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Pen Standards

Anonymous
Not applicable
Just wondering what pen colour standards people are using in their offices for documentation. It is easy to find standard pens using a black background, i guess from autocad, but i cannot find any info on the internet what other people are using for white backgrounds?
40 REPLIES 40

Anonymous
Not applicable
You can find a copy of my pen table here.

It is a PDF attachment to the post.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Matthew wrote:
You can find a copy of my pen table here.

It is a PDF attachment to the post.
Thanks Matthew, gives me alot of ideas on how i might go about it. You must have taken some time to work all that out, very comprehensive.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Mark wrote:
Matthew wrote:
You can find a copy of my pen table here.

It is a PDF attachment to the post.
Thanks Matthew, gives me alot of ideas on how i might go about it. You must have taken some time to work all that out, very comprehensive.
It's been evolving for over ten years and incorporates ideas and practices from many clients. The PDF only covers the basic set of ArchiCAD 9 (building model) pens. There is a whole other side to this with the multiple pen sets in PlotMaker. This of course changes now with the integration of the two. Once I have the fully revised pen sets for AC10 I'll post an attributes file so people can try them out.

The details of the pen settings vary from firm to firm so take some time to work out what is best for your needs. The most important principle is to assign pens by their function (see the descriptions of pens 1-10). This has helped me (and my clients) in so more ways than I can say.

Scott Bulmer
Booster
Matthew, I'm sure you already know this but I wanted to mention or restate again that the pen sets DB have a description line for each pen weight. This is a great feature for larger offices where the pens (with descriptions added) spell out how to be used.

Scott
AC25 v. 4013 w/ MEP, Cadimage, Twinmotion 2020 using AC from AC6.0, 3.5 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 (OS X 10.15.7 Catalina), AMD FirePro D500 3072 MB, SSD, Artlantis 2019, Adobe CC. Used AC on both platforms.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Scott wrote:
Matthew, I'm sure you already know this but I wanted to mention or restate again that the pen sets DB have a description line for each pen weight. This is a great feature for larger offices where the pens (with descriptions added) spell out how to be used.

Scott
Yes, we are all eagerly using the new pen naming feature. Any way that project files can be self documenting is good, and this one is especially good.

__archiben
Newcomer
Scott wrote:
This is a great feature for larger offices where the pens (with descriptions added) spell out how to be used.
it's fantastic isn't it! whilst i was always in favour of assigning pens 'by function' in principle, expecting someone else to memorise my interpretation of how 256 different pens should be used was something i could never justify!

now - with a clear, intuitive system and the ability to add a description to the pens - i think that it's becoming closer to an office roll-out . . .

~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

Link
Advocate
I go for a much more simple method, which is similarly the culmination of experience with many different firms. Pensets are quite a personal thing and everyone thinks they have the right one (which they probably do for their needs!).

The penset shown below works on the principle that you use the Standard Pens (21-40) for most elements, and they are based on color, with a gradiated pen weight. This allows for quick and easy recognition of colors to weight (eg. orange = .0.30mm, so timber studs are always orange, etc). Similar, but slightly varying pensets are used specifically for different outputs depending on which drawings they are assigned to. Only some pens are mapped to black, as shown. All weights are metric (not the typical, and IMHO outdated, radiograph method) and all standard colors are CMYK and RGB compatible.

It's a very simple, yet very flexible system that has proven popular with many of my clients. But pens are as personal as layers and materials, I think it's best for you to gather ideas like these and create your own.

Cheers,
Link.
Get your ARCHICAD 25 Template HERE!

Anonymous
Not applicable
Link,

Thanks for the pen table. The principles are pretty much the same as I use. While it is simpler than the one I posted, it is also more complex than some I have worked with. My table is includes most of the accumulated features from over the years. Even those firms that use it largely as posted, don't often put all the features into practice.

You are right that pen settings are specific to the needs/desires of the firm and everyone should work out what works best in their particular practice (or hire a clever consultant to help them out, eh).

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hi folks,

Would anyone like to explain the logic of the new pen table?

I like the 4 part division, but loath the same color for different line weights.

I also like the pens reserved for AutoCad conversion, though I haven't bothered trying the new translator yet...

And why, did they reassign pens 1-13? Windows come in with pen 3 as default (to heavy) and all objects default to pen 4(flater drawings. I want to show my chairs light, and millwork heavier. Don't tell me just to change the pen in the 2D display of the lib. part.)

Here's our pen table, based mostly on the AC 9 table with variations. I like M. Lohden's better, but I bet mine was less work:-)

How does the new table work with the idea of one pen per function? Or I mean, how can you tell you have the right pen for the function, if the there are five pens with the same color?

-Nathan

Geoff Briggs
Booster
The US template is the result of a collaboration between Graphisoft (primarily Gabor Kovacs and Tibor Szolnoki) and some US users who's names you would recognize from this forum. The pen table was worked on mostly by Karl Ottenstein, Ransom Radcliff and myself, with Ransom doing most of the heavy lifting as he did throughout the US tempalte and library process. Ransom has been a tireless advocate for the needs of the North American market. As witnessed by the diversity of opinion found here there are many viable approaches to pen management, but many of these (including my own) we felt were too complicated or specialized to qualify as the default in a basic template. We also want to encourage consistency in the use of default pens used by GDL content creators, especially Graphisoft. Within these constrains many trade off are possible so we made some choices:

• We did not see any logic in the AC9 and earlier default pen tables. Many better examples exist.
• We did not like the new INT pen table either.
• We determined to the best of our ability the "sacred" Graphisoft pens. (There is no published list.) The established ones being 1-10 we reserved the rest of the top row for them.
• We decided, based on our own preference, to not establish a color or gradient to line weight correlation. ArchiCAD offers true line weight and we opted for a WYSIWYG approach.
• The basic premise behind the clusters of darker followed by lighter colors is the darker will print near black and the lighter gray when printed grayscale without remaping.
• The bottom row (141-150) represents a full range of basic black pens followed by matching whites that can be used as masking pens.
• The entire lower portion of the table is left blank for user's custom pens. This way a system of dedicate pens can be established while leaving the default pens intact.

Overall we decided that we would not use the template to establish or recommend a pen logic but instead provide a nice range of generic colors and grays that would allow new users a broad range of graphic options without having to learn a complicated system.

Like many here I have created a system of dedicated pens for specific element types that allows global editing and cool layout mapping tricks. After some practise with this system I find I am using these pens (at the bottom of my pen table) almost exclusively. I promote and share this approach with other project teams in our office, but combining it with the default set lets users ease into the practise. The new pen descriptions will help enormously.

It's obvious there is no right or wrong way to use ArchiCAD's pens. All of the approaches presented here have their strengths. Some are complete systems that require a degree of training, others more flexible. The Object Depository (shouldn't that be Repository?) has a place for templates. I encourage you to use it to share your pen schemes with the entire ArchiCAD community.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

PatriciaLe_o
Newcomer
Hi,
I know this issue must be already solved for you guys, but I'm still deciding how I should manage the pens, specially now, with AC10 pre defined ones.
Let me first explain you my situation, so you wont bite me!
I work in a very small office in Portugal (it's just me, my boss and another architect) and when I came to this office, we migrated from AutoCAD to ArchiCAD. I've never heard of AC before I came here. In Brazil (where I come from!) I think almost no one uses it! Now, a little more than 1 year after, I think I learned it pretty well, by myself, making mistakes and learning with them and reading a lot. As a Virgo person, my boss gave me the task of padronizing everything as much as I could. And so am I, trying to learn with you masters!
Sorry about the long text but the question is about pen colours... From what I thought on AC "what you see is what you get", so I used the first 10 pens as black, from 11 to 14 in shades of gray and with different weights. In the beginning it was pretty hard because I was used to the colour correspondence of weights in autocad, but I got used. And now with the AC10 and the different pen sets, I don't know what to do! I'd prefer to just adopt the AC pens, because I think more experienced people must have thought about it for quite a time... But I still don't understand its logic. Do you print your plans in colour?? Or just use colour to construct and turn to print in black? If so, you can not use colour at all...
Sorry again to talk so much, but I hope you can give me a light!
Patricia Leão

AC21 INT Full
MacOSHighSierra

Anonymous
Not applicable
I think everyone constructs their plans in colour, just as you would in AutoCAD. In its simplist form you essentially have 2 pen sets, one for drafting and one for plotting. I think this is the same in AutoCAD? The drafting set has all the pens in colour for easy identification when drafting. When you switch to layouts you then change the pen set to your plotting pen set, this set has all the drafting pens switched to black, this excludes those pens you want to print colour.

For me, the only difference between my drafting and plotting pens sets are the first 10 pens which are colour in the drafting pen set and black in the plotting pen set. All the pen weights remian constant.

Hope that helps.

PatriciaLe_o
Newcomer
I used to do everything in colour in AutoCad, wich colour corresponding to a pen weight, but I was convinced that in AC, I should see what would be printed... I'm reviewing my concepts.... again! Thanks Mark.
Patricia Leão

AC21 INT Full
MacOSHighSierra

Anonymous
Not applicable
PatriciaLeão wrote:
...but I was convinced that in AC, I should see what would be printed...
Actually i still use black pens when drafting for sketches and masterplans. I have another pen set for this. Like you say it is good to see what is actually going to be printed, especially when doing a presentation document. I switch to coloured drafting pens when i am doing construction documentation and the like.

__archiben
Newcomer
Mark wrote:
For me, the only difference between my drafting and plotting pens sets are the first 10 pens which are colour in the drafting pen set and black in the plotting pen set. All the pen weights remian constant.
. . . and then when you take this principle to the next level, different pen colours and weights can be used in multiple pensets to achieve a multitude of graphical effects...

- turn the 'architecture' to a thin grey and boost the electrical/HVAC/plumbing layouts.

- boost the weight of the framing on the framing plans but keep them lightweight and contextual on other, more general, plans.

- hide composite wall linings to show core only by changing them to white.

- represent the same plan differently at different scales (pen weight adjustment)

... to name but a few . . .

the more complex the output requirements, the more complex the penset. take a look at the 'new & reset' default archicad pens. you will notice that the pens are defined by purpose rather than by traditional drafting weights. get used to using the new 'pen description' fields that can be assigned to pens - this shows in all pen choice dialogues to aid you choosing the correct pen for the correct purpose whilst building your model.

HTH
~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

__archiben
Newcomer
whilst beta testing AC10 a few of us asked for the penset to made available in the print dialogue - so that an 'output' type penset could be quickly chosen for a particular print.

it wasn't feasible to include this in the AC10 release, but graphisoft (via eric batte) did give us a pretty handy tip for dealing with quick print pensets in the meantime:

simply add the 'Pen Set List' command/action into the 'page setup' toolbar menu.....

~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

PatriciaLe_o
Newcomer
Mark wrote:
Actually i still use black pens when drafting for sketches and masterplans. I have another pen set for this.
I guess I wasn't working the best way, only having one pen set (both for modeling and printing). But correct me if I'm wrong again: with the pre set pen sets, that come in AC10, do I still need to have different pen sets for plotting or they're all integrated? I think they already include the ones for plotting... so with the same pen number, I could have different effects.
Patricia Leão

AC21 INT Full
MacOSHighSierra

Anonymous
Not applicable
~/archiben wrote:

- hide composite wall linings to show core only by changing them to white.


This is me doing something really stupid for some years, so I would like to share it with you guys

I also used this neat trick to hide the wall,slab,roof innards every time I wanted to output plans and sections with less detail.

Yesterday, I discovered (by accident, as it usually happens) that AC10 lets you fiddle with the innards output, in Documents>Set Model View>Model View Options.

I was in CAD nirvana. Finally we have real scale output control, like those lucky Revit users have! Hah! Take that!

Being a cautious guy (not), I decided to open AC9 before I rushed to post this neat trick.


Surprise. AC9 had it too. I wonder if maybe 8, 7 or even 6 had it.

My guess is there are many guys out there that do not know this, so here I do my penitence in public.
Then again, maybe I was the only guy being really stupid... would not be the first time.

Geoff Briggs
Booster
Yes Model View Options (formerly Display Options) has enabled the manipulation of composite cavities for as long as I've been using ArchiCAD, and I'm sure a lot longer. Problem is there is no Core Only setting despite a growing chorus of requests for this feature over the years. Graphisoft is well aware of the popularity of this (proposed) setting but for unexplained reasons has yet to deliver. Thus the technique of changing the cladding/sheathing pens to white. This of course requires dedicating pens for these purposes. But as Ben points out, this has many advantages beyond just enabling a core only display. If you look at the pen table screen shot I posted earlier, the entire row beginning with #181 is dedicated to composites, with the black pens at the beginning assigned to the skin separator lines and the pairs of lighter pens that follow to the foreground and background pens of fills. The groups of pens in the area below this are dedicated to various construction element categories like electrical, plumbing, HVAC or materials like stone, wood, brick, depending on the project. I also have certain pens dedicated to annotation, masking, non-printing construction lines, etc. This is very much a work in progress but I'm finding that for most views all pens used are now from my user defined set, which means it's very easy to perform the kind of special effects Ben has enumerated.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

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