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Elin

Grading plans. Vectorworks vs. Civil

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Hi, 

 

at our office we are using civil to make grading plans today. Although our plan was to start using VW landmark to do this. 

 

When we have been trialing this there are quite a few tools that we miss in VW which are our most important when we are putting out elevations and grades on our plans. 

 

For example in Civil, we can draw a line which at every vertex has an elevation. Every vertex we then can set a new height to, and the line and site will change. Further we can pick a group of these vertex and give them a slope, for example a "constant grade" along this line. See screen shot below to understand how it looks like in Civil. 

 

Another great tool is to be able to hover the cursor over an area and it then show us the elevation in one point immediately, as well as hover over a sloping area and it will tell you towards where and how much it slopes. 

 

Next thing id like to see in VW is to be able to have an area (such as a pad/hardscape/or just 3D lines) that in every corner can have different elevation values which you can edit. I understand that this is not desirable on floors in a building, but when planning landscapes the ground is hardly ever completely flat. I'd like to see a greater flexibility here. 

I've seen that aligned hardscapes has this modify surface tool, but for now it is not good enough. For example this is too hard to use because first you need to go inside the object to edit, secondly when putting out grades or stakes on it, the elevation resets to + 00.00 because then the object you are modifying is the 0. This is very annoying and difficult to understand unfortunately. 

 

Would it be possible to integrate these tools into vectorworks? Why haven't you already? 

 

Thanks alot! 

Elin 

civk.png

Edited by Elin
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Thanks for sharing this feedback.

 

Have you tried using the Grade tool? It won't solve all your desires, but a network of grades can have each connection point set to a specific elevation or you can set a specific grade to calculate the elevation at the connection points. 

 

To view the elevation of the site at a specific point, the Stake tool will report the surface of the existing or proposed site. It doesn't show the direction of fall, but it does provide the elevation. You can move it across the surface and it will update.

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I haven't done it in a while, or in 2021 but did experiment with using the road tool and its distribute stake command to create swales with constant grade and gentle curves (using polyline alignment mode.) If rendering, you obviously have to pick a more turf like surface image.

 

I still do fairly traditional contour grading, sometimes by hand, sometimes by inserting/reusing contour shapes (i.e., a mound is often a mound and you can just trim the bottom lines as required) and signatures (i.e., 3% swale, etc.)  For this, I have long lobbied VW to add a tool I think is in ACAD, which is the stretch tool, i.e., pull multiple poly lines contour lines and have them stretch evenly to elongate a mound (yes, in 2D before you convert to 3D.  Sadly, I haven't had enough time (or grading work) to play with the push pull aspects now in LM.

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@Rossford Workaround. Would it work for you to Group the 2d polys of a generic mound, then adjust the bounding box of the group? Might require some rotating of the selection and/or adding a surrounding rectangle prior to Group command. Then after the stretch or compress rotate to desired orientation and ungroup


-B

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Benson,

 

Yes, I have done some of that, sometimes it results in a shape I like, other times it doesn't, but I do have a collection of such groups in my stash of good topo signatures to use.

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@Tamsin Slatter Thank you for replying and helping out!
 

" Have you tried using the Grade tool? It won't solve all your desires, but a network of grades can have each connection point set to a specific elevation or you can set a specific grade to calculate the elevation at the connection points. "
 

Yes, I’ve been trying to use the grade tool as much as possible but I think it’s a bit blunt and difficult to work with. The abillity to connect them into networks is great, but If we’d do a network of grades it would be helpful if it could affect not only the coneccting grade but also the ”whole”. As in my example screenshot the whole line is having a downward grade of for example 2.5 %.
 

Another thing on our wishlist is to be able to do grade objects with a radius, or is this already possible? I know you can do a contour in whatever shape and give it a slope, but this makes the countour slope only in one direction and isnt sloping along the curve..

 

"To view the elevation of the site at a specific point, the Stake tool will report the surface of the existing or proposed site. It doesn't show the direction of fall, but it does provide the elevation. You can move it across the surface and it will update."
 

About the stake I saw now it was changing the numbers when moving it around, although we’ve seen it hasnt worked perfectly, maybe because the site model isn’t updating simultaneously and you have to do it manually. Why is this? When working in civil and revit the site is updating itself as you work with it. This creates an issue when you dont know if you can trust the numbers on the site in VW since the surface might not be updated and the numbers might not have changed.
 

What we have discovered is also that stakes cant be placed on a surface such as a harscape? When making grading plans we’d need to place elevations/stakes on top of the finished surface as well as on the ground/site model. Can a grade/stake objekt edit the harscape/surfaces without going ”inside” the object? We’ve been trying to use the surface modifier in hardscapes but doesn’t find it very helpful and a bit confusing.
 

For example, if we have an area in a form of a square and want different elevations in each corner, how would you do it (with what type of object ie hardscape/pad etc, and with what tool? stake/grade etc)? Is there any other tool that we could use and modify with?  

Edited by Elin
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@Rossford Thank you for your reply! 
 

"I haven't done it in a while, or in 2021 but did experiment with using the road tool and its distribute stake command to create swales with constant grade and gentle curves (using polyline alignment mode.) If rendering, you obviously have to pick a more turf like surface image."
 

Sounds clever to use the road tool. It could be an option for us, but how would you do it if the walkway/road has a varying width? Quite often our paths are changing in both width and height with flowing shapes…

 

"I still do fairly traditional contour grading, sometimes by hand, sometimes by inserting/reusing contour shapes (i.e., a mound is often a mound and you can just trim the bottom lines as required) and signatures (i.e., 3% swale, etc.)  For this, I have long lobbied VW to add a tool I think is in ACAD, which is the stretch tool, i.e., pull multiple poly lines contour lines and have them stretch evenly to elongate a mound (yes, in 2D before you convert to 3D.  Sadly, I haven't had enough time (or grading work) to play with the push pull aspects now in LM."
 

I didnt understand exactly what countour shape, signatures is (and how it looks like) and how you make a swale?

Would you mind taking some screenshots/instructions of how you do it? That would be so kind. We could definitely need some tips how to make swales and mounds.

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Elin,

We design golf courses, so our paths are almost always the same width.  Sometimes, they widen out for small areas, like at tees.  Short version, I don't know exactly how you would free form with the road tool.  There is a video somewhere here about someone using the road tool to depress a free flowing creek.  To make a swale, you just give the side slopes a batter of 30 to 1 or whatever instead of 3 to 1.

 

Again, in golf, we find ourselves using similar landforms from project to project.  For instance, on flat ground, we know we will be probably putting catch basins every 200-400 feet on a fairway, running at a 2.5-4% slope.  So, I copied one of those typical sets of oval shaped drainage basins and then I plunk them in the drawing, usually in 2D so I can tweak them, then convert to 3D.  If you can drop one in 3D, then change the Z value (my signatures usually start at 100 at the base).  If your area is at 545 elevation, I raise the Z value 445 feet, etc.  I will say, there is some debate around here as to whether that is actually faster than regenerating a mouse drawn set of contours, but conceptually, I feel reusing parts is one of the advantages of CAD, even if its not quite as "drop in" as in structures, lighting, etc.  Others feel like they need the control, still others feel guilty about not hand producing a unique plan.  

 

Another area we often use contour signatures is mounding.  We find many fairways need some mounds to define the corridor.  And, we know those ought to be longer than wide (i.e., no artificial looking circles) The sides are 3:1 up to 6:1, and the top ridge should  have 10-15% slope as the golfer looks at it to be "natural looking."  I feel, why create that every time?  So, I have drawn some combos of 2 to 5 mounds in a row, slightly staggered, meeting those dimensions, and usually 12-15 feet high, etc.  Drop the most suitable on the new plan, and trim the bottom contours with the trim tool as they meet the natural contours.  Again, it is more difficult to find the perfect match using 3D polys or nurbs, so we haven't been able to figure out how to do it in 3D directly.

 

Obviously, the VW way to do it should morph into a direct 3D work flow.  Liking what I like in the looks of a contour plan,  I haven't yet found a way to just set a high point at appropriate places, swales elsewhere, etc.  (grade tool on a polygon would be a great thing, and that is where subbing the road tool comes in sometimes) The push pull tool and some others should allow that, but I get in a hurry and haven't changed my workflow quite yet.  Maybe this winter break!

Edited by Rossford
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@Elin I believe if you use a 3d poly line and then right click>create object from shape, you can create a modifier.  You can then adjust each node to its desired z height. Either by selecting it or using the tiny arrow buttons in the object info. They will cycle to each node which can be easier then selecting with a marqee. Therefore giving each corner its own height.  Ive done this quite a bit with no issue.  Also if you have the datum info displayed you can tab over to the Z and see or adjust the height there.  Hope this helps!

 

If you have other questions regarding capabilities of the site models feel free to reach out. Im not a pro by any means but have spent a bit using it with decent success. We mostly get survey data, turn it into a model. That model allows us to give several options and simply just update the model and get the cuts and fills.

Edited by HEengineering
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