Category Archives: Drafting

AC 23 Text Frame Changes

There is a subtle, but important difference between text boxes in AC 23. In previous versions of ARCHICAD, the frame distance could be applied, then the frame turned off. This would allow the text to mask out elements without the need for an additional fill. Text boundaries could still be extended or adjusted, with these settings.

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Wether intentionally or not, ARCHICAD 23 works differently, with regard to these settings.

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ARCHICAD 23 ignores the 5.00 Pt offset from the above image, but it also locks out the user from adjusting the text boundary, as seen in the first image, with the pet palette activated from the upper right corner of the selected text box. In AC 23, the pet palette will not even be available if there is a frame offset while the frame is off. There are a few solutions that we may be able to implement here:

  • We can turn the frame on, and set it to Pen 51 (white hairline)
  • We can turn the Opaque option on and set a background pen to Pen 91 (standard white annotation pen in all pen sets)
  • We can turn the frame offset to 0.00 Pt, and leave the Opaque and Frame options off

Any of these solutions will allow the pet palette to work as normal in ARCHICAD 23. Here is a quick video demonstration of these steps and the differences in how this works in AC 23:

 

To Mod or not to Mod

We often use modules to place buildings onto a site. This gives us a lot of flexibility and freedom to position and locate the building(s) within the terrain, without the need to use excessive grouping or difficult selections. It also allows buildings to be documented orthogonal to each other, regardless of final positioning on the site.

If, however, a single building or orthogonal cluster of buildings is the final design, it is almost always easier to avoid modules, and simply reposition the site around the buildings to make adjustments.

Here is a chart to help determine wether modules should or shouldn’t be used to place buildings onto the terrain. In the case of this chart, we can assume “Maybe” is understood as “probably not”. The important thing to note is , if the project entails a single building on a fixed position (infill lot), modules are never used, and if a project is to be a multi-building design of non-orthogonal or non-interconnected buildings, modules should always be used.

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Wall Junction Trouble Shooting

There are times when walls just do not seem to want to clean up. There are several “tricks” to getting walls to look good in plan. Areas to pay attention to are:

  1. Wall Reference Lines
  2. Layer Intersection Groups
  3. Building Material Priorities
  4. Wall Junction Order Settings
  5. Composite Core/Finish/Other Designations

Here are a few videos to help trouble shoot these plan connections:

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.

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.

TheĀ 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.

3d Lines & Drafting

Our BIM Manual has a description of what we model, when we model elements, and why we model them. The third element, the “why”, is one of the most important parts of managing a high quality model, and producing accurate and well coordinated documents from that model.

With this in mind, a lot of our project teams have been pushing the boundaries of even the most basic drafting elements. One example of this is in site models & plans, specifically property lines and setbacks. Intuitively, it makes sense to use polylines or even fills for this. Thinking outside the box however, it makes more sense to use a 3d element, such as a grid or a morph.

 

 

Using a 3d solution allows you to coordinate the property & setback lines on all (or select) stories simultaneously with fewer elements. It also allows coordination of the building in 3d. Since our final CD Site Plans are typically drafted anyway, this is largely a process and 3d solution. But using a morph does allow for boundary line type & pen control, so it can also be incorporated into the final documents.

Interesting Composite Glitch

This is an interesting glitch we ran into today in a migrated project (started in AC16, now in AC20). The file runs pretty well for having passed through so many versions of AC, but there is an interesting error in the composites, one that I was able to replicate to some degree even in AC21 (non-migrated file).

If a composites skin separator is set to “off”, it may appear correct in the plan view (view map or project map), but show with remnants of the skin separator in the drawing (view placed to a layout).

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In the image above, the line selected is deselected, and even though the pen is set to “21”, which is a white skin separator pen in our template, the glitch occurs.

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As you can see above, the composite shows correctly with no skin separators.

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However, once placed onto a layout, the skin separator shows in places. Some composites, depending on skin settings and line/pen types, show up.

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However, by turning the skin separator “on”, as in the image above, and setting all hidden separators to pen 21/41/61 (depending on composite type), we can achieve the desired results, as seen in the image of the placed drawing below.

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Gradient Fills!

Dan has done something interesting with his exterior elevations. The elevations are too long for the layout. Typically we have a break line/match line for buildings like this. The break line on this project has one added unique feature.

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Full Elevation with Break

the elevation beyond the break line has an added fill, using a gradient fill instead of a basic white masking fill.

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Selected Gradient Fill

This gives the elevation a gradual “disappearing” at the break line.

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Enlarged Gradient Fill