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Layers, I do like me some Vectorworks Layers

Layers are like sheets of tracing paper on a drawing board. They are useful in organizing and presenting information.
Specifically, right now, I am referring to Design Layers. Later on, I make some comments about Sheet Layers. Design Layers are for Designing, Sheet layers are for presenting. Sheet layers are like desktop publishing for blueprints.

In my stationery file, I have a basic layer structure. I'll pretty much always need to begin with these layers:

  1. Light Plot
  2. Sound Plot
  3. Scenery
  4. Masking
  5. Audience Seating
  6. Theatre (or venue) Architecture
  7. Trace

The trace layer is where I'll usually start. This assumes I'm brining in an image file or a PDF. I've already discussed working with DWG/DXF files here.

Each of these layers should make sense.

I like to be able to readily turn off any audience seating as that generally involves complex geometry that I'll want to publish on a Sheet layer, but generally will not want to have to wait for it to redraw as I work.

For multi-set shows, I'll have as many Scenic layers as required.

I then use the options of showing, snapping, hiding, and greying layers as I need to best see and complete my work.

One reason I separate items using layers is to control snapping and selecting. 

Every object is, of course Classed, but that's another post.

If I'm building a venue where I'll be doing a number of projects, I'll add some basic Sheet Layers to the file. These will likely include:

  1. A General Plan, usually without the light plot
  2. Sections
  3. Plan with the audience
  4. Light Plot, probably with the Sound Plot grayed out, but present

Once these various Viewports are created and basic annotations added, it helps when drawing new shows. I'll often use Class overrides in the Viewports to focus the drawing. For instance, the theatre architecture is likely to be more visible in set plans and suggested on the Light Plot.

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Comment by JPalmerLD on June 18, 2013 at 2:19pm

For me it depends what is my purpose for the drawing.  If I am doing a light plot, I keep my Theatre, Stage, Set, Lights, Lighting Positions on different layers with "Show, Snap Others".  This way I can select and drag a light without worrying about grabbing something else.  I also use many classes to control drawing attributes.

If I am drawing to do a rendering, I use one design layer and classes to control everything else.  I will do a mock-up to render elements of the show. 

Comment by Peter Smith on June 18, 2013 at 11:13am

Since I am always swapping between 2D and 3D, I use classes almost exclusively.  My naming structure would probably drive anyone else nuts, since I start every class I use with "A-" and then categorize them further, like "A-SCENIC-DRAPE-TALL". I often have to create several versions of the set for our proposals, so I will have SCENIC1, SCENIC2, etc. Then when I set up my sheet layers, I can turn on and off the classes I need (or don't).  I do eventually run into problems with refresh rates, so if we need too many versions, I will spread them over a couple of drawing files.

Comment by Kevin Lee Allen on May 12, 2013 at 7:48am

I usually do that with Classes, stay tuned. But, to each his own methodology. I like to keep the Lighting Positions in the same Layer as the units.

Comment by Nook Schoenfeld on May 11, 2013 at 10:04pm

I like to keep my truss and lights on separate layers as well. Easier to make rigging plots from your drawings by leaving truss visible, but with no fixtures.

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