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Organizing scales for design layers and sheet layers


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I'm in the process of setting up a set of contract documents (working drawings) for a series of small houses. My initial efforts have yielded unintentional changes in drawing size, text size, arrowhead size, etc., as the design layer viewports are set into the sheet layers.


For a relative beginner what, in your opinion, is the best and clearest documentation on how to set up a working drawing work flow in VW? For keeping text size, relative line weights, etc. constant through several scales? Should all design layers be at 1:1 and let the sheet layer reflect the scale? What happens to text size?


I'm sure the answer is out there!




RLB in Brooklyn

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The best option is to set you design layers at "close" to the desired output size. So if you are going to do your plans at 1/4", site plane at 1/8" and details at 3/4", you probably want your design layers to be at 1/4".


That way the line weights and test sizes are close to WYSIWYG.


For the viewports that are at other scales you can click on the Advanced... button at the bottom of the OIP and set the Line and text scaling options so you have consistency acrosss the entire set.


Others will probably be able to offer more specific advise.

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I guess I'm a little confused by these replies from these very experienced users.  As a VW user since the 90's I have a different take.   Any time I have text in a Design Layer the scale of that Design Layer will always match the intended scale of the Sheet Layer Viewport.   Certainly if I'm cutting a detail from a model then all the text will be in SLVP Annotations and source scale won't matter but many details are simply drafted and noted in a Design Layer and then viewport'ed to the Sheet Layer.  Some sheets may have a mix of multiple scales drafted this way.  The scale of those detail Design Layers will always match the final printed scale. This insures a 9pt font no matter what scale the detail is ends up the same size on the printed Sheet.   The scale of my plan layers (and thus my model) will always match the printed scale of the plan on the sheet....usually 1/4" but not always.   My plan notations and dimensions are always on a different Design Layer from the hybrid plans.  My fonts scale properly to the printed floor plan no matter what plan scale I'm using.  I would never dimension an entire floor plan from sheet layer annotations.  The Site Plan Design Layers will also be scaled to the intended print scale.  The floor plans (which are at a different scale) get Design Layer Viewport'ed into the Site Plan Design Layer and get re-scaled as needed for both the Site Plan and the Site Model.  Again, any 9pt font on a 1 to 30 site plan prints the same as all the other 9pt fonts on all the other scales once they all get to the sheet.  


The only time this is not the rule is with model generated SLVP's like Building Elevations and Sections or Enlarged Floor Plan details where all the text exists exclusively in the annotations layer in the SLVP.  In this instance, the source Design Layer's scale doesn't matter.   


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Hey Joe, I could get really long-winded here, but I'll try to be concise. Before Viewports and Sheet Layers we used a method similar to the one you describe (also, making extensive use of Saved Views). This method is still a valid approach, however... Upon the introduction of VP's and Sheet Layers I felt somewhat forced to convert to VW's new, "preferred" workflow, using Design Layers for Model Data and Viewports on Sheet Layers for all other info (dimensions, notes, annotations).


There is more than one way to skin a Vectorworks cat. 


Do I really like the "new" (circa 2009) workflow? Not really very much. But I use it anyway. Like drinking the Koolaid. I got used to the redundancies and the need to navigate in and out of a bunch of different "environments". It's actually all pretty confusing IMO. But one can get used to anything... 


In any case, I am still a big WYSIWYG advocate, and so I generally create Model data in 1/4" scale, which is almost always my presentation/output scale.


One sort of good by product to the "new" workflow is that it somewhat forces me to separate my  process into two distinct parts: 1) I get the graphics right (for me this excludes all annotations). This is helpful because in my experience builders mostly relate to pictorial representations, and don't generally like to read; and 2) I add annotations, so when they ask dumb questions I can say (eg) "Look at note 17 on sheet 4. See what it's pointing to?"



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I agree that there is more than one way to skin a cat.  I think VW learned in the early 2000's to add features all they want but be very careful about removing them.  The Trim Command vs Split Tool comes to mind.   Since then the number of different methods to do the same thing have only grown.


I find it interesting that you don't really 'like' the method very much (of placing most or all text and dims in annotations) but you do it because you feel it is the prescribed method.  I never felt that way.  The first time I tried to do plan dimensions in SLVP Annotations I immediately abandoned it as far too cumbersome with little benefit over what I was already doing...that is, isolating model objects and sheet notation objects on separate Design Layers for floor plan development.  SLVP Annotations was a welcome addition in other areas and we use them extensively on every project.  It just isn't a hard and fast rule and we don't force ourselves to use them where we feel their use is more of a detriment to the task at hand.   For instance, the benefits we gain from generating building and wall section details off of a fairly detailed model far outweigh the difficulty jumping in and out of SLVP's to do overlay drafting and notations.   I actually had a long running debate with a former co-worker who disagreed with this and insisted on drafting all of his wall sections on design layers just so he didn't have to deal with annotation layers.  That's crazy talk. 🙂


Back in the early days of DLVP's and being able to 'flatten' them I even thought we would move all of our detail development including notes over to Design Layers.  The benefit here would be maintaining the model generated wall section but being able to quickly move all overlay drafting elements and notes around without the constant jumping in and out of annotations for each detail.   At the time there was some limitation...the graphics of a 'flattened' 2D DLVP wall section just didn't match the graphics of an SLVP wall section so we never made the switch.  I think I ranted in an old forum post about this at the time.  I never re-visited the issue.


I think one of the greatest assets to using VW is the kind of flexibility it gives based on your own needs and preferences.  People like RLB who started this thread might be searching for 'the one best method' but it is more about what is best for you.  Here you have multiple people who have been using the software for decades at a very high level but all using very different methods and all of them moving forward with the software.  It does make the learning task a bit harder for new users but in the end your skillset is better for it.   


Lately I've had young new hot-shots  coming in and actually buying into the system, taking the training I give them, and building on that foundation to advance our use of the program even further.  They teach this old dog new tricks all the time.



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