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Replace a truss symbol in a configuration


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This is one of my "I hate Braceworks" moments.

I'm trying to learn to live it, but it keeps making my life worse not better.

So maybe someone can help a couple of items I keep running into.

 

Scenario #1

I have drawn some trusses using Tomcat. In this case a bunch of plated 12". The vendor chosen owns XSF so I want to change the symbols in the configuration to XSF so I can see where beams and things line up. If I were using the weight calculation tools this would matter as well, but currently not.

When I open the Replace Truss Configuration tool I'm presented with a lot of options and it shows me all kinds of lengths, but no mention of symbol.

See attached.  - Or actually not because I keep getting a server error with upload failed.

 

Scenario #2

Very similar to above but not symbol specific. I have drawn some truss with 12" and want to replace it with 20". Again I can see options in the change configuration.

In the case of the photo you can't see there are 2 2'. Is one of those 20" and one 12" ? Where did this 2'6" truss come from?

In the old days I could simply "replace symbol" but there's no option for that.

 

I respect what Braceworks is trying to do, but it is not making my life better instead it makes it much worse.

 

Thanks for any help.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mickey
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

The problem with both of these commands is that they work from an inventory that you have to manually set up and although this is documented in the help its not made very clear inside the command dialogues themselves, especially in the Replace truss type dialogue.

 

Also setting up a truss inventory is not as easy as it should be,

  • The first step is to make sure you have downloaded any truss libraries you want in the inventory into your application folder, (our help also says that you can use a user folder but I haven't been able to get this to work and have opened a bug report for it)
  • Then you need to open the Replace truss dialogue (which means having at least one section of truss in a design layer) and  hit the inventory button in the top left corner
  • this will open the Truss inventory dialogue,
  • hit the update button in the truss inventory pane of the dialogue, this will add every downloaded truss library into the inventory (from your application library folder).
  • make sure that the use column is ticked for for all the symbols of each type of truss you have available and want to use, this can be done by group selecting them in the truss inventory pane and ticking the use column

This will make the truss types available for the replace truss type command, when you exit the truss inventory command.

However if you want to get full use of the Replace Truss command to automatically reconfigure which Lengths of truss will be used in a truss line then you also need to input how many of each length is available for each type of truss.
This is done in the truss inventory pane of the Truss inventory dialogue in one of two ways,

  • manually, by selecting the truss symbol entering the available quantity (either by double clicking on the row or selecting and hitting the edit button). This is ok if you only need to add a few available types.
  • By using Excel and the Export & Import buttons. For me this is the easiest workflow as Excel spreadsheet editing is far faster if I have a lot of different truss types and lengths in my available inventory, that need to be added or updated.
    First hit the export button to create a CSV file that can be opened in Excel, then use Excel to change the use column and the available quantity column as needed, before using the import button to bring the changes back into the inventory.

 

Once this has been done you should be able to use both commands
 

16 hours ago, Mickey said:

Scenario #1

I have drawn some trusses using Tomcat. In this case a bunch of plated 12". The vendor chosen owns XSF so I want to change the symbols in the configuration to XSF

You need to use the Replace truss type command from the Spotlight Rigging menu,

In your above example select a section of truss from the line or system you wish to change
activate the Replace truss type command, once in the Replace truss dialogue use the select truss type drop-down to select the appropriate type of XSF truss you want to change to.
The Replacement pane should now display what the various truss symbols used in the selected truss line or system will be replaced with.
One thing to note the command doesn't do a very good job of converting between metric and imperial truss lengths, not sure if this is a bug or works as designed and needs an enhancement, I'll put a bug report in for it.
If the truss line or system includes corners or circular section then you will have to manually map the replacement by selecting each in the replacement window and using the resource selector in the Select truss/circular truss pane to define the replacement.
The alignment option enables you to define how the replacement truss will be positioned if it has a different physical height from the original truss type, the preview displays the how the new truss will be vertically positioned (red) vs the old (black).
The changes will take place as soon as the dialogue is exited by hitting ok.

 

16 hours ago, Mickey said:

When I open the Replace Truss Configuration tool I'm presented with a lot of options and it shows me all kinds of lengths, but no mention of symbol.

The Change configuration button is a short cut to the Replace Truss commands' replace truss configuration dialogue and is for re-configuring which lengths of truss are used in a selected truss line. This is why no symbols are mentioned in the dialogue, as no matter how you access the dialogue you have to have selected a truss line or symbol first.
The displayed lengths are based on the symbols in the relevant truss library, all non corner sections (including spacers) available in the library. I think the V and H displayed in the length column headers is a holdover from when Spotlight had to use separate vertical and horizontal truss symbols
The edit quantity pane allows you to change the number of each length used in the line, a useful trick here is if you don't see the length  you want click on it in the main pan and the edit quantity pane will change to display it
 

 

 

16 hours ago, Mickey said:

Scenario #2

Very similar to above but not symbol specific. I have drawn some truss with 12" and want to replace it with 20". Again I can see options in the change configuration.

In this scenario you would use the Change Truss Type command,

     






     

     

    Edited by jcogdell
    made a typo
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    40 minutes ago, jcogdell said:

    Also setting up a truss inventory is as easy as it should be,

     

    Respectfully, I beg to differ.  This whole process is light years from being intuitive.  It also doesn't "understand" things like an easy swap from 4 x 10' to 5 x 8'.  While, yes, a bit of adjusting after-the-fact was necessary, simple truss Symbols are profoundly more straight-forward to use day-to-day.

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    54 minutes ago, jcogdell said:

    Sorry Andrew you're correct that was a typo on my side, I meant to say it not as easy as it should be,
    I'll correct it

     

     

    Thanks.

     

    A huge part of the problem, here, is that making truss swaps and rearranging configurations are frequently part of the every-day "low-level" design process.  Things like this should be incredibly simple and intuitive - so much so that, in a sense, users don't even think about it as they're doing it.  As things stand, the current approach gets in the way of the process...

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    On 2/16/2022 at 6:05 AM, C. Andrew Dunning said:

     

    Thanks.

     

    A huge part of the problem, here, is that making truss swaps and rearranging configurations are frequently part of the every-day "low-level" design process.  Things like this should be incredibly simple and intuitive - so much so that, in a sense, users don't even think about it as they're doing it.  As things stand, the current approach gets in the way of the process...

     

    Thank You Andrew for making my point

    Although I have often thought of myself as "Low-Life" I've never been "Low-Level"

    🙂

    But I do play around with truss shapes a lot, and what used to be a simple process is now so bloated and frustrating I find myself not using the Insert Truss tool, and just using symbols.

     

    Right now I've got a bunch of truss towers that are more complex than straight sticks.

    I need to switch them out for black truss instead of silver.

    Oh how sad am I that I can't just click the OIP and replace symbol.

    No instead I have to go through this inventory stupidity.

    Why do I care about an inventory?

    I'm not in a venue, or a rental shop?

    I just want to be able to run a report and count all my pieces.

    But Braceworks has made that almost impossible.

     

    I'm going to try what Jesse has proposed, but I will likely give up once I'm frothing at the mouth in anger.

    again

     

     

     

     

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    AAAGGGHHH

    Not only is this process stupid I can't even upload a photo of what I'm trying to describe.

    Until it gets fixed here's a link to a photo

    https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjZcVRFAOa0nhOF3lF-qd6r6AR5ouw

     

    So I went into the inventory and entered 50 of each piece so now there's a fictional amount.

    I want to swap between a black tomcat, and a silver.

    But when I do I see 3 different entries for 10'

    No names, just 10'

    How do I know which one is the black, and silver?

    Further In the inventory I see all the names of the stock Tomcat with ALL of their increments.

    How many of you are using the Tomcat 11'6" pieces?

    I want to get rid of all of that, everything, and just have what I'm using for this show as inventory.

    I've tried exporting, editing in excel, and reimporting.

    That didn't work.

     

    What a waste of my time.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • Like 2
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    On 2/18/2022 at 5:02 PM, Mickey said:

    No instead I have to go through this inventory stupidity.

    Why do I care about an inventory?

    I'm not in a venue, or a rental shop?

    I just want to be able to run a report and count all my pieces.

    But Braceworks has made that almost impossible.

     

    This is a really really important point. VW is first and foremost DESIGN software. Trying to make it a be-all end-all system for designers, shops, venues... is going to continue adding clicks and complications for design (and technical preproduction). If anything, the inventory features should be an add-on module for shops and venues but it should never ever disrupt the design and technical workflows for the other 99% of users.

     

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    • Vectorworks, Inc Employee


     

    On 2/19/2022 at 2:37 AM, Mickey said:

    I want to swap between a black tomcat, and a silver.

    But when I do I see 3 different entries for 10'

    I think I know why this is happening, but I'm not 100% certain
    It sounds like you are using custom truss symbols, for the black truss section (and possibly for the regular silver versions as well).
    As far as I can tell the truss inventory uses the 'Type' from the truss object properties (not from the older truss record) combined with the symbol name to define whether a section should be included in the Change Truss Configuration dialogue, this means that if there are multiple truss symbols with different symbol names (and colors) but the using the same type and length, they will each be displayed as individual options in the dialogue.
    After a bit of testing I found that if I changed the symbol name, and the 'Type' and 'Name' fields in the truss object properties to include the color I could get them to display as separate truss types in the inventory and avoid having them display wrongly in the Change Truss Configuration dialogue. I also had to update the 'Connectable with' field in the truss object properties to include the new black version of the symbol so that Autoconnect keeps working.

    I will add an enhancement request to find a better solution for this and to have the documentation in our help updated to better explain how this works

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    On 2/21/2022 at 3:30 AM, jcogdell said:


     

    I think I know why this is happening, but I'm not 100% certain
    It sounds like you are using custom truss symbols, for the black truss section (and possibly for the regular silver versions as well).
    As far as I can tell the truss inventory uses the 'Type' from the truss object properties (not from the older truss record) combined with the symbol name to define whether a section should be included in the Change Truss Configuration dialogue, this means that if there are multiple truss symbols with different symbol names (and colors) but the using the same type and length, they will each be displayed as individual options in the dialogue.
    After a bit of testing I found that if I changed the symbol name, and the 'Type' and 'Name' fields in the truss object properties to include the color I could get them to display as separate truss types in the inventory and avoid having them display wrongly in the Change Truss Configuration dialogue. I also had to update the 'Connectable with' field in the truss object properties to include the new black version of the symbol so that Autoconnect keeps working.

    I will add an enhancement request to find a better solution for this and to have the documentation in our help updated to better explain how this works

    Yes-ish

    To try and reduce the issues I imported the whole file of Tomcat 12" straight.

    I renamed all the symbols to something less annoying.

    I then duplicated all of those symbols and added "black" to the end of the name.

    I edited the symbols giving them all a dark fill so they sort of render correctly.

    I use worksheets to count my symbols, and this allows me to count silver from black.

    Could you post a picture of where you changed the type name so I know how to do this?

     

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    • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

    @Mickey
    You can change the truss symbols truss type by right clicking on the truss symbol in the design layer and using the Customize Truss Symbol Data command.

     

    The best workflow that I have found for this is to do the editing in the truss library file, once you have renamed the symbols and changed the fills

    • insert each truss symbol into the design layer,
    • right click on the truss and choose Customize Truss Data
    • this will open the truss properties dialogue allowing you to edit the hidden BrxTrussItem data record
    • go to the 'Type' field and edit the contents, typically for colored truss I just add the color to the exiting contents
    • next copy and paste the new 'Type' into the connectable with field so that Auto-connect will continue working with the edited symbol
    • hit OK to save the changes into your file
    • repeat for each symbol
    • after all the symbols are edited delete them from the design layer (make sure to not delete them in the file resources!) 
    • Close and save the library file into your application library with a new name for example Tomcat **** black. Also make sure to make a back up in either your User or work-group folder
    • Run the 'Refresh Libraries' command in the resource manager

     

     

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    • 1 month later...

    Picking this back up.

    I started the process. Wow talk about painful and time consuming. Good thing I don't bill by the hour.

    But before I get too deep.

    Oh wait I can't upload a jpeg still so no visual aids

    Please fix this. Am I the only person that can't upload files to the message board?

    Here's a link to the jpeg https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjZcVRFAOa0nhOcTjqHuqslM4zVyNA?e=hzNM9g (expires June 1st)

     

    So in the jpeg you can't see. There's a "Type" "Name" and "connectable with" fields.

    I changed the name, but not type yet.

    If I changed type to for example "TC1212" to "TC1212B", and change the connectable with "TC1212B" and I right to assume that it now won't connect with "TC1212"

    Can the Connect with field have multiple vallues?

    It seems like it should since the black truss can bolt to the silver truss.

    Not to mention that the Tomcat has the same bolt pattern as Thomas, XSF etc ...

     

    So now I'm back to the "I want to swap between a black truss and silver truss"

    I just re read this thread from the start.

    So if I understand this correctly if I want to be able to swap between these trusses I need to create a file that has them.

    Let's call it Tomcat 12"

    Download the symbols from the library

    insert each individual symbol on the design layer

    right click on each symbol and "Customize Data"

    Then save that file into the application folder

    And somehow the file I'm currently working in will know to look at the the newly named file I've saved in the application folder?

     

    First before I spend any more time on this did I correctly list the line of actions?

     

    Second THIS IS BLINDINGLY ABSURD

     

    I just want to swap a truss. We can do it with light fixtures. There's a nifty little button "Replace Lighting Device"

    Give me that please.

     

    Braceworks is a disaster. I'd like to see it spun off as a separate module that people can upgrade to, and give the rest of us simple truss tools so we can design systems.

    Let the riggers have the advanced weight calcs.

     

     

     

     

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    Also:

    • Use the data record and data vis for black truss. There's no need to have a different symbol for a different color (although that's fine too).
    • You don't have to use the built-in Braceworks functionality. Just grab the truss symbols from the RM.
      • Or use the truss PIO.
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    59 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:
    • Use the data record and data vis for black truss. There's no need to have a different symbol for a different color (although that's fine too).

     

    Different Symbol = different color and texture applied to 3D portion....and, embedded text label noting color w/o needing to make record changes.

     

     

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    1 hour ago, C. Andrew Dunning said:

    Different Symbol = different color and texture applied to 3D portion....and, embedded text label noting color w/o needing to make record changes.

     

     

    And a whole lot of work, as noted above, just to change the color vs typing "black" or "silver" in the OIP. This is what sold me on the power, and speed, of Data Vis.

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    1 hour ago, Mark Aceto said:

    And a whole lot of work, as noted above, just to change the color vs typing "black" or "silver" in the OIP. This is what sold me on the power, and speed, of Data Vis.

    Not really a whole lot of work when compared to manually typing in the color; in that, once the symbol is made, you don't have to type in those values.  If things change, you can still change the record field values and use data vis.  If you use a set of different kinds of truss often, you will save time by making symbols without giving up the ability to change the field values and use data vis.

    I'm not going to touch the problem of swapping out different truss lengths.  There are simple scenarios and Andy mentioned, but there are a lot of scenarios that require very convoluted programming logic to pull off.

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    On 4/8/2022 at 12:39 AM, Sam Jones said:

    Not really a whole lot of work when compared to manually typing in the color

     

    Uh huh. Literally typing "black" in the OIP, and instantly all selected symbols turn black: textures, colors, line weight, whatever and wherever I want... 

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