Overview

Plumb-Bob for Vectorworks® is the porting of my successful app I am selling on the Mac App Store, see the official web page.

While Plumb-Bob for Mac is a standalone app and has more options (for example lens correction and image adjust) than the Vectorworks® version, the second inherits the same principle: knowing 4 key points on a perspective plan of a picture, it is possible to rectify that plan.
Plumb-Bob is useful in many fields, architectural survey, building renovation, furnishing design, estate agents, and it represents a real completion for the metric / photographic survey.

Prerequisites

  1. A picture not too big (2 MegaPixels are enough), where four known key points are clearly visible.
  2. The real coordinates of the 4 key points. These points have to lay on the same plan we want to survey and they have not to be on the same line (not collinear). The more distant the points are and the less will be the margin of error.

Usage

Rectify an image in Vectorworks®

  1. Insert the image to rectify
  2. Click on the icon Plumb-Bob plugin and place a PlumbBob object on the drawing
  3. Click / drag each crosshair and release it on each key point on the picture
  4. Once all 4 crosshairs are placed, fill the relative key points (x, y) fields in the OIP with the values they have in the real world.
    For example, take the corners of a 180x300cm opening, you should digit:
    [0,0], [ 0,300], [180,300], [180,0]

  5. PlumbBob OIP palette

    Tip:
    When placing the image to rectify on your drawing, consider that key points chosen on the image will end in real points of your drawing space.
    So it is advised to move the image sufficiently distant from the area that will be designed to host the resulting rectified image.

  6. Next step: select (shift click) both the picture and the PlumbBob object, click the individual edit mode button (top right in the OIP), click on the arrows (left or right) until the plugin is in the OIP again. Now click the button select and transform image.
  7. If all is ok, you should see your rectified image inserted in place, along with the four 2d locus (key points) you entered. See note below about first run of the plugin.

Note:
The first time you run the plugin to rectify a bitmap image you should be requested to download and install the Python module PIL, click ok.
PIL module download
Also you should see (only for the first time) the "insert image" dialog. This dialog is proposed to you so you can choose PNG with alpha channel. Automatic image insertion (without dialog) would have inserted the image as "opaque" JPEG.
The PNG with alpha allows to have transparency on the parts of the transformed image that are generated upon distortion.
All subsequent times you run an image transformation, the program should remember this first choice.
Bitmap import dialog

Other parameters

Offsets

Sometimes the rectified image could end not well centered in the resulting frame and parts of the picture you'd like to see may result clipped out.
You can use the offset fields to center / balance the image in the frame left-right and top-down.
This is a try and error matter, so, if you are unsatisfied of the result, delete the produced image, type offsets values and transform again to see the applied parameters. offset example

Magnify

Sometimes your result could be very small (depends on the real points you choose) and when zooming the image you may see low quality details.
To avoid this, use the magnify field. This represents a "resolution" ratio. If you type 2, resolution is doubled.
Remember that higher values (2 or more) require more time to be calculated. magnify example

Other settings

Crosshairs, vanishing and fillings are the aspect of the plugin.
You can set them on/off and you can change some of their attributes either in the plugin settings or with the attributes palette.

Actions (buttons)

Note: All available actions are showed in the video posted before.


Select & transform image…
This is the main plugin function: to rectify a perspective picture.
See usage for all the details.

Select & transform 2D objects…
This transforms lines, points, polygons that you trace on the perspective picture.
The usage is the same as the transform image:
You have to select the plugin and all the 2D object, switch the OIP (object info palette) to individual edit mode and click the arrows (previous or next) until the plugin is in front.
At this point, click the button and all your selected 2D objects will be transformed and rectified.
Note that transformed objects will replace the selected ones. If you want to maintain them, then save / duplicate them before transformation.

Reverse transform objects…
This is the same as before, but it works from the rectified plan toward the perspective plan.

Reverse transform image…
The same as before, but it works with images.
You can use this to place a shop sign on a perspective picture, for example.

Note: Image transforms (direct and reverse) do not work correctly if the image to transform is rotated in Vectorworks.
Currently there is no way to avoid this, so it is necessary import images that will be correctly oriented in Vectorworks, with no rotation needed.

Actions (menus)

Note: To have the PlumbBob menus in your interface, see installation below.

The same actions performed by buttons in the Plugin OIP can also be performed with their equivalent menus
PlumbBob actions menus
Simply select the PlumbBob object together with the object/s / image you want transform, then select the appropriate menu.

Installation

Unpacking the downloaded zip file, you'll find a folder (PlumbBob) containing these 5 elements:

  • PlumbBob.vso
  • Reverse 2D Objects.vsm
  • Reverse Image.vsm
  • Transform 2D Objects.vsm
  • Transform Image.vsm
  1. Move the “PlumbBob” folder inside your Vectorworks Plug-ins folder (user folder).
  2. Restart Vectorworks.
  3. Edit your workspace adding the tool PlumbBob plugin (you'll find it in PlumbBob category)
  4. Create a PlumbBob (or name it as you like) new menu item, then add the 4 menus you'll find under the PlumbBob category to this.
  5. Save the workspace.
In the end you'll have a PlumbBob plugin PlumbBob tool and one PlumbBob (or as you named it) menu containing 4 submenus like this:
PlumbBob actions menus

Get it!

Follow Paolo Marcuccetti's Gumroad® shop page where you can browse/buy my productions for Vectorworks®.