Jump to content

Need advice to save project

Recommended Posts

I ask for advice on this issue:  I'm retired, and over the last decade or more I have been drawing (from scratch - no construction drawings available) my existing Parish church building.  It is fully 3D, with textures, and I can generate reasonable interior perspectives as well as exterior views. I have about 30 sheets that could be considered construction drawings (that I drew and measured myself).  I've even drawn a considerable amount of custom church furniture.  I also marked utility locations on a DTM as they became known.


I used VW 2015 and the file is over 375 Mb.  I realize I'm not going to live forever, and I want to save this information for others to use in the future.  There are other architects in my Parish, but they all use Revit.  I can not translate VW 2015 into Revit.   Currently, I pass the information along to others using pdf image exports.  My model uses very little record data for equipment or lighting, nor much detailed door/window information beyond the basic OIP data fields.  Almost nothing uses IFC data fields. I'm sure all my class and layer names are not standard.


Now here is my question for your advice:    What technique or software can I use to save as much as the 3D model information as possible ?    ... for as long as possible ?  


Should I try to find someone to translate my VW 2015 file into VW 2022 and then into Revit or Sketchup or some more common program ?   Will I lose a lot of information ?  I have almost no experience trying to translate VW files into something else.


I attached a couple images to give you some idea of the size of the building. 

Worship space persp 5 altar corpus.pdf Renovation Exterior Persp.pdf

Link to comment

I am not sure what the answer is, but I will be interested to hear what people have to say, as this is something I've wondered about too - will 3d CAD drawings potentially have an even shorter "easily readable" lifespan than 2d ones have? At least with 2d sheets you can convert to pdf and not really lose any information.


I know there's such a thing as a 3d pdf ... but not much about what it really is.

Link to comment

I would export it in any popular file format available.

> Especially also as DWG and IFC (*).


(* In the worst case, select simply all Objects and assign a standard IFC_Element_Proxy Tag

to all to make everything exporting by IFC)


Any Export will have some loss.

> also keep the original VWX Files


Another problem will be the Textures, as VW saves all Images inside the VWX File.

> Export as C4D (and FBX) File, this will save all Image Textures, in use, into a Folder "tex"

(This will also allow to render your project in most 3D or Realtime Render Apps)

  • Like 2
Link to comment

This is always a problem with legacy projects, 3D BIM and increasingly proprietary systems only making it more challenging.  I mean we have challenges just trading data between VWX and Revit on current projects today, with near term exchanges becoming more complex as each software upgrades.  Determining strategies and caretakers for 2D CAD, 3D geometry, and archival 2D drawing set (PDF) is the first step.


2D CAD is easy, you’ll just export to DWG.  2D archiving to PDF is easy too.  These will probably be the most useful document for future users of the information.


In terms of 3D, whomever will take over the project should have important inputs as to the best way forward since they will be doing the future work.  First thing to do is to get the Vectorworks file updated to the latest file format and export to the various formats now available.  I’m sure someone on the forum might help with that if you aren’t interested or in a position to upgrade.


All the work you put into texturing is usually the first thing to suffer.  I see problems with texture mapping within vectorworks on my own files with each upgrade.  The geometry can be exported in a few widely accepted formats such as FBX, DAE, or OBJ and have a somewhat useful lifespan if the next custodian of the data imports and keeps it updated.  New versions of Vectorworks can export geometry to Revit fairly well, but not without issues.


Seems like getting your 3D for visualization purposes into sketchup and/or Blender is probably the most reliable path for maximum usability to the most people over time.


Regardless of your choice, ultimately whoever takes over the project will need to be consulted and there will be some work to do to insure everything comes over as desired.


hope it helps.


  • Like 2
Link to comment

And I have to say that Open Design Alliance does such a great job to make

the world a better one.

These are the ones that brought our CAD Exports (DWG of course but also Revit, DGN ...)

in our CAD Apps to that level in such a high pace during the last years.


And they have such a lovely free Open IFC Viewer !

(Just not yet working for Monterey and M1 Macs for now)




Interesting that even Autodesk is listed under Founding and Corporate Members of ODA.

As they may have been the main reason (or problem) why such an organization had to be founded at all 🙂

Edited by zoomer
  • Like 2
Link to comment

Thanks for your replies.  Perhaps you’ve confirmed something I already suspected: there is no magic way to do this.  In my model, I often generated my own textures for the various carpets, wall coverings, and tiles and I guess they will be lost upon conversion. Although I thought of the following solution as a joke, perhaps this is my best option:   Keep my vw2015 running on my 2016 version iMac, and when I get to the pearly gates in 2045 I’ll give the iMac and 30 year old MacOS XX to who ever wants it before the building is demolished.      

Link to comment

One thing you (or the person who translates it to 2022) will want to do is to open the file, filter the Resource Manager for Renderworks Textures, right click, and choose Extract Images. That will export PNGs of all the images used within textures, so at least if someone had to re-texture the model in the future they'll have the original images to work with.

  • Like 4
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...