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System Requirements

Vectorworks Vision System Requirements and FAQ

What are the MINIMUM system requirements for Vision?

On Windows: Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1(64-bit), Windows 10 (64-bit), a 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 2GB video card, and a mouse with a middle button or scroll wheel.

On Mac: OSX 10.11 or later, a 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 2GB video card, and a mouse with a middle button or scroll wheel.

For both PC and MAC, it requires a dedicated graphics card supporting GL_ARB_draw_buffers extension with 8GB of VRAM or more, preferably released in the past three years (e.g., NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 TI series, AMD Radeon RX 5000 series). We do not recommend any integrated Intel video chipset. While Vision may run, we do not support them due to their lack of performance and speed. For the full list of system requirements and system recommendations see Vectorworks System Requirements.


Does Vision run on macOS?

Yes, Vision is cross-platform and runs on the MAC and Windows operating systems. MAC OSX 10.11 or greater is the only requirement. The MAC version currently supports Artnet and sACN as DMX providers. All Vision licenses are cross-platform, allowing you to run on either PC or MAC.

There is a known compatibility issue with macOS Nvidia Drivers. Please see the Tech Bulletin for complete details.


How many lights can I run in Vision?

The speed of your video card and rendering settings directly impacts the number of lights that you can run. Vision currently recommends the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 or the AMD Radeon RX 5000 series both with 8+ GB of RAM.

You can improve the performance of Vision by adjusting your Vision Preferences and Document Preferences to match the capabilities of your graphics card better.  Turning off Render Shadows; Reducing the Texture, Shadow, Surface Light Quality; Rendering fixtures as black or turning off fixture rendering, and many other settings can significantly increase the performance of Vision.

If you are running a slower video card and are still experiencing sub-optimal framerates, you should consider upgrading to a faster video card.


What is a dongle? Do I need one to run Vision?

A dongle is a USB key that contains your license information, including the number of universes that you own and subscription data.

Vision 2018 Users: You need a dongle to run a 2018 Vision license. This device allows you to install Vision on as many machines as you choose, but it will only enable Vision to launch on the computer with the dongle attached.

Vision 2019 or higher Users: You do not need a dongle to run a Vision License. However, if you need to use MA-Net as your DMX provider, MA Lighting requires the use of a dongle for Vision. The Vision dongle can be purchased directly from Vectorworks. MA Lighting does not currently support visualizer connectivity via MA-Net on the grandMA3.


How many universes can I buy?

Beginning with the launch of 2020, Vision Unlimited is the only professional purchasing option.


What if I already own Vision or Vision Plus prior to 2020?

Your Vision or Vision plus license will automatically be converted to an Unlimited license free of charge. Customers whose Vision license is active on a Service Select contract will automatically be transitioned to Vision 2020 as part of the benefits of the program. Customers will experience a slight increase to continue renewing their Service Select membership with Unlimited licenses. Customers who are not actively on a contract will be required to purchase the upgrade to 2020, but the transition from Vision or Vision Plus to Vision Unlimited is at no additional charge.


Why is Vision Unlimited the only available option for 2020?

The Lighting industry has grown in size so that anything less than Unlimited Universes is not sufficient anymore to visualize most professional shows. We want to ensure our customers are receiving the most practical and relevant product for this growing market. With the release of version 2020, we will be offering a free 2 Universe Vision license for those that are part of the Vectorworks (Spotlight, Designer) Service Select program and want to try Vision, or who only require a few Universes.


How do I control Vision?

Vision is listening for DMX-512. Any console or onPC/off-line editor that outputs Artnet, Hog- net, MA-net, or sACN can be used to control Vision. MAC product integration is limited to Artnet and sACN at this time.


Will I ever have to buy the new version of Vision?

You are not required to buy the latest version of Vision. However, Vision can be purchased with Vision Service Select, our annual Software Service program. Vision Service Select provides updates to new product releases, priority technical support, and access to newest library files while your agreement is active. Membership to Vision Service Select is renewed annually.


How many lights are in the Vision fixture library?

While the numbers are continually changing, you can be assured that the fixtures from the major manufacturers are included. These include High End, Martin, Coemar, Vari*lite, ETC, and many others.


What if I need a fixture that isn't included in the library?

Active Vision Unlimited customers are entitled to request a maximum of 4 lighting fixtures per 30 days, using the “FIXTURE REQUEST” form on the Vision product page. We will make every effort to provide that to you within 72 business hours, often sooner. Any other customer request would be put in the queue as fill in.


What exactly is Update Dongle, Update Library and Update Vision?

The Update Dongle contacts the Vectorworks server to update your dongle. Is should only be necessary to run the Update Dongle command when you renew your Vision Service Select agreement or when you want to view your contract expiration date. If you do not have a dongle, there is no need to run this command.


The Update Library contacts a cloud-based internet server that all of our customers can access. When you access the Update Library server, it compares the latest library files against what you have on your computer and updates any files that have been added or changed. This ensures that you always have the most recent data available. We recommend that you access the Update Library server before you begin any major project. You must have an active Vision Service Select agreement to access the Update Library server.


The Update Vision contacts the Vectorworks server to update your Vision software to the latest available service pack.


Do you have a trial version?

Yes. Vision has a free downloadable 30-day trial which will allow you to run Vision. This will allow you to test Vision's capabilities and see the superior quality of Vision. You will find sample files, DMX recordings, and detailed information regarding patch, etc. in the "Demo Documents" folder within your Vision Trial installation.




Do I need any other programs to install Vision?

All necessary support files are included in the Vision installer package.


Should I plug my Vision dongle in before I start the install?

We recommend it. If your dongle is not handy at the time of installation, you can later run the updater by inserting your dongle and running the updater from your desktop or from the Vision folder to ensure you have the latest version of the library.


Can I change the installation directory?

Yes, you can. However, once installed, Vision will always look in the installation directory for the files it needs. If you need to relocate Vision, you will need to reinstall and connect to the patch server to update the new installation. Always backup any important files before attempting this, though.




How do I navigate in Vision?

All navigation within Vision is accomplished using the middle mouse button. To pan up, down, or around, hold down the middle mouse button and move the mouse. To zoom in or out, hold Ctl+Alt and the middle mouse button and move the mouse in and out. To rotate the scene, press Alt and the middle mouse button and move the mouse. You can also use the tools that are provided in the tool window to zoom, rotate, pan, and tilt. Find a complete list in Vision Help.


How do I focus conventional fixtures in my rig?

Select the lights that you wish to adjust in the scene. All the lights are turned on. Another way to select the fixtures you want is to use the mouse and arrow in the scene.


Once the lights are selected, you can move them all in sync by using the four arrow keys. These keys correspond to the pan and tilt of each fixture. If you wish to focus all selected lights to the same position, move your mouse to that position, right-click and select "Focus selected lights here." If you wish to focus each light individually, be sure to have the main window picked and hit the page down button which will highlight a single fixture. Focus that fixture using the arrow keys. When you complete, hit page down again and the next light is highlighted. Continue the process until all fixtures are focused.


How do I adjust the haze in the scene?

Haze can be adjusted in the Document Settings window or by select the ROOT from the Scene Graph window. The movement of the haze is controlled by Haze Vertical Speed and Haze Horizontal Speed. By setting these to 0, the atmosphere will be constant without any movement. To set the density adjust the Haze Amount up or down, to suit your needs. A setting of 0 will assume no atmosphere (such as in a theater setting).  

If I am running a complex scene, how can I increase speed?

There are a few things that you can do that may assist you when running a complex scene. You can lower the graphics settings under Vision Preferences and modify your Document settings. You can also eliminate the geometry associated with the lighting fixtures by setting Render Fixtures to Off in the Vision Preferences. You will notice that the fixture will disappear from the Vision, but the light is still emitting from where the fixture used to be. Significant speed increases can also be achieved by turning off Render Shadows on the Document Preference settings. If your file contains multipart fixtures, checking the Force Emissive option for these fixtures will also improve performance. Lowering the Volumetric Quality or disabling Enhanced Volumetric may also improve performance.

For files with a very large number of fixtures, disabling the High Precision option may increase performance with minimal impact on rendering quality.


How do I connect my console to Vision?

To begin, check out the forums on DMX Connectivity, which contains detailed instructions on connecting Vision to a number of the most popular consoles. In Vision, you only need to select the DMX Provider under the DMX menu.


What is the optimal resolution for running Vision?


Once again, this is somewhat determined by your video card. Generally, you should run Vision at 1280×720. This will give you the optimum performance and quality for your real-time visualization. Vision is capable of running at much higher resolutions, but lower resolutions allow for better performance and higher quality rendering. Resolution is configurable from within the Vision Preferences and should be adjusted to best fit your needs based on the hardware being used.




I have an expired maintenance program; how do I get the latest build?

Contact the sales team at and renew your maintenance program. Vision Support will be able to reactivate your dongle remotely so that you can access the Update Server once again.


My maintenance program has expired. Can I still run Vision?

Yes. Your version of Vision will still be active. However, you will no longer have access to the latest versions of Vision. Make sure that you keep your subscription active to ensure that you have the latest and greatest versions of Vision at your fingertips. Please be aware that any fixtures released following your subscription date will not be visible in your Vision model.


Free Vision for Vectorworks Service Select Customers


Why are we offering free Vision licenses for Vectorworks Service Select customers?

Vectorworks is introducing a new benefit exclusively for Vectorworks Service Select customers.  This will allow you to try Vision or have access to Vision if you only require a few Universes.


What are the conditions for the free license on Vectorworks Service Select?

Vectorworks Service Select customers can download and install one license of Vision, free of charge for each Spotlight or Designer license owned.  Each Vision license includes 2 Universes and will not increase the cost of your Service Select renewal. It will stay active on the contract perpetually as long as the Spotlight or Designer licenses are active.


If I am not a member of Vectorworks Service Select, can I still receive a free Vision license?

No, the free license is a benefit of being an active Service Select member.


How do Vectorworks Service Select Customers receive a free license of Vision?

At the launch of 2020, the Service Select portal will feature a function that will be available only to customers with either a Spotlight or Designer license.  For each Spotlight or Designer license, customers will have the ability to receive a free license of Vision (with 2 Universes) simply by selecting the option in the portal. The Vision license(s) will be visible and usable perpetually.


If I require a dongle, can I still receive a free Vision license?

No, only series E is available for the free 2 Universe license.


Will my price increase if I download the free Vision license? 

No changes will be made to your renewal cost if you download the free Vision license.


Can I transition to vision unlimited?

Free Vision licenses cannot be transitioned to Unlimited, however you can purchase an Unlimited VIsion license that will be added to your contract in addition to your free Universe license.


Do I get a new free license every year?

Yes, as long as you are an active Vectorworks Service Select member with at least one Spotlight or Designer license, the free Vision license will be available upon release.


Can a customer add a free Vision to more than one license in the portal?

Yes.  Customers can receive a free license of Vision for each Spotlight or Designer license that is active on contract, regardless of how many licenses of either product they own.  G-series licenses with multiple Spotlight or Designer licenses will qualify for a free Vision license for each seat on the G-series license.


Is the Vision license connected to the Spotlight or Designer license it was provided for?

No.  Vision continues to operate independently of Vectorworks and is not connected in any way to the Vectorworks license.


Does a customer have to add Vision to all eligible licenses with the offer, or can they choose one license to add it to?

The customer is eligible to receive a free Vision license for each Spotlight or Designer license on contract. However, they are not required or limited by the number of Vision licenses they request.  They may select to use a Vision license for as many as they are eligible for, or as few as they would like.


Can the customer take advantage of the offer for different licenses at different times throughout the year?

Yes. If the customer has more than one Spotlight or Designer license, they may opt to take advantage of the offer for each license at different times throughout the year.  As long as the Spotlight or Designer license remains active on the contract, the customer will be able to take advantage of the feature at any time.


Why is Vectorworks offering one free license for each Spotlight or Designer license on contract, rather than just one per contract?

Companies with multiple licenses have multiple designers. We want to offer the opportunity for all designers to try Vision who may ultimately be interested in using a professional Vision Unlimited license in the future.


If I add a new license to my Service Select contract after the launch of 2020, will I be able to receive a free Vision license?

Yes.  Any Spotlight or Designer licenses added to an active Service Select contract will automatically become eligible to receive a Vision license, which will be available in the Service Select portal.


 I no longer wish to renew my Vision license on contract.  What are my options?

If you no longer wish to renew your Vision license on contract, you may choose to park the license.  Parking a license means it freezes it at its current version. You won’t have to pay for that license on your renewal each year; however, parked licenses and their assigned users are not entitled to the benefits of Vectorworks Service Select. You can park or unpark a license 90 days prior to your renewal date.

Vectorworks Service Select customers who continue to have an active Spotlight or Designer license on contract may choose to receive the free license of Vision offered as part of the service, regardless of the status of a parked Vision license.