Referencing Vectorworks files for collaboration.

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.


Referencing Vectorworks files for collaboration.

Referencing is a great way for a team of designers/associates/assistants to work on one project..

To be specific, Vectorworks allows the sharing and referencing of symbols, So, for example, if one assistant is drafting the venue, even in progress, that model can be saved as a symbol and then the symbol can be referenced into other documents. As the referenced symbols are edited, instances placed in other files are updated.

So, as a practical example, one team member can model the venue. another can reference the venue and create the light plot, others can develop, design, and spec custom practicals. This scenario has at least three people working on the same project. All of their elements can be brought together in one master file.

This can be done on a LAN or a WAN whether a traditional WAN or via a service like Dropbox. Although when working with a cloud service, it is best to copy the file you’re working on to your system, edit, and then return the file to the cloud, overwriting the older version. Keep track of who’s working where and when.

Cloud services copy files to and from back-up. This copying can affect saving to the cloud; saving a file that’s partially returned from back-up can result in unpleasant, unexpected results.

That said, I do like to keep my referenced files in the same directory.

Referencing symbols is simple. Open File A and File B. To reference a symbol from File A into File B, select File A from the Resource Browser from the File B window. Right click on the desired symbol and select Reference from the contextual menu.

Ok, that’s done. See you next week.

Optionally, you can also make File A a favorite in the Resource Browser. You can choose to Import rather than Reference a symbol, but then any updates or revisions are not communicated.

The Organization Palette (Tools>Organization), References Tab helps to control and update referenced symbols. Any alerts that symbols have been updated will be here. You can use this dialogue to automatically update symbols.

Similarly, set designers can provide models of scenic elements, plans, and details to lighting designers for reference. Sound designers can create a plot as a symbol to be referenced into the light plot and set designs.

You want accuracy, this is a way to make sure everyone on the team has the met up to date information.


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