Getting Started Special Interest Group February 2018


In this session, we looked at some basic concepts in 3D modeling, covered how to speed things up with the numeric keypad and other key combinations, discussed the floating datum and texture mapping, and showed how to turn a 3D object into a symbol.

Topics covered:

  • 00:51    We started by looking at how keystrokes can simplify and speed up working in Vectorworks. I always use a keyboard with a numeric keypad—not having one is a very slow way of working in Vectorworks. We demonstrated how you can use a numeric keypad to easily change views. Next, we started to make a door by first drawing a rectangle in a 3D view. I can type in the dimensions for it without even using the tab key if I just enter the numbers on the numeric keypad—very quick! By hovering over the rectangle, I get instant push/pull because I’m drawing the rectangle in a 3D view—this mode doesn’t get activated in a 2D view. Beside the keyboard shortcuts, another important thing to consider when drawing in 3D is what working plane you should be using. There are several: the layer plane, the screen plane, and working planes. Think of the screen plane as being stuck to the back of your screen—it doesn’t turn in 3D. The Set Working Plane tool allows you to change the plane that you’re working in—we changed ours to the face of the door. You can save a working plane and go back to it later; however, if you use the Automatic Working Plane, there’s no need to save different working planes because it will snap to whatever face you’re working on. We drew a rectangle on the face of the door and took advantage of the Push/Pull mode to push the rectangle through the door, creating a hole in the door by using Alt-click (Option-click on a Mac). To get a middle rail, we used the Automatic Working Plane to draw a rectangle on the bottom face of the opening in the door and pulled the rectangle up to the top of the window—Alt-click made Vectorworks turn the 2D rail into 3D. Next, we used similar methods to add top panels to our door. We decided to give the panels a glass texture—sometimes you want to use a class texture and sometimes an object texture. We went on to create lower panels in the door.
  • 19:04    The G key—the floating datum—helped us to create the lower panels more quickly. We discussed how the G key works. Snap to Angle on your snapping palette helps keep the line you’re drawing horizontal, while Smart Points helps you keep it lined up with a known point. The door that we’ve created is a Solid Subtraction—by a series of double-clicks, we can “go back in time” to change the shapes that we used in creating the door. We used this technique to create matching panels on the back of our door. We added a beech texture to the door—the texture looked odd because the Map Type was set to Perimeter. We changed it to the Plane option to solve this. We discussed mapping, explaining the difference between Plane, Cylinder, Sphere, Perimeter, and Auto-Align Plane mapping through a series of sketches.
  • 43:02    Next, we turned our door into a symbol, using the Create Symbol command. Choosing the wrong Insertion Point option can determine whether your symbol speeds up or slows down your workflow. The 3D Object Center option is the right setting for a plant, while the Next Mouse Click option is probably what you want for landscape furniture. Making the door a symbol allows you to use it on project after project. If you want to scale one of the doors—maybe you want it an inch shorter—you can type the “size you want it to be” divided (“/”) by the “size it is” in the Y Scale box on the Object Info palette. We finished the session by previewing what we might discuss next month—how to use Saved Views that you’ve added to your template file to speed up constructing a model.

Getting Started February 2018 am
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