Layers, I do like me some Vectorworks Layers

Justin Lange, editor at Projection Lights and Staging News invited Kevin to blog at Pro Lighting Space, Justin’s go to site for professional lighting designers, and lighting technicians. Thanks to Justin, and Pro Lighting Space, I am cross posting Kevin’s blog entries here.


Layers, I do like me some Vectorworks Layers

Layers are like sheets of tracing paper on a drawing board. They are useful in organizing and presenting information.
Specifically, right now, I am referring to Design Layers. Later on, I make some comments about Sheet Layers. Design Layers are for Designing, Sheet layers are for presenting. Sheet layers are like desktop publishing for blueprints.

In my stationery file, I have a basic layer structure. I’ll pretty much always need to begin with these layers:

  1. Light Plot
  2. Sound Plot
  3. Scenery
  4. Masking
  5. Audience Seating
  6. Theatre (or venue) Architecture
  7. Trace

The trace layer is where I’ll usually start. This assumes I’m brining in an image file or a PDF. I’ve already discussed working with DWG/DXF files here.

Each of these layers should make sense.

I like to be able to readily turn off any audience seating as that generally involves complex geometry that I’ll want to publish on a Sheet layer, but generally will not want to have to wait for it to redraw as I work.

For multi-set shows, I’ll have as many Scenic layers as required.

I then use the options of showing, snapping, hiding, and greying layers as I need to best see and complete my work.

One reason I separate items using layers is to control snapping and selecting.

Every object is, of course Classed, but that’s another post.

If I’m building a venue where I’ll be doing a number of projects, I’ll add some basic Sheet Layers to the file. These will likely include:

  1. A General Plan, usually without the light plot
  2. Sections
  3. Plan with the audience
  4. Light Plot, probably with the Sound Plot grayed out, but present

Once these various Viewports are created and basic annotations added, it helps when drawing new shows. I’ll often use Class overrides in the Viewports to focus the drawing. For instance, the theatre architecture is likely to be more visible in set plans and suggested on the Light Plot.


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