Are there set standards for Vectorworks?

RickR

Well-Known Member
USITT used to have some standards that are now very old. I can't find them on their website anymore. When in doubt I've taken to using Altman Lighting fixture symbols as they are some of the most common and the most basic forms of fixtures available.

Past that most architectural drafting standards apply well to lighting and scenery work, always with a few twists. The real goal is communication, and standards will only go so far. Following standards can make life easier for someone reading the drawings but doesn't absolve you from having to make it clear to someone not familiar with a standard. I've seen thousands of dollars of work not done because a dotted line was used, but not labeled!

[file]USITT RP-2|thumb|
USITT RP-2 2006
[/file]
[file]USITT Graphic Standards 1992|thumb|
SITT Graphic Standards 1992
[/file]
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
Agree with Rick that I don't think the USITT standards have been updated into the CAD era. Likewise, the old standard book for lighting, William Warfels "The Handbook of Stage Lighting Graphics" and it's "new" version were published prior to the era when CAD got prevalent. Warfels book is still valid in terms of drafting techniques - use of line weights, what info needed, etc... But moving lights hadn't yet come into widespread use, so obviously some concepts are missing.

Steve Shelly's book "A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting" delves into plot and paperwork, but is obviously lighting oriented and doesn't specifically deal with VW.

I know that we struggle with various and useful methods in VW as to when to use classes, when layers and how best to use viewports and there's no correct method, only to make the drawing you present legible.

As to different work methods between grad and your undergrad experiences ?, I'd be adopting those methods of the grad school that seem more logical and using those from your undergrad that make sense, being prepared to explain why. Possibly you'll be showing the grad school teachers something new and better.
 
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Also keep in mind just because one group does something one way doesn't mean you have to always do it that way. Drafting in general is just as much of an art as anything else. Use line weights the way you feel they need to be used to convey the info you need to get across. Scenic plates should still reflect your artistic style just as much as your renderings. There are graphic standards out there for scenery but they were long ago left behind after the age of box sets died.

Because we are talking about scenery I would also strongly suggest that you keep your hand drafting chops alive. Many scenic designers, both young and "experienced" prefer to hand draft because they don't feel constrained by the mouse. I would also suggest taking a look at some of the newer 3d modeling software out there like Sketchup or Inventor. With those you can push/pull/stretch to your hearts content.
 

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Apparently I've been drawing borders without fullness incorrectly for like, forever.

As long as you got your lash cleats vs your lash stop cleats correct you can be forgiven for such an error. Really, it kills me they devoted 1/10th of the document to how to draw corner blocks and lash hardware.
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
I draft in CAD following the same standards that I was taught when drafting by hand. I have created lots of symbols based on how I would draw them on paper. I am sure we all do that.

Frankly, I think that everyone should be taught to draft by hand before CAD. Generally everyone I know who started hand drafting draw much otter plates in CAD than people who only learned CAD. Actually, one of the things I always liked about Vectorworks is that it feels more like hand drafting to me than AutoCAD.
 

kicknargel

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that document. I spend enough time trying to interpret bad drawings that I'd love to see people paying a little more attention to standards. I think especially for big picture drawings like a main ground plan and section, conforming to a standard will just help things stay easily readable.

When I'm drafting all the details of a unit, I just do whatever I can to be specific and clear. Whilst there are disadvantages, one big advantage of CAD is working in 3D. I make a fully detailed model of every set piece, then put views of each unit onto the plates, and add dimensions, notes and other details as needed. One nice thing is I know all the parts will fit together in physical space, and that my views are consistent with each other. And I can put a 3D isometric view on the page, which really helps the shop guys understand the big picture quickly. Some people have a harder time putting a top, front, side and section view together in their head to understand the 3D object.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
I draft in CAD following the same standards that I was taught when drafting by hand. I have created lots of symbols based on how I would draw them on paper. I am sure we all do that.

Frankly, I think that everyone should be taught to draft by hand before CAD. Generally everyone I know who started hand drafting draw much otter plates in CAD than people who only learned CAD. Actually, one of the things I always liked about Vectorworks is that it feels more like hand drafting to me than AutoCAD.

I have mixed feelings about the need to learn hand drafting. On one hand I think learning to use a pencil is possibly the only way to learn what needs to be on the drawing and how to get it there. On the other hand, I sometimes feel that having to learn by hand is wasted time better spend getting better at using CAD.

Part of the 2nd is that I see so many poorly skilled students about to move on to becoming professionals whose CAD skills are so weak. I just finished my 2nd show in 6 mos. with a Dept. of Theater student designing a mainstage production who had never had a class in how to draft a light plot and create the associated paperwork. This 2nd student had never had a Vectorworks class, which in any event is only a class to learn how to draft for a scenic design and had to learn VW and Lightwright pretty much by themselves over the summer. I'd much prefer seeing them taking some training in Light Plot in CAD creation then doing a hand drafting class, but a moot point as drafting and paperwork for lighting isn't taught here at BC. Sigh....
 
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icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
I have mixed feelings about the need to learn hand drafting. On one hand I think learning to use a pencil is possibly the only way to learn what needs to be on the drawing and how to get it there. On the other hand, I sometimes feel that having to learn by hand is wasted time better spend getting better at using CAD, but a moot point as drafting and paperwork for lighting isn't taught here at BC. Sigh....

Part of the 2nd is that I see so many poorly skilled students about to move on to becoming professionals whose CAD skills are so weak. I just finished my 2nd show in 6 mos. with a Dept. of Theater student designing a mainstage production who had never had a class in how to draft a light plot and create the associated paperwork (the 2nd such) This 2nd student had never had a Vectorworks class, which in any event is only a class to learn how to draft for a scenic design and had to learn VW and Lightwright pretty much by themselves over the summer. I'd much prefer seeing them taking some training in Light Plot in CAD creation then doing a hand drafting class.
When I was in college, as a tech or design major, the following courses were all required, full semester courses: Hand drafting, CAD, Lighting Design 1, and Basic Lighting Tech.

In both LD1 and BLT you were taught how to generate and read lighting paperwork. LD1 had more emphasis on creating said paperwork.

Just saying.
 

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