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Explaining how Pens&Colors work

Rastisan
Booster

Hi, I'm using Archicad for almost a year now and I got to know most of the environment and the workflow. I'm in process of setting up my own template file and one of the things that is still a bit unclear are the pens. In the pens & color menu you can edit the lineweight, color and the description of a particular pen. But you cant really link a particular pen number to a particular item (loadbearing element, finish, dimension, text...).  Where is that done?

 

Im asking this because I want to create my own pen set which would be around 80% black pens and around 10 color pens for graphic overrides (overriding things like new elements, demolitions, electrical and mechanical systems, special annotations). Since most of the pens are black I dont need to structure the pen set like a stock Archicad pen set: Walls, columns, slabs, ect. (horizontal axis) and each of these elements having options: General, Cut-structural, cut non-structural, symbols and separators, outlines (vertical axis). Since all my elements are black I can have one color for all of them and different lineweights for General, Cut-structural, cut non-structural, symbols and separators and outlines. After I create this new pen set I would have to relink all the different elements (walls, slabs, columns, ect.) to the new pen index numbers. How can one do this in a way that Archicad remembers it and you dont have to do it for every new element you create?

 

Thanks for the advice!

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

Accepted Solutions
Solution

@Rastisan ,

What version of Archicad are you working with and what language version?

Each language will have its own template and possibly different pen sets.

Then they can also vary from version to version.

 

1. I don't think structural or non-structural settings will change a pen colour.

It is probably what has been set in the elements, especially if favourites are used.

 

2. Any pen can be used for any purpose.

It just makes it easier if range of pens are described to be used for a particular purpose.

You then know if they are used for that purpose, and you change the pens , you are only affecting say the material colours and not the structural colours.

 

3. You simply set the composites to use the pen that you want.

If you want a thick line for a load bearing skin, then choose a thick pen.

For insulation and finishes you can choose a thinner pen.

If they have descriptions relating to their purpose, it guides you to which pens to ideally use.

But again, you can use any pen for any purpose.

It just makes sense to use particular pens for particular purposes, so you know what is happening, and if you change a pen, what it will affect.

 

Barry.

 

 

 

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 27
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Solution
Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
  1. AC does not determines anything. As the user you are the one that defines the appropriate pen.
  2. You decide if you want to use them or not. I don't use them for that.
  3. You choose which pen to use to achieve the result you need.
Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

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14 REPLIES 14
DGSketcher
Legend

You might like to have a quick read of this recent thread and followup with the guidance in the manual for Graphic Overrides (GOs).

 

Come back and ask if you need further guidance to specific issues. 

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)
Rastisan
Booster

Thank you DGSketcher. Graphic overrides is a great feature. Still I would prefer controlling the line weights via pen sets. To me it makes more sense because I use graphical overrides for non-standard outputs (highlighting plumbing in blue on a black and white plan for plumber for example) and would like to set up my own standard pen set for regular workflows (without such selective graphical accents).

 

Also what bothers me sometimes and would probably bother me if I went along the path you recommend would be this: While making the GO rules one still has to use the pen index numbers and when for example I want to highlight plumbing in blue I'm forced to pick a blue swatch which is intended for 2D annotations.

 

Another reason for me wanting to set up my own pen set is that sometimes I want to add a new pen for black-water (color brown) in this case. Because all the index numbers in the already defined pen set are "taken" (there are no free spaces in the pen set), I'm forced to change the lightweight and description of a pen which was by default dedicated to roof/shell elements. So now besides my black-water pipes, my roofs look like s**** also. Leaving aside a bad joke, do you see my problem? In the pen set control window you cant really manipulate the links btw. elements and the pen index numbers (or im missing something).

 

That is why Im interested in how do you control where particular element (slab, wall, roof; cut, non-cut, outlined) defaults to in terms of pen index number.


@Rastisan wrote:

 

…While making the GO rules one still has to use the pen index numbers and when for example I want to highlight plumbing in blue I'm forced to pick a blue swatch which is intended for 2D annotations.

  Because all the index numbers in the already defined pen set are "taken" (there are no free spaces in the pen set), I'm forced to change the lightweight and description of a pen which was by default dedicated to roof/shell elements. …


This is not completely correct, in AC26 you can use colors that are not part of a Pen Set for background fills and for surfaces. What is missing is to add it to lines which hopefully is on track to be added.

 

EduardoRolon_0-1686507003057.png

----

The other point is that using GOs you have the flexibility to simplify your Pen Sets.

Because GOs can override color and ignore pen width that means you only need as many pens as required widths (say 10) and that will leave 246 swatches to define custom colors.

 

EduardoRolon_1-1686507713754.png

 

Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

DGSketcher
Legend

This really comes down to your workflow preferences, templates and consistency of presentation. There are some here who have pen sets fully organised. I personally never took to them so GOs were a dream solution for my workflow.

 

Either way you need to coordinate how you use pens within your View Settings e.g. Assign either a pen set  or GO combination to a type of view. So you might have a pen solution for plumbing layouts and another for your structural layouts. As an example of GOs, I have a common rules to turn everything grey and then another rule that changes all the lines on a selected layer to a relevant colour. Creating the required rules of common actions is the first step and then add view specific rules to highlight the relevant features in the drawing. These are saved as combinations and assigned to the Views.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)
Barry Kelly
Moderator

I am a big fan of KISS - that's Keep It Simple Stupid - not the rock band!

 

I rarely use Graphic Overrides, but I do use 3 or 4.

Zone fills solid or transparent, and changing pen thickness for certain elements that will be seen in different views but need to be different thicknesses, are a couple.

 

I mainly use pen sets to get the result I want.

To simplify my pen set even more than it actually is, I basically have 5 pens 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 thickness in different colours, that I can easily tell what is what.

A bit like the old Rotring pens from manual drafting days.

 

I do have more 'specialty' pens for specific purposes, all with their required line thickness and colour I can recognise easily, including a couple of white pens when I don't want something to print.

I do end up using nearly all 255, but these are my basic drafting pens and I will keep it simple for this explanation.

 

So all of my objects and composites are set up to use the pens I want to represent them.

If I want a thin line, I use the 0.1 pen - it is black and is used most often.

For something like a beam centreline, I will use a 0.3 green pen.

For a box around a note, I will use the 0.5 blue pen.

 

So I can see on screen what will be what thickness based on the colours, even in hairline mode, I hate working with true line weight on.

 

Now when it comes to print, the colours mean absolutely nothing, mainly because I print in black and white with tones of grey.

So I have another pen set with the same pen thicknesses, but the pens are all black - except the white ones and a couple of specailty pens which are still coloured.

 

The drawings on my layouts all have the pen set changed to this black and white pen set.

I actually do print in colour, rather than forcing the drawings to be be black and white or greyscale - as that doesn't really work with the conversion of colour to black/white/greyscale.

With the pen set, I have control of what prints as what colour.

 

As I said, I keep it simple.

I don't have different pen sets for details at different scales.

That might complicate things if you are trying to get large scale details from your model.

I find that large scale details are usually 2D drawings anyway, so I just use the 5 basic pen thicknesses again.

 

Barry.

 

 

 

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 27
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Lenovo Thinkpad - i7-1270P 2.20 GHz, 32GB RAM, Nvidia T550, Windows 11
Rastisan
Booster

Thanks DGSketcher, Eduardo and Barry for your remarks. Methods described by Eduardo and Barry align with what I would like to have, but there still a couple of things that remain unclear.

 

Eduardo, thank you for print-screening your pen set. I remember now that Ive watched your presentation at the Archintensive conference. I have a question: After you have created your streamlined pen set, how do you relink the stock index numbers for cut-structural, cut non-structural, outlines, symbolic lines, ect. to the new ones so that Archicad remembers (so you dont have to do this each time you draw an element)? Do you do this via graphic overrides rules or by changing the settings to all the elements (walls, slabs, columns, ect.)?

 

Barry, you wrote: "So all of my objects and composites are set up to use the pens I want to represent them". My question - similar to the one I posed to Eduardo - is how/where you set up this in a way that it becomes a part of your template?

 

Thanks again, cheers!

You will need to define new favorites with the correct pens.

---

It is possible to remap them using GOs (eg All 3D Objects -> Cut Pen =?) but then the list of GOs is going to become unmanageable and for some items (win, doors) it will not work.

Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator


@Rastisan wrote:

Barry, you wrote: "So all of my objects and composites are set up to use the pens I want to represent them". My question - similar to the one I posed to Eduardo - is how/where you set up this in a way that it becomes a part of your template?


If you are using the standard Graphisoft library, then you really want to base your template pens (and other attributes - fills, surfaces, etc) around what is used by those library objects.

I have my own custom library so my objects have been built to suit my pen set.

But now if I want to use a Graphisoft object, it is a pain because the default pens, fill & surfaces are all wrong.

If I was staring a new template now, I would match the Graphisoft defaults rather than setting up my own.

 

So as Eduardo said, you can save favourites with the correct settings, but that means one favourite for each object.

I actually edit the Graphisoft objects to suit my settings and save them in my library.

But this means I need to do that for each new library update or new Archicad version.

But I only choose the objects I want, not the entire library, so it is not too bad.

 

Barry.

 

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 27
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Lenovo Thinkpad - i7-1270P 2.20 GHz, 32GB RAM, Nvidia T550, Windows 11
Rastisan
Booster

Thank you both for your insight. I also found a good introductory article @ Graphistoft Knowledge base which explains how pens work.