Five Hidden Gems in Vectorworks Spotlight Software
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Jun 24, 2014 11:57 am | hforce

Earlier this month, our own Industry Product Specialist Frank Brault led a weeklong class at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas on the theatrical applications of digital drafting. During his intensive session, Brault shared career advice gleaned from his more than 30 years of industry experience and taught design techniques using various CAD programs, including Vectorworks Spotlight software.

Jim Woodward – Exhibit Logic

Brault’s class covered everything from the fundamentals of Vectorworks software to some of the more hidden gems that help designers work more efficiently. We thought we’d share them with you, too:

1. Use Container Objects: Container objects wrap a shell of values around some geometry, so you can edit both parts separately. Container objects make it easier to create and edit complex objects. Extrudes, Solids, Viewports, Spaces, Plants, and Lighting Devices are all examples of Containers in the Vectorworks software.
2. Take Advantage of Stacking Order: You can manipulate the order of objects as they are drawn with the Send to Back and Send to Front menu commands. With these commands, you can place a filled object (e.g., a table) partially on top of a set of chairs, so that the chairs appear tucked in without cutting them in half.
3. Utilize Resources: Resources reduce a file’s size and make it easy to manage repeated elements in the model. Resource instances in a document can be edited globally by adjusting the definition in the Resource Browser.
4. Automatically Set Working Planes: You can set the working plane automatically when you use planar objects such as the Rectangle or Circle object. This lets you work on any plane without having to draw first on the ground plane and then align the object to the desired plane.
5. Locate Objects with Snapping: Snapping is used to accurately locate specific points on objects in the model without measuring. This saves time and increases accuracy while building and editing a model. Vectorworks software’s snapping works best when engaged continuously, so just set it and forget it. This feature makes it intuitive to find points in space by displaying a cue or screen hint.

Jim Woodward – Exhibit Logic

Brault’s curriculum also included time spent outside the classroom as students went behind-the-scenes at various productions to learn about stagecraft hands-on. Brault wanted students to understand the depth of their work. “It’s not just about lighting a show; rather, it’s about how you can bring your area of expertise to make the show a conceptual experience,” Brault said. “It’s about how the lighting can enhance the whole production, the scenery, script, music, etc.”

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