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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Vectorworks 2014 Launches

September 17th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Sean Flaherty, CEO and Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Nemetschek Vectorworks spoke last week in a webinar about their software launch of Vectorworks 2014.

Flaherty gave a business overview of the company and its progress:

Although Nemetschek Vectorworks is headquartered in the U.S. their customer base is very global, Flaherty explained, with 53% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, 28% from Pacific region and 19% from Americas. Their top five user countries are Japan, Germany, UK and Switzerland. AEC remains their biggest market, accounting for 60% of their sales. Landscape and entertainment design are still critical to the company.

Select Subscription customers will be the first to receive this release. Three years ago they launched Select Subscription service. Last year more than half the licenses delivered were to Select members. Vectorworks is seeing positive rebound in the AEC sector.

According to the National Association of HomeBuilders, they predict higher levels of construction activity in the years ahead.  Also they are seeing positive signs in multi-family residential and commercial design.

In response to that and other industry insights, Vectorworks has expanded their staff by 50% in the last few years.

BIM continues to be a funnel for information in the architecture industry. Design begins in the mind of the architect. Vectorworks can take the design from the sketchpad to the workflow. Each year more firms are implementing BIM workflow into their projects.

¾ of firms are using BIM software for billable work. This report also found 91% of firms used BIM software for design visualization.

In the UK the government is pushing to become a world leader in BIM, and the National BIM Survey 2013 found that more than 1/3 or 33% of the survey are using BIM, up from only 13% in 2010. “One of the primary ways we feel we can help architects to greater BIM adoption is to provide BIM education to practitioners whether they are Vectorworks users or not,” said Flaherty. “More than half of owners admit to being beginners in BIM expertise.”

“BIM is a new way of realizing projects, one part in the overall BIM processes. In addition to an introduction to BIM processes, Vectorworks also offer industry professionals talks on the process from their standpoints,” said Flaherty.

This perspective of seeing BIM as “new” is refreshing coming from a CAD vendor, as most seem to espouse the belief that BIM is not new.

Vectorworks is very supportive of Open BIM because of its support of transparent open workflow, that allows for collaboration regardless of software tools, its creation of a common language for processes, and ability to provide quality project data that can be used throughout building lifecycle.

Dr. Sarkar gave a rundown of all the features. Here are the features of Vectorworks 2014 as listed in the press release:

The Vectorworks 2014 software includes more than 130 improvements that were developed for better modeling, BIM management, interoperability, usability, performance, and quality. The 2014 product line also features new BIM tools for architects, increased site design capabilities for landscape architects and designers, as well as enhancements to lighting devices, documentation, and graphic controls for entertainment designers.  The following list provides a sampling of what design professionals will find inside Vectorworks 2014 software:  Enhanced 3D Modeling: This release includes several key improvements to  Vectorworks’ already robust 3D modeling capabilities. Built on the industry’s leading modeling kernel, Parasolid®, Vectorworks 2014 offers persistent rendered 3D navigation to provide designers with the ability to easily switch between 3D and rotated Top/Plan views; enhanced walkthrough capabilities, making walkthroughs in OpenGL faster than ever; and the new twist and taper tools that enable users to twist entire solids, solid faces, or NURBS surfaces, as well as taper the faces of 3D objects in a single snap. In addition, the new 3D X-ray Select (patent pending) allows users to temporarily see through solid objects in the area around the cursor.

The English-language version of Vectorworks 2014 software will be available for download by Vectorworks Service Select customers on September 17, 2013. We will begin shipping the English-language version to all customers beginning September 23, 2013. This will mark the start of our worldwide rollout, with localized language versions to be released in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2014.

Better BIM Tools: The space, stair, window, door and roof objects have undergone several customer-driven improvements, including performance enhancements.  Examples include space creation and manipulation, hidden line rendering, OpenGL rendered workflows and the ability to create and edit section viewports from the interactive Clip Cube. The Auto Hybrid object, which provides an easy way to turn arbitrary 3D geometry into a hybrid BIM object with both 3D geometry and a 2D plan, has received performance and display improvements that improve selection, editing and document size.

New Site Design Capabilities: Developed specifically for landscape architects and designers, Vectorworks 2014’s new site design capabilities include enhancements to plant shadows, making it faster and easier to create presentation-level site plans with interactive shadows. In addition, massing model improvements allow site designers to add and report the programmatic uses for building massing models on a floor-by-floor basis, and there is a new option to suppress the location adjustment for georeferenced data.

Improved Interoperability: The Vectorworks Architect product was certified by buildingSMART International for the BIM data exchange standard IFC 2×3 Coordination View 2.0 for IFC Export in June 2013. Since then, continued improvements to Vectorworks’ IFC capabilities have included new IFC worksheet functions, support for IFC zones and IFCXML import/export support. Additionally, users can now directly reference 2D and 3D DWG/DXF or DWF files in Vectorworks projects, making collaboration and team workflows simpler. Also, this release offers better support for complex line types, named colors and mapped fonts for text objects in DXF/DWG/DWF, as well as support of SQLite in ODBC.

Usability Improvements: There are several designer-requested usability improvements. One example is the Publish command, which is a one-stop-shop for exporting and printing construction drawings.

Other usability enhancements include support for cropping bitmaps, improvements to visibility, reshape, and dimension tools, and an improved keynote legend object. Additional improvements include Select similar by Plane, preview in Mirror tool, font preview in Format Text dialog and a Simplify Polys command.

Robust Rendering: Our integrated rendering application, Renderworks, has a new displacement mapping option that provides the ability to make realistic renderings with materials like grass, carpet, water, bricks or stone. There is also additional support for images in brick shaders. A visualization engine with fast interactive rendering has also been implemented. This visualization engine, the Vectorworks Graphics Module, is a modular rendering system that provides a modern visualization infrastructure across the product line. It allows designers to work in a rendered mode with support for selecting and snapping non-occluded objects. This feature also includes the patent pending X-ray Select technology that allows designers to work with the occluded objects when needed.

Increased Compatibility: Vectorworks 2014 is fully compatible with OSX Mavericks and also offers the Python 3 programming environment, with its thousands of libraries to efficiently develop scripts. This modern, popular scripting language has a large user base of students, academics and professionals around the world, and now, Vectorworks developers can create document scripts, as well as external plug-in parametric objects, tools and commands.

Cloud Services and Mobile Solutions: New features for Vectorworks Cloud Services and mobile solutions are in the pipeline. In the near future, Vectorworks Cloud Services will be compatible with well-known storage solutions, and the mobile application, Vectorworks Nomad, will support better user interactions for measurement. Plus, there will be support for Vectorworks 2014 in Vectorworks Cloud Services and iOS7 support in Vectorworks Nomad.



If you’re doing anything special about making Vectorworks work with Windows Touchscreen and Windows 8.1?

Our new visualization engine can be extended to mobile platforms as well as the Touchscreen apps in the future but at this point we don’t have support for it.

In surveying customers for the Vectorworks software release, what was the top priority for you to improve for 2014?

The top priority was to improve the usability of the workflows that had a number of different gaps. For example, previously, the IFC implementations were only available for Architect but now they are also available for Landmark.

Can you speak about the visualization engine in relation to Apple QuickTime?

The primary goal of this engine to define the existing drawing system into a newer much cleaner architecture, taking advantage of modern techniques available. This time we are getting out of QuickTime and using technology that is more maintainable and provides better performance.

Does it use the GPU?

The whole model is on the GPU all the time. It always keeps the whole model on the GPU, and when you are doing any kind of walkthrough or fly over it takes it from the GPU.

The new features list a number of functions such as twisting and slicing. Is this made possible with the Parasolid engine?

Yes, and in the future we will also do things like bending and other types of distortion features.


 The English-language version of Vectorworks 2014 software will be available for download by Vectorworks Service Select customers on September 17, 2013. The English-language version to all customers will begin shipping September 23, 2013. Localized language versions will be released in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2014.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, construction, engineering, site planning

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