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Key New Modeling Features for Architects—In New Vectorworks 2018

Vectorworks 2018 has several new major modeling enhancements. We run down the main points of each.


Vectorworks, Inc., previously integrated Pixar’s open industry-standard subdivision surface libraries (Pixar OpenSubDiv) back at version 2016 and subsequently the Marionette visual-scripting technology has provided algorithmic access to some of these modeling routines.

Adding More Editing Modes to OpenSubDiv

But it looks like this year in Vectorworks 2018, the company is dramatically adding more tools for specifically controlling shape control, manipulation, and editing of complex subdivision meshes in Vectorworks.

Key Takeaways

Vectorworks 2018 surges forward in providing more flexible free-form, organic and complex form modeling capabilities, relying on Pixar’s OpenSubDiv libraries to provide the user this modeling power. However, for its veteran users, particularly architects and landscape designers, the new site modeling features may garner even more love because of their greater applicability to everyday projects and sites. 

The mesh tool bar is now expanded with two new buttons which handle functions that now make it possible to easily close an opening by deleting a gage face. There are also new add edge or remove edge tools for further editing the gage mesh.

01 – Vectorworks 2018 adds many new enhancements to their subdivision surface modeling toolset, which is based on Pixar OpenSubDiv libraries.

The multiple drawing views feature—which Architosh previously highlighted here—is cast by the company as a new modeling enhancement feature though it only is insofar as having more types of views of your 3D model is beneficial to understanding various aspects of shape control and design control and integration with plan and section, etcetera. Long-time Vectorworks users will no doubt rejoice in the new multiple drawings views support nonetheless. And, the feature works across multiple monitors (how many we do not know yet).

BIM Modeling

BIM modeling has also been addressed in Vectorworks 2018 and we shall learn more about this next week when Architosh attends the 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. The focus in this release seems to be in controlling individual wall element heights “by instance,” a crucial weakness in the evolution of BIM from the onset. It comes down to this: real buildings have tons of exceptions and unusual circumstances and architects need to model them.

Site Modeling

Perhaps a more exciting new feature when it comes to modeling will be the new site contour direct editing improvements. 3D site models can now be directly edited by editing the vertices on contour lines just like a typical edit of such vertices in polys in your typical CAD or graphics software. You pick the points and you move them; you select a group of points and you move or edit their position or their curve or angular nature.

This feature will give a sculpting-like control for site modeling; architects will have the ability to fine-tune site models for handling things like purposeful design mounds, swales, and artfully shaping the land. But don’t confuse this fluidity with what you may see elsewhere, this isn’t like the 3D painting form-making tools you see in programs like e-on software’s VUE or tools that golf course architects use like Perfect Parallels Course Forge. Those tools take a painterly approach suitable for those disciplines, painting elevation changes with brush tools. For architects, urban designers, and landscape architects they want to have a combination of precision and flexibility, even if that means there is a bit more time involved.

Architosh will be at the 2017 Design Summit next week as part of the invited press corps. We look forward to learning more and sharing the news from the event.




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