- Image by Scays via Flickr
Within the last few days, I have received all three of Jon Pickups Vectorworks
- Vectorworks Essentials
- Vectorworks Architect
- Vectorworks 3D
And it’s here right the start of this article I declare that I did not pay for any of these copies. Neither did I write any of the copy or make the videos, but I certainly talked a lot to Jon via Skype
, to hone and refine Jon’s thinking, I hope in some way there is just a little of me in here somewhere.
So here we go, and the first book on the list is Vectorworks Essentials, Vectorworks is one of those CAD
products that with a little thinking you can literally pick up the Vectorworks elements package and be constructing a reasonable drawing straight away, that’s what really attracted me to it in the first place, if you have board experience, a lot of Vectorworks was / is almost natural.
But there are certain points which if learned before you really get going with a project, will save you hours of frustration. The tutorial books by Jon Pickup are the essential reading you should engage with, before you start working seriously, such as setting up your preferences and page size, how to create class structure, proper use of design layers, all this and a whole lot more is spelled out in Vectorworks Essentials.
Now for once an author has chosen a ring bound binding for a book that just sits on the desk and stays open, no more trying to bend a book to stay open.
Inside, your not presented with page after page of small text, the layout is simple, easy-going large text, and is literally plastered with screen shots of what Jon is teaching, plus and this is a major plus, he has made small video’s of the section too, this is not overkill, it’s the way any technical manual should be.
You might also notice that he has not just shown Windows or Mac screen shots but both, and as Vectorworks is dual platform, this is important.
The first 35 odd page are devoted to the basics, setting up, palettes, and basic drawing techniques, it’s almost impossible to teach this in 35 pages, but Jon does a pretty good job, its backed up with loads of small videos, found on the CD at the back of the book. It’s this section I recommend all newcomers to concentrate on, the setup of any project correctly, at the beginning will steer you to making a well drafted project, the concepts Jon teaches at this level, are the fundamentals of BIM
, more of which you will learn in the other books, but for now, do not rush this section, read and reread the lesson plan and watch the movies, I might also add at this early stage the benefit of joining the online tutorials Jon gives at least once a month.
Ok so you have learned the basic of setup and some simple 2D drawing, If your my age, you might just think that this is the end of the story, but be aware, CAD is not just a replacement for you old drawing board, it opens up a whole new game plan in presenting the project to other parties, this starts now with the next section on 3D.
Again with this section, don’t rush, this will take time to grasp, but Jon has outlined it remarkably well, with loads of
and his essential videos, looking at setup, symbol use and placement of dims and notes, it’s not a comprehensive tutorial, that is left up to the final book in the trio, Vectorworks 3D, but there is plenty to steer you in the right direction, and loads of tips to help you grasp the concept.
Presentation is fundamental to any draftsman/woman, Vectorworks has one of the best,if not the best way of taking your drawing and creating what’s called a view port and placing it on a special layer called a sheet, it does not end there, Jon goes through the very basics of using the design layers for both 2D and 3D to get the best presentation, again there is just not enough room to do this justice, but the basics are here and again I recommend readers to join his online tutorials, I joined right at the start of Jon online career and although I consider myself a power user, and teach Vectorworks to new users, I still maintain my membership, and attend the online gatherings.They are not stuffy online lesson, more a gathering and exchange of information, with Jon sterring the lesson.
We now head into the final chapters in the book, reporting, Vectorworks has a small but powerful spreadsheet system, called a worksheet, and it’s here you might begin to realise why Jon has gone to so much trouble, to get over the concepts of the class, and layer structure, together with the naming of objects, because this lesson outlines the basics of interrogating the drawing for information. At this level it’s a simple get area or count the number of objects , but later on in the more advanced books you get to look at other aspects, but for now, enjoy the tutorial.
So at the end of al this, you should have mastered the basics of Vectorworks and begun to appreciate the power that lies at your finger tips and start to recoup the money you have invested in this CAD package. In my early days of CAD, I had to use several different packages, it so happen that the last one I came to use was Vectorworks, it reminded me of my old board, the concepts of different design layers of sheets of tracing paper, it was so intuitive, I just did not want to go to another package, Jon I think was just starting out then, and had produce his own Vectorworks essential manual, I purchased a copy, and it still has pride of place over my screen and is often used, as I still have to teach people who have not upgraded.
At the back of the book, there is a CD, with all the lesson plans in both Metric and imperial, plus a PDF copy of the book, which I have placed in my iPAd iBooks, and its here where the little Video icons work.
I can heartily recommend this essentials guide to Vectorworks, used correctly it will lay down the correct thinking and setup Vectorworks and your project require. But and here is the big but, do not expect to get all the answers in this book, join the online tutorials, search the Nemetschek site for their online videos
, and look at YouTube
and Vectorworks channels
, where we have put more free content to help you master Vectorworks.