Author Archives: wwabim

Isolating Elements

Working efficiently in ARCHICAD boils down to isolating out only the portions of the model you need to view. Viewing the entire model at all times is inefficient and ineffective, since plans can look to cluttered, 3d can be too slow, and section and elevation views may show more content than is relevant to the work that needs to be done.

Isolating elements out is done by the following methods (and different methods may be more useful in certain views than others):

  1. By Selection
  2. By Marquee
  3. By Layers
  4. By Renovation Status (not shown in video below)
  5. By Filter and Cut in 3d Palette
  6. By Cutting Planes

The following video quickly covers most of these methods of isolating elements in plan and 3d.


Selecting Elements

Working efficiently in ARCHICAD is critical, but not always easy. There are so many ways to model or draw everything, it is hard to know if you are using the most stream lined process.

A few things can help speed up your modeling and navigation work. In a series I am working on for the next Lunch and Learn presentation, we are going to explore the following:

  1. Efficiently Selecting ARCHICAD elements
  2. Isolating portions of a view
  3. Editing elements and groups of elements
  4. Efficient modeling
  5. Efficient drafting and drawing

The first series is covered here in the following videos:

Selecting Elements –

1) Find and Select

2) Selections Palette

3) Arrow Tool Options

4) Marquee Tool Options

5) Selecting Elements by Tool or Element Type

Twinmotion Frozen?

I know this has come up in the TM lunch and learns we have done at least once, and Matt explained it to me in person, but until I actually experienced it, the “freeze up” didn’t really make sense.

I was working on a TM rendering yesterday and most of the functions and navigation seemed to be frozen. The issue was related to adjusting surface color. The Color picker palette can become hidden behind the TM application window if you click on the model before closing the color picker.

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 2.19.08 PM.png

To fix the problem, just drag the TM application to the side or expose the color picker palette and close.

Once again, this is not a “computer freeze up” or even an application bug. If you have no mouse or keyboard response and can not switch apps or navigate basic menus in Twinmotion, that is another issue all together. This freeze up issue is indicated by limited menu access and navigation control.

Layer Intersection Groups

Here’s a quick note on the layer intersection group concept in our template. We use 4 numbers in most of our project layer settings:

Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 9.54.47 AM.png

  • 0 is for layers that are hidden and should not intersect with visible items in a given layer combo
  • 1 is for layers that are set to intersect, and should be the most common, especially among visible layers
  • 2 is for layers that should not intersect with standard “1” group layers. Examples of conditions that may require a Group 2 Layer are:
    • barge rafters or sloping trim that needs to run in to perpendicular and horizontal trim (this always results in a messy connection)
    • walls being trimmed with SEO to a roof plan, whose trimmed portion is interfering with content above the roof
    • there are defualt layers for these conditions already set up:
  • 999 is commonly used for module content placed from IFC files received from consultants.
    • This is a variable not accounted for in our template, since IFC coordination is on a project by project basis

Arrow & Marquee Basics

The Arrow and Marquee tools seem simple enough, but there are some ways to use them to maximize efficiency.

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 2.22.26 PM.png

Arrow Tool Options


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Marquee Tool Settings

The basic Arrow Tool settings in the Info Box palette are:

  • Selection Method
  • Geometry Method
  • Quick Selection
  • Selection Type (for Morph Tool only)

For the Marquee Tool, the Info Box includes:

  • Selection Method
  • Geometry Method

The Arrow Selection Method is similar to “Crossing Window” settings in AutoCAD, where direction of the click/drag/selection dictates what is included in a selection. Option 1 is to include all elements in the crossing window, Option 2 is to include only elements entirely within the crossing window, and Option 3 is to include all for Right to Left selections and only elements entirely in the window for Left to Right selections.

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 2.22.03 PM.png

Geometry method options are for rectangular selections, rotated rectangle, or polygon selections.

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 2.22.11 PM.png

The Quick Selection option is one that really boosts efficiency when mastered. Preferences on default settings vary; but I work with the Quick Selection option on. This feature determines wether clicking on the face or surface of an element selects the element or not. For example, you may want to start a drag selection by clicking inside a room and selecting all furniture in that room. To do this without selecting the slab, you need to have Quick Selection off. The shortcut for toggling this option on/off is to hold the Space bar down while initiating an arrow selection.

The fourth command on the arrow tool settings is the Selection Type. This feature can also be switched by default, but since it is a feature limited to the Morph tool, I recommend leaving it on the bold/gray (Normal) arrow by default. If you need to switch to the open/white (Sub Element) arrow, the shortcut for that is Control+Shift. This allows you to click on or select parts of a morph. Finding the right balance between all 4 arrow settings is key to working effectively with Morphs.

The Marquee is a bit simpler. The Selection method option is just a light or bold marquee. Those are for all visible elements on all stories, or just the current story (in plan view). These can be used for isolating parts of the model (F4: Show Selection/Marquee in 3d), stretching the model, selecting elements within a marquee, and more. The Geometry Method can be really useful for isolating portions of a model with specific limitations and shapes.

Pen 0 and Pen -1

Pen 0 and Pen -1 have specific functions, as background pens for fills; to show transparent or solid white but matches the background (regardless of work environment customization of the background color).

These pens can be a bit dangerous if applied to anything but the background pen of a fill or cut element.

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In the case of a file audited this morning, there were over 500 3d elements using Pen -1 as the foreground and, in some cases, the contour pen of model elements. This resulted in a file prone to crashes, and lengthy error warning cycles.

I was able to fix these by using a combination of the element ID manager and the Find and Select tool. Read about that here.

In the end, it is best to avoid pens -1 and 0 whenever possible. Pen -1 should be replaced in your workflow habits with pen 91 or 51. Those pens are always white for all pen sets. In many cases, especially with drafting and cover fills, pen 0 is unavoidable, but should still be used carefully, so as to not apply it to anything other than background pen settings.

Small Improvements to Markers

This update to ARCHICAD went unnoticed by me. This was actually fixed in AC 21, but I just saw it in ARCHICAD 22. In AC20 and before, when you created a split in a section or elevation marker, then realigned the elevation marker, you ended up with a lot of extra points the section line.

01 AC 20 divided ie

AC 20: Elevation Cut Line Has Broken Continuity

02 AC 20 healed ie

AC 20: Elevation Cut Line Has Been Realigned, But Still Includes Extra Nodes

Now, when you realign a split marker (section, elevation or interior elevation), the section/cut line heals back up properly!

03 AC 22 divided ie.png

AC 21/22: Elevation Cut Line Has Broken Continuity

04 AC 22 healed ie.png

AC21/22: Elevation Cut Line Has Been Realigned and “Heals” Properly!