Jonathan Pickup – Vectorworks
Jonathan Pickup says the best advice he’s ever had was Megabits’ David Best telling him he should write training manuals for Vectorworks.
“It was also the hardest to take,” the Vectorworks’ trainer and professional architect adds with a smile.
For two years – after putting in a full day at an architects’ practice in Hawke’s Bay – Jonathan worked four hours every night writing a training manual for the Vectorworks9 version. Soon after, he started work on a manual for Vectorworks 10.
“I got too busy writing manuals to do architecture,” he says. “One of them had to go.”
While he misses the dynamics of design, Jonathan appreciates he has a talent for writing easy-to-follow tutorial manuals for architects, landscape architects, designers, educators and students.
Every year he updates his Vectorworks Essentials, Vectorworks Architect, 3D Modelling in Vectorworks and Vectorworks Landmark manuals. He is also the author of Vector-workout – a downloadable movie which he describes as “a visual teaching revolution”.
“It’s amazing when you think these guides are being turned out of Napier and are used worldwide.”
Graduating Bachelor of Architecture from Auckland University, Jonathan gained his registration before heading to the UK for eight years. There he learnt to use several CAD packages, including MiniCAD, and began teaching this forerunner of Vectorworks.
On his return to New Zealand in 1997, he established archoncad, a Vectorworks training and consulting company. He also organises the Vectorworks User Group, writing a monthly online task-based manual for international subscribers.
Jonathan says that while some Vectorworks users benefit from face-to-face sessions, most find online training very effective. Working online allows him to respond promptly to queries New Zealand-wide and saves on the financial and environmental cost of travel time. He is able to capture a training session as a movie file and send it to the client who can then download it.
“They can see my screen and what I do, and can play the movie it back and forth. It works brilliantly as a complete record of everything covered in the session.”
Jonathan’s advice for learning Vectorworks is to keep using it. “If you’re not working on a project,” he says, “work through the training exercises every day.”
Brendan Balemi – Vectorworks Architect, InteriorCAD, Vectorwop, Quantun
Valuing flexibility in a fast-changing world, Brendan Balemi applies that vision to his role as a Vectorworks trainer.
Brendan’s career path has been shaped by his practical bent and an adaptable response to life’s challenges.
After completing a building apprenticeship in Hamilton in the 1980s, he moved into joinery. For a decade, he worked in a trade he still loves but had to leave when manufacturing solid timber kitchens and the like triggered occupational asthma.
So, in the late 1990s, he turned his skills to operating CNC machines. For six years, he working with automated programs that have revolutionised machining processes, and it was during this time that he developed his fondness for CAD. Looking around at software, he chose Vectorworks 3D for its rendering and affordability. As he puts it, “it gave the biggest bang for the bucks”.
Working with Vectorworks since 2000 helped Brendan pick up the program language. “I’ve learned a lot in the industry and I’m not scared to learn and teach myself,” he says. He also benefitted greatly from fellow trainer Jonathan Pickup’s training and knowledge.
Based in Waihi, Brendan has established an architectural design business, and his knowledge of software has developed further in applying it to the building industry.
“All software is USA-based,” he says, “and you need to localise the application.”
Brendan is finding his new role as an architectural designer dovetails well with working as a Vectorworks trainer.
“I realised I like working with people rather than councils. People aren’t a container to be filled, but a fire to be lit. I love helping people and seeing them realise the potential of Vectorworks.”
Brendan’s background in joinery and building suits joinery clients who use Vectorworks InteriorCAD.
“The rate of change in design and building is phenomenal,” he says, “and it calls for a lot of information. It helps to be adaptable, to be able to think on your feet and to change with the times.”
With his CNC experience, Brendan also provides an important bridge in connecting Vectorworks InteriorCAD design software to CNC hardware. He is able to make connections work where others have tried and failed.