Vectorworks 2018 Aspires to Better Integrate Analysis and Design
Marc Howe posted on September 19, 2017 | 2277 views

The 2018 version of Vectorworks incorporates a slew of new features that better integrate analysis and design during the development process, as well as improve user workflows and functionality.

“With Vectorworks 2018, we focused on user workflows, making them more robust and efficient,” said Biplab Sarker, CEO of Vectorworks.

“In BIM, you can best see this in our direct section and elevation editing and multiview capabilities, and more subtly in all the Wall tool enhancements that allow designers to correctly model wall constructions, so walls appear accurately in plan, section and elevation drawings.”

The new multiview function works hand in hand with direct section and elevation editing to improve the control, review and adjustment of project designs. 

With the new multiple drawing views feature, users can access a range of different views for a single project simultaneously, enhancing their ability to assess the broader impact of design changes.

The function lets users set up multiple viewing panes from a range of perspectives, so that they can instantly determine how a single design adjustment will affect the 3D, elevation, plan and section views.

Users can also work within different panes simultaneously, launching a rendering in one view, for example, while also making adjustments in another.

According to C. Andrew Dunning, owner of Nashville-based Landru Design, the multiview function of Vectorworks 2018 will prove to be an invaluable asset for designers in the future.  

“Multiple view drawing support will be one of the most celebrated features of Vectorworks 2018,” he said.

“It gives users the ability to think about projects in different ways and from different perspective—all at the same time.”

The new multiview feature of Vectorworks 2018 allows users to access different design perspectives simultaneously. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)
The new multiview feature of Vectorworks 2018 allows users to access different design perspectives simultaneously. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)

The direct section and elevation editing function allows users to adjust their models from viewports directly, increasing the accuracy of drawings as well as dramatically reducing the time it takes to make alterations.

Users can add new openings, align and distribute windows, and remold walls, as well as change the positioning of doors across multiple layers.

Once edits are completed, users can change 3D views from within the section in order to immediately determine how the adjustments have affected plans and model views.

In addition to these broader upgrades to viewing and editing capabilities in Vectorworks, the 2018 version also includes other subtle improvements that are directed at document generation, as well as architecture, landscape and entertainment design. 

Vectorworks worksheet capabilities have been streamlined so that users will find it easier to produce bespoke reports based on data from models and drawings.

For architecture professionals, Vectorworks has expanded wall-modeling options, so that users can control the heights of individual components by instance, as well as attach information and insert component caps.

A user-friendly dialog box permits multiple components that are simultaneously selected to be edited, and all attributes can now be switched by class in order to expedite changes to wall graphic displays.

Vectorworks also raises the efficiency of architectural document generation by enabling users to produce high-quality documentation based on 3D BIM files.

The process of generating architectural documents from 3D models is abetted by improved graphic controls within the section views of building components such as wall joins, walls or slabs.

When it comes to title blocks, users can incorporate a limitless range of information and customize items such as orientation and variables.

“The new improved title block … is easier to use, and it puts the details needed for project information, and issue and revision data all in one place,” said Chad Hamilton, principal architect at San Francisco-based Hamilton + Aitken Architects.

Users can also publish drawings based on tightly integrated new title block objects and issue dates, as well as generate and distribute drawing sets, and share information and reports across a project’s full development cycle.  

For landscape designers, a major improvement in Vectorworks 2018 is the direct site model contour editor, which allows users to modify contour lines as readily as they would a polyline, while also providing enhanced site model settings. 

According to Bryan Goff, director of Design +Sciences at Minnesota’s Grey Leaf Design, the direct contour editor helps to dramatically reduce the time required to produce quality landscape designs.

“Our digital terrain modeling workflow with the site modeling tools was quite often a lot of experimentation and modification to achieve the desired grade,” he said.

“With the ability to directly edit the site model contours in Vectorworks 2018, our workflow has been cut in half.”

Direct site model contouring enables designers to modify contour lines as though they were polylines. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)
Direct site model contouring enables designers to modify contour lines as though they were polylines. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)

Landscape designers may also benefit from expanded options for the import and export of tree surveys. Users can employ GIS and tree survey data to reproduce real site conditions, as well as generate tree objects via geolocated tree species data.

With respect to the entertainment design portfolio, a major new feature is Braceworks, a structural load analysis add-on module that makes its debut with Vectorworks 2018.

Braceworks adds an entertainment rigging analysis module to a portfolio of entertainment design options including Spotlight and Vision software—all of which can be accessed via a single interface. 

Braceworks lets designers determine loads of rigging structures based on CAD plans. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)
Braceworks lets designers determine loads of rigging structures based on CAD plans. (Image courtesy of Vectorworks.)

According to John van Look, head of Production Rigging at PRG Germany, the feature has shortened and simplified the workflow for his projects.

“It allows us to calculate loads directly from the CAD plan and analyze the feasibility at any time,” he said. “The easy connection to our partners in the field of structural analysis considerably reduces the costs in this area and ensures faster results. “

Another major new entertainment design feature is a zoom option for video and blended screens, which facilitates both their planning and visualization during the design process.

Designers can better assess and adjust available throw and zoom via enhanced graphic output capabilities, giving them the ability to make better equipment decisions at an earlier stage of development.  

Seating section functionality has also been improved, enabling users to produce event layout visualizations that are more accurate, and automate the seating schedules for ordering and inventory purposes.

With the 2018 version, Vectorworks users now have graphic controls in the Object Info palette to facilitate the establishment and adjustment of seating sections, as well as additional layout methods and a range of seat numbering options. 

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