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Hidden Line View - Revit, Archicad & Vectorworks

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I am wading through my first real project with Vectorworks and am discovering all the idiosyncrasies that one has to deal with. One issue for me is that doing elevations and 3D views and using hidden line mode is painfully slow. I have migrated to VW from Revit and Archicad. I started with Revit and changing views and using the hidden line display with hatches is instant. I changed over to Archicad in search of more possibilities and noticed a lag when updating views. It wasn't too long so I adjusted to it. Now with VW, the redrawing of views is very slow. Make a change in an elevation and it takes 10 seconds to redraw. There must be a fundamental difference in how Revit handles this with how VW handles this. I am not looking for great output yet, just a simple view with hatches and shadows. Any suggestions out there.

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Hidden Line and Renderworks rendering modes are slower in VW than OpenGL. 


See if you can find an OpenGL Options setting that you like and then use that as your working mode. Switch to Hidden Line when you need final quality output.

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Seems like Revit and Archicad can display hatches in OpenGL where VW doesn't. Not sure why this is. OpenGL is certainly quicker but still not as fast as Revit. 😞

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@KrisM What are the hidden line render, lighting, and opengl settings in vectorworks?  And what are they in Revit?

What are the system specifications? What is the OS?  How big is the model?


As a point of reference, I just modeled 12,167 1'x1' cubes spaced 2' apart in vectorworks architect 2021 and set the opengl settings to their highest quality options for geometry and shadows and also changed the lighting settings to be exterior lighting with ambient occlusion (50%) turned on and an occlusion distance of 2'-0" with light intensity at 6500k.  I am using a two year old HP zbook x2 g4 (a windows workstation tablet) using the latest version of Windows 10, and with a dual core i7-7600U processor, 32 GB of RAM, a SSD, and a Nvidia Quadro M620 GPU with 2 GB of VRAM on a 4k dream color screen with dream color enabled. 


As far as laptop computers go, it is middle of the road to low end on the specs, and especially weak on the VRAM, even though it is good for a tablet.  I don't have any lag in opengl with these settings and only a tiny bit of lag in hidden line rendering mode when I first transition to hidden line render mode.  On my full workstation, which has a ryzen 9 3900x CPU and RTX 2080 ultra GPU with 8 GB of VRAM, I see no lag at all even in the render mode.





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OpenGL is not the issue here. Both programs handle OpenGL well. The issue is that Revit will do hatches in OPenGL and VW doesn't. To get hatches in VW, you have to do hidden line which is much slower.

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@KrisM, as i said, I only experience a very minor (< 2 seconds) slowdown in hidden line rendering in VA 2021, and I only experience that slight delay when first switching to hidden line rendering --- not while in continuous use of hidden line rendering --- and this is on a two year old, middle of the road laptop/tablet hybrid.  I experience no slow down when rendering on a true workstation.  This is why I asked about your settings, OS, and computer hardware.  The performance problem may not be with Vectorworks.



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VW has a new fast OpenGL Hidden Line mode in Viewports,

for 3D direct Editing mode.


Everything else HL in VW is still a CPU HL.

(with only some parts multi-threaded)

As it works more accurate and with real Lines which you can

extract and edit as a 2D drawing.


There was some discussion about why or if new GPU HL

should come into Viewport.

I personally wouldn't mind if less accurate OpenGL HL would

be used anywhere and old CPU HL only as an option in case

you want to extract HL Lines.


All my 3D Apps (C4D, Modo, ... have fast OpenGL HL options

in Viewport, Bricscad has OpenGL HL + a 2D HL option and

I think Microstation as a CAD had instant switching real time

HL decades ago too.

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Just to clarify the instances when I first noticed my hidden line behaviour - Panning, zooming and rotating in hidden line view are all smooth. If I make a modification I get a message "need to re-render ..." which I have since turned off. After the modification, the re-render takes about 4 seconds. This is what I was commenting on. Should have been clearer. I am coming to VW for it's flexible graphical output but this something which I think could be improved.


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Looks like in VW the only serious View Modes in Drawing

Windows are 3D OpenGL and Top Plan View in floor Plan View.


For Sheet Layer Viewports, there are quite a few useful options.

I never had much problem with HL speed and I use it mostly

everywhere as foreground render mode.

I am more concerned about OpenGL Mode VP update speed,

why I often prefer legacy Shaded Mode.

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