September 27, 2010
Vectorworks 2011 Tackles 2D/3D Integration
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Vectorworks 2011 Tackles 2D/3D Integration

By Susan Smith

Nemetschek's Vectorworks 2011 which includes Vectorworks Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Fundamentals and Renderworks, is said to be a “larger” release than any the company has released before.

Whether it is larger or significant or both, the new release encompasses some areas that have not been addressed by some of the more prominent CAD software companies. “We've done substantial replacement of a lot of our functionality to add ODBC, 3D wall components, brand new text editing, a brand new rendering engine kernel, many large new features, particularly ones that brought us forward in the 3D realm,” said Nemetschek Vectorworks CEO Sean Flaherty.

The Vectorworks 2011 product suite heralds a move toward a completely integrated 3D product. What this means to Nemetschek is the elimination of differentiation between many 2D and 3D workflows. According to Nemetschek Vectorworks CTO, Dr. Biplap Sarkar, “The 3D product is much more intuitive and you can now draft on any shape on any plane in any view.” He likens it to mechanical CAD products, where this capability has been available for awhile.

Vectorworks Architect is continuing to grow as a global BIM solution, with features added to make an intelligent building model simpler for architects.

The CINEMA 4D rendering engine in Vectorworks features heightened speed and power (5 to 7 times faster), lighting improvements, realistic shadows, and more true-to-life textures, said Sarkar.

Integrated 2D and 3D Workflows

What a concept - 2D drafting and 3D modeling are now one and the same in Vectorworks 2011, according to Flaherty. In a demo, there is a simple sun shade with a 3D model in the middle, and then all six sides of the model have 2D diagrams, all created in Vectorworks. The designer in this case took the 2D information and aligned it to planes so that it can be viewed in 3D.

Vectorworks 2011 3D environment allows 2D drafting and 3D modeling to be "one and the same."


A designer can adjust any of these dimensions, add callouts, or even changes to the geometry to either the 3D model or the 2D work.

With a DWG 2D file imported into Vectorworks, the designer can use the flyover tool and immediately rotate this into 3D. This is possible because all this information is associated with the layer plane so as the designer rotates the layer in 3D, this 2D geometry will stick to it.

Designers can manipulate 2D information and start creating 3D geometry. They can add dimensions, render using OpenGL, extract an entire face and create a planar object which will have attributes as a 2D object in a 3D space.

Bottom line - the feature provides tools that are familiar to a 2D drafter to make 3D more accessible.

Improved BIM Capabilities

In Vectorworks 2011 the company has extended support for IFC to all of the new wall and slab architectural features, so they are 100% supported. According Sarkar, the Open BIM initiative taken with the introduction of Vectorworks 2010 has been extended across 2011, “and now all our objects are supported for import as well as export.”

Flaherty added, “You can't talk about the full building lifecycle without including interoperability.” Vectorworks fully supports the open standards BIM movement.

3D wall components have been added to Vectorworks Architect, providing more realistic section views.


3D wall components have been added to Vectorworks Architect, providing more realistic section views, textured wall components that can be of varying heights, detailed wall views, wall end caps that allow you to create both standard and custom components wrapping at the end of walls and a new slab, which allows you to create BIM compliant slabs that interact with bounding walls to make architecturally correct wall flow intersections in both 3D and cross section views. Individual slab components can penetrate the wall to make the proper connections. The improved space object allows you to create the spaces with the single click according to the wall boundaries.

All objects in Vectorworks 2011 are based on Parasolid engine, so it is 100 percent integrated in Parasolid, which powers the 3D wall and slab components, among other features.

In the article Six Degrees of Model Detail, AECWeekly, Aug. 2, 2010 Flaherty talked about how Vectorworks has been moving forward in the BIM market, and profiles the use of Vectorworks with their Scia structural analysis tool and DDS-CAD to design the DC Riverside Office building using IFC exchange format. This project was completed adhering to AIA Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) standards.

Renderworks 2011 Blazes Forward

Renderworks 2011 is based on the CINEMA 4D rendering engine, and is 5 to 7 times faster. The new engine is fully integrated into Vectorworks software, and the integrated Renderworks libraries are by themselves fast and totally multi-processed and multi-threaded. “The rendering pipeline goes through a completely different thread compared to the Vectorworks 2010,” said Sarkar, “so the rendering information and process itself is on a completely different thread than the modeling thread.” According to press materials, rendered viewports will update as the design evolves, with the click of a mouse.

“Obviously if you are working in a BIM workflow, you need an integrated renderer to automatically update your sheet views to keep the whole model live, but CINEMA 4D offers a lot of additional functionality particularly in animation realm. People doing presentations may also want CINEMA 4D, so we're offering through many channels a bundle of those products with a significant discount,” said Sarkar.

Also included in Vectorworks 2011 are more than 70 improvements in usability and such as the addition of “perfect preview” text editing, new tile fills, improved access to resource libraries and smaller file sizes. Hardware requirements remain the same as they were for Vectorworks 2010.

Currently Vectorworks will ship in English and at the end of October it will ship in all other languages supported except Japanese, which will ship in January 2011.

Top News of the Week

Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced the launch of the Bentley Infrastructure Ambassadors Council. The newly appointed ambassadors will engage the global communities of practitioners, constituents, and organizations interested in the key challenges of and opportunities resulting from sustaining infrastructure. The ambassadors appointed by Bentley include Norbert Young, former leader of McGraw-Hill Construction; Jim Porter, former chief engineer and vice president of engineering and operations, DuPont; and Patrick McCrory, former mayor of Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Young will chair the council. Later this month, the ambassadors will introduce a series of presentations, through Bentley's Be Connected online seminar series, on a broad range of topics crucial for achieving sustainable infrastructure, including interoperability, prefabrication, safety, resilient operations, and nurturing a shared holistic vision across business professionals, engineers, infrastructure owner-operators, and the public.

Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. announced the availability of the 2011 version of its Vectorworks line of design software, including: Vectorworks Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Fundamentals and Renderworks. (see story above)

HP unveiled new products and solutions, including a collaborative printer, that enable technical design teams to easily access, share and print large-format project files online anytime, anywhere. The new suite of products helps design professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction industries collaborate across multiple locations, streamline processes and reduce costs.

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