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What is the correct way to do Elevations?

Andrew Mac

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I am a Architect 10.5 user and have always had a problem trying to achieve elevation drawings. I will draw the floor plans as usual and entering a "Z" value for all the heights and then try to view the elevations.

What I normally do is create a new drawing and put the foundation, floor 1, and floor 2 all on one layer. From there I select the view I want and then select convert copy to lines, from there I choose hidden line rendering. It seems like this takes forever! Once this happens I discard the original drawing and I am left with a grouped drawing. At this point there needs to be a lot of clean up.

First of all, Is there a quicker more efficient way - Or am I doing it completely wrong. One last thing- How do I get"let's say the appearance of brick" once I am in the convert copy to lines on the exterior of the building?

I know this is a lot but I have always struggles with this part of Vectorworks.

Thanks [Confused]

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I do elevations pretty much the same way as you, mac. I've tried many different ways and although 'convert copy to lines' requires a lot of cleaning up at the end, I found that the end result is much, much better and things like line weights and hatches are much easier to manipulate if you have a line copy of your view.

As for the appearance-of-brick thing, i usually use hatching on 2D polygons which you can find until the Fill option in the Attributes Pallette. You can also use the pattern option or Image (which uses an image file), depending on what sort of realism you want. You just have to create your own hatch/pattern/image to fill the polygon.

This entire post was in my opinion only...but I hope it helped.

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I assume that when you say "put the foundation, floor 1," etc on a new layer, you are using the layer link feature rather than a copy/paste operation.

It is very helpful to use the classing capability to distinguish between interior and exterior features. To the extent that you want to accelerate the rendering operation you should make all the interior 3D details class-invisible...on an occasional over-detailed exterior(curved elements are particularly processor abusive), I have even classed the unseen sides of the structure to go invisible. Ensure that your glazing class is set to some opaque fill so you don't pick up unnecessary interior or back-wall detail. Because I like to have shadows shown in my elevations, I also create a light object for each saved view and set its class to show up in the appropriate elevation.

For what it?s worth, my elevation rendering choreography goes like this:

To prep the main file, I review each of the linked layers to ensure that unnecessary detail is ommittable(by classing per above). I then save a view for each of the elevations with the proper class visibility options set.

I create a spare file of the same format and scale and name it "Proj X Rends"(I like to create a new file specifically to handle my rendering output and manipulations.)

I start-up a pixel-based rendering program like Painter or PhotoShop to run alongside VW.

I go to my linked project layer and set it to "View-1"(or whatever I've named the front elevation with proper class settings).

I perform the "convert copy to lines"/"hidden line rendering". I immediately cut that grouped output and paste it to the spare Render File.

I then return to the main file with the view still saved and use the Render Bitmap tool to create a rendered bitmap with the shadows, roof textures, brickwork, etc., shown; I cut and paste that output to a second layer of the spare Render File, export it as a JPEG image(I wish I didn't have to do this but I can't do a cut and paste operation from VW to my pixel programs); when the export is complete, I delete the rendered image.

Within the pixel program(Painter), I open the JPEG file just created, and use its filters to, initially, simplify the image(reducing unnecessary details and shade gradations, then I unsaturate the image(make it grayscale). I copy and paste the grayscale image back to my Render File on top of my earlier line render; then "send" it to the back and align the line and pixel images. I often use a third-party program-Doodle- to further work the line output to contribute a bit more interesting texture to the finished elevation while in this file.

When I'm satisfied with the output, I copy the line/bitmap image group back to the appropriate sheet in my project file.

I repeat this operation for each elevation.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

In general, I agree with ErichR's comments, but there are several operations that laldenj describes that are common sense and pretty commonplace (i.e. use classes for declutter of drawings) and (although I may be misreading here) there are some elements of laldenj's workflow that appear to be a little outdated (e.g. the de-faceting of curved elements in HL rendering is "officially" controllable in VW10 and later, and controllable earlier with a script.)

I guess my big question here is, why not just do a render bitmap and copy it to your image processor? What is added by the convert-copy-to-lines operation, especially since you're planning to have the lines later?

In general, for all the people reading this thread, what do you use convert-copy-to-lines for?

-removing floor lines?

-changing line weights (and if so, why not overdraw with, e.g., unfilled polys?)

-other reasons? (if so, what?)

Thanks for any input you can provide.

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Copy to lines is one of the significant commands that makes VW useful for producing elevations and line-drawn perspectives. For me it was a revalation when Robert Anderson first suggested it in these pages. Instead of rendering bitmap, which captures the image per se, and doesn't allow for editing, copy to lines allows not just editing line weights, eliminating floor lines, adding lines where planes intgersect, etc., but, importantly, now the edited image is portable. Move it anywhere you want.

Now, if we could only get textures into that image, we would have everything we need (almost).

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Is a layer link in elevation or perspective portable to a plan view layer?

Can I copy and paste a layer link to another drawing file? To another application?

If I move a layer link perspective 6" on the page to reposition it, does the perspective change?

If I move a layer link perspective or elevation rendered any which-a-way how much time does it take to regenerate?

Layer linking isn't the issue. It is a good place to start doing something useful, like copying to lines, or doing a RW bitmap rendering.

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First, I wasn't meaning to parody the difficulties of doing elevations with VW though I can understand this interpretation. Elevations can be created quite efficiently within VW but to my taste, left unedited, they are usually over-lined and under-textured.

-The ?official? control over curved elements that Robert speaks of is certainly available but it may not affect the render speed problem which began this thread. In such cases, rather than tweaking individual aspects of the drawing, I have found it helpful to partition the structure so unseen elements are deleted from the rendering queue?at least it speeds up the render operation; at best it may reveal the offending element. I avoid using the VW dynamic rendering of hidden line because it is very slow.

-I don't copy "the rendered bitmap to my image processor" because I can?t (though the reverse operation (copy from the image processor to VW) works just fine. If I "copy" the bitmap image, I can't paste it directly into either pixel-based program I now use: Painter or PhotoSuite. I need to convert it to a format read by those programs, JPEG et al, and open it from within each program. My purpose in editing the rendered image is threefold: to suggest important textures, to reveal key shadows, and to ensure clear diazo reproduction.

-I do a separate "convert copy to lines" for many reasons.

First, I need the line output to complement the bitmap image; not compete or obscure it. And yes, I usually find it necessary to remove some lines (floor lines, wall lines on gable walls, etc.) and, in perspective output, I always need to add lines (at interior wall intersections, at roof valleys, on chimneys, etc.).

I also do a convert copy to lines because I like to create separate render documents where I can massage the graphic to communicate both the mass and texture of the proposed structure.

I often tinker with the lines (using the utility ?Doodle?) to humanize the otherwise too-clinical drawing.

Finally, I don?t want to wait while a dynamic render or line drawing takes place so it?s useful to quiet the drawing with a grouped of static copied lines.

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