Tag 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.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-10-31-24-am

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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Working with Sketchup + ARCHICAD

At last nights user group meeting there was a small discussion/aside regarding working with Sketchup & ARCHICAD. Since we have quite a few projects coordinating with Sketchup consultants I figure this is a good place to share that conversation and a few additional resources and thoughts.

First, the comment was made that a lot of the GRAPHISOFT Help Center content regarding Sketchup coordination is outdated. This is true, but ARCHICAD’s youtube channel has two very recent (AC17) videos that are still worth a quick watch:

In addition to these videos here are a few of my thoughts for best practices when working with Sketchup based consultants.


Saving to Sketchup from ARCHICAD:

  1. You must export from the 3D window of ARCHICAD
  2. Run a polycount (Window > Palettes > Polycount) before saving to sketchup
  3. Reduce the model area to the minimum necessary with a bold marquee + Show Selection/Marquee in 3D
  4. If the polygon count is too high, reduce the 3d content by turning off layers or isolating only critical content in the 3D window before saving
  5. After saving, you will have the option to turn layers or elements off, but it is best to check this before saving to ensure you are not turning critical model elements off
  6. Surfaces will be saved as part of the sketchup model, so when opened in sketchup it will look surprisingly similar to the original ARCHICAD view (this is not necessarily the case for bringing in SKP models).

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 2.45.36 PMOn a “quick” test of exporting I took a 3d view from my GDL sandbox file and had the following results:

  • 144 polygons     19+ minutes to save      29.8 MB SKP file
  • 86 polygons        8 minutes to save         17.5 MB SKP file
  • 55 polygons        6 minutes to save         12.9 MB SKP file
  • 16 polygons        10- seconds to save      2.7 MB SKP file

From this test it seems apparent that it is better to break the model into separate parts if necessary than to try to save as a single large model. For example you could have a site.skp, treesandplants.skp, building.skp, furniture.skp. If all exported models have a common 3d element or point it will be easy to reassemble the model on the consultants end. This will also make the SKP files more email-able.


Importing Sketchup Files Into ARCHICAD:

  1. It is absolutely critical to Merge the Sketchup file into a separate instance of ARCHICAD
  2. This separate test or sandbox file should use the template attributes to ensure any final elements pasted into your project will not pollute your file
  3. Sketchup objects imported into your project will come in as an object and will include their own attributes. These will be added as “from imported surface_…” named surfaces once the object is converted to morphs.
  4. Convert to morphs in the sandbox file and set to a generic surface from the template before copy/pasting into your project
  5. Sketchup objects turned to morphs should be used as a starting place or template for rebuilding using ARCHICAD tools such as walls, slabs roofs, or morphs. The original Sketchup morphs should then be deleted.
  6. Verify there are no SKP objects hanging around your embedded library after all Sketchup elements have been remodeled/reworked. These will add to file size and cause unnecessary library clutter. The consultants SKP file should live on the file server, so it can always be re-referenced into your model if necessary.