The wait’s over, architects, construction types and designers – Vectorworks 2013 is now finally out. Of course, if you’re a Vectorworks Service Select customer, you already knew that, have downloaded it and have been smugly modelling and rendering incredible designs since it came out on the 18th. But for the rest of you, here’s the lowdown on the reasons why you need Vectorworks 2013, including tools to improve your efficiency, boost your BIM workflow and ratchet up your render speeds.
There are a huge number of efficiency improvements in Vectorworks 2013 – all small individually, but when put together they can save loads of time in the design process. Improved Navigation Graphics will speed up the pan and zoom functionality of the software, which means no more compromising on speed when working with high graphic content models and images. The Plane Mode option lets you determine the default behaviour of 2D tools, then select objects by plane for quick selection, navigation and modification. You can now also edit multiple symbol definitions by selecting multiple symbols from the resource browser and editing their insertion options to apply the changes to all selected symbols. A real time saver!
Other new features to speed up your design include the Display Light quick preference, which allows you to toggle the visibility of light objects from the quick preferences bar (saving yourself a search through a long list of menu items), and the ability to align Leader Lines with a simple menu command – another small change with major results. In addition to the default line types provided, you can create your own custom options in the resource browser with Custom Line Types, and incorporate text or 2D geometry to produce a variety of line type styles. This will be an incredibly useful addition for developing your own line types to enhance your drawing.
Then we have Hyperlink Objects. A completely new tool in Vectorworks 2013, this lets you add links to objects in the Vectorworks model or in another application document, link to a website or use hyperlinks to navigate around the Vectorworks document. This is great for passing work on to clients who might not be using Vectorworks, as hyperlinks retain information when written to a PDF file. You can now also produce more professional looking reports and schedules by displaying images and 2D attributes in Worksheet cells.
Better modelling tools
Working in Vectorworks, you can get involved with some fairly detailed models with lots of information. The Clip Cube feature is a simple feature to isolate objects without turning off layers and classes, letting you quickly select and modify the cube volume to identify enclosed objects for viewing and editing. In 2013, the Lighting Device object has been re-engineered with new capabilities and significant speed improvements. Lighting device parameters are fully customisable with custom fields, multiple device labels and easy edit tools to display lighting devices based upon device attributes. This gives you more control than ever over label legend containers and beams.
Improved BIM functionality
Many of us have been expecting an improvement to the BIM functionality of Vectorworks, and with 2013 there are a number of new features that move the product forward as a valid BIM solution. The Auto Hybrid object controls the 2D appearance of your custom 3D object to better represent its appearance in 2D view mode when producing 2D plan documents in projects. The Roof and Roof Face improvements will also simplify the roof drawing process. They’re now based on a parasolid modelling kernel, so faces can accept 3D symbols, handle complex models and create quick roof designs.
One of my favourite new features for BIM is the Create Detail Viewport. This lets you create cropped viewports referenced with a drawing label on a sheet layer, or detailed views of plans, elevations and sections, giving you better navigation between views. The auto update feature of this viewport is a significant improvement to document efficiency within Vectorworks. We also welcome Enhanced Door and Windows Capabilities to Vectorworks 2013, providing greater flexibility in creating custom door and window options. We can also edit multiple selected door or window objects from within the object info palette. This was one of the most requested improvements on the Vectorworks customer wishlist.
Working with spaces will become a lot easier with the Optimised Space Object tool, which has undergone some drastic evolutions – it’s now a lot easier to define your space by picking bounding walls. Also, the space updates immediately as you modify or move your walls, and if you remove bounding walls between two spaces, your spaces merge.
Most importantly of all the BIM enhancements though, Nemetschek have increased the supported number of export file formats. One of aspect of this is the ability to export gbxml file formats, which provides Vectorworks interoperability with programs like IES for energy analysis. Along with IFC export improvements and fbx format export, Vectorworks is now even better placed to work collaboratively in a BIM project environment.
Enhanced rendering options
There have been some exciting rendering enhancements to Vectorworks 2013, with the new Arroway Texture Import leading the pack. Our rendering is only as good as the quality of our material textures, but with high quality Arroway textures in the default library and the ability to import high quality wood, concrete, stone and flooring textures, we can make medium visualisations or high resolution renders for the best effect.
Non-Blocking Renderworks Rendering now allows you to render multiple views in the background as you continue to work on your model, reducing render and re-rendering times. There’s also the option to cancel one viewport render without interrupting the others. Lastly, solar animations will look better than ever in 2013 with the Physical Sun and Sky capability. This uses the heliodon tool to produce detailed renderings and solar animations with high quality lighting at any time of the day.
All in all, Vectorworks 2013 is one of the most feature-packed versions ever, really catering for the needs of architects and creatives alike. As well as the usual rendering and performance boosts, Nemetschek have really taken on board the fact the industry is heading to the next phase of BIM, listened to their customers and delivered the ultimate product in Vectorworks 2013.