Category Archives: Libraries

The Often Neglected Basic Shapes

I think the Basic Shapes often get ignored. These library parts are great as place holders or substitutes for tedious to model objects, basic element massing, or even final model elements. The grid object is great for register and vent grills and grates, drain screens, ceiling grids, trellis elements and more. Some of the other shapes can be used as object massing, or even a starting place for generating custom objects. Creating curved elements directly with the morph tool is possible, but they typically turn out blocky and faceted looking. Starting with a Cylinder, Cone or Sphere allows you to set the resolution of the curves, then convert to a morph to edit or incorporate with other morph elements.


Some of the objects in this folder may be useless and tacky (the House Model & Conceptual Tree Model for example), but most of these elements can be a dynamic part of modeling complex model elements or even schedule-able place holders for elements that we may not see in the model; such as hidden appliances and plumbing accessories. I recently used a few of these elements to model an exposed sink trap for a bathroom, and it was much faster than trying to build it with beams and columns or morph elements.

The last thing to consider is that these objects often have settings beyond the obvious. Some have settings for adjusting number of faces, curve resolution, overall and individual dimensions. This allows a polygon prism object to accomplish a wide range of geometries, for massing elements as well as trimming elements as a dedicated operator.

Just keep this little library folder in mind next time you are considering building a new custom object, fixture or accessory.

Custom Door Leaf Naming

A few projects have suffered from what seems like a glitch in Cadimage Doors; where the custom settings disappear when you select a custom door leaf, or even select the door leaf tab.

If your door settings look like this, I have a solution for you:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.01.56 AM

Door Settings are Missing!

The problem is the naming of the custom door leaf. This door leaf does not need to be applied to the door to cause the glitch. Any component accessible from the elements settings can cause this “glitch”. That is any custom door leaf, window sash, or hardware component. It is caused by the use of special characters in the object/component naming. Special characters should be avoided in all aspects of ARCHICAD, that includes external images, external drawings, attributes, views, etc. A special character is anything except Alphanumeric Characters and the dash or underscore. “,.+#%%@’;:/\?<>!* are all prohibited in library manager content.

By looking at the library manager, I can quickly find the offending component and delete it or rename it:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.02.21 AM

25% door 12″ Wide is not an appropriate name for several reasons

Now when I refresh the libraries and go back to my door settings, I can access all door settings:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.02.48 AM

Problem Solved!!!!!!

New HVAC Library Symbol

A note to Model Managers & Job Captains; our library has a new object that will replace several non-dynamic drafting symbols. The new object is dynamically resizable, and retains a constant arrow size. It has separate pens for the symbol and for the arrowhead, and includes all supply & return symbols. The old symbols will be excluded from the WWA Library 20, so if you have not started adding register symbols to your RCP and Floor Finish plans, use this new symbol instead. If your plans already include the previous 6 symbols, we will create an archive library or load them into your embedded library when the time comes to move into the next version of AC (just look forward 6 or 7 months).

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 5.50.27 PM

This single object may develop into a 3d/2d combined object, with controls to turn the 3d component off. For now it is a more versatile version of the collection of 6 mechanical symbols already used in most of our projects.

WWA Library 19 ALERT!

I have made a major change to our custom library for AC19 that will most likely result in missing objects for most project teams.

Our “People Objects” have ranged from mediocre (and high polygon) to embarrassingly bad. To eliminate the intrusion of these distracting objects in our projects I have removed them from the WWA Library 19.

Please use the 3D People Silhouettes from now on; as this will be our modeling/drawing standard.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 12.25.31 PM

Other Library Parts- Use the Lamps

The libraries primarily contribute to the object tool. But libraries contain a lot more than just objects. There are images that are applied to attributes and other classifications of GDL parts not accessible by the object tools settings.

Some of these “Other GDL” parts are components, or objects that can be applied to another object. Most of us are familiar with creating custom door leafs and window sashes, these are components of the door and window tool. But there are other classifications too, elements saved to the library that can be applied to many other tools.

One example that many are not aware of or do not think about, is the lamp tool. Lamps are just GDL objects that have been saved with a subtype that restricts access to the Lamp tool settings, rather than the Object tool. Some of these lamps are basic light sources, great for renderings. Others are actual fixtures, usually very generic in shape and appearance. These can be a great resource into creating a convincing image or rendering without spending the time to model or find a generic shaped lamp. As an added bonus, these objects almost always have a light source, intensity and color associated with them. This can greatly improve the results of your rendering when the lamp settings are turned on in the rendering settings palette.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.26.56 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.27.59 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.28.20 AM

Some of the lamps that work very well for generic visualization purposes are the ceiling fixture, pendant fixture and sconce lamps. Other lamps in the default libraries do not have many shape options other than size and surface.

Error Reports

This is something that we all deal with, and I think most of us ignore. THE ERROR REPORT!!!!! It can seem daunting to try to understand why this comes up or what it means. I did write an article on this before, but I’d like to boil this down to the root cause & solution in a little more detail here. The error report can come up for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:

  • Missing attribute (typically fills) of an object
  • Missing macro part of an object (less common with our latest library version)
  • Invalid or inverted geometry, typically a slab or roof but often caused by the Cadimage Coverings

So why do we need to pay attention? Because these corrupt or un-processable elements can cause major file slow down or crashes! More than that, its annoying to have these messages come up every time the 3d window is refreshed.

And now the solution, how do we fix a file with an error report? It is usually very simple. If the error report comes up in the 3D window, open the 3D window, review the Report window, and scroll to the bottom. The report is a list of everything that has been (or is not able to) be processed in a given view. It will typically show problematic elements last, so they will be at the end of the list.Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.43.38 AM

In the image above, I loaded a handful of objects with known problems and placed them in the model to force the report. The first outlined section shows the object names that can not be fully processed. The next section shows the library part with Element ID CAB-15 CAB-13. If the element causing problems is not a library part, the report will not give the first outlines section, but will report the element ID of problematic elements.

To fix this file  you only need to do a find and select for the element or objects name or element ID. If the error states that the object “Can’t find Macro:” the solution is to replace it with a good object. If it states that a polygon is degenerated the slab or roof just needs to be inspected for bad or odd geometries (look for groups of nodes that shouldn’t be there). If the report states that a fill is missing, do a find & select for the element ID or Name and replace the missing attribute. After this you should be able to refresh the view without the error report resulting.

Keeping it Clean- Part II

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of cleaning up and managing/eliminating duplicate objects. Today I want to cover missing objects. Although less problematic in terms of file operation, speed and consistency of element settings, it does cause a library loading report every time you open a file or refresh the libraries. Additionally, it means you have placed elements or active attributes that are missing or have missing components. This could mean incomplete drawings or incorrect attributes, but most likely it just means something was removed from the library manager and not tracked through the project.

To remove missing objects you need to either track down the missing elements from the model and replace them, or add the missing objects back into the library manager. Option 2 is always simpler, as you can search the file server and most likely find the element in question and add it back to the embedded library.

In the following example that was not an option. We had to back save a file to 17, migrating to 18 was causing problems that were resolved by working in 17 at the time. Because of this back and forth the windows had been changed from 17 to 18 and back to 17. Some of the windows and doors were still using the Cadimage 18 parts, but that library was not loaded and wouldn’t work for AC17 anyway. These objects needed to be replaced with functional 17 windows.

To find these objects in the model I set the plan view layers to all on and the renovation filter to show all. Next I set up a find and select to find all windows whose library part was Missing.Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.52.13 AMBecause the plan was so cluttered with all layers on it is not obvious when I found and selected the offending window(s). But by turning on the Element Information palette I could quickly see how many windows were selected on a floor by floor search.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.52.55 AM

Once the Element Information has a hit, isolate the problematic object in 3D to delete or replace as needed.Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.53.13 AMThe result is a clean library loading report with no missing objects!

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.53.20 AM    Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.53.25 AMLibrary Loading Before Clean Up                             Library Loading After Clean Up