Category Archives: Drawing Manager

File Performance – Self Audits

Projects are routinely audited, or at least reviewed on the BIM Server to maintain a reasonable quality of model performance and accuracy. There are specific areas of the audit that are responsible for file performance. Some of these audit sections are worth paying attention to because they can affect file navigation, others can impact general teamwork performance. In any case, these areas of the audit are worth periodically reviewing, even between formal audits.

The areas that need to be self audited are:

  1. The Library Manager
  2. The Library Loading Report
  3. The “Error” Report
  4. The Drawing Manager
  5. Solid Element Operations
  6. Total Model Polygons
  7. Attributes

Library Manager

The Library Manager needs to be periodically reviewed for organization. A disorganized Embedded Library is difficult to maintain, manage, and review. More than the organization, the contents of the Embedded Library are a critical element to file performance. Because the E/L is part of the file, rather than linked to the file like a BIM Server Library, it directly impacts the overall file size; even if content is not placed in the model. Ideally, .gsm content embedded in the file should be less than 10 MB and images used for surfaces should be less than 1 MB. These should be the targeted max for embedded library content. The more frequently an object or image is going to be used in the model, the smaller the file size should be.

Library Loading Report

The library loading report will appear when first opening/joining a file if there are any library issues. These issues may include missing, duplicate, or substituted library content. It may seem like this is just something to close out of and ignore, but this palette is warning that your model may be suffering from poor performance and accuracy. For more on the Library Loading Report, see this WWABIM post here.

Error Report

The report tab will come up when there is processing error in any non-plan model Viewpoint. Like the library loading report, it may be tempting to ignore this tab, but this report is a warning that your model is suffering from invalid geometries, missing attributes, or other errors that can not be resolved. If there are too many errors in the model, the result can be beach balling, slow send/receive, and slow navigation between Views. To review how to clean up Error Report content, see this WWABIM post here.

Drawing Manager

The Drawing Manager often suffers from missing content. Although missing content here may not slow a file down noticeably, the drawing manager is a good place to review externally linked content such as .dwg & .pdf files that have been dropped onto layouts. The drawing manager is a good place to review the update status of content on layouts, which can speed up layout book navigation. This is also a good management tool for tracking external content’s paths to review linked content file size. Linked drawings with large file size can slow the model significantly, and even more so if large files are embedded in the drawing manager. Always review pdf/dwg file size before embedding in the drawing manager. For more information on the Drawing Manager see WWABIM posts here and here.

Solid Element Operations

Solid element operations have been reviewed in past WWABIM posts here, here, and especially here, as well as in a previous internal DD L&L. In running self audits, any element with more than 100 connections should be reviewed, with any unnecessary targets, operators, or other connections removed.

Total Model Polygons

The most important aspect of a model’s performance is often the number of visible polygons. But even if layer and view settings are carefully managed and reviewed, you may run into situations where the entire model needs to be viewed, or may be accidentally viewed. If there are too many polygons in the model, this may result in an slow file performance, beach balling, file or computer freeze up, or even a file crash. With our current hardware, we should be aiming for no more than 5,000,000 polygons for a standard file.

It may not always be a clear line, since the source of polygons as important a role in file performance as the total polygons. For example, in some basic tests and overall experience, 60,000 polygons from a single mesh can perform worse than 1,000,000 polygons from objects. Also, 3,000,000 polygons from a single library part (object tool) placed several times will perform significantly worse than 3,000,000 polygons from 50 different library parts. In general objects contribute to the most polygons, but GDL also handles polygons significantly better than other tools. Overly complex mesh elements and excessive use of morphs can be a bigger performance issue to a file than objects.

Attributes

Attributes can have a huge impact on file performance, as well as document and output file sizes. A large, complex, custom cut or drafting fill can result in an incredibly large pdf or dwg file; in some cases so much so that the files can not be emailed or, in many cases, even printed/plotted. Additionally, custom profiles can result in poor model performance if not properly applied to the model. Profiles applied to walls should be used sparingly, as the intersection between walls results in excessive polygons and slow model performance. Custom profiles are better applied to beams, instead of walls.

The last part of attributes that should be self audited is the naming and file size of the attributes. If surfaces are using large images, it can slow the file down (see Library Manager above). Beyond the image size, the image naming of surfaces is critical to BIMx output. See the WWABIM article here and here for more information on BIMx surface errors.

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Teamwork Views, Drawings, and Layouts

Since most of our projects involve multiple buildings on a single site, we often rely on hotlink modules to place those buildings onto a site in separate Teamwork files. This means the site plan needs to be placed from one teamwork file to another.

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This process is actually very simple to do. All that is required is to open both Teamwork files and use the organizer to link a view from one project to the layout of the other. With the file containing the layout book, search for the other open t/w file in the left hand column of the organizer. Lastly, you only need to click import to bring the view from one file to a layout of another.

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Now comes the real issue, that is to update the views. In the past, we have run into the issue of this warning:

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To effectively update drawings from a separate projects view map, start with the drawing settings. The drawing should be set to manual, or you will receive repeated update warnings and, in the best case scenario, a slow update for any externally linked drawings.

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After extensive tests and trial and error, I have found the most reliable way to update a drawing. Follow these steps and it shouldn’t fail to update:

  1. Open BOTH projects, the one containing the view and the one with the drawing that needs to be updated
  2. In the project with the view, do a send and receive. Once you S/R, do not make any changes to the ARCHICAD file, do not even change zoom or pan the view. Even the smallest change to your local data will result in the “Drawing Checking Process has Failed” warning
  3. Immediately switch to the project with the drawing that needs updating. I use com+tab, rather than the mouse to avoid any accidental zoom or pan to the view.
  4. Once the layout/drawing that needs updating is open, simply right click and select update

Follow these steps exactly, and you will find it much less frustrating to update your external drawings.

A Note on Marker/View Types

All markers have three types (with the exception of Interior Elevations, which must be a Source Marker); Source, Linked and Unlinked.

Source markers generate content based on model elements. Linked markers reference an already created source content or view. Unlinked markers are a blank slate that reference not model or drafted content or existing view.

A marker may be changed from source to linked, but any source content will either be missing or translated to 2d elements. This is irreversible, and for elevations and sections, new source markers and subsequent views will need to be created. Linked or unlinked markers can not be changed to source markers. Linked markers may be changed to unlinked markers, and unlinked markers may be changed to linked markers.

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Moral of the story; do not change source markers/views to linked or unlinked markers. You can create a work sheet from any view if you need to explode view content, or place a new marker if you need the source marker to reference a different drawing.

Drawing ID Sequence

When laying out drawings, you may notice elevations, sections and interior elevations may not automatically order based on their arrangement on the page.

Some drawings have very consistent drawing borders or “sizes”, such as details. These are numbered by their location on the drawing grid. All other drawing types are numbered based on the order they appear in layout book under their layout.

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In the above example, only one of these drawings should have a title block, and thus should be 1/AA2.1 FOUNDATION. This drawing shows up last in the list however, and will be numbered “5” by default. The first fix for this is to drag the drawing to the top of the list under its layout.

A more permanent fix is to change all other drawings to be be excluded from the ID sequence. This can be done by selecting the drawings on the layout and unchecking the box in the info box palette:

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Or by selecting the drawings in the layout book and opening their settings:

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Now regardless of the order of the drawings in the layout book, the notes and legends drawing’s will not factor into the layout numbering.

Updating and Refreshing External Content

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.51.25 AMDo you have trouble seeing the dwg’s, pdf’s and jpg’s placed from the file server onto your views and layouts? Does your drawing manager look like the above image?

Assuming the file has not been renamed or relocated the solution is simple. Regardless, the problem is not with ArchiCAD, it is with your work stations connection to the file server. Your finder may be connected to the file server via short cuts or favorites, but unless the finder is connected directly to the Shared FS01 root, the path will go undetected in ArchiCAD and the external content will show as missing. The reason is ArchiCAD can not connect half way through the path name, and the first directory of the path is the WWA-FS01.

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The solution is as follows: go to the finder, connect directly to the FS01 server destination under shared. If you do not see the directory link, go to All… and connect to the FS01 server from that menu. Once connected directly to the server, go back to ArchiCAD’s Drawing Manager and Check Status and Refresh the missing drawing files.