Words: Chris Rodermond
Photos Courtesy of Vectorworks
With the recent release of Enscape 2.9 in November 2020, Enscape and Vectorworks’ respective 2021 editions have integrated their offerings to allow architects and designers to embed Enscape to their Vectorworks planning and presentation workflows.
As you may know, Vectorworks, Inc. is an award-winning design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software provider serving the architecture, landscape architecture, and entertainment industries with over 685,000 users in 85 countries with offices in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
Enscape GmbH is based in Germany with an office in New York and was founded in 2017 to serve the international architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. Their product enables users to create live, high-quality real-time 3D renderings and virtual reality scenes from third party modeling and BIM software. More than 85 of the top 100 architecture firms use Enscape in their design process. They can be found online at www.enscape3d.com.
The group at Enscape summarize the benefits of the new partnership:
- Render your model with just one click
- Visualize design changes as they’re made
- Export images, panoramas and standalone files
- Edit and export videos with ease
- Walkthrough projects on screen and in virtual reality
Masonry DESIGN Magazine spoke with Dave Donley, director of product technology, and Rob Hollis, architect product specialist at Vectorworks, about their thoughts on the integration and what users can expect with this exciting development.
Hollis told us that he is most excited about people being able to visualize and design in real-time and get immediate feedback. He noted Vectorworks already has a wonderful rendering engine but Enscape enhances those rendering features, making it more powerful and efficient for workflows. And now it is a more powerful engine that does things very fast. Designers have more assets available to them for materials as well as details like artwork, people environments, etc.
Hollis noted that Vectorworks is a full BIM platform — and has been for quite some time. But now Enscape features provide faster processing of images, panoramas, and movies. There is also a collaboration feature directly within the Enscape plug-in, which allows users to review a model, snap an image and make notes to share with their team via a collaboration feature. For example, if a person had a question about a piece of ductwork or a column was in the wrong location, one could snap an image and make note of that, via the collaboration feature.
Hollis summarizes that what ends up happening is that the whole process can speed up by having Enscape involved, similar to what happens in other Big BIM collaborations.
It’s not just the rendering that gets faster, but the collaboration and teamwork through BIM are improved. It requires some hardware requirements — basically a computer with a similar set up of a good gaming computer, lots of RAM, and a high-end graphics card. But it’s an easy installation, and when done, the Enscape plug-in with Vectorworks delivers an intuitive experience.
The integration also allows you to make changes as you’re designing by simply clicking a button and dropping a different material to convey your design intent. If a client or customer asks for a change, you could show them that easily.
The best way to use the integration is to “jump in and go for it,” said Hollis. “You won’t find yourself hitting hurdles and obstacles that you don’t know how to move through.” He thinks people can be limited by their imagination, and what they want to get out of it. “From a user side the tools are easy to use, and from a development side, it has been nearly seamless in terms of the relationship between Vectorworks and Enscape.”
Enscape is integrated into Vectorworks as an additional icon in the toolset. Users will find these features where one would normally go for the tools they use regularly. There is an additional icon for Enscape and once a user clicks on that, they will have a variety of different commands, functions, and features to use in Enscape. “It’s a nice tie-in that our development team made sure to not introduce something where somebody was scratching their head and say, ‘well, how do I do this? This is very different.’ It’s pretty seamless in terms of the workflow that exists in the software,” said Hollis.
Donley finds the integration to be “a game-changer.” As someone who works for Vectorworks, he was already a big believer in the product. He encourages us to try it out and start using it to take advantage of this wonderful new asset.
Donley added that the release is a simple and interactive addition that’s beneficial to users on the design side or marketing professionals who are making a presentation to a client. Plus, it’s fast and simple. He knows he may be biased but adds, “what’s not to like? If I were a user, would embrace the new features of Enscape in Vectorworks and not look back.”
Enscape for Vectorworks is available on the Windows operating system in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Users can try Enscape free for 14 days here. We found a really cool tutorial and walkthrough of the integrated products posted by Enscape.
To learn more about Vectorworks, its partnerships or to request a free 30-day trial, visit vectorworks.net.