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Usability Improvements Make Landmark 2016 a Must-Have Release

Posted by Guest Author on 10/29/15 11:49 AM

By Stephen Schrader, PLA, ASLA, Associate Landscape Architect at Holcombe Norton Partners, Inc.

When it comes to giving your clients exactly what they want, providing options is key. You want to make sure that you show them all of the different possibilities for their landscape design that meet their aesthetic expectations, within their budget, of course. At Holcombe Norton Partners, this philosophy plays into our workflows for all our projects, which range from small residential designs to large-scale land planning and higher education campus projects.

Student Wellness Center Photo Courtesy of Holcombe Norton Partners Student Wellness Center
Photo Courtesy of Holcombe Norton Partners

When time allows, I like coming up with wildly different ideas. I still do a lot of initial design by hand, and then import my sketches directly into Vectorworks Landmark to refine and test ideas. My design process has always been very iterative, and with improvements in Landmark 2016, I’m able to explore each of my projects further than before.

For me, one of the best updates in the new Landmark release isn’t any big, singular new feature; rather, it’s upgrades to tools that I use every day, making them more accessible, and easier to use, so that I can get the most out of my time spent designing. For example, there is a lot more information available in the Object Info Palette, shortening the time it takes me to do a lot of my basic design actions, which in turn allows me to create more design options. The Site Modifier tool is also improved, thanks to upgrades that make it quicker to access and a lot easier to use as a part of my normal workflow. I like that I can place lines or shapes on a site’s terrain that I intend to level as a contour or pad, and with the new options in the Site Modifier Mode Bar, I can quickly decide which option to choose and easily set the needed parameters for elevations thanks to a more informative display. Plus, I can more readily test and evaluate the effects of my design decisions. Overall, Landmark 2016 is developed in a way that makes the fundamental tasks of landscape design more intuitive.

Hardscape Study Image Courtesy of Holcombe Norton Partners Hardscape Study
Image Courtesy of Holcombe Norton Partners

And the best part is that since work has been so busy, I’ve not even had time to explore all the new features. The Hardscape tool has a lot of great improvements that I’m excited to try out, especially the ability to set slopes, which is something I would have had to do manually with NURBS-based objects in the past. That highlights a great thing about Vectorworks — that they’re always making improvements based on things that we really need. They understand the landscape industry —  from the actual work we are trying to accomplish to the ways we want to communicate our ideas — and translate that understanding into useful and accessible technology. I’m kind of a tech nerd, so having the latest and greatest in terms of software is something I enjoy. That’s why I’m also looking forward to exploring features like Project Sharing and modeling with Subdivision Surfaces, and seeing how I can incorporate those into my design process and production workflows.

Topics: 3D Modeling, Community, Hardscape tool, Holcombe Norton Partners, Landmark, Landmark 2016, Landscape, Object Info Palette, Project Sharing, Site Modifier, Stephen Schrader, Subdivision Surfaces, Vectorworks 2016

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