Editor's Note: Neil Barman is an Intern Architect in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and currently works on contract for a number of architecture firms as well as Canadian Vectorworks distributor Paxar Technologies. He and his wife Carrie Smart both trained at the University of Waterloo and designed and built their own LEED Platinum-certified home in 2012. Together they work on projects as Barman+Smart. Neil also provides Vectorworks and Sketchup training for individuals and firms wanting to increase their productivity, efficiency and appreciation with these great tools.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Novedge.
How is it possible to have a “Best of” list for 2016 when the year has just begun? That’s because this list is about Vectorworks 2016, the latest version of the software that was launched in September. This version of Vectorworks brings many highly touted (and quite frankly amazing) new features such as true Project Sharing, Marionette visual scripting, Subdivision modelling, Energos energy modelling and Point Cloud support. In an unprecedented move, we even got a sneak peak at these at the 2015 Vectorworks Design Summit. While these are indeed superb features that I've been enjoying exploring since launch day, each new version also brings a plethora of other new features and enhancements that haven't received as much fanfare. Sometimes they get none at all, yet they are still fantastic additions to the application. Here is my list (so far) of my favourite new features and enhancements in Vectorworks Architect 2016. Readers of my previous years' lists for 2014 and 2015 will know that the these are features that may be small, may be less often used, but they are ones that once again boost my usability and enjoyment of using Vectorworks. They have already made me more productive, efficient and accurate.
So without further delay, my favorite new features in Vectorworks 2016 are:
Selecting and purging coincident duplicate objects
A long awaited feature that is perhaps most welcome in 2D workflows. If you have duplicate objects sitting directly on top of each other, this mode of the Purge command will locate and delete all but one of them!
Palette Docking on the Mac
Finally palette docking has come to the Mac. You can either dock palettes to your drawing window or dock palettes to each other.
OpenGL edge line thickness option
That wonderfully quick and handy render mode now allows the edges to be displayed with different thicknesses. If you find the default thickness a bit too “chunky”, reduce it. If you want a more bold OpenGL view, increase it.
Direct editing of Worksheet cells
Now just double click the cell you want to edit and edit away! You can even access font attributes and drop-down menus, as applicable to certain plug-in objects.
Expand/Collapse all sections in the Resource Browser
No longer do you have to click on EACH little triangle to expand or collapse multiple types of objects in the RB. Now just Option-click on a Mac (Alt-Click in Windows) and ALL the types will expand or collapse at once.
Walkthrough tool Gamer Mode
For those of you familiar with the widely used gaming controls of the W, S, A and D keys to move forward, backward, left and right respectively, the Walkthrough tool now allows you to use these when in “Gamer mode”. While moving in this mode, you can rotate your view using the mouse.
3D PDF export
You can now export your Vectorworks model as a 3D PDF. This is a great way to send a 3D model to someone (often a client) without them having to have Vectorworks to view it. They can use Acrobat Reader, which is free, to view the model. The 3D PDF can even navigate any Saved Views that were set up in the Vectorworks file.
Editing a wall style directly from the Wall’s OIP Style dropdown menu
When you come across one of your wall styles that you've used in your drawing that you now need to edit, you no longer need to find that wall style in the Resource Browser to edit it. Simply select that wall and in the Object Info Palette, in the wall style menu, there is now an option to edit the style. This is so handy!
Ability to map individual Vectorworks classes to DWG/DXF layers
When collaborating with users of other software who are only able to use DWG/DXF files, a little bit of communication goes a long way. Find out what their layer standard is and, in Vectorworks 2016, you can now map your individual classes directly to their specific DWG/DXF layers. This makes the whole collaboration process easier and more seamless.
I am sure that these aren't the only new features or enhancements in Vectorworks 2016 that will be be added to my repertoire, but these are my favorites so far.
What are your favorite new features of Vectorworks 2016?
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You can now easily add realistic details such as stickers, labels, cracks, stains, and scratches to any surface in just a few clicks. Create detailed geometric surfaces for stunning close-up shots, or just the right sky for their environment in no time. Thake HDRI renders to the next level with more control over the V-Ray Dome Light with the new finite mode.