Darkness falls over the entire theater, the curtain opens, and a bright spotlight illuminates the dancers on stage…

For the audience, this is just the beginning, but for Martin Gebhardt, head of the Zurich Opera House lighting department, this is the culmination of his hard work that could not have been produced without state-of-the-art lighting features.

Vectorworks Spotlight features are to Gebhardt as warm-up stretches are to pro ballet dancers: absolutely-necessary. Gehbart relies on Spotlight’s essential tools to light up the opera’s well-choreographed interpretation of Swan Lake. The flexibility and advanced techniques of the dancers and of Vectorworks Spotlight work together to collaboratively convey this profound production.

The Zurich Opera House main stage with proscenium arch. Image courtesy of Dominic Büttne.

The Zurich Opera House main stage with proscenium arch. Image courtesy of Dominic Büttne.

This year, Gebhardt has worked alongside Lilith Gardell, a trained specialist in event engineering, as well as 30 other talented lighting team members, to craft the lighting design for Swan Lake and many other stunning productions. Gebhardt is responsible for the complete modernization of the opera house’s lighting technology, so he relies on Gardell to create CAD drawings, document the lighting design, and ensure that the lighting plans maintain a proficient and consistent look.

Because of the quick turnaround time for each production, the attention to detail for each plan is extremely important. Luckily, working under a time constraint proves easy with Spotlight libraries and the Visibility tool, as they collectively aid in Gardell’s ability to fabricate lighting plans swiftly and efficiently. “If you get yourself intensively familiar with the program right from the start, and create a well-structured standard lighting plan for your theater, then you save yourself a lot of time in the long term,” says Gardell.

By counting on cutting-edge technology to keep the opera house open to new developments, and to guarantee the continued success of his choreographed lighting, Gebhardt has established Vectorworks Spotlight as an indispensable asset for his workflow. Gebhardt has expressed willingness to share his advice and experience using Spotlight with other theaters, so that they too can depend on the beneficial pre-production tools.

Martin Gebhardt, head of lighting at the Zurich Opera House.

Martin Gebhardt, head of lighting at the Zurich Opera House.

Check out the full Zurich Opera House case study to learn more about the team’s work routine with Vectorworks Spotlight, the Swan Lake ballet, and their role as pioneers of new technologies.

Original case study text and publication by: ComputerWorks GmbH
Case study authored by: Martina Moellinger

Vectorworks is growing, and we are delighted to announce the formation of a new Vectorworks office in the UK.

Vectorworks has acquired Design Software Solutions, a long-time reseller of Vectorworks software. The Vectorworks UK office will build on the support, training, and sales infrastructure developed by Design Software Solutions as a launch pad for further development in the region. The new office will be led by Tamsin Slatter and Adrian Slatter, former directors of Design Software Solutions.

UK office Biplab Sarkar and Adrian Slatter

Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar and UK Sales Director Adrian Slatter. Photo courtesy of Jason McCutcheon, JMcC Photography.

“With more than ten years of experience helping users make the most of their investment in Vectorworks software, Design Software Solutions has provided significant input to the growth of the UK market while also providing valuable support and training materials,” said CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar. “Tamsin and Adrian Slatter and their dedicated team have the right mix of experience and passion for our products to help us to provide top-quality support for our existing community of designers and resellers in the UK, while expanding our user base even faster than we have to date.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of the Vectorworks team. The UK and Ireland is a major market for designers of all disciplines, and Vectorworks’ decision to invest in creating a direct presence shows how highly the company values these clients and the market opportunity that exists,” said Adrian Slatter, UK sales director.

Questions? Please click here for more information about the Vectorworks UK office.

It’s hard to believe our 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit is less than six weeks away. We are pleased to announce the addition of seven new speakers for the Summit, to be held Monday, September 18 to Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

This jam-packed conference will include 35 speakers, more than 75 hours of hands-on training, one-on-one technical support, and networking events. Attendees will also get an inside view of Vectorworks software’s future development cycle, including new features in the soon-to-be-released 2018 version of the application.

“The fervor, overall enthusiasm, and passion that has been on display among attendees at each of our past two Design Summits has made this a must-attend event for Vectorworks enthusiasts around the world,” said Nicole Davison, vice president of sales at Vectorworks. “From thought-provoking and inspirational keynote speakers, to tremendous training and learning, to the design-focused interactive activities and social events with Vectorworks staff, the Summit is truly a can’t-miss event. We can’t wait to continue our annual occasion to share in our mutual passion for transforming the world through great design.”

Impressive Speakers and Continuing Education Opportunities

Seven Design Summit Speakers

Seven speakers from left to right: Daniel Irvine, Marc Pancera, Tamsin Slatter, Paul Beaty-Pownall, Remco Teunissen, Adam Greenspan, and Jean Dières Monplaisir.

As previously announced, Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar and Brad Cloepfil, AIA, NCARB, founding principal of Allied Works Architecture, will deliver the keynote addresses. The first keynote, led by Sarkar, will include an introduction to the latest features in Vectorworks 2018. He will also invite industry leaders to share their business success stories, including, Paul Beaty-Pownall, MA, Dip, RIBA, managing director at bpr architects ltd; Marc Pancera, MSc ETH Arch, head of BIM and associate at IttenBrechbühl; Adam Greenspan, partner at PWP Landscape Architecture; and Remco Teunissen, owner at RTN Showsupport.

In addition to Beaty-Pownall, Pancera, Greenspan, and Teunissen, the new speakers added to the presentation schedule include:

  • Tamsin Slatter, director at Design Software Solutions, who will discuss time-saving tips for Vectorworks Landmark; and
  • Daniel Irvine, M.Arch, and Jean Dières Monplaisir, M.Arch, M.Sc.Eng, intern architects at Principle Architecture, who will demonstrate the process of designing an immersive, free-form, timber installation using Marionette scripting.

The event will offer more than 21 Continuing Education Unit opportunities for attendees to earn HSW, AIA, and ASLA CEUs, with presentations covering topics such as collaborative BIM workflows, DWG files, cartography, rendering, tech tips, and graphical scripting to be more productive.

Top Sponsors and Exhibitors

To further support our commitment to helping designers streamline their workflow, Bluebeam, Inc. has been named as the Gold Level Sponsor for the Design Summit. A leading developer of technology solutions for the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries, Bluebeam software allows the world’s most document-intensive industries to share information and collaborate in real time.

Additionally, Silver Level sponsors HP Inc. and 3Dconnexion, Inc., along with exhibitors Canon U.S.A., Inc., Solibri LLC, and SCIA, Inc. will be available to help attendees find the right solutions for their software and design needs.

Join Us!

Design professionals can attend the Design Summit for $699, while design students and professors can register for the academic rate of $99. Interested attendees should register online now to take advantage of this valuable opportunity, as well as book a discounted hotel stay at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel by mentioning Vectorworks when placing a reservation before the room block offer expires on August 18.

Click here to check out the full schedule for the conference, and join the Summit conversation online by using #VectorworksDesignSummit on social media.

We always put our users first, and that’s why this year we’re letting you be the first to see the exciting things to come in Vectorworks 2018 with our Teaser Tuesdays.

What is Teaser Tuesday? Each Tuesday since July 25 and continuing for five weeks, we are posting a sneak peek at an upcoming feature on our Community Board.

If you haven’t joined in on the forum fun yet, here’s a recap of the features we’ve covered so far:

Multiple Drawing Views
Some things — like drawing views — are better together. With the new Enable Multiple Views command, you’ll be able to see multiple views simultaneously and switch between viewports, views, and visibility settings to do what you need.

Multiple drawing views in action.

This feature will also let you easily gauge the impact of a design change across your 3D, section, and elevation views.

Direct Section and Elevation Editing
Say hello to editing models directly in your section viewports. Add openings, align and distribute windows, repositions doors across multiple layers, reshape walls — it’s all possible.

Mirror objects, move them by points and/or align them all while directly editing sections and elevations.

You can even change the 3D views while in the section to see how edits affect model views.

Rendered Panoramas
Gather ‘round. Just revealed this morning, this new capability in the Renderworks feature set allows you to create a 360-degree, interactive view of your rendered model.

Rendered panorama of a model.

You’ll be able to put your clients in the middle of your model, no matter the size, and let them explore.

Want to know what’s new first? Join our Community Board and be sure to stop by for updates on the remaining Tuesdays.

This time there is an “I” in team, particularly with BIM data workflows. In a new article for Building Enclosure, “Building Information Modeling and Sustainable Building Envelopes,” architect François Lévy touches on how firms can take full advantage of BIM within their teams.

Levy concentrates on the “I,” or information, portion of BIM and its role as both a useful tool and a beneficial workflow that helps designers quantitatively confirm qualitative design choices and enhance collaboration.

Figure 1 From the Article: BIM sun studies combined with real-time comparison of south-facing glass and internal thermal mass can inform the designer’s decision making early in the design process.

Figure 1 from the article: BIM sun studies combined with real-time comparison of south-facing glass and internal thermal mass can inform the designer’s decision making early in the design process.

“So much of the BIM conversation is about being more efficient and reducing errors — which are great and valuable objectives,” says Lévy. “And on top of that, I find Vectorworks Architect to be a powerful BIM design tool. In my recent article, I highlight some of the envelope and building-performance opportunities that architects and designers can get out of our favorite BIM authoring software.”

François Lévy (M.Arch, MSE) is an architect, author, former academic, and industry leader in the use of BIM in architectural practice and sustainable design. He is the author of BIM in Small-Scale Sustainable Design (Wiley, 2011; Korean edition 2016) and a contributor to the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 15th Edition (Wiley, 2013). His forthcoming book is on BIM for design. He can be reached at francois@levykohlhaas.com.

Headshot, provided by François Lévy

Photo provided by François Lévy.

To read the full article and discover how you can enhance your firm’s workflow through BIM, click here.

Looking to optimize your workflow with clients through the use of Vectorworks software? Then take two minutes out of your busy, design-filled schedule to learn about the view transition animation Vectorworks preference. This feature allows you to smoothly animate the transition from one view to another, resulting in a constant understanding of your designs so you can more effectively refine your models and present design views and options to your clients.

A “Front Perspective Low” view of this particular design.

A “Front Perspective Low” view of this particular design.

In addition to presenting various angles of your design, you can control the length of time when switching between views. Simply edit a script associated with the preference, and change its time value. The higher the value, the slower and more dramatic the shift will be between views, and vice versa. Run the script to see the results and modify the number of seconds between views as desired. Gaining control over the transition speed will allow you to fully take advantage of this feature as you present the animation to your client.

The script dropdown, in which you can change the number of seconds it will take the transition between views in your document.

In the Script Editor, you can change the number of seconds it will take to transition between views in your document.

The view transition animation preference is enabled by default. Simply select a saved, standard, or custom view, and as you switch to another view, the software automatically fills in the frames between views. This setting is global, so you will have one speed for every change between different views. You can import this script into other Vectorworks files, or create your own script using the parameters shown in the Script Editor.

To gain more insight about how to use this feature in action and improve your presentations for clients, watch the “View Transition Animation Speed” video here.

Does Marionette intimidate you? Alan Woodwell, architectural designer at Playoust Churcher Architects, offers helpful insight in his recent AECbytes article, “The Many Marvels of Marionette and How to Make the Most of It.” Marionette is one of Vectorworks software’s smartest tools because it allows users to speed up their design workflows and simplify repetitive tasks, leading to impressive finished products. When Marionette made it’s debut, AECbytes Editor Lachmi Khemlani, Ph.D., commented: “From what I saw, Marionette seemed fascinating, and I would have to rate it as the ‘coolest’ feature I saw at this year’s AIA.”

Façade studies done with a parametric Marionette object.

Façade studies done with a parametric Marionette object.

Woodwell gives readers the nudge and insight they need to become Marionette experts. He goes into detail about what Marionette is, as well as the basic concepts of its processes. Specifically, he shares examples of how to use Marionette, explains how it may differ from other Vectorworks tools, and displays a step-by-step guide to show how easily this tool can be incorporated into a workflow.

Woodwell also clarifies what you’ll need to cover before operating this tool. You’ll quickly learn why familiarizing yourself with Vectorworks tools and commands, as well as Python, will help you get the most out of Marionette.

Wrapper for a Marionette network. (Image courtesy of Alan Woodwell.)

Wrapper for a Marionette network. (Image courtesy of Alan Woodwell.)

Are you ready to understand the ins and outs of this tool’s schematics, so you can use it in your everyday design practice? You can find the full article here, or email Alan directly at alanwoodwell@optusnet.com.au.

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) wasn’t the only notable site being tended to during this year’s Renewal & Remembrance event. Located next to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, in Washington, D.C., lies the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, one of the oldest national cemeteries in the country. These ancient grounds are well-known for being a resting place for many Civil War veterans, as well as 14,000 other late soldiers. As a result, maintaining these grounds is an important undertaking, which is why the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) was asked to include this cemetery in its annual Renewal & Remembrance event.

Image courtesy of United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

Image courtesy of United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

Renewal & Remembrance is held annually to honor America’s veterans and provides an opportunity for landscape industry leaders to assist in keeping some of our nation’s most sacred grounds beautiful. Commemorating its 21st year on July 17, this year’s event drew more than 400 landscape professionals. Volunteers came from all over the country, taking time off during their busiest season of the year to pay respects to our nation’s heroes by sharing their expertise and working up a sweat to ensure the continued health of the cemeteries.

Three teams, consisting of experienced NALP volunteers, Vectorworks employees, and Grasshopper Lawns employees, were lucky enough to be a part of beautifying and renewing the distinguished United State Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. Others working alongside these teams were volunteers from Croy’s Mowing, Ltd., Ecolawn, Inc., Emerald Lawn Care, Fiore Nursery and Landscape Supply, North Coast Media, Turftenders Landscape Services, Inc., and the Aeration team from Wray Brothers Landscapes.

Most volunteers are practitioners from the lawn care, landscape design, landscape installation, site maintenance, irrigation, or arboriculture industry. “Through their willingness to donate their time, talents, equipment and materials, our members make this tremendous event possible year after year,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “Renewal & Remembrance truly holds special meaning to all who are involved. As an association, we are humbled and honored to come together at Arlington National Cemetery to pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

A landscape volunteer in action at Renewal & Remembrance.

A landscape volunteer in action at Renewal & Remembrance.

All the generous volunteers were scheduled to be at the Arlington National Cemetery by 7:30 a.m. The event kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring several speakers, including: Katharine Kelley, ANC Superintendent; Jon Cundiff, NALP President; Ed Klass of Southern Sprinkler Systems; John Eggleston, Event Chair. The ceremony also included an invocation and presentation of the colors by the Navy color guard.

While each speaker focused on different topics, they all centered around one common theme: the importance of service and remembrances of the men and women buried at these cemeteries. One thing the NALP has made apparent over these last two decades of Renewal & Remembrance events is that they are grateful for all who serve our nation.

The Renewal & Remembrance ceremony.

The Renewal & Remembrance ceremony.

After the ceremony, most of the volunteers headed to work in areas of the Arlington National Cemetery, while the rest boarded a bus and headed to the new project site in Washington, D.C. The 40 volunteers at the Airmen’s Home National Cemetery were in charge of liming, aerating, landscaping, and conducting a hardscape project near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “This is a project I was asked to design and specify material for, so it was very exciting to see it come to life,” says Eric Gilbey, Vectorworks product marketing manager. Tyler French, marketing program coordinator at Vectorworks, also participated in this event and described the lime spreading as a “tough and rewarding job.” Despite the heat, the team completed the work quickly, and they expressed interest in adding tree work to their to-do list for next year’s event.

Installed hardscape with installation team, championed by Joe Markell of Sunrise Landscape and Design

Installed hardscape with installation team, championed by Joe Markell of Sunrise Landscape and Design

Eric Gilbey has been closely involved with event logistics and has served for the past three years on the Renewal & Remembrance NALP Committee as the transportation and greeting champion. With the support of his fellow committee members, he was responsible for the organization and day-of configuration for getting volunteers where they needed to be and back again. As of this last event, Gilbey now serves as the vice chair and in 2019 will become the chair of the Renewal & Remembrance Committee. In this new role, he will be responsible for coordinating this event with the help of NALP’s staff.

“This was the 8th year for our Vectorworks team in providing beautification services for the hallowed grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery and now the Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home Cemetery,” says Gilbey. “We are extremely honored to give our time and skills each year, and look forward to doing so again in the coming years.”

Renewal & Remembrance is a significant event that takes immense effort to plan, coordinate, and transport all the equipment and volunteers. The Renewal & Remembrance committee, consisting of NALP members, does a tremendous job pulling the whole event together every year, thus facilitating a chance for landscape professionals to show their gratitude and respect for our country’s fallen soldiers.

We’ve already covered all the great training and networking opportunities you’ll get during the 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit, on September 18 – 20 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, but what about after hours? They call it Charm City for a reason. With a thriving culture of its own, our host city, Baltimore, has something for everyone.

Read on to get a glimpse of what Baltimore has to offer you.

For the Foodie


Photo courtesy of Baltimore.org.


With an Old Bay obsession that makes the seasoning as common as table salt throughout the city, Baltimore and crab go hand in hand. Whether you prefer the do-it-yourself action of a knife and mallet or the ease of a traditional crab cake, chowing down on some Maryland crabs is key when visiting this city.

Even if you’re not a seafood fan, there are plenty of restaurants and eateries to explore throughout Baltimore’s various neighborhoods.

For Those Who Want to Drink in the Culture


Photo courtesy of Baltimore.org.

Natty Boh

Originally brewed in Baltimore, National Bohemian beer’s one-eyed mascot, Mr. Boh, is a local icon. Natty Boh, as it’s affectionately known, is served all around the city and definitely worth trying when out and about.

Heavy Seas Beer

A pirate-themed favorite, Heavy Seas Beer is Baltimore’s largest craft brewery. On Saturdays or Sundays, take a free tour (with samples) at their taproom just outside the city, or check out their brews at their restaurant, the Heavy Seas Alehouse, in Baltimore’s Little Italy neighborhood. 

Narrow in on other Baltimore breweries and pubs that you can check out here.

For Those Looking for Fun and the Freedom to Explore


Photo courtesy of Baltimore.org.

Inner Harbor

A cultural cornerstone of the city, you can find it all in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, including great nightlife, shopping, a Saturday night City Lights Cruise, and historic ships open for tours.

Federal Hill

Established in 1788, ‘Fed Hill’ is known for its brick row houses, cobblestone streets, and assortment of fun bars and restaurants. Plus, at the top of its namesake hill, you’ll find the best view of the Inner Harbor and city skyline.

Fell’s Point

You’ll find plenty to explore in Fell’s Point, a waterfront neighborhood with deep nautical roots. Grab some food, take a Wicked History Pub Tour, or explore the area on your own while you appreciate the 18th and 19th century homes and storefronts.

For the Sports Enthusiast


Photo courtesy of Baltimore.org.

Camden Yards

Home of the Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards is a huge part of Baltimore culture. With a mix of modern amenities and an old-fashioned aesthetic, Camden Yards’ design helped change the construction of ballparks around the country. Stop by for a close-up look or a night game during the conference. 

For Those Looking to Learn a Little

Fort Mchenry_Baltimore

Photo courtesy of Baltimore.org.

National Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore hosts nearly 20,000 animals. Stop by to see the colorful, award-winning Blacktip Reef exhibit, take a trip through Shark Alley, or catch a live show to learn about the daily life of their seven bottlenose dolphins.

The Baltimore Museum of Art

With the largest collection of Henri Matisse’s works in the world, the Baltimore Museum of Art is certainly worth a visit. The museum was originally founded in 1914 with a single painting, but today it holds 95,000 pieces, including the internationally renowned Cone Collection.

Fort McHenry

Visit the birthplace of America’s National Anthem. Fort McHenry is known for its role in the War of 1812, which inspired Francis Scott Key’s patriotic poem. The fort is open for visitors year-round.

Ready to be charmed by Baltimore? Make sure you register for the Vectorworks Design Summit before August 8 to lock in the best rate possible.

In an effort to stimulate discussion on Building Information Modeling (BIM), specifically highlighting how information should be shared and delivered within the UK Government’s digital information requirements, CAD User magazine hosted an event sponsored by Vectorworks titled COBie or not COBie at the London Transport Museum on May 16, 2017.

The London Transport Museum. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

The London Transport Museum. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

According to the buildingSMART alliance, COBie (Construction Operations Building information exchange) is an information exchange specification system that helps minimize the amount of paperwork and tracking associated with BIM projects.

The one-day seminar consisted of a series of panels led by industry experts proposing various information delivery and presentation solutions. These panels were then followed by an extensive Q+A forum where seminar attendees could ask more directed, thorough questions.

Stephen Holmes presents to the audience. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Stephen Holmes presents to the audience. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Here are the highlights from the engaging sessions that took place at this well-attended event:

Information is the Key to BIM. But what information, how do we save it, why, and how much? Led by Martyn Horne, Group Product Development Manager, Computers Unlimited, and Jonathan Reeves, Director, Jonathan Reeves Architects (JRA)

To get the ball rolling, Horne and Reeves discussed how information can be stored within a COBie database — making sure to explicitly emphasize that this format is not simply a spreadsheet, but a way to compile building components and associated information into a database that is usable for asset management purposes.

Why can’t we use a Federated Building Model as an Information Delivery System? Led by Andrew Norrie, Commercial Director, 3D Repo

Norrie discussed a federated building information model as another information delivery option to bring to the table. As the commercial director of 3D Repo, he described his team’s process of integrating building information into a single 3D model using complex visuals and virtual reality options that can all be accessed easily through cloud-based collaboration.

What information do I need for managing my assets, and how do I want it? Led by Andy Stanton, Infrastructure & Sustainability Manager, Transport for London

Stanton’s presentation focused on his use of BIM for current projects working with the Underground London network, better known for its nickname the Tube. He talked about the information and formats needed to complete his work responsibilities that include building management, new buildings, refurbishments, and maintaining the Transport for London’s entire portfolio of buildings. His experiences as an asset manager and whether or not COBie helps him obtain promised deliverables that are properly supplied, identified, and used were particularly beneficial in opening the conversation surrounding COBie and BIM to a broader perspective.

When theory meets practice: Unanswered questions about COBie and the FBM. Led by Stephen Holmes, Professional Services Director, Cadventure Ltd.

Holmes wrapped up the presentations with thoughtful advice on dealing with potential issues related to implementation and BIM within large-scale projects. Topics discussed included data ownership, maintenance, and the legal ramifications of incorporating this process.

Informal networking at the seminar. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Informal networking at the seminar. Image courtesy of CAD User magazine.

Did we find the answer? 

As evidenced by the panelists and the Q+A Forum afterward, COBie is a needed point of discussion for many Vectorworks users. By co-sponsoring this event with CAD User magazine, we provided a thoughtful space for these conversations to occur.

Attendees walked out of the London Transport Museum that day:

  • With more knowledge about COBie and BIM;
  • Feeling comfortable making informed decisions for their companies when it comes to COBie and BIM; and
  • Eager to explore the potential of BIM in their current projects and beyond.

For more information about the COBie or not COBie event, check out this recap by CAD User magazine. And click here to learn more about what BIM can mean in your firm.