Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Convert To Lines #10
Seattle VectorWorks Users Group

In this issue:
Changes in VW 11.5

Greetings, Seattle VectorWorks Users plus all of you beyond the horizon in places like Goldendale, Wenachee, Vancouver and Spokane. Welcome!
This letter is a reminder of our upcoming meeting taking place April 20th, a Wednesday, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Seattle Central Community College Wood Construction Center lecture hall. The Wood Construction Center is located at 23rd Avenue South and South Lane Street. Parking is available in the gated lot off South King Street, one block south of Jackson Street. The lecture hall is the portable-style building directly adjacent to the parking lot at its south side.
I’ll have some goodies to give out. If you have VW 11 and haven’t upgraded to 11.5, I’ll bring a stack of updater CD’s that Nemetschek has provided us and you are welcome to take one, particularly if you downloaded the updater but would like a hard copy. You needn’t have the interim updater to advance to 11.5 as this one disk does it all. They’ve also included a special disk of textures that are just for us--I haven’t seen it offered elsewhere.
I’ll also bring Greco’s awesome 3D cityscape I’d mentioned in the last newsletter.
Nemetschek mailed to me, in addition to the updaters, a disk intended to demonstrate the advantages of version 11.5. Of course, I’d read the list of improvements on the website when 11.5 first came out, but in viewing the QT movie within, I found the disk far more informative. For instance, the freehand tool has long been useless to me as it creates jaggy lines with far too many editing nodes. If you drew fast there were fewer nodes but you’d tend to lose control and go squiggly. Draw slow and the nodes multiplied like crazy. In an example from the QT movie, in VW 11, drawing a kidney shaped pond created some 600 nodes. With VW 11.5 the same shape made 60. Now, with 11.5, you have much more editing control. The Freehand tool suddenly becomes functional.
I stumbled onto this interesting change: In VW 11, if you drew out a stair-stepped polyline and wanted to stretch it, you had to use the 2D Reshape tool. In VW 11.5, simply grabbing an upper corner allows you to pull the whole upwards save for one leg which remains anchored.
I did notice that one tool was missing. I use Material Fill to place symbols of sand, gravel or concrete from time to time. It has been eliminated! In its place is Stipple which does none of those. Am I missing something obvious? If so, write and set me straight. But I can edit my way back by using the Workspace Editor, scrolling down the left hand side of the Editor (under Commands) perusing existing folders till I see Legacy. Inside is Material Fill. Drag it sideways across the middle divider bar and onto Menu / AEC. Scroll down and drop it where it used to be, below Tile.
While you’re in the Workspace Editor, here is something else you can fix if you use Architect. The Wall tool has bugged me since it has a worthless tool sitting in front of Walls, the real wall tool. Get rid of Wall Type Tool. If you can tell me why this tool is important I’ll have a prize for you in May. I and others on the listserve find no reason for its existence. In the Workspace Editor, on the right hand pane, either pull Walls below and out of the clutches of Wall Type Tool, or delete Wall Type Tool and the others in this group, and then recreate them by dragging over Walls from the Wall folder at the bottom of the left side pane and then scrolling up to Architect, pull a copy of the Window Wall--which you eliminated during the delete--over and onto Walls. Now you see the L-shaped wall on your palette and not the brick-on-edge shape of the old Wall Type Tool. Remember the prize. Your reason has to be good, you must respond in one week and you must attend the meeting in May to collect. I can’t afford to pay postage on your prize.
The cutting tools have improved giving you much more flexibility. I didn’t see this one small improvement mentioned, but I found that when I am in plan view and cut out a piece of wall--as I do to place a header-line symbol for a window or door--that the cutting-rectangle now cuts both sides of the wall. Prior to this, the rectangle I’d place over the wall would cut one side only. Jack McKean will co-host on the 20th and will cover all the cutting tools. I think you’ll learn some timesaving tricks.
Have you seen the new Sketch function in 11.5? It really is a deeply integrated tool. Not only can you draw in Sketch mode but the Smart Cursor cues will still work. You can find the wall’s corner when snapping, for instance, even though it may show overstrikes or gaps.
To try this new feature, just select Sketch from View / Rendering and begin drawing. If you’ve drawn any sort of volume while in Sketch mode, hit number 1 on your numerical keypad to bounce yourself into left front isometric view. Your model stays in Sketch style. Who would want to draw this way? Perhaps the landscape designers out there who want a hand-drawn look maintained while in the process of drawing rather than generated at the end.
Because Sketch is vector based, if you want color or other effects for the finished look, you’ll need either two Layers or two Viewports to stack the sketched line work over a colored, non-Sketched copy of the model. On the disk from Nemetschek, the example showed the body of the model done in Artistic Renderworks / Oil Painting. No one much uses oil painting I’m guessing, but with the NNA model clad in stone and brick, the final assembly looked pretty cool.
Whatever it is that’s been bugging you, causing you to lose momentum, I’d like to hear about it on April 20th. Do you bog when creating a workable file structure? Are you dragged down trying to manage too many Classes and too many multiple Layer-Linked sheets? You’d like a boost to your 3D capabilities? Roofs make you restless?
Bring in your questions and lets talk about them. Be assured, there is a simple solution but finding it on your own is sometimes not so simple. Together we’ll find the answers.
Lastly, I’d like to thank those of you that have written back over the months expressing appreciation for the Convert To Lines newsletters and for sharing tips and/or examples of your work. All serve as fuel helping me keep a positive point of view.
Following the April 20th meeting, May 25th will be our last get-together before summer vacation. We’ll take off June through August to play and recharge. Expect to hear from me once more before May and then sometime in early September as we jump into fall.


Tom Greggs

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