A new year deserves new skills. To make 2017 your year for wowing clients with high-quality renderings, this month’s Tech Roundup is covering the next five videos in the Remarkable Renderworks tutorial series hosted by Daniel Jansenson of daniel jansenson architect. If you missed the first five installments in the series, check out this post.

 

Is the key to better renderings hiding in plain sight? This first video will walk you through the settings and effects of the hidden line rendering mode.

Download the project files here.

 

Put your own artistic stamp on your renderings by learning about the different Renderworks styles and how to superimpose them to create something new.

Download the project files here.

 

If you want picture-perfect renderings, this video will guide you through the four-step workflow to creating photo-realistic textures.

Download the project files here.

 

Get started with the basics of textures in Renderworks, including what shaders do and how to wrap 3D objects with textures.

Download the project files here.

 

Lastly, watch this video to discover how to create your own texture from an image.

Download the project files here.

We’ll be covering more of the Remarkable Renderworks series soon, but if you want to get a head start, you can access the full YouTube playlist here. As always, if you have any questions, email us at tech@vectorworks.net or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

Rain, snow, unrelenting sun — weather is an ever-present variable on design. And with new site analysis objects created with Marionette, the graphical scripting tool integrated into Vectorworks software, you now have access to the weather data you need during your design process. With dynamic, accurate charts based on downloaded weather data, our five site analysis plug-ins make organizing and assessing weather data for your site as simple as inputting a location, allowing you to design with wind, humidity, precipitation, sun path, and temperature data in mind. Explore our five plug-ins below, and see how Marionette site analysis tools empower you to spend more time on design and less on finding data.

Ready to learn more? Discover the endless possibilities of algorithmic design and become a scripting master with the content on our Marionette training page.

Some designers don’t think of interior design as an architecturally intensive field, but Lena Munther begs to differ. As the owner of Munther Design, she’s a practicing interior architect who enjoys challenging the status quo of what her profession means to others.

After receiving her degree from the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London, the Swedish designer lived in Italy, Norway, and France, designing everything from cruise ships, hospitals, offices, and salons to restaurants, retail spaces, residential homes, and more. Her client list includes companies such as Levi Strauss, McCann-Erickson, and the Norwegian Military Services, as well as establishments around her local community in Maryland, USA like Ranazul Tapas & Wine Bistro, Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group, and FX Studios Salon & Spa and Life FX, all of whom depend on her vision and understanding of their specific branding.

One example of Munther’s impressive scope of work was her development of a concept for Levi Strauss Headquarters and Levi’s Store, which was then implemented in all major cities in Sweden, Norway, and Finland during the early 1990’s.

Interior Architect/Designer Lena Munther in her office

After moving to the United States in 2000, Munther and her small team currently operate out of her office in Fulton, Maryland, which is just a short trip away from Vectorworks’ headquarters in Columbia, Maryland. And as a fan of Vectorworks software, she recently invited us to explore her creative space. Upon entering her office, it’s easy to let one’s imagination wander amid walls adorned with color swatches, photos, blueprints, laminates, and other design materials.

The office of Munther Design

As we got to know Munther, she shared her four phases of project completion with us, shedding light on the source of her success.

Phase 1: Concept
“It’s important for me to understand what the clients’ needs are and what I can contribute to their main idea,” begins Munther. After assessing her client’s preferences and suggesting a particular direction, she sits down with them to determine how she can help translate their business ideals into the aesthetics of their interior spaces. She believes that the Concept Phase is absolutely critical to the success of a project.

To ensure the clients’ wishes are balanced with her own creative touch, Munther provides frequent visual feedback throughout the design process. As a result, it’s crucial that her tools accurately portray her visions. Munther notes one tool that has helped her immensely. “The reason I bought Vectorworks Architect software was for the 3D tools. When I’m working through projects, I can see everything in 3D during the Concept Phases so that I can get a feel for proportions,” she says. “As long as you put all the information in there, it’s automatic.”

One example where the Concept Phase played a key role for Munther is a recent project for the new Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center (CVRC) at the Columbia, Maryland location. CVRC serves as an extension of a veternarian’s primary care, offering patients who need advanced referral, emergency, and specialty care a space to heal, all in one convenient location. During the ribbon cutting ceremony this fall, the Vectorworks team was able to see how an earlier vision board of beautiful color swatches and materials they’d seen in Munther’s office was brought to life with gorgeous and functional Solid Surface countertops that were not susceptible to stains, as well as eye-catching and varying blues showcased in the paint, chairs, and more.

Comparable to a real-life Pinterest board, Munther posts color swatches and other materials on a board to convey ideas to clients.

The CVRC headquarters in Columbia, Maryland

During the concept phase of the CVRC project, Munther used 3D drawings to not only develop her designs and detailing, but also to present her ideas to the client. Additionally, by submitting 3D drawings, she was able to effectively communicate with construction managers. “They came back with very few questions on the construction drawings because they were able to see my intent in the 3D drawing and easily understand my plans, so this turned out to be very helpful,” said Munther.

Munther in the new CVRC location.

Phase 2: Team Building
In the Concept Phase, the clients’ desires are of utmost importance, but in this next part, there’s a shift in focus to the project’s needs. After all, there is one constant with Munther’s line of work: each and every site requires a different approach.

“With each new project, I need to think about both what style I want to bring in and brainstorm how to ensure we are meeting the clients’ needs in regard to their company and marketing profile, as well as lighting, ambiance, and even sound,” she said. “For instance, when designing a restaurant or any larger space, I ask myself if the entry to the kitchen is too close or shielded from the dining room, or if the concept materials chosen for a larger office space will make sound bounce off of every surface.”

To tackle these different components, Munther often teams up with outside architects, other consultants, or marketers to create something unique while ensuring that the concept meets the right specifications.

For Integrative Medicine at Crossroads, a primary care and wellness service provider for adults and young adults, Munther’s team was tasked with the refurbishment of the Physical Therapy at Crossroads suite in the medical building. Before they knew it, the single project grew into not only a more comprehensive redesign of several major suites, but essentially a rebrand, as they were enlisted to create a holistic design concept for the five entities within the practice: Integrative Medicine, which is the “umbrella entity,” Physical Therapy, The Apothecary, Wellness Arts, and Medical Skin. Munther and her team first helped revitalize the logo, giving different color codes for each entity. The designated color dictated the interior color choices of the different clinics, along with marketing materials such as brochures and business cards, which also impacted the website design. While a marketing rebrand project isn’t a typical challenge for an interior architect, Munther demonstrated her versatility in projects she and her team can take on.

The five logos of Integrative Medicine at Crossroads and the Physical Therapy suite. Images courtesy of Munther Design and photo by Mike Stog Photography.

Phase 3: Design
The Design Phase builds from the earlier Concept and Team Building Phases to produce the final design before construction begins. This is the time where a client is given answers to their questions and when Munther goes into more detail on the needs of each project, and custom-built designs are implemented whenever feasible. Her team almost never uses the same idea twice; they strive to provide something unique for each project. They search for lightbulb moments everywhere — a magazine or newspaper, a new store opening, or even a random conversation with a stranger. Once an idea is brought to the table, exploration follows.

Phase 4: Construction and Completion
During the final phase, Munther Design always follows up to the end of the building cycle to ensure that the agreed upon concept is executed to the fullest. Communication throughout the construction process is vital to eliminate problems that stem from a lack of understanding, allowing the team to catch problems at an early stage that might go unnoticed.

Learn more about Munther Design’s phases of design and see other inspiring work from the firm on their website.

Since the launch of the 2017 version of Vectorworks software last September, celebrations and learning opportunities continue popping up around the world. Let’s take a quick trip across the globe to see how designers are sharing their excitement about the new tools and features in the latest version of the Vectorworks line of products.

networking 2

Designers gathered for networking before the day’s presentations at Nordic Design Day.

Interest in Vectorworks software has been growing in the Bulgarian market since it was released there in 2015. In September, our international distribution partner Nemetschek Bulgaria gathered over 100 people in Sofia for a day of Vectorworks software exploration at their event, Future of Design. The event offered presentations that demonstrated how major design trends can be accomplished with Vectorworks software, and how the program is used as a design tool across industries.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that 100 percent of people who filled out our follow-up survey about the event said that Vectorworks software fully met their expectations,” says Sylvia Ivanova, marketing/PR manager for Nemetschek Bulgaria. “Landmark and Spotlight were quite a surprise for our attendees. Currently, people in these industries are using three to five systems to complete their tasks, so they were pleasantly surprised to find one tool that could do it all and more.”

Jumping to Scandinavia, the second annual Nordic Design Day brought designers from Sweden, Norway, Finland, the United States, Estonia, and Denmark together in Stockholm for an enlightening day of networking, thought leadership, and product training. The day featured an informative keynote from Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar, various break-out sessions, including a demonstration of Vision commands by Frank Brault, product marketing manager – entertainment at Vectorworks, and a happy hour for networking with fellow designers.

Mattias

Mattias Wreland of Franson Wreland delivering his presentation on 3D workflows

Basem Besada, CEO of BMV Studio, the Vectorworks authorized distributor in Sweden, praised the event for the thought leadership it brought to the table. “Mattias Wreland, with only one year of experience using Vectorworks software, gave an impressive presentation that demonstrated how using subdivision surface modeling and Renderworks features produce endless design possibilities,” said Besada. “And the enthusiasm for Vectorworks in Niels Nielsen’s speech about how BIM workflows make him more money was tangible.”

In November, ComputerWorks hosted over 900 designers for Swiss User Day in Zurich, Switzerland. A survey filled out by more than 400 of the attendees confirmed that the second annual event offered learning opportunities that fulfilled the expectations of the visitors. The most successful classes included lectures on efficient planning in 3D and the master class, “Innovations in Vectorworks 2017.”

“The positive response is a pleasure to us,” says ComputerWorks Managing Director Andreas Kling. “It’s rewarding to see that our efforts to solve our customers’ problems are paying off.”

Swiss User Day

Up to 350 designers attending a workshop at Swiss User Day.

In the United Kingdom, Exertis Unlimited hosted two events: BIM Design Day and the Spotlight Users Conference. At BIM Design Day, Vectorworks’ Vice President of Integrated Practice Robert Anderson, along with Vice President of Product Management Darick DeHart and Director of Product Development Hugues Tsafak, presented new features and capabilities of Vectorworks 2017. During breaks, presenters had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with customers to speak about key features.

At the Spotlight Users Conference, Brault spent the morning taking users through the new features in Vectorworks Spotlight 2017 and presenting Vision software, Vectorworks’ previsualization solution for entertainment designers. In the afternoon, Brault held an interactive session with users to teach them some tips and tricks for using Vision on a GrandMA2 console.

Most recently, Vectorworks 2017 launched in Japan, where the local Vectorworks distributor, A&A Co., held a ceremony on January 5 to celebrate the first shipment, which included over 100 licenses.

Japan Launch

A&A Co. celebrating the first shipment of Vectorworks 2017.

Congrats to all of the Vectorworks distributors who have hosted successful launch events! To learn more about the new features celebrated at these events, head to our Vectorworks 2017 page.

We’re all familiar with it — the scene of a performer coming out on stage, greeted by flashing lights, video cameras, and a sold-out arena of fans. However, what if that performer isn’t a musician or an actor, but a video gamer. For Remco Teunissen, bringing such an out of the ordinary event to life is part of his everyday workflow in his job of coordinating all of the drawings and set-up and take-down of these events.

After 20 years in the entertainment design business, Teunissen, owner of RTN Showsupport, says that while he hasn’t seen it all, he has definitely seen a lot. From working on the world’s leading dance event “Sensation,” to museum installations, and even the wedding of the King and Queen of the Netherlands, Teunissen’s projects and challenges have run the gamut. He says he likes his projects “the bigger the better,” and with the 2015 League of Legends World Championship, he got his wish.

 

The seven-week traveling tournament, which made stops across Europe in Paris, London, Brussels, and finally, Berlin, was the result of international collaboration. The League of Legends organizer, US-based Riot Games, worked with a London-based set designer, PRG Germany, partners in Hong Kong and Korea, and Remco, based in the Netherlands, as part of the PA Event team, to create a spectacle worthy of any sport. Few people imagine the countless hours that go into the design and coordination of the set, lighting, audio, and the 74 truckloads of equipment needed to make such an event happen. Bringing together these individual components is no easy feat, which is where Teunissen came in.

To coordinate all of the show’s drawings, Teunissen needed to work with every collaborator to ensure that there were no conflicts between elements, like a speaker hanging in front of a screen projector. This is no simple task given that all involved parties were working in different time-zones and didn’t all use the same software, but Vectorworks Spotlight helped Teunissen and his collaborators overcome this stumbling block.

To combat these problems, collaborators used viewport referencing, to allow individuals to work on their components of the project when they needed to, without interfering with other’s work. Teunissen’s role was to integrate these drawings to check for errors, as well as to assimilate files drawn in other CAD software, which he says was a breeze since Vectorworks software allows easy importation of many file types.

Remco LoL Plot

Plot for 2015 League of Legends World Championship. Image courtesy of Remco Teunissen.

Another advantage to using Vectorworks software, according to Teunissen, is the 3D modeling capabilities. By working through the drawings in 3D, he’s able to easily fly through the space and check for errors from different perspectives. The software also makes it incredibly easy to switch between Metric and Imperial units, which is an invaluable tool for international projects.

Although, Teunissen noted that his job goes a lot deeper than coordinating the lights and flashier elements of a production. “Besides all of the technical requirements of a production, there is also this very big part, which is heavily underestimated, and that’s the production side,” Teunissen said. “We have to plan for dressing rooms and furniture. Do we have enough fire aisles? Where is merchandising going to be?”

This production side is of extreme importance to the clients because it also affects the financial outcome of the event. “I also created a seating layout for this project, because it’s important for clients like Riot Games to know how many seats they can sell. And, then the ticket office needs to have a plan for how to sell the tickets.” By using Vectorworks software, Teunissen can create optimal seating plans for the producers, by checking sight lines and create the necessary documents for clients and venues.

To read more success stories from Vectorworks Spotlight users, head over to our case studies page.

For the eleventh year, the finest architectural projects across Europe received Best Architects Awards, including many designed by Vectorworks software users, which are now published in the 2017 edition of best architects 17.

This year, 380 works from all over Europe were submitted for consideration, with 83 of those projects honored with the 2017 Best Architects Awards and another ten presented with the Gold Award. Seventeen of the 43 awarded projects in Switzerland were designed with Vectorworks software.

© Photo Niklaus Spoerri, Andrea Helbling Gold Award project "More than Living" House G by Pool Architects

© Photo Niklaus Spoerri, Andrea Helbling
Gold Award project “More than Living” House G by Pool Architects

Pool Architects in Zurich received a Gold Award for their project “More than Living” House G, as well as awards for three other projects, including: “Bürogebäude Alfred-Escher-Strasse” in the residential and administrative buildings category, “Am Bahnhof” in Wohlen in the residential and multi-family housing category, and the “Mehrzweckhalle Wetzikon” project garnered attention in the public buildings category.

“The high volume of submissions from many different regions of Europe has generated a wide range of winning solutions to various architectural questions,” said jury member Prof. Stephan Birk of Birk Heilmeyer and Frenzel Architects, Stuttgart. “Also, the overall quality of the projects was very high, regardless of each individual project’s task, scale, and origin. This led to interesting and inspiring jury discussions about quality, innovation, attitude, and the social relevance of architecture.” Other members of the jury were Corinna Menn and Georg Poduschka of PPAG architects, Vienna.

Giuliani.hönger’s residential and commercial building “Limmatfeld” won in multi-family houses.

Giuliani.hönger ag’s residential and commercial building “Limmatfeld” won in multi-family houses.

Each project has been richly illustrated and vividly described in best architects 17. The extensive, 456-page book is organized into different thematic areas: interior construction, single-family and multi-family houses, office and administrative, industrial, educational, public, and other buildings.

"rauti-huus" by spillmann echsle architekten won an award in the multi-family houses category.

“rauti-huus” by spillmann echsle architekten won an award in the multi-family houses category.

The resulting publication gives an impressive overview of the best current works in the European architecture scene and is a great reference and source of inspiration for architects, interior architects, engineers, project developers, and builders. You can order best architects 17 online, here.

Cue the spotlight! This year, we’re helping put students center stage at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) by sponsoring awards at KCACTF’s eight regional festivals.

Founded in 1969, KCACTF is a national program that brings students together with peers and professionals to celebrate college theater in the United States. With workshops, discussions, scholarships, awards, and competitions, each festival creates ample opportunities for students to develop their creative and technical skills, showcase their best productions, and receive constructive feedback from professionals.Print“The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the diverse, emerging talent from around the country,” said Frank Brault, product marketing manager at Vectorworks. “We wholeheartedly enjoy seeing the innovation and perspective young designers bring to the table.”

As part of our sponsorship, we are donating a professional Vectorworks Spotlight license to one winner of the Design, Technology, and Management (DTM) category at each of the eight regional festivals. Entries are evaluated on quality, effectiveness, originality, and visual presentation techniques.

“KCACTF honors excellence and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships. At its core, it provides opportunities for participants to develop cutting-edge skills and learn current best practices,” said National KCACTF DTM Chair Rafael Jaen. “To do this effectively, we rely on industry-leading sponsors, such as Vectorworks. The company’s sponsorship will help the Design, Technology, and Management students expand their design approaches and achieve higher levels of professionalism.”

This year, the eight regional festivals will run between January 3 and March 4. You can learn more about each festival here, including how to enter your work before the curtain closes on this opportunity. Be sure to also check out our Vectorworks Design Scholarship to see how else we’re helping students fund their visions.

The Vectorworks crew attended the Rock in Rio: Lisbon music festival last summer. Partnering with Production Resource Group (PRG) to provide Vision previsualization services to the designers lighting up the event’s five nights of performances, we also took time to document the construction of the fest’s stages, talk with the bands’ lighting designers, and see the power of Vectorworks Spotlight and Vision software in action.

As we interviewed the major players on the ground in Lisbon, we learned about their backgrounds and inspiration, gleaning wisdom from their experiences to help both newcomers and industry veterans alike.

GÖTZ BAUER

RiR_Profiles-Bauer

Who he is: Götz Bauer is Special Operations Director with PRG, the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions. In the warehouse and in the field, Bauer coordinates the delivery and construction of festival stages, trade shows, and other events around the world.

His start: Passionate about music, Bauer got his start in the industry as a trumpet player in a ska band, but when that didn’t work out, he made the move to event production. He spent time working as a stagehand, technician, and production manager and eventually made his way to Special Operations Director.

His inspiration: When asked what Bauer would do if he didn’t work in event operations and production, he shrugged. “I’ve been working in music my whole life,” he remarked. “This job comes from the heart.”

His advice: As someone who has worked in event production for over 20 years, Bauer has insights for anyone interested in set design, event production, or event technics:

1. There are a lot of misconceptions about what it’s like to work behind the scenes in rock ‘n’ roll. The myths and legends of the excess that permeated the music scene in the 60s and 70s have given way to a culture of hardworking engineers and technicians who compete for demanding contracts. “The ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’ thing is gone. You have to think about whether you really want to do it,” said Bauer. “It needs to be part of you.”

2. Not interested in a desk job? Bauer says that working in lighting and events is a business that is designed for unique people who don’t want a traditional 9-to-5 job. You’ll work long and sometimes unusual hours, but if you bring your passion, you’ll find it very rewarding.

3. Bauer’s team alone has technicians from Germany, Brazil, and Greece, and he has traveled the world to work with local festival crews. Events, lighting, and production is a global job, and so you should be ready to travel — and maybe take some time to learn more than one language.

BRENT CLARK

RiR-Profiles-Clark

Who he isBrent Clark, an Ontario-based lighting designer, has been instrumental in creating the visual stage presence of rock group Stereophonics for more than a decade. He previously provided lighting for Rock in Rio: Madrid.

His start: Clark got his start in the industry when he was in a thrash metal band in high school. After going to school for theatrical lighting design, scenic painting, and audio, he toured nightclubs for five years in Ontario, towing his lighting equipment around in a five-ton truck, “basically working for any bands I could get my hands on,” he said. Clark impressed tour managers with his shows and built industry connections, which lead to new jobs, including an invitation for him to design the lighting for Stereophonics, one of the most successful Welsh music groups of all time.

His inspiration: Even after 30 years in the industry, Clark is still inspired by the thrill at the beginning of every shows he creates. “When the house lights go down, it’s that rush you get from the live audience,” he said. “It is pretty much what drives me to do it every day. When you get a great reaction from the crowd, there’s nothing better, I think.”

His advice: Clark has specific encouragement: “My advice for anybody breaking into the industry is just persevere.” Clark offers a few other key pieces of wisdom for fellow designers:

1. Even though things may go wrong in a show, Clark said that he always tries to take out the good parts and build off of them. “Every show has its ups and downs, good and bad, and I just try to take the good away from it.”

2. Clark advises new and aspiring designers, as well as those in the industry looking to broaden their skill set, to build their craft by simply being open-minded; even the monitor and audio team might have something to teach you. “There are a lot of people out there doing a lot of stuff,” he said. “Just watch and listen. You can learn a lot of stuff from everybody.”

3. Though it may seem like a simple tip, Clark reminds lighting designers not to forget why they chose this career path. “This is why we do this: to have fun,” he said. “Take it as it comes. Try to enjoy what you’ve got.”

TERRY COOK

RiR-Profiles-Cook

Who he is: As a lighting designer with UK-based design company Woodroffe Bassett Design, Terry Cook is part of one of the most in-demand lighting design companies in the world, creating spectacular designs for events like the 2012 London Olympics opening/closing ceremonies and two previous Rock in Rio festivals.

His start: Originally, Cook got his start onstage as a child actor. As a teen, he decided to work off the stage as a follow spot operator for a show, and he fell in love with it. After working backstage in amateur theatre in London, he studied stage management. He later met Patrick Woodroffe and Adam Bassett, the lighting designers who would go on to create Woodroffe Bassett Design, and worked as a project manager and associate with them before taking on lighting design projects of his own.

His inspiration: Cook gets his inspiration from the trust placed in him in his role as a lighting designer. Though he switched over from the production side of Woodroffe Bassett to design due to the needs of the company, he said that having the support of an accomplished team helps him grow. “I’m lucky to learn from two of the best designers in the world,” he said.

Cook looks up to Bassett and Woodroffe, and is driven by his desire to keep learning and improving under them.

His advice: Though he still sees himself as a new designer, Cook has some advice for other lighting designers still trying to find their place in the industry:

1. Cook’s top piece of advice is something that he is still learning to do: “Build a backbone.” He understands how easy it is for passionate designers to take negative statements to heart because they care about their work, but they shouldn’t become discouraged.

2. Even though it can be hard to listen to other designers assess your work, it’s an important way to learn. “As you gain more experience, you know when to realize that someone else is giving you some advice or criticism that is good for the overall piece,” he said.

3. Cook has discovered that listening to others and trying out lighting techniques that are outside of his comfort zone can have surprising results for a show. He notes that being flexible and taking comments in stride can remarkably improve designs. “If you think ‘Maybe their idea isn’t so good,’ well, try it!”

Want to get more insights on what it’s like to create shows for some of the most popular artists in the world? Check out our case study on Nick Whitehouse, a Vectorworks Spotlight user and lighting designer who toured with Coldplay and was responsible for Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s joint Legends of the Summer tour in 2013.

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

The majority of the new and improved features in each version of Vectorworks software are based on user suggestions, but the impact of user input doesn’t stop there. Vectorworks has a team of beta testers from within the design industry who explore new features in the software before it’s released each year, informing us of how to improve key functionalities. We’re extremely grateful for all of their hard work, and according to beta tester Ion Webster, the feeling is mutual.

Webster got his start with Vectorworks software back in 1996 as a consultant assisting local architecture firms with their computer-aided drafting. After spending several years supporting architects, he decided to further pursue his passion for architecture and design by returning to school in 2000, just as Cal Poly was adding CAD into their curriculum.

Webster, now principal of Pults and Associates, LLP, has since gone from helping others learn to improve their use of Vectorworks software to helping advance the software itself. Webster became a beta tester in 2008 and has been among the first to try out many new tools and capabilities through the years, affording him a unique view on how the software has developed.

webster-plot

Pults and Associates project drafted and rendered with Vectorworks. Image courtesy of Ion Webster.

While he has always been a fan of Vectorworks, Webster says that the advancements in the last few years, including ones in the 2017 version, have taken the software to new heights. “The best way I can describe it,” says Webster, “is that since starting with the beta version of Vectorworks 2017, I haven’t once had to open up 2016 for my own projects. There isn’t a single project that I was working on prior to the first beta release that I haven’t moved into 2017.”

From door and window styles to structural objects, Webster has enjoyed all of the new tools and capabilities that Vectorworks 2017 has to offer — though he does have his favorites. “The feature that has been the most fun is web view,” says Webster. “It’s not only great for communication, but it’s also just this wow factor. To me, that’s the standout because it actually changes my relationship with clients.” Since clients can now go back and revisit designs privately, Webster claims that they are processing and understanding designs better, which improves working relationships.

webster-1

Example of project that clients can walk through on their own using the new web view feature. Image courtesy of Ion Webster.

Webster is also particularly excited about the new Slab Drainage tool. After being initially impressed by the functionality of the tool when testing it, he’s eager to finally have the chance to use the tool for a project. Pults and Associates is currently remodeling an existing building and creating a new one for a wastewater treatment plant in Orcutt, California, both of which will contain locker rooms in need of depressed slabs for floor drainage. The project’s site plan also contains an extensive amount of infrastructure, but with the improvements to the Vectorworks Graphic Module, panning is a breeze.

Even though Webster might have a few favorites, he says that his success with the software isn’t just due to one or two tools, but to the software as a whole. “The fact that I can pan over large amounts of data quickly and have smooth responses, that Renderworks is now fully integrated, that I can send a model to my client at home or pull it up on my iPad on site — it’s not really about one aspect in particular, it’s really about how they all work together and how the whole tool has matured over the years,” Webster says. Additionally, Webster often uses the Camera Match feature with various commercial projects for his images so that he can integrate photos taken on site with his model.

Project rendering done using Camera Match. Image courtesy of Ion Webster.

Project rendering done using Camera Match. Image courtesy of Ion Webster.

Webster finds great joy in having the opportunity to offer input that helps improve and shape the software he uses, but that’s not the only reason he loves being a beta tester. “The team is like an extended family,” explains Webster. “It’s this wonderful mix of users that are accomplishing different things, but we’re all there with the focus to make the product better and more efficient. Being a part of the team, it feels like a privilege to me, and I am appreciative of every moment that I get to be a part of it.”

To learn more about web view, slab drainage, and all of the other tools that were tested by Webster and our beta team, head over to our Vectorworks 2017 page.

We’re giving you a ready-made New Year’s resolution for 2017: improve your skills! But don’t worry, we’re making it easy for you by gathering a collection of free educational opportunities for designers of all industries.

indwebinars3For those of you who are visual learners, head on over to our Inspiration page to watch multiple, in-depth webinars covering everything from rendering best practices to 3D modeling techniques. Be sure to follow the links below the videos to take the associated quizzes and earn your continuing education credits.

If you’d rather expand your knowledge by reading, check out these educational courses from Architectural Record and Architect, which also come with associated continuing education quizzes.

As you look toward the new year, we’d like to thank you for choosing us as your source of industry news and design inspiration in 2016. From gathering designers from around the world at the Vectorworks Design Summit to helping to previsualize the experience at Rock in Rio: Lisboa with Vision software, we’ve worked hard to empower designers across the globe to create unmatched experiences — and we look forward to continuing to partner with you as you grow your business and your design capabilities in 2017.