We’re about one month out from this year’s Build Earth Live Hyperloop Station Design competition. Even though you’re still processing the excitement from learning that your design could be brought to life, we now have another big development to share regarding the 48-hour virtual Building Information Modeling (BIM) event: Dubai Future Foundation will be hosting the event and awards ceremony.

Organized by Asite, the competition begins on September 26, 2016 at noon GST and tasks participants with virtually designing Hyperloop terminuses linking Dubai and Fujairah. We’re happy to once again sponsor Build Earth Live, which this year is poised to revolutionize the world of transportation. A Hyperloop, traveling at speeds of up to 1,200 kilometers per hour, has the potential to reduce travel time between the two cities to less than ten minutes at 10 percent of the cost of conventional high speed trains, effectively changing the way people go about their daily lives. So far over 100 participants from various engineering and scientific enterprises around the world have signed up for the eighth annual Build Earth Live event.

BEL 2

Image courtesy of Build Earth Live.

According to His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees and managing director of Dubai Future Foundation, the independent research organization is hosting the event “to establish the UAE and Dubai as a global platform for innovative minds to come together to create futuristic solutions on issues of relevance to humanity.”

Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, notes that the Hyperloop project furthers the autonomous transportation strategy launched by the Dubai Future Foundation and the United Arab Emirates’ Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA) that aims to convert 25 percent of the total commuting trips to a driverless means of transport by 2030. Al Aleeli believes that hosting experts as part of the competition will allow the Dubai Future Foundation to contribute to innovation in the transportation sector while strengthening their partnerships and investments in the industry.

BEL 1

Image courtesy of Build Earth Live.

“We are delighted that the UAE is hosting the Build Earth Live contest,” says Nathan Doughty, group chief operating officer and executive director of Asite. “Through this partnership, we are looking forward to bringing innovative designs to further develop the infrastructure and find realistic future solutions, especially in the transportation sector.”

After the 48-hour competition concludes, teams will be judged by a committee comprised of global experts, who will then chose six finalist teams. Representatives from each finalist team will fly to Dubai to present their designs in person before one winning team is selected. Depending upon further review of the project, the winners will then have the opportunity to have their design built.

Stay in the loop and read more about the competition here. To make sure you don’t let this opportunity speed by, register or join a team by visiting the Build Earth Live Hyperloop website.

By Frank Brault, Product Marketing Manager – Entertainment

One of my favorite things about design is that it gives you the freedom to express your ideas — to articulate solutions to design problems. But when you have a design tool that can do anything, it’s difficult to decide how exactly you should go about bringing your vision to life. How do you communicate a feeling in your heart through a series of keyboard clicks? This is especially true for young designers who often have to temper their creative inspiration with a lack of experience in technically executing on a design, which is something we need to be cognizant of as mentors, whether we’re teaching formally or working with interns and young employees.

franklyspeaking

Frank Brault, Product Marketing Manager – Entertainment

This issue has led to a dichotomy in the design community these days between creativity and technical skill. I find this very apparent as a professor when I see educators rushing through the artistic part of the design process in order to ensure that their students have the practical skills they need to “succeed in the workplace.” Or vice versa, where the creative process is emphasized without worrying about the practicality of a project. That’s why, when I’m teaching design, I try an approach that’s a hybrid of these two goals — a balance of inspiration and execution.

Rather than teaching the technical skills for the sake of knowing them, I explain each technique in a purpose-driven way. Instead of telling you that a certain combination of commands results in a specific action, I discuss a possible design goal and then explore the ways in which you can do that with software. This approach allows for young designers to express their creativity, as well as helps them explore the principles of design. I find this approach helpful myself. When I have an idea for a lighting concept in my mind, if I immediately jump to thinking about fixtures, channels, and dimmers, I lose the intent by thinking solely about the tool. By focusing on developing my design solution first, and then exploring how I can achieve each of its respective elements with the software’s capabilities later on, I find that my design evolves more cleanly.

Frank Brault leading students at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas in July 2016. Courtesy Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

Frank Brault leading students at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas in July 2016. Image courtesy of Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

I practice what I preach, and so when I was down in Las Vegas to teach a week-long class on lighting design at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (SILV), I led my students through practical applications of creative objectives, rather than just showing them how everything worked.

Dane Kick, an 18-year-old aspiring lighting designer and programmer, came to SILV to learn more about how to pursue his dream of working on concert tours and music festivals. He says that he draws a lot of his inspiration from music and that he uses it to help him brainstorm new ideas. From my perspective, he visualizes the ideas that music gives him using the options available in design software. I think Dane learned a lot from SILV, and his lighting designs really showed his growing skills.

Courtesy Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas via Instagram

Image courtesy of Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas via Instagram

“SILV is a great program that can offer you a lot of experience and training with some of the hottest equipment in the industry,” Kick says. “Frank has been a great addition to SILV 2016. Not only has he been doing a great job at teaching us Vectorworks Spotlight software, but it’s also great to be able to hear his stories at SILV’s grill chats.” Being able to share both my design knowledge through training and industry insights through telling stories is another great part of being an educator. Not only do I get to coach students through finding their own sources of inspiration, I also get to gain inspiration for my own work by learning from them and how they design. This process stimulates my creativity as an educator, which counterbalances the technical aspect of my role instructing young designers.

“Frank taught us to look at the world around us and think about how we could create what we see in the space of Vectorworks software,” says Tyler Warner, a 20-year-old interested in lighting and set design. “One of the most powerful examples was when he took the TKTS Booth from Times Square and built it in Vectorworks software. He showed us his process to approach a shape and how he applied what he knew to be able to create it. This is particularly important for designers who build from the world around them. It also showed us how to think about the 3D shapes that we would be creating and a process to use to create them.”

Frank Brault leading students at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas in July 2016. Courtesy Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

Frank’s students at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas in July 2016. Image courtesy of the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

Comments like Tyler’s are why I teach tools like Vectorworks software the way I do — so that you can pick the best way to visualize what you want without losing your vision. A lot of times, once students learn how to do everything within a design software, they then try to use every feature each time they’re working. As someone who cares passionately about the future of design, I’ve worked to address this issue through teaching that you should choose the right feature to achieve the solution that is truest to your creative concept. And I’ve found that by presenting the lesson about the balance between creativity and technical know-how, I’ve gained some of my best rewards in return.

Frank Brault leading students at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas in July 2016. Courtesy Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

Frank Brault leading students at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas in July 2016. Image courtesy of the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

Do you think that design education properly balances artistic vision and technical execution these days? Let me know by tweeting me your thoughts to @FrankOnDesign.

This article first appeared in our bimonthly academic newsletter, For the Love of Design

With the increasing importance of landscape ordinances and green building codes, landscape architects are now required to submit more drawings, make more edits, and keep track of more data than ever before. Now you can learn more about best practices for meeting these growing demands in a webinar worth 1 LA CES HSW PDH, “Augmenting Landscape Architects’ Design Workflows with Information Modeling.”

Now available on-demand, the webinar is hosted by Stephen Schrader, PLA, ASLA, landscape architect at Holcombe Norton Partners, Inc., who demonstrates how applying building information modeling (BIM) tools to your workflow can help you achieve regulatory and sustainability goals.

Using real world examples, Schrader introduces the benefits of using BIM tools, such as smart objects, as well as how to use worksheets and reports to track data and calculate site performance to ensure code compliance as you develop your project.

Take the associated quiz after watching the webinar to earn 1 LA CES HSW PDH. If you’re looking to learn more, head over to our Inspiration page to check out a wide-range of Continuing Education webinars.

#Vectorworks2017 will be released in the coming months. But before you get too excited about launching into our new software, take a minute to refresh your skills with some of the big features released in Vectorworks 2016 with these tutorial playlists.

Subdivision Surfaces

Check out this tutorial series to learn how to create complex, curved surfaces with the subdivision tool. It’s worth watching all the way through, as you’ll be able to hone your skills with edit modes you learn about in the earlier videos during the example workflow tutorials later in the playlist.

 

Project Sharing

Discover the collaboration tool that simplifies workflows for projects with multiple users by watching these next tutorials. After viewing this series on how to prepare files for project sharing and manage users and permissions, you won’t stress about group projects or teaming up with coworkers and collaborators.

 

Marionette

Get started with our integrated graphical scripting tool, Marionette, with these tutorials. You’ll learn how to use nodes and connections to form networks that create and manipulate geometry.

 

If you have any questions about these videos, or about all things Vectorworks, reach out to us at tech@vectorworks.net or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced professional, networking can feel intimidating. It’s hard enough to introduce yourself to someone new, but then you also have to talk about yourself, make a good impression, and figure out next steps. Thankfully, networking gets easier with practice, but having a few tips doesn’t hurt, either. Here’s some advice on how to connect with potential clients, employers, and peers from some of our very own industry team members.

Professionals networking at the 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit in Chicago.

Professionals networking at the 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit in Chicago.

Edwin Espinoza, CAD Content Developer

1. Do Your Homework

Just as you study for tests or practice for interviews, you should prepare for networking events. Look into who is hosting, sponsoring, and attending in advance. Then once on site, share your knowledge. People will be impressed that you’ve done your research.

2. Leave Them Wanting More

Handing your business card to a new contact is an easy way to help them remember you and to make yourself look professional. Go a step further and include a link to your portfolio website on the card. This will demonstrate that you take pride in your work.

Be sure to listen attentively to anyone and everyone you meet at networking events.

Be sure to listen attentively to anyone and everyone you meet at networking events.

Ruby Siddiqui, Assoc. AIA, Product Marketing Manager — Architecture

3. It’s Not All About You

Balance pitching yourself and getting to know the person you’re talking with. Make sure that you spend time asking others questions and learning from their perspectives (e.g., “What do you look for in an ideal design?”, “What made you get into this profession?”, “What is your typical workflow?”). The resulting conversation will be more memorable and enjoyable, while also providing you with valuable insights.

Eric Gilbey, RLA, ASLA, Product Marketing Manager — Landscape

4. Get Out There

Attend industry events focused on your field of work. Professional associations often host events specifically for networking purposes. As you participate in these associations, people will become familiar with your name, leading to more attention from professionals in your industry.

Take the time to have in-depth conversations with everyone you’re speaking with.

Take the time to have in-depth conversations with everyone you talk to.

5. Be Authentic

While you might be looking for a new project or a job in the long run, you shouldn’t come off like you want anything other than a good conversation. People respond well to those they believe are genuine and tend to recognize quickly when you have an ulterior motive or rush through a conversation to move on to the next one.

Steve Alden, AIA, Architectural Thought Leadership Director

6. Follow Through Like NBA Star LeBron James

Networking doesn’t stop once an event is over. It’s essential to follow up with your new contacts, typically within two to three days. If they asked you to follow up in a specific way, make sure you respect that. Lastly, send them an article you find interesting that touches on one of the topics you discussed; a personal touch can make all the difference.

Introduce people you connect with to others and continue the networking cycle.

Introduce people you connect with to others and continue the networking cycle.

7. There Are No Days Off 

Cultivating a network requires effort, but it tends to pay off through the creation of a great group of resources or even the path to a potential job offer. Don’t be shy about reaching out to your network for help or to introduce them to each other, too, as you may find that they start to do the same.

Test your new networking skills by attending local industry events or even just reaching out to old contacts. Need a place to start? Find a Vectorworks User Group in your area or start your own and connect with designers near you.

This article first appeared in our bimonthly academic newsletter, For the Love of Design

As the US summer concert season winds down, we’re shining a light on some of the biggest concert events of the past few years. So sit back, blast some tunes, and explore the work of some of the world’s greatest entertainment designers.

Lightscape Design, Ltd. and One Direction

One Direction

One Direction, photo courtesy of Lightscape Design, Ltd.

Lighting designer David Lee started out designing and operating lighting for nightclubs in the late ‘80s, where he quickly gained a glowing reputation that allowed him to found his own lighting design company by the early ‘90s, Lightscape Design, Ltd. By 2012, Lee found himself in demand for one of the year’s biggest shows — boy band One Direction’s sold-out US debut at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Lee’s background in dance music served as his inspiration for the show, creating cues that would pulse along with the group’s upbeat tracks, though he soon found himself faced with a challenge; he had only three weeks to design the lights for the show around an 80’x30’ video screen. Despite the challenges, the performance went off without a hitch, thanks to Lee’s confident approach to design and his use of Spotlight.

“From the initial concept of a show and early sketches to the final rendered proof, Vectorworks software is crucial to all of my designs,” he said. “It helps me plan and develop all elements of the show, from positions of a set and scenery to ensuring that sight lines are not obstructed.”

Read about how Lee welcomed One Direction to the US in style in his case study, here.

Nick Whitehouse and Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake, photo courtesy of Ralph Larmann

LA-based Nick Whitehouse has earned quite a reputation for himself in the design world, as evidenced by his work with superstar acts Coldplay and Justin Timberlake. After developing a comfortable collaborative relationship with Timberlake on his FutureSex/LoveShow tour, Whitehouse went on to work with him again, as well as Jay-Z, for the Legends of the Summer stadium tour. During the tour he was able to explore new techniques for lighting and set design using Vectorworks Spotlight, including creating a jaw-dropping optical illusion that made it appear as if holes were appearing in the back of the stage.

“I start drawing rough ideas on paper, and then I bring everything into Vectorworks Spotlight software as symbols to make sure it all fits,” Whitehouse said. “This is where the software is very useful because you can maneuver things to fit in different venues.”

For as grand as his effects can be, Whitehouse always prioritizes working closely with the performer to ensure that the final show reflects their vision. His design philosophy is that “less is more,” which helps him create experiences that amaze without distracting from the real star. “When designers compete to be the brightest in every show, people’s eyes get tired,” he added. “You have to take a step back and let the artist shine.”

Learn more about Whitehouse’s wide body of work in his case study here.

Naked Eye Lighting and Morrissey

Morrisey

Morrissey

Max Conwell, lighting designer and founder of the London-based consultancy Naked Eye Lighting began his career in lighting design during a time of great technological change, forcing him to constantly grow and adapt with the industry. Conwell’s innovative designs have attracted the attention of No Doubt, Incubus, and repeat client Morrissey.

“Morrissey is very involved in the visual look of his show,” Conwell said. “Each tour’s design usually starts with a chat face-to-face or via email, depending on where he is in the world.” Conwell uses the 3D modeling capabilities of Vectorworks Spotlight to give his clients a preview of the show and involved them through every step of the design process.

Conwell also utilizes a breadth of Spotlight’s features to incorporate the new staging and lighting techniques. In his latest collaboration with Morrissey, he used the Video Screen tool to position screens and projectors for film clips that ran before the show and during certain numbers.

Read more about Conwell’s collaborations with Morrissey in his case study here.

PEDG and iHeartRadio Music Festival

iHeartRadio Music Festival 2012

Clear Channel’s 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival

There are few concerts more widely anticipated than the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and there was no team better prepared for the challenge of designing the show than Doug “Spike” Brant, Justin Collie, and David Hunkins of Performance Environment Design Group LLC (PEDG).

“Our job was to design a show that would be hugely successful, and the organizers wanted to make it better this year than it was the year before,” Brant said. “That’s what we did.”

Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Music Festival 2012 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas featured 22 all-star acts on one stage across two nights, and the PEDG team was given the challenging task of accommodating logistics for every performer.

“While the set was very difficult to install, the key to success was the quality of the drawings—being able to figure out and resolve all of the conflicts before we got there—and Vectorworks software was definitely helpful,” said Brant.

Find out about all of PEDG’s challenges and successes in their case study here.

Want to become an audio-visual design rock star and learn new techniques for integrating acoustical, audio, video, and environmental projection design into your shows just like these pros? Register for the webinar “Streamlining your Audio-Visual Workflow” on Thursday, September 8, to discover how to make show stopping productions all year long.

Our latest New Technologies webinar, “Introduction to Energy Modeling Using Energos” with François Lévy, AIA, principal at Lévy Kohlhaas Architecture, is now available on demand. After watching, you’ll be able to start making more intelligent energy-use decisions using Energos, a responsive energy analysis tool in Vectorworks software.

Energos_1

In this introduction to Energos, you’ll learn the key components necessary for a successful energy analysis model, as well as how to begin setting one up. Lévy will then guide you through how to better understand and work with energy analysis results to evaluate and adjust models early on in your workflows.

Energos_2

Earn 1 AIA LU after watching the webinar by taking the associated quiz. Then, discover how to create models that are as visually rich as they are in information by registering for our August 16 webinar that will explore rendering best practices, “Visualizing Success with Rendering Software.”

Usually, the more time you spend on a rendering the better the output, but you typically can’t afford to spend multiple days finishing a single image. Understanding how to balance time and quality in your rendering workflow is a key to success. This training series will help you understand how to save on time while still producing high-quality renderings by investigating the full capabilities of Renderworks software.

 

We’ll start off by explaining OpenGL, the main rendering mode you’ll work in, and its different options and views.

 

Let there be light in your renderings. This next video will take you through different lighting options, from ambient lighting to using the Heliodon tool, demonstrating both how to use them and when each type should be applied to your project.

 

Now that you have some well-lit renderings, try exploring the different types of backgrounds and how they affect the coloring, lighting, or general mood of your renderings.

 

Ready to make some textures of your own? Follow along with this next video to learn how to create and edit textures.

 

If you’re finding the texture mapping controls to be limiting, learn how to get around this by using an unexpected tool in this video.

 

Mapping textures that show directionality can be tricky. In the following tutorial, learn how to successfully map these textures to 3D geometries.

 

If your textures are falling flat, add some noise and displacement to give your rendering more depth.

 

Gone are the days of duplicating thousands of blades of grass for renderings. This video will demonstrate Renderworks software’s solution to this common rendering situation.

 

Let’s make your renderings glow. Explore glow textures in Renderworks software and how they can be applied to achieve a neon or fluorescent lighting look.

 

Learn about the rendering modes and styles of Renderworks software in the next tutorial, as well as the impact each can have on your output.

 

Make sure your detailed renderings shine by watching this final video about when and how to render with caustics.

 

Now that you’re well on your way to becoming a rendering expert, be sure to take your next step on this journey and sign up for our upcoming webinar, “Visualizing Success with Rendering Software,” worth 1 AIA LU. Even if you can’t make the live airdate on August 16, register anyway and we’ll send you think link once the presentation is available on demand.

In our latest success story video, we explore the projects and workflows of New York’s oldest architecture firm and the third oldest in the United States, King + King Architects. From Crouse College at Syracuse University to the National Grid Building, the team at King + King has had a long history at the forefront of design, a spot they maintain today through their forward-thinking outlook on adapting to advancements in architectural technology. Watch the video below to discover how they’re using BIM and advanced 3D modeling techniques to pioneer the future of incredible structures.

 

Check out more stories like this one on our case studies page.

Many homeowners lack the outside perspective needed to visualize the full potential of their outdoor spaces, which is where Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) President-elect Danilo Maffei, APLD, PCH, of maffei landscape design, LLC and his 26 years of expertise come in handy. In his day-to-day work, Maffei provides creative direction and design solutions for private, residential, public, and commercial properties, focusing on blending existing and new materials to make the most of any available space. In the Builder and Developer magazine article, “How to Capitalize On Underutilized Landscape Space,” Maffei illustrates that he practices what he preaches through his own project experiences.

One of Maffei’s clients owned a historic Highland Mede residence in Chester County, Pennsylvania and found that they didn’t have sufficient level ground to expand seating as their family continued to grow. When Maffei stepped in to renovate, he suggested moving and adapting the grill that the family congregated around by elevating the countertop height approximately eight inches, creating seating space.

Rendering of the Highland Mede residence. Image courtesy of maffei landscape design, LLC.

Rendering of the Highland Mede residence. Image courtesy of maffei landscape design, LLC.

With Vectorworks Landmark design software, Maffei was able to create an artistic conceptual rendering that communicated his vision to his Highland Mede client.

For another project at the former home of T.V. personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in Greenville, Delaware, Maffei transformed a dysfunctional parking lot into a more efficient, aesthetically pleasing parking lot. The original layout didn’t allow for more than two or three cars to occupy the space without trapping in the other cars. Additionally, landscaping had been an after-thought for the current family of “self-proclaimed non-gardeners,” so Maffei proposed a more functional parking lot with a convenient entry to the house and converted the previous parking spaces to a garden.

The shifted guest parking lot in Greenville, Delaware. Image courtesy of maffei landscape design, LLC.

The shifted guest parking lot in Greenville, Delaware. Image courtesy of maffei landscape design, LLC.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the latest issue of Builder and Developer Magazine, we recommend flipping through their July/August 2016 issue and giving Maffei’s article on page 62 a read. To see more of the firm’s projects, visit maffei landscape design’s website.