Book Review – “3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009”

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August 23, 2009
August 27, 2009

Book Review – “3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009”

3752260783_5b37f14988_oThis week, I had the pleasure of reviewing Jonathan Pickup’s new volume “3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009.” Jonathan, of Archoncad in New Zealand, is a world renown Vectorworks trainer and Guru.

As a design practitioner and as a teacher, I work in the Building Information Model (BIM) format. That is to say that rather than a series of 2D drawings, projects are modeled in three dimensions. Within that 3D model, team members can insert the physical realities of their specialized fields. In architecture this can keep HVAC from running through columns. In the entertainment industries where we work, this means that Technical Directors or Scenic Studio Engineers can collaborate with Scenic Designers on structure, while allowing space for the Lighting and Sound Designers to insert gear.

Jonathan provides a firm foundation for this way of thinking and working.

Assuming equal accuracy, relying on a 3D model is much more precise than relying on 2D drawings. There are fewer places for error.

One reason for this accuracy is that the model is referenced in order to create final 2D views and 3D views for construction documents, light plots and the like. As the model is updated, renderings and construction documents are automatically updated in Vectorworks. Working on a team, updates can be quickly distributed and references updated.

This is a much cleaner process than having to correct scads of 2D drawings. Learning from “3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009” could likely result in considerable saving for any design firm.

“3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009” is a great reference for anyone working with computer aided drafting. If you are a Vectorworks user, this is a great resource. If you use another (obviously sub-standard) CAD application, this book will illustrate how easy it is to upgrade to Vectorworks and why you want to upgrade to Vectorworks now. Can you tell that I am a fan? I’m told the correct term is fanboy, oh, well.

I am a fan because of 3D modeling. I have been using the 3D capabilities of the program since I began to use the application in version 3. BIM and the Vectorworks package with Renderworks creates a great workflow from initial design ideas through design development, construction documentation, collaboration and as built documents.

“3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009” uses OpenGL rendering, which is included in the basic Vectorworks Fundamentals package. So no worries if you do not have Renderworks, yet. Once you work through “3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009”  you will want the Renderworks module to produce photo realistic or stylized renderings.

Jonathan’s book and accompanying DVD clearly illustrate the 3D Modeling process. Step by step,with detailed illustrations, beginning with simple drawing, extrusion and modeling, Jonathan takes the user through the process of creating and defining precise forms. He includes the more complex NURBS modeling functions included with the Vectorworks 3D Power Pack. These are tremendous and powerful tools for all types of designers. They only sound scary. In Jonathan’s hands any mystery is peeled away.

Jonathan’s sample project is a bus stop, which while an architectural specialty has direct tie-ins to those involved in the creation of stage scenery, exhibit booths and themed interiors. It is the perfect project. Jonathan takes the reader through the project with another series of carefully illustrated and explained steps. All procedures have already been covered in the beginning of the book they are reinforced and now put to use in the creation of a very typical project.

I strongly recommend that students of Vectorworks, new users or users moving into BIM documentation buy this book. The $75 investment will be quickly recouped. Well, a few bucks and few days to work through the exercises and begin to master these powerful tools. You will have an excellent guide.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter. Check out Jonathan’s training videos on YouTube. Read his blog.

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