Vectorworks is an American company that offers industry-leading CAD product that aids designers in their drawings. Designing industry-specific products Vectorworks offers Spotlight, a CAD solution dedicated to the entertainment industry with the intent to be the ultimate cross-platform CAD solution to lighting, scenic, event, tv, film, rigging or exhibit designers.

Robert Grobler, a lighting designer for Gearhouse Group South Africa and one of South Africa’s most respected, is a Spotlight enthusiast who has used the programme to design some of the country’s biggest shows. One of the recent concepts that Robert designed was the Castle Lite Unlocks Post Malone concert held at the TicketPro Dome Johannesburg on the 18th of June.

An event with international acts comes with its own pre-requisites, and between the expectation of the audience and the client, Robert Grobler had to ensure the planning and execution of concept would be world-class. Glenn 21, the events consultation company that organised this event, came to Gearhouse with an idea and Robert was tasked with taking this idea and making it happen.

Robert has used Spotlight for all his drawings 2009, and his experience drawing in Vectorworks offered up a sketch for Castle Lite that was massively detailed. The 50-sheet project gave the show a concept that was both original and well planned out. “Every new project is a new adventure, every show I design starts from scratch so I can bring something new and creative to each event,” says Robert of his process.

The drawing for Castle Lite Unlocks Post Malone is used not only as a reference for the concept but it also provides a detailed report because of the logistical tools that Spotlight offers. The product provides a detailed report of everything needed for the event based on the drawing, saving a huge amount of time. “The drawings can be as detailed as you want them to be and the value of having an automated report of what you need for each event is hugely beneficial,” says Dylan Jones, a sales representative and the product manager of Vectorworks at DWR Distribution. Robert Grobler’s drawings show the capabilities of Spotlight and are detailed down to “the number of L-Acoustics bass plates” used at the event.

Robert uses one of the most valuable features that Vectorworks has, hidden line rendering. Hidden Line rendering is a process that allows you to draw wireframe objects with the hidden lines removed, “this clarifies the visuals of the drawing whilst making it more efficient in conveying information,” says Robert. Vectorworks hidden line rendering function calculates “everything line by line, face by face and tests the distance between the camera and the actual lines,” according to the Vectorworks community forum. Another layer of depth that Vectorworks offers and Robert makes use of is a class colour designation, where different sections are marked and drawn with different colours to clarify the planning. AV, audio, lighting and rigging are all clearly marked with quantities to ensure maximum efficiency when build-up starts.

Vectorworks is wholly end-user orientated, and the custom symbol library is something Robert genuinely likes and uses. “The custom symbol library is really useful; it saves me loads of time,” he says. His huge library was a built-up by himself and Thomas Peters, the technical project manager at Formative and another highly respected Vectorworks user in South Africa. Another appeal that Vectorworks has is a good support structure that Robert makes use of to better his skills, between the training workshops held by DWR Distribution and the Vectorworks community forums there is always an answer and room to learn.  Dylan Jones says, “With the support and training offered it is relatively easily can get a firm grasp on the basics of Vectorworks”.

With Vectorworks’ integrated workflow, cross-platform abilities and valuable time-saving options like having the gear quantities worked out for you, the Spotlight package is a leading product in its field with many designers like Robert Grobler singing its praises. Robert closes off with saying “Vectorworks is invaluable to me”.