AutoCAD Architecture Display Control for the Common User by jhh17214


									                                  AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the
Common User
Matt Dillon – The DC CADD Company, Inc.

AB104-3           Get control of your AutoCAD Architecture models and drawings by understanding the
Display Control system. This session will first cover the basic concepts and terms of the system, and then
work through several examples using Display Control manipulation to resolve common issues. Coverage of
the new Display tab in the Properties panel is covered to make day-to-day manipulation of display properties a

About the Speaker:
A registered architect with over 20 years of experience in Autodesk architectural applications, Matt has
worked with AutoCAD Architecture (formerly Autodesk Architectural Desktop) since its initial release and is an
Autodesk Certified Instructor at an Autodesk Authorized Training Center. In addition to providing end-user
technical support and assisting customers in implementing AutoCAD Architecture and Revit Architecture
(formerly Autodesk Revit Building), he consults with Autodesk development staff in product design and
usability for AutoCAD Architecture and is the coauthor of "Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2007 -- An
Advanced Implementation Guide." Matt has been a highly rated instructor at AU since 2000.

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                                     AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

Concepts and Terms
Display control in Autodesk Architectural Desktop is, for an experienced AutoCAD user new to
Architectural Desktop, revolutionary and in some cases more than a bit confusing. Far more
than just another way of controlling objects’ visibility and color (in addition to layer control), it
performs a variety of functions:

   •   View dependent display means that objects can look differently depending upon the
       view angle.

   •   Display Configurations allow for automation of plan types. By simply changing the
       display configuration of a viewport the appearance and visibility of all objects in the view
       can be drastically altered. An example would be changing from a typical floor plan
       display to a reflected ceiling display.

   •   Single objects can adapt their display to different situations. Without display
       control, you would have to have a separate object on a different layer, to display a door,
       for example, in 3D vs. 2D. 3D doors typically need more detail than a simple plan
       representation. Display control allows the same door object to be displayed differently
       depending upon the view angle or the plan type, without duplicating data or using layers.

   •   Standards automation is core to display control. Display control requires
       standardization in order to work effectively. Once display control has been established
       and standardized, that standardization will propagate through your plotting standards as

Critical terms to understand when working with display control are:

   •   Display Configuration – Assigned to a view or a viewport, display configurations
       establish the general conditions for display. They will indirectly determine how each
       object in the view will look, and whether it is even visible or not.

   •   Display Representation – All Architectural Desktop objects have at least one display
       representation available that directly controls their display. Without a display
       representation enabled an Architectural Desktop object cannot be displayed. For
       example, a wall is nothing more than a collection of data and properties with no
       instructions how to represent itself until it is instructed by a display representation. Most
       Architectural Desktop objects have multiple display representations available to them to
       handle different plan types, view directions and conditions.

   •   Display Set – View direction dependency is accomplished through the use of display
       sets. Display sets are what actually enable display representations. Display sets are, in
       turn, enabled by the current display configuration and view direction.

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                                     AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

The Display Flow
Key to mastering display control is understanding the flow, or sequence of events, that takes
place when a display configuration is invoked:

   1. A display configuration is set by the user. This will, among other things, determine
      which display sets are enabled based on the view direction. Display sets are assigned
      by view direction. So, if a “Medium Detail” display configuration is set current, then that
      would enable specific display sets for each orthogonal view as well as a “Default” display
      set for other view directions (typically this is a “Model”, or 3D view display set).

   2. Display Sets are enabled by the display configuration. Once a display set has been
      enabled because of a particular view direction/display configuration combination it will, in
      turn, enable display representations for each type of object in the Architectural Desktop
      object library. By turning on and off display representations, the display set will directly
      control whether or not particular objects are displayed, and if they are displayed (in other
      words, a display representation has been turned on by the display set), it will indirectly
      control how they are displayed.

   3. Display Representations are enabled or disabled by the display set. Once one or
      more display representations are enabled or “turned on” for a particular object type, they
      will directly instruct those objects how to display themselves.

       Figure 1. The Display Flow.

A note about standardization: Display control in Architectural Desktop is meant to be
standardized to a great extent, and in a properly configured system there should be minimal
direct interaction between the higher levels of display control and the user. On a day to day
basis, users should need to do nothing more than set the display configurations for various
viewports and in some cases edit the display representations of individual objects or object
styles. Users should not have to create or modify display configurations and display sets, and
they should not be modifying default system display representations.

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                                     AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

Working with Display Configurations
In a properly configured and standardized display system, display configurations are extremely
simple to work with at a user level. All that is necessary to obtain the general display that you
need is to assign a display configuration to your view or viewport. The display configurations
that are available for use in your drawing will be displayed when you select the popup menu
located on the far right side of the Drawing Status Bar (the drawing status bar is located at the
very bottom of your drawing area). By simply selecting the desired display configuration from
the menu you can make massive changes to the way your objects appear.

       Figure 2. The Drawing Status Bar popup menu for Display Configurations.

There is a critical difference in the way that display configurations behave depending upon
whether or not you are in the “Model” viewport or a paperspace view:

   •   Display Configurations in the “Model” tab are assigned globally. That means that
       when you assign a display configuration to one viewport, all other viewports on that tab
       will take the same display setting. This does not mean, however, that the viewports can’t
       still act differently. Don’t forget about view direction dependency. In Figure 3 there are
       two model viewports, both with the “Medium Detail” display configuration assigned, but
       since the viewport on the right is being viewed from a 3D direction the objects look
       different. In fact, there are some objects (the ceiling grid, for example) that aren’t even
       visible in the plan view to the left.

       Figure 3. Display Configurations in Model Space apply to all viewports, but the view direction can
       make the geometry look different because a different Display Set will be in control.

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                                    AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

   •   Display configurations in a paperspace layout can be assigned locally. When you
       select the Display Configurations menu from a paperspace layout you have to then
       select the viewports to configure, because different viewports can have different
       displays, even if they have the same view. In Figure 4 there are two viewports whose
       boundaries are frozen. In the top view the “Medium Detail” display configuration has
       been assigned, while in the bottom view, the same objects are displayed with the
       “Reflected” display configuration assigned.

       Figure 4. Paperspace viewports can have different Display Configurations assigned.

Understanding Display Representations
At the opposite end of the display flow from display configurations are display representations.
Every Architectural Desktop object has at least one, and in most cases several display
representations available to them. Making changes to the display representation that is currently
in control of an object’s display will immediately and directly modify that object in the current
view. Default display representation settings should be part of a company standard and rarely, if
ever edited. However it is common to edit display representations for a particular object or style
to fit a unique condition not addressed by standard settings.

Display Representation Elements
While many object types have unique elements to their particular display representations, there
are some elements that are common to all or most objects:

   •   Layer/Color/Linetype: All objects will have this tab. Figure 5 shows a typical door
       objects “Layer/Color/Linetype” settings for a door’s “Plan” display representation. Other
       objects will have an identical layout with different items listed under the “Display
       Component” tab. The settings under this tab will, in addition to the display layer, color

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                                  AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

    and linetype, control individual object component visibility, lineweight, linetype scale and
    plot style.

    Figure 5. The Layer/Color/Linetype tab of a Display Representation.

•   Other: Most objects will have this tab. It will vary from one object type to another, and
    even from one display representation to another. Another way to look at this tab is to
    consider it an area for miscellaneous display settings. As a rule of thumb, if you are
    editing an object’s display control and happen to run across this tab, you should explore
    its options, especially if you’ve not visited before. Note that in the image to the right we
    are looking at a wall object’s “Plan” display representation’s “Other” settings. There are
    quite a few options here that are worth exploring if you are not already familiar with

    Figure 6. The Other tab of a Display Representation can vary widely depending upon the object
    type and the specific Display Representation being edited.

•   Hatching: Several objects will have a “Hatching” tab, which will control the hatch
    pattern, scale and orientation for hatch components. Note the hatch parameters for a
    wall style shown in Figure 7. The hatch pattern specified can be any standard AutoCAD
    hatch pattern.

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                                      AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

       Figure 7. The Hatching tab of a Wall’s Plan Display Representation.

   •   Object-Specific Parameters: Many object types will have a display representation
       category that no other (or few other) object types will have. An example of this is seen in
       the AEC Dimension object’s “Content” tab, which determines how various other object
       types are to be dimensioned on each chain of the AEC Dimension object (note that it
       also has an “Other” tab, which in the case of this object will determine the dimension
       appearance; text size, extension line offset, etc.).

       Figure 8. Object-specific parameters will apply only to specific object types, as in this example of
       an AEC Dimension’s “Contents” parameters.

Display Heirarchy
Display representations are hierarchical in nature.

   •   At the lowest level are the System Default settings which will control objects that have
       no overrides in place. All objects will look to the defaults if there are no settings assigned
       to the style or the object itself. Default settings should not be edited in the course of day
       to day use. They should represent your office standards.

   •   Overriding the default settings are Style Overrides. These settings will apply to all
       objects on the style to which they are applied, as long as those objects do not have an
       object override.

   •   The highest level is an Object Override. When in place, these will override all other
       settings for a given display representation for a given object. It is common for overrides

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                                      AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

       to be placed on specific objects in day to day use of the software to accommodate
       unique design or display requirements.

       Figure 9. The three hierarchical levels of Display Control.

Editing Display Properties
The key to a successful display system in AutoCAD Architecture is a well-developed drawing
template with standardized display settings. No matter how effective your template is, however,
there will periodically be a need to manually intervene to modify and override standard display
settings for non-standard situations.

With the advent of AutoCAD Architecture 2008, there are now two approaches to modifying
Display Representations:

   •   Right-click menu – this is the “traditional” way to edit a Display Representation, and is
       still valid, but it may not be the best way to go about it. When you select an object and
       right-click, the resulting dialog box allows you to edit any display representation available
       for the current object (see Figure 10). However it is not quite as interactive as the
       recommended method, which is to use the Display tab of the Properties palette.

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                                  AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

    Figure 10. Editing Display Representations from the Right-Click menu.

•   The Display tab of the Properties Palette – New to AutoCAD Architecture 2008, this
    method is much more interactive, intuitive and less error-prone than the right-click menu.
    Selecting an object provides immediate feedback first, as to what level of the display
    hierarchy is controlling it, Drawing Default, Style Override or Object Override (see Figure
    11). Making any change that could potentially cause problems in the drawing is
    accompanied by a warning dialog that ensures that you understand (at least partly) the
    ramifications of what you are about to do (see Figure 11).

    Figure 11. The Display Tab of the Properties Manager is much more interactive than the right-
    click menu.

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                                     AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

Using the Properties Palette
To use the Properties Palette to edit Display Control, simply select an object. The palette will
show the current display conditions of the object’s active display representations and at what
level it is being controlled. The greatest utility, however, occurs when the “Select Component”
button is activated, allowing you to select a specific component of the object and edit it’s display
properties directly (see Figure 12).

       Figure 12. The Properties Palette provides direct access to an object’s sub-component’s display

Note in Figure 12 that a Wall hatch component has been selected, and that it is currently
controlled by the Wall’s Style-level display representation. Further, with the component selected,
the hierarchy of the display cannot be changed. To put an object override on the component,
the Wall will have to be selected as a whole and the display level changed for the entire Wall. At
that point, the “Select Component” button can be used to modify the hatch component for the
selected Wall only.

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                                       AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

The Display Manager – Key to Trouble-Shooting and
At some point, you will want to make modifications to the display system in AutoCAD
Architecture, or you will encounter a situation that requires some troubleshooting and analysis to
resolve. For both of these tasks, the Display Manager is a critical tool (see Figure 13). Using the
Display Manager you can view and modify all of the drawing default display settings for Display
Configurations, Display Sets and Display Representations. You can also create new
Configurations, Sets and Representations when necessary (athough you should do so sparingly
– each new display setting you create is one that you have to manage). What you cannot do is
view or modify any style or object – level overrides.

       Figure 13. The Display Manager. On the left is the tree view, showing the current Display
       Configuration and the current Display Set. In the right window are the settings for the current
       Display Set (selecting the Display Configuration on the left will display the settings for that level of
       the display system on the right). Note the cursor hovering over the “Plan” Display Representation
       for Walls. Right-clicking here will display a menu allowing you to edit the drawing default settings
       for that particular Display Representation.

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                                    AutoCAD Architecture: Display Control for the Common User

In this short 90 minute lecture, hopefully you have gained some insight into getting control of the
Display System in AutoCAD Architecture, and will find day to day modifications of objects less
frustrating and confusing. The more you work with Display Control, the more predictable and
consistent you will find it to be.

After you have become more comfortable with the Display System, you may decide to begin
customizing it to suit your office’s standards more. When you do so, make sure you document
your changes thoroughly, and remember to make any changes you intend to keep in your
drawing template.

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