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Suggestions for Improving the Drafting Module


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First off I should say that while I have tried many times to use V8 for Drafting I repeatedly return to V6 to generate my construction documents.  I am very biased towards the older version.  I understand that I am a lot more familiar with it, so of course it would be a lot faster and easier for me to use.  Over the years I have made many attempts to switch and have found too many impediments to be able to be able to produce drawings in the way in which I want them to look.  While V8 has some great new features and more of an automated feeling, it all comes at an unacceptable expense in flexibility.

 I think that the older version had a superior foundation.  It would be great to begin with that foundation and then to include the beneficial features from V8.   There are some serious issues and bugs in V6 Drafting which needed correcting.  My suggestions will include pointing out both the problems and the benefits unique to V6 and V8.  If anyone has ideas of how to combine the two versions where issues conflict, they would be very welcomed.  Please feel free to add to the list as I too will be doing so in the coming days/weeks.


1.  V6 had a Draft / Draft Layout workflow format which was a lot more flexible than the Page / Frame format in V8.  While I appreciate the automatic updating of the Frames to reflect the state of the current model,  I was losing a lot of time in going back and forth between the 3D and the 2D world and having to wait long periods of time for all the many frames in my drawings to update.  I got into the practice of "freezing" the Hidden Line renders to break the file linking but this felt tedious and counterproductive in V8's workflow.  In addition, I miss having an "offscreen" area [Draft]  in which I could organize and hold variations etc. off to the side and which was hidden from view in the Frames [Draft Layout] on the final printed sheet, but which was still easily accessible and editable by switching to the Draft Mode.  That being said, having a pages palette added on top of the old system would be a great addition.

2.  I like the way that frames were not limited to rectangular shapes in V6, but could be polygonal, like the shape of an "L" or "T" for example.  It enabled you to nest details around each other and gave you a lot more flexibility in organizing information on a page.  Round and oval Frames would be helpful options for detail insert bubbles.

3.  V6 had bugs in Repositioning dimensions which often caused them to fly off the screen when adjusted.  V8 has no Reposition Tool which is dearly needed to quickly and efficiently edit either single dimensions or whole strings of dimensions which have been pre-selected.

4.  I prefer the (Horizontal/Vertical and Dimension Parallel) Dimension Tools with a double click to signify the completion of a string of dimensions rather than using a separate tool to create Multi-Dimensions.

5.  I miss being able to quickly select and move the associated/unassociated points of dimensions without having to show them first as in V8.   These were invisible until selected in V6 which worked well.

6.  Reintroduce the Colors Palette and the Color Tool in Drafting.  Only being able to adjust Line / Hatch colors via Attributes is a limitation in comparison to V6.


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7.  Improved memory capacity for drawings with lots of imported images.  Addition of transparency for images.

8.  Option to automatically import both a scaled vector Hidden Line drawing and an internally generated Full Shaded image, cropped and aligned with the Hidden Line in one step.  Ability to edit generated images in external image software and have the image update upon save, as is now possible in the Modeler with Texture Maps In Materials.

I'm including a simple sample sheet which shows how I typically set up drawings.  Here is a link to the V6 file:  https://we.tl/t-eNLZQwxCPQ


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  • 1 year later...

I was about to say the same thing then I scrolled down and saw Des’ comment.  But I’ll go ahead and say it anyway - very nice presentation!  The sheet layout is clean, size and position of dimensions and notes looks good, rendering with a tone instead of monochrome makes the crane elements stand out nicely.

As for “technical art,” I’ve seen this sort of thing a couple times.  First was my optometrist who hung a framed copy of the architect’s plan for his space on the wall.  The coolest example I’ve seen was a blueprint of an old service elevator that is in a building a client renovated.  They found the drawing in the elevator pit during renovations, they framed it and put it in the elevator.  It’s a small bit of the building’s history put on display, but sadly it’s probably slowly fading as it is exposed to light in the elevator, the darkness of the elevator pit helped keep it as nice as it was.

But anyway, setz, whole point is that this layout is a very nice bit of work, good job.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Honestly, what is the true purpose of the current drafting module? It is certainly not for standalone drafting per se, but rather for line editing support in modelling instead. Could the same not have been achieved by the addition of appropriate tools there, like before?

Let me expand on this. As far as I can see, there is no way at present to produce a drawing in drafting, and then to open it directly in layout for final touches. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in order to achieve this, the sequence must be:

  1. Produce a drawing in drafting (2d model FML file);
  2. Import it into modelling (3d model FMZ file), and finally;
  3. Import it from modelling into layout (2d layout FML file).

This process is prone to error, since the critical direct link between 1. and 3. above is missing. It is impossible to open a drafted FML file directly in layout, which is a disaster. So, my first suggestion would be to allow this possibility. Briefly, here are some others:

  • Improve DWG file importing. In my experience, hatches and layer colors refuse to import, while text fonts come in as dimension styles. As such, they are useless, because layout will not import dimension styles. Therefore, text fonts are out too!
  • Improve layer color support. Currently, layer colors do not stick. They will be different, as soon as the file is saved and reopened. A possible workaround is to change the color attribute of the objects themselves, but the penalty is color printing output. So…..
  • Permit PDF printing as B&W vector output despite layer or object color. This is the norm in AutoCAD, for example, where the output is always B&W despite layer or line color.
  • Permit PDF printing of image hatches with vector output.
  • Introduce object display order support. (bring to front, send to back etc….)
  • Improve the image content tool in layout. At present, an imported image continues to be placed until the pick tool is selected. On a related note, the size by dimension lock does not work in object parameters. The displayed aspect ratio is lost, when changing these values.

It has already been said by others, and I wish to reiterate that a good 2d drafting tool is indispensable in a profession such as architecture. Until we reach the day when 3d printed buildings are upon us 2d documentation remains king. Sure, we can turn to other software to do the job, but wouldn’t it be nice if FZ could do it all?

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  • 2 months later...

I am trying to be polite but it seems like AutoDesSys does not listen to users. My moans to improve Layout to at least V6 level where supported by other users and have been heard for at least 10 years. Yet they don't care. There where suggestions from other users on the same matter. They improved everything but Layout and created this dumb Drafting module instead of doing what we really need.

I would not even mention lack of support for any other language except for English in file and directories names.

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