Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Convert to Lines #6

In this issue:
Roof creation
Extrude along path
Model View tool

Greetings, VectorWorks Users! Here is a follow-up to the December 1st Roofs seminar plus the announcement of the upcoming January meeting for 2005!
Roof creation is mostly about drawing a polygon and then extruding it and tipping it to fit the purpose as intended--shedding rain away thus preventing it from dripping into our cereal bowls. Most roofs are made up of more than one plane so that means, when you make a number of extruded, pitched polygons by hand, they probably won’t fit correctly the first time out.
In Top/Plan View, place a locus point at the area where these planes should knit. Copy the locus point into memory. Change to Side View to measure the horizontal distance from one peak to the other, then go back to Top/Plan View. Double-click on your 3D roof and you are whisked to a new editing screen. Paste-In-Place the locus point onto this new screen and then use the 2D Reshape Tool to stretch your roof poly to the new shape. Exit by hitting the Done button in the upper right hand corner of your screen and you are back to Top/Plan View and ready to reshape the next, adjoining polygon.
I like to view the roof in relation to the walls below so when I go to a side view of the roof, assuming it is on a different layer than my walls, I use the Align Layer Views command to swing the walls into alignment. I like limiting my visible layers to just walls and roofs since other pieces of the drawing clutter up the view making it harder to see and make choices. Regardless of what you are building, be it cabinets or gears, use Align Layer Views to gain understanding of the Layer to Layer relationships.
I used VectorWorks 11 + Architect for the evening’s discussion and so I made use of all the automated tools. But when the going gets complicated and automatic doesn’t get it done, Ungroup the roof planes and edit each one just like it was any other extruded polygon.
The 2D Reshape tool and the 3D reshape tool are a bit confusing since the 2D reshape tool IS used to change 3D shapes. But remember that when you edit a simple 3D shape, you are taken to an editing pane where the 3D info has been stripped away and stored. You are now editing a 2D entity. Exiting restores the 3D elements. The 3D Reshape tool edits more complex 3D entities including Nurbs surfaces such at Extrude Along Path objects, and also walls.
I’m hoping for one little old improvement in the roof tools in the next VW upgrade and that would be automatic creation of fascia and barge rafters. VW does this now but only when the barge or fascia is in relation to a cut rafter tail. If you had a 2x4 top cord truss and wanted a 2x8 fascia, you’d have to create this deeper board yourself. You can use a simple extrude, one by one, to create these however that process can be laborious. Just prior to the 1st, I tried a couple of new ways to create fascia and barges with mixed results. In one case, I used the automatic roof framing tool in VW 11 which made individual 3D rafters for the entire roof including barge rafters. Then I threw away every other stick of framing while keeping the barges. Don’t check the Create Ridge Board box or this will leave a gap between the barges at their tops. If you want to stretch the barge to enclose a gutter end, simply lengthen the span in the Object Info palette.
But David Rosenfeld suggested using the Wall tool to make a fascia or any kind of repeating band. This is a good idea since you can type in the wall width and height, 1-1/2” by 7-1/2” in this case, in the Object Info palette. But what happens when you have a gable roof mixed in with hips? Continue to run the “wall” across the front of the gable then go to a straight on view of the gable and use the 3D Reshape tool to add a reshape node to this “wall” at both top and bottom allowing you to drag it upwards to fit the gable.
When the shape is more complex than a simple rectangle, use the Extrude Along Path tool. I use it for gutters and belly bands with drip caps. Note that the Extrude Along Path tool will place your shape’s centroid or middle average onto the center of your pathway (called the Path Object). So you have to either outsmart this tendency or use Edit Group to shift the shape one way or the other to get it to align correctly. I’ve resigned myself to using the Edit function since I rarely get it right the first time. It is worth the effort however. In two projects that had complicated drip bands, the final 2D elevation drawings had them showing perfectly so I didn’t have to add lines by hand. This is a time saver. You will also see in 3D any error if your band is terminating or transitioning in an incorrect manner. I expect Nemetschelk to improve the Extrude Along Path tool with an alignment option in a future upgrade.
As noted above, the Extrude Along Path tool creates a more complex 3D entity. The Path that you create is converted to a Nurbs curve. This means that when you need to lengthen or shorten the Path, click on Edit Group and then use the 3D Reshape tool and not the 2D reshape tool to make the change. Paste in your locus points for reference since estimating distance in the editing pane without using a reference is especially difficult. Lastly, whenever pasting in references into the editing window or pane, be sure to remove them before clicking on Done so they won’t mar the finished 3D views.
How many of you have used the Model View tool to assemble your layers into models? I have been using the original, much less intuitive method called Create Layer Link. Model View has been under my nose since at least Version 10.5 and I’ve finally discovered it! Model View may only be available in Architect but I sincerely hope that it has made it to all versions of VW. I’d be interested in knowing if the bare VectorWorks package has Model View installed. Try this tool with its improved interface now.
Here is a question concerning the coming year: should we break up the meeting structure to allow us to focus on the newer user one month and then cover topics more interesting to advanced users the following month? Or should we continue on, mixing and matching both during our evenings as time and inclination allow? Jonathan Pickup, author of many manuals on using VW, strongly suggests the two party system. But he also meets many more months of the year than we do and he charges $ for these meetings, understandable in part because he has to fly to the various cities served. Here is the list of offerings they attempt to provide the newer user during the course of a year:
•New Drawing Methods
•Preferences and Constraints
•Setting Up a Domestic Project
•How to Use Layers and Classes
•Building a Simple House
•Creating and Using Symbols
•Walls, Floors, Columns
•Simple Roofs
•Intro to 3D Modeling
•Intro to Worksheets
•Setting Up Large Projects
•Intro to Rendering
•Intro to Site Modeling
•Intro to Customizing
If you are a newer user who would benefit from a structured intro similar to that offered by the New Zealand VectorWorks User Group, then let me know. Our reality is that we would structure the evenings to suite our own biases but use Jonathan’s well developed pdf files, based on his books, to guide us. He has very generously offered to give us these files for SVUG use.
The URL for the NZ User Group: http://www.archoncad.co.nz/usergroup/home.htm
Jonathan’s book sales site:
Jack’s back! Jack McKean will host the January meeting and cover the Viewports concept in VW 11. He is finding it a terrific improvement for organizing drawings. I’ll take a look at Objects from Polyline in VW Architect which allows you to create thirteen different items from any polyline shape such as creation of massing models (quick housing shapes), piping runs, seating layouts, space planning and more.
I’ll bring the Learning Series CD’s so if you wish to borrow one, be prepared to write me a check for $75 which I’ll hold until the safe return of the CD which should be mailed back to me after approximately 2-1/2 weeks. If you are out of meeting range, mail me the check plus a nonrefundable check for $5 to cover to-and-fro mailing. If you get and return one, I can keep the same check and mail a fresh one out. When your last CD is back safe in my hands, I’ll return your uncashed check by mail.
For further info on the Learning Series CD contents:
Plan to meet on January 19, a Wednesday, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM 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 building directly adjacent to the parking lot at its south side. The event is free.
Write down the date on your calendar and expect a reminder e-mail sometime closer to the 19th.

No comments: