sometimes I get giddy

As many of you know I recently changed cities, changed jobs and changed drafting platforms. It’s been a very stressful and challenging few months. So it’s no surprise that in all of this change the strangest things make me just….well, giddy. Like a little school girl. Giddy.

In learning Vectorworks and BIM it’s been a turbulent road. The learning curve is not constant. There are sharp rises, very low valleys and some long plateaus in between. It certainly makes each day interesting and recently (about 2 minutes ago, thus prompting this blog post) I discovered a new tool which I wasn’t sure was going to work the way I needed it to, but actually turned out to be a saving grace.

Bring on the giddy, school girl squealing and screeching.,d.dmQ&psig=AFQjCNHOkHGXn0s6QBWBuJrZy-ATzkOG8A&ust=1364915324579034

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The tool – 3D Extract

Oh what a wondrous invention on the programmers part. But first a little backstory is needed. For our office we purchased just the Vectorworks Architect software. We didn’t go for the extra bells and whistles with Renderworks which would have made this whole post moot, but that’s another story. Without Renderworks you can’t assign textures which makes rendering impossible and elevations…..difficult. But we make do with what we have.

So, after trudging along in 3D long enough it was time to begin setting up plan and elevation sheets for the client to really start moving forward. This is where one of those sharp rises on the learning curve come in. Plan, no problem. Elevations, no problem. Annotating notes, no problem. Assigning hatch patterns and rendering materials, big problem. At first I discovered that I was most likely going to have to hatch each 2D elevation on the sheet. This was upsetting.

But, now after about a month I’ve finally figured out the 3D extract tool, which is a savior. It allows you to select individual wall faces (or any object face for that matter) and basically create a copy at it’s present location. You can then assign a hatch, color, whatever, to that surface in 3D space. This will then translate to your 2D viewports on your sheet files, so you don’t have to hatch each and every elevation in annotation mode.


In addition to this, and I’m sure I’ll find this valuable in the future, you can also extract 3D Loci (3D points) that can be snapped to when you need to draw objects in 3D space and can’t snap. And there are some other functions that I’ll learn as I go, but these two are the most beneficial right now.

Vectorworks is really a sweet tool. It has it’s limitations like any other platform, 2D or 3D, but the amount of productivity you can squeeze into a very short period of time once you understand some basic tools is beyond amazing. How BIM hasn’t taken off decades before now I’ll never know. But it’s here, and I am grateful!

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