Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Vectorworks Updates CAD/BIM Product Line

19 Sep, 2012 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

Version 2013 of the company’s design software portfolio improves 3D modeling, rendering, interoperability, BIM workflows, and overall performance.

Nemetschek Vectorworks, a provider of CAD and building information modeling (BIM) software solutions, introduced the Vectorworks 2013 product line, including Vectorworks Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Fundamentals, and Renderworks.

“The world of design is changing. BIM has a continuously growing influence on the AEC industry, cloud technology is adding freedom and convenience to the design process, and the competitive economy is increasing the need to create stunning presentations to win business,” said Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek Vectorworks. “Whether you’re an architect, a landscape professional, or an entertainment designer, we know your process as a designer is evolving. With Vectorworks 2013, you’ll discover new tools and forms of collaboration to support your design practice, streamline your workflows, and improve your efficiency.”

The Vectorworks 2013 product line contains more than 80 improvements, including new commands and tools. Performance has been improved in many areas of the program, including wall network manipulation, hidden line rendering, changes to Vectorworks Spotlight lighting devices, and 2D navigation of Vectorworks scenes.

The 2013 version of Vectorworks software delivers several major improvements, including the following. Further explanation of new features is provided on the company’s web site.  

  • Greater interoperability. Enhancements to file imports and exports, such as IFC, DWG/DXF, and ODBC, plus new file format support for Rhinoceros 3DM, DWF, FBX, COLLADA, and gbXML. The new COLLADA function exports Renderworks 2013 files to other rendering as well as media and entertainment (M&E) tools.
  • Better BIM tools. Improvements to the program’s BIM tools will allow designers to simplify complex BIM tasks. The new Auto Hybrid command allows users to graphically convert complex, free-form modeling forms into proper 2D representations with data, and users will experience more 3D support with 3D door and window tags and a completely reengineered roof object based on the Parasolid modeling kernel. Also, the Create Detail Viewport command provides an efficient way to automatically create cropped viewports, allowing for better navigation between detailed views and the model.
  • 3D modeling. This release includes improvements to provide an efficient and effective level of modeling, such as the new Clip Cube mode, which provides additional visibility control over large complex models, and the Surface Array command, which allows for duplication of 2D and 3D geometry onto planar or NURBS-based surfaces and allows for the design of complex models, such as roof systems, curtain walls, and stadium-like structures. The program also features improved perspective projection, which allows users to work with models in a full-screen perspective view with configurable horizon and includes the option to turn on the cropping window when setting up views for presentation renderings.

    The new Clip Cube mode in Vectorworks 2013 lets you hide parts of your model so you can more easily isolate and work on other details.


  • Integrated, robust rendering tools. New improvements to the Renderworks rendering application include nonblocking rendering, which allows the user to continue working on a project while a scene renders sheet layer viewports or images from the Render Bitmap tool; physical sun and sky backgrounds to provide natural lighting that automatically responds to a location, date, and time of day specified by the user; and a new Arroway Textures library, which includes wood veneers, concrete, wood flooring, stonework, tile, and other construction materials.
  • Improved efficiency. Navigation enhancements increase the speed at which users can move around a drawing. Other improvements include support for custom line types, hyperlinks, align/distribute leader lines, and images in worksheet cells.

    Vectorworks 2013 supports hyperlinks, which are preserved when converting a file to PDF.

    A custom plumbing report in Vectorworks 2013 includes images, among other information, to assist architects and contractors.


The English-language version of Vectorworks 2013 software will be available for download later this week and will begin shipping next week. Localized versions will be available in the coming months; check with your local distributor for availability.

Business is Growing

During an online press conference on Monday, Flaherty said, “While we continue to experience growth across the board, Asia has been particularly strong region for us,” bolstered by the introduction of a localized Chinese version in April. “And I’m happy to report that our business in Japan recovered quickly after the tsunami disaster of 2011,” Flaherty said.

The Vectorworks Service Select also has been a revenue growth driver, Flaherty continued. “The number of Vectorworks users in our subscription program has grown 30% over the past year,” he said, adding that the program will be available in all markets by the end of this year.

Subscription customers have access to Vectorworks Cloud Services, also introduced in the spring. “We don’t see the core of design moving completely to the cloud,” Flaherty explained. “Too many functions related to the geometry kernel are still best for the desktop.

“We are helping our users evolve by moving their workflows to the most appropriate computing resource for each stage of the design process,” he continued. “For example, our cloud technology frees up desktop computing power, shifting calculations needed to generate sections, elevations, and renderings from the desktop to the cloud. Designers can even perform BIM calculations in the cloud, computing 2D results from an existing 3D model.”

Vectorworks Cloud Services and Nomad — a free app for subscription customers that enables mobile access to Vectorworks files — are available for all iOS devices; Android versions are coming this fall, Flaherty said.

Flaherty also discussed Open BIM, a new buildlingSMART initiative that provides common definitions, requirements, and branding for building projects, and of which Nemetschek Vectorworks is a founding member.

And the CEO also unveiled the news that Vectorworks has formed a strategic partnership with Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), a developer of software that aims to reduce the carbon emissions of the built environment. The work that results from the partnership “will allow Vectorworks users an easy way to conduct energy analysis for their BIM designs,” Flaherty explained, “and is the first significant BIM and sustainability partnership based on the open BIM file standard, IFC."


About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson

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