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Vectorworks 2015 announced

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

The availability of Vectorworks 2015’s English version was announced on Tuesday, September 9. The software contains more than 100 updates and new features, as well as cloud and mobile solutions. Vectorworks Service Select members can download the release from the portal right away. Shipping to all customers will begin September 23, 2014.


Nemetschek Vectorworks CEO Sean Flaherty and CTO Biplab Sarker held a press conference to share some details about what’s included in the latest version. Worldwide release dates will follow soon.


Sean Flaherty said that during the first half of 2014, Vectorworks had new unit sales increase by 1/3. The AEC industry is their largest market, accounting for 2/3 of their business, and top markets are Japan, US, Germany, UK and Switzerland, in that order. In Japan, Vectorworks is used by all 10 of the largest general contracting firms there.

“With every new release, we concentrate on giving customers the enhancements and features they want, and, more importantly, what they need to make their visions come to reality faster, easier, and with more precision than ever before,” said Sarkar. “Vectorworks 2015 builds upon the functionality that is important to designers today, providing an experience that connects the dots between vision and realization in the most intuitive way possible.”


64-bit is now part of the entire product line, allowing designers to handle projects of any size. Before Vectorworks 2015, users could get 64-bit capability only in the platform’s CINEMA 4D rendering enginee, Renderworks.

The new visualization engine, the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM), which premiered last year, is part of the new release.

“We’re at a turning point where designers are discovering new ways to imagine and construct their projects,” said Flaherty. “Every day, designers choose Vectorworks because of our multidisciplinary approach and because they want a solution that supports their creative process instead of replacing it. We allow great design to materialize from inspiration, exploration, and discovery.”

Recently Flaherty said they have seen rapid and widespread adoption of BIM workflows from their customers.

“This is particularly so in the UK, where the government mandates requires BIM based deliverables for significantly sized government funded projects by 2016,” said Flaherty. “According to the National BIM Report 2014, 54% of surveyed surveyors, architects, engineers, and contractors used BIM workflows on at least one project in 2013, which is 15% more than in 2012. In addition nearly ¾ of those using BIM believe it gives them a competitive advantage.”

“The support for Open BIM and the use of international standards such as IFC are part of our core BIM development strategy,” said Flaherty. “This allows customers to share information across many domains from the project’s entire lifecycle — design to construction. We are deeply committed to BuildingSMART and its chapters, proving every day through our software and customers that the best BIM is knowledge-centric, collaborative and free from constraints of any single tool or platform.”

Flaherty said that “little BIM” adoption by Vectorworks users is all about internal collaboration. “In order to make workflows pay off, firms are jumping more quickly to big BIM, the process of sharing information throughout the entire lifecycle.”

The following are some of the new features of the new Vectorworks 2015 release:

Vectorworks Graphics Module

This Graphics Module (VGM) was designed by Vectorworks engineers and features performance, and unmatched graphical control. IT has faster wireframe rendering, smooth animations and seamless, visual transition through view changes. A more efficient import process as well as a smoother graphical result. Rendering quality and modeling performance have also been greatly improved, with new preferences for default render and project modes and control over mesh objects.

Curtain walls are an exciting new feature in 2015, so that you can create curtain walls and storefronts with the Wall Tool. You can manage glazing systems with wall styles and can model and edit directly with the Edit Curtain Wall Tool, that allows you to move, grab, reshape and align your curtain wall.

The Wall tool mode in 2015 draws a rectangular walled area in two clicks, but also allows the automatic joining and trimming with existing walls, and subtraction of rectangular space from existing wall networks. This is a huge improvement over past Vectorworks versions as you can draw, change or explore any rectangular wall network in far less time than previous methods.

COBie IFC for facilities management for IFC export – Vectorworks 2015 allows you to transfer relevant BIM data to use in facility management applications using this new COBie option in the IFC export filters. These filters sift the needed data from Vectorworks BIM to be used to support asset management, operations and maintenance.

Technology Interoperability

The File Import and Export feature of Vectorworks 2015 expands collaborative workflows for users. Import and export support for industry-standard STEP files have been added, as well as improved SketchUp support with the import of textures. Also there is enhanced support for exporting STL files, so that any 3D printing workflows are now easier.

DXF/DWG/DWF support is now improved – in addition to import enhancements to leader lines, line types, and tables as worksheets, there are export features, such as interactive dimensions and precision settings, to complement your ability to exchange high-quality, accurate versions of your data in the DXF/DWG or DWF formats.

PDF Integration makes it unnecessary to edit PDFs before you import them.

3D Modeling and Rendering includes

3D Hatching for Hidden Line Rendering that now includes textures linked with planar hatching, so you can render in hidden line model and show a hatch on your textured wall. The workflow now allows for the creation of elevation and other presentation views , by updating a number of the default textures in Renderworks to include a hatch that matches each image-based texture.

OpenGL improvements include styling and control. Elevation drawings in black and white can be created by using the new on/off for colors. Special shadow and texture effects can enhance presentations.

Other new features include 64-bit functionality, as aforementioned, site design enhancements, entertainment design enhancements, new content and mobile apps.

Check out some additional features included in the new release (from company materials):

  • Capture a seamless, visual transition with the new default setting for the render mode and projection when switching from Top/Plan to a 3D view.
  • Discover faster wireframe and planar graphics, and improved spatial relationships in the Wireframe rendering mode.
  • Bend, taper, or create a bulge with practically any geometric object with the Deform tool.
  • Transform the workflow for creating elevations and other presentation views with 3D Hatching in hidden line rendered views.
  • Add artistic flare and create beautiful elevations from your BIM with hidden line rendering to reveal a simple hatch on textured walls.
  • Efficiently create storefronts and glazing systems with new Curtain Wall tools, including Edit Curtain Wall for modifying all aspects of the wall directly.
  • Utilize a powerful new level constraint system for story organization for modeling wall-to-slab connections.
  • Draw, modify, and explore any rectangular wall network in a fraction of the time with the innovative rectangle wall mode and trim.
  • Conveniently use PDF cropping, snapping control, and support for PDF/A for archiving.
  • See improved import meshes and support for SketchUp textures.
  • Realize the new import and export support for industry-standard STEP files and improved STL export.
  • Uncover new gradient options for color control and transparency.
  • Obtain greater control when setting terrain-modifying pads on sites with the new Pad from Grade Limits command and automatically identify potential conflicts.
  • Calculate areas based on the surface slopes with the Landscape Area tool.
  • Annotate, measure, and adjust locations for more control and accuracy over the slope of grade objects at varying distances with the new Grade tool.
  • Visually navigate with symbols, 3D images, and model options in the new viewable directory for Plant libraries.
  • Model more efficiently with new stage objects like edging, legs, bracing, and casters.
  • Create supports for speakers, trusses, and other stage equipment with the adjustable-height Stage Lift object.
  • Discover efficient lighting device options and documentation settings for faster light plots.
  • Fly over, walkthrough, and zoom in and out of textured and shaded 3D models with the enhanced 3D viewing in the Vectorworks Nomad mobile app.
  • Learn about the new mobile application Vectorworks Remote, which is available to all Vectorworks users, and connects mobile devices directly to Vectorworks for viewing, navigating, and presenting designs remotely.






Trimble acquires Gehry Technologies

Friday, September 12th, 2014


Earlier this week, Trimble and Frank Gehry announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance to collaborate by further connecting the office to on-site construction technologies. The terms of the strategic alliance   are that Trimble has acquired Gehry Technologies, the software and consulting services arm of the company that has powered Frank Gehry’s visionary designs while tracking client’s cost and schedule requirements. To make things clear for this audience, Gehry Partners is the architectural firm of Frank Gehry.  Gehry Technologies, is the international leader in technology-driven project delivery founded in 2002 by Frank Gehry, that provides BIM, 3D project collaboration and project delivery around the world.


The IAC Building by Gehry Partners. Image © flickr user swisscan

The IAC Building by Gehry Partners. Image © flickr user swisscan


Autodesk launches A360 to North American market

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Around 2011, we began to hear about cloud project-based collaboration tool, Autodesk A360, and since that time around 1.5 million accounts have been created to use the tool. In January of this year, the tool evolved into a A360 Tech Preview beta, that attracted over 10,000 users.

Autodesk A360 addresses findings of two recent studies on collaboration, outlined in a recent press release from the company:



The A360 dashboard gives you a view of recent activity streams for all active projects.


Trimble acquires Manhattan Software

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Trimble announced this week at a media briefing that it has acquired privately-held Manhattan Software, a real estate and facility management software leader, headquartered in London. The acquisition is not replacing any technology but it does extends Trimble Buildings’ portfolio of design-build-operate (DBO) solutions by providing building owners, facilities and real estate managers with integrated, end-to-end property, asset and facilities management systems.

  Manhattan Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) provides an enterprise solution for planning and managing any organization’s real estate portfolio of buildings and assets. The deep functionality of the Manhattan IWMS is designed for the entire facility lifecycle to maximize resource utilization while reducing the total cost of occupancy (TCO).

Manhattan Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) provides an enterprise solution for planning and managing any organization’s real estate portfolio of buildings and assets. The deep functionality of the Manhattan IWMS is designed for the entire facility lifecycle to maximize resource utilization while reducing the total cost of occupancy (TCO).


Multiaction makes collaboration possible – visually

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

I’m amazed at just how far interactive display technology has come in the past five years.

MultiTaction, from MultiTouch Ltd., is an interactive display system that is used as a digital collaboration tool for architects. Mulitple users can use the MultiTaction interactive display now that MultiTouch has partnered with Bluescape, a platform that supports an unlimited number of people and teams. They can create, interact with and share content which will in turn accelerate business projects and decision making in real-time.

MultiTaction Display Wall

MultiTaction Display Wall


Sefaira for Revit offers daylighting visualizations inside Revit

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Katrina Schoen, product manager for Sefaira for Revit, spoke about the new daylighting visualizations now available for Revit users, accessed inside Revit BIM software.

What is Sefaira for Revit?

Sefaira for Revit delivers real-time building performance feedback inside Revit. Its daylighting visualizations allow designers to create spaces that take advantage of natural daylight while minimizing unwanted glare.

Sefaira for Revit Daylighting

Sefaira for Revit Daylighting


Panzura offers cross-site collaboration with global locking file systems

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Barry Phillips, the CMO of Panzura talked with AECCafe Voice about Panzura’s Global File System and subsequent involvement in the AEC industry, providing cross-site collaboration with their global locking file systems. Moving from CAD to BIM in a single office is not a problem, according to Phillips, but when you try to have project teams spread across distributed offices it doesn’t work. “There have been lots of attempts to solve this problem,” said Phillips. Collaboration is what drives the need for cloud storage.

Slide07 (more…)

Next Era BIM from Autodesk

Friday, August 1st, 2014

At AIA, Autodesk’s Phil Bernstein spoke about “Next Era BIM” and how technology is evolving in the building industry. In an example, he said a Chinese developer built a 30-story building in seven days. The same developer wants to build a 202-story building in a week. The delivery implications of this are quite mind-boggling.

“Design became separated from construction in the Renaissance era,” said Bernstein, with Alberti. Now digital technology has drive ideas of construction/architecture with the following concepts:

1)    It took analog and translated it to CAD.

2)    The transition from electronic drawing to digital – making files into models

3)    Context – the advent of the cloud, social networking, design and construction in a systems context.

The evolvement of this went from diagrams to prototypes to integrated simulations. Now we can build new spaces with new types of data, according to Bernstein.

The concept of “archetypal relationships” was touched upon, but I’m not sure what was being referred to here, an Oedipal complex or the relationship between documentation and the way things are connected?

“The way I see it, the computer puts architects back in the driver’s seat, because we can control all that information,” said Frank Gehry.

Anthony Houch of Autodesk introduced Project Skyscraper, a new cloud-based collaboration software for Revit that allows architects, engineers and contractors to collaborate on the Autodesk 360 cloud platform. This allows extended teams to search, view, and provide feedback on project models on any device. The tool is in beta now with full commercial release of the software expected by the end of the year.

In addition Autodesk spotlighted Dynamo at the conference, exploring computational BIM with Dynamo and Revit, as well as generating different design options for varying elements including façade systems.

In discussion about the Case Building, the discussion turned to how architects put data to work. And how do they leverage building data in order to set the bar for future content?  Autodesk’s interest in reality capture continues on, while they work on figuring out how to turn that information into something meaningful for architects as well as the movie industry.

Houch said that Autodesk is “agnostic about how people access information.” This appears to extend to the new way that Autodesk is delivering information to the media as well. One PR person said they don’t send out as many press releases; everything is available on their site and on their blogs, and Autodesk Labs. This presumes that we are all going to go looking for press materials rather than them arriving conveniently in the newsfeed.
Perhaps the “new spaces with new types of data” that Bernstein envisions will be places that we will all readily visit, just as we open our email each morning.


Autodesk acquires an architectural firm

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Autodesk recently made a very unusual acquisition: that of the architecture and design firm, The Living, owned by architect David Benjamin. This acquisition was made in order to create the new “first-of-its-kind” Autodesk Studio.

Autodesk Studio

Autodesk Studio


Newforma releases new edition of Project Center

Friday, July 18th, 2014

In a conversation with Marge Hart, Director of Product Management, Newforma, AECCafe Voice learned about the newest release of Newforma Project Center.

According to the press release, Newforma announced the commercial release of the eleventh edition of Newforma Project Center. New functionality provides support for popular cloud storage providers, enables sharing of documents via Box and Dropbox, integrates with established EDMS solutions, and scales to the needs of large global AECO organizations. New features will allow customers to collaborate more easily and manage workflows for building information management (BIM) more efficiently. Newforma Project Center now integrates with Bentley ProjectWise, Microsoft SharePoint, and IBM FileNet, reinforcing its role as the “single pane of glass” for access to all project information.


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