VectorWorks 2008 was officially released today. I do find it slightly ironic that they neglected to call it VectorWorks 13, because 13 is an unlucky number from what I have heard, and yet it was released on the Thursday the 13th. Hey, at least it wasn‘t a Friday the 13th release date! I can only assume Nemetschek will now continue this year naming trend, but I think it will lead to awkward upgrade versions. I can‘t wait until 2008.5 comes out! I should finish this intro by saying I have not had the opportunity to use VW 2008 yet, so my review is more an overview of improvements I am looking forward to using in VW 2008.
So there are a lot of changes in the new version, but a lot of them are aesthetic only. Nemetschek has created new icons for all of the tools, but they look like a cross between a hand drawn and cartoon rendered version of the old icons. Was this necessary? Probably not, but if you‘re going to overhaul the entire program you might as well give it a makeover too. There are also a lot of other aesthetic touch ups like an unlimited color choice, lots of new libraries, including a pretty sweet plant database, and better organizational techniques.
I am really excited about some of the more practical advances that are featured in VW 2008. The one feature that I am really looking forward to is the cross-platform workspaces. In VW 12.5 Mac and PC workspaces could not be shared. There is supposedly a program out on the web that can fix this, but it only works from a Mac workspace to a PC workspace. This seems like a really miniscule point, but after I spent 4 hours revamping my 12.5 workspace, I wanted to be able to take it anywhere with me. I am running XP on my laptop right now, and since I do a lot of work at school on Macs, I like taking my Workspace file on my thumbdrive to load it onto any new computer I work on. So thank you Nemetschek for fixing this “bug”.
Another improvement I am really looking forward to using is an advancement in Spotlight called: Lighting Device Position Awareness. Basically it tracks the movement of lighting devices better. This is something that has been driving me crazy since I started using Spotlight. I always hated having to refresh the instrument after I moved them. This will now let everything happen in real-time. It also has a cool feature of moving the lighting devices when a lighting position is moved. If you do any 3D modeling, this will save a ton of time!
Another new feature is opacity control on 2D objects. It‘s a really interesting feature to include in VW and makes a lot of sense since it‘s a pretty common idea from something like Photoshop. The example online shows a rendered out top view of a table on some stone, so I am a little confused if the opacity transfers to rendered models. I think this will be an awesome new tool to use, and hope to use it as a quick fix to creating a scrim.
The last little update that has been provided, which I think is long over due, is helping out spell check! A lot of objects have what is now called: Object-sensitive Context Menus. In short, when you right click common features you might use will be listed. This is great, because text boxes now have formatting and spell check available when you right click. I am not sure, but it would be nice if it did the red squiggle thing under misspelled words when you typed them in real time. Nothing say unprofessional like misspelling.
If there is one thing that I hope Nemetschek fixed, but I doubt it, is the ability to use the Truss Insertion Tool in other views beside plan view. I, as well as many others I am sure, have used trusses as scenery or vertical lighting positions from a stage. If you are trying to model out these trusses, it‘s a real pain, because you have to convert them to 3D Polys first and then rotate them. Also, if you need to change them at all, you have to repeat the process instead of just changing the information in the object info palette. So dear Nemetschek, if you haven‘t fixed this yet, please do so in VW 2008.5!
So that‘s my quick overview of a few of the things I am looking forward to in VectorWorks 2008. If you want to check out some of the other changes in VW 2008 go visit this link CLICK
My final note is for all students out there that want a copy of VectorWorks, GO AND GET IT! After speaking with Nemetschek today to find out about updating my current version, I learned that they are now offering a free, yes free, student version available online. All you need is a school email address and some other information to validate your copy. There are a few things to watch out for, such as non-compatible files between Student Versions and Professional Versions. Going from Professional to Student does work however. Also a watermark reading: VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION will be printed at the top and bottom of any print out. They are only offering VW 12 with Renderworks at the moment, but it sounds like as things progress they will provide updates, only a version behind. The other thing to consider is that if you are a student and recently purchased VW 12, you should get the free Educational version and use that for the remainder of your academic career, and then when you graduate you will be able to upgrade your VW 12 to a professional copy for less. So a big shout out and thanks to Marcus from Nemetschek for filling me in on all this information this afternoon. So if you want a free educational version of VW 12, you can go to CLICK