ACP | January 31, 2019

By Eric Bobrow

Feb 01
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Eric introduces SlackEric introduces Slack as primary and preferred method of communcation during the Coaching Calls - go to to enter your email and you will receive a verification email and instruction to connect - Coaching calls use the #coaching-calls channel. Eric demonstrates the connection process on screen later in the call at 38:450:00:00slack app
Malware attack on network - pln files have been damaged. Does not have back-up, but does have 3ds file - is it possible to bring the project back into ArchiCAD using the 3ds file.Eric starts by looking at the building sections in PDF to evaluation complexity of the project and explains hot the 3ds file can and cannot be used. Conceptually, 3ds files can be brought into ArchiCAD as Objects similar to manufacturer obects - sinks, lamps etc. Once brought into ArchiCAD as an object, you can see it, but the object cannot be traced or exploded, but it would still be helpful as a reference while rebuilding the model.0:02:18
Eric demonstrates how to bring a 3ds file into ArchiCAD. This requires 3d Studio plug-in for import and export. Going to Help>ArchiCAD Help. Searching for 3ds reveals that the 3ds plug-in can be found in the "Goodies for ArchiCAD". Download the appropriate version of Goodies and follow installation instructions. Exit out of ArchiCAD first because it must be restarted to recognize newly installed add-ons. Eric recommends just installing all the Goodies even though on the "3DStudio In" is all that is needed at this time. The caller is using AC22. Eric first opens a new project using the AC22 International Template. Eric recommends that external files you bring into ArchiCAD to be used for reference and tracing be placed onto a worksheet. Eric creates a new independent worksheet (Project Map>Worksheets>Rt Click on Worksheets and select New independent Worksheet...) and names it. Then he goes to File>External Content>Place External Drawing... Navigate to location of the external drawing. Eric places the external drawings (PDF and DWG) of the building's floor plan, provided by the caller. These drawings will be used to make sure the imported 3ds object has proper orientation and scale. Import the 3ds file - Go to File>Interoperability>3D Studio>Import 3ds as GDL Object... This will convert the 3ds file to a GDL Object and place it inside the embeded library. Now, the building object can be placed into the project, viewed in 3D, Section, Elevation and is also snappable but it cannot be exploded into 3D objects. Eric then shows how to use the dwg file and building object model together as reference to rebuild the model.0:07:30AC22, 3DStudio In, AC22 Goodies for ArchiCAD
TIP: Setting scale of external drawingsTip 1: When bringing in an external drawing be sure to check the scale of the external drawing before placing it on the worksheet; the scale of placed PDFs are set according to the drawing scale of the worksheet, dwgs will receive a prompt for you to set the drawing scale.
TIP: Exploding PDF into snappable lineworkTip 2: When using PDFs created directly from CAD programs they can be exploded into lines to allow snapping.
Generating views that are straigh or perpendicular to the sloped plane of a roofCaller wants to create views that are perpendicular to the roof planes to generate scaled roof templates for making a cutout cardboard model. Open a 3D view and make sure it is Axonometry instead of Perspective (view>3D View Options>Axonometry). Then select View>3D Navigation Extras> Look to Perpendicular of Clicked Surface. Now in the 3d window, click on the surface you want to view straight on. Information can now be selected inside the 3d window using the Marquee Tool and copied. To make sure the information is precise, change the 3D view options to Hidden Line - Vectorial (View>3D View Options>Hidden Line - Vectorial) Now when you select copy the Copy 3D Options dialog box appears. CHANGE the Copy/Save as: to "Scaled Drawing" and CHANGE Elements to copy: > Construction Elements: to Edges and click OK. Elements within the Marquee have now been copied to scale and can be pasted into any view that allows 2D elements.
Eric goes on to demonstrate how to set up a view and place the views on the sheet for the entire roof and isolated roof elements
0:40:253D View Options
3D Navigation Extras
Look to Perpendicular of Clicked Surface
Managing multiple buildings on multiple adjacent lotsCaller has 9 different houses on 9 adjacent lots all adjacent and in a row, and wants to know the best way to model the houses and site(s) so he can produce a single rendering showing all 9 houses at one time. Eric reviews cons to doing this all within a single PLN file - 1) The file will get bigger and potentially slow down the responsiveness. 2) On hilly sites, the elevations will not correspond to each other and your ground floor elevations will vary from building to building and your story structure will be fighting you instead of helping you. 3) Layout Book - how to manage all of the different drawings, especially if you have to issue separate building sets. Eric recommends developing the site in a separate pln file that will be referenced into each individual structure which is also developed in its own pln file. Eric explores two options for creating a single view showing all 9 buildings. 1) Hotlink the building model into the Site File or 2) Save each building as an object and place the object onto the site. Downside to creating an object of each building is that it will not automatically update in the site file, but each building can however be resaved as the same object thus when the library is updated and reloaded, the buildings in the site file will be updated.
Basic Hotlink Instructions: File>External Content>Place Hotlink - note a hotlink is typically an ArchiCAD file as opposed to a dwg or pdf. Select New Module>From File... then follow options for placing the hotlink file. Keep Elevation as in Story Structure of Hotlink Source will typically be best import option. Also be sure to select Skip Nested Modules to avoid circular referencing files.
0:53:03Place Hotlinks, Creating Objects
Classic Best Practices Course Week #18 - Complex Projects
18-5 Multi-Building Projecgts
TIP: Advantage of placing entire buildings as objectsAdvantage of having each building as a discrete object is that it simplifies ArchiCAD's book keeping process and ArchiCAD is not look at how to track each individual element of each building.
TIP: Advantages of using Hotlinked ModulesHotlink modules are great for bringing in snapable, editable things like the site into the building. But for visualization, using objects makes it more manageable.
Using the mesh to calculating the volume of excavationTest out the Information Palette then add the information into a schedule so it automatically updates. In 3D view Eric points out that when selecting an object a "square graphic" will appear and by clicking on the "square" it lists all of the Solid Element Operations acting on the selected object. If data needed is only cut, the simplest way to find this is use the Element Information palette (Window>Palettes>Element Information)1:13:20Element Information Palette
TIP: Mesh volume calculationsIn order for mesh to have a volume, it must be a Solid Body mesh as opposed to a Top Surface only, or with Skirt
Eric demonstrates how to properly create a Mesh before demonstrating how to calculate cut and fill.Eric suggests that the proper way to create a mesh is by first establishing a proper reference height for the mesh. This results in a thinner mesh, one more similar to what you would find in a table-top model. To perform cut and fill calculations you must have mutiple copies of the mesh and then use various SEO operations demonstrating the cuts and fills to produce the accurate volumes of earth removed and added.1:22:45Mesh Tool
Eric's hardware specs2017 MacBook Pro w/ i7 Processor, 16GB RAM and SSD - best I could get at the time1:38:38system hardward
3D GridlinesEric explains how to show the construction grid in different views. View>Grid & Editing Plane Options>Grids & Backgound... this allows you to edit how the construction grid, its background and size are displayed when turned on. To display the Construction Grid in 3D, you have to go to the View menu and turn on Editing Plane Display. Another way to further control the display of the Editing Plane is to go to Options>Work Environment>On-Screen Options and turn on Display Editing Plane during editing operations only.
For the Grid Element, the options to see the grid lines in section, elevation and 3D are found in the Grid Element Tool Settings dialog box.
1:39:45Construction Grid
Grids & Backgrounds
Work Environment
On-Screen Options
Grid Element Tool
Bringing in DWG into ArchiCAD fileBringing in DWG into ArchiCAD file is typically imported as a graphic in plan, elevation, section, worksheet etc. File>External Content>Place External Drawing… brings the dwg in as a 2D graphic. Alternately you can use File>External Content>Attach Xref.

To bring in a dwg in 3D, you go to File> Libraries and Objects>Open Object and then open the dwg and save it as an object.
Tip 1: DWG Import Options (External Drawing vs XRef)Importing a dwg as a placed drawing brings the dwg in as a single graphic without any layers whereas attaching it as an Xref brings in all of the dwg layers, which can then be turned on and off using the layer manager
Tip 2: Managing Layers in DWGFor dwg's brought in as placed drawings, layers can still be manged by going to the Drawing Selection Settings>Embeded Layers>Drawings Own Layers
Eric demonstrates how to place files into Dropbox and share a link1:50:35Dropbox
Aligning surface textures in 2D and 3DCaller has CMU walls and is able to align the CMU texture in 3D but is unable to align the texture inside the horizontal and vertical walls in plan. Wall is a composite wall using the Masonry:CMU building material. The cut fill used in the Masonry:CMU building material is CMU block 8X8X16 and the Fill Orientation is set to Element Origin. This particular fill is able to have the orientation set as Fit to Skin, however when changed, the cut fill fits neatly within the wall, but it is drastically out of scale in plan. Eric demonstrates how to adjust the scale of the fill and also how to create a custom symbol fill based off the CMU Block 8X8X16 fill already being used. The result is that this works in the plan view, and still works in 3D view, but was incorrect in section. Eric goes on to show how to create a complex profile wall that will fix the vertical joints in section, and can also be setup to align correctly in 3D, but the joints no longer show correctly in plan.1:55:25Building Materials
Symbol Fills
Creating custom fills
Custom Profiles
Working with slanted wallsEric demonstrates how to create and join slanted walls and how the degree of slant determines whether the wall slants inwards or outwards and also how the degreee of slant impacts the intersection with adjacent walls. To get the slanted walls to join with the vertical walls, Eric had to move one endpoint of the wall so the reference lines were no longer parallel. He then shows two options for inserting windows - associated (parallel) to the wall surface or vertical.2:30:17Wall Tool
Window Tool
Trimming walls to roofsProject has an inset wall trimmed by the roof above but the small triangular portions of the wall between the roof above and the adjoining side roofs are disapearing. Eric selects the wall and and can see it is extending outwrads further than is being shown in elevation. He clicks on the square box to show that the wall is in fact being cut by the two roofs above. when Eric selects the roof used for the SEO operation, it shows that the wall is being cut exactly in line with the roof pivot line. To fix the problem, Eric goes to the Roof Selection Settings dialog box, under the MODEL section he goes to Trimming Body and the roof is set to trim from the Pivot Lines down. Eric changes this setting to be Contours down and the disappearing triangular portions of the wall appear correctly.2:40:00Roof Selection Settings
Trimming Body
Solid Element Operations
Label with multiline textLabel Tool - Using label type "Text/Auto Text" multiple lines of text can be created by simply hitting the return key. For longer notes, using the option for resizing will automatically adjust the note to wrap on multiple lines.
Using the Generic label, the label content can be controled in the Label Selection Settings dialog box. Using the SYMBOL LABEL CUSTOM SETTINGS>Define Label Content: the content of the label can be adjusted by checking and unchecking different items. Eric demonstates how the label responds to custom text by adding a sentence to the 'Custom Text' option. The text entered is wrapping, so how the label knows how to wrap is based on the Text Width of Names and Text Width of Values found in SYMBOL LABEL CUSTOM SETTINGS>General Settings: inside the Label Selection Settings dialog box.
2:47:35Label Tool
Text/Autotext Label
Generic Label

About the Author

  • ScottMenard says:

    Eric, the January 31, 2019 recording is actually the 2020 Course Intro.

    • Eric Bobrow says:

      Scott – Thanks for catching the issue. The video on the page was correct, however the download link was not. I have corrected this, and the download link should work properly.

  • EricGedney says:

    Learned something new about using Renovation status to create schemes by “pinning” certain items to a status. Might be of some use, but this would be easier if AC allowed more than just the 3 Filter settings. It seems that they just build in a work-around? Good technique to know anyway. Thanks for that.

    • Eric Bobrow says:

      Eric – Yes, it would be a big improvement if there were more than three status tags (Existing, Demo and New). Note that you can have as many Filters as you want; pinning is connected to one of these Filters, rather than a Tag.
      – Eric

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