Custom Door Leaf Origin

We often need to use custom door leafs and window sashes. But as with any custom object or element, model primitives need to be saved with attention to project 0,0,0 (xyz relationship to project origin).  With custom objects, they should be saved at 0,0,0; centered or justified to an edge. Custom door and window leafs need to be saved relative to the Z axis, or at least relative to the model primitive’s home story.

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The important thing to note on locating elements to be saved as doors or window sashes is they need to sit above project 0 or home story. Typically, door and window components are built form slabs to be saved as a leaf or sash. The easiest way to ensure the door aligns correctly with the plan symbol is to set the reference plane to the bottom of the slab, and set the slab’s elevation to 0′ to home story (or project 0).

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Avoid Library Pollution

We have gone through waves of library pollution, and it seems like one is washing over our projects again. So it’s time for a refresher on what this pollution is, the cause, how to avoid this pollution, and how to clean it up. It is important for all ARCHICAD users at WWA to read this post carefully to avoid this issue running through all our projects again.

What is the pollution and what causes it?

The pollution is a infiltration of unwanted attributes into a project. These attributes include Surfaces, Fills, and Line Types. The pollution is disruptive to our workflow because it pushes attributes out of sequence, creates massive gaps in attribute numbering, and gives us an annoyingly long list of attributes to dig through when working in ARCHICAD. As an example of the damage this issue can cause, here is a quick glance at some of the surfaces that came in from one instance of polluted library parts:

A-WWA Polluted.png

As you can imagine, sifting through that list of surfaces can be really annoying, even if it drops most of these surfaces at the end of the list. But as I mentioned, this also has an impact on fill types and line types.

So what is the trigger? It is caused by an infiltration of objects called Master_GDL.gdl into one or more of the libraries. Typically it is seen in the embedded library. This infiltration happens any time an infected file is copied from, and pasted into a clean file. So opening an old file and copying anything and pasting into your project will bring in these polluted attributes.

How can this pollution be avoided?

It is fairly simple to avoid the issue. If you need to bring anything in from another project, check the libraries and attributes first. If the file has any of the polluted surfaces (typically these are italicized and have names like Topas, Innivik, HAG, etc), do NOT copy from that file. You can either clean the file before copying from it (see below), or sandbox the content and clean it up before pasting, or redraw/model the content completely from scratch. It is important to note that no content is “safe” to copy/paste if the file is polluted. A single line/fill/text/label/wall/slab/etc copied out will drag the Master_GDL.gdl part with it.

How can the pollution be cleaned up?

If the pollution occurs anyway, it needs be cleaned up before it starts to impact productivity, and certainly before new attributes are generated. For the most part, the clean up is simple. Open the Library Manager (File > Library Manager), track down any folder/subfolder containing a file with the name (or name similar to) Master_GDL.gdl. This can almost always be tracked to a folder called “From 201101”.C-WWA Library.png

Once these files and folders are purged, open the attribute manager and delete any polluted attributes. It is usually easiest to sort the surfaces by name, as the polluted attributes almost always show after the default surfaces due to naming convention. But any attribute that stands out as out of place should be deleted. The offending attributes are usually italicized and have very odd seeming names. These can just be deleted, rather than delete + replace, since they shouldn’t be used anyway.

B-WWA Polluted.png

If a file uses hotlink modules, this can be a little more complicated. Because hotlinks have their own Embedded Library folder that can not be edited in a host library, there is a different process. The host file needs to be cleared of all modules. I recommend marking module locations with polylines, fills, and/or hotspots before deleting. After the modules are removed, verify that the module libraries are gone, and there are no additional offending Master_GDL parts in any other libraries. Then clean up the attributes.

Next, open all module source files, and run the clean up there; purging libraries and attributes. I also recommend running an attribute match again after all files are clean. Once all files are clean, new modules need to be saved. Do not save over the top of old modules. It is best to create a completely new and clean module.

Lastly, open the host (site) file again, and replace and relocate all modules. Obviously, this issue is compounded even more with projects using nested modules.

Other considerations

Because the Master_GDL objects are so infectious, it is important to stay on top of keeping these things clean. They really are like a disease. We had all current projects clean, but they are rearing their heads again. It is important to be aware of consequences when copying/pasting from one file to another. No two projects have identical attributes, so any copy/paste is likely to bring attributes. If the file is polluted, it will bring in attributes not even used by the copied content.

Find and Select – Selected & Editable

Find and Select is one of the coolest tools in ARCHICAD, if used correctly. You can read more about it here.

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One really cool feature of the find and select palette has been proving to be incredibly useful recently though. I have been doing some line work clean up for DWG export from work sheets. Using a series of stored step by step find and select criteria, I have been able to consolidate line work, fills, convert to pLines, and more; with incredible efficiency. I can also preview the clean up process efficiency right in the F&S palette; so when I run a line consolidation, I can see how many lines I have before unifying into polylines, or how many fills I have before and after consolidation.

The Selected/Editable indicator also gives an idea of elements locked or not reserved, which makes the clean up more effective; as it helps avoid running a line work consolidation with elements that can not be modified.

It’s a small thing, but a huge indicator in terms of cleanness of the final output.

Generating Custom Skyboxes for BIMx

A custom skybox can be really useful for locating your project on a real site. Here are the steps to create a custom skybox.

  1. In Google Earth, locate your project site, and snap screen shots of the site at 15º increments. Use google earth navigation tools to keep the horizon line consistent for each of the panoramic images. This is critical to get the images to stitch together properly.01 google earth navigation
  2. Using photoshop’s Photomerge… function, stitch the screen shots into a seamless panoramic image.02 ps import03 ps import
  3. In photoshop, resize the image/canvas so that it is a 2:1 ratio. 10000×5000 pixels works well.
  4. Align the panoramic view so the horizon is just above the middle of the canvas04 ps editd
  5. Add a custom sky to the background, since the panoramic sky will not be high enough to fill the screen. Chris has recommended this site for high quality sky images:
  6. All foreground can be blacked out, since the foreground will be under the site mesh.
  7. Save the final panoramic view as a .jpg
  8. Convert the panorama into 6 skybox images. If the image is not tiling or wrapping, it will not convert properly. If this happens, use photoshops Offset command to ensure the seam between the right and left tiles properly. To convert to skybox images use:
  9. Save each of the 6 sides to a .png image, where each of the side’s images will be named: Right = XP, Left = XN, Front = ZP, Back = ZN, Top = YP, Bottom = YN05 convert to skybox06 skybox naming
  10. Open each of the 6 files in photoshop again, and save them to .tga format
  11. Locate the bimx skybox images. Got to Applications > Graphisoft > BIMx. Right click on the BIM application, choose “show package contents”07 locate bimx files
  12. I have a separate folder added to the Resources folder to archive the default images. Move all default .tga image files in this folder, then move the custom skybox images into the resource folder. Make sure the naming and format of these 6 files is an exact match for the original. If the file does not stitch together properly, it could be an incorrect naming order. Note that XN & XP/ZN & ZP are opposite each other, YN & YP are always top & bottom.08 replace skybox images
  13. After the .tga files are loaded into the applications folder, your BIMx app will use it as the default skybox from now on. If you need to revert back to the generic skybox, just save out the custom .tga to your project folder on the file server, and relocate the default .tga images to the main Resources folder. It is important to note that the sky box is specific to each computer, so every project team member will need to load the skybox images before they open BIMx.
  14. If, when opening BIMx, the background is not oriented properly, use the BIMx setting for Sun Position to properly locate North. This is a setting that will need to be adjusted for each time BIMx is opened.



Connecting Sea Level & Morphs

Today I have been working on translating a .dwg survey into existing conditions for neighboring buildings for a remodel. The survey locates windows for neighboring properties, giving sill height, head height, and window width only. All dimensions are relative to sea level.

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To locate these windows correctly, I first set the Altitude (Sea Level) properly.From here I could place temporary morph lines in plan to locate center line of windows and other building features.

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Then, in the morph element settings, I set the height relative to Sea Level, and matched the sill and head height described in the survey.

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From this point, it was just a matter of matching and stretching the windows to the morph lines in 3d or elevation.

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Quick Layers Palette

In 2018 I am revamping the WWABIM site with new quick tips. These will be short messages and tips to help improve your workflow, efficiency and general proficiency at modeling and documenting in ARCHICAD. This is the first tip of the year!

Use the quick layers palette! This palette will allow you to turn layers on/off, cycle through previous custom layer sets, and more with out the need to tediously sort through the layer settings dialog.

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Options on the quick layers palette are to hide/lock/unlock a selections layer(s), or all layers not selected, and to switch back to previous/next custom layer combinations. This allows you to turn groups of element’s layers on at once, instead of sorting through the layer lists.

I recommend using the quick layers palette as a standard to your work environment. If you want to strip palettes and tool bars out of your w/e, you can also assign a shortcut to show/hide this palette, similar to how most have a shortcut for the solid element operations palette.

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