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Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Design, Home planing, AdditionsHere, we offer plans, help and advice about architecture, interior design and planning. We will answer basic quesitons for free so don't hesitate to send them.Our business is architecture, planning, interior design, and construction. We have offices in Italy and Southern California.We also offer drafting and 3D renderings to professionals. We work hourly or by fixed fee. Tell us about your project. Contact us: hmarch@hotmail.com and visit our main website http://www.hm-architects.com/

People Props for VectorworksVECTORWORKS PEOPLE PROPS A collection of props for Vectorworks using pictures of real people. To use them just load the file and select the symbol to place it in your drawing. Props take up very little file space and they always face the rendered view. To purchase them click on the links below. Use just a few of them once and the savings in time over making your own pays for them and you can use them as many times as you like. See a short video here: http://youtu.be/TfbmgxU8dJ0 NOTE: It is also available for previous versions of VW, let us know which one you need. Click on the purchase link and have People Props to use in minutes.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Real People Props for Vectorworks

A collection of props for Vectorworks using pictures of real people.  To use them just load the file and select the symbol to place it in your drawing.  Props take up very little file space and they always face the rendered view.  To purchase them click on the link at the right; the cost is $49.95 for 35 props.  Use just a few of them once and the savings in time over making your own pays for them and you can use them as many times as you like.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review of Vectorworks Cloud Service
With some notes about Hyperlinks
By John Helm Architect

It seems the whole computer world has become somewhat cloudy these days.  There is a move by most of the giants in the software business to put their programs in the cloud, in other words on some big server or servers in some unknown place.   I say it’s cloudy because it’s all in a transition phase and I think there will be some resistance on the part of users to commit themselves to having to continually pay an ongoing fee in order to use particular software.  Vectorworks (VW) hasn’t gone to the cloud with their CAD program yet but they have introduced a yearly subscription which entitles users to yearly updates and some special programs such as their online cloud service.
I will join the complainers and say right off that I think it’s too bad that a handy program such as this Cloud Service can only be used by subscribers to their “Select Service”, which is their yearly subscription service to the VW programs and not cheap. 

So what is their cloud service.  In a few words it is a service whereby a VW user can upload drawing files and then have them available anytime, anywhere on any computer or even on smart phones and tablets.  It’s a great idea, one that really changes the way architects and designers can work with clients, and contractors while on the go.  Assuming you are a subscriber you download a little program and install it on your office computer.  Then you open up the program log in with your user name and password then upload any files you like.  The service then converts the files to PDF and will also render your 3D work online.  Pretty cool right.  The rendering service comes with a price.  It’s based on a point system.  Each user of Select Service starts out with a yearly 100 points and more can be purchased.  You can avoid the charge if 3D views are rendered and saved before uploading.  And there are no points lost for and 2D work uploaded.  At this time I don’t know how points are charged or how much additional points cost.
The whole program even though it works on both Mac and PC seems to have been first designed for the MAC, which is kind of a reversal, and then made to work on the PC.  That should make the MAC users proud.  So what can we do with this?  Once you upload a file you can go to the special Cloud web site, log in and have access to your files remotely.  You can view them, download them, print them and share them.  You cannot revise them online.  You can however download or share both the PDF and the actual Vectorworks VWX files.  But only the Select Service subscriber has the ability to upload revised files.  Which brings up an interesting point, it’s very easy to create a PDF file while in VW and there are a number of other Cloud servers out there many of which are free to use.  So you might ask yourself why do I need this.  Good point and a reason why I think it should be free for all users of VW. 
There is a nifty little addition to the system which they call Nomad.  This is the app, originally made for the Ipad and Iphone, see what I mean about MACs coming first, but now available also as an Android app.   With the app after logging in, you can also make notes, measure distance, and angles and upload the notes, etc. to the cloud for later use back in the office.  That’s a handy tool, too bad it doesn’t also work on the website version.  Hopefully that will be added later as it’s much easier to use on a laptop vs a smartphone.  It’s also only available to the Select Service subscriber so you couldn’t give it to the contractor for example to use for asking questions or highlighting problem areas online.

Here’s a quick look at how to use the Cloud service once uploaded

Now I wanted to talk a bit about Hyperlinks.  I wrote about them in my review of VW 2013; in fact I wrote that they could revolutionize the way architects work.   I am sticking with that but with some new reservations.  At the writing I had not used the hyperlink tool.  I imagined that making them would be similar to the way they are made in other programs, such as Microsoft Word, that is you just for example select a bit of text then select hyperlink.  A dialogue pops up where you write in where you want to go with the hyperlink.  Instead VW has a much more awkward way of making them.  You have to open up the tool then select create a new symbol then select an icon to represent it and enter the destination of the link then save it and then you can paste it onto the drawing.  I suppose there is some advantage in that you can use the symbol once created as often as you like.  However even that seems to require a bit of a learning curve to effectively use it.  Hopefully future versions will make this tool more intuitive as I think it can be very useful.

Using hyperlinks in a file put up on a cloud presents some different issues.  For example if you access the PDF file in the cloud from the web browser you can click on a hyperlink and it takes you were it’s supposed to go.  But if you use the app to access the file nothing happens.  That’s too bad since it’s out in the field where those links on a tablet might be most useful.

In conclusion, the cloud service is a great addition to the VW program.  It will make the architect and designer’s life easier. In fact this addition along with the Hyperlinks tool (assuming they make it easier to use) are the type of features which have the potential to really change the way we work in the office and in the field.  We might imagine a day when a digital file becomes more important than the paper prints which today are the general end product of our work.  A building construction document might mainly consist of a BIM with links to floor plans, details, installation videos and manufacturer’s specifications that can be used in the field on laptops and tablets even carried in the tool belts of the onsite workers.  With today’s ease of setting up a jobsite wireless LAN with internet access every person on the job might have access to every bit of project detail whenever needed without having to sort through plans often only avail after stopping work, walking back to the construction office and waiting for a chance to look at the plans.  Think of it, architects, no more excuses for not following that important detail you spent hours studying.
This addition of VW Cloud service has a way to go before offering all of the above but it is a worthy start.

Files can be loaded onto the cloud server and are available anywhere for viewing and printing.

Files are easily synchronized from computer to cloud server.

Using Nomad on a tablet or smartphone one can view files anywhere and can make markups and notes that are automatically saved onto the cloud server and downloaded to the office computer.

Using the app dimensions and angles can be checked in the field.

Hyperlinks offer a chance to streamline access to sheets, details, websites and more.

Potentially, using a jobsite wireless LAN anyone with a tablet, smartphone or laptop could instant access to referenced plans, details, internet links and even how to videos.  This isn’t so much a feature of the Could service now but a feature of having a PDF file available.  


In order to use the service one has to subscribe to the yearly update service, Select Service, which is not cheap.

Some of the potential is lost in the present state where access is limited to the Select Service subscriber.

Much of the same things can be done using a free cloud service.

Downloading files to a smartphone or tablet can consume a lot of time and file space.

The program is not very intuitive.

Hyperlinks are time consuming and confusing to set up.

Tools available on smartphones and tablets are not available using a laptop.

www.vectorworks.net The VW main site

http://serviceselect.vectorworks.net/ The Service Select website

www.hm-architects.com  Our office website

www.helpudesign.blogspot.com Our blog about design and architecture