Thursday, November 09, 2006


Serving the Seattle VectorWorks Users Group and Northwest VectorWorks users.

In this issue:
•3D spoken here.
•JLC Conference, Seattle, and VectorWorks
•Tips and tricks:
Moving doors and windows within walls
Converting Viewports to lines
Keeping Classes simple
Quick editing of Viewports

Greetings VectorWorks users! Our next meeting is Thursday, November 16th, from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Seattle Central Community College Wood Construction Center lecture hall. The hall is located at 2310 S. Lane St. (intersection of 23rd Avenue South and South Lane Street). Parking is available in the gated lot off South King Street, just one block south of Jackson Street. The lecture hall is the building directly adjacent to the parking lot at its south side. Walk up the wooden side-ramp to the second door. You’ll find the topic of the evening is in the following paragraph.

VectorWorks allows several different ways of manipulating 3D elements into a model with the most advanced method being the assembly of layers using the Stack Layers tool. We will use this tool to create simple 3D models, then take you through the process of display by using Viewports. Along with this I’d like to touch on the method of assembly used prior to the development of Viewports, just to give you another way to put things together when circumstances require and this may also be of interest to those owners of VW Fundamentals. We’ll look at Extrude Along Path, chamfering edges of solids, and subtracting solids (both from 3D Power Pack). If you have struggled with 3D, I hope to help you move beyond simply assembling the parametric model elements already existing in the Resource folders. This evening is free so come along and bring whatever other VW question you have and we’ll see if we can find an answer.


JLC Live, the Residential Construction Show, associated with the Journal of Light Construction magazine, will be coming to Seattle November 9th through the 10th at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle. You can read about the long list of businesses showing product as well as classes being offered during the show at VectorWorks and Softplan will be demo’d during each day. Sketchup will be shown Friday morning in a class called Better Bid Presentations with 3D Shop Drawings Using Sketchup. Thursday or Friday will cost $35 to view the exhibits and computer labs. The Sketchup class is a Conference Seminar. Go to JLCLIVE to confirm costs.

When a door or window is inserted into a wall, there are a couple of different ways to move it to a revised location. If you look at the Object Info palette once the door or window is installed, you will see a button named Position and if you click there, a palette comes up which shows three parallel lines. The best way to understand this tool is to do a little drill: draw a wall that takes a turn such that you have two walls. Insert a door into one of the walls. Dimension from the inside wall’s ends back to the center of the door as well as from the outer end of the wall to center of door. Pull at least four dimensions back to the door’s center. Now double click on the door; when the Object Info palette comes up, click on Position. The parallel lines should be successively shorter on one end reflecting the fact that there is a corner from which dimensions can be placed. Click on the little round ends of each line and they should show a dimension which matches the one you’ve already placed about the door. This should help you see the relationships. Clicking through the options for moving within an existing wall will give you the insight needed to use this tool effectively while moving in precise amounts.
You can drag the window or door back and forth manually but you should look to the Mode bar (second from the top of your drawing) and click on the icon that looks like a piece of insulated wire with the insulation stripped off in the middle. This button keeps the window or door from slipping out of the wall when you drag it. It won’t prohibit you from inserting more windows and doors later if it is still turned on. Put any kind of a marker--loci work great-- and drag the window or door to your reference marker.
Here’s another way to move your window or door accurately. Click on the door, then click on the 2D Reshape Tool and draw a marquee around the object to be moved, then click on the Move tool or its keyboard equivalent, and insert the dimensions needed, hit enter and away you go.


Is there a simple way to convert a Viewport to lines? With VectorWorks moving toward the Viewport paradigm and obsoleting the old method of converting your 3D model (or really, a Copy of it) to lines for the purposes of cleaning up elevations, sections and others, you may still find that your Viewport depiction of the project needs to be finessed and reworked in a way that only a wholesale conversion to lines makes practical. Yes, you can continue to drive the model ever more toward complete 3D-edness in order that the model would show itself more accurately, but does this serve your interests in light of the little time you have left to get the project finished and out the door?
Some of us Old Schoolers have secretly slipped into the Legacy folder within the Workspace folder via the Workspace Editor and added back the stalwart Cut 2D Section as well as Cut 3D Section. This gives us additional tools to speed up the conversion of model views to assemblies of easily edited lines. The rest of you, unburdened by legacy claptrap may find that you’d like to occasionally cheat up a little, leaving the VectorWorks Way, to convert the snapshot of whatever view you have captured using Viewports into lines or polygons. Remember that the snapshot I speak of is live, and any conversion breaks its liveness; in other words, its ability to update itself when other changes are made to the model. Again, in the interest of time, this decision to convert may be deemed reasonable.
If you have an appropriate Viewport created which you wish to convert to lines, first create a new Layer to receive the conversion--let’s say this Layer will have a 1/4”=1’ scale (1:48). Click on the Viewport and, in the OIP (object info palette), set its scale to 1:1. Then use the Convert Copy to Lines command under Modify. (Note that using the Ungroup command by itself will not work.) Send it to the new Layer using the OIP palette and there, ungroup and edit as usual. If you don’t first set the Viewport’s scale to 1:1 and still convert copy to lines, sending the resulting conversion to the new layer, you will get a tiny set of lines. You can easily fix this via scaling by the factor shown in the scale box--in the case of 1/4” or 1:48, so scale up by a factor of 48.


Let’s say you have created a Viewport but wish to return quickly to the Design Layer to continue work or you want to change the Crop outline or you wish to add a few annotations to the Viewport. Where are the key combo’s hidden? Double click on the Viewport to bring up the dialog box. Push down on the Command Key (Mac) or the Control key (PC) and you’ll see revealed the shortcut commands.


There has been a bit of back and forth on the VW Listserve lately on how to best utilize Classes. There is a myriad of ways to do this, from using all classes and only one layer to all layers and very few classes. Trying to adopt one of them without having it flow organically, so to speak, from your own process, is a recipe for frustration. I say start small and work up as you need to and in so doing, earn your right to insight. With the multiple ways (and locations) to select, set and manipulate, who can blame someone for over-amping their drawing process without meaning to?
Here is a letter taken from the Listserve which may help you, if you are also not sure of how best to use classes. Again, this is a starting place, not where you are likely to end up.

The question:
There are times when I am in a Viewport and I am annotating and I wonder what Class are these labels should be on or does it matter. So I go with the latter usually it goes on the None Class or whatever class I am on currently then when I go to a Design Layer and turn off a couple of the classes, and I go back to the Sheet Layers the objects are gone because they are on those classes I turned off. I never got an education on this area as to where annotations such as labeling, making general notes. Also I notice that the Viewports have classes and layers on them too and I wonder where they should be on. I really don't have a full grasp on Classes when working on Sheet Layers.
Is there any suggestions as to how to organize these classes so I don't have to keep fixing them. It is a major speed hindrance and a frustration. I always forget oh i am suppose to put that on that level. It drives me nuts. Is there a way that I could make this easier on myself? How could better organize this process?
Alex V.

The Answer:
At the risk of being too simple and basic, I'll give it go.
I try to do all my drawing in the "None" class which is always on. Every time I try to draw WITHIN any other class to give it a certain attribute or texture, I will forget that I'm in that specific class and put the next object in a class that I don't want it to be in which haunts you down the road. Burns me every time. There are some items like dimensions and wall styles that are preset to go to there own classes. And sometimes when I'm doing roofs, which are always "Roof Faces" for me, I will set the active class to "Roof". For me, I get into less trouble if I stay in the "None" class.
The same is true for Viewports. I haven't been using VW for that long, but I haven't found a reason yet to have a Viewport in a separate class other than "None". I'm sure somebody has a reason to but if you want its contents invisible or grayed, that can be done through its OIP. If I want to have separate control of a certain object’s visibility, color, texture, or attribute when seen in a Viewport, I will create a separate Class for that object and place it in that class through its OIP in the Design Layer after creation. Then when you're in a Sheet Layer you can control that object separately through the class button in the Viewports OIP, giving objects in that class different attributes or visibilities than it has in the Design Layers.
So in essence, you can have any number of different Viewports of the same floor plan, let's say. If your dimensions are in their own class, you can give them a different line weight or color in each Viewport. Classes are all about controlling visibility. Keeps things in the "None" class until you need to control them.

Michael Kingsley

Hope to see you at the next User Group meeting on Thursday, the 16th!
Tom Greggs
(206 524-2808

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The authoritative message :), curiously...