Sunday, July 16, 2006

Convert to Lines #17

CONVERT TO LINES #17
7/7/06
Serving the Seattle VectorWorks Users Group and Northwest VectorWorks users

In this issue:
•More Fun With Viewports:
Distributing Title blocks
Avoiding the red X-box
Creating Elevations of your model
•Closing a polyline
•New VW 12 Multimedia CD’s
•Julian Carr’s DXF tips.
•Do you draw with very few Layers?
•Jonathan Pickup’s new landscape book.
•Keyboard shortcuts
•More tips
•My new blog and changed e-mail address


Greetings VectorWorks Users! It’s summertime but there’s no reason why I can’t pester you with another Convert to Lines, that is if you haven’t completely shut down, left town or become a VW expert in the last little while. If you are still creeping up on Viewports, then this issue may be helpful.
..............................................................................................................

When Viewports first came out, I was not very happy having to deal with another layer of complexity but the more I use them the happier I seem to be. The first payoff is that you can stack your Layers to suit your model and completely ignore how they’ll look on the printed page since the Viewport can take over that job. VP’s can be moved without changing anything on the represented Layer. Of course, you’ve always been able to move bits of your drawing up or down from Layer to Layer but never before have I been able to keep things completely aligned, top to bottom, and not be tempted to move them around prior to printing. I was happy to realize that I could even key my plot plans and surveys to my model and so send bits of info up or down from 1/4” per ft on one Layer to 1” = 20’ on another.
How does one place a title block on each Sheet? There are two or more ways and the first is to turn your title block into a Viewport, sending a copy to each Sheet. Let me digress just a bit and then I’ll expand on the process: I’ve set up my Templates (those sets of preferences already preset for the typical paper sizes we use) to have only one pre made Layer and this holds my title block-- typically in a one-to-one scale--assuming that you might have a jpeg or a Postscript image as part of your title block. The title block should show the client name, date and any other info that would repeatedly show on each Sheet. Coming back now to Viewports, select the title block Layer and make it Active with all other Layers invisible. Make a VP of this Layer and call it Title Block (You don’t have to Select All--if you do, you may find that your title block bounding-box is used as a crop and as the process completes, you line work disappears, as crop boxes tend to do.) Once it’s been turned to a VP, showing under the VP tab of the Navigation palette, you can copy and paste it as many times as needed onto each sheet. One other way is to duplicate the title block Viewport and send it to the proper Sheet using the Layer button in the OI palette. Either way, each method will generate a new, sequentially numbered title block in the Viewports column. To fill out each title block VP with Sheet-specific text, simply write over the block OR you could double click the VP which will bring up a dialog box where you could check Annotations and then do your text work there. But for me, since the title block embellishments are few, I draw right on top of them preferring to bypass Annotations. Note that using this system, it is easy to make global changes to title block text by editing the original Title Block Layer.
The second, and perhaps easier way is to simply make a symbol of your title block (under Modify>Create Symbol) and save it to a folder in your Resource Browser so that it’s always available. Just drag it onto each new Sheet. For a clear description of this process, go to VW Help and search for Creating a Custom Title Block. There, you will see a method described that will allow you to update text in your block using the Record Format tool. This tool may be a helpful for larger groups looking to maintain continuity in their Sheet naming process but perhaps not so much for smaller groups and individuals.
If any of you have an alternative way of creating title blocks that you’d like to share or a different opinion of text linking via the Record Format tool, let me know and I’ll pass it on.
Continuing with Viewports, let’s say you’ve just made a fresh, new Viewport of one page of your drawing but you find that the Sheet holding the new VP shows only a red box with an X through it. Not to worry, the gremlins have played with your Object Info palette settings and instead of your 2D work displayed in Top/Plan view, it is now showing in left front isometric or some such, but since no 3D element is within this view, it shows only the red box. Reset your OI palette to Top/Plan and you’ll be back in business.
The promise of Viewports is that your model will, with a short command, update itself regularly. Thus a Sheet or a VP Section made early in the game can be refreshed and updated closer to the time you wish to print and issue drawings. Your 3D MODEL can be shown in Left and Back views simply by turning to that view and making a Viewport of each side. But then what? The new way may leave you with the same old problem you had when you were using Cut 3D View or were using Convert Copy to Lines--that is, incomplete drawings requiring removal of lines. But you can’t remove a line from a Viewport, only mask over, and this may, depending on your model, be more work than the original process of line removal. Obviously, staying with an updating model as long as possible is a great, great advantage but only you can decide which of the two methods are most effective and efficient.
...............................................................................................................

Closing a polyline is frequently important if you want to record an accurate reading of the area within or especially when you wish to extrude a closed shape. Failure to close will create a form that will accept no color or texture and will only show as a wire frame. Frequently you can solve your issue by looking on the Object Info palette (OI for short) for the Closed box which will automatically close your form but sometimes this will create a wrinkle by adding an extra line. Here is a different technique for finding the gap in your extrusion, taken from a post by JIm Linke from the VW Listserve:
“You are right, the polyline is not closed; the first and last vertices may just be on top of each other. You can see this in the OI palette when there are more vertices than there should be. In the OI palette > Vertex: you can use the arrow keys to move around the polyline; if one vertex highlights twice, that is the open point. You can easily see when a polyline is closing while drawing in the bezier, cubic spline or arc mode mode. The last point will smooth the entire curve if it is closed. It is harder to see closure when drawing polylines by corner point. Be sure "Snap to Grid" is off and "Snap to Object" is on. The screen hint will show "Point". The resulting polyline should have the correct number of vertices
(corners). If there is one extra, it is not closed. In this case, convert the polyline to a polygon and make sure the "Closed" check box is checked. If you missed the last point by a little bit, closing the polygon will draw in the missing edge.”
................................................................................................................

Nemetschek has just published a new VectorWorks 12 CD that very thoroughly and professionally lays out the advantages of VectorWorks in all its versions. If you know someone who is thinking about getting into VW, let me know and I’ll get them a copy. Its title is “VectorWorks 12 Multimedia CD.”
...............................................................................................................

Julian Carr of WinDoor fame has put together a short explanation of how to set up your files for export via DXF for AutoCAD users. This is the kind of practical how-to I wish we had more of.
http://www.ozcad.com.au/support/PDFs/TechNote001ExportDWG.pdf

..................................................................................................................

I’d like to hear from VW users who work with only a Layer or two who then draw into a large list of Classes. I’m assuming you draw largely in 2D. What do you see as your advantage? I’m not trying to pick a fight, only to learn, as I believe there is no wrong way to use VW. There are only more (and more) efficient ways of displaying your information. If you have something that works for you, that works for me. But do drop me a line.
................................................................................................................

A new training manual for is available for those working in landscape design: VectorWorks Landscape Tutorial 12. New Zealand architect Jonathan Pickup has designed this manual for version 12 to facilitate a smoother introduction to VectorWorks Landmark.
VectorWorks Landmark Tutorial 12 is designed to build upon beginner's knowledge of VectorWorks. The exercise-based manual instructs learners how to import a site plan, add plants, schedule plants, calculate hardscape areas, create 3D site models and 3D buildings, and create 3D designs for presentation purposes. Other topics include setting up layer and class standards, drawing complex site plans, dealing
with walls and roofs, creating an office library, annotation, and customizing VectorWorks.
Visit the ArchonCAD web site at:
http://www.archoncad.co.nz/index.php
There is a pdf file that shows a portion of the book. I highly recommend any of Jonathan’s books.

...............................................................................................................

There are maybe two or three levels of shortcuts you can learn, the first group you likely already know from other programs. Cut, copy, paste and select-all, quit and save come to mind. If you’ve used VW for much time at all, you may have started to learn the following:
Ungroup---command + u (ctrl + u)
Undo------command + z (ctrl + z)
Rotate (left)-----command + L (ctrl + L)
Duplicate-----command + d (ctrl + d)
Move-----command + m (ctrl + m)
Nudge (one pixel)---shift + arrow key (same in windows)
Send back---command + b (ctrl + b)
Send forward---command + f (ctrl + f)
Trim----command + t (ctrl + t)
You can find seven pages of keyboard shortcuts by going to Help and typing “keyboard shortcuts” into the search box which will deliver your list, but only if you are connected to the internet. After printing out and stapling up the pages, you might find that there are just too many commands to make sense of. Which ones are most helpful at this stage of the game? With that in mind, let me offer a second set that should pay dividends.

Selection tool (arrow)------x (both platforms)
Text tool----1 (both)
Move drawing (boomerang tool) spacebar plus cursor
Line tool---2 (both)
Polygon tool---8 (both)
Rectangle tool---4 (both)
Paste in place---command + option + v (ctrl + alt + v)
Ungroup---command + u (ctrl + u)
Fit to objects (find selected item)----command + 6 (ctrl + 6)
Fit to window----command + 4 (ctrl + 4)
2D reshape tool----use the minus key (both)
Split tool----L (both)
2D mirror tool--- = (equal key) (both)
Return to Top/Plan view---command + 5 (ctrl + 5)
Also works on both platforms to press 0 on numerical keyboard.
Pressing 5 on numerical keyboard puts you in Top View (which is a
3D-view only).
Zoom tool---c (both)
Zoom out by a factor of 2----command + 1 (ctrl + 1)
Zoom out by a factor of 4----comm + opt + 1 (ctrl + alt + 1)
Zoom in by a factor of 2----comm + 2 (ctrl + 2)
Zoom in by a factor of 4-----comm + opt + 2 (ctrl + opt + 2)
Move a wall’s center--u keys toggles through options
Use the u key in general to toggle through Mode Bar options and
use the i key to open Mode Bar dialog boxs
View active layer only---command + option + 3
(ctrl + alt + 3)
View active layer with others grayed (Gray Others)---comm + opt + 4
ctrl + alt + 4
View active layer with others black (Show Others)---comm + opt + 5
ctrl + alt + 5)
These last three are very handy when showing or hiding layers behind your working layer. If you have limited screen real estate, you might also look at the shortcuts for opening and closing palettes such as the Navigation and OI palette.
I expect many of you with experience would have something to add or subtract from this list but for many of you who are not yet using this second set of shortcuts, you may find a handful here that will free you real effort.

..............................................................................................................
A couple more tips: Using the Drawing Label tool to label plan details, sections, etc. on your Design Layers will get you the exact same label each time you use it forcing you to consecutively number each one via the Object Info palette. If, on the other hand, you add these labels to Sheets after your Viewports have been made, you will find that each time you click on a new detail, section or elevation, the label number will automatically update to the next higher number.

Last tip. To get a plus/minus sign, type shift+option together with the + key. I presume shift+ctrl and the plus key gets you the same thing on a PC.

...............................................................................................................

I’ve posted all my Convert to Lines newsletters onto a blog:
http://converttolines.blogspot.com
If you know a new(er) user of VW, pass on the address, and while you’re at it, send their e-mail address to me so I can add them to the Convert to Lines mailing list.
If anyone is interested in creating their own blog, Blogger makes it super easy to publish. And it’s free.
http://www.blogger.com/start

My new e-mail address is the same as this post: tomgreggs@comcast.net

That’s it for now!
Tom Greggs

1 comment:

Askinstoo said...

Hey! Very Nice! Check out this website I found where you can make extra cash.
It's not available everywhere, so go to the site to see if you can find something. I found something and make
and extra $900 a month!

http://www.degree-programs-online.info/extramoney.htm