Monday, August 24, 2009

Vectorworks, Spotlight, & The Light Plot Deconstructed

When asked to help Vectorworks review the book, the Light Plot Deconstructed, from a students point of view, I jumped at the opportunity, and after receiving the book on monday I wrote this review.

Lighting designer, Gregg Hillmar has written a book that not only shows the person reading how to use vectorworks in the lighting field but he also breaks down what a lighting plot is. This way of teaching lends to the title of the book "Light Plot Deconstructed".

When first opening the book and reading the introduction Hilmar states that this book is not a manual and it is not the only way to do a lighting plot, and that this is his point of view of a method that he has honed and works for him. This gives the reader the freedom to read the book and adopt ways of working that feel more natural to them. Just how any college professor would teach a class.

As I delve in deeper to the book I notice that almost after every section of reading there is an explanation as to why he does thing this way, and the his history behind them. For example in the chapter on Classes he talk about how line weight is used  and what he was taught in his days of hand drafting. These insights into why line weight was used in this way further helps the reader to understand it's significance in vectorworks.

Light Plot Deconstructed from a student readers point of view is a wonderful non manual, "manual'. It gives all the information needed to start using Vectorworks and the Spotlight workflow without all of the rigid "follow my instruction thusly" overtone. The books spiral binding instead of the usual standard stitch binding is a much welcomed feature of the book. Although it is not the most important one, every students has had the experience of a book that wants to close itself or turn the page for you as soon as you turn your head from it. And during a late night drafting session that can be one of the most annoying things that can happen to you. The books small size is another plus because it can be thrown into a backpack or a laptop bag and not take up as much space as a conventional text book would. So for me this book is a good companion in my studies of lighting design and using vectorworks. It is a light book easy to read and even has some quick and easy ways to do things in Vectorworks 2009 that are fun to know.

To order the book you can go to the Vectorworks Training Website, the book is $40.
Or you can go to the books site at
You can also reach the author, Gregg Hillmar at his website

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