Released on September 14, 2016, the latest edition of Vectorworks design and BIM software offers more than 100 updates and plenty of new tools to make designing, collaborating and sharing ideas with clients easier than ever. According to Dr. Biplab Sarkar, who was recently named the company’s CEO, 70 percent of these additions were actually driven directly by customer wishes and feedback from across the design industry. The result is new software that builds on favorite features from previous releases while also making multiple design processes feel more intuitive. Out of all the new features Vectorworks software users can look forward to, these are five of the top innovations that architects and designers are going to love about Vectorworks 2017.
1. A New Way to Manage Resources
Dr. Sarkar doesn’t hesitate to call the new Resource Manager the “most fantastic addition, with the most impact on efficiency for new projects.” And it’s with good reason, too. A simple and clean dialog box provides access to a multitude of resources such as gradients, hatches, line types, wall styles and render styles that can then be easily dragged and dropped onto objects in designs.
2. Virtual Reality and Renderworks for All
Clients increasingly want to see better representations of their projects, and virtual reality has become a new way of providing more detailed, immersive experiences of designs at various stages. Dr. Sarkar says that Vectorworks engineers wanted to create something that could address this evolution, but would be accessible and practical. So instead of writing code to export designs to expensive, head-mounted devices like Oculus or 3D PDF viewing software, Vectorworks 2017 gives access to 3D models to anyone with an internet connection. One can easily upload renderings to a web view and then share these with a contractor or client via a simple link. Once they log in, clients can access a virtual walkthrough of the design from their own tablet, smartphone or desktop computer. The Camera Match feature seamlessly blends exterior and interior photos from actual sites onto renderings. Rounding out this commitment to both openness and tech innovation, the full capabilities of the Renderworks feature set, based on the Cinema 4D render engine, are also now included with all Vectorworks products. Renderworks provides the tools necessary to visualize a model throughout the design process while producing clear and accurate illustrations.
Web view and Virtual Reality
3. Easier, More Detailed Project Sharing
While virtual reality and web view features make it easier to show off designs outside the office, Vectorworks 2017 also improves communication between team members internally, with cloud services now being extended to all Vectorworks software users. Additionally, the Project Sharing features first seen in the 2016 release have been expanded to allow team members to check out individual objects from a project file instead of having to export entire layers. “It’s much more granular now,” Dr. Sarkar says. “The administrator can designate different colors for different users so that when you sync, you know which object is checked out and by whom.” Project files are now also compatible for use in Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Box accounts, making it even simpler for team members to coordinate different tasks.
Project Sharing enhancements
4. Better Visuals for Big Data
The Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM) initiative has been focused on providing more modern and OpenGL-based graphics throughout the software since 2014. For version 2017, these goals resulted in a completely reengineered graphics module that will give teams greater speed and agility when moving through large-scale BIM models. “Now, when you are looking at a floor plan, the top/plan drawing uses the video card to pan and zoom very quickly,” says Dr. Sarkar. While the graphics have improved, that’s not the only way Vectorworks makes datasets more visual and easy to understand. Data visualization has been added to viewports, enabling architects to create smart objects that can change color and shading based on parametric values. This helps give teams access to clearer, easier-to-use visualizations of all data for an entire project.
Vectorworks Graphics Module
5. New Suites and Tools
Vectorworks has brought customers new sets of tools that offer smarter, more efficient ways to work through the details of large projects. Vectorworks Designer now boasts a new suite of cable tools for theatre and lighting design, a Slab Drainage tool for architects, and a complete set of irrigation tools for landscape design professionals.
Slab Drainage Tool
While Vectorworks 2017 has much more to offer, these five enhancements play most directly into what Dr. Sarkar sees as the future: “I believe direct modeling, where one interacts directly with the model or design on the screen, is the most intuitive way architects or designers can work. To this end, it’s only fitting that Vectorworks is incorporating direct modeling into several of its BIM tools, as well as generic design tools.”
To delve into other compelling features new to Vectorworks 2017, visit vectorworks.net/2017.
We know you’ve pondered it: “Is Vectorworks software right for me?” With this explorative infographic, you can find the answer to this question while discovering how Vectorworks software enables advanced interoperability while empowering you to use virtual reality features, design for sustainability, achieve BIM workflows, and design more efficiently and creatively.