Tag Archives: gsm

Sketchup as GDL

A while ago I gleaned a bit of GDL object advice from Nathan Hildebrandt from Fulton Trotter. He suggested saving a 3d model from ARCHICAD to Sketchup, then merging it back in as a GDL object. I think his use of this method is more large scale context elements, but I want to focus on smaller/simpler objects. I’ll get to the advantages of this in a minute, for now here is the process:

Create your object using morph, wall, slab, beam, column and roof elements as you would any other 3d GDL element. Make sure all surfaces are properly placed and aligned. Place the main image surface’s element and origin point at 0,0,0 xyz coordinates. When you go to save it, rather than saving a GDL from the library menu, save as an SKP from the File > Save As menu.
Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 8.13.50 AM

Next import the file back into ARCHICAD using the File > File Special > Merge command. See the article on working with Sketchup for more detailed advice on this process.

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Now for the advantages of this method of saving objects. The first advantage is you do not need image specific surfaces, once the Sketchup file has been imported the surface can be deleted, all surfaces are embedded in the object (but will be added back to the attributes if you convert the object back to morphs). The second advantage is, since the surfaces are part of the object and not pulled from the attributes, you do not need to worry about alignment of the surface to the object, it will always maintain proper surface position. The final advantage of this object type is the image will scale automatically with the image size. With a normal surface based object you would need a separate surface for each different sized element.

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Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 8.12.50 AM

So what would we use this trick for? As I said, I think Nathan’s Tweet was suggesting this solution for whole buildings & context, which is a good solution if we need detailed context without bringing in additional attributes. I like this solution for things like TVs, pictures, posters, signage, rugs, etc. Any element with a non-repeating pattern or surface that will be placed multiple times and resized could benefit from this object type.

Now for the disadvantage(s). Unlike a traditional object type, the surfaces do not seem to be editable once the SKP file is merged. All scripts seem really basic for an object like this, so I am working on solving this problem to allow some surfaces to have an adjustable parameter, and will follow up with a post or sample script when I solve this final piece.
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Recently we were looking for parameters for a door schedule, but could not find them in the standard schedule scheme settings. If this happens they most likely will be located in the additional object parameters or the additional IFC properties.

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In the schedule Scheme Settings, click the down arrow to the right of the “Add” button (bottom left corner of the dialog box. This will give you a search box for the above mentioned additional parameters/properties. Virtually anything in an objects selection settings and IFC settings can be scheduled, you just need to find the object within the additional object parameters menu.

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A quick way to find these objects is to be sure to save the object as a favorite, or to use the appropriate favorites from the start. By using the favorites and having the correct favorites palette loaded you will be able to search for specific objects by the favorites list. Once you have the object selected it is a simple task to search through the schedule-able fields and find the category you want to add. If it shows up in an objects selection settings dialog box it should show up in the favorites Additional Object Parameters dialog box.

The parameters we were searching for were the “User Defined” elements of a Cadimage door. Using these, rather than the default “Custom Text”, we were able to have custom fields that tied directly to the door object rather than a global Custom Text. These User Defined list items were located in the favorites list under the Cadimage Door object.Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 10.54.44 AM