Wish: plan/section views in Layout space (related to export DWG topic)

Basically, VA does not allow vaPlanViews or vaSectionViews to reside in the Layout space. Copy/paste from Model to Layout space does not work, and trying to invoke vaPlanView or vaSectionView throws the error “Command “VisualARQ.vaPlanView” is not valid on Layouts.”

However, today I learned there’s the interesting ‘ChangeSpace’ command in Rhino - which I assume you know.
It has the advantage over copy/pasting between model and layout that position and scale are kept.

I tried with a vaSectionView, and behold - it works - the section view appears in Layout space!
However, the vaUpdate command still throws an error message, and the scale is wrong.

Which rises the question: what is your current attitude regarding having plan and section views in Layout space?
I’m well aware about your second approach to 2D plans with the ‘Hidden’ mode in Details. You added these features more recently, and recommend it.

However, it does make perfect sense to put 2D drawings of all kinds into Layout space, and use it as a ‘normal’ 2D CAD environment, to avoid exporting to Illustrator or AutoCAD as far as possible. Rhino is not ‘there yet’, but this depends on where the developers want to take it, right?

Rhino has already almost perfect curve tools, selection engine and snapping, which surpass any dedicated 2d vector program (like Illustrator, or Affinity Designer, which I prefer).


you made a poll regarding this. Thing is, if plan/section views would be able to sit in Layout space - problem solved! You could immediately export this to DWG. (the plan would be in Layout space in AutoCAD, too, however, which is kind of unusual).

So, again - do you think you can and want to promote a full-featured Layout space 2D workflow?
Thank you!

Hi @eugen,

Why would you use 2D plan and section views in Layout space if you can show the model in real time section or plan view (with the Hidden display) and avoid adding extra 2D geometry in either Model or Layout space?
The VisualARQ development goes towards the objective to improve producing 2D drawings from the 3D model using real-time views, avoiding errors or differences between the 3D model and the 2D drawings (which is what happens when you use the VA section view and plan view commands, and you don’t update them, no matter if they were supported on page layouts or not).
The main current drawback of this workflow is the impossibility to export these real-time views to dwg, but that’s why we are working on that feature for VisualARQ 3.

Hello! Thanks for the answer!
I would not mind putting extra 2D geometry into Layout space at all. I would in Model space, because that’s not the ‘realm’ of where 2D drawings should be put.
Since it’s not possible to ‘explode’ a realtime view into a Layout, but 2D work in Layouts is a good (and underestimated) thing, I’d opt for full support of plan and sections view blocks in Layouts.

I know, and I use them of course. Thing is, in many cases I want to edit these automatically created plans and sections. To simplify it, add ‘finishing touches’, trick around in 2D… stuff that is normally done in Illustrator or wherever.
It is close to impossible, or means an awful lot of work, to rely solely on the automatic sectioning for certain graphic styles. At some point, parametrism has to be left behind (which I normally try to hold as long as possible).
In Revit, all 2D parametric view graphics can be tuned so granularly that it is hardly necessary to go Illustrator with them. Like hiding any line. This is not possible, at least not easily, in a realtime view.

I was just working on an urban section, showing the height profile of buildings. I created 2 resp. 3 section views (used jogs before but learned that all the objects are projected normal to the section line’s first segment), created section views from them, exploded them, copied them into a Layout, cleaned them up and hatched them. As I mentioned, I prefer to use Rhino’s very good editing tools for line work like this over any other 2D program. There’s a lot left to be desired, yes, but it works pretty good in many cases already.

That’s why it makes perfect sense (to me) to be able to, besides the realtime-view approach, keep the good old section and plan view oiled and working. And if so, why not be able to put them directly into a layout? If needed, the dynamic block can be exploded there and edited as needed.

I experimented a little more with ChangeSpace and your Villa Savoye scene. To the left is a realtime viewport of level 1, to the right is a vaPlanView, brought into Layout space via ChangeSpace.

Both look quite similar (which they should of course) except for the text, which seems to give problems.

Interestingly, even an update of the vaPlanView block can be triggered in Layout, by just changing any of it’s parameters (e.g. ViewDepth), but ideally, the command vaUpdate would work in Layouts, too. The error it throws looks like you block it deliberately, even it it’s more or less already working.

So, if you see the point - would it mean an extreme amount of work to support such a workflow? To me it looks like it’s pretty close already.

Thanks a lot!

1 Like

Hi Eugen,
Your arguments make totally sense. But you can also add these “finishing touches” on top of a real-time plan and section view, in the page layout. I’d like to know some examples of these little changes/tricks that you are forced to apply on 2D plan and section views and they are not achievable in real-time views, so we can study if there is a workaround for that on real-time views, and make the “parametrism” stay as long as possible.

Hello! I gladly will debate this after work. One important thing: how could you hide ANY line that is shown in the realtime view? Not whole obejcts, but whatever line gets in the way. Revit can do this. Of course, if the underlying object updates, these edits will be lost.
It’s easy to add (by drawing on top), but nearly impossible to subtract. I even used to draw white lines over the ones I wanted to hide.

Thanks for the example. Perhaps a “wipeout” tool similar to the one of AutoCAD could make that dirty work. Actually, if you add a white Solid hatch pattern carefully placed over the 2D lines you want to hide, it works!

Does that mean also changes in snapping behavior in Sections? In Plan Views with Level Cut Planes this works somewhat better than trying to snap to the edges in Sections, e.g. Section View and trying to snap to the edge of two Slabs to measure the height between them.

It works, but not amazingly well, and it’s also annoying because there are sometimes glimpses of the lines underneath in the .PDF’s. We use this macro to create Wipeout/Knockout’s :

Create a closed curve and with it selected run:

-Hatch _Enter _Pause _P Solid _enter _Enter
_-ChangeLayer "2D::Knockout" 

NOTE: This requires a layer that has a white color, we place it at 2D::Knockout, but that can be changed to whatever you prefer.

1 Like

How would you go from something like this:

to this, with only patching realtime views?

This is ‘pure Rhino’ Layout stuff. Why? Because it’s possible. It could be easier, though. That’s why I ask.

1 Like

I hope we can improve this, of course.

Good example¡ Indeed, the only way to achieve this right now is by doing some manual work on top of the Elevation or Section view. There are many custom details here to find an automatition to produce exactly the same result in realtime views, but we can study options to get closer, also in the 2D views approach.

May I please ask you again about what your plans and ambitions are regarding this topic?
Which was: are you willing to fully support putting vaPlanView and vaSectionView directly on a layout? As a useful complement to realtime detail views, that is!
I hope I have convinced you why that this makes sense, with the above example.

As mentioned, it just seems like this is a quite low hanging fruit. Plan and section views can already be swapped over to the layout space using ChangeSpace. The plan view object even has a scale parameter already.

Here’s what’s missing (from a users perspective):

  • add a scale parameter to the section view, too
  • when using ChangeSpace to move plan or section views over, this scale parameter should update accordingly, so that the section/plan views appear immediately as they were in the detail
  • support also copy/paste from model to layout space for plan and section views (besides ChangeSpace)
  • allow vaUpdate also in layouts, so no such error message: image Updating works anyway already, by changing any parameter of the plan or sectionview!

Together with a new command to directly export the content of a layout to DWG

the workflow would be more or less complete.

To take this a step further: the best solution (for the user) would be to be able to fully ‘explode’ a Detail view into 2d layout space. Which, in fact, would be pretty similar to what vaPlanView/vaSectionView already do, but without the roundtrip into model space.

I fully understand your commitment to keep Detail views live. I’m for parametric workflows as far as possible, too, but there will always be cases where this just does not suffice for certain graphic styles or abstractions. You can add more and more tools to work on top of live views (if that is really that simple), but still at some point you might want or need to go 2D. This is bread and butter in the architectural design phase.

Thanks for reading!

Hi @Eugen,

First of all, sorry for not being very participative in this post as I wanted. I have focused on VisualARQ 2, and now we’re going to focus more and more on VisualARQ 3.

Regarding placing plan and section view objects in the layout: you can count on it. As you have discovered, they work almost perfectly fine. The biggest issue is the scaling problem: those objects in layout space need to use paper units and then scale the view, so we will need to add a “Scale” property for sure. This will be implemented in VisualARQ 3.

There are many other improvements that I have plans to add, like:

  • Line removal: you can choose any visible line in the plan/section view, and it will be hidden, even after running the vaUpdate command.
  • Keep texts as texts: currently, texts that do not lie in the cut plane are converted to curves because there is no easy way to hide texts partially. Now, a fully visible text is converted to curves. I plan to detect if a text is not partially occluded and then keep it as text. And if there are some letters occluded, remove them from the text. Only the letters that are partially visible will be converted to curves.
  • Make update faster: in each version, we try to improve our algorithm, so I hope we can make it faster.
  • Make2D-like views: instead of looking at the model from the top (plan view) or a side (section), be able to use any view direction and have perspective views.
  • Unrolled sections: this is a killer feature for some users but something many people will never use. Have a non-linear section, and the view will show the section unrolled.

I hope all of them will be implemented for VisualARQ 3.0, but as usual, some may be delayed to VisualARQ 3.x or 4.




Enric, thanks! Very good news! From all you announced about VA3 until now, it could be a gamechanger.

Still, what do you think about this:

  1. Being able to convert detail views directly into a vaPlan/Section view, in the layout.
    If a detail showed a planar/plan/section view, this should be straightforward. If it’s an ortho or perspective view, it depends if you have this Make2D-like feature ready.

  2. Save a layout (and this layout only) directly to DWG.
    When running 2) there could be an option to automatically do 1) with all Details in the layout beforehand. A second option could be to duplicate the layout first, in order to keep the original details. The duplicated detail would then be the one with the details ‘made 2d’, and gets saved to DWG.

Does that make sense?

Something else would be interesting to know: any plans to ‘merge assets’ with McNeel, since they appear to be working on sectioning tools, too:


Forgot to mention something important: VA Tables should be placeable onto Layouts - especially these, since Tables are ‘graphics’, not 3d objects.
Thanks for considering!