Saturday, January 29, 2011

Multiple Levels in a single Drawing File? Part 4 (updated)

Thanks for the feedback on the Multi-Level in 1 file approach.  I know it's not for everyone.  Some of you don't like messing with layers.  That's never been a drawback for me - I have aliased the Layer commands (were from ExpressTools) to quick shortcuts and use them alot as I work and have found it very efficient to do so.  (I've now incorporated those shortcuts into my Levels autolisp so you will have them if you ask for it (& provide email)).  Makes it quick to manipulate between layer set groups, or singles whilst I am working on different parts of a drawing.  However my ML system is tied to a layer set and that may be a drawback for some.   Some have asked for (& received) a sample file (you need to give me your email address - I will NOT publish online).  Maybe a system such as this could be incorporated into the product somehow like the Renovation set but I wouldn't like to see it get complicated.  I like it simple.  Along with my understanding of the roof object this has made residential work SO much quicker.

I should say this is for advanced users.  Beginners might feel a little swamped.  Email me for a sample!  I'm really only explaining my theory here as to how I set it up.  Now...

Did I mention that I use a different wall cleanup group per floor?  Again easy to create.  Open Style Manager, Drag Standard down until a + symbol appears at the mouse, let go and another cleanup group, nicely named 'Standard (2)' for the 2nd floor appears.  If you use something other than Standard for your walls then just copy that. I only just discovered the 'drag and let go' routine.  Makes it so easy!!  I then manually change my upper floor walls over to the new group.  Haven't thought of a way to automate that yet nor explored fully how the change to the cleanup's for walls at different Z levels  (version 2009) has made but it all works fine with the seperate cleanup group.  (As I often will use a similar previous drawing as a template for the next job, I will often have an existing wall to 'As Selected' right click on and draw with so it already has the cleanup group set.  i.e. I've changed to Level 2, the old level 2 is there off to the right and I click on a typical wall, right click and choose 'As Selected'

Stairs An additional item I need to share with you which require their own special treatment. My thoughts for handling stairs were along the idea of a spanning construct used with the Project Navigator but of course I can't bring stairs in at a different level.  Many have used 2 different stairs but I didn't want such a work-around.  I just wanted it to work and it again turned out to be easy to accomplish but you need to do a little work again in the Display Manager.  So here it is.   
By diving into the DM 'Sets' (see image) and adding a 2nd 'Set', copied of the 1st such as 'Plan', dragging 'Plan' so the mouse shows a '+' symbol and dropping I get a 'Plan (2)' set.  Perfect!  I can do this for however many different display styles I want for the stair utilising the OOTB ones preferably.  So Plan, Plan Presentation,  Reflected, etc.   If you want you can simplify and use the same 'Plan' display for all your different display's whether it be working plan or a reflected ceiling plan.

Now moving down to Representation by Object, scrolling down to 'Stair' and we do the same thing to add another display representation set but this is only going to apply to the stair.  Again this is done to the OOTB template and is quite easy to do, however most times I grab a similar project as a template and it's already set up.  Differently as done for the display representation 'Configuration', I am going to do a little more than just alter the cutplane however don't panic!  It's not complex.   So here we go.  

Selecting an existing display I want to copy for a 2nd floor and dragging down it becomes a new one with a (2) appended.  Ideal!!  Now we just need to scroll across and associate the (2) with the Display 'Set' (2) and unassociate the original with the (2) set.  Ok your way out and then draw a stair in a (Presentation) display.  Editing the style you should only see one set to alter (it's the bolded one). (2) should not be bold.  Now change your display set to a (2) and again edit the stair style.  If you made your changes correctly, you should be now editing a newly created display rep for the stair for the 2nd floor and whatever changes you make will only appear for the 2nd floor.  Now this makes it easy to set up a stair for ground floor showing the stairs going up and for the 2nd floor display with the stair going down!  Or however you like it to show!!  The final display changes can be done in the environment you are familiar with through working the style from the stair itself.  See these 2 images.

Viewports (update) will need to be adjusted for each level displayed. It's seems that if you have not changed a viewports display rep then it will be whatever your current model space is set to.  However if you specifically change the display rep inside a viewport, it will stay that way and not automatically alter (no idea what variable that is).  So if you are setting up a viewport for your 2nd floor, double click inside the viewport and change the setting to Medium Detail(2) or whichever you need. Then also change the Elevation setting and you are done.  If I use a previous job as my template these are already set though the 2nd floor level may be a little differerent height and may need to be altered.  - easy!

Stairs another way (PN & X-ref's).(update)

                                      James doesn't like manipulating layers and would like a 1 file system without having to manipulate layers.  He sent me a file showing a stair that displayed differently in response to it's elevation.  By setting the stair elevation to minus -2900 in the properties pallete, (as you would in an x-ref system for the 2nd floor plan) his stair changed to the 2nd floor display much as I show above but using the same display representation   He achieved this by altering the global  'Display Below Range' to   -2900 (normally set to -300) for that display rep.   Of course this requires the stair set at 2 different positions and doesn't work for a one file system, but may be of interest to those using X-ref's or the PN.  Interesting indeed but I haven't worked out all the ramifications.

Spanning Walls
If you have got a file from me and it has Plan Presentation (2) in the Display Manager under Representation by Object  - Walls, then it's not required except where I was trying for a spanning wall which needed, like the stair, to be able to be viewed differently from the 2nd level.  This would require a style over-ride for a style only used for spanning, or an object override.  I'll have to discuss this in another blog but you don't need this except if you are trying to avoid horizontal lines between same plane upper & lower walls in your elevations. Since I often use alive elevations (the model viewed from different sides with hidden lines) for sketch presentations I've tried to use this option.   I'm not sure it's successful but Watch this space !

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mult-Levels in 1 File?

Great to have some interest in this idea.  I've sent out files to some. If you haven't given me your email address I can't email you anything OR reply to you!! As you can see no one's email has been published so be confident I will protect your privacy.  I delete your comment rather than post it.   If you've tried to follow my online notes, it may be difficult and I may have missed things (hopefully not).  It's hard to anticipate everything about someone else's setup. 
 If I send you a file you can compare and see how it actually works (and it does) and, if it suits you, use my file for your template.  Feedback is welcome too.  
My intention is community as I like the open source idea.

This 2nd image is 3 storey for which I had to add another 'level' of commands for.

I'm presently working on a split level house which presents more challenges, some which should be simple to resolve and some are resolved because the typical wall style has it's cut plane over-ridden. I'm adding some extra commands to change the Z plane level without changing the Level you are working on so you can have different levels for the same 'Level'.  A 'Level' would correspond to those collection of levels you want viewed in the same plan view.
If you have specific queries feel free to post a comment but it's best I can send you a file to try it out.  If you are using ACA2011, I am sorry but it has BIG problems that will hopefully be addressed but it does significantly negate partially the reasons for Multi-Level in 1 File (rendering & memory issues).  I may post my totally negative blog review on using ACA2011. For the record my great increase in productivity is in using ACA2009.
And also I say again.  I promote this system for residential and small commercial work. Larger projects should really be done with the project navigator or at least X-ref's but I will be intereted to see how large I can get.  As computers increase in capacity, the size of file you can handle increases.
I keep intending to put some tut's on Youtube on the roof object, rendering and materials and this idea.  Now that I've published it I have to do it hey!  So much simpler to watch instead of just read.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Windows & cutplanes

David Koch - The Architects Desktop, has two excellant posts on getting windows above the cutplane to display, something I've always blundered through but his explanations makes it very simple to achieve at least my desired solution .
Displaying Windows above cutplane  and
ACA Wall settings at openings. (ok this one is not so simple to understand).

And whilst visiting here, David has a link to ACA / ADT scheduling resources that is very valuable.  He's captured wisdom from some great minds including his own and put them in one place. I can use schedules because of what I learnt from here.

David has help Paul Aubin with his latest update to the 'Mastering  ACA' series of books now called
The Aubin Academy Master Series: AutoCAD Architecture 2011

As Paul tells it, the bulk of the work for ACA has been done by David this time around and my thanks to David for all his efforts on continuing the education for ACA..

I've said before that I learnt how to use the Project Navigator after reading Paul's ADT2004 series and I dived in on a complex project on ADT2005 and was pleasantly surprised how it all came together so well.  Paul himself has some good movies to watch over at Autodesk Exchange, also a great resource.  So recommend Paul's work.

Hope the new year's looking good for you!