It often happens that you end up drawing a complicated polygon element with multiple different nodes independent or snapped to other elements. For example, you may be drawing a floor or ceiling plan with the slab tool, snapping to the face of framing. It usually happens that at least one node of the slab ends up snapped to an incorrect point of the wall.
In most cases, I just keep moving and come back and adjust that node after the geometry is fully placed. If it is one of the first nodes of the polygon, I have even just canceled the operation and started over.
But as is the case with ARCHICAD, there is always a better way!
To cancel the last placed node of any polygon element (Slab, Fill, Polyline, Line, Spline, Wall, Beam, Roof, Mesh, Shell and some Objects), you only need to hit the delete key once.
Typing the delete key can be repeated to cancel each previous nodes all the way back to the first placed node. Just keep in mind the minor efficiencies that need to be managed. If you end up undoing multiple nodes just to fix one node, it may be faster just to move on and adjust or hit esc and start over.
Today a file had mysterious missing walls and floors after the site had been inserted and trimmed to the building. After looking into it, the operator for the site trim was a slab the height of the building.
There are a few words of advice I will share with everyone regarding using solid element operators:
First, and most closely related to this issue is, that if you have a building element already in place (in this case the floor slab and basement walls) that can act as the operator, use it. It is not necessary to turn an operator off once the operation has been made, it can be part of the final building model and visible in all views.
Next, an operator that is not associated with a building element and is actually on the SEO layer should be as minimum as possible. As you may remember from the post on trimming door and window casings, we used a single plane morph object as the operator. The operator should be as simple as possible to perform its function.
The last note on using solid element operators is to use operators that relate only to their targets. As an example of this, we often see rafter tails trimmed by a profiled beam or wall. A rafter tail should never be associated as a target of an operator located on the other side of the building or along another wall line. In the image below Maggie has used a single operator for all rafters along each wall face, rather than selecting all rafter tails and all SEO beams and performing a single blanket operation.
When you edit multiple door and windows you can have unforeseen consequences. For example, if the window type and sash layouts are different, changes to the sash layout, surface or style may not be applied to all windows or all sash groups.
In the following screen shots you can see a change to the sash grid applied to a 2x wide sash window and a single width unit. Applying a sash grid to both window types simultaneously not only has no effect on the double width sash, but also causes an error message for degenerated polygons (The sash is part of the windows 3d script, but ArchiCAD basically doesn’t understand how to interpret it).
The solution is in the Find and Select function. By selecting all windows that are two sashes wide, or windows greater than 4′-0″ in rough opening width, and changing them first; then selecting all windows less than 4′-0″ in rough opening width and changing them separately you get all sashes matching. This is slightly more time consuming, but it does make the changes work the first time and avoids the error reports.
Also seen recently by project teams has been a universal change to the door hardware location in Cadimage doors, universally for all door types. The result was, unlike the windows, the hardware was correctly relocated, but the door frames adopted the frame settings of other doors. The solution is to change door or window settings by wall type as well as door or window type, when the wall type impacts the trim or reveal of the door or window settings.
This is yet another reason to become familiar with find and select and use it often. It is a great tool to speed up productivity as well as keep your model clean and error free.
I have a couple of quick tips on dimensioning tools and features that you may or may not know about. First is the “Dimension to Core” function in the dimension settings dialog box. If this is checked before (or after) placing a dimension that has been associated with a wall it will assign the dimension to link to the core elements of the wall only.
The next tip is automatically dimensioning the exterior of of your building envelope. Even with a complex building profile you can simultaneously dimension all exterior faces of your plan in one operation. First, set your dimension style to what you want to see in plan view, this can be done simply by selecting the “Face of Framing” dimension from the favorites. Next, select your exterior walls (see the post on Find and Select for the most efficient way to do this). Then open the Automatic Dimensioning dialog (Document > Document Extras > Exterior Dimensioning), set the dimension settings in the dialog to reflect the elements and geometries you are trying to dimension. The image below shows the settings that work well; note that “Dimension Structures” and “Dimension External Geometry” should not both be checked.
After clicking “OK” in the Automatic Dimensioning dialog box you simply have to give your dimension a reference line with a two click operation and an offset distance to place with a third click.
The Result is a fully dimensioned floor plan that needs little or no clean up. One thing to note is the “Dimension only the Core” in the dimension selection settings NEEDS to be selected before using the automatic dimensioning. Unlike an individually placed dimension, this is no longer an option for automatically placed dimensions after they have been placed.
Before I finish I will comment on the interior automatic dimensions; I don’t recommend this tool. I have never yielded satisfactory results without spending more time than if I just manually dimensioned the interior spaces. If anyone has experienced otherwise please share your process and maybe I’ll amend that statement and follow up with a recommendation on how to properly use the automatic interior dimension feature.
The Selection Set Pallet
The Selection set pallet is often forgotten; and its features have certainly been growing over the past few software versions. Look through some of the options available for editing multiple element types in one click. We can change multiple element types Layers, Pens, IFC function, Inter/Exter Location, Renovation Status and Structural Function.
The Renovation Status function is Incredibly helpful when assigning elements to be demolished early in a remodel project.
If you do not know about this pallet it can be accessed directly through your Info Box, it is the hammer icon to the left of your layer drop down. Play around with this if you don’t use it already, it is a huge time saver!
General Thoughts on Using Find and Select
The Find and Select Palette is a huge time saver in selecting, editing, deselecting and isolating objects. There are several great resources out there to learn the find and select tool better. Jared of Shoegnome wrote a post for Graphisoft’s blog that gives some great advice and tips on uses for the tool.
Graphisoft help center has the definitive resource on the features of the tool. If you get nothing else from this post, read that link and learn how to store, import and export criteria. This ensures that when you have a list of criteria that effectively makes a selection you need to repeat you will have direct access to it.
Why is Saving Criteria Important?
There are many reasons you may want to store and access criteria quickly. The example I came across today, and the reason for writing this post, is as follows: For a remodel job I found myself repeatedly selecting the “new” doors. This is a relatively quick criteria to set up. When I found myself selecting all new slabs and all new exterior walls it became clear that I needed some renovation specific criteria. For a project involving no renovation filter it is certainly less of an issue, but if you need to exclude cased openings or select doors on exterior walls only or select all furniture on a specific layer you can see why having some pre-saved criteria can be a significant time savings over the length of the project.
Take some time and play around with the selection criteria, read Jared’s post and improve your efficiency. Even if you “waste” 15 minutes getting to know the find and select function better it will save you hours in the end!