Overview

With this plugin you can freely distort1 2D objects such as points, lines, rects, rounded rects, ellipses, arcs, polygons and polylines, even if grouped.

You can, for example, convert a text logo into polylines (with the known Vectorworks® command) then apply a distortion to it to see as could it appear in perspective.

(1) Note:
A "distortion" is meant, technically speaking, a homography, that is a transformation between two planes.


Prerequisites

Not all objects of your drawing can be distorted with this plugin.
Currently the eligible types are:

  1. Points
  2. Lines
  3. Rects
  4. Rounded rects
  5. Arcs / circles
  6. Ellipses
  7. Polygons
  8. Polylines2 (also with holes)
  9. Groups (members belonging to the types above)

Of course you can convert more complex objects (symbols, PIOs, etc.) to eligible types then produce the distortion.

(2) Note:
A special algorithm converts (when needed) curves into beziers allowing a more precise distortion and maintaining, at the same time, the smoothness of the shapes.
Of course, elements distorted will alter the initial type (a circle becomes a polyline, for example), so it's up to you to duplicate the objects and preserve a copy of their initial state before to proceed.

Note: You cannot distort bitmap images with this plugin, but you can do it with the PlumbBob plugin

Usage

Select the iconDistortion 3D plugin (see installation notes) and place the object on the drawing.

Distortion 3D plugin object

By default the placed object is a square 100x100cm but you can change it in advance, changing some parameters in the options panel (in the Vectorworks® tool bar)

plugin options

Be careful: if you edit the P1…P4 and key Point 1…key Point 4, be careful to perfectly couple P(1…4) with key Point (1…4) x and y values respectively.
Points and key points (1 to 4) must be initially equals (respectively), since the transformation is calculated by their difference once you move one of the coloured handles!

You can change also the plugin appearance in the OIP panel…
Just set on the Plugin attributes check box to get the other settings visible.

Distortion 3D settings panel
  • Plugin attributes: shows / hides the other attribute settings
  • Handles: shows / hides the handles
  • Handle Ø: sets the handles diameter
  • Handle stroke: sets the handles line stroke. Colours are red green, blue and orange with a 50% transparency and cannot be changed
  • Vanishing lines: shows / hides the dashed vanishing lines. You can set the line's stroke weight and color with the Vectorworks® attributes palette. You cannot change their default dash
  • Filling: shows / hides the semi-transparent filling. You can set the filling color with the Vectorworks® attributes palette. You cannot change its default transparency

The Reset button returns the plugin object to its initial 100x100cm square form

Once the Distort 3D object is placed on your drawing you can move to its starting place.
Usually it should bound the objects to transform, so you may prepare in advance a rectangle that contains the objects to distort then (important!) with all the objects deselected, drag each plugin handle to its initial place.

When ready, drag a selection box including the plugin and the objects to distort, then start dragging one handle at a time. The result is immediate!

If you want to exactly wrap the objects to a given shape (from an initial square / rectangle), just draw the final shape or place its 4 vertex locuses then move / snap the handles there, see the movies below…

in action

Installation

Unpack the appropriate downloaded zip file (2020 or 2021 version)
You will get a single element:

  • Distortion 3D.vso
  1. Move the “Distortion 3D.vso” file inside your Vectorworks Plug-ins folder (app or user folder).
  2. Restart Vectorworks.
  3. Edit your workspace adding the iconDistortion 3D tool (you'll find it in PlumbBob category)
  4. Usually you'll add it in the Standard palette.
  5. Save the workspace.
In the end you should get a new tool iconDistortion 3D where you decided to place it.

Here the official instructions (from help.vectorworks.net) for editing the workspaces:

And here instructions for modifying tool palettes:

Get it!

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