VectorNetWorking and everyday networking

4091183116_41d05df785_bLast night was the first meeting of the New Jersey Vectorworks Users group at the offices of Andrew Fethes Architects in Oradell, NJ (of course?!?!), a small NYC-like outpost in suburbia. Andrew and his associate Lisa Collins offered a great space and all the amenities for our gathering.

One constant theme of the evening was networking, finding other users and resources. With Vectorworks, as with many other applications I use and special interest groups that I belong to are linked with an e-mail based ListServ. It is old technology, but great technology.

Personally, I prefer ListServs to HTML based forums. I have my various lists directed to specific folders with Mac’s Mail.App. I believe that most all other mail clients have the same capability.

Pour a cup of coffee and read on…

My refrain throughout the evening was that almost every resource I am aware of originally came to my attention via the Nemetschek ListServ at

http://www.nemetschek.net/community/mailinglists.php

I subscribe to the general list, the theatre list, press releases and eDispatch. I should probably start to look at the developer lists as well. It really isn’t all that much to manage and edit. This s tremendous resource populated with users of all levels, developers, trainers and members of the Nemetschek team.

Also on the Nemetschek site there are links to a number (not all) of various add-ons available for free or for a cost.  We have some of these and will discuss some below.

http://www.nemetschek.net/community/addons/

Add-ons are textures, plug-ins, symbols and the like.

One subject that arose a few times last night was DTM, specifically for architects working on custom homes when there is no site topography available. We discussed a few solutions, but one that I had neglected was the PanzerCAD CameraMatch plug-in that allows quick and accurate alignment of a Vectorworks model to a site photograph. Very reasonable investment.

This tool is not only useful for architects, but also entertainment designers working on site specific projects.

There are many Vectorworks Training resources, Nemetschek offers a variety and they link to authorized trainers.

http://www.nemetschek.net/training/index.php

I would like to draw specific attention to the Online Video Library and the Free Resources in this section. Especially the Getting Started with Vectorworks Spotlight 2010 publication and related files in the Free Resources section. I wrote this guide and even though specifically directed at the entertainment industries, it communicates a solid work flow for all types of practices.

This is not to neglect the other great manuals and resources available in this area. We have reviewed Gregg Hillmar’s terrific Light Plot Deconstructed and Jonathan Pickup’s excellent 3D Modeling in Vectorworks. Jonathan is a New Zealand based architect and trainer (he trains online if you can’t make the trip) who podcasts and has some great videos on youtube.

Vectorworks consultant Novedge has just started a social networking site of Vectorworks users called Vectorworking.

OK, just a few other terrific resources; Vector Depot, VectorWiki and Vectorbits.

And some great plug-ins/add-ons.

No discussion of Vectorworks Spotlight would be complete without mention of ESPvision. Unbelievable visualization software that every producer should require. The savings in crew time would recoup the cost with the first use. I also suggest Steve Shelley’s SoftSymbols and Joshua Benghiat’s plug-ins.

This list is by no means comprehensive and is here with all due apologies to those I missed. There will likely be updates.

We could not function without Andy Dunning’s Video Screen and Curtain tools. Period.

Julian Carr’s AnimationWorks and Win/Door tools add huge capabilities to the application. Check out KLAD’s animation of Chase Bank’s Flagship signage in Times Square, NYC on Julian’s AnimationWorks page. ExtraGroup’s  InteriorCAD is powerful help for all kinds of millwork. The Navigation palette alone is a beautiful thing.

Check out the Vectorworks Flickr group and the Garden Design Group.

Don’t forget to follow Vectorworks on Twitter. And Kathleen. And me.

Please feel free to post other resources in the comments…

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