On Land

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At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on macOS. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.
September 2006 Archive

Location: 01 General / 1 Graphic Symbols

A custom drawing title object for plans only. It's very similar to the old Drawing Title RND 9a.

As you know, in AC10 we use the new automatic drawing title marker objects. All drawings except full size plans should use the automatic titles.

Why do plans still use an object? Because we want the titles to stack through the sheets, and the best way is the multi-story feature of conventional objects. There's no easy way to align elements across layouts.

Since we're sticking with the object for plans, and not using the object for anything else, I decided to optimize the object for plans, so here we are.

Story Setup
It knows what kind of plans we usually have. (Architectural, RCP, Electrical, etc.) It knows roughly what stories we use. You tell it what kind of plan it is (it can be custom), and what stories you have, and what the stories are called. It places the appropriate titles on each story.

In the templates, there is one of these guys for each plan. In setting up the project, you need to set up the plan titles. For example, turn the attic off if there's no attic. The best way to do this is all at once: Turn all the note layers on, select all the title objects, and change their story setup.

The different names for a given story are all hooked together, so if you turn 'Main Level' on, 'First Floor' will switch off.

Place the object on the lowest story that is in use. If that's the basement, turn 'Basement' on. If not, turn it off and 'First Floor' will take its place. Etc.

The integrated layout book in AC10 makes it even easier to start layouts in advance, in the templates, and have them nearly 'just work'. All the common layouts (that I can think of) are blocked up in the project templates. Developing the layouts consists mostly of framing the plan, tuning up the section/elevations, and arranging the drawings on the sheets.


I inherited a project where an important dimension was supposed to be 12'-9" and instead it was established as 12'-9 9/64". The fraction rounds to 1/8", which resolves in the dimensions (12'-9 1/8"), so I have to fix it or customize the dim text, which would violate various Prime Directives.

And it's my fault I didn't catch it before adding all the pretty bits, which now have to be dragged and stretched by 9/64". But the point is that a project shouldn't leave schematics which such imprecisions.

It's just as easy easier to build precisely: Start, shift or guideline, 'R', value, done.

It doesn't mean you can't be sketchy in AC. Just rationalize the measurements before/as you go to DD. Even if you're not doing the CDs, be considerate of your colleagues and tighten up the model before it gets crazy-complex.

It is much more comfortable to work in a model that is precisely done. The mind becomes accustomed to seeing the nice round fractions, so when there is an ugly number, it gets your attention.

Eighths in dimensions at 1/4" scale make us look silly to the builder, except in rare circumstances. Unless you're talking about a funny angle, 1/8" has no effect on the design, and it will be ignored, unless chuckled at.

And no, you can't change the dimension standard to 1/4", because if your model is sloppy, the sloppiness will manifest as rounding errors rather than random eighths.

If the model is precise, the dims will take care of themselves, and you will have more time for other things.

So please model precisely, from the beginning. Banish all but the specialest eighths, and most of the quarters. Halves are OK... big and almost round.

One more thing. When you have 9/64" in a measurement, it's your fault. AC does not make these mistakes by itself, at least not as near the origin as we work. No mystery, just fix it and move on to something more interesting.



Stingray. Boy you never know.

A subtle but powerful feature tweak in AC10 is the addition of the 'Previous' option for ghost story display. Very simply, it shows the last story you were on as ghost.

Now you can go back and forth between the basement and first floor, e.g., while always keeping the other story in sight.

Here's a somewhat lateral tip. Use previous to show either the story above or below without using the Stories or Go To Story dialog at all. To show the story above as ghost, just go up and then immediately down (Cmd+6, 5). For the story below, down then up. Very quick, and habit-forming.