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Is Vectorworks able to do professional grading?


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6 hours ago, hollister design Studio said:

I think I've been here for about a year.

I'm still continually frustrated about how opaque VW can be.

 

It's so obviously coded be people who are not designers...

 

...but when I step back and look at the projects I've got on the boards, I have to admit, I've learned a lot more than I think I have.

Even though I'm still holding my head in my hands wondering 'what the hell' (pretty much every day!), I've actually successfully created a quite a few very complex projects.

 

There are really good folks on this forum that will go above and beyond to help.

 

 

Hang in there!

 

 

I guess that's both reassuring and worrying 🙂 I'm so glad people take the time here to help out! Are you a landscape architect? Have you managed to produce real graded surfaces and drawings for contractors? I would love to see some examples of what's possible.

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7 hours ago, hollister design Studio said:

I think I've been here for about a year.

I'm still continually frustrated about how opaque VW can be.

 

It's so obviously coded be people who are not designers...

 

...but when I step back and look at the projects I've got on the boards, I have to admit, I've learned a lot more than I think I have.

Even though I'm still holding my head in my hands wondering 'what the hell' (pretty much every day!), I've actually successfully created a quite a few very complex projects.

 

There are really good folks on this forum that will go above and beyond to help.

 

 

Hang in there!

 

 

I've been using Vectorworks for nearly 20 years, and using it "properly" in 3d for maybe 3 years ... and all the above is true for me too.

 

I try and tell myself that it would be the same using any other software ...

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9 minutes ago, line-weight said:

 

I've been using Vectorworks for nearly 20 years, and using it "properly" in 3d for maybe 3 years ... and all the above is true for me too.

 

I try and tell myself that it would be the same using any other software ...

 

This might be off topic but I've given the choice of software a lot of thought. As I see it my options as a landscape architect are:

 

AutoCAD - the standard for LAs everywhere in Sweden. A hybrid workflow allows us to use point grades in 3D, everything else in is 2D. Very old fashioned.

Civil 3D - Still that annoying old fashioned AutoCAD suite. Good for 3D terrain work but not much else that I need. Complicated.

Revit - the standard for building architects here in Sweden and wonderfully modern. No real functionality for landscape architects, however it can be used for LA with plenty of workarounds or plugins that are half decent.

Novapoint/Quadri - still dependent on that old AutoCAD.

VectorWorks - Well, my hopes were probably up to high but I still hope it will be the best option.

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@Benson Shaw So I was using multiple aligned hardscapes aligning to each other and, surprise, that didn't work to well. So I took your idea of aligning to a empty layer so I can put modifiers on if and now it works much better! So some hardscapes are aligning to the empty layer to be able to set modifiers, and then others align to those graded hardscapes. We'll see if it's a working solution in the long run.

 

@Tom W. Not a perfect solution but I set the hardscape as a site modifier (top) and can then use the stake as a report for site proposed to get the point elevation of the hardscape. Not using the cut/fills in this project anyways so it doesn't matter to much.

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11 hours ago, Anders Blomberg said:

Had a look at your snap settings and tried to replicate those as well. I attach both my larger model and the small elevation trial here.

Vega.vwx 62.91 MB · 1 download Point elevation trial.vwx 8.11 MB · 0 downloads

 

Hi @Anders Blomberg I opened your 'Point elevation trial' file + there was definitely something weird going on with that hardscape. I could snap Stakes to its edges + they would report the correct elevations but not when I placed the stakes anywhere else on the top surface. I then changed its elevation (raised it) + this caused it to lose its components + solidity: it looked as if it was in wireframe. So I gave it a slab style + then it displayed components again + textures + also the stakes started behaving as normal:

 

63830878_Screenshot2021-09-16at20_01_28.thumb.png.37fe936842db0dc40c74d9caed889db9.png

 

 

I also had a look at the Vega file + the stakes were snapping to the surface of the hardscape as normal + reporting the correct elevation from the off so not sure why it's not doing that for you...?

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On 9/16/2021 at 9:31 PM, Tom W. said:

 

Hi @Anders Blomberg I opened your 'Point elevation trial' file + there was definitely something weird going on with that hardscape. I could snap Stakes to its edges + they would report the correct elevations but not when I placed the stakes anywhere else on the top surface. I then changed its elevation (raised it) + this caused it to lose its components + solidity: it looked as if it was in wireframe. So I gave it a slab style + then it displayed components again + textures + also the stakes started behaving as normal:

 

63830878_Screenshot2021-09-16at20_01_28.thumb.png.37fe936842db0dc40c74d9caed889db9.png

 

 

I also had a look at the Vega file + the stakes were snapping to the surface of the hardscape as normal + reporting the correct elevation from the off so not sure why it's not doing that for you...?

 

@Tom W. A never ending story this one 🙂 My idea of setting all hardscapes to site modifiers (top) and then use the stakes to report site elevation didn't work out as planned. I guess the geometry is to complicated because when updating the site to adjust for all modifiers the computer just freezes up. I left it working over night last night and that didn't give me any results either. So I'm stuck with this weird method of snapping in 3D. My question is if you get the z-values to update dynamically when changing the hardscapes? Because mine don't, not very BIM to me.

 

Picture of the current state of the model just for reference. Slooooowly getting there I hope.

 

image.thumb.png.9673e216bd1f82899b2e2cef1c748df7.png

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I was given a tip a while back to use landscape areas and not hardscapes for the hard surfaces (just with the plants switched off) and I do find that it works much better.  This was after finding that hardscapes and landscape areas don't play nicely together.  So for angular geometry I use grade networks and for curved areas I have the following workaround:

Make a wall style called 'kerb' (or 'edging') and use a curved wall on the area you want.  Set the top level to the level you want at the one end of the kerb and put into a 3D view.  You can now use the reshape tool to move the other end of the kerb up or down to the correct level.  Now use the 'extract' tool to extract a nurbs curve along the top edge of the kerb and convert it to a 3D polygon.  Close the 3D poly and add any necessary additional vertices.  Move the 3D poly into the Site- DTM - Modifier class to grade the site model.  I have grades at the top and bottom of kerbs which gives a slope between them but use the wall style to represent the kerb and landscape areas for the hard surfaces each side so the slope is not seen in the modelling, only on the site model which I don't export to IFC.

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@Laura Stone Thanks for this.  Will try it out.  I don't like that grade network around curved hardscapes.  An improved align for the aligned slabs would be great.  And/Or some kind of a Grade Along Path in the Surface Mods so I can select a curved edge, or sub segments, and define a constant grade along that path. Or, I guess a variable grade via vertices or stakes or 3d loci along the path.

 

-B

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@Laura Stone Thanks for the advice! I had the chance to talk to people att VW and they pretty much said the same thing about landscape areas, they currently recommended using them instead of hardscapes. But why do you convert from NURBS to 3D polys after extracting? NURBS work just as well in Site/DTM and don't chop up into straight little pieces. Also, do you know how to update the landscape areas to adjust to a changed site model? Currently I select the area, and change the layer where the area looks for the site and then change back. Kinda tedious when updating multiple areas.

 

@Benson Shaw, yes, I REALLY hope they give us some kind of functionality like that. Currently I'm doing my grading with a combination of site adjusting grades and NURBS in DTM and I really haven't found a way to be very exact when adjusting NURBS. So I start out by laying out my grades with the grade network which acts just as a guide for the NURBS I put in later.

Edited by Anders Blomberg
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On 9/26/2021 at 12:10 AM, Anders Blomberg said:

@Laura Stone Thanks for the advice! I had the chance to talk to people att VW and they pretty much said the same thing about landscape areas, they currently recommended using them instead of hardscapes. But why do you convert from NURBS to 3D polys after extracting? NURBS work just as well in Site/DTM and don't chop up into straight little pieces. Also, do you know how to update the landscape areas to adjust to a changed site model? Currently I select the area, and change the layer where the area looks for the site and then change back. Kinda tedious when updating multiple areas.

 

@Benson Shaw, yes, I REALLY hope they give us some kind of functionality like that. Currently I'm doing my grading with a combination of site adjusting grades and NURBS in DTM and I really haven't found a way to be very exact when adjusting NURBS. So I start out by laying out my grades with the grade network which acts just as a guide for the NURBS I put in later.

Initially it was because I was using only this method and straight geometry 3D polys modifiers. A curbs curve on its own will  mean that the area 'contained' by it is not affected, only the line of it, so by converting a 3D poly I could add vertices to make an enclosed shape that would affect the whole area in question.  I've just done an experiment where I made a curbs a site modifier and then used gradients attached to each end to close the shape and it worked, so thanks for the suggestion

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@jeff prince Thanks for the shout out. I do think you need to (and I do) 'think' like VW. But I am usually using it the other way. If you can't/don't think like VW, then you should be looking for other software. There are a number of much loved Mac developers who I find their much loved software just about impossible to use. I just don't think about problems they way they/it does. I think the same goes for VW. If you can't adjust your thinking to understand the way VW works and be comfortable working that way, you are better of finding a different solution.

 

My $0.02.

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