On Land

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At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. 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.
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New in 11 Archive
Ceiling Switch
In Model View Options
Location: 01 General / 2 Drawing Tools

Among the least heralded new features of Archicad 11, tucked into the bottom of the Model View Options dialog, is the modestly named 'Story Viewpoint Type'. Not heralded at all, in fact; there's no mention of it in the New Features Guide. I understand why they don't want to call it out too loudly. Its impact is rather narrow, and the Archicad library itself makes very limited use of the feature.

Right, what is it. It's the long-awaited (by me) environment switch to put the floor plan window in 'Ceiling Plan' mode. Wouldn't it be nice if things could draw themselves dashed in plan and solid in RCP or vice-versa. Less tracing, less maintenance, more unity. This is a pet issue of mine, so I'm happy to see it, even in its narrow, modest, unheralded current state. I'm calling it the 'ceiling switch' because no one knows what 'Story Viewpoint Type' means.

The switch gives the opportunity to have objects draw themselves one way in plan and another way in RCP. But: Only objects, which includes doors, windows, and lamps. It does not apply to regular modeling elements such as slabs and beams. Keep hope alive.

I've made several objects which take advantage this tech, and I plan to retrofit more as we go.

Ceiling Line JM11

The first one is, a line! Haha! I know, if things are more unified you should draw... less! It's ironic. But there's more to come and this serves to illustrate the basic idea.

Ceiling Line parameters
There are four parameters; a pen and linetype for plan, and a pen and linetype for RCP. Any of the parameters can be set to "0", which means the line will be drawn using the object's settings (the pen and linetype shown in the Info Box). You would either have the plan use the object settings and customize the RCP, or the other way around. (Don't pay attention to all that 'Missing' and 'Transparent' stuff. It's just how AC interprets the zeroes.)

Linetype tile
Using the default settings as an example, the object is set to use the 'Dense Dashed linetype, and the Plan Linetype is set to "0", so the line will be drawn with 'Dense Dashed' in plan. The RCP Linetype is set to 1 (Solid Line), so in ceiling mode it's drawn solid.

You could do the reverse: Let the RCP use the object settings and customize the plan parameters. Either way.

What's it for? Roof overhangs. You have to draw them anyway, because showing the roofs themselves is a mess. Use this object instead of a line, and get the overhangs in plan and RCP simultaneously. And: Miscellaneous ceiling lines such as those in an attic.

Template Changes

We need a new layer, which is A Ceiling All. This layer shows in plan, RCP, and all the model combinations.

To handle the ceiling switch itself, we need a new Model View Option combination, which is A4 RCP. In previous versions, the RCP used A4/S0/M/P; now that one's just S0/M/P. When migrating a project, you'll need to create this model view combination and assign it to the RCP views.

The workflow: Build the model, fill it with information, decide what you want to show, and get the drawings out as automatically and predictably as you can.

We want to focus on the model; that's where the building is. We want the output to just work. Modeling and annotation is craft. Output is for robots.

This duality is evident in pen handling. We have a lot of pen sets, but it boils down to working and output.

Output pens have to look right when the work is done. Their settings are driven by graphical criteria, much of which predate any use of computers. Working pens are there to help the user interact with the project.

These two purposes have nothing to do with each other, and in our standards the two types of sets are radically different in appearance: Mostly black for output, and as many colors as we can find for working. I'm not going to work in black and I'm not going to print in color.

In moving between model work and layout work, the pens need to cooperate. Hooking pens to views breaks the flow.

The classic case is when you're viewing a drawing and see a problem that must be fixed in the model. There's a great shortcut on the drawing elements' context menu, 'Open Source View', which takes you directly the viewpoint in question and sets the view options accordingly. If you have a pen set hooked to your view, you're looking at output pens in a model situation. You can change them manually or just squint while you fix the problem(s). This is output criteria interfering with model work and it's just wrong.

Summary: No pen sets in views. Output pens go with the drawing element.

There's no question AC has too many things in too many places. It's hard to remember where along the assembly line something gets bolted on. Is vectorial hatching a 3D window setting, a viewpoint setting, or a model view option? (Yes, yes, no.) Is a glitch in the output due to the model, the viewpoint, the view settings, or the drawing element?

It is a continuing frustration that the view settings don't include everything related to model display. But pens are different. Let the drawing element handle it. Tips:

• The drawing tool can have favorites. Set faves for drawings which need different pen sets.

• You should have a pen set column in the drawing manager.