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Hi,

I'm a long date user of FZ but actually works with 6.7.3 because I use the drafting part along the 3d modeling environment. 50/50

FZ 8 does not open correctly all my FZ 6.7.3 files especially the draft layout.

Recently I've tried to open a draft file with few objects in 3D model and paper layout in draft layout. FZ 8 free has opened just the 3d part...

I follow carefully  the improvement of the new layout.
In parallel I've looked the work of  a sketchup user named Nick SONDER :

http://www.sketchupbook.com/?mc_cid=7766a7dd48&mc_eid=00fdc760d8

FZ 8 professionel is it ready to adapt the Nick Sonder process or something like that ?

 

Jean-Luc

 

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I was impressed by Nick Sonder's methods in SU a few years ago and it looks like he has now developed it further and sells a 'kit' of his methods. Sadly I am not aware that anyone has taken FZ Layout to that level despite improvements with v8.5 so you may be best not to raise hopes too high or invest a lot of time into this at the current time. I suspect the developers at Autodessys are working on improvements for version 9 so we will wait and see what it has to offer 'later this year'. If anyone has had experience to the contrary it would be great to hear of it.

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I've made several attempts to use layout in a production environment and met with only frustration. The way text is handled is very clunky. Dimension settings are a mess. Printing is problematic and saving to pdf files produces extremely large files. It would be especially handy to be able to set orthographic views and have the ability to NOT use hidden lines. Sadly, IMHO it is not a production ready tool.

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On a positive note, for the time being, FormZ can be used to good effect to produce all sorts of information rich pdf documents by making screen captures of various views by intelligently layering, grouping and by the use of scenes with clipping planes, and saving copies of files at significant stages, and assembling screen captures in the application of your choice (I use Serif Page Plus X9 and Soda PDF8) to produce a pdf. I realise this doesn't give you automatic updating, but there is potentially less to go wrong and can be more reliable to manage than large files which rely on other large files. Automation is great when it works, but there is potentially more risk of problems IMHO so I am happy to use FZ without Layout for the time being for all my manufacturing documents, even without some much desired features like automatic balloon labelling.

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Thanks for your feedbacks.
I've searched for documentation about the new layout and only found classic information in the manuals...
The lack of videos or users experiences let me think that the tool wasn't up to date at less for production.
I've also read some forum discussion not really encouraging...

Actually, I use FZ 6.7.3 to create all our construction documents. My process is completly 2D / 3D and vice versa
To do this I use the great plugin from Pylon to create sections or elevations from my models.
I produce images as background (or underlay) to these documents layered in the draft layout. I make for all my documents a pdf file with PDF-XChange PRO  from tracker software.

But there isn't a day without a request from my collegue for a complete automation of the process especially for model/documents update...

I'm really well with Z and it's realy hard to resist  to pressure to move to another software like archicad (Bim) or SU for it's easy workflow.

 

Jean-Luc

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If FormZ had SKP export, you could use Sketchup's layout exactly as Nick Sonder does.  Then, FormZ would double its user base (Sketchup power users), and have more time (and the money) needed to bring FormZ Layout up to par.  I made an attempt to do leverage FormZ's layout for exactly this purpose, but its not there yet.

 

 

 

 

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Hi Tech

Thank you for this video (you should put it on the tutorials videos...)

And It seems we will have nice news in the future...

Probably an SKP export could be a nice feature (pfschuyler) but I do not think it's the good way to do documents construction in SKP after modeling in FZ.

For a long time mechanical CAD programs have this kind of tools to produce  constructions documents automatically.

Today (at less in France) BIM programs become mandatory for public projects (Revit, Archicad and Nemetcheck allplan).

I don't know if BIM process is something possible to developp in FormZ. The modeling in FZ (or Sketchup) is a completly different approach.

But I'm happy to see FormZ taking the way to automate the production of construction drawings.

The Nick Sonder (as I've understood) rely on the splitting of the model (one file for site  another for sections others for details etc...)
I don't know how he maintains the consistency of it's main model (instantiation) or if it's a manual process between all differents files...
(If somebody can explain this ...)

For sure the royal way is to keep one unique model where all changes can be made and automatically updated on all layouts documents.
In this solution the level of detail is a critical problem to manage the model between a too much detailled modeling and a simplistic representation.
Bim programs (as such named before) offers solutions ( components
instantiated with several LOD) but this is an "usine à gaz" (gaz factory)...

Jean-Luc

 

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I don't disagree with you about what would be ideal.  Unfortunately we've been waiting for a robust FormZ Layout since the mid 90's.  Still it has not arrived.  My suggestion about Sketchup was just a cheap, quick solution.  

 

One problem with BIM, by attempting to put too much intelligence into the models, you place the burden on the user to know the complete limitations of the "intelligent" tools, thus complicating their workflow and taking them further away from design.  It becomes mental overhead.  As a case in point, you get used to nice sophisticated wall features in Archicad or Revit.  But what happens if the wall becomes angled in a certain way, or you only need some odd piece?  Suddenly you must know precisely how those programs define walls and how that relates to the documentation, and you wind up fighting the program.  

 

Viola, the Nick Sonder approach, which is basically just direct modeling.  He keeps certain core 3d files active as they develop and references those models into other 3d models for specific purposes (i.e. floor plans, reflective ceiling plans, sections), using specific layers and locks, etc.  It involves a bit of organization but is quite scalable.  The models are not trying to be in one file with all the details.  There are certain core models which evolve and are referenced into certain other models.  The details are all 3d vignettes, which is quite interesting.  FormZ could do the same thing on steroids, if Layout provided similar functionality to Sketchup's layout.  Namely (i.e. live colored rich views & styles, scrapbooks, robust, stable, WYSIWYG functionality).  Unfortunately its not there.  My thought was to provide SKP export as a quick fix for FormZ users, many of whom (I'll bet) have Sketchup lying around.  And it'll attract a lot of Sketchup users to FormZ because they wouldn't have to embrace a totally different workflow.  They could use FormZ as a vast modeling extension.  And if FormZ layout ever competes 1:1, then those Sketchup users would become FormZ users eventually.   With SKP export you could duplicate the Nick Sonder approach in Sketchup but use FormZ for all the modeling, that would be ideal.

Edited by pfschuyler

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Hi tech,

 

As envdesign said and after have looked in the layout documentation, FormZ  only use hidden line rendering in frames.

 

As you can see on my sample, (FZ 6.7.3) I use a renderzone rendering under an Hidden line rendering. I add dimensions and vector hatches.

 

This technique offers a real vector drawings in layout panes (frames in Z 6) and an image to produce texturing and shadows (using a pylon plugin to set interactivly the sun location at a specific time I can achive very quickly and easily shadows exactly as I want to improve the volumes display)

 

(In Z 6.7.3 I also mix renderzone renders and hiden line renders manually  in photoshop (as bitmap) but  in the draft layout I preserve  vector lines.

I suppose it was possible to automate this... (at less as bitmap) (old dream)

 

I don't know how SU works and how Nick Sonder produce similar rendering for its construction drawings.

 

So my question: (or suggestion if possible)

 

Is it possible to develop a way to achieve mixed renderings  in the actual layout ?

 

(open GL full give some nice results (vectors, textures shadows etc.) but I suppose limited to the screen resolution. If frame could display open GL renders I not sure this should be correct for large paper size...

 

So the best way could be to directly render in frame at the correct image size depending of the frame size on paper.

And, in this approach, add a vector render in hidden line on top of the bitmap layer should be a real plus.

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+1 for mixed renderings.  My process now uses OGL screen grabs of Shaded Full Renderer with Ambient Occlusion at higher than screen resolution (my video card allows me to save jpgs at about 3200x3200 pixels before the images become garbled).  I add an HL of the same view over the top to be able to snap dimensions.  Would be great if this was automated within the software.

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Hi JL,

 

Yes, currently the Layout display is based on Hidden Line, but as Setz notes, you can always add bitmap images to that (and overlay a HL if you want to snap dimensions).  We will see if this can be more automated for the future.  ;)

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Excellent! Shaded construction docs are becoming the norm in my industry and I've got a workflow which is pretty fast but that would be a welcome addition which would save time. Cheers!

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Hi,

:)  Happy

 

Setz,

 

What is your own process? Can you explain more?

Exactly how you place accurately the Hiddenline on top of the image?

 

Actually (6.7.3) I use for section the EXCELLENT plug in by Pylon in a manual process.
I make two section of my model in the same file (I keep the originals objects) : one with the 2D section option and a second with the 3D section option.
I import the first in draft in a first layer. This way each solid gives a closed polylign and I can add hatches or patterns on in a second layer placed under. In the second part of the process, I do an Hidden line rendering of the 3D section group.

I place it on the third layer on top of the hatch layer.

Finally in launch a renderzone rendering with  many options (fines shadows, GI etc...) at a good resolution depending of the paper size.

Finaly I place this on a new layer on top of others.

At the end I've 4 layers in this order (display in order shown in layer options);

- Image

- hatches

- Hidden line vectors (objects shown) (set with a fine weight line)

- Closed polylines (cut objects) (set with a thick line)

 

All others things (dimensions, text etc are placed in specific layers...

This is a bit sophisticated but this gives very good and versatile results.

I'v seen options in FZ 8 layout documentation to automatically hatch slices in nondestructive sections. (I also seen a SU plugin that do the same things).

But can we imagine this kind of process can be really automated?

This suppose to place the image in the correct position whatever the scale of the layout (and so with influence of the image resolution... Another way could be to recalculate the rendering as soon as the scale in the frame layout is changed...


ZTech, how this works inside Z 8: is it a true section or a detection of lines of intersections with a join process?

I'v also seen SU example with fog option to blur second plans.
Is it something that you can add in the future?

I actually set my shadows interactivly on the screen with the Pylon plugin (You just move the mouse to change date or time for the sun light and see directly the result on the model displayed in OGL. Is this option already in FZ 8.5?

 

 

JL

Edited by pylon

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Hi JL,

 

In formZ Layout -- just use the Clipping Planes to set your section cuts.   ;)

You do know about Clipping Planes, right?  If not, check out this quick video:

http://www.formz.com/Video/formZ/formz7_ENU/videos_html/Clipping_Planes.html

 

And yes, just use the Sun Position Palette to move the date / time of the sun light! :)

(And use Shaded Full or other renderers that support shadows to see it.)

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Hi Tech

 

I was already aware about cliping planes but I thanks for bringing to my attention this little video...
When we use the 2d option, how do you do to copy (and export) the slice ?
And when you use the permanent option are the operand objects saved according to the status of object set the user ?

The sun position pallette is a great feature. :)

I think there is an error in the online manual (a detail)
"Day: this set of criteria allows selecting by material, layer, attributes in use, and by object name."

(This option is supposed to just set the day on the calendar in a same fashion of time

 

Where I can check or  modify the daylight savings parameters ?

 

A suggestion?
Add a button to direct on screen setting in addition to sliders, this is a real pleasure in use...

 

JL

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Hi JL,

 

To export a cut section (as DWG or other), use the Make Permanent option first.  If you want to keep a copy of this section, Copy the result of the Make Permanent, and then Undo.  Now you can Paste this section onto a New Layer and easily keep the original, and manage the section objects independently from the main portion of the model.

 

The Daylight Savings checkbox is at the upper right of the Sun Position Palette, and can also be set in the Light Parameters: Location (Date & Time) tab:

 

post-5-0-74171900-1465995386_thumb.jpg

 

We are not sure if we understand your suggestion.  You can set the date and time graphically (via sliders) or numerically (by entering the desired numbers and pressing Tab to accept them).  What were you thinking we should add or adjust?

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Thanks Tech

I understand the undo technique...

Is this the same for a Permanent 3D cut ?

 

if I'm right daylight savings convention is different between North America and France

Here it's for 2016 in the night of saturday 26 march 2016  (at 1 h 00 UTC) for summer time

and satuday 29 october 2016 for winter time
I search this setting not only the checkbox.

 

My suggestion is (as in the pylon plugin) a button that  activate the setting by a scroll on screen (in other word moving the mouse directly in viewport do the same as slider manipulation...)

I'm clear ?

post-10360-0-90082600-1465999417_thumb.jpg

Edited by jldaureil

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Hi JL,

 

Ah, OK.  Thanks for clarifying.  Yes, if your start / stop of Daylight Savings time differs, you will need to check or uncheck that during that time difference.  Thanks for pointing this out, we will see if this can be automated for the future. ;)

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Thanks to taking this in consideration... :)

I guess the best solution is to add a dialog box allowing the user to enter the corresponding settings in its geographical area ...

Have you understood what I meant about setting the hours and days directly into the working window?

 

JL

Edited by Tech

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I guess I am not sure how "setting the hours and days directly into the working window" is different from just adjusting the sliders in the Sun Parameters Palette.  Perhaps those sliders don't do what you want.  Did you want the sun to be moved as you are dragging slider and not just when you release it?  Or something else?

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Did you want the sun to be moved as you are dragging slider and not just when you release it?

EXACTLY!

 

In the pylon plugin for Z 6.7.3 adjusting from the sliders and adjusting with the cursor after push the button in the palette works differently.
Sliders works exactly as in Z 7 (I suppose Z 8.5): first you mose the silder and AFTER you see the result.
Buttons and mouse works as if you directly move the light: lighting especially shadows move as soon as you move your mouse in REAL TIME.

 

Thanks you very much

JL

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