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Pen Tool with Bezier Handles



Another one that seems obvious to me. The polyline tool is great for getting really specific lines and calculations. However, coming from other applications I've found getting used to how it functions to be a little slower than I'd like. Especially if I just want to keep drawing without switching modes. Would be great to have a more traditional pen tool as an option. Simply drawing, point by point (like the polygon tool), but having the ability to add bezier handles. Similar to Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and many many other creative applications' pen tools. 


Seems to me it's a tool that functions somewhere between the freehand and the polyline tool.


A lot of reasons this would be useful... 


Here's a roundup of just a few times this exact feature (or one very similar) has been requested:









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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi trashcan,

You are correct in your analysis of the Polyline tool. However, there is one thing that you don't mention in your post; You may already know about hotkeys but a big piece of our tool system, as it stands today, is the tool bar and interactive hotkeys; You can click with the mouse on any mode in the tool bar as you construct the polyline to change what type of corner will be placed next. These hotkeys create an interactive experience as you construct a new figure with the tool. They give you full control of the modes during vertex insertion operations. So, while placing vertices with a polyline based tool, you have full control or each mode either by clicking with the mouse on a mode in the tool bar of by pressing a hot key on the keyboard. On the keyboard, the keys for this button group are, in order: "u, I, o, p, [ ,]". These are all next to each other and correspond to each button group in the tool bar of the active tool. (There are 6 keys because up to six button groups are possible depending on the tool; within each button group, multiple buttons are accessed by hitting the button group's assigned button more than once) These keys are where your non-mouse hand should be when using one of the polyline based tools.   


Link to Polyline help file:

http://app-help.vectorworks.net/2020/eng/index.htm#t=VW2020_Guide%2FShapes1%2FCreating_polylines.htm%23TOC_Polyline_toolbc-1&rhsearch="tool Bar" "polyline"&rhsyns= &rhtocid=_4_0_9_0





Workspace Editor with Mode Groups.png

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@Frank Brault absolutely. I'm not hating on the existing Polyline tool. It's great! I love the UIOP workflow and it's definitely a strength across all your tools that have that capability. Ultimately, I think a traditional bezier operation (in addition to polyline) would be huge and given all of the folks who have requested it over the last decade, it's clear I'm not the only one who feels that way.  VW has a lot of ways to achieve the same ends (you can move something in so many different ways it's almost hard to keep track), and this would be an added strength to the VW repertoire. Different folks have different workflows - and coming from a media design background it would be immensely helpful to have the capabilities of so many other types of software. 

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Absolutely agree. Curves in Vectorworks are always a pain.


That being said, the image below might help you work with what Vectorworks already has by visualizing it differently. If you use Bezier Vertex mode instead of Cubic Vertex mode, you get floating control points, which for many years eluded me, until one day I realized that they're just the same handles that you might see in Illustrator or Photoshop, except with a different graphic representation.




(Yes, there are certain aspects that VW still doesn't have, but at least this helped me understand Bezier Vertices a bit better).

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This is true to some extent, except that Bezier control points in DTP software have point/handle manipulations options that Vectorworks doesn't (yet) have and are therefore easier/smoother in use whereas it is a more tedious experience in VW. E.g. where in DTP software things can be accompished by rotating and extending the control points you have to move the control point in VW until it matches what can be achieved quite a bit easier in DTP software.


Especially with curved lines a bezier pen tool with associated controls like in DTP software would be really nice to have as you can create curved lines quite a bit more efficiently, not just for those coming from a DTP background.

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