There is a lot to be excited about with the latest release of Vectorworks Cloud Services. These services feature a new “reality capture” feature set, called Photos to 3D Model. Also included is the company’s virtual reality (VR) feature web view VR. Both of these new features, as well as the addition of Bluebeam integration, are available in the latest update to Vectorworks Cloud Services in addition to Service Pack 3 (SP3) of Vectorworks 2018.

Vectorworks Cloud Services is available to anyone who signs up for a free account. Users can share and store files via the included 2 GB of cloud storage, which can upgraded to 20 GB of storage by enrolling in Vectorworks Service Select. Vectorworks Cloud Services can connect directly to Dropbox to further aid file access and sharing.

Reality capture has become an integral part of building information modeling (BIM). Capturing site data to help design a construction project or gathering as-built data to confirm that what has been built matches the build plans are just two examples of how reality capture can be used to bring that information into your CAD data. The process is not quite as easy as the creators of the buzz phrase “scan to CAD” would have you believe, though. The new Photos to 3D Model features contained in Vectorworks Cloud Services are helping to simplify this process by enabling users to generate 3D models in Vectorworks by simply taking snapshots of buildings or other objects with a smartphone or tablet running the Vectorworks Nomad app. This is no longer a time-consuming process of running a tape measure or snapping dimensions with a laser distance measuring tool, or the expensive process of using laser scanners. Users can just upload the photos they took using the Nomad app and the Vectorworks Cloud Services to process their photos into 3D models.

Virtual reality (VR) has been evolving for quite some time now, but the technology has only recently started to be used more widely in BIM applications. Vectorworks’ most recent update to its web view VR helps users communicate their designs even more effectively than before. In this new release, users have the ability to toggle shadows off and on, as well as the capability to control shadow direction in the web view. Being able to interactively section or isolate parts of a model gives users additional flexibility when communicating their designs. The new web view feature supports HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Google Daydream.

Vectorworks’ new integration with Bluebeam Studio makes it the first BIM software company to connect its cloud services via the Bluebeam Studio API. This integration allows project team members to host real-time, online markups and review sessions to more effectively communicate project details via PDF drawings and models. Bluebeam Revu allows team members to compare, mark up and collaborate in real time. Marked-up PDFs can then be saved back to Vectorworks Cloud Services for easy storage and file management.

All of these new features in Vectorworks Cloud Services help to save time by freeing up the processing power of your own computer and utilizing the cloud for resource-heavy workflows. This shifts the calculations needed to generate things such as sections, elevations and renderings. Changes you make to Vectorworks files on your desktop are automatically synced to your private cloud library, allowing you to browse and share your latest designs from any web-enabled device.