Vectorworks Spotlight FAQ

Who uses Vectorworks Spotlight?

Just about every lighting designer out there uses it. Vectorworks® Spotlight is the gold standard for CAD software in the entertainment industry, which includes lighting design, set design, exhibition design, event planning, and audio/visual design.

Is Vectorworks Spotlight a full CAD software?

You bet. With Vectorworks Spotlight you have all of the power of modern CAD software, plus tools made specifically for the entertainment industry. Therefore, you’re not limited to light plots or scenic construction plans; you can design anything you need.

Can I design a 3D model in Vectorworks Spotlight?

Yes. Our 3D modeling is based on the leading Parasolid technology to provide best-in-class modeling. You’ll see many 3D objects such as lights, trusses, curtains, furniture, walls, and stairs. Additionally, Vectorworks Spotlight offers a set of sophisticated tools that facilitate true, free-form modeling.

Can I draw light plots directly in Vectorworks Spotlight?

Yes. In Vectorworks Spotlight you can draw the light plots directly. The program shows different layers, so different parts of the drawing can be arranged for light plots, scenic designs, sketches, elevations, details, sections, and schedules.

Can I create renderings, videos, and path animations with Vectorworks Spotlight?

Yes. With Vectorworks Spotlight you have the ability to create videos of path and solar animations. With the Renderworks add-on, you’ll have the ability to create high-quality photorealistic and nonphotorealistic rendered models that you can use to produce stunning images and animations.

Can I make event room layouts?

Yes. Vectorworks Spotlight offers a robust suite that creates event room layouts. This tool offers you the flexibility to create and customize the room, stage, steps, lectern, video screen, and seating. It works well for all types and configurations of event rooms.

What graphics options does Vectorworks Spotlight offer?

Vectorworks Spotlight offers you the freedom to design your way, and we’re known for our graphics capabilities—we have tons of options: colored fills, gradients, 2D tiles, hatches, unlimited colors, variable line weights, and many other tools to help you realize your exact vision.

How quickly can I learn Vectorworks Spotlight?

Vectorworks Spotlight is known for its intuitive user interface and workflow. Getting you up and running quickly is our goal. Typically, after a two-day training course you’ll understand the basics of Vectorworks Spotlight and you’ll be able to start designing. We also have a number of self-training options available, so you can learn at your own pace. We offer tutorials with illustrated, step-by-step instructions and sample designs. See our Training page for a list of tutorials. Yes. Students around the world use Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks, which combines all the functionality of Vectorworks Landmark, Architect, and Spotlight into a single application. 

10. Which schools are using Vectorworks Spotlight?

Many institutions of higher education and other schools throughout the world have already discovered Vectorworks Spotlight. To effectively prepare your students for a successful career in lighting, scenic, event, or exhibit design please contact AxonWare for pricing..

11. After the original purchase of Vectorworks Spotlight, are there further costs?

You are not obligated to upgrade at any time. If you choose to upgrade, you may do so for only a fraction of the original cost of a new license. Nemetschek Vectorworks offers a variety of services (many of them free) to help users succeed with Vectorworks products. Take advantage of free options like service pack updates, Getting Started Guides, technical support, the knowledgebase, the eDispatch online newsletter, the Community Board, and tech tips. Or, for more personalized training, you can purchase workbooks, training CDs, online training options, Vectorworks Service Select, and group or individual training courses.

12. What types of files can I import or export from within Vectorworks Spotlight?

Vectorworks handles a large variety of import and export formats. You can import or export your plan in DXF/DWG format, which will allow you to seamlessly and accurately send files back and forth between Vectorworks and the application being used by your colleague. You can create PDFs, DWFs, JPGs, TIFs, EPS, PICTs and MOVs of your designs for your clients to see. Many other formats (Parasolid X_T, SAT, IGS, 3DS, STL, SKP, C4D, and 3DM) allow you to exchange data freely with almost every application. With Renderworks, you can even export FBX and COLLADA models for use in other standalone modeling and rendering applications.

13. Can I install my licensed software on either a Macintosh or a PC?

Yes. Your license is cross platform so you can choose to install your software on either a Macintosh or PC. Please refer to the end user license agreement (EULA) for further details on additional restrictions or limitations of different licenses and protection methods.

14. Are object libraries included in the purchase price?

Yes. There are no extra charges for the extra objects you’ll get—symbols for single source lighting, LED lighting, moving light instruments from manufacturer catalogs, audio speakers, human figures, furnishings, designer furniture, Gobos, light accessories, details, and scenic elements. We update all libraries constantly, and this content is completely customizable—you can even add your own object libraries.

15. Can I pre-visualize my show with Vectorworks Spotlight?

Yes. You can draw your show in Vectorworks Spotlight and then transfer it to our partner product, ESP Vision, for pre-visualization to see how your lights will work in the context of the environment. And when you’re done, you can save your pre-cued show and load it to your console to run the event.

16. Who can get the free Vectorworks Viewer?

You, your colleagues, your clients—anyone who wants to open, view, or print Vectorworks documents can get the free Viewer. The Viewer helps the plot service or printer who needs to work with Vectorworks files. Owners and clients can use the Viewer to see the documents without the need for a full version of Vectorworks. The files cannot be changed; only revision control tools are available. With the Viewer, you can open drawings from all Vectorworks products. Download it from VectorWorks.net

17. What are the system recommendations for Vectorworks Spotlight 2013?

Windows: 4GB RAM, Pentium 2 GHz or better processor, Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Windows 7 Macintosh: 4GB RAM, Intel Core 2 GHz or better processor, Mac OS X 10.6 or higher For the most current and update information, please visit our Knowledge base.

 
Lighting Device Improvements
   
The lighting device object has been completely re-engineered to offer you great new capabilities and speed for new reset and regeneration times that are 10 times faster than in the 2012 version. Plus can now fully customize the lighting device parameter display with a new dialog box that allows you to add custom fields and re-order and re-name existing parameters. You can also add unlimited label legend labels to lighting devices.
 
New Speaker Objects
   
New speaker and speaker array objects, originally from Landru Design, let you effortlessly create speaker system layout drawings and perform basic audio coverage analyses.
 
Lighting Device Colors
   
You can now automatically assign colors to your lighting devices though preferences or by class. You can also assign parts of the lighting device to different classes, giving you complete control over the look of your light plot.
 
Lighting Device Parameters
   
You can now automatically assign colors to your lighting devices though preferences or by class. You can also assign parts of the lighting device to different classes, giving you complete control over the look of your light plot.

VectorWorks System requirements / recommendations - AxonWare

System recommendations

Vectorworks 2014

The following are real-world system recommendations for running Vectorworks 2014. In some demanding cases, we would suggest a more capable machine than is described by these recommendations. Likewise, there are some less demanding situations where Vectorworks will perform well on older hardware.
 

General Recommendations

Macintosh

Windows

Operating System

Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later

Windows XP SP 3
Windows Vista SP 2
Windows 7 SP 1
Windows 8

Other Software

QuickTime

QuickTime 7.7.0 to 7.7.3

(higher versions not recommended)

Processor

Intel Core 2GHz or better

Pentium 2GHz or better

Other Hardware

DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

Screen Resolution

1024 x 768 minimum, 1280 x 800 recommended

RAM*

2GB minimum,

4GB highly recommended,

8GB recommended for large files and complex renderings.

* See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.

Additional Details

Video Cards

IMPORTANT - Vectorworks 2014 added improvements which placed higher demands on graphic hardware. The performance and quality of the graphics provided by the new Vectorworks Graphics Module depend directly on the speed, memory, and supported extensions of the graphics card. These new features have the potential to provide a very fast and fluid experience if used on capable hardware, or a noticeably slower experience if used on older or incompatible hardware. Starting with Vectorworks 2014 graphic cards should support at a minimum OpenGL version 2.1; cards not meeting this recommendation will have limited functionality and poor performance when rendering in OpenGL mode. In general, the more powerful your video card is, the better your Vectorworks experience will be.

The amount of Video RAM (VRAM) required to drive Vectorworks adequately depends largely on the size of the display being used and the complexity of the Vectorworks document.¬†Medium-sized displays with a native resolution of 1600x1200 or less should be driven by a graphics card with at least 256MB of VRAM.¬† Larger displays, such as displays that are 30” or larger, should use a modern graphics card with at least 512MB of VRAM, with 1GB or more recommended.

Vectorworks 2014 introduced significant OpenGL improvements that drastically improved the rendering of shadows and edges. These improvements are VRAM-intensive and require at least 512MB, with 1GB of VRAM being preferable. If you want to take full advantage of improved OpenGL shadows and edges, especially in situations where you have any combination of the following:
- many lights
- point lights
- image textures
- anti-aliasing
- high shadow quality
and if you have a video card with less than 512MB of VRAM, you should consider upgrading your video card.

We strongly recommend that all users check that their video drivers are current. The majority of display problems reported to our Technical Support department have been traced to older video drivers.

For the latest information on our video card recommendations for Vectorworks 2014, see the following Knowledgebase article:http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/714, or go to theVectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "OpenGL".

Remote and Virtual Machines

We do not consider remote login environments such as Remote Desktop, Terminal Services and VNC or virtual machine environments such as Parallels and VMware to be appropriate for regular work, so Vectorworks performance in these situations is not of primary concern to us. They may be appropriate for administrative testing or utility purposes, and Vectorworks is fully functional in these environments. You should not expect high performance in these environments, however, especially with interactive screen feedback.

We do support Vectorworks running under Bootcamp on Intel Macs. As long as you have appropriate and current drivers for the hardware on your machine, you can expect fast and reliable Vectorworks behavior.

Maintenance Releases

Unless there is a known problem with a maintenance release of the operating system, we recommend the latest maintenance release at the time we ship a new release of Vectorworks as a minimum because that is what we test with. If you have problems with an earlier maintenance release, we will often ask you to update as an initial troubleshooting step.

On Windows we recommend against updating QuickTime, primarily because many Windows users are not aware that Vectorworks depends on QuickTime and can possibly change behavior when QuickTime is updated. We have never had problems, however, which were traced back to bugs in newer releases of QuickTime, so updating QuickTime on Windows is not a risky choice.

64 Bit Windows

While Vectorworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we generally recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Vectorworks 2014.

While Renderworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we strongly recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Renderworks 2014, as it will take full use of 64 bit addressing.

Optimizing Performance

RAM requirements are usually driven by performance considerations. Large files and especially complex rendering modes consume large amounts of memory. On the Mac the operating system will take advantage of nearly all of the RAM that you have up to 4GB. On Windows the operating system will by default only take advantage of 2GB of RAM, but can be coerced into using up to 3GB. See the following Vectorworks Knowledgebase article for information on how to use up to 3GB of RAM on Windows: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/663, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "3GB".

For users who have 64 bit machines and work with large files and complex renderings, we recommend installing 8GB of RAM to give the rest of your system more RAM breathing space when Vectorworks is approaching the maximum. When RAM runs out, Vectorworks usually continues to function, but is slowed significantly by the need to access the hard drive to provide virtual memory. Extreme lack of RAM may cause operations to generate errors in cases where given sufficient RAM they would otherwise succeed. Faster hard drives can have an unexpectedly large impact on system performance especially when virtual memory is actively being used.

Faster or slower processor clock speeds have a predictable impact on Vectorworks performance. Hard drive size requirements are driven by the total size of Designer with Renderworks including all content files. You can reduce this size by opting to not install some Vectorworks content files.

More Information

For the latest support information on Vectorworks 2014, go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "2014".


Vectorworks 2013

The following are real-world system recommendations for running Vectorworks 2013. In some demanding cases, we would suggest a more capable machine than is described by these recommendations. Likewise, there are some less demanding situations where Vectorworks will perform well on older hardware.

General Recommendations

Macintosh

Windows

Operating System

Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later

Windows XP SP 3
Windows Vista SP 2
Windows 7 SP 1
Windows 8

Other Software

QuickTime

QuickTime 7.7.0 to 7.7.2

(higher versions not recommended)

Processor

Intel Core 2GHz or better

Pentium 2GHz or better

Other Hardware

DVD-ROM drive (dual layer)

Screen Resolution

1024 x 768 minimum, 1280 x 800 recommended

RAM*

1GB minimum,

4GB highly recommended,

8GB recommended for large files and complex renderings.

* See the discussion in the Optimizing Performance section below.

Additional Details

Video Cards

IMPORTANT - Vectorworks 2012 and Vectorworks 2013 contained improvements that placed significantly higher demand on the graphics hardware. The performance and quality of the graphics provided by Accelerated Navigation and Improved OpenGL Shadows depend directly on the speed and memory of the graphics card. These new features have the potential to provide a very fast and fluid experience when used on capable hardware, and a noticeably slower experience when used on older or incompatible hardware. In general, the more powerful your video card is, the better your Vectorworks experience will be.

The amount of Video RAM (VRAM) required to drive Vectorworks adequately depends largely on the size of the display being used and the complexity of the Vectorworks document. Medium-sized displays with a native resolution of 1600x1200 or less should be driven by a graphics card with at least 256MB of VRAM. Larger displays, such as displays that are 30” or larger, should use a modern graphics card with at least 512MB of VRAM, with 1GB or more recommended.

If you use OpenGL rendering, Vectorworks 2012 contains significant OpenGL improvements that drastically improve the rendering of shadows. These improvements are VRAM-intensive, however, and require at least 512MB, with 1GB or VRAM being preferable. If you want to take full advantage of improved OpenGL shadows in Vectorworks 2012 and Vectorworks 2013, especially in situations where you have any combination of the following:
- many lights
- point lights
- image textures
- anti-aliasing
- high shadow quality
and if you have a video card with less than 512MB of VRAM, you should consider upgrading your video card.

We strongly recommend that all users check that their video drivers are current. The majority of display problems reported to our Technical Support department have been traced to older video drivers.

For the latest information on our video card recommendations for Vectorworks 2013, see the following Knowledgebase article:http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/714, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "OpenGL".

Remote and Virtual Machines

We do not consider remote login environments such as Remote Desktop, Terminal Services and VNC or virtual machine environments such as Parallels and VMware to be appropriate for regular work, so Vectorworks performance in these situations is not of primary concern to us. They may be appropriate for administrative testing or utility purposes, and Vectorworks is fully functional in these environments. You should not expect high performance in these environments, however, especially with interactive screen feedback.

We do support Vectorworks running under Bootcamp on Intel Macs. As long as you have appropriate and current drivers for the hardware on your machine, you can expect fast and reliable Vectorworks behavior.

Maintenance Releases

Unless there is a known problem with a maintenance release of the operating system, we recommend the latest maintenance release at the time we ship a new release of Vectorworks as a minimum because that is what we test with. If you have problems with an earlier maintenance release, we will often ask you to update as an initial troubleshooting step.

On Windows we recommend against updating QuickTime, primarily because many Windows users are not aware that Vectorworks depends on QuickTime and can possibly change behavior when QuickTime is updated. We have never had problems, however, which were traced back to bugs in newer releases of QuickTime, so updating QuickTime on Windows is not a risky choice.

64 Bit Windows

While Vectorworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we generally recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Vectorworks 2013.

While Renderworks is fully supported in both 32 bit and 64 bit Windows environments, we strongly recommend using a 64 bit Windows operating system for Renderworks 2013, as it will take full use of 64 bit addressing.

Optimizing Performance

RAM requirements are usually driven by performance considerations. Large files and especially complex rendering modes consume large amounts of memory. On the Mac the operating system will take advantage of nearly all of the RAM that you have up to 4GB. On Windows the operating system will by default only take advantage of 2GB of RAM, but can be coerced into using up to 3GB. See the following Vectorworks Knowledgebase article for information on how to use up to 3GB of RAM on Windows: http://kbase.vectorworks.net/questions/663, or go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "3GB".

For users who have 64 bit machines and work with large files and complex renderings, we recommend installing 8GB of RAM to give the rest of your system more RAM breathing space when Vectorworks is approaching the maximum. When RAM runs out, Vectorworks usually continues to function, but is slowed significantly by the need to access the hard drive to provide virtual memory. Extreme lack of RAM may cause operations to generate errors in cases where given sufficient RAM they would otherwise succeed. Faster hard drives can have an unexpectedly large impact on system performance especially when virtual memory is actively being used.

Faster or slower processor clock speeds have a predictable impact on Vectorworks performance. Hard drive size requirements are driven by the total size of Designer with Renderworks including all content files. You can reduce this size by opting to not install some Vectorworks content files.

More Information

For the latest support information on Vectorworks go to the Vectorworks Knowledgebase and search for "2013". These can change so always check the VectorWorks knowledge base for latest updates.


 


VectorWorks Pricing

VectorWorks Designer
VectorWorks Spotlight
VectorWorks Architect
VectorWorks Basic Fundamentals

VectorWorks FAQs

VectorWorks Spotlight
VectorWorks Architect
VectorWorks Landmark
VectorWorks Comparison

Other CAD Software

Autocad
ProgeCAD
VectorWorks
[an error occurred while processing this directive]