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Product Review: Vectorworks Architect 2018

Vectorworks 2018’s new “multi-views” technology may be the show stopper in the latest release, but as John Helm notes, this is also the most sturdy first release in a long time.


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Import Revit

Here is a somewhat one-sided feature but still very handy. You could import Revit model data via IFC in the past, but now you can directly import Revit file models and they are converted into native Vectorworks symbols and objects with textures. It is only one-sided because you cannot export back to Revit. That I’m told is an issue that is not under the control of the people at Vectorworks. But it is great for importing all sorts of Revit items made by manufacturers and designers for use in your Vectorworks designs. And, you can directly import the work of Revit users that you may be collaborating with.


Renderworks just gets better and faster. Now it is upgraded with natively integrated MAXON CineRender R18. When you need to make a real rendering Renderworks can’t be beaten.


We do need to remember that it is not just pushing a button and get a great result. There is a bit of a learning curve, and a few settings may need some changing. Which is something I was a bit frustrated with at first, call me lazy if you want. However, the possibilities and the effects of lighting, reflections, day and night scenes, and sky backgrounds are great and really lead to near photo quality renderings. And all of it is built right into Vectorworks. There is no need to export your file to another program.

However, if you wish for more advanced type animations, like doors sliding open while flying through the model or “explode in” or “explode out” building component animations, with a single click your Vectorworks BIM model is exported directly out into Cinema 4D this type of advanced work. There is also the plugin add-on app, AnimationWorks which brings much of C4D’s complex animation features in-house directly into Vectorworks.

05 – Renderworks continues to improve in Vectorworks 2018 with more Cinema 4D rendering goodness.


I have to say I this is one area of the program that is really strong; it has been around for a long time, and I can’t exactly say what they have done to it, but it hauls ass. Working on a project like the one I have shown here, the 3D model is always there, rotate around it, zoom in and out, whatever you want and it is like live action – no waiting around. If you are working in 3D or BIM if you prefer that term, what more do you want? Combine that with multiple drawing views, and you can really have some fun. In fact, this is the fun factor in architecture and design today, designing in a virtual world. The quality of renderings you get from it is just fine for many presentations, like colored elevations and sections. In fact, today, many print shops will print color for the same price as black and white so why not add some colored elevations to your construction documents. OpenGL makes that easy.

06 – An example of an OpenGL fly-around view, notice the quality of items.

Web View

Last year, I made the comments below on web view, but I also said it was a work in progress. And progress they have made; web view now handles larger sized files, the interface is better, and the virtual views work well.

You the designer can take your 3D model, your BIM, of your latest project to the level of detail you want. Then while being online click on the new export feature that sends the model to the Vectorworks Cloud. Or you can save it locally. After a bit of a wait, your model will pop up in your web browser. Now you can explore the model in 3D. You can send the link to a client and by clicking on it, the client can also view the model in 3D. But here comes the fun part. Copy the link and open it on a smartphone then click on the virtual reality icon. Now the image of the model will change to a stereoscopic view. Put the phone in your Google Cardboard goggles, and you are in! That is, you are inside the model virtually. You can walk around and look around all you want. You can go up and down stairs. Of course, there are a few limitations. It’s not going to be high definition, and there are some limits on the size of the model. But really the sense of actually being in the space and being able to walk around in it is amazing.

Rendered Panoramas

This is a nice addition to the client presentation possibilities. You can step inside your model no matter how big it is and create a 360-degree interactive view. It is like those 360-degree photos we get sometimes, but it is your new design. It’s easy to use and easy for the client to view.

07 – Web View and 360-degree panos are all supported in Vectorworks 2018.

next page: Worksheets, Site Modeling Contour Editing and Recommendations

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Reader Comments

  1. Section editing is just now implemented? That has been in Archicad since the 1990’s. I guess it’s not really an ArchiCad / Revit competitor?.

  2. Section editing is just now implemented? That has been in Archicad since the 1990’s. I guess it’s not really an ArchiCad / Revit competitor?.

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