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The Little Things - A Proper Layer Manager

gavinNZz
Participant
Layers are a huge part of how we organize our BIM models and how elements relate to each other in the model space we work within. I open the layers window and toggle them probably about 200+ times a day. There are not many other functions in Archicad that are used as much as layers.

Yes there are more 'BIM' orientated ways of setting the visibility of elements but I feel layers will still form a part of how we go about modeling for some time yet.

I did a quick search and found an image of the layers window in AC11 ( for the record that's just about to be 12 versions ago) and it is exactly the same as what we have now! So one of the most used functions in Archicad hasn't been touched for 12 years, why not GS? It is just absurd.

Layers need to have a hierarchical management system like view sets or layouts. We need to be able to categorize them into folders which can be expanded and contracted. View control could be by 'folder' or by individual layer. Layer combinations need to remain but could also be managed in the same way.

For a working example... When modelling a midfloor structure I may want to turn on all my roof structure related layers to see specific load paths. Presently I open the layers window and then navigate through my 100+ layers to get to my roof section where I proceed to click on the 5 layers I want to view. Had these 5 layers been in a folder that would have just required 1 click on the parent folder visibility toggle. done.

Also the layers window needs to be a 'live' palette that permanently stays open. Why should I have to open a layers palette each and every time I want to adjust layers.

While on the topic of visibility, the graphic override functionality needs to have simple 'visible' toggle option added to it. Its great that we can override all the visual aspects of the element but the addition of a function to allow us to turn the element(s) off entirely would be great. This would allow us to use the criteria filtering to determine visibility of elements irrelevant of what layer they are on.

Please GS, spend some time on some of these basic functions that have been neglected. They are heavily used by all AC users so need to be prioritized as such.
12 REPLIES 12

sboydturner
Newcomer
Gavin,
I don’t know how you use so many layers, I manage to document large (multi-storey apartments and hospitals) and small projects with about 50 layers and 10 layer states.
Having so many layers no wonder you need a way of managing and grouping layers, maybe you need to look at your layers and identify whether you really need to be able to isolate information in such a way. Take annotations and dimensions I have seen many templates that have different layers for these, I have an annotation layer for each series of drawings I produce and put all annotation elements (labels, dimensions, levels, text, objects etc) on that layer, some of my annotation layers are 00 All On, 00 All Off, 01 Site Plan, 01 Grid Setout Plan, 02 Deconstructions Plan, ...

Regards
Scott
Scott Boyd-Turner
HP ZBook Studio 15: i7-6820 ,16Gb, 1000Gb SSD, Quadro M1000, Win10 Pro
AC 23 AUS

We have 115 layers, of which about 30 are needed for different types of annotation and to pull of 'structural' drawings which require a bit of stacking of different views with different dimensions / texts per floor plan.

About 60 layers are for 3D elements that follow the national layer numbering standard.

Some layers for zones, sections, elevations etc markers.

I also don't see why you would need more, unless the national standard has and absurd number of layers.


That said, something like changing the intersection group number of layers among 50 layer combinations (again 15 needed to pull of 'structural' drawings) does get a bit annoying and archaic with the current way of how things work.

In terms of hiding layers on the fly, the quick layer palette is handy, if you are not already using it.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

James B
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Erwin wrote:
...That said, something like changing the intersection group number of layers among 50 layer combinations (again 15 needed to pull of 'structural' drawings) does get a bit annoying and archaic with the current way of how things work...
In AC22 with the upgraded Attribute Manager, the Layer intersection group of multiple Layers can be edited over multiple Layer Combinations. So should be pretty fast to edit now compared to AC21.
Technical Product Manager, Graphisoft

Interesting, that doesn't work for me. I can select multiple combinations and layers, but I can't change the number (greyed out).
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

DGSketcher
Virtuoso
Thanks James, it works for me.

Erwin, it might be a Mac thing but to be fair it should be the same on PC.
Apple iMac macOS Big Sur / AC24UKI (most recent builds)

Barry Kelly
Moderator
Works for me in Windows.
Only the very first layer can be altered when multiple layers are selected, but all of the selected layers will change.

Make sure you do not have the 'Archicad Layer' selected as this can not be altered and if it is selected in the list you won't be able to change any other layers either.


Barry.

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 25
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Dell Precision 3510 - i7 6820HQ @ 2.70GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD FirePro W5130M, Windows 10

Raoul Cenan
Newcomer
gavinNZz wrote:
Layers need to have a hierarchical management system like view sets or layouts. We need to be able to categorize them into folders which can be expanded and contracted. View control could be by 'folder' or by individual layer. Layer combinations need to remain but could also be managed in the same way.
This should be a no brainer !!!

I don't understand the answers this proposal got from other users! This is really absurd! Using 50 layers for a hospital project? Are you kidding me? Did you ever worked on large rehabilitation projects?

I worked a few years ago on an Archicad file that had over 500 layers on a several years project ... The reason for it was the turnover of the staff on that particular project. How could one reasonably reorganize such a mess in a fast manner if not using layer folders and subfolders ??? Erasing layers was not possible as they were implemented from the beginning on a certain way of thinking for the entire project and because of a certain way of doing the exchanges with other external collaborators that worked on AutoCAD... What could one do when this was a few millions euros project that couldn't be reworked and reorganized in one night after years of work? Combined with a computer that is not fast, how could one work on this kind of project when only searching for a layer was a p.i.t.a. that took one or two minutes ? If you are a boss that doesn't have a clue about how Archicad works you may not even know why on such a project it takes half an hour to draw or change a few walls... You will blame then ArchiCAD and say that it's very slow and have to buy another application from the competition because that one is faster...

In conclusion, using folders and subfolders for organizing layers is one of the ESSENTIAL things to add to ArchiCAD !
Raoul Cenan / Architect
Freelance architecte

Paris/France
AC24 INT • Mac Pro 5.1 • 2x3.46 GHz 6 core Intel Xeon • OS X Mojave

Israel de Quevedo
Contributor
Each combination of layers should have a layer colors module to export to autocad, in addition to being able to save the layers in folders such as autocad, and export the layer combinations as layer states in autocad.

runxel
Mentor
At leeeeeeeast give us a search bar in the layer manager for 25...
Can't be that difficult!
AC 24 [ger] | Win 10 | Developer of the GDL plugin for Sublime Text |
«Furthermore, I consider that Carth... yearly releases must be destroyed»

3x3
Newcomer
A good program work process is about using the right method in a flexible process that is easy reachable and readable. This means implementing various methos for doing a similar or a similar kind of task(s).

Totally agree with the following:

- 'live' [layer manager] palette that permanently stays open.
- 'using folders and subfolders for organizing layers is one of the ESSENTIAL things to add to ArchiCAD !'
- 'At leeeeeeeast give us a search bar in the layer manager'
> 'Please GS, spend some time on some of these basic functions that have been neglected. They are heavily used by all AC users so need to be prioritized as such.'

Would like to add the following that would be nice within a dockable layer manager.

- Search for a layer(s)
- Filter layer(s)

For a paid software with some promises...

... (note from the website: Archicad is a professional building information modeling software solution complying with all digital-delivery requirements, offering an intuitive design environment, accurate building information management, open collaboration and automated documentation.)...

... there may be some valid basic expectations and there may be some valid addition of more value.

3x3
Newcomer
- sort by active layers
- show only (in)active layers

Nuge
Enthusiast
Totally agree,
Graphisoft needs to "update" the layer manager, currently its a time warp back to the 1990's

at the very least it needs the following

always on "live" floating palette
folders
search bar

Come on Graphisoft start making some basic changes that will improve workflow for everyone
AC25 i9 11900K / 128G ram / GTX 3090 / Enscape

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