Vectorworks Spotlight – Extrude a drawing in 3D

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Vectorworks Spotlight – Drawing in 3D. Beginners guide to starting out in 3D. Follows the six On Stage Lighting 2D Vectorworks Spotlight tutorials that get you started that can be found at

This tutorial is a first step into working in three dimensions and shows you how to create a 3D model in Vectorworks Spotlight from a basic 2D theatre groundplan of poly lines using Extrude. Topics include:

The difference between 2D and 3D draughting
The benefits of 3D modelling in CAD
How technical drawings are created from a 3D model
Different working views in Vectorworks
Screen Plane Vs Layer Plane
Creating a 3D object from a 2D shape using Extrude
Unified View
Creating a venue model using Extrude with a closed polyline
Boolean operation: Cutting out doorways using Subtract Surface
Setting object height in 3D space and using Vectorworks as a calculator
Creating a complex 3D object using Add Solids

** Note: Make sure you follow good 2D line housekeeping before building solids from them. It’s best if your polylines are closed properly or multiple lines are welded together to create a single line. This will ensure you model geometry is true and avoid problems later on.

Update: As noted in the Comments, this video introduces basic 3D modelling from 2D lines using Extrude, Add and Subtract Solids. The next step is to understand AEC Wall and Door objects alluded to in the video, so that you can harness their power for venue/scenic creation.


Muhammad Numan says:

why i cant see anything clear in this video

XISTIXmusic says:

That seems way too difficult, it takes me 2 seconds to make a rectangular box in sketch up

Briony Morgan says:

Hi Rob, Thanks a million for these vids! I'm always watching them to refresh my memory for my LX course. Question: Is it possible to insert Lighting Positions into 3D models, rig lanterns and attach a focus point, and then draw the beam to see where the beam will fall in the space? How can I learn to do this to troubleshoot my designs? Hope you can help!

Dave Davies says:

Well presented. Note: Theater doors would open outward.

mikeraverkiller says:

Hello, excellent video, you wanted to ask the attach file .ies which are the characteristics of a light fixture, and that spew me how many do I need for my area and as distributing them and me arroge many lux for each one.

Rachel Mifsud says:

My objects completely disappear when I click right iso etc.. they are on layer plane.. help! 🙁

OnStageLighting says:

Is the object selected at the time? There may be a difference in newer versions of VW but their video on Screen / Layer from 2012 shows the same setup in the Object Info.

Julie Fitzpatrick says:

I don't seem to have any menu to change the 'plane' in my object info panel 🙁

OnStageLighting says:

AEC wall and door objects have benefits including the automatic subtraction of openings, systematic texturing and a parameter based approach. This video is indeed about 3D concepts and the next 'stage' for the user is to understand wall and door AEC objects and use the extruded geometry from a groundplan to create a wall object. One will always need the skills to custom build from scratch using simple modelling tools alongside the automated ones. 🙂

John-Paul C says:

I guess I want to make sure people understand this is a demo on 3D concepts – this is not how Vectorworks wants you to build walls and doors – they have objects for that which makes the process much more automated.

OnStageLighting says:

Glad you found them useful. 🙂

kim neal says:

thanks a lot !! finally I found that I've been looking for as your video thank!

OnStageLighting says:

Glad you enjoyed them. 🙂

Luke Blackamore says:

Your videos are brilliant and extremely simple to follow unlike most on here! Thanks for all the help! You've made learning the basics stress free!

Lionsayshey says:

I don't have any kind of problems modeling but the fact that the object has to be extruded for it to model…

OnStageLighting says:

I haven't used VW2008 but I am not sure the whole "Layer Plane / Screen Plane" confusion was available. If you are able to model your objects OK, I wouldn't worry about it.

Lionsayshey says:

Hey guys
I don't know where to find what he says about "Screen Plane"… It isn't on my object info.
I have VectorWorks 2008 and a XP… Please help me

MrJazzmansgirl says:

i think i've tried all the other combinations possible, but shift!! thank you!

OnStageLighting says:

Hold down Shift and click on the objects. 🙂

MrJazzmansgirl says:

how do you select multiple objects, without drawing a rectangle around them with the mouse arrow?

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