Saturday, February 14, 2009

Convert to Lines #34

2/14/09
Serving the Seattle VectorWorks Users Group and Northwest Vectorworks users.

To contact me, please write to tomgreggs@comcast.net or call (206) 524-2808

In this issue:
• No User Group meeting in February. Thoughts on the future.
• Viewing drawings through an AutoCAD lens
• New 3D tutorial movie available from Vectorworks for Left Handers
• New plant tutorial movie available from NNA
• Misc. tips
• What is VectorWorks for Left Handers?
....................................

There will be no meeting for the month of February.
Our traditional meeting place at Seattle Central may be going away. Word has it that the Wood Construction Center will be moved south to Georgetown for Fall Quarter. I’d like some feedback from the group. Where should we meet? Should we continue to meet? Is there an individual that would like to head up the User Group or cooperate with me in some fashion? The net has provided a super convenient place for us to learn at our own time and place. None the less, face-to-face sharing/learning is the most powerful process yet invented.
Let me know your thoughts.

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

For those that exchange drawings with AutoCAD people, it would be great if you could preview your drawings IN AutoCAD prior to pushing the Send button. Here is a link to a discussion on where to go/how to go about this:
http://techboard.nemetschek.net/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=116962#Post116962

The AutoCAD viewer DWG TrueView 2009 is available here:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?id=6703438%26siteID=123112

While this viewer only works on Windows, I loaded it onto the Windows XP partition on my Mac (Intel chipset, Boot Camp) and it worked great. I discovered that my Windows partition didn’t have the same fonts as my Mac side so a default font was subbed which changed the font spacing. Of course, this is exactly what happens to exchanged drawings much of the time so seeing it firsthand gave me motivation to work this out in advance with the party on the receiving end.
http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/bootcamp.html

One of the last posts on the Tech Board (now called the Community Board) was from me providing a link to my Hidden Lines video tutorial which may give some users a more predicable outcome in translating files from Vwks to AutoCAD via DWG, DXF, etc. If you trade files regularly and have had problems, the video provides a means to simplify the export.

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

What’s the best way to set up layers to show your 3D model? Below is a Community Board thread worth reading. I chimed in with a half-baked reply to the thread, got slapped down, got up and revised my original post:
http://techboard.nemetschek.net/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=116855#Post116855

After thinking about the process a bit more, I sat down and created a new video tutorial on how to assemble layers bearing 3D elements by presetting Z heights--or not--to show the model correctly. The tutorial is designed for the beginner or the user who hasn’t yet leapt into Vwks 3D. I've placed it in my Public folder which can be accessed and the video downloaded.

Download the 3D Tutorial.mov.zip from here (64 MB, about 23 minutes):
http://public.me.com/tomgreggs
You will be presented with a dialog box into which you should type the following:
Account: public
Password: vector

Click on the little down-pointing arrow at the end of the file row to begin the transfer.

Already existing in the Public folder is an advanced tutorial called Hidden Line Editing linked to a Read Me, another tutorial on Workspace Editing along with a Vwks 2009 version of keyboard shortcuts (VWKeyboardShortcuts.pdf), a shorthand version of frequently used commands (Tom’s Keyboard Shortcuts.pdf) and a copy of an edited workspace (Tom’s Architect Wkspace.zip).

The latest Quicktime player can be had at www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

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

NNA has produced a new tutorial for Landmark users called “Using the Plant Database”
http://download2.nemetschek.net/www_movies/user_group/VW_Plant_Database.mov
It’s about 17 minutes long. It should begin to play immediately assuming you have a video player that can handle .mov files.

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


• In the last few newsletters, I’ve talked a lot about creating Viewports which are then sent back to reside on a Design Layer (DLVP’s). Here is a link to a help file within Vwks 2009 that presents the official viewpoint and process: file:///Applications/Vectorworks%202009/VWHelp/Vectorworks%20Design%20Series/wwhelp/wwhimpl/common/html/wwhelp.htm#context=Vectorworks_Design_Series&file=01_Standards.3.7.html

The properties of DLVP’s are:
file:///Applications/Vectorworks%202009/VWHelp/Vectorworks%20Design%20Series/wwhelp/wwhimpl/common/html/wwhelp.htm#context=Vectorworks_Design_Series&file=01_Standards.3.7.html

• VectorWorks 2009 can import Sketchup 6 models but not their textures. You get the shape but not the colors. Booo.

• Cool way to bury product information within your drawing or model:
http://techboard.nemetschek.net/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=116173#Post116173

• Reasons to upgrade from Vwks Fundamentals to Designer #744:
There is a centerline stamp tool available in Designer that gives you FOUR different styles of C over L to choose from. Whatever mood I’m in, I’ve got a centerline stamp to fit!

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


What is VectorWorks for Left Handers? And why, with a product as advanced as VectorWorks, now in its thirteenth or fourteenth version, would there be any room at all for another fool offering how-to help? The last paper manual, VectorWorks 2008 Fundamentals, is over seven hundred pages long. NNA contracts with the Canadian company Resolve, to write how-to books, create Learning CD’s, and tour the country teaching Vwks. There’s the Quick Start Guide, the Getting Started guides, the Video Library, the Building Overviews, and of course, the e-manuals, Fundamentals and Design Series which replaced the paper manuals, and are now found under Help/VectorWorks Help.

In their way, each contributes knowledge but does not equip you, in my opinion, with the understanding needed to get useful work produced as soon as possible. Let's call "soon as possible" learning Just In Time learning. The e-manuals, while mercifully rewritten from the paper version, can’t be grabbed from the shelf on a whim and taken to the kitchen table to scan for anything that might catch the eye and as a result, serendipity has been dealt a blow. By their nature, the manuals address the entire enchilada, as it were. There is no official path to Just In Time learning but there could be; witness the Sketchup tutorials, for instance.

So VectorWorks for Left Handers is intended to live in the gaps; to fit between the manuals written by others, not intending to compete with but rather offer a process intended to get you up and running as quickly as possible. Toward that end, I’ve taken the first steps by setting up a Public folder and creating 3D Tutorial. I hope to soon add another based on using the 2D tools. With this modest start, the groundwork will have been laid for offering a VectorWorks beginner a most basic understanding of tools and framework for assembly of his or her first 3D model, no charge.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

Tom Greggs
Greggs Building Design
Seattle

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