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Vectorworks Gains Twinmotion and Solibri support in SP3

Vectorworks 2021 SP3 delivers big changes, offering users connections to Twinmotion, Unreal Engine, plus Solibri Director Connection, more…

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Nemetschek’s daughter company, Vectorworks, Inc., has announced today a new partnership with Unreal Engine as part of its Service Pack 3 release. Notable highlights of the new SP3 release include new or better functionality in Vectorworks Cloud Services along with Solibri integrations and GDTF format improvements.

A Major Service Pack

SP3 offers extensive new features to the Vectorworks 2021 product line, with big updates to the architecture, landscape architecture, and entertainment design products.

Key Takeaways

  • Vectorworks users gain a third connection to leading real-time rendering solutions in the new Twinmotion and Unreal Engine connections
  • Vectorworks users on Mac now have a real-time rendering direct connection thanks to Twinmotion’s multi-platform support
  • Vectorworks and Solibri can now bi-directionally talk to each other, in a performative BIM iterative workflow

“The release of Vectorworks 2021 Service Pack 3 exemplifies our focus to provide quality and performance improvements for the industries we serve and ensure designers that their workflow is always fully supported,” said Vectorworks Chief Technology Officer Steve Johnson. “Our dedication lies in partnering with applications that provide innovative technology solutions. From BIM workflows to entertainment industry product improvements and supporting further integrations with the GDTF standard, we continue to deliver solutions and progressive workflows giving designers the freedom to bring their visions to life.”

New Unreal Engine Connection

For architecture and landscape architecture users, SP3 delivers a new connection to both Twinmotion and Unreal Engine, as well as other products by Epic Games. Users can now export their BIM and 3D models to both of those award-winning visualization, simulation, and game-development platforms via Epic’s Datasmith file format.

Vectorworks has utilized the Datasmith SDK (software development kit) to ensure greater model fidelity during export to these real-time, interactive rendering applications. This is a big win for Mac users on Vectorworks giving them a connection to Twinmotion, one of the most popular real-time rendering solutions on the market today. Vectorworks also becomes a top-flight source modeler application for Unreal Engine, offering some industries like entertainment design to push models into Unreal Engine for more advanced interactive experiences and deeper immersion options in virtual environments.

“Our partnership with Unreal Engine is a dynamic solution to Vectorworks users allowing them to create real-time renderings of their model with open and advanced real-time 3D creation tools such as Unreal Editor and Twinmotion,” said Vectorworks Director of Product Technology Dave Donley. “It’s an amazing opportunity to bring this partnership to our users and we’re confident they will enjoy creating cutting-edge renderings and models.”

“Vectorworks’ new integrations with Twinmotion and Unreal Engine helps users go from creating models to deploying stunning real-time rendered scenes faster than ever before,” said Unreal Engine, Epic Games VP and General Manager Marc Petit.

New Solibri Direct Connection

Another major benefit for architecture and landscape architecture users is the new Solibri Direct Connection. Vectorworks can now offer a direct connection between itself and Solibri Office. This two-way connection creates a “live sync” of a Vectorworks BIM model to its corresponding IFC model in Solibri Office for model verification, checking, and coordination.

Changes made to the Vectorworks model geometry or to its data immediately synchronize with the IFC model in Solibri Office. When running the model check and verification functions on Solibri Office, problems will sync with Vectorworks so users can make appropriate changes. Vectorworks users also have the option to select what types of changes are sent to Solibri.

“At Solibri, we believe in a future of better builds and understand that BIM users need a wide range of solutions that work seamlessly; therefore, we build our products so they can be easily integrated with other providers,” said Solibri Product Director Juan Rodríguez. “We have partnered with Vectorworks, our Nemetschek sister company, so we can make quality available to designers when they need it the most—while they are designing. Solibri Direct brings BIM quality closer to Vectorworks users. By exchanging live data between the two solutions, an architect can review their project to ensure it complies with certain quality standards or regulations. Solibri Direct is not just a one-way street, it will send information back and highlight the objects that need to be reviewed in Vectorworks, so the designers can continue with their work.”

SP3 also boasts improvements to the base quantities included in IFC export. Common objects like roofs, slabs, hardscapes, landscape areas, et cetera, now have accurate base quantities assigned by default. This enables better interoperability with quantity take-off software and 4D and 5D BIM simulations.

Vectorworks Cloud Services

Since the global pandemic, remote collaboration has become a critical requirement for most firms. Project sharing and collaboration have been enhanced with the Vectorworks Cloud Services folder sharing capabilities.

There are new “Sync and Edit” permissions so participants can sync a shared folder to their local desktop computer, enabling workflows that require multiple users to access and edit files stored in a common location. This means that for Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, and Designer users, project sharing and workgroup folders are now supported.

Edit and Update GDTF

The GDTF Fixture Builder, created by the GDTF Group and available at www.gdtf-share.com, is a web-based tool that helps users and lighting manufacturers create (.GDTF) files that adhere to DIN SPEC 15800. Vectorworks Spotlight now includes access to the GDTF fixture builder directly within the Vectorworks interface, enabling customers to update all instances of GDTF lighting devices directly from the design interface, drastically improving workflow efficiency. An internet connection is not required.

SP3 also includes fixes to Schematic Views in Vectorworks Spotlight.

Getting SP3

Service Pack 3 release is available as a download updater for all U.S. English-language-based versions of Vectorworks 2021, including Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer, Fundamentals, Braceworks, ConnectCAD, and Vision.

To install, click here or select “Check for Updates” from the Vectorworks menu (Mac) or Help menu (Windows). Contact [email protected] with any technical questions.

Experience the technology first hand by getting a 30-day free trial of Vectorworks Designer.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

For many architecture and landscape architecture professionals on Vectorworks on Macs, the new SP3 with integrated Twinmotion support is a major win. It is even a significant reason to upgrade even while halfway through the Vectorworks annual product cycle. 

It is important to note that Vectorworks, Inc., has said nothing about any native Apple Silicon support for version 2021 SP3. The company has already clarified that full native support for Apple’s new Macs with Apple CPU/GPUs will come with the next major release update in Vectorworks 2022. Readers should also note that Architosh recently completed a review of Vectorworks Architect 2021 and will be publishing it imminently. In our review, which was largely conducted on an Apple Mac mini with the M1 (Apple Silicon) chip, we found a very solid performance of the current 2021 release on Apple’s new M1 Macs under Rosetta 2 emulation, without any perceivable performance hit. 

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