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Product Review: Vectorworks Architect 2011

In this feature review Architosh editor, Anthony Frausto-Robledo, with contributions from architect John Helm, takes a thorough look at Vectorworks Architect 2011

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New Modeling Abilities – Push/Pull Tool

One of the most exciting new features in 2011 is the new Push/Pull tool and the improved Face Selection technology. Previously, some of the functionality here existed in the old Protrusion Cut-Out Tool and in version 2010 there was an attempt at making a push/pull tool function but it was immature compared to the tool now.

One can use the new Push/Pull tool to stretch objects to whatever size they need to be and then change them interactively.

Vectorworks 2011’s Push/Pull tool is not entirely equal to the similar tools in Google’s SketchUp or AutoDesSys’ very capable modeling tool Bonzai 3D. But Push/Pull in Vectorworks 2011 does truly exist now and you can do a lot of great things with it, especially once you master the new 3D environment.

When using the new Push/Pull tool you will notice the new Face Selection technology. Clicking anywhere on a face, not just its edges, will highlight it using “pre-selection” technology used elsewhere in the program. (see images 04-06). There is a lot to this new technology in 2011 so we want to cover it in some detail in a series of images.

04 – A 2D rectangle in axon view (planar object) has be “face selected” using the Push/Pull tool.

05 – Using “extrude face” mode the Push/Pull tool creates a beam. You can tab in a precise dimension.

06 – A bracket’s bolt holes are created using the “sub-face” mode of the Push/Pull tool.

Creating a simple 3D bracket detail using solely the new and improved Push/Pull tool was easy. Face selection is a solid highlight color. The workplane was placed on various faces of the beam or post member to create the 2D planar rectangles which would form the bracket’s geometry. Then the circles, as planar objects, were drawn on the face of the bracket. You can subtract from solids using the “sub-face” mode of the Push/Pull tool.

Working in 3D in Vectorworks 2011 still requires orientation and navigation skills that are more difficult than other programs, especially dedicated modelers. For instance, when working on the detail above it was best to save a view of the isometric orientation in order to quickly go back to it. We know that on full keyboards the number keys are associated with particular views thus creating shortcuts but on laptops you are at a loss. In the past we have discussed multiple working windows so you can see top, side, axon and perspective all at once. Given the direction of direct-modeling (explicit modeling) in MCAD and in BIM the focus seems to be on better 3D navigation/orientation all within the main window.

07 – The Set Working Plane tool is critical to 3D work in Vectorworks 2011. When it “pre-selects” a face a faint gray outline of that face appears. You can see it on the top of the beam above. As you can see it is barely visible We could not figure out how to change the color or increase the thickness of this highlight.

In any case, producing the bracket detail was quite simple with mastery of the 2011 2D/3D environment. Setting the working plane to various faces is necessary to push and pull objects and draw planar objects on new 3D surfaces. The “pre-selection” highlighting however is very faint (gray) and we could find no preference to change this to a brighter and different color. (see image 07 above).

08 – You can now extra planar objects from 3D objects like walls, roofs and other complex 3D forms, including NURBS. However, not all of these objects can take the application of a hatch or gradient. We found surfaces could not. 

Finally, Vectorworks 2011 has a new Extract Planar Objects from 3D Objects command. This is very useful to creating and applying textures and fills on 3D surfaces. Currently in Vectorworks you cannot select a face of a 3D object and apply a single texture, hatch or fill to it. In order to do this, you now extract a planar face object from a 3D object. This is a big improvement to the old process of applying such hatches and fills to new polyline objects inside a viewport of a 3D object, like a building. (see image 08)

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Reader Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anthony Frausto, Anthony Frausto. Anthony Frausto said: We review Vectorworks Architect 2011, covering parts of Landmark and Renderworks. New program is quite an update. Here… […]

  2. Another excellent review; thanks gentlemen. If I may, I’d like to add a few “minor” features you didn’t mention (there’s so much new in this version I can’t blame you for missing a few gems!) that turn out to be productivity boosts:
    —Vectorworks and user library shortcut from Resource Browser
    —Draw circle by edge and center point
    —Suspend snaps with ` key
    —Offset tool distance value available in the tool bar
    —Toggle preferences (B/W or color, rulers on/off, view/hide objects outside container, scale line weights on/off) from the tool bar
    —Save favorite settings for Eyedropper and Select Similar (‘magic wand’) tools in sets.

    François Lévy, Architect

  3. Thanks Francois,
    Yes we didn’t mention those items, and several others. This was a very large update and we also touched on Landmark and Renderworks items. The Resource Browser shortcut is an excellent addition, as are the toggle capabilities from the tool bar. Very glad you have pointed them out.

  4. […] jeg ikke finde noget hos AECbytes om Vectorworks (men jeg har en helt ny anmeldelse fra Architosh hér) eller AutoCAD Architecture. – Men jeg vil klart anbefale, at man kigger lidt nærmere på […]

  5. […] לכתבה המלאה, לחצו כאן […]

  6. […] (articulo completo en ingles en […]

  7. […] Anthony Frausto-Robledo AIA, LEED AP som skriver for er overbevist: “Dette programmet fortsetter å vokse og blir forbedret i et hurtig tempo. Vi er overveldet over omfanget av forbedringene i de tre siste utgivelser. Vectorworks 2011 er nå et meget godt direkte-modelleringsverktøy for arkitekter og innen andre fag…på konsept-nivået. Dette vil legge press på dedikerte modelleringsprogrammer som ofte blir brukt i innledende prosjekteringsfaser. For arkitekter fortsetter dette programmet å være en usedvanlig fleksibel og godt avrundet verktøy egnet for BIM- og ikke-BIM-prosjektering.” Les resten av omtalen av Vectorworks Architect 2011 HER. […]

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