Design Software Solutions



At our recent Vectorworks Landmark 2017 launch event, we were delighted to welcome landscape architects and garden designers to our office in Newbury. In this article, we'll summarise some of our favourite features from the latest release of this amazing CAD, 3D modelling, BIM and rendering software.

General Workflow Improvements

The new Resource Manager replaces the old and clunky Resource Browser. Now, you'll always be able to see the wide range of libraries available to you at any time, including those in the Vectorworks Service Select portal. You'll also be able to search for resources using the powerful find capability, and filter the results to look for a specific type of resource, such as a Plant symbol, or a Renderworks Texture.

There is now a tabbed interface, so you'll be able to switch between files easily. Zooming and panning are also significantly faster.

You'll find that you can now set separate opacity for fills and pens, and add drop shadows to any 2D objects which will further enhance the beauty of your drawings!

Vectorworks 2017 Resource Manager

Importing Survey Data

Vectorworks Landmark is often described on the most open CAD software on the market because of the wide range of application formats it can import. AutoCAD files, IFC files, GIS Shapefiles are just some examples. DWG imports now include textures, and as 2017 now includes Renderworks, everyone will be able to make the most of it.

When importing purchased survey data (from a mapping provider, such as Promap), Shapefiles offer a much richer data than in a DWG import. You've always been able to manipulate this data with the Modify by Record command, but you can now portray the information differently in different viewports, with the Data Visualiization option.

Vectorworks 2016 introduced the Point Cloud import. In 2017, you can filter the import to bring in fewer points. You can also isolate a set of points.

Hard Landscaping

In 2016, the Hardscape tool was updated to include the ability to slope and to use components. Therefore, in a section view, you'll see the build up of the hard landscaping, and you'll see accurate levels. This works really well for simple areas, where you don't need a complex arrangement of falls and drainage. However, where there are large paved areas, in public spaces for example, you may need multiple falls and complex surfaces. The Slab tool, previously mainly used by architects for floor slabs, has a new addition. As well as being able to show a component buildup, like the Hardscape tool, it also has a new addition. The Slab Drainage tool will enable you to insert drains and valleys and control the slope to the drain. A single slab object can have multiple slopes.

To find out more about the Hardscape tool and slopes, watch our webinar recording.

At last, the new Railing/Fence tool enables the easy creation of fences and railings. There is a multitude of different options, and plenty of examples to get you started. Explore the tool and play with the different options! You can even create sloping panels, so you can create railings that follow the slope or a set of steps.

Railing/Fence Tool

Planting Plans

The Plant tool now offers the abiity to override more settings within the Plants, so that you only need to create each species once, and can then vary the settings each time the plant is placed. The 3D part of a plant has traditionally been made up of an image prop which doesn't do a great job when it's rendered with an artistic render mode. Now, you can choose a 3D solid, by choosing the Generate button. There's a range of styles, and these will show up in your render. The new Resource Manager is integrated into the tool, and will take you straight to the range of plant content that's already included with Landmark (donated by my team for the 2016 release.) There's a new Hedge mode, for creating multiple rows of plants, and the horizontal and vertical spacing can be varied. You can also plant with different density settings.

Vectorworks Landmark 2017 Plant Tool

The Landscape Area tool can also have its settings stored. Again, the Resource Manager is integrated, and will give you access to a range of sample mixes, that we have donated to the tool.

Working with a Wider Team

Project Sharing, where multiple users can work on a single file,is now supported on for use with cloud storage applications, such as Dropbox, available with Cloud. Work in Dropbox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive and Box. You can create a single file, and then add other users as members of the project file. Each user opens the project file, which creates them a working file. They will then check out the elements they want to work on, which locks them and prevents other users from working on them. Meanwhile other members of the team can continue to work on other elements in the file. it's perfect for teams, sharing an office server, or smaller businesses, where perhaps you want to employ freelancers to work remotely (yes, they will need to have a Vectorworks licence).

For those working on larger projects, there have been improvements to the georeferencing process. Now, you'll be able to choose the British National Grid as the georeferencing method, which will automatically assign the correct longitude and latitude coordinates for UK Ordnance Survey Data.

Share Your Design With Clients

Web VR was a popular feature at the event! We saw how the new Export Web View command made it easy for you to share your files with other members of the project team or your clients, and enable them to walk through the space you've designed. They can open the link in a traditional web browser, but on a mobile device they can use the stereo view to enjoy virtual reality when viewed with a cardboard viewing device.

Web VR Stereo view 2017

Enjoy Renderworks!

Renderworks is now included with every Vectorworks licence. This year Renderworks includes an upgrade to a later version of the Maxon CINEMA 4D rendering engine, so you'll get a better quality of render from existing file. The camera effects, introduced in Vectorworks 2016, give the opportunity to create stunning effects, such as depth of field on an image. But you can now import CINEMA 4D materials into a file, and use them with the built in render engone. There's a range of artistic effects available too, so make the most! Renderworks 2017 includes Cameramatch, so you can align your model with a photograph and set the model in context. Why not come on our Renderworks one day course to really make the most of the lighting and texture effects you can create with your model?

Vectorworks Landmark 2017 Sculpture









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  • fence
  • hardscape
  • planting
  • Vectorworks 2017
  • Vectorworks Landmark