At an invite only online press event, German-owned US subsidiary Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., of Maryland, today debuted their new Vectorworks and Renderworks 2015 products lines, including new versions of mobile apps for the Apple iOS platform. The products will be available on 16 September 2014.
The Big News: 64-bit, Animated View Transitions, New BIM Features and a Lot More
The Vectorworks 2015 product line has over 100 new features and updates. However, the biggest most important new update may be its full move to a 64-bit code base—not just for Renderworks, but the entire application. This will mean projects can be any gigantic size and if your hardware can handle the data size Vectorworks 2015 can handle the project too. Additionally, the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM) introduced in version 2014 has been further optimized and includes additional improvements for 3D interactivity and rendering.
Some of the key new features include (in no particular order):
- Full 64-bit code base
- Advancements to the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM) which lead to a range of new visualization features:
- Better Wireframe and Planar Graphics
- OpenGL-based View (saved views) Transition Animation
- New Curtain Wall Tool
- New Level Constraint System for Stories
- New COBie Facilities Management for IFC
- New 3D Hatching for Hidden Line Rendering
- New Renderworks Style Artistic Edges
- New Deform Modeling Tool
- New Clip Cube Caps
- New Retina Display and 4K Display Support
- New HTML-5 based help accessible at all times on even your iPhone
- New Roadway and Grade Object Improvements
- Numerous improvements to Landmark and Spotlight vertical industry products
While the Vectorworks 2015 product line gets over 100 updates and new features the company also is releasing a new version of Vectorworks Nomad that supports 3D viewing. In fact, the company ported the Vectorworks Graphics Module, to their supported mobile platforms, offering blazing fast 3D viewing of BIM and 3D models on iOS devices. And the company also has introduced a new mobile app called Vectorworks Remote, a new way to control your Mac or PC and Vectorworks—which will be aimed at presentations.
In addition to the items mentioned above, the company has made improvements useful to many users, in addition to AEC professionals using Vectorworks Architect 2015. The new stairs functionality supports more configurations, including angles and angled landings. Space objects can now help you manage multiple label scenarios within your documentation. Doors and Windows gain small but useful improvements such as a centerline option.
Site models also gain visual site model error indicators. And calculations for areas on site models are now more accurate as they are fully slope aware (not just projection based calcs). One of the biggest cool new features is the ability to remove color from OpenGL views but leave on bumps, shadows, transparency and reflectance. These are just the highlight features, there are dozens more.
What Looks Compelling
Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., has produced an excellent product video. From our press-only presentation and materials distributed, some of the most interesting compelling new features fall into the area of visualization and presentation. For architects who are doing BIM (Building Information Modeling) the new 64-bit code base is a big leap for larger projects. Dr. Biplab Sarkar noted that things like the old Apple QuickTime API (application programming interface) had to be removed. Such technology has been deprecated by Apple for years now and stuck at 32-bit. It was getting all their various components to true 64-bit that somewhat delayed the company form getting to 64-bit faster for the entire product, explained Sarkar.
Dr. Sarkar also confirmed that the VGM (Vectorworks Graphics Module) is aimed at the GPU hardware and the existing render modes are now driven from the VGM during design navigation, thus is substantially faster in addition to having nicer visual qualities due to other features like 3D hatching support.
In fact, what looks truly compelling in this release from the perspective of architecture is the VGM related technology that is generating a whole host of new visualization techniques. Architects are going to really enjoy two things in particular: one is the ability to turn off colors in OpenGL render mode while being able to turn on (or off) shadows and texture effects to enhance a presentation render. In Custom Renderworks mode (which uses the integrated CINEMA 4D rendering engine) you can remove color while retaining bump maps, transparency and reflectivity qualities in the rendered output. Likewise you can add more visual options with the expanded Draw Edges options (this is under the OpenGL mode). All of these options are going to really open up 3D visualization options for Vectorworks 2015 users.
Company Outlook and Details
Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., noted that the company has recently gone through its fastest growth in its recent history with new unit sales increased by a third. The company now has more than a half a million users worldwide. Japan in particular is a leading market for the company where the 10 largest construction companies are all Vectorworks customers. These companies have thousands of employees. The company’s other core large markets are the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and then Switzerland.
Flaherty noted that part of the Japan success story for the company is that Vectorwork’s very successful Japanese distributor, A&A Co. Ltd, was recently acquired by Canon of Japan, which functions like IBM global services, providing IT services for Japanese enterprises across a range of industries, including AECO.
The company’s Service Select subscription service is also a leading driver for the CAD firm, with nearly 70 percent of sales channeling through the subscription program. Members of Service Select gain quicker access to new releases, dedicated and exclusive support and learning materials and other benefits, like CAD library items.
During the question and answer session for the press, someone asked how the company was excelling with such tremendous growth compared to its many larger rivals. Sean Flaherty stated that there were probably two reasons. The first is that Japan—the company’s largest market—is rapidly adopting BIM in AECO. “I think Japan was slow to BIM but they will be more rapid adopters,” stated Flaherty.
The second reason was that the company is seeing a global design recovery happening which is contributing to the company’s recent success as well. This is important to note because Nemetschek Vectorworks is truly a global CAD player with large scale success across Europe, Asia and the Americas. As such it is not dependent solely on the economics of the US market.
To learn more directly visit here: http://www.vectorworks2015.net/
[Editor’s Note: We have made a correction. Earlier we stated that the mobile apps were for iOS, Android and Kindle, they in fact just for iOS at this present time. We have also clarified statements about the VGM. 11 Sep 2014.]