Tracker & Working Units

Recently we have seen inconsistent levels of precision between different work stations. One computer, using the Measure Tool, will show a wall at 10′, another will show it at 10′-0 1/64″ (for example). After a little testing and digging around, we found that Working Units, unlike Dimension Styles and Calculation Units & Rules, are not project specific. However, just like Dimension Styles, Working Units should be set to the highest level of precision possible; that is to the nearest 1/64″.

To check and modify your working units, go to the ARCHICAD menu > Project Preferences > Working Units.

02 Working Units.png

Model Units Need to be Set to 1/64

If Model Units are set to anything other than 1/64″, there is a high likelihood of dimensions not reflecting intended design dimensions.

04 Tracker Off.png

Dimensioned Length Shows 120 1/64″,  Measured Length Shows 120″

Beyond the input precision; be sure you are using actual tracker input, rather than just clicking when the tracker shows the desired length. You can tab through the tracker options with the “tab” key, or direct input short cuts are:

  • ‘r’ = Distance (radial distance)
  • ‘a’ = angle
  • ‘x’ = x distance
  • ‘y’ = y distance
  • ‘z’ = z distance

Use the Shift key before the input to lock direction/angle. It should be second nature at this point to type Shift + R before putting in a distance. You can adjust your work environment to give higher levels of angle. I recommend setting it to every 15º, then use the angle input in the tracker for any angle at smaller increments.

05 Tracker Angle W_E.png

Work Environment Input Constraints, Set to 15º

 

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Cadimage Roof Covering Flicker

We have all seen surfaces that are too close together creating a flickering appearance in ARCHICAD and BIMx. The easiest solution is to move element incrementally farther apart until the flicker disappears. With coverings, moving the covering up and away from the roof can create a disassociation between the roof and the covering; meaning the covering will need to be rebuilt with any change in roof design.

There is a solution that keeps the covering associated and eliminates the flicker.

With Flicker

The roof shows an uneven appearance that changes depending on camera angle and movement.

covering settings

Edit all roof coverings to have a minimum 1/4″ dimension at ‘Allow Space for Framing’

flicker gone

Flicker does not appear with 1/4″ spacing

It is also helpful to note that this setting is not required for all covering configurations. Corrugated metal, for example, does not have the same issue, since it has a natural depth that pulls most of the covering away from the roof. Standing seam or battens have large areas of flat planes that create the flicker, so they may require adjusting the framing thickness setting to get them to show as intended.

3d Style

In ARCHICAD 21, we were introduced to 3d Styles; a new view setting which allows customization of the view style in ARCHICAD. With the introduction of ARCHICAD 22, there are some new 3d Style effects that customize the smoothness and efficiency of 3d navigation and views. These are settings that existing in 21, but we are starting to see an effect of model appearance in 22.

This is especially prominent in high polygon models.

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 3.31.29 PM

model while viewing 3d

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 3.31.50 PM.png

model while navigating (explore) 3d

In the examples above, the same model has content “disappear” when using the explore feature of a high polygon model. This is presumably a feature of AC22 to improve navigation and 3d performance.

To prevent content from vanishing, the advanced settings in the 3d styles options need to be tuned. Click the Gear icon in the 3d styles setting next to the 3d Engine fly-out.  In the Advanced > OpenGL Options, cut the frame rate to the lowest setting (1), and the display radius to the highest setting (328′-1 1/64″, for whatever reason).

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 11.04.37 AM.png

Advanced Open GL Options for ideal 3d viewing in AC22

These settings are not new to 22; in fact they are the same defaults out of the box as AC21. But the defaults need to be adjusted to work well with the changes or improvements made to AC22’s 3d processing.

 

Door and Window Markers

When working through process, it is important to not use the “no marker” setting in the doors and windows; unless a door or window will never have a marker attached to it; for framed openings, shutters, shower doors, etc.

Door and window markers are library parts, that have default settings. So when a marker is set to “no marker” to hide, then turned back to W Marker 21/22 or D Marker 21/22, the settings go back to their default. These defaults do not match our graphic standards for pens, font, marker type, or any other setting. Markers switched off at the element level, then turned back on need to be meticulously realigned with the projects graphics and our office graphic standards.

The proper way to hide door and window markers throughout the entire plan is through model view options. Either a temporary “custom” MVO can be used to turn markers off, or a dedicated MVO (such as our template 00 | Presentation Plan) can be applied.

 

The Wrong Way!

  1. Place Doors & Windows from Favorites:

01 - Doors From Favs

2. Door/Window Marker Settings from Favorites (correctly showing D Marker 21)

02 - Default Marker Settings

3. Set Marker to No Marker… Nope! Don’t do it!

03 - No Markers

4. When Marker is reset to D Marker 21(22), it comes back looking like this; and it takes a lot of time to rebuild to the correct settings defined by the favorites.

04 - Marker Switched Back On

5. Turn markers off using the Model View Options instead!

05 - Model View Options

Note: in ARCHICAD 22, there are no “Custom” MVO’s. If Markers are turned off for the 02 | Construction Documents they will be off for all views using that setting. But unlike turning markers off at the element level, turning them off & on in the MVO will retain the default settings for the marker from the favorites.

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.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 9.05.40 AM.png

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).

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 10.07.20 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 11.40.03 AM

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.