December 27, 2006

Wall Corner Condition - Plan Modifiers

With some additional help from John Mumaw in a follow up reply to the Wall Corner Condition thread in the Autodesk Architectural Desktop Discussion Group, I was able to get wall modifiers to work in creating a projecting brick pier at an outside corner intersection of two walls. See this post for a description of another way to do it with Wall Endcaps. The image above shows the desired end result.

Here are some tips for using plan modifiers for achieving the results above. Credit goes to Mr. Mumaw for most of what follows.

  1. You will need to draw your walls so that the graph lines extend past their intersecting point, then use a cleaup radius to get the walls to clean up.

  2. Do not make the modifiers the exact size you need, as that results in the "interesting" results shown below. Notice the "leaking" brick hatch and extra Shrink Wrap/Component line.

  3. Instead, make the modifiers some distance longer that you need. You will then need to draw the walls that same extra distance beyond the projection, and the wall cleanup will take care of the "extra" length. I chose to use 2". The image below shows the two polylines I used to create the plan modifiers. Note that the modifiers have not yet been applied to the wall shown in this image, which was drawn from left to right, so the modifiers are at the start of this wall. The brick polyline starts at the outer face of brick, offsets up 8", runs 2" longer than the desired pier length, for a total of 4'-10" and runs back 8" to the brick face. The air gap polyline is offset 4" from the brick polyline, so that the 4" width of the brick is maintained and the start and stop points are at the outer face of the air gap component.

  4. If you apply the modifiers to a stand-alone wall, a cleanup error will result. This is not a cause for alarm, as this technique only works when the wall cleans up with another wall.

  5. To create the plan modifier from the drawn polyline, select the wall along which you drew the polylines, right click and choose Plan Modifiers > Convert Polyline to Wall Modifier... from the context menu.
    Choose whether or not you want to save the polyline, then give the modifier a meaninful name.
    Verify that the correct component is indicated in the Add Wall Modifier dialog, and make certain that the Offset Opposite Face toggle is NOT checked.

  6. The plan modifiers will be attached to the wall you selected. If this wall will be used as one of your corner walls, select the wall, right click and choose Properties. On the Design tab, in the Advanced category and Worksheets subcategory, click on the Plan Modifiers worksheet and check the settings for your modifiers. If your wall style is created like the out-of-the-box wall styles, with the first component at the outside component and the last component to the inside, then you will want the modifiers to be attached to the left face of your components, with the Mirror X and Measure to Center toggles unchecked and the Mirror Y and Use Drawn Size toggles checked. The Start Position Offset for the Brick component should be 0 from the start of wall; the Start Position Offset for the Air Gap component should be the width of the brick component from the start of wall, 4" in this case. If you drew your polylines at the end of a wall, rather than the start, the Air Gap Offset would be -4" from the end of wall.

  7. If your pier is symetrical, you can use the same plan modifiers for the other wall. Make note of what end of the wall you need the modifiers, start or end. Then select the wall, right click, choose Properties and open the Plan Modifiers Worksheet. Add the modifiers already created by choosing the appropriate name and component, then making certain to check the toggles as noted above. Use a positive offset for the Air Gap component when placing the modifier at the start of wall and a negative offset when placing the modifier at the end of wall.

  8. The image below shows two left justified walls. The vertical wall was drawn from bottom to top and the horizontal wall was drawn from left to right. The wall modifiers shown above have been added to the end of the vertical wall and the start of the horizontal wall. The Graph Display Representation is toggled on so you can see that the graph lines of the two walls were extended 10 total inches beyond their intersecting point, 8" for the brick offset plus 2" for the extra length at which the plan modifiers were drawn. A cleanup radius of 1'-6" was added to each wall at the intersection end so that the walls would clean up with each other, giving the desired result. The minimum cleanup radius here would be 10 times the square root of 2 inches, which you could get by using the grip to stretch each radius to the endpoint of the other wall's graphline.

  9. You can use other justifications besides left, but you will need to increase the cleanup radius accordingly. Keep in mind that the larger the cleanup radius, the greater the chance that there will be a problem with other walls close to the corner. The images below show baseline and right justified walls using the same modifiers, but with larger cleanup radii to compensate for the greater distance between the graphline endpoints. Note also that the graphline endpoints remain 10" beyond the outer face of the wall.

December 16, 2006

Wall Corner Condition

I was reading a thread titled Wall Corner Condition in the Autodesk Architectural Desktop Discussion Group in which "adtcad" posted an image of a multi-component wall where the brick offset at an outside corner on both walls, and asked how to achieve that result. The image below is similar to the one attached by "adtcad". (Click on any image to see a larger version.)

John Mumaw suggested using plan modifiers. Not having much opportunity to do so as part of my work, I took the opportunity to explore his suggested method and failed miserably. I am hoping that he or someone else with extensive plan modifier experience can post a working example of his approach so that I (and others) can reverse engineer what was done and add another weapon to my ADT arsenal.

Undeterred, I fell back on a technique that I have had many occasions to use, wall endcaps. One feature of wall endcaps with which you may be unfamiliar is the option to set a "return offset" on the Dimensions tab when editing a Wall Endcap Style. If you provide a positive number, the endcap moves away from the end of the wall, toward the middle of the wall. A negative number, on the other hand, will move the endcap beyond the end of the wall, and is key to using wall endcaps to simulate cleanup or to get wall components to offset at wall ends, as endcaps are not shown at wall ends that clean up with another wall.

I posted a sample file as a reply in that thread, which includes the walls that generated the image above, as well as the polylines I drew to create the endcap, as shown in the following image.

Note that the polylines all start and end on a line drawn perpendicular to the length of the wall, and that all of the polyline segments have a width of zero, except for the ones along the 45-degree angle. Zero-width segments will be drawn as component edges, when those are set to display. Segments with a width will not be drawn, creating an open condition at the component which can be used to simulate cleanup between walls that have adjoining endcaps.

I used the wall context menu Endcaps > Calculate Automatically to generate the Wall Endcap Style from the polylines I drew, setting it to be an override, as I chose not to make this the style's default endcap condition.

This will create the endcap, but not the offset, and will extend the wall used to create the endcap so that the endcap appears on top of where the polylines were drawn.

Then I opened the Style Manager and found my newly created Wall Endcap Style, under the Architectural Objects folder. In the sample file I posted, the Wall Endcap Style is called "CMU-8 Rigid-1.5 Air-2 Brick-4 Furring Four-Foot Brick Pier Open End Beveled - Projected 56 (End 1)". On the Dimensions tab, I set a Return Offset of -56", so that the entire endcap would project beyond the end of the drawn wall.
That much of a projection would not be necessary - if you keep the cleanup radii of both walls at zero, any negative projection would do - but I chose to do that so that the wall end has meaning, relative to the brick offset. If you look closely at the first image, you can see that I had the wall graph display toggled on, and the wall end occurs right where the brick offsets. The walls were drawn left justified, so the wall graph line occurs at the outside face of the brick.

Finally, I stretched the wall back down 56" to get the endcap back to its original position and added a second wall, applying the same endcap to the adjoining end.

Check out the Wall Corner Condition thread if you are interested in seeing the sample for yourself, or just to take a good, long laugh at my pathetic attempt to follow Mr. Mumaw's suggestion, as I left those in the file, as well.

December 12, 2006

Not Quite 7500...

...but really close. The official tally is in - 7447 total in attendence at Autodesk University 2006. That number includes 5166 attendees, 311 instructors, 648 Autodesk employees and 1322 investors, media, guests, exhibitors (from 89 companies), staff, and other attendees.

December 03, 2006

Agents of Change - Autodesk University 2006

I had the good fortune to attend Autodesk University 2006 as a last-minute substitute for someone else at my firm who was unable to go. AU returned to Las Vegas for 2006, but at a new venue, The Venetian. Despite a record-breaking number of participants - 7500 was the last number I heard announced - the facility was up to handling it, making an exception for Tuesday's lunch, when the exhibit hall was not yet open to help spread out the arrival time. No one seemed to miss the long haul that had to be made at previous Vegas AU's between the hotel and conference center at the MGM.

This year's theme was "Agents of Change", based on the idea that AU attendees tend to be early adopters of Autodesk's anually-changing software as they deal with the ever-changing challenges and opportunities in the world in general and their particular industries in specific.

This year not only the curriculum, but the physical location of most classes was broken up into industry-specific campuses. For example, the Building campus was located at one end of Level 3, and a lounge dedicated to the Building campus was located directly opposite the classrooms and staffed by Autodesk BSD employees armed with computers to demonstrate the BSD program offerings during the time that classes were offered. This made it much easier to find others in your discipline, both those you already knew and those you wanted to meet.

The Building Industry Main Stage presentation was held Wednesday morning. While I was glad to hear a renewal of the promise to continue developing both the Architectal Desktop and Revit platforms, I was annoyed at the ongoing marketing spin that equates "2D", "CAD drafting" and "AutoCAD for Architects" with Architectural Desktop and "3D" and "Building Information Modeling (BIM)" with Revit. I say that without any animosity toward the Revit product. The class schedule I inherited had mostly Revit or Revit-based classes and I came away impressed with Revit's capabilities. The main stage example for how you can leverage the Revit Building BIM model was the ability to link to 3ds Max and import the cameras and materials, then do renderings and light level analyses in 3ds Max. What a pity that "2D" Architectural Desktop can not do the same. I suppose they forgot that Architectural Desktop files can also be linked to Viz and Max and that, since the 2004 release, Architectural Desktop has shipped with VIZ Render.

Each industry group had its own reception in various venues on Wednesday evening. The Building reception was held at the JET Nightclub in the Mirage, billed on the invitation as "one of the coolest hotspots" and "architecturally stunning". I found it dark (save for pulsating lights on the main floor), loud, crowded and no more architecturally interesting than most any other night club I have visited. Everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves, so it is probably safe to say the problem was with me, not the event.

The Thursday evening entertainment was fantastic. Engineer/comedian Don McMillan was every bit as funny as he was two years ago, and the Blue Man Group performance was excellent. Autodesk's Shaan Hurley was chosen from the audience to "participate"; you can see photos in this article in his blog. You can find additional photos from AU 2006 in Shaan's AU 2006 Photo Gallery.

Overall, I had a great time at AU 2006 and came away with a lot of valuable knowledge. I was able to meet many people that I only "know" from the Discussion Groups or AUGI forums and chat with some of the people at Autodesk who help produce the software I use at work, Architectural Desktop. If you have a passion for one or more Autodesk products, I would highly recommend attending Autodesk University. At the Thursday night event, Lynn Allen announced that AU 2007 would also be held at The Venetian in Las Vegas, November 26 - 30, 2007. Mark your calendars and start working on a way to get there!