, and this conversation has given me pause, I contacted support and asked if Vectorworks is fully committed to continuing to develop its architectural BIM tool.  I received a firm 'yes' as a reply and that up-coming releases have BIM-focused improvements. 

 

As a separate but related matter, I just recalled that Vectorworks has continued to be the first or one of the first to certify their BIM authoring tool for each successive iteration of the IFC standard, and supports BCF. 

 

It strikes me that in that article, unlike other similar articles that I've read, the author does not quote Dr. Sarkar.  Rather in this article, the author is providing his summary of the conversation.  It would be useful to know what Dr. Sarkar said.  When he's given interviews in the past, he's presented a clear vision for Vectorworks BIM capabilities and direction.  In the recently recorded virtual keynote presentations, there is a heavy emphasis on BIM.   Dr. Sarkar addresses several BIM topics and Rubina Siddiqui's presentation focuses on BIM and is worth watching.  In addition to the topics that she covers in depth, if you go to the 4:54 mark, there is a slide with about 15 additional BIM/architecture-specific enhancements that they are developing.  Great presentation.  Strong BIM focus.

 

I tend to think that Vectorworks is solidly committed to developing its BIM authoring tool.  As per my comments above, I think that several of their initiatives demonstrate that they're positioning themselves for the future of BIM (4D-7D BIM) and beyond.

 

Edited by jmanganelli
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On 5/31/2020 at 2:44 AM, SeanOSkea said:

no transform tool with axis locks like virtually every other software in the world

Vectorworks has smart edges: https://app-help.vectorworks.net/2020/eng/index.htm#t=VW2020_Guide%2FBasic2%2FSmart_edge_snapping.htm&rhsearch=smart point&rhhlterm=smart point&rhsyns=

It's better than simple axis lock because it is not limited to the xyz axes, but locks in every direction you want.

 

On 5/31/2020 at 2:44 AM, SeanOSkea said:

just need to give up on RW and make it easier to export models to 3rd parties.

An integrated strong render engine is an essential part of the CAD package. If you want to create 2D drawings with renderings in the background an integrated render engine is simply necessary. A realtime-engine is nice to have, but does not replace a physical rendering approach.

 

On 6/8/2020 at 9:48 PM, HEengineering said:

1. Number 1 biggest gripe...Exporting to DWG.  When in a saved view workflow vs sheet views.

The publish-tool exports your saved views as dwg. No need to use layouts if you don't want to.

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@herbieherbThat does work(thanks for the tip!) However it breaks out each page or sheet. Its not one file with all sheets included. When using the Panzer CAD plugin you get one file. This might be what we have to resort to but certainly not what the client desires.

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2 hours ago, herbieherb said:

On 5/30/2020 at 5:44 PM,  SeanOSkea said: 

no transform tool with axis locks like virtually every other software in the world

 

Vectorworks has smart edges: https://app-help.vectorworks.net/2020/eng/index.htm#t=VW2020_Guide%2FBasic2%2FSmart_edge_snapping.htm&rhsearch=smart point&rhhlterm=smart point&rhsyns=

It's better than simple axis lock because it is not limited to the xyz axes, but locks in every direction you want.

 

I assume he's referring to something like a 3D gumball/gizmo/grabber/widget interface which Vectorworks SORELY lacks. Smart edges are nice for some things, but are not a replacement.

Here's an old wishlist topic to upvote: 

 

Honestly I think this would be the number one thing that Vectorworks should implement that would be helpful to any and all industries.

 

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Posted (edited)

@Andy Broomell

I agree that a gumball or axis-locking is useful ---  in addition to smart edges --- not in lieu of them.  It is not an either/or issue, it is a both/and issue. 

 

For instance, both Rhino and SketchUP have good inferencing tools --- arguably among the best in the industry.  And yet, when a large model with many assets is manipulated, especially if some assets are tightly clustered or are very large along an axis, it can be difficult to use inferencing because as the cursor is moved, it passes over so many points or edges that either (a) the system does not align according to the desired points/edges or (b) the linework is so dense that the user has a difficult time discerning which points or edges must be used as reference.  This is an instance of where a gumball or axis locking is useful, even if there is a great inferencing system already in place. 

 

When a user is manipulating a single object/edge/point/polygon in the context of a dense and large set of objects and inferencing is struggling, being able to click on the gumball axis and/or use axis locking to move the object quickly and easily in a known direction is useful. 

 

In addition, it is useful to be able to reposition the gumball as a subroutine.  For example, typically, gumballs show at object centers.  For long objects, like a facade canopy, this can be problematic.  If the canopy, for instance, must be moved some distance vertically  - let's say 7" - to match the site lines for an existing adjacent canopy, and the gumball is in the middle of a 100 foot long canopy, then the user must zoom in to the gumball, start a reference line by clicking a start point, then zoom out, draw a reference line from the edge of the canopy horizontally over to the existing canopy, zoom in to verify where the reference line is ending, then measure the vertical distance between the horizontal reference line and the existing canopy, then delete the reference line, then zoom out, then select the new canopy, then pick the gumball and enter the new value, then zoom in to where the new canopy is adjacent to the existing canopy in order to verify that the command executed properly.  This is a lot of zooming in and out and clicking and measuring.  Conversely, if the gumball is repositionable, like in rhino, then the user selects the canopy, hovers the cursor over the gumball, holds down Control/Command while selecting the gumball, and then can reposition the gumball to a point on the new canopy adjacent to the existing canopy.  Then the user can select the vertical axis of the gumball and then inference to a point on the existing canopy and the canopy shifts vertically to the correct site line elevation without creating reference lines, without zooming in/out/in/out/in/out, without having to mess with which reference point the inferencing system is grabbing, and without knowing the vertical distance the object must be moved.  It takes a 30 second task and makes it a 5 second task and over the course of a day, time savings like these really add up.

 

By the way, I can imagine a response along the lines of, 'with better asset/class/group/object management, something like a gumball or axis-locking is not needed in this example.'  This is true.  However, my counter point to this sentiment is that often we must work with models coming from somewhere/someone else and we do not have control over or full knowledge of how they modeled or organized their models.  It may not be that the other modeler is messy.  Rather, it may be that someone exported a model from Revit or another program and the export utility that converted the geometry and data organized the export file in a way that makes it difficult or messy to manipulate in Vectorworks.  It is typically not cost effective or necessary to rebuild others' referenced models so that they are clean and efficient in our own models.  Given this, a gumball also makes it easier to address the problem described above when we do not have the luxury of tight control over the content and organization of our models.

Edited by jmanganelli
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11 hours ago, jmanganelli said:

FYI, this is a a good article about new features coming to Vectorworks 2021.

https://www.world-architects.com/en/architecture-news/insight/the-bimness-of-vectorworks-2021

 

This is a good article.  However, the title is a little misleading.  The features discussed in the article may or may not be in Vectorworks 2021, but they are things we're actively looking at or working on.  🙂 

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On 6/30/2020 at 10:29 AM, Matt Panzer said:

 

This is a good article.  However, the title is a little misleading.  The features discussed in the article may or may not be in Vectorworks 2021, but they are things we're actively looking at or working on.  🙂 

So when the article says

Quote

Another forthcoming feature melds 3D modeling and BIM. Custom Wall Components will enable a finish component to wrap around a column, wall, window, or another design feature with a custom shape. The capability will start with the wall, hence its name, and then be extended to other objects in future updates. Users will be able to wrap finish components in their BIM models and use the tool to define the correct joints or other conditions needed in that location. It fuses the automatic and the custom, or as Sarkar put it: “Automatic ways of doing things solve about 80% of the problems, but the rest, the 20%, needs some custom tools. That is what this particular feature is going to provide.”

So, we won't have any of this options soon? Leaving Vectorworks further back against other BIM products that had this options from several years?

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2 hours ago, DBrown said:

So when the article says

Quote

Another forthcoming feature melds 3D modeling and BIM. Custom Wall Components will enable a finish component to wrap around a column, wall, window, or another design feature with a custom shape. The capability will start with the wall, hence its name, and then be extended to other objects in future updates. Users will be able to wrap finish components in their BIM models and use the tool to define the correct joints or other conditions needed in that location. It fuses the automatic and the custom, or as Sarkar put it: “Automatic ways of doing things solve about 80% of the problems, but the rest, the 20%, needs some custom tools. That is what this particular feature is going to provide.”

So, we won't have any of this options soon? Leaving Vectorworks further back against other BIM products that had this options from several years?

 

As I said, "we're actively looking at or working on" these features. I cannot say which features are coming in VW 2021 and which will come later, but I think it's safe to say they're all somewhere in the pipe.

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