Vectorworks 2010

Vectorwork new release 2010 is coming soon, I can't really tell you when.  But soon.  I was asked to listen to a product demonstration today.  The webinar which was hosted by Nemetschek NA pointed out how the new release will bring some 80 new features.  A yearly release of Vectorworks if becoming expensive, and time consuming to keep up to date.  Updating software every year can be a very big hassle.  It maybe my experience from updating from 12.5 to 2009.  I know there were some big changes made between those releases.  My complaint is having to update all the plug-in I have already purchased.  May I suggest that Nemetschek take a look at making Vectorworks backwards compatible with third party plug-ins.

Many of the images that Vectorworks advertise on there website are amazing.  I have never been able to render anything like that.  I wish I could.  I have read a lot of material and bought several books on the subject and still ever got the results I wanted.  I understand that Vectorworks is a very complicated program.  That being said, it would be nice if a program like Vectorworks would have an extensive library of online tutorials.  I have purchased other software packages like Daylite and Rapidweaver who have done that.  Is is very helpful.  When I have a question about how to do something in these programs I know that a an online tutorial will be there to show me.  If these smaller and much cheaper packages can offer this much free support I am sure Vectorworks can do it as well.  I know that the books and training classes are a good source of revenue for Vectorworks or Nemetschek, but selling the program would make you more money.

Vectorworks should be in the business of making all there users experts.  If every user of Vectorworks was an expert it would create a synergistic effect creating more business for its users and more sales of the software.  Vectorworks, mission should be not only to create the best software on the planet but should also be to make sure all there users can use the product to the highest possible level.  What good is a product update if the users can not take it to the highest level. 

So what is new.  The Event Planning menu is very nice.  It allow you to quickly build small over head plans for event layout.  This would be nice for an intern at a event planning firm to use.  It allows you to build your room, stage, and seating all quickly in 2d, but you are working in the 3d so cool.  It is a nice little add for the spotlight.  Blended screen tool is really cool.  I wonder what happened to VideoScreen 3 by Landru Designs?  Anyway, I am sure there are lots of added features and functionality to 2010.  The little hour demo I watch could not possibly cover most of it.  I hope that it rocks.  But I may never really know.  I am not planning on updating to 2010.  I was disappointed with my rendering results with Vectorworks 2009.  I also suspect that upgrading to 2010 will cause me to repurchase all the plug-ins I use.  Most of these new versions will have small changes in the update.  While this is nice, I could have stayed with the old plug in.

One advantage of upgrading is the new symbol libraries.  Oh boy!!! As a lighting designer I really like to have the new symbols.  Sure I could always repurpose older symbols and just update the key.  BUT THAT IS LAME.  Hey VW guys why don't you develop a free quarterly update for users of Spotlight.  I am talking all users.  Start by updating the symbol libraries for v.11 or v.10.  They should not have to upgrade to get current symbols.  I am not just talking about lighting instruments either.  Go a head and make more symbols of band instruments, stage accessories, sound gear, and generic scenic elements.  The more extensive your symbol libraries are the faster I can work.  For example.  My client wants to see a 57 Ford Mustang on stage.  You guys should already have something close to that in the library.  For me to go find it on the net or build it from scratch could take hours.  Hours of time I don't have.  Lighting guys or event guys don't work on a design for month like architects.  I often have a day or two to get concept drawings to a client.  It is all about work flow.

Vectorworks 2010 Review 1 of 5 - Event planning tab

So after my preview of Vectorworks 2010 I received a trail copy. I am sure many user got one. So I am trying it. There are some new things that make our job as a lighting design easer. The Event Planning Tab has some quick ways to create rooms, stages, event seating, ect. Now most of this is not new. We have been able to place a Lectern on a stage for several revisions. Event Seating is not new either but has been revamped and made a bit easer to find. I know a few people who did not know Vectorworks 12.5 would do seating charts. Now it is hard to miss. What is really new and very nice is the video screen feature. It is very easy to place a "video screen" into your drawing and have an image placed on it. I will talk more about this in a later update. The important thing to take from the event planning tab is that it allows the end user to very quickly set up events. With little experience an event planner could draw simple stage and seating plots. With not much more experience 3D views could be rendered for simple client presentations. This may lower the barrier for inexperienced users to be successful with this program.

Vectorworks 2010

Vectorworks 2010 Review 2 of 5 - Blended Screen Tool

One of the nicest features of Vectorworks spotlight 2010 is the Blended screen tool.   It is very easy to use and provides a lot of information as well as customization.  Unlike the 3rd party plug-ins on the market this is nice because it is free.   For basic screen presentation this is all you need.  When you are ready to do something a bit more creative I would suggest checking out a 3rd party plug-in.  As you can see in the Object info pallet there are tons of options.  It really takes the guess work out of figuring out video projection for your event.  There are several video companies I know that could have used this in the past.  It would have saved me countless hours on the job site if the event designer had planned for the video correctly.  A little time with Vectorworks Spotlight 2010 Blended Screen tool would have really helped.  I should really be calling this the screen tool, I think it works the same blended or not.  I set up a quick drawing to show you want it looks like with the screen in the render.  This is a quick drawing, with a fairly large screen.  As you can see in the drawing I have placed an image on the screen.  This is really easy to do with the edit screen image button.  I have to admit I had the screen backwards for a few minutes and could not figure out why the image was reversed.  Anyway, I figured it out so I am sure you can too.  I think you can put any image on the screen but not video.  That would be handy to have video playing while you animated screens.  But then again you would need a really powerful computer to do that.