John McKernon     

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Vectorworks 2021 is out the door, and there were some problems in the initial release. Fortunately, Vectorworks has raced to fix them in Service Pack 1. I don't know when SP1 will be ready, but I strongly recommend waiting for SP3 instead of using the initial release.

There are two regressions from previous years:

Multi-Channel lighting device data that applies to the entire unit is fixed and cannot be edited or shared with Lightwright.

This means that if you have someting like a Source Four with an automated iris attached to it, when you link the plot to Data Exchange, the iris will have its own worksheet row (as it should), but anything you type info the Purpose field in Lightwright will be ignored by Vectorworks. The OIP doesn't even have a Position field for accessories.

Hopefully Vectorworks will fix this regression in an upcoming service pack.

Some other important things to know

The accessory insertion and editing workflow has changed

When adding an accesory to a light, the accessory is always placed at the front of the light.

To edit accessory data, select the parent light and then click either the Edit Accessories button in the Object Info Palette or choose the accessory you want to edit from the Edit Accessory popup menu in the Object Info Palette.

You can then move the accessory into any place on the light, change the field data attached to the light, rotate it, etc.

Accessory editing can change the drawing view without highlighting the selected light

When you edit accessories, the view changes to what looks like symbol edit mode, where everything is greyed except for the symbol you're editing.

Also, if there is an accessory attached to a lighting device, the view scrolls all the way in so that the accessory fills the view. This makes it easy to delete the accessory, but if the intent is to move or rotate it, you may need to zoom back out before making the change.

Adding universes in Spotlight is easy, but it can take a long time

If you need more universes than are standard in Vectorworks, you click the Add button multiple times until you get to the quantity you want. When you click the OK button, Vectorworks will appear to freeze, but it is actually working. Adding 300 universes on my MacBook Pro took 7 minutes.

Vectorworks may not include inventory in the .xml file

The "include inventory" checkbox in the Spotlight Document Settings/Data Exchange window may not put the data into the .xml file. This problem is under investigation, it may be problems on both the Vectorworks and Lightwright sides.

Accessories attached to a light can't have their own Purpose, they always have the Purpose of the light they're attached to.

For instance, you have a light with multiple circuits (such as a striplight). If it is a multi-circuit lighting device, then each circuit cannot have its own purpose. Example: A 4-color striplight can only have a single purpose ("Cyc Fronts" maybe?), and that purpose cannot be shared with Lightwright. Because purpose applies to the entire light, each circuit cannot have its own purpose. So no "Cyc  Blue", "Cyc Red", and "Cyc Green" entries. This also applies to LED devices that have multiple channels.