Architect Special Interest Group February 2018 (am)


In this session, we created a recession plane, modified slab components to work with a brick-clad wall, modeled a slab edge, imported a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into Vectorworks, changed the rendering of Gable Walls, and discussed how to transfer preferred settings from one section to another.

Topics Covered:

  • 00:32    We began the session by looking at how to set up a recession plane for a project. On the screen plane, we drew the recession plane in 2D—where I live, the plane goes from zero to 3m and continues out at 45 degrees until it reaches an absolute height of 8m. We converted the 2D line into a NURBS curve so that we could see it in 3D. I also like to add a crow’s foot to the base of the plane before turning the shape into a symbol. The crow’s foot serves as the insertion point and, as I place copies of the symbol around the perimeter of the property, it helps me line it up correctly. Using the Select Similar tool, I chose all of the symbols and placed them on the surface of the site model with the Send to Surface command. We used the Loft Surface tool to turn the separate NURBS curves into a recession plane. I like to assign the plane to a separate class, whose graphic qualities turn it red and somewhat transparent. As soon as you land a job and get survey data, you should set up the recession plane—that way, you know exactly what your building constraints are.
  • 11:47    We looked at setting up a slab to work with a brick-clad wall. The challenge was to have two slab components, one that would support the wall’s wood framing component and another that would create a lower ledge for the brick component. First, we constructed a model with four brick-clad walls and a slab. Using the Clip Cube, we could look at the model in section and see that it wasn’t doing what we wanted. The magic happened in the Slab Component Settings. Under the Edge Offset setting, we set the Auto-Bound menu option to the Outer Face of Wall Core selection for the upper part of the slab and to the Outer Face of Wall selection for the lower part—creating the ledge! Success requires a wall with a core and at least one other component as well as a slab with more than one component.
  • 21:12   Taking our slab discussion a step further, we covered how to add an edge to the underside of your slab. Again, we drew the edge’s profile in 2D first, drew a 2D rectangle to create a path, and then used the Extrude Along Path command to create the 3D slab edge. If you want to physically add the edge to your slab, you can use the Add 3D Object to Slab command. However, adding it to the slab might not be the best thing because, if you change the shape of the slab, the 3D object won’t change with it. Keeping the object separate will make it easier to modify the edge in the future. If you have a recessed shower, you can draw a 2D shape to match your shower on the surface of the slab, extrude the shape down through the slab, and use the Subtract 3D Object From Slab command to make a cut in the slab. The cut for the shower is called a Slab Modifier, which you can move by double clicking on the slab and opening up the Modifiers window. This same concept can be used for making a coffered ceiling—you just need a ceiling with more than one component.
  • 28:42    Someone asked whether it is possible to export a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into Vectorworks—it is possible! However, you need to create a new resource called a Worksheet and have it open on the screen before you try to import the worksheet. We experimented with it during the session. It seemed like only certain formats were accepted by Vectorworks and that the formulas weren’t imported, just the data—that’s something to watch out for.
  • 32:52    Someone else was having problems getting the Gable Wall of a roof to render properly. You can change the wall’s texture in the Render settings for the roof. If you have Dutch Hip Walls, they are considered to be a different part of the roof and have a different texture setting that applies to them.
  • 35:53    We finished the session by discussing how best to duplicate section settings. To start, we created a section viewport—we made a lot of changes to the default settings. The challenge was that each time we created a section viewport, we had to change all the setting all over again—Vectorworks didn’t keep our changes. We experimented to see if the Eyedropper tool could transfer settings from one section to another—it didn’t. Next, we simply copied the first section viewport and, in the Top/Plan view on our design layer, we moved the new section line to where we wanted it—we could even rotate it! It might seem rather lazy to just copy the section—but it gave us the results that we needed very quickly!

Architect February 2018 am
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  1. Hi Jonathan. Recession planes. We have a similar workflow here, but a couple of quick comments – and a question.
    I only noticed this after watching the video, but if, when you’re building the symbol and inserting the crows foot, the view has the recession line vertically on the page/screen, then when you insert the symbol all you need to do is click on the boundary and click on the boundary again. It’s a bit faster in practice and guarantees being perpendicular. Avoids user error ;-).
    The other thing we do that cuts down on time and is more accurate is do each boundary segment individually and use the rail mode for lofting the surface. So, insert the symbol at either end of the boundary. Trace the boundary with a polyline. > 3D. Then send to surface etc – basically the procedure in the video except for the last step where we use the single rail mode for the surface.
    And 1 more comment… we extend the recession arm a few meters beyond the max height, because that’s only the max height *on the boundary*. If the GL rises within the section you need the recession symbol to extend deeper into the section to pick up any infringements there. In extreme cases you have to edit the symbol to reach even further.
    Now, the question (this’ll expose my non expert status!). The redundant overlaps at the corners – how do I clip them off? They’re not too much of
    a problem on their own, but what I want to do is also include a max height top to create an enclosed envelope over the whole section. Easy to create that surface from the site model and lift it up by the max height amount, but you end up with masses of superfluous surface beyond the envelope perimeter. Which makes it hard to sensibly see the transgressions. At the moment I treat HRTB and max height as 2 separate views/plans. But it would be better and easier for whoever’s assessing the scheme to have them combined.
    I look forward to your easy and obvious solution;-)
    cheers: Tim

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