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Vectorworks 2022—Powerful New Core Technology and Modern Chip Support

Vectorworks 2022 looks to dazzle its users with powerful new core technologies beneficial to a full array of AEC, Landscape, and Entertainment Industry professionals. And it is the first BIM to support a modern ARM-based desktop computing architecture.

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Visualization and Graphics

Vectorworks 2022 now offers a Direct Link to Twinmotion, supplementing its direct link to Lumion and Enscape. That latter link only works for Windows users as the popular Lumion is Windows only, while Twinmotion works across Mac and Windows.

Another new feature in Vectorworks 2022 is the support for Redshift by Maxon. This GPU-based biased renderer enables highly accelerated photorealistic rendering inside Vectorworks itself without pushing out the 3D model to another third-party program. (Image 04)

“Redshift is a separate rendering solution that complements our existing use of Maxon’s Cineware renderer,” says Dr. Sarkar. So, users can select which one they want to render with; those with powerful GPUs may opt for Redshift. “I can see in the future Maxon will join these two technologies up into a single package that other Nemetschek companies like us can integrate into our solution,” he adds.

04 – Redshift Rendering is another new render mode in Vectorworks’ built-in rendering arsenal, technology that comes from its sibling company Maxon of Germany. Redshift will be a renderer of choice for those with powerful GPUs like the new AMD Radeon Pro W6600 Architosh just recently reviewed.

Dr. Sarkar also answered questions I had about real-time raytracing onboard in Vectorworks via Redshift. “We think that the global illumination technology is going to go away, and everything is going to be replaced by Redshift,” Dr. Sarkar adds. “Maxon is also working on an IRR renderer (interactive raytracing renderer) that will make use of both the CPU and GPU.”

Many readers may not know about Redshift. Redshift is one of the hottest new rendering solutions to emerge since Vray and is the world’s first GPU-enabled biased renderer. It is used across multiple industries and sectors, including film and television and special effects.

 

 

Redshift is a separate rendering solution that complements our existing use of Maxon’s Cineware renderer. I can see in the future Maxon will join these two technologies up into a single package that other Nemetschek companies like us can integrate into our solution.

 

 

In some ways, the next feature to talk about builds on getting ready for the day when Vectorworks has even more powerful onboard Redshift rendering built-in. And that is the new direct texture mapping. Dr. Sarkar adds, “this is something that our users have requested for a long time.” Now users can apply textures directly to individual surfaces of objects and modeled objects in Vectorworks. And they can do this on a per-face basis while still benefitting from the old way of applying textures based on Vectorworks Class. Steve Johnson adds, “it’s a sign that we are moving in the ease-of-use in 3D and BIM like we have been talking about for a while.”

Other Industry Sectors

Architects and Interior Designers are together the largest user group of Vectorworks, and they largely use the same product (Vectorworks Architect). Still, Vectorworks Landmark and Vectorworks Spotlight are separate products for landscape design professionals and entertainment design professionals, respectively.

Both products got many significant updates too numerous to get into in this article. One worth mentioning is Dr. Sarkar’s favorite new feature in Landmark. “To me, the biggest new feature in Landmark is the new components technology for soil,” he adds, “so now we can actually model subsurface terrain—rock, gravel, sand, et cetera—and you can have them in non-uniform thickness.” (Image 05) 

05 – New in Landmark 2022 is the ability to accurately take off sub-surface soil volume data, even in strata of non-uniform thickness. This is a powerful new capability that will enable landscape designers and landscape architects to accurately measure volumetric items like crushed stone, rock, sand, various soil types, et cetera.

The global pandemic made a significant impact on entertainment professionals. So, sales of Spotlight slowed down. The company’s efforts then turned to education and scaled and flexible pricing so these types of professionals—who often have little time to do training—could upskill in preparation for a return to live entertainment and a rebound for their industry.

The majority of Vectorworks Spotlight customers are in theater and concert design, while a smaller group are connected to film and television set design. These environments, however, are rapidly changing, as the TV market, in particular, has become highly competitive with the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Disney, and others battling for precious subscription dollars. For those familiar with the hit show “The Mandalorian,” the way that show is shot is revolutionary, with a live, real-time wrap-around screen broadcasting scenery that moves and can be filmed simultaneously with actors. These environments involve more machinery, screens, wiring, lighting, and support structures—all things that Spotlight addresses as it continues to implement new technology. Spotlight’s features allow content on the screen to interact with lights, actors and other critical elements, which also helps save on waste one might see in typical set construction.

Dr. Sarkar says that one area tangential to Spotlight’s current users is the audio design industry, a market that is even larger than the lighting market. He admits there are areas that the company can target next, but Spotlight continues to grow today organically in the markets already mentioned.

Forward-Looking

With Vectorworks 2022 product line up just out the gate, it is too early to judge the take-up on this latest version. Architosh is aware that some users have been waiting for a native M1-supported version. We think the BIM updates in this release are significant given the amount of reengineering work that went into the Apple Silicon support.

On the other hand, we are not entirely sure how difficult the Apple Silicon support truly was compared to the switch from PowerPC to Intel back in 2005. Dr. Sarkar and Johnson have both strongly suggested that their long-term reengineering plans and the frameworks for those plans have led them to sunny green pastures, where output is now bountiful precisely because of the wise decisions laid out years earlier. The VGM (Vectorworks Graphics Module) is one such good example. (see: Architosh, “Details on Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM) in new Vectorworks 2014,” 13 Sep 2014)

While Vectorworks has long been perceived in the industry as one of the most robust and popular CAD industry stalwarts, with a truly global user base, it has sometimes been left out of the elite BIM program comparisons partly because it has been so successful as a hybrid CAD/BIM solution across a range of industries, including urban planning and landscape architecture where BIM isn’t nearly discussed as much as architecture but increasingly is showing more importance.

Despite this multivalent focus across AEC and M&E (media and entertainment) sectors, as of today, Vectorworks is the world’s first BIM solution on the most vanguard platform—Apple’s ARM Mac platform. The reason why that fact is such a huge deal is that many experts expect ARM chip performance to continue on its steeper performance per watt trajectory over Intel X86 for years to come, and this may ultimately upend the AEC software industry. The stellar performance of Vectorworks on ARM Macs gives the company and its customers on that platform not only flexibility in terms of hardware deployment but significant performance bonuses. Meanwhile, solid updates continue to boost capabilities across all of their industry product sectors while keeping an eye on possible new ones.


Editor’s Note: OpenGL Explainer

This multi-platform graphics technology makes it easy for developers to write code once that can run on Linux, Windows, Mac, and other computer operating systems. The downside is that the OpenGL graphics drivers for every OS are more verbose in the way their code needs to abstract OpenGL for each operating system. By adopting DirectX for Windows and Apple Metal for the Mac, Vectorworks 2022 picks up significant graphics speedups. The company may release detailed test results later, but CAD industry publications like Architosh may publish tests sooner.

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