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Some workflow (workaround) inquiries or how do you do it in FormZ

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First of all a Big Hi to the FormZ community!


I have been a proud FormZ v7 license owner for a while but I am just now starting to meddle with it and that is at home. At work I am heavily involved with ArchiCAD and that has been the dough resource for the last 14 years.


I decided to get a grip on a FZ copy as I was fascinated (the gut feeling  :wub:  ) at how intuitively and easily 3D models are done - something ArchiCAD used to lack but has been lately and quickly catching up with.


Being of a strong ArchiCAD background, I just can not help put some questions concerning project organization or, more rightfully so, model organization. I am sorry but 14 years is not a small momentum :) .


I am sure architects coming from the drawing board background and using pencils etc. must have had the same "how do you do it" questions when they first saw AutoCAD v.0.1 many years ago. Should architects adapt to how the software is written or the software should adapt to how architects work? Perhaps both.


Here I want to make a disclaimer: "As it is pointless to search for the same AC work routines in another software, the point here is how do you make your model more "clean" so that it is prone to alterations in the future and easy maintainability. I use the term "clean" the way software developers use it to denote quality computer code i.e. clean code. A building design is exactly as the software code for an application."


So, without further ado:


1. Let's say you have 3-storey building. How can you organize the FZ model into separate stories the automated way? That means to be able to see what happens on one floor without being bothered by what is happening in the other parts of the model and this to take just a few or two clicks with the mouse. A layer for a story won't do as you have elements in other layers that belong to this story and one element can not belong to two layers simultaneously. I think facades are easier as they are just views of the complete model and not parts of them.


2. There is this thing in AC called ghost story which means being able to see what happens on another story and also being able to snap and align - that is the vector equivalent of underlay in FZ but instead of having graphics you have the vector view representation of a part of the model. Is there any possibility in FZ to underlay vector views and snap to them? Architects many times want to snap and align to something that happens above their head or below their feet. Sometimes, I want to snap and align to a facade view while working on a floor plan.


3. I understand FZ is working with .pat files only to represent hatches. Do you think it could be possible, software wise, to draw a lline pattern and then have it as the basis to create and save a custom hatch pattern on your own? Thus you leave it only on the creativity and imagination of the FZ user to make hatches of their own. AC does it as intuitively and user-friendly as FZ does reshaping :) . To be honest with you I've never been bothered whether I have a certain hatch pattern and where I can find it. Just draw it and you're done in 10 seconds. BTW the same goes for line patterns. Tech, I can demonstrate that in a .pdf as long as you want me to.


That was it, no more attempts of mine to put the AC stick in a FZ hole.


Any ArchiCAD users here, what is your take on that?


Thank you so much for your feedback!


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Hi Ivsim,


Welcome to the forum!


1.  Generally you should organize your objects by Layers.  You can also create Layer Groups, which you could name Floor 1, Floor 2, etc -- and just put the associated layers inside that group.  Then you can easily adjust the visibility at the Group level.


NOTE that if your Floor groups should have similar layers, create them for Floor 1 first, then right click on Floor 1, choose Duplicate -- and rename it as desired.  (This will ONLY duplicate the Layers -- and not the objects on it -- which can be Duplicated (or Copy, Deselect, Paste) independently.


2.  You can also Ghost the Layer Group.  Then right click on any Object Snap, choose Snap Options, and check the Snap to Ghosted option.  (You can also control Object Snapping at the Layer, or Layer Group level.)


3.  Yes, you can create and load Autocad .PAT files to create your own custom hatch patterns.  Just follow the tutorials for Autocad for how to do this, and Load them in the Hatch Palette (using the folder icon at the bottom).


And if you haven't studied the formZ Migration Guide, you should check that out here:




Does that help?


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Thank you for your immediate reaction, Tech!


It is helpful to me. That's what I wanted to get.


As for the .pat files... Well, I think I need to be a programmer to create one pattern of my own and this has nothing to do with FZ. On the other hand, the AutoCAD manual roughly says go to the create pattern menu and click on on the import button, then navigate to a location where the .pat file is and load it. I am supposed to create it first in order to load it.


Anyway, you have taken good care that there are quite a number of patterns embedded in FZ and that does a great job.


Once again, thank you for your helpful feedback!

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