November 21, 2009

3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009 - Book Review.

3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009 by Johnatan Pickup.

As a Practicing Architect it is always a good idea to learn new tools and applications and one must never underestimate the value of training, it's what keeps the office fresh and when work load is high, every bit of time counts (training teaches to better manage tasks). A few weeks ago I contacted a fellow architect from New Zealand through twitter named Jonathan Pickup, his company Archoncad is a Vectorworks training and consulting firm, he is an established advocate of CAD teaching and has an online video training series covering every aspect of Vectorworks for BIM (Building Information Modeling) use and has written several manuals.

I received a copy of his latest book, "3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009", it's a notebook-like manual (spiral-bound which makes it familiar) that is written in three parts with a companion CD that has the PDF version of the manual as well as tutorial files so that you can follow along the lessons with short concise videos that appear throughout the sections of the book in a step by step format. One important thing to remember is that you must open the manual in Adobe Acrobat in order to play the videos embedded within the PDF document.

For someone with CAD or 3D experience this manual is a breath of fresh air and if you are already a seasoned Vectorworks user, it's great to see a new approach at complex forms using the tools you are already familiar with. Jonathan Pickup's style of teaching and is fun, no embellishing, and shows you all the tricks the tools can do for simple or complex 3D modeling using all attributes and functions, from  building a table to a bus stop, the most interesting use of NURBS (Non Uniform Rational B-Splines) curves I've seen anyone explain. 

Part 1 of the book is setting up basic modeling; extrude, multiple extrude, simple views, cut outs, shell solids, etc. making a point of explaining the use of the tools for 3D in setting viewing planes and the rules of modeling objects, written in a way that is intuitive specially if you are reading along with the exercises in the CD.

Part 2 centers on applying what is taught in part one to make an architectural model, a house on a sloping hill. Here the NURBS tool is used for the terrain (Google Sketch-Up which I use often doesn't have this feature), pulling (extrusion) and cut outs for the house as well as establishing the working planes. This is a great way to do a fast block model or a study model of a project you might be working on.

Part 3 bids you to build a Bus Stop, gives you tips on classes and layers and takes you through every tool in the two earlier parts to make a complete model with dedicated steps on chamfering, sweeping shapes, modifiers, arrays, tool sets, complex NURBS, walls and finally scene building which results in the final project with some tweaks using elements for final rendering ( using Renderworks in this case ).

The book is very useful for anyone who wants to learn new methods for 3D modeling and gives amazing insight and knocks down a barrier some people feel in using 3D software, Jonathan Pickup is very successful in keeping you engaged in the exercises all the way through his explanations and videos. It's thoroughly illustrated, explains with detail the tools that make Vectorworks a best selling BIM tool and comes with video tutorials for every part.


1 comment:

shin said...

I am really interesting on that book as i m starting to learn vectorworks. The things is I cant afford the book as it is expensive for a student., It would b nice if u can share some tutorials on the blog, if u can.


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