April’s almost over, so to finish it off strong we’re showering you with some rendering tips to help you plant the seeds of success. This month, we’re covering the next five videos in the Remarkable Renderworks tutorial series led by Daniel Jansenson of daniel jansenson architect. If you missed the first ten episodes, you can catch up on videos 1 through 5 with this post and videos 6 through 10 with this post.

Sometimes what you need is already in front of you. Learn step by step how to use built-in Renderworks tools to create native textures.

Download the project files here.

Get a clear demonstration in this video on how to use transparency shaders to simulate the appearance of glass for an intricate texture.

Download the project files here.

Improve the realism of your visualizations by learning how to leverage bump shaders.

Download the project files here.

Here, there, or anywhere, discover how to apply textures on single planes, perimeters, and more using texture mapping types.

Download the project files here.

Using the displacement settings, Jansenson guides the way to add depth to renderings in this video.

Download the project files here.

As you go along, if you have any questions, email us at tech@vectorworks.net or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

The future may not be written, but you can get a glimpse of it at our booth at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando, Florida. From today, April 27 to Saturday, April 29, we’ll be in the Software & Technology Pavilion at booth #2863 previewing immersive technologies and showcasing how Vectorworks Architect enables you to take on a project of any scale and in any phase of design.

A17Con collage 2

If you’re not already familiar with Architect software and you’re attending A’17, here’s your chance to explore how you can do everything from 2D drafting and 3D modeling to creating coordinated construction documents and fully developed BIM models in one application. And, Architect software has the largest number of import and export capabilities in the industry, empowering you to collaborate with everyone involved in the design process.

“Depending on the types of projects or the phase of design, an architect’s workflow can vary greatly,” said Daniel Monaghan, vice president of marketing at Vectorworks. “This can lead architects to use many different software programs to get jobs out the door. Although BIM is essential in today’s processes, the truth is, as an architect you need more than BIM, and Vectorworks offers more.”

As part of our belief that great design is more than BIM, we’ll be hosting demos and presentations during the show on multiple features that support architects throughout their entire design process.

Demos and a Sneak Peek at Upcoming Technologies

We’ll have 3D laser scanning, advanced 3D modeling tools, and BIM demo stations, as well as an area dedicated to showing off three new immersive technologies slated for the years to come that offer new ways to view and present models to better sell clients on your ideas. Here are the new technologies we’re teasing:

  • Previously introduced with Vectorworks 2017 in September of 2016, web view and virtual reality will receive substantial usability and visual improvements, such as ambient occlusion.
  • Using panorama capabilities, designers and clients will experience the model in wide immersive view.
  • Using an iOS or Android mobile device and a 2D floor plan, designers will benefit from Augmented Reality technology to view a 3D, virtual version of their model on top of their plan.

Interested in a personal demo during AIA? Email Vectorworks’ Senior Marketing Program Coordinator Samantha Link at SLink@vectorworks.net to schedule one.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.22.40 AMInnovative Presentations

We’ll be hosting presentations throughout the conference at booth #2863. Make sure you take a screenshot or bookmark this page to easily access the schedule while on the show floor.

Thursday, April 27

From Laser Scan to Model: 11:00 a.m.

Next Gen 3D Modeling: 2:00 p.m.

How BIM and VR Go Hand in Hand: 2:30 p.m.

Teamwork: BIM Success with IFC Interoperability: 3:00 p.m.

Friday, April 28

How BIM and VR Go Hand in Hand: 11:00 a.m.

From Laser Scan to Model: 2:00 p.m.

Next Gen 3D Modeling: 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 29

Next Gen 3D Modeling: 10:00 a.m.

How BIM and VR Go Hand in Hand: 10:30 a.m.

Learn more about Vectorworks Architect by visiting A’17 booth #2863 to see a presentation, experience a demo, or just to chat. Not attending? Visit vectorworks.net/architect.

With the increased push for a sustainable built environment, knowing how to best leverage the technology and information available can help designers more easily produce low-impact projects. In the on-demand webinar “Information Modeling’s Role in Sustainable Design Decisions,” Wes Gardner, Assoc. AIA, senior architect specialist at Vectorworks, Inc., explores how building and site information modeling objects and tools facilitate responsible decision-making that can help save the environment and your wallet.

Info Modeling

Through real-life examples and case studies, Gardner demonstrates how to practically use these tools, available within Vectorworks software, and help designers get the most out of their data to make better-informed design decisions for sustainability.

Sustainable BIM_case study

Image of the Leicester House project, which is the case study reviewed in the webinar.

Don’t forget to take this test after watching the webinar to earn your AIA LU. And for more continuing education opportunities, check out other industry webinars available on our Inspiration page.

We recently caught up with Michael Keller, designer at AMO Lighting LLC, about winning a 2016 Parnelli Award in the Lighting Director of the Year category for his work with Black Sabbath, as well as why Vectorworks Spotlight is the software of choice for those with a passion for lighting and a love of music.

Michael Keller Black Sabbath

Photo courtesy of Steve Jennings

Beginning in 2001 and considered the highest honor for live event professionals – or, better yet, this industry’s version of the Oscars – the Parnelli Awards recognize pioneering, influential professionals and their contributions, celebrating both individuals and companies.

It was a well-deserved accolade for Keller with his expansive background in the industry and list of impressive clients. He kick-started his career in 2001 when he started his own company, AMO Lighting. Fittingly, the company’s name means “I love lighting.” However, the inspiration didn’t originate with love for his work. Rather, it began with an Italian girlfriend, and, in true rock ‘n’ roll fashion, a tattoo of the word “Amo,” which translates to “I love” in Italian. Though the relationship didn’t work out, the tattoo – as permanent ink does – lived on, and Keller found a vision for his company name.

And, from talking with him, it is quite clear that he truly does “love lighting” and spends his days pursuing his lifelong passion. “Throughout my entire life, I’ve always been aware of how colors of light affect how a scene can be perceived,” says Keller. “When I was a small child, I had colored light bulbs in my bedroom, and I noticed how my posters reacted to different shades of light.”

With his childhood cementing his love of light, Keller got his initial start in the industry during high school with a group of friends, one slide projector, and a few overhead projectors. They formed a liquid light show company, also known as “psychedelic light shows,” even holding their first performance at their school.

After high school, he took theater lighting classes at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California, but his passion for lighting live music events quickly consumed him. Upon graduating, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he started doing lighting for small concerts and clubs. Eventually, he got involved with Bill Graham’s FM Productions, a lighting, sound, carpentry, and videography company. Working his way up, Keller began as a shop grunt – painting, cleaning, and repairing their equipment – before he was given the opportunity to work at Winterland, Graham’s premier concert venue in San Francisco. He stayed there for a few years and eventually became the house lighting designer. In those years, he worked for some of the greatest bands in history, including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, and Santana. Reminiscing about his time there, he remembers ZZ Top as one of the loudest bands of the time, and The J. Geils Band as one of the best live shows.

While Keller has designed for notable bands and performers such as Tina Turner, Billy Idol, John Mayer, and Aerosmith, what Keller is most known for most is his work with Black Sabbath, as he’s been directing the lighting for Ozzy’s shows since 1999.

Photo courtesy of Steve Jennings

Photo courtesy of Steve Jennings

To create these live events, Keller creates his drawings in Vectorworks Spotlight, and then exports them to grandMA2 to bring his visions to life. He really values this type of data exchange, not only for the streamlined compatibility between the programs, but because it makes his job easier and the show’s lighting better.

“I truly believe Vectorworks Spotlight is the most dynamic drafting tool for the lighting industry, so it’s been wonderful seeing it evolve since I first started using the program in the 90s,” Keller says. “I love how Vectorworks continues to improve its software and listens to the suggestions from designers to make the program even more powerful. I’m really enjoying Vectorworks 2017’s features too, especially the hoist and rigging tools.”

When asked about where he finds his inspiration for shows, such as Black Sabbath’s “The End Tour,” Keller says it typically just pops into his head, comes to him when he’s sleeping, or stems from collaboration with the Black Sabbath crew, many of whom he’s worked alongside of for close to 20 years. After deciding on a direction, they present their ideas to the band. For this tour, Sharon Osbourne saw a show that had nearly a thousand PAR can fixtures, and she relayed how much she liked it to Patrick Woodroffe, lighting designer at Woodroffe-Bassett Design, who Keller works with closely as the lighting director. Along with the help of fellow Woodroffe-Bassett Design Senior Lighting Designer Terry Cook and Programmer Eric Marchwinski, who was the Grand MA programmer, they put the vision together and the rest is history.

Michael Keller 4 _image courtesy of Stufish Productions

Image courtesy of Stufish Productions

When wrapping up Black Sabbath’s “The End Tour” in the band’s home city of Birmingham, UK, it was an unsurprisingly sentimental moment for Keller. “It was a very emotional and crazy evening since it was the end of an era, the end of a touring dysfunctional family, and the end of a band that had been together for nearly 50 years,” reflects Keller. “I was very lucky to be a part of that family for nearly 20 years.”

But even as his journey with Black Sabbath ends, Keller looks to the future of the next generation of lighting enthusiasts. For up-and-coming designers, Keller urges, “Utilize and embrace the technology that’s available, and the tools that are given to you – they are there only to help you. You should never stop learning and asking yourself, ‘why don’t we do it this way?’ Most importantly, be flexible and willing to change.”

Spring has sprung! In honor of Earth Day, we’re inviting local businesses in Howard County, Maryland to positively impact the environment by joining us for a 20-minute spring cleaning of our community on Thursday, April 20.

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 2.50.54 PM

Vectorworks software helps designers create beautiful, sustainable buildings, gardens, grounds, campuses, communities, and more. As part of our company’s mission to transform the world through great design, we believe in taking care of our surroundings to ensure that they are sustained for the years to come,” says Tania Salgado-Nealous, vice president of human resources and operations at Vectorworks. “Earth Day is a great time to bring people together through the preservation of our environment, and that’s why we wanted to reach out to other businesses nearby, so we could work together for the betterment of the community.”

As an added bonus, after the cleanup volunteers can grab a discounted lunch at Abby’s Market Café, located at 7160 Riverwood Drive in Columbia, Maryland. On April 20, Abby’s offering a 20 percent discount on their sandwiches, wraps, and salads (excludes protein add-ons) to volunteers who present the voucher that we are giving out.

The cleanup will take place at 11:00 a.m. Volunteers in the area are welcome to join us at that time outside the main Vectorworks entrance at 7150 Riverwood Drive in Columbia, Maryland or coordinate a cleanup at a location of their choice. We advise volunteers to wear comfortable, brightly-colored clothing and bring trash bags and garden gloves.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? RSVP by contacting Vectorworks Operations Coordinator Chelbee Johnson at cjohnson@vectorworks.net. Johnson will also help organize groups for cleanups in other locations and issue electronic vouchers for the Abby’s discount.

Finally, be sure to share photos of your volunteer efforts with @Vectorworks on Twitter, and we’ll send them to the Howard County Government’s Office of Environmental Sustainability’s LiveGreenHoward initiative, who spearheaded the #20minutecleanup.

Since the release of Vectorworks 2017 in English last September, we’ve spread the love across the globe with versions in Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish. To round it off, this month marks the final language release of the Vectorworks 2017 line of products: Chinese.

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 8.32.33 AM

To demonstrate the new tools and features in the software, Mad Macs Technology Distributions Limited, our Chinese distributor, will host free events across China throughout April and May. These events will also include refreshments and the chance to win a free license of Vectorworks Fundamentals 2017. Check out the dates and locations, below.

  • Beijing: April 11, 2017
  • Shanghai: April 14, 2017
  • Ningbo: April 18, 2017
  • Hangzhou: April 21, 2017
  • Chengdu: April 26, 2017
  • Chongqing: April 28, 2017
  • Nanchang: May 11, 2017
  • Wuhan: May 13, 2017
  • Changsha: May 15, 2017
  • Guangzhou: May 17, 2017

“We are committed to providing Chinese designers with tools that meet their growing needs,” said Cecil Fung, managing director of Mad Macs Technology Distributions, Ltd. “With Vectorworks 2017’s robust updates, we continue to put designers’ needs first, making it one of the top design and BIM solutions for the Chinese market.”

Space at these events is limited, so make sure to register if you’re interested in attending. You can sign up for any of the Chinese launch events by visiting the registration page, or learn more about the 100-plus updates in Vectorworks 2017 here.

Interested in purchasing Vectorworks in your local language? Find your regional distributor on our international page.

While it might feel like we just launched Vectorworks 2017, we’ve been hard at work preparing for the release of our Vectorworks 2018 product line. As a part of these efforts, we’re pulling back the curtain on one development to come in our next release later this year: Braceworks.

A 3D Finite Element Analysis (FEA) add-on for Vectorworks Spotlight, Braceworks provides design, production, and rigging professionals with an easy way to gauge the performance of temporary structures under load to ensure safety and compliance with engineering codes and standards. By adding Braceworks into Spotlight, it offers a completely integrated entertainment modeling, analysis, and documentation process.

“With today’s workflows, it’s difficult for entertainment professionals to quickly and accurately assess the safety of their designs,” said Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar. “Giving them access to structural analysis within their 3D design environment is a massive improvement for their workflows. It not only will save them time and effort, but make it much easier to quickly evaluate how design changes will impact a structure’s performance.”

Developed in collaboration with DeerSoft GmbH, Braceworks analyzes complete 3D structural systems modeled in Spotlight. It supports point and distributed load types, straight and curved members, and multiple materials. The FEA enables static analysis with results displaying graphically on the model for easy reference. Braceworks also includes support for Eurocodes and upcoming ESTA standards, such as the E1.6. Furthermore, detailed calculation reports are automatically generated with the add-on, and files can be exported as DTSV to be easily shared with structural engineers.

“Globally, the safety of temporary truss structures has come under scrutiny, so entertainment designers are constantly adjusting to new regulations and standards,” explained Moritz Staffel, managing director of DeerSoft GmbH. “Braceworks makes it easy for professionals to certify the safety of their structures.”

Pricing for this add-on will be made available upon the launch of Vectorworks 2018 later this year. In the meantime, if we’ve piqued your interest, and you want to learn more, let’s talk. We have plenty of options for those eager to know more. Those attending Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt, Germany this week can learn more about Braceworks at the Computerworks and Vectorworks booth E60, Hall 3.0.

The Computerworks and Vectorworks Prolight + Sound booth E60, Hall 3.0.

If you’re not attending Prolight + Sound, you can find out more by tweeting @Vectorworks.

You’ll be taking your 3D models to a whole new level with freshly developed freeform modeling skills after this month’s “uplifting” tech roundup.

First, step up your 3D-modeling skills by learning how to smoothly create irregular staircases, including stairs along the path of an arc.


Then, rail against the norm by learning how to manipulate typical, straight railings into beautifully curved handrails.


Continue building upon your freeform modeling skills by checking out the rest of the playlist, here.

And if you fall out of step or have any questions, reach out to us at tech@vectorworks.net or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

Everyone needs some time to focus on personal growth — that’s why our 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit is designer focused, to give you time to hone your skills and connect with others in the industry. This year, meet up with us in Charm City (otherwise known as Baltimore, MD) from September 18 to 20, 2017 for industry sessions, tech support, networking events, and inspirational keynotes, plus hands-on training opportunities to improve your company’s bottom line.


“The Vectorworks Design Summit is the most efficient and cost-effective way to obtain software training,” said Nicole Davison, vice president of sales at Vectorworks. “Based on feedback from our community of designers, this year’s event boasts even more lab-style training sessions and one-on-one tech support, along with multiple accredited speaking sessions by industry thought leaders. We’re always looking for more opportunities to make designers’ jobs easier and help them grow their skills.”

The agenda includes opportunities to:

  • Connect with industry peers and grow your network at events, such as the exhibitor happy hour and Customer Appreciation Dinner, as well as during lunches and breaks between sessions.
  • Learn and get inspiration from two keynotes and more than 30 sessions led by industry experts, like Greg Henderson, founder of Arx Pax Labs, Inc.; Steve Shelley, president of Field Template LLC; Bryan Goff, director of design + sciences at Grey Leaf Design, Inc.; and Todd McCurdy, vice president at Huitt-Zollars.
  • Grow your skill set and earn continuing education credits with sessions and training on topics like the basics of building information modeling (BIM), moving from 2D to 3D modeling, water-efficient landscape design, working with DWG files, graphical scripting, event design, and many more.
A sampling of the speakers for this year’s Vectorworks Design Summit.

A sampling of the speakers for this year’s Vectorworks Design Summit.

Last year’s Design Summit received high marks from attendees, such as Chris Burgin of Axxis Inc., who said his favorite part of the Design Summit was, “learning tips to make my workflow faster, learning about upcoming and new features, and meeting other people who are excited about Vectorworks.”

If you’re interested in attending and saving $200, make sure to take advantage of the pre-early bird specials, details below:


And, as part of Vectorworks’ commitment to supporting the academic community, students and professors can register from now until May 31 for just $49.

You can check out the full list of sessions and register here.

P.S.: Don’t forget to join the Summit conversation by following and engaging with #VectorworksDesignSummit.

Congratulations are in order as the 2017 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Awards recently announced their five finalists, one of which is Vectorworks software user, Rudy Ricciotti. The award is organized by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, which also conducts the Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA), sponsored by Vectorworks, Inc.


Photo courtesy of EU Mies Award.

After receiving 355 nominations, the selection of five finalists is the third step in the long judging process of the biennial award. Previously, the jury whittled the pool down to 40 shortlisted projects, including the design for the European Hansemuseum by Studio Andreas Heller GmbH Architects & Designers and Lacaton & Vassal’s 59 Dwellings, Neppert Gardens Social Housing in Mulhouse, Haut-Rhin.

The Rivesaltes Memorial Museum interior. Photo by Kevin Dolmaire.

The Rivesaltes Memorial Museum interior. Photo by Kevin Dolmaire.

Many of the finalist’s projects have a direct cultural impact or significance; for instance, Rudy Ricciotti’s design for the Rivesaltes Memorial Museum, made using Vectorworks software, is meant to evoke remembrance and reflection on the history of Camp de Rivesaltes. Camp de Rivesaltes, located in the south of France, has a long history as a place to hold the displaced and unwanted, from its beginning as a military camp that later served as a detainment center and prisoner-of-war depot, to when it became a center for deporting Jews to Nazi camps in 1942. Ricciotti’s memorial, a concrete monolith in the middle of the desolate camp, serves as a stark, visual promise to the impossibility of forgetting.

The exterior of the Rivesaltes Memorial Museum. Photo by Kevin Dolmaire.

The exterior of the Rivesaltes Memorial Museum. Photo by Kevin Dolmaire.

Congratulations to all the finalists: Rudy Ricciotti for the Rivesaltes Memorial Museum, NL Architects and XVW architectuur for deFlatKleiburg, Alison Brooks Architects for Ely Court, Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects for Kannikegården, and BBGK Architekci for Katyn Museum.

As the last step in the judging process, the jury will examine each of the five buildings in person and speak to those who use the space every day before choosing an overall winner, who will be announced in Brussels on May 16. For the first time in the awards’ history, the five award finalists’ buildings will be open for the public to visit from May 20 to May 28, 2017.

To learn more about the awards and see all five finalists’ work, visit the EU Mies Award website.