AR-works is a Vectorworks plug-in that allows users to export fully interactive Augmented Reality (AR) models from their Vectorworks drawings. These models can then be viewed and explored by you or your client in a completely unique way, using the free AR-works Viewer. The whole experience permits you to communicate your design intent with greater clarity and understanding.
Once exported, Vectorworks layers and classes are preserved allowing users to show or hide parts of the model, or to expose alternative design solutions. The AR-works Viewer also has sectioning controls for the X, Y and Z axes, so you can interactively cut sections in one, two or three planes. Textures are exported in OpenGL quality and can be hidden if desired to get a white card look.
As well as allowing models to be viewed and manipulated on-screen, the AR-works Viewer in conjunction with a webcam also provides the option for an interactive and engaging 3D experience with a simple flat board that you hold in your hands.
Installing the Viewer and Plug-in
After downloading the appropriate AR-works Launcher and Viewer using the links to the right, run the installer to have it installed on your computer. If Vectorworks is present on the machine, you will also have the option of installing the export plug-in for Vectorworks 2010, 2011 or 2012.
If you do install the Vectorworks plug-in, you will then need to use the Vectorworks Workspace Editor to add it to your favourite workspace. We recommend you put it in the File menu/Export sub-menu.
To use the Export AR-works command, you will need to purchase a license key. Once you have this, you will be prompted to enter it the first time you use the command. License keys only cost US$59.95 and can be purchased using the Purchase link to the right. Once the license key is entered, models can be exported in .arw format, which can then be loaded into the AR-works viewer.
The AR-works Viewer is free and does not require any registration or license key to run.
Using the Plug-in
Within Vectorworks, select the parts of the model that you wish to export. With nothing selected, the whole model will be exported. Now go to the File menu/Export/Export to AR-works (3D only)..' and follow the prompts. Specify the filename and location that you wish to save to and you're done.
Using the AR-works Viewer
The viewer displays .arw models exported using the AR-works plugin from Vectorworks. A webcam and 'Marker' (printed graphic) can optionally be used to explore the model if desired.
To launch the AR-works Viewer, go to the Applications folder on a Mac, or the Program Files folder on a Windows machine and double click the program file called AR-works Viewer. Once the viewer is open, you can browse for .arw files to add to the list, then choose a file from the list and click the Launch button to view.
The Launcher also gives you the option to set basic preferences like viewer size (resolution) and camera properties, though the defaults should be OK. If you have a websam and wish to use a board to manipulate the model, print the A4 marker sheet from the 'Marker' tab in the Launcher.
We trust you will get some fun from using this plug-in, but also put it to good use as a design and communication tool.