Visual Arq progress from both the developers and users perspectives

Hi all,

If you have a very sharp memory you may recall me nosing around these forms around two years ago. Both due to career trajectory and a lack of free time I had to put any Rhino plans on hold. Well now I’m back and looking for some input from Visual Arq users and developers. After looking at YouTube I’ve noticed that the amount of new content (such as demonstrations and tutorials) has really fallen off. I don’t see too many new projects. I think the plug-in has gone up in price but I also see you’re offering a 90 day free trail (it may have previously been only 30 days if I recall?). The Rhino/VisualARQ package together is still pretty reasonable. I also see direct support from the developers themselves on this forum which is a very strong sign; is it safe to say that Visual Arq is here to stay and will be supported for a very long time?

If your curious what my intention is, it’s simply virtual design construction. At first many might conclude that I’d be using the program for a purpose it’s not really intended for. But I like Rhino’s user interface so much so that I’m willing to dig a bit harder and find a way to make the program work for me. I really only need a few features. Key ones being efficient section cutting (not necessarily ‘live’ sections but reliable and accurate ones) and a decent IFC export feature.

If any VisualARQ users are so inclined would it be much trouble to post some of you work, success stories and struggles?

Cheers,

Keith

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Hi @keithscadservices,

I’m Enric Marques, one of the lead developers at VisualARQ.

VisualARQ is currently in active development, and we have recently hired two new developers, and we are looking to hire a couple more developers before the end of the year, but it is difficult to find qualified C++ developers with good 3D graphics experience (most of them want to create videogames and are not very interested in boring engineering applications). So to answer your question: our intention is to continue developing VisualARQ for many years to come.

It is true that our development is slower than users would like, but the user base is constantly growing, and with it, the amount of support and bugs detected is also growing.

Our top priority is bug fixes, and the second priority is the implementation of new improvements and features, always following an order based on the number of votes from users that have requested these features. Thus, what more users have requested, will be the first to be implemented in the next version of VisualARQ. There is one exception to this rule: VisualARQ for macOS, which is by far the most requested feature. Unfortunately, we do not have enough resources to port VisualARQ to the Mac platform and continue to support the Windows version, so for the moment, there are no short or long-term plans for a VisualARQ for macOS.

VisualARQ 2 is going to stop receiving updates soon, and we have already started with the next major VisualARQ update. The top 10 new features planned for VisualARQ 3 are:

  • RFC (Reflected Ceiling Plans)
  • Objects attached to levels
  • Walls from Grasshopper definitions
  • Guides and Grid Guides
  • IFC4
  • Wall-Slab joins
  • Export layouts to AutoCAD DWG
  • Section Attributes by Layer and by Material
  • Rhino 8 support
  • Many improvements related to file size, display performance, API, etc.

I hope I have solved your doubts, and if you have any other questions related to VisualARQ development, you can contact us here, or by sending an email to visualarq@asuni.com.

Thanks,

Enric

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Thanks Enric!

Will VisualARQ 3 work in Rhino 7 as well?

I see that many users are using Visual ARQ in Rhino 6. Are they just being frugal or is the Rhino6/Visual ARQ a smoother option?

Keith,
I work in an architectural office, in the design ‘department’, and use VA all the time, and since I would like to continue to do so and see it thrive, Enric’s words are very reassuring!
Although VA is not ‘there yet’ (meaning it’s not on a par with e.g. Revit), but it offers a lot of features that I would sorely miss otherwise. The section cutting features would be top on this list.

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Yes, VisualARQ 3 will work on Rhino 7 and Rhino 8. We’ll probably drop support for Rhino 6, as it will be obsolete (not getting SR updates from McNeel) when VisualARQ 3 ships.

VisualARQ 2 works as good in Rhino 5 as in Rhino 6 and Rhino 7, but the recommended platform is always the latter (Rhino 7), as it is faster and more stable, and we use Rhino 7 as our development platform and testing is mostly done also on Rhino 7.

Enric

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Keith,

For many years in other offices, I used rhino as the design model and revit as the primary BIM model. These were typically large, complex projects with lots of consultants, levels, hundreds of doors and such. I often used visualarq as a primer in the design model that was then ported over to the revit model.

In my current practice, the projects are much smaller and simpler (typically around 30ksf or less), deal with many fewer consultants (typically 1-5), and have fewer items that need scheduling. I’ve been exclusively using rhino and visualarq for these projects. It significantly faster and easier to design, model, present, and document smaller projects from a conceptual level through construction documents exclusively in rhino without having to create two models in two programs or tediously force revit do things it was never meant to do so that I can have access to features which I don’t actually need.

The major struggles are:

  • Reflected ceiling plans (which require a complex workaround that has been discussed in the forum). I’m really looking forward to this being addressed.
  • Dimensions not maintaining history
  • Lack of some overarching control between similar view types which make controlling a large number of drawings more tedious (such as the view template setup in revit). There are also workarounds to this, but it would be best if was more centrally controlled.
  • The computational drain on larger projects with lots of objects, views, and sheets.

Basically any recent project you see on my website is done in rhino & visualarq.
studioarcus.com

Hope this helps.

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Hello @arcus,

Thank you so much for your feedback. It’s good to know it is being useful to you. About your requests, I have already added your vote to the first two issues but I have some questions about the other two:

  • About the view template setup, you can save views and create custom display modes with Rhino, is this what you are looking for? Which improvements would you like to have in these features?

  • About the computational drain. Are you speaking about performance speed here? Or about a way to reduce the file size? In this last case, I am thinking about how it could work…

@alfmelbev thanks for the response!

View Template Setup:

It would be really helpful to control layer visibility, display style, and print settings across multiple drawings at once. I’d like to basically connect Plan View or Section View styles with a Snapshot or Layer State for use in live plan/section cuts. Similar to SafeLayout where the detail view is detached from the overall model, but controlled as a visualarq view style that’s applied to all the views of that type.

For instance, we may have multiple types of plans and several of each type: site plans, life safety plans, floor plans, and enlarged floor plans. But only the floor plans are necessarily showing the wall and door tags, and only the life safety plans are showing egress paths (in the US, it’s typically a thick line from a point in the building to the outside or a stair). I’d like to be able to set all this up in a template to control what’s in each drawing type without having to go into every detail view itself, and when I make a new layer, confirm that it doesn’t show up in a detail it isn’t supposed to.

Revit has something similar and very powerful called a Visibility Graphics setting, but it is also pretty convoluted and buried in a dozen different windows. To the point that people put out checklists like this one to help explain the 33 different potential reasons why objects in the model aren’t visible on the drawing.

Computational Drain:

I’m mostly talking about performance speed. Though my machine isn’t the fastest for sure, rhino models in general and visualarq models in particular (since the BIM geometry is heavier I guess) seem to start to noticeably get laggy after around 200mb. At that point it starts to become noticeably slower to move to a detail and have it pull a section cut or something similar. It isn’t a problem for small projects, but would probably be a limitation to on larger ones.

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I’d add a method of keeping multiple LOD’s to that list. The ability to have all wall layers within the model but being able to present a simple poche’d wall in the same file is really high on our list of wishes.

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Hi @arcus and @rheinason,

Thank you for all your feedback. I have just added your requests to our list. Now I understood better what you meant about View Template Setup (I agree, it could be useful and it would improve the workflow). About computational drain, we made strong improvements about it with VisualARQ 2.11 and we keep thinking about it. If you have a file which is specially laggy, please, let us know anytime.

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Not to hijack this thread for another feature wishlist, but yes!! This is THE sore spot of everything regarding layouts in Rhino! I know Revit, too, and it’s strong but convoluted visibility features - which can be a bloody nightmare!
Here’s a chance to do this right, with a good balance between usability and power, but I believe this should not and cannot be Asuni’s job alone. The ‘core’ mechanisms needs to be provided/extended by McNeel.
Display filters (of sorts) are already in place - what is shown in a viewport can be toggled in the panel Display, which exposes the Display Mode parameters - but these are not per-viewport-settings, as would be desirable.
Also, Layer settings per viewport/Detail should be ‘indestructible’, or at least recall-able with a single click. Now, it’s too easy to ruin the content of layouts by simply changing layer visibility in the model space.
Here’s the major thread regarding this topic:
https://discourse.mcneel.com/t/layout-drafting-whats-the-plan/100490

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Thanks for all the great feedback! It’s always a good sign when developers are this hands on and listen to their customers. Autodesk actually used to be the best at that and is a big reason they gained so much market share. Many of the other ‘upstart’ developers don’t do this or argue with their customers (if they even have a forum hehe).

I only have two more questions for now, neither is really of high importance but rather just to ease my curiosity: One being when you expect VisualARQ 3 to be released. And the second regarding YouTube content, and why there aren’t new videos being posted.

In my opinion it seems like the YouTube content available is good, but doesn’t really show off a lot of the updates and improvements you guys have added throughout the last four years. There also isn’t a start-to-finish tutorial (which is a lot of work I know!) yet. I would say that one big advantage Revit has/had was the amount of available tutorials. You can also find most of Revit’s ‘workarounds’ either through video tutorials or web searches. This might of course, create itself ‘naturally’ as more and more people use VisualARQ - meaning you’ll have more people creating content. A large userbase on it’s own can essentially make any program more ‘useable’. I think that’s the biggest advantage Revit has going. The best videos (by far) are made by actual users and not Autodesk employees.

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I agree with you about the point of the availability of ton of videos covering everything and the issues,
Lat year I tried to learn Archicad but no luck as I didn’t find updated content the tutorials I needed was not free so I returned back to Revit

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@keithscadservices, @huss191998 we usually post new videos whenever there are new features available. If you miss a video or an explanation on a specific one, I’d like to know. There is a video tutorial on the website (I’m sure you have seen it: Video tutorial - VisualARQ) which is meant to be used to learn VisualARQ from cover to cover. I agree the chapters 4-5 are very outdated and need refreshment, so I hope we can work on that soon.

We plan to release a WIP version this year, and hopefully the final version in one year or two.

I see there’s a model included! That’s actually what I came here to ask :wink:

I’ve finally had a chance to play around a little bit. I’m actually having to re-learn Rhino’s interface (I previously did a trail with Rhino 6 but couldn’t make full advantage of the trial due to other priorities). So it’s going to be an uphill battle.

The tutorials look quite thorough. I probably should have poked around the site a little more before my last comment. Updated tutorials would go a long way of course as I see some videos are dated as far back as 2012 (and maybe earlier!). Multiple project types would also highlight the program’s different strengths. As you gain a larger user base someone might find a use for the program that you never intended, but for which it fits very well.