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Classes, you can never have too many Vectorworks Classes

Some of my friends and colleagues will disagree with me here. Oh, well. To each, his or her own method of working, that's part of the joy of Vectorworks.

Now, there's a funny title for a post; The Joy of Vectorworks. But I digress.

I all seriousness, I use a lot of Vectorworks classes and some of my colleagues argue that I use too many. You'll have to decide for yourself and come up with your own strategy. Classes allow the specification of attributes to objects, and visibility of objects in different views. In the latter case, Classes have some functionality similar to Layers.

Let's start with the basics. Any new VWX doc gives you two classes; None, and Dimension. As soon as you cut a section VWX creates the Section Style class, which is a horrible reminder that you need to edit that class. For good basic drafting practise, I adjust the line weights so that I have the standard thin, medium, and thick lines. So, I'll adjust the Dimensions Class to have a line weight of about .05 or .06mm, I set the fill to none, and I like to color my dimensions as a dark blue to further differentiate them from objects. I'll also add a prefix changing the class name to D-Dimension.

I color many classes, BUT I keep those colors dark so they print in a readable manner.

I set the weight of the None class to .15-.20mm and set the fill to solid. The solid fill allows objects created in the class to show a texture when rendered. This is my standard medium line weight. VWX will default to the None class, BUT you can rename that Class to something like Medium Line Weight, if that helps.

When created, the Section Style class has a line weight of .7mm which I generally find too heavy. This depends on the scale of the output. The default Section Style also fills the sections with a red fill. I'll redefine this class to have a line of about .35mm and set the fill to a diagonal Hatch or Pattern.

I then have standard classes for various annotations:

  1. D-Plaster Line
  2. D-Center Line
  3. D-Drawing Labels
  4. D-Reference Markers
  5. D-Scale Bar
  6. D-End Seats
  7. D-Construction Lines
  8. D-Loci

Each of these classes is defined with color and with one of the three line weights.

The use of the Prefix keeps the Classes together and lets me expand or collapse the Class list as needed.

I have a similar set-up for Lighting;

  1. Lighting-VWX Light Objects
  2. Lighting-Spotlight Lighting Devices
  3. Lighting-Lighting Positions
  4. Lighting-Focus Point Objects
  5. Lighting-Photometer
  6. Lighting-Clamps
  7. Lighting-LL-Color
  8. Lighting-LL-Focus
  9. Lighting-LL-Channel
  10. Lighting-LL-Circuit

The LL designation indicates that class is for use in defining Label Legends.

Of course, Audio requires similar attention...

  1. Audio-Array
  2. Audio-Rigging
  3. Audio-Deck
  4. Audio-Monitor
  5. Audio-Stage Mikes
  6. Audio-Air Mikes

I have a similar set of classes for defining 2D and 3D symbols for people used in creating an entourage in a rendering, or for placing figures in elevations, and sections for scale. I always include a human figure and a Scale Bar in elevations, and sections. A figure doesn't always appear in plans, but a scale bar is always present.

I have a stand alone class for my Renderworks Cameras, and I have classes and Text Styles for my title blocks.

I generally define Wall Styles and classes for each venue's architecture specific to a project. So they're not standard, but I do keep a library of Wall Styles.

Then the scenery. This is where it gets complicated. I use classes to assign attributes to object, like colors, textures and line colors to differentiate between parts. I can over ride the line color choices in Viewports to create a standard black line for drafting on my Sheet Layers, but in complex geometry, it helps to see objects if they have different line colors.

So, I might have a class for all objects in a show that are purple or I might have a class like Portal-Purple, and another like Deck-Purple depending on how and where I expect to use the class for visibility. Alternately, I might have a class called Show-Purple if I'm just trying to manage the color/texture. How I make these decisions often depends on the scale of the production.

I will also generally make the individual elements into symbols for easier editing. The symbol may be assigned a class and the instances of symbols may be assigned a class allowing me to show a wagon (for instance) in different positions for different scenes.

Don't forget the softgoods; Legs, Borders... And always have a good Black Velour texture in your stationery docx.

All of these classes are stored in a stationery document, there is no need to re-invent the wheel every time you start a new project. In addition to the classes, I keep settings for all of my tools in the stationery document.

Of course, I go through the development of classes at length in Entertainment Design; Scenic, Lighting, and Sound, with Vectorworks...

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