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Architosh

Serious Problems Testing DTM Technologies

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This is really directed at Robert.

I am currently experimenting using all of the 3D tools in VW Architect for an article, starting with landforms. I have found that the DTM site modeling functions are completely unpredictable in their results. Conceptually, the DTM is elegant, however the manual is horrible and doesn't walk you through the the typical process (who cares about all of the little ways you can create DTM data, most architects are going to use 2D polys to 3D polys).

Two weeks ago I created a sweet little model with a shaded hull. Getting the hull figured out was a bit tricky because you need to make it a fill, I believe. But it worked. Today I can't even a larger model to present.

Have any of you had these types of problems? Is it just me or is the DTM radically unpredictable in its results and usability?

Feedback from anyone would be appreciated. Thanks.

Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Ed. Architosh.com

[ 07-10-2002: Message edited by: Architosh ]

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Anthony,

I totally agree with your comments

1) DTM is a capability that could be described as elegant2) The results do not seem predictable and 3) complete agreement on the lack of good help in the documentation.That said, however, I've used it quite successfully so far. I received a DXF file from the surveyor (in PC format) and VW (on a Mac) imported it successfully, albeit with a bunch of empty classes. I extracted a layer with the TIN data in it and created a DTM model with a hull and applied a groundcover texture so my 3D renderings of the house model on its site look very nice, with tree objects placed and set at the correct elevation etc. I know where to cut out the volume where the slab and foundations will go. Still exploring how to create the second DTM to do the cut/fill operation but since it's a simple residence, it's not critical for my job.

I should point out that I have no remotely related training in engineering, architecture or house-building (I'm in biotech as my "day-job" but designing my "dream house" in my spare time!) so I'd say VW and VWA are reasonably accessible to someone who's prepared to put in the time to learn those things as well as the software to do them.

The documentation for the DTM , like that for much of VWA, would greatly benefit from explanations and descriptions of tools and operations using real-life examples/illustrations as well as the "dry" descriptions in the manual and on-line help. My personal style of learning is by "seeing in action", understanding and then adapting to my situation. (In contrast to my wife, who's co-designing the house , I conceptualize things in 3D so that's why I even considered trying to design the house myself. In the 80's we had a remodel designed by an architect and I ended up building a 1/4 inch balsa wood model from the plans to convince her it was what we wanted)

Perhaps some of the tutorial CDs have such examples, but I haven't had the time to explore them - nor have I had time to attend any training classes (this isn't really a career change in the making!!) Anyone have feedback on whether the CDs would help someone like me?

ThanksAndy

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Andy,

I am glad to hear from someone so quickly and I have already put in a good call with Nem folks. Yes, I do believe that the DTM can produce elegant results if all goes as planned. As for the larger model I am having a hard time on, I'm not yet sure if it has to do with size, complexity overload or my version of VectorWorks is faulted in some way (VW Arch. 9.5.1).

I understand from my call with Nem. that many of the little tips and tricks will be included in the next updated manuals.

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I can't comment on alot of the information posted here, but I can comment to Andy about the training Cds.

We did not make the CDs in house. A company in Canada created them. I have gone thru all of the training Cds and they are fairly good. We have a new person in Tech Support and they are using them to learn the concepts of the prgram. The good thing about the Cds is you get to see the computer doing certains tasks for you. They show you how to do something when the review is completed, then you are off to do the exercise yourself with the directions. They incorporate a few different tools in with the steps so you get an idea of some other things that you might not glance at upon first look. Overall, they are a very good training guide and offer information outside of the manual.

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The DTM works only intermittently in Architect (I wonder if Landmark is a bit more "robust"). I must admit however, that when I was investigating DTM, it was with VWA 9.5.0, so perhaps it's more functional with 9.5.2? Anyway, DTM was so quirky that I eventually gave up on using it...Problems included error messages saying "DTM data not found", "No 2D polys available to generate data", that sort of thing. When I did any DTM's of relative complexity, unusual results occured--the DTM itself was screwed up--the triangulation of the points were willy-nilly (bet you haven't heard that phrase in a while!). So I just can't spend the time to make use of the features in DTM. Currently, I do topo using meshes.

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