Tag Archives: Fills

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.


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.


Selected Gradient Fill

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


Enlarged Gradient Fill

Keeping it Clean Part III: The Sandbox

You may recall the posts on keeping your library clean; here and here. But maintaining a clean, legible, and highly functional BIM file is more than just library management. It is also awareness of the attributes, and keeping those properly organized, sorted, named and vetted.

When creating an attribute it should be named and numbered appropriately for clear function, intent and organization. But attributes can become polluted, just like the libraries. This happens when bringing in downloaded objects which contain their own attributes or new attribute references, or when copying/pasting content from one ARCHICAD file into your working project.

Attributes are almost certainly going to come in in either case. So you can either bring the content in, then fix the libraries and attributes, or you can create a quick sandbox to preview and pre-clean the content.

To do this, simply select file > new, and set the resulting window use the latest project settings and launch in a new instance. This ensures the attributes and settings will match your current project for assessing the damage of copy/paste before traumatizing your project.Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.27.13 PM

Once the content has been pasted or added to the sandbox file, review the embedded library for stray or polluted content, and the attribute manager for content that came in with the content.

In the attribute manager, look for any attributes (typically under lines, fills and surfaces) that have come in with the paste. These will typically show at the bottom of the list when sorting by attribute ID. Look for attributes with big gaps in ID sequence, or attributes underlined or italicized in the case of teamwork projects.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.08.01 PM

Once these attributes have been removed in the attribute manager, simply search for any content with missing attributes (find & select works wonders for this), and reassign attributes that will copy/paste into your working project file.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.09.54 PM

This is a little work up front, but will save tons of time on the back side trying to make sense of the project attributes and figuring out which attributes your project needs and which ones came in through sloppy copy/paste practices.

Lines, Polylines and Fills

2D elements are essential in many places through out a BIM project; everything can’t be modeled or derived from a model element. We have several tools to compensate for non-modeled elements, but the three that are most prevalent are the line, polyline and fill tools.

It is critical to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. So here are a few highlights of what each tool can do and where they should and should not be used.


Lines are individual segments. These segments are selected individually, unless grouped. If the line segments are grouped they can not be edited unless grouping is suspended (after selecting the group). Because of this limitation, lines should seldom be used for plan, section or elevation graphics or detail elements. They should never be used where a continuous drafted element with a single line weight is being represented (elevation over drafting for example).

Lines should be used for plan symbols of GDL elements (in the GDL editor), drawing 2d pieces of a GDL element or component, or where any drafted element is a single segment or a multiple line segment which changes line weights along its length or perimeter.

All Edit>Reshape functions work with lines, which makes them preferred over polylines for single segments.

Lines can be consolidated by using the Edit > Reshape > Consolidate Linework function. This will eliminate overlapping lines and convert separate lines along a single vector into a single line segment. Lines can also be converted to polylines by using the Edit > Reshape > Unify function. This will convert any connected line or arc segments into a single polyline element.


Polylines have an advantage over lines, in that they are a continuous vector. This means you can select the entire polyline assembly with a single click. Polylines should be used for any drafted detail element, elevation or section over-drafting or non-modeled plan element or annotation.

Polylines do not work well for plan symbol portions of a GDL object or component. Lines and arcs should be used for this purpose.

Polylines have a few disadvantages. The most prominent two are that the intersect function does not work with polylines (all other reshape function work just as they do with lines), and the line weight needs to be continuous for the entire element.

Polylines can not be consolidated using the Edit > Reshape > Consolidate Linework function. Attempting a polyline consolidation will result in the polylines being converted to individual line & arc segments, which can then be consolidated, then reunified into a single polyline by using the Edit > Reshape > Unify command. Alternatively polylines can be consolidated by selecting and unifying. This will turn overlapping or abutting polylines into a single polyline. If the polyline has arrows they will be turned off once it has ben unified.


Fills with a border pen can be used in details in place of polylines in most cases. The only place polylines should be used in place of fills for details is where the line is not a continuously looped segment. Fills can be used to define the drafted perimeter of an interior elevation, with an integrated mask for cut elements. Fills should not be used to draw the drafted outline of an exterior elevation, however, since these are usually partial segments only.

Fills can be used as GDL plan symbol elements, and should be part of the plan symbol to create a mask ready object, as well as a single click selectable object.

Fills have very limited reshape functions; stretch, resize, split and offset are the only functions that can be applied to fills.

Also worth mentioning for fills is the ability to consolidate fills with the Edit > Reshape > Fill Consolidation function. This feature gives options for unifying overlapping or abutting fill elements.


If you are using Cadimage Roof Coverings in AC17 you may find it a little tough to figure out where the cover fill settings are located. Like most Cadimage tools, the Coverings tool has a lot of depth, which also means it may not be immediately obvious where the settings are. The first thing you need to do is verify the box for Use Same Pen in Plan and 3D is not checked. This is under the Display Options > 3D + Section tab.Display 3d

Next Verify that cladding is available to show on each floor option (home story, above, and below). Please note that this does not guarantee that the covering object WILL show on these stories, it just makes options for view settings available for each of the 3 view options.Display Plan View

Lastly you will need to define how the cover fill is represented on each of the three view options. In the third image you will see the options for applying fills to Plan View – Home Story, Above and Below Home Story. If the check box from the first image IS checked (Use the Same Pen…) these options will not be available.

Cladding fills

You can save the fill and pen settings set for one of the views and apply them to all three if they need to match, rather than recreating these settings for all view types.

It is also worth mentioning, for those using AC18, the fill type by story location settings are not available; or if they are I have not found where they are relocated to in the new Cadimage Coverings for 18. You can still set the cladding to show or not show in Home, Above and Below, but the fill type by location from the third image seems to be missing or relocated.