Today on the exposition floor I picked the brains at the Vectorworks booth on 3-D drafting. In a short demo, I learned much about this software. A huge note for anyone new to Vectorworks is that anytime you draft in it, whether it is in 2-D or 3-D drafting, you are drafting in a 3-D environment. Here we’re a few tips that I believe will help everyone;

-All of the 3-D view shortcuts are loaded on the numeral pad, and make shifting between them instantaneous.
-They admitted that using a scroller on a mouse is still buggy, PC users should use CTRL-SHIFT 1 and 2 for zooming in and out.
-Extruding surfaces into objects, the original surface remains in place. The extruded surface is relative to the original surface.
-CTRL E is the shortcut for the Extrude tool.
-Utilization of the clip surface tool is key to 3-D creation. A simple example; A small square inside a large square, both are selected, and when the clip surface tool is used, it takes the smaller square and allows you to delete that portion out of the larger square. In short, you just made a hole for a window or doorway.
-In 2-D, Classes are often used for different line weights. In 3-D, Classes are best used for surface rendering.
-When creating a new class, if you check the box labeled “Use at Creation,” any object thereafter will change to that class if you select it then choose that class.
-Subclasses can clear up clutter in your class menu. Upon class creation, label the class as “Class Name-Sub Class Name.” It will automatically be recognized and placed into a separate submenu.

Additionally I also learned a great deal about the basics for 3-D animation. The two presenters Geoffrey Hall and Geoffrey Eroe both demonstrated several different programs they utilize for this tool. The goal of their seminar was to explain how this visualization tool can help communicate scenic designs to a Director. They recommended a You Tube Video for further references. Barring explanations of how to manipulate the software, a recommendation for surface rendering was to create a physical rendering, and then scan it in to the computer. Here’s a list of a few top programs that were recommended;

-Strata 3-D (30 Day Free Trial)
-3-D Studio Max (30 Day Free Trial)
-Blender (Freeware at
-H264 Compression Software
-Combustion (Video Editing)
-Google SketchUp (Non-professional alternative)