Ryan Dunbar, freelancer and former designer for events service provider Gearhouse South Africa (GHSA), has been drawing and conceptualizing stage and visual concepts for the live entertainment industry for over ten years. He has designed a wide range of events including televised awards shows, outdoor music festivals, Bollywood concerts, corporate launches, and professional conferences.

Image courtesy of Ryan Dunbar’s Instagram Page

Image courtesy of Ryan Dunbar’s Instagram page.

A Vectorworks software user, Dunbar takes advantage of its capabilities to transfer his rough ideas and sketches into a 3D space, complete with important structural components and surrounding set elements. Dunbar claims that these functionalities allow him “to do things quickly and with ease.” In addition, Dunbar notes that the Vectorworks software also allows him to “draw realistically to accommodate the venue’s limitations.”

“From past experience, it can be very frustrating and time consuming when you produce a wonderful looking stage design and then you have to go back and redraw your model, set, and trim heights,” Dunbar explained. “For example, if the ceiling height is lower than you anticipated, then what you have designed will not fit in the venue!”

Before Dunbar starts work on any project, he likes to go through his personal arsenal of resources first. “I like to keep a library of images on my PC from anything I stumble across on the web. Anything interesting – ranging from modern and unique architecture, industrial machinery, abstract shapes, and textures,” said Dunbar. “I also keep a folder of previous events that have happened over the years to review what other designers are doing or have done.”

Although Dunbar admits that his ideas sometimes “don’t make sense in the beginning!”, his extensive knowledge and expertise awarded Dunbar the opportunity to design for the 2015 Vodacom Durban July. This highly sought after event takes place on the afternoon of the first Saturday of July and is home to one of South Africa’s most prestigious sporting events – a horse race at the Greyville Racecourse that is now known to cure “July Fever” since its inception in 1897.

Constructing the Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage. Image courtesy of Ryan Dunbar.

Constructing the Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage.

For this spectacular event, Dunbar was tasked with the full show and concept design for the Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage, the space that houses an exclusive line-up of top artists and is equipped with premium lounges and exclusive views of the racetrack. As the venue where Vodacom Durban July sells its most requested tickets of the entire event, BOOMTOWN was a tall order for Dunbar, so he immediately turned to Vectorworks software to help him conceptualize the end product.

“Once I’ve drawn my basic model in Vectorworks, I’ll rotate the model around in the 3D workspace and carefully observe what the stage will look like from all angles,” Dunbar explained. “I’ll also start to add colors to the solids to show the separation between all the different features, stage tiers/levels, and the set pieces. I’ll start to play with color combinations during this phase, too.”

Dunbar’s rendering of the BOOMTOWN stage, daytime side view. Image courtesy of Ryan Dunbar.

Dunbar’s rendering of the BOOMTOWN stage, daytime side view.

Having a variety of color and lighting options to present to the client was important for Dunbar, as “this gives a good understanding of how all the features will synchronize together.” This is particularly important for a space like the BOOMTOWN stage that guarantees audiences 11 hours of non-stop entertainment through a revolving line-up of artists.

When further asked how he conceptualizes the lighting part of the process, Dunbar states that he first “adds the primary lighting to the model. This is all the key and ambient lights for bringing out the image props (in this case, people), walls, and general atmospheric venue lighting. The musicians and their instruments, performers, and lectern positions with speakers all need to be lit with key lights. I then proceed and add lighting fixtures at a high level out of the main model work space; these fixtures will project gobos and textures onto areas in the model where I am looking for a textured or shadow effect.”

Dunbar’s rendering of the BOOMTOWN stage, nighttime side view. Image courtesy of Ryan Dunbar.

Dunbar’s rendering of the BOOMTOWN stage, nighttime side view.

Next, Dunbar relies heavily on the Renderworks feature set within Vectorworks software to fully illustrate his concepts for the client. The resulting 16-meter-wide dome roof and side-flanked LED fingers that spanned the length of the stage were the outcomes of this very thorough process. “Since this event was happening outdoors, I used the Renderworks backgrounds and tweaked them accordingly,” Dunbar shared. “I added one Renderworks camera to my workspace; I do not set it to any height or specific position, as long as it is directly positioned in front of the model. I then view the drawing through the camera and use the mouse to rotate and zoom in and out of the drawing.”

Dunbar continues, discussing how using the Renderworks feature set specifically has been helpful. “I like the freedom of moving the camera around the model until I get to a camera angle that I like,” he explains. “I believe it’s very important that you spend time on your camera angles to get the very best view from your design. I used Fast Renderworks to continuoully check my render and tweak the colors, textures, and reflections until I’m happy with the final product.”

Dunbar’s rendering of the BOOMTOWN stage, daytime birds-eye view.

Dunbar’s rendering of the BOOMTOWN stage, birds-eye view.

It appeared that attendees of the event were happy with the final product, as well. South African media outlet Times Live reported that the weekend drew over 50,000 visitors to Durban and helped drive the economic impact of the event to more than R440-million. Thanks to Vectorworks software, Dunbar had the ability to accurately present his vision and design to a client for a prestigious South African event. Not only was Dunbar successful in making this vision a breathtaking reality, but he also created an amazing standout feature that is part of a rich historical legacy that will surely be discussed for years to come.

Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage, day of event.

Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage, day of event.

 

Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage, day of event, night view.

Jack Daniels BOOMTOWN stage, day of event, night view.

Want to learn more about Dunbar’s projects? You can check out his portfolio here.

A huge congrats are in order to our Senior Landscape Product Specialist Brian Nicholson for passing the Sustainable SITES Initiative accredited professional exam. Nicholson is among the first group of SITES Accredited Professionals (APs) to pass the exam and receive the resulting designation.

Brian Nicholson, Senior Landscape Product Specialist

Brian Nicholson, Senior Landscape Product Specialist at Vectorworks

Administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the SITES AP exam uses the expertise of leading practitioners to assess a candidate’s competency in sustainable landscape design and development. The SITES AP exam was first announced at the October 2016 ASLA Annual Meeting in New Orleans. For the expert professionals who successfully pass the exam, this new designation allows them to exhibit their knowledge and commitment to the profession, promote the value of landscape architecture, and educate the public about how SITES can play a role in a more sustainable and healthy environment.

The Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) is the first program of its kind to offer a systematic comprehensive rating system that proposes to define thoughtful land development and management. SITES aligns this process with innovative design—by outlining exactly what a sustainable site is and, ultimately, elevating the value of landscapes in the built environment.

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The four overarching goals of the SITES rating system are to create regenerative systems and foster resiliency; ensure future source supply and mitigate climate change; transform the market through design, development and maintenance practices; and enhance human wellbeing and strengthen the community.

“It’s an honor to be in the first cohort of landscape professionals to earn this important and distinguished credential,” said Nicholson. “By being a newly minted SITES AP, I’m looking forward to developing tools and workflows within Vectorworks to help streamline SITES documentation on projects for landscape architects.”

Not only has Nicholson earned the SITES AP designation, he also holds multiple landscape architect licenses in multiple jurisdictions and is an accredited Green Roof Professional (GRP) and LEED accredited professional. He also serves as the ASLA Colorado chapter president, where he develops value-added programs for chapter members and advocates at a national level.

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Since their release, our product specialists have worked with users to recognize and facilitate design workflows that adhere to the design and performance standards set forth in LEED and SITES. With Nicholson becoming an accredited professional for both of these rating systems, those using our Landmark software for their own site design projects will continue to see more SITES supported features and workflows to ensure their project documents meet or exceed these standards.

For all other aspiring SITES Accredited Professionals, visit their website to see how you can register for the exam.

Each year, hundreds of people head to the capital of the United States for a glimpse of the cherry blossoms famous to the region. This year, Ed Libby & Company Events, Frost Productions, and 4Wall DC collaborated to create an exhibit for the MGM National Harbor that payed homage to this natural display of beauty.

An outside view of the MGM National Harbor.

An outside view of the MGM National Harbor.

Hired by MGM to provide an artistic touch to the 15,000-square-foot conservatory, Ed Libby & Company Events is slated to create a series of seasonal displays that will greet guests upon arrival. The Spring display captures the beauty of the cherry blossoms with its sparkling pearl white, pink, and lavender floral décor. To accentuate the fixture, Libby entrusted Frost Productions with delivering a lighting proposal befitting for his sculptures.

A side view of the cherry blossom themed display at the MGM National Harbor.

A side view of the cherry blossom themed display at the MGM National Harbor.

Frost Productions is a national events services company that creates production design for events of all varieties and sizes. The team handles lighting, audio, video, and digital décor, as well as staging, renderings, videography, and editing.

“Ed Libby provided us with [the design] layouts that were imported into Vectorworks,” said Frost Productions Project Manager Niklas Andersson. “From there I could calculate the placement, angles, and distances needed to select the right fixtures.”

Ed Libby, brainstorming ideas for the winter conservatory display.

Ed Libby, brainstorming ideas for the winter conservatory display.

When it came to selecting fixtures, a roadblock arose due to the conservatory’s glass atrium. “To compete with daylight and having the rig suspended at 80′, it was necessary to install fixtures with enough output,” explained Andersson.

To make this possible, Frost Productions turned to the Martin by Harman company, a world leader in dynamic lighting solutions for the entertainment, architectural, and commercial sectors.

To counteract the light from the sun, Frost used MAC Viper Performance fixtures, which have an output of 26000 Lumens, and MAC Viper Wash DX fixtures, which outputs at 33000 Lumens. Viper Performances luminaires were used for gobo textures and slow movement to add life to the fixtures, while Viper Wash DX luminaires provided a floor wash and gave an overall base color to both the sculptures. Additionally, Frost incorporated RUSH MH 7 Hybrid fixtures to light the décor and pools. These small, but powerful hybrid units delivered the punch needed to stand out when competing with the Vipers.

The Lunar New Year display from the MGM National Harbor.

The Lunar New Year display from the MGM National Harbor.

Mounting the units is where 4Wall Entertainment came in to play. 4Wall is a full-service lighting company that specializes solely in providing entertainment lighting systems. Along with the Martin by Harman fixtures, 4Wall installed 30 Elation Professional Area Par Zoom luminaires to illuminate the ceiling. “The sole purpose of the Elation Pars is to provide a ceiling wash to create a sky-like atmosphere in the space,” explained Andersson.

Here is a view of a past display, which was enjoyed throughout the winter season.

Here is a view of a past display, which was enjoyed throughout the winter season.

Overall, the collaboration of these six companies resulted in the creation of a striking lighting design. Check out other compelling conservatory displays from the past and look out for future ones here.

*Some of this content previously ran on Lighting and Sound America’s website on April 4, 2017.

Birds of a feather flock together is a proverb we’ll soon see in action through urban planning firm McGregor Coxall’s upcoming project, “Bird Airport.” With construction expected to begin in Tianjin, China in late 2017, and slated for completion by 2018, the project aims to decrease the number of endangered bird species by providing a safe place for migrating birds to access shelter and food during their long journey across Asia.

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McGregor Coxall’s rendering of a planned observation pod.

Every year, more than 50 million birds migrate from the Antarctic to the northern tip of the Earth across the East Asian-Australian Flyway (EAAF). By the time the birds reach the Port of Tianjin, they have already traveled for more than 6,000 miles for 10 days non-stop. This arduous journey makes the Bird Airport a crucial stopping point to ensure their survival.

Adrian McGregor, founder and CEO of McGregor Coxall, shared his excitement about the project, saying, “The Earth’s bird flyways are a wonder of the natural world. The proposed ‘Bird Airport’ will be a globally significant sanctuary for endangered migratory bird species whilst providing new green lungs for the city of Tianjin.”

With enough capacity to support the needs of more than 50 species, roughly six miles of forest will surround the sanctuary and protect the birds from nearby urban developments. Additionally, the Bird Airport will include a wetland park and bird sanctuary, incorporating various water habitats such as an island lake, a reed zone, and mudflats. The eco-friendly and innovative project will incorporate green infrastructures, including constructed wetlands, parklands, and an urban forest. To ensure eco-friendly regimens, the design will use renewable energy in the Bird Airport to move recycled waste water and harvested rain water through the wetlands.

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Bird’s-eye view of the proposed “Bird Airport” in Tianjin, China.

Visitors and locals will also be able to enjoy McGregor Coxall’s bird sanctuary by taking advantage of the design’s wetland trails, lake loop walk, cycle circuit, and forest walk. In total, there will be 4.5 miles of recreational nature trails to appreciate. Plus, a high-tech visitor education and research center will help accommodate the high influx of visitations per year. The center will give visitors access to cameras in 14 bird hides, allowing them to get an up-close view of bird life while not intruding on the animals. There will even be an observation walkway with observation pods, offering sightseers a chance to watch the birds as they take to the air.

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Visitors and locals will be able to enjoy the high-tech education and research center.

To complete this upcoming project, the McGregor Coxall firm relies on the 3D modeling and site design tools within Vectorworks Landmark software, which offers tools geared toward streamlining landscape-specific design and BIM workflows. In reference to Landmark, McGregor says, “the software we use has to be intelligent in terms of our carbon footprint modeling. With intelligent BIM, smart symbols, and coordinated worksheets, Landmark gives us the ability to make this happen.”

Thanks to McGregor and his firm, not only will there be an innovative Bird Airport providing a safe environment for endangered birds, but also a popular attraction will be established where visitors can observe a range of bird species in a natural habitat, allowing them to truly connect with nature.

If this innovative project grabbed your attention, read our case study for an in-depth profile on McGregor Coxall and learn more about their work and design philosophy.

As a shared knowledge resource, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is meant to cross physical and industry boundaries in order to bring professionals the information they need to work together. However, in an industry constantly growing in best practices and technology, and as competitive as it is creative, creating standardizations to make these resources work isn’t always simple.

In his presentation at the BIM World Implementation Strategies Global Online Symposium held in Barcelona, Spain, Jeffrey W. Ouellette, Assoc. AIA, IES, chair of the buildingSMART International Implementation Support Group and senior architect product specialist at Vectorworks, explored the past and future of BIM standards in the United States. Organized by Zigurat, BIM Freelance, and BIMCommunity, the symposium was an online and on-site event that focused on the implementation of BIM in different parts of the world, including the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

In the video below, watch as Ouellette examines how moving forward in BIM means that we must move together. He also discusses how sharing information is the key to improving the standardizations for BIM. Specifically, Ouellette outlines how working for the customer, those who use the buildings daily, is the only way to uncover best practices that will benefit the whole.

After you watch, you can learn more about our BIM philosophies and support here or check out the National BIM Standard-United States (NBIMS-US™) on their website.

From a young age, Natali Arco was drawn to the stage. Growing up she dreamed of becoming an actress and being in the spotlight, until she realized she was more interested in being behind the scenes, rather than at center stage.

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Arco, now a recent Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri, first discovered her interest in lighting design through the required tech courses at her arts high school, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Throughout her coursework, she encountered more and more opportunities to dabble in lighting design, so when she was forced to choose between performing in a show or doing the lighting design her senior year of high school, the former aspiring actor chose design.

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A scene from “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play,” a production that took place at The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. Photo courtesy of Eric Woolsey.

“That was a real turning point for me,” says Arco. “It was then that I realized that I had found lighting design to be more challenging and fulfilling. There is something really gratifying about seeing the whole process of a show through from the very beginning to the end and seeing your product being executed. It was a kind of feeling that I hadn’t achieved through acting.”

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Another production at The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Photo courtesy of Eric Woolsey.

Since then, Arco has been committed to pursuing lighting design in both her studies and work experience. After two successful and enlightening internships with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Arco snagged an internship that most can only wish for – one with The Walt Disney Company.

Upon starting her internship, Arco realized that the lighting design team did not use her preferred software: Vectorworks Spotlight. Their hesitation to use the program stemmed from the misconception that they wouldn’t be able to get Vectorworks files to communicate with Revit, which surprised Arco. She recalls, “I took it upon myself to prove to the team that the programs can work perfectly well together.”

While completing her extensive projects, which included creating a 3D model of the EPCOT American Garden Stage for the Candlelight Processional, Arco kept in close contact with the team at Vectorworks who helped her along the way. “I feel like I am on a first name basis with the entire tech team now,” jokes Arco. “But really, they were so amazing in helping me figure out how to best have the files communicate between the two programs.

On her most recent project, designing the main stage production at Webster University, the feat of modeling the lighting is even more stunning when you learn that Arco had only designed her first project in 3D less than one year prior to tackling the task. “It’s amazing to see my progression,” says Arco. “I do all my drafting primarily in 3D now, and it’s because Vectorworks makes it incredibly easy. At first it was challenging because I was doing a lot of self-teaching, but the awesome thing is that there are so many YouTube videos, specifically ones posted by Vectorworks staff, that cater to Spotlight users. They provide you with exactly what you need to know to get rolling.”

But it’s not just the tutorials that are making Arco’s life a little easier, it’s also the tools themselves. On her new projects, Arco notes that the new cable tool suite available in Vectorworks 2017 is “a lifesaver.” She also claims that the new Resource Manager nearly brought her to tears of joy. “Vectorworks makes 3D modeling particularly easy with all of its resources,” says Arco. “With the Resource Manager you have access to an innumerable amount of lighting fixtures that you can use in your drawing in 2D and 3D.”

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The Resource Manager feature, which first appeared in Vectorworks 2017.

As far as Arco’s plans for the future, she has accepted a lighting design internship with Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Following the internship, she plans to move to New York and begin working as a freelance designer, associate, and assistant. One thing’s for sure: the Vectorworks team can’t wait to see what she does next!

With the 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit right around the corner, we are on the edge of our seats with a big announcement. Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar and Brad Cloepfil, AIA, NCARB, founding principal of Allied Works Architecture will do us the honors of being our keynote speakers for the event.

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As a reminder, the Vectorworks Design Summit will take place from Monday, September 18 to Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Maryland’s Charm City and include more than 70 hours of ROI-driven industry training on trends and tools, multiple networking events to help you make beneficial career connections, and individual face time with training and support staff.

The first keynote, led by Sarkar, will take place on day two of the conference, September 19, at 9 a.m. ET. The keynote will include an introduction from Sarkar about the latest features in Vectorworks 2018, scheduled for release this fall. Additionally, he’ll invite customers on stage to share how Vectorworks software empowers their business to succeed.

Sokol Blosser Winery in Dayton, Oregon. Image courtesy of Allied Works Architecture. Photo by Jeremy Bittermann.

On day three, September 20, at 9 a.m. ET, Cloepfil will kick off the second keynote, “Applied Arts,” highlighting Allied Works Architecture’s design process through innovative case studies.

Architect, educator and principal of Allied Works Architecture, Cloepfil creates culturally resonant architectural designs, forged by the defining elements of their mission and site. Cloepfil’s earliest influences lay outside of architecture — ranging from the vast landscapes and monumental works of civil engineering in the Pacific Northwest, to the simple, yet profound gestures of land and installation artists. His approach to design combines an intensive focus on the specific character of each project with an understanding of architecture’s transformative possibilities.

A rendering of the National Veterans Memorial Museum. Image courtesy of Allied Works Architecture. Photo by Mir.

A rendering of the National Veterans Memorial Museum. Image by Mir.

“I hope attendees leave my keynote feeling inspired to explore the craft of making, whether they’re designing anything from buildings, landscapes, or stage designs to plates, tables, or perfume bottles,” said Cloepfil. “Although, this passion for making would be nothing without the means to do the job — tools like Vectorworks software that allow designers to explore and document innovative projects.”

A Portland, Oregon native, Cloepfil founded Allied Works Architecture in his hometown in 1994 and opened the New York City office in 2003. The recipient of numerous design awards, he holds degrees from the University of Oregon and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, and he has taught and lectured widely throughout North America and Europe.

A house located in Dutchess County. Image courtesy of Allied Works Architecture. Photo by Jeremy Bittermann.

A house located in Dutchess County. Image courtesy of Allied Works Architecture. Photo by Jeremy Bittermann.

Allied Works Architecture is widely acclaimed for their arts and cultural projects. For the past 14 years, they’ve been using Vectorworks software on some of their most prestigious projects, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado; the National Veterans Memorial & Museum in Columbus, Ohio; and the National Music Centre of Canada, in Calgary. The firm’s varied and rigorous design process ultimately comes to rest through the clarity of the drawing. Vectorworks’ team has worked as a partner to provide the best available digital modeling, scripting, and rendering software, allowing Allied Works Architecture to maintain the forgotten power of the well-drafted sheet through a unique, drawing-like drafting environment.

Exterior and interior shot of the Clyfford Still Museum. Image courtesy of Allied Works Architecture. Photo by Jeremy Bittermann.

Exterior and interior shot of the Clyfford Still Museum. Image courtesy of Allied Works Architecture. Photo by Jeremy Bittermann.

As a bonus, we’re extending our early bird special for registration until June 7, 2017. So, if you haven’t already, there is still time to register and save $100.

If you’re interested in seeing what else is in store for attendees, check out the full schedule for the conference here.

Remember, you can join the Summit conversation by using and following #VectorworksDesignSummit on social media.

This May, “M” is for Marionette, our integrated graphical scripting tool, as we’ve just launched the Marionette Resources section on our Community Board, where you can easily upload, describe, reuse, and share inspiring algorithmic designs with the world.

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Image courtesy of Alan Woodwell

“Our driving force for creating the new Marionette section was two-fold,” said Juan Almansa, customer success director at Vectorworks and leader on the project. “For one, we wanted to make it easy to customize and share your objects with Marionette, and secondly, to make it easier for our team to get involved with the community to continue improving the feature.”

With this new section, you’re now able to access and use previously created Vectorworks nodes and objects whenever you want.

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ComputerWorks, our distributor in Germany, also contributed to the new section on the forum.

“When we see a gallery with compelling images of what was scripted with Marionette, we can immediately understand the capabilities this feature offers,” said Andreas Thierer, director of marketing & sales at ComputerWorks. “The new section will be attractive to all designers, whether or not they’re programmers, as they can now easily scan this resource area and click on topics that are interesting to them. This can be the starting point of something big.”

Regardless of whether you’re a Marionette novice or expert, this video will show you how to begin sharing your Marionette objects, nodes, and networks on the new forum.

As you explore the new Marionette Resources section on the Vectorworks Community Board, remember, we’re always here to help. If you have any questions, email us at tech@vectorworks.net or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

For Scott Barnes, lighting console programmer and owner of i-light design, the movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is more than a beloved classic from the 80s — it was the catalyst that led to an illustrious career designing 2D plots and 3D models of movie sets. “After I saw ‘ET’ at 10 years old, I realized how fascinated I was with motion pictures,” said Barnes. “I started following filmmakers, got an 8-millimeter movie camera, and began experimenting with filmmaking. Lighting logically followed, and I got my first job offer as a tech guy for a movie with George C. Scott before graduating high school.”

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial © UNIVERSAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial © UNIVERSAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Early in his career, Barnes did most of his drawings and renderings by hand. When design technology started to become more commonplace in the industry, he was quick to embrace it for his work.

“When I learned about previz, my introduction to it was with a Hog console, which came with wisywig — and I did not like wisywig,” Barnes admitted. “I did some more research on my options and discovered Vision, which I really liked.”

Barnes first used Vision software for the movie “Dreamgirls” to previsualize camera movement on set, but when it came to 2D drafting and 3D modeling, he was still grappling for a solution. “I had dabbled with 3D modeling in Maya before, but it had overwhelmed me. It was too much — too broad of a tool. I discovered Vectorworks Spotlight because of its tight integration with Vision, so I gave it a chance, and I realized it was the perfect 2D and 3D industry-specific tool.”

Rendering created by Barnes for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

Rendering created by Barnes for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

With his established go-to tools, Barnes first tackled “Iron Man” in 2008, and since then he’s worked on every Marvel movie to date, including “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Ant-Man,” as well as other films like “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” “Star Trek into Darkness,” and “Inception.”

As Barnes continues to refine his skills, he prides himself on seeing the big picture. For movies, he collaborates with set designers, construction crews, gaffers, cameramen, and anyone else involved in the production process. Each team is only responsible for specific parts of bringing the production together, but Barnes’ job goes beyond just creating the lighting plots, as he brings all the different elements together.

Barnes’ laser drill plot for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

“I collect all the DWG or PDF drawings from the different teams and scout out the space to add details and see what is going to actually work in reality,” explained Barnes. “I don’t just draw the plot and leave — I’m a part of the process and add my input. Using Vectorworks, I can then take those files and details to create a 3D model to provide super-accurate drawings for the gaffers and cameramen.” Barnes says this is especially helpful in providing an accurate representation of what he can do with lights and trusses, too.

When asked what the best part about his job is, Barnes reflects, “it’s definitely not your typical 9 to 5 job. The interesting thing about the movie business is that anything goes, so there’s always something new around the corner to keep me on my toes.”

Barnes’ rendering of the camera’s view of the set at 30 feet for “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”

Barnes’ rendering of the camera’s view of the set at 30 feet for “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”

With this “anything goes” mentality, Barnes particularly enjoys the freedom Vectorworks Designer provides as it includes tools not just for the entertainment industry, but for architecture and landscape design. He’s previously experimented with these other realms in his work and loves how “you can draw a castle, a boat, a car, a tree-lined field, or anything” in the program.

Barnes is quite the Vectorworks enthusiast, and when it comes to Vectorworks 2017, he has a long list of favorites.

“I loved data visualization in viewports,” said Barnes. “I never thought viewports could get any better than they already are, but they did. It’s saved me so much time, as I can now easily color code by universe or type.”

Barnes’ plot for “Captain America: Civil War.”

Barnes’ plot for “Captain America: Civil War.”

With this passion for Vectorworks software, Barnes is known as an expert on the program. He often fields requests for training from designers and is an active Vectorworks beta tester where he provides feedback for future product developments.

“As a beta tester, it’s so great when your feedback is not only heard but implemented,” enthused Barnes. “One particular update with subdivision surfaces in this latest release stemmed from one of my requests. But, what I’ve always loved most about Vectorworks is the creative expression it enables — there is always more than one way to accomplish your task, it’s just a matter of which route you want to take.”

Intrigued by Barnes’ line of work? Follow him on Instagram to stay up to date on his projects.

No one likes a traffic jam. In a vehicle, they’re time consuming and frustrating, but in a pedestrian setting, they’re crowded and loud, not to mention dangerous in the event of an emergency. That’s where SimTread 2.5 pedestrian simulation software can play an instrumental role in helping you optimize plans for functionality and flow.

A SimTread software simulation of a city’s evacuation time.

A SimTread software simulation of a city’s evacuation time.

Created by Japanese Vectorworks distributor A&A Co., Ltd. in partnership with Waseda University and Takenaka Corporation, SimTread is available as an add on for Vectorworks 2017 to help those working in disaster preparedness, public safety, facilities management, plus municipal or campus planning. This add on assists in evaluating evacuation times, building egress, and traffic flow – whether directing the slow meandering of people through an art museum or expediting the exit of tens of thousands of people from a football stadium.

Version 2.5 of Simtread was just released today. Updates include improvements for video export quality and a more detailed analysis, offering the ability to efficiently add time-dependent events like evacuations, as well as account for different occupants, such as individuals in wheelchairs.

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“We’re always looking for new ways to help designers work more efficiently by putting the information they need at their fingertips,” said Jeremy Powell, senior marketing director at Vectorworks. “Updates for this SimTread version will improve productivity for the design and planning of pedestrian flow and evacuation safety.”

Updates for SimTread 2.5 include:

  • Improved plot tracking, which provides a more in-depth analysis by enabling the ability to plot and display the specified path occupants take to reach their destinations.
  • The new Show/Select SimTread Object command helps users save time by showing or selecting all instances of specified SimTread object types.
  • The duplicate transfer points update provides a command that streamlines the creation of a simulation of a multi-story building by allowing the replication of transfer points at stairwells.
  • Enhanced anti-aliasing and H264 video codec parameters for higher-quality video output.

“SimTread helps designers make better, more data-driven Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 10.17.24 AMdecisions when it comes to optimizing their layouts for crowd flow and safety,” said Dr. Takeshi Kimura, manager of product development at A&A. “As such, we continually work to improve the capabilities of SimTread based on customer feedback and provide Vectorworks users the best tool possible.”

You can purchase SimTread, or learn more about how the add on helps design occupants go with the (design) flow by visiting our partner page.