By Eric Gilbey, RLA, ASLA, Prof. APLD, Landscape Architecture Industry Specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks
Landscape designers often feel trapped between a rock and a hard place when it comes to transitioning to CAD software. Drawing by hand allows them to keep the personalized look of their plans and elevations, whereas digital design software makes things faster, easier, and more efficient. What these designers may not realize is that adding personality to their projects on a computer can be easier than assumed, as shown in the four following ways with Vectorworks Landmark’s symbol library features.
2D and 3D Shape Manipulation
Both CAD and hand-drawn designs rely on the use of lines and shapes to produce drawings. Straight and curvilinear lines of varying widths create the basic format, while polygonal shapes allow designers to add a personal touch to a project. Vectorworks Landmark software contains a large library of plant symbols that has both 2D and 3D graphical settings. When a plant symbol is edited in 2D, designers gain immediate access to the lines and shapes that make up the symbol. They can then edit, add, or subtract any part of the object to customize it to their preferences.
Exact Color Creation and Rendering
Object customization isn’t limited to just form. Whether they want to show an exact shade of green for a tree or how a flower garden will look once planted, Landmark users can select the shapes within a symbol, change their “fill” with solid colors, patterns, or a gradient blend of colors, as well as modify a fill’s opacity with ease. Changing the fill’s opacity enables more creativity because designers can add other transparent colored shapes as if they were using markers or watercolors to create layers. With these color layers, users can shadow and highlight symbols to take on visual depth or add brightly colored shapes to replicate blooms, helping the client recognize expected flower colors.
3D Image Texture Customization
Designers seek ways to give their drawings a more telling 3D look, and sometimes they need something more than color to project their vision onto a project. That’s why Vectorworks Landmark software has a library of material textures that can be used as plant 3D representations, as well as for customizing pavements, walls, and ground surfaces. For example, users can personalize the texture of a certain flower and adjust the hatching on a pathway to represent a specific type of paving stone. With displacement mapping, they can customize these same textures, or even those they have brought into the program, and apply a depth to the surface, giving it added texture with 3D-positioned leaves or stones.
Personalized Library Additions
For designers who are still skeptical about how custom digital designing can change their workflow for the better, remember that all changes made to the shape, color, and texture of objects can be saved in personal libraries within the program. The more the software is used to personalize a design, the easier and more efficient it will become in the future.