by Ashley Calabria, Associate Professor, University of Georgia College of Environment and Design, Caldwell Hall, Athens, Georgia
Landscape architects have asked me whether they should upgrade their existing software, or change software. I’ve also been asked about Vectorworks as a complete and interactive computer graphics package.
The Vectorworks 2013 program has many new upgrades that bring it to the forefront of innovative graphic technology: some of it for all of the Vectorworks products; some specific to Vectorworks Landmark.
One of the new and innovative features is Vectorworks Cloud Services. This service provides access to files from remote locations and instant updates to shared files, while freeing up desktop computer power. This services was launched in the U.S. and Canada on April 2, 2012 and available to members of the Vectorworks Service Select subscription program www.vectorworks.net/cloudservices.
A simple addition to the new Vectorworks is the ability for symbols and images to be automatically included in the plant list table or worksheet. These can be the symbol used in the drawing, isometric views (visually representing 3D objects in two dimensions), fill patterns or hatches. The symbols can be hyperlinked to websites.
Vectorworks already included several great line types, but now they are customizable, including bubble symbols for conceptual diagrams, fencing or other office standards that allow your projects to reflect your graphic style and needs.
This is an example of plant massings with the dropped overlap feature for plants in masses and rows. Plant symbols can be aligned along a predrawn line in two different rotations, along the line, or horizontally to the line.
Another great feature of the Vectorworks platform is its interoperability with other software. For example, Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks, the company’s comprehensive software product, allows users to collaborate with interdisciplinary firms that import and/or export a variety of file types including: AutoCAD’s DWF/DWG file extensions, SketchUp, Trimble models, Rhino, IFC, the ODBC communication standard, COLLADA, gbXML and PDFs. From GIS mapping, through analysis, design, 3D-modeling, final presentation and documentation sheets, Vectorworks can get you started at any part of design work and allow collaborations with external partners or existing software.
Plant massing symbols with the dropped overlap can be stamped repetitively or varied in size and rotation.
Vectorworks 2013 has also introduced an align leader line command to assist in organizing leaders in your drawings.
The software allows you to select how the design looks at different times of the day.
Both of these features are great additions, but for landscape architects I was particularly impressed with several smaller but detailed changes made for graphic production. Vectorworks Landmark is more than adequate for graphics and design, but these new little changes are making big strides in improving the monotony and “dull factor” typical with many types of computer graphics. A simple addition is the ability for symbols and images to be automatically included in the plant list table or worksheet. These can be the symbol used in the drawing, isometric views of the symbol, fill patterns or hatches. The symbols can be hyperlinked to websites containing product manufacturer data, link to open other Vectorworks documents, open a folder, display saved views or sheet layers, or open files such as images, PDFs, movies and more. Many of the hyperlinks can be preserved when exporting to PDF.
Vectorworks already included several great line types, but now they are customizable, including bubble symbols for conceptual diagrams, fencing or other office standards that allow your projects to reflect your graphic style and needs. They can be easily created and saved. A new feature that I really appreciate is you can drop the overlap of symbols for plant masses and allow for a slight size adjustment and/or rotation of the symbols, giving a varied look to the massing, rather than the typical fish scale or stamped pattern of symbols. It also helps unclutter the project graphics. This is simple to do with hand graphics, but rarely done in computer graphics.