Landscape Special Interest Group April 2018 PM


In this session, we covered a strategy for using Vectorworks on the go, showed how to place a building at the right elevation on a site model, reviewed how to use site modifiers and went over steps for taking care of site modifier errors.

Topics Covered:

  • 00:17    We began the session by discussing strategies for using Vectorworks on the go. I keep all of my favorite hatches, fonts, symbols, line types, title blocks, plants, worksheets and other Vectorworks resources in one, massive library file. The challenge is coordinating this file between my home setup for Vectorworks and my travel machine. My solution for this is using Dropbox. I store my library file in Dropbox so that I can synchronize it between my two machines. My problem with using the Vectorworks workgroup folders is that you have to physically create the library folders and set them up—those are actually unnecessary steps. There are very few things that I can’t store in my library file. It’s an easy process to drag and drop new resources from projects into my library file so that I can always have access to them. One advantage of using Dropbox is their Selective Sync feature—you don’t need to have all of your files “live” on your computer. You can tell Dropbox which files you want to sync on which computer. Dropbox can help give the “backup obsessed” peace of mind.
  • 09:10    How do we make sure, when looking at our site model, that the building is at the right elevation? If you have a plan from an architect or a survey that gives the first floor elevation, then you can enter that elevation on the Design Layer for the first floor of your building and create your other Design Layers in relation to that layer. I like to set out a site according to true north. You can always rotate the Top/Plan view so that the building is square on the screen. I like to save the rotated building view as a Saved View so that I can always quickly zoom into it. Don’t forget that in you can add, subtract, multiply or divide in a dialog box and Vectorworks will do the math for you!
  • 12:41    We opened a file with a site and a house so that we could review site modifiers. First, we looked at our site model settings. In newer versions of Vectorworks, you can choose not only to use site modifiers on All Layers, Visible Layers Only, or Same Layer as Site Model but also on Custom Set of Layers—a Select Layers option has also been added, which is quite useful. We just chose to use site modifiers on the Design Layers for our site model and our building so that any site modifiers on the layer with our landscape objects wouldn’t affect the site model. For our first site modifier, we simply drew a rectangle shape around our house and used the Create Objects from Shapes command to turn it into a Pad. The basic strategy of site modifiers is that there are two parts: the 3D part (such as a Pad or Contour) that controls the part of the site that is changed and the 2D part (Grade Limits) that controls the extent of the change. Using J-click is very helpful for selecting coincidence objects. Other very useful shortcut keys are “Z” for zooming in and “B” for X-ray mode. Our Property Line was set to work as a Grade Limits, so we changed that to a Texture Bed so that it wouldn’t affect the site model grading. Using the Offset tool, we duplicated the Pad around the house and turned it into a Grade Limits. Site modifiers, such as the Pad, are red in color, while Grade Limits are blue. You need to have a Grade Limits to control the extent of the changes. The Pad must be totally enclosed by the Grade Limits, but a Grade Limits can enclose more than one Pad. For example, you could make stepped Pads, creating a series of terraces, within one Grade Limits. Site modifiers are not allowed to touch; they cannot overlap. If they touch, you’ll get an error message (and Vectorworks won’t be able to correctly perform the cut-and-fill calculations). If you have at least a millimeter of space between site modifiers, you can avoid getting an error message. We also built a stepped wall across our terraces.
  • 30:43    More than just Pads can be used as site modifiers. We also had two Hardscapes on the site. I selected the Pad Modifier (Bottom of Slab) choice for the 3D Type setting so that the cut-and-fill calculations would be accurate; however, this meant that I needed to be careful about setting the Hardscape’s elevation correctly. Don’t forget that you can use the Clip tool in the Exclusion or Inclusion modes to change the shape of a Hardscape. As you add or modify site modifiers, make sure that your Grade Limits includes them. We had to enlarge our Grade Limits so that the Hardscapes fell inside it.
  • 36:30    Next, we went over how to handle site modifier conflicts. Choose the Selection tool and be in Top/Plan view to see the icons indicating where the Modifier Conflict errors are on your site. We had “Pads intersect” errors.  Pads aren’t allowed to touch. We found that our Hardscapes were touching the Pad around our building—we just offset the Pad to eliminate the errors.
  • 40:22    I have written several helpful manuals on site modifiers that can be found on my website: Site Modeling in Vectorworks (SST 1506), Site Modifiers in Vectorworks (SST 1507), and Roading in Vectorworks (SST 1508). The Contour is another superb site modifier. It can be created by using the Site Modifier tool in Contour Mode. Working methodically is the best way to have your site modifiers function properly. Turning your Property Line into a Texture Bed can help the client see the extent of the site in 3D, although this means that you can’t use it as a Grade Limits and will have to add a Grade Limits to the site. You can change the look of a Texture Bed by changing its texture—it can be a great way to show site zones or different landscaping areas, such as mulch or stone beds.

Landscape April 2018 pm
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