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ZTEK

Looking for a new formZ companion

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Hi,

Recently I moved from Santiago, Chile, to live in the city of Seattle. As a result of this big transition, I started to research different software to expand my toolbox and capabilities. One of my goals is to find a new 2D/3D/BIM companion application that complements with formZ as best as possible.

After re-reading many criticisms about formZ development and Draft Layout implementation, I decided to share part of my search, knowing this is a fundamental topic for us, the users, and AutoDesSys. I don't usually comment on other software in the forum, and this time I do it in a pro-positive way, hoping that my post could be useful.

formZ is my principal design tool and central in my work, and I'm not looking to replace it. Like many of you, I would like to see some improvements and missing pieces taking shape at a better pace. Of course, but in general, version 9 is working well, and I consider it's evolving in the right direction, and I love to work on it as always!

For many years, I have been using formZ on Mac along with AutoCAD for 2D drawing production. Both complement well for that purpose, and the combo is versatile, efficient, and productive. Nevertheless, it's a good time for a new change, and I'm proactively seizing the opportunity and looking for a significant upgrade. 

I decided many years ago not to use the 2D drawing module in formZ, although I always keep an eye on it and see how it progress. However, I have been using formZ to draw dimensioned plans of simple projects and other schematics directly in 3D using different techniques. For example, it works perfectly well for cabinet design projects.

Before formZ and AutoCAD, I used Archicad for some years and experienced the BIM world. I bought a license long ago when I was starting my career. At that time, I thought that Graphisoft's "Virtual Building" concept was great. Some years later, I discovered formZ, and I immediately decided to buy it without even trying it.

Possible prospects

After more than 30 years of evolution, we can see in the A/E/C field developing players offering new options and possibilities. Along with the established and more traditional ones, all provide diverse and enriching alliances. As a result, some BIM applications no longer seem as self-enclosing as before and appear more flexible, with novel options versus the standard "Lego" type modeling approach that I tend to resist.

By the way, Archicad and Revit, the big two competitors, are not part of my search. Already, I started relearning Archicad, considering there is a significant user base in the Seattle area.

After my initial research, I decided to try BricsCAD and Vectorworks. Among other general and fundamental aspects, both are well-established platforms under active development. They evolved to the BIM realm more recently, with different kinds of implementations than the main actors. They look more flexible and seem more adaptable to different types of uses. They have direct connections with other relevant modeling and visualization apps and the necessary I/O capabilities. Both are 2D/3D hybrid software, with a good set of direct modeling and parametric tools, which I consider fundamental. And, of course, both are fully capable of 2D drawing and documentation production work.

The test

To test them, I'm doing a practical exercise using a small project I'm developing. It's an interior design study to see the options for remodeling a one-bedroom apartment with an area of 820 SqFt (76 m2). I started in formZ modeling the unit with its existing conditions, working as I always do and without any special consideration. Then, I exported the 3D data to both programs to obtain the plans automatically using their section tools, without drawing and almost any editing. Using demo-versions of 30 days, I have been focusing on the essentials but keep the mind open and experimenting.

In simple terms, the testing process is the following:

  1. Test and define the necessary options to correctly import the original model developed in formZ, preserving the topology and the organization by layers.
  2. Check the imported model and edit the 3D geometry if necessary.
  3. Define non-destructive horizontal and vertical sections to extract the 2D information.
  4. Generate the blocks of all sections, placing them numerically in the workspace without further editing.
  5. Edit and organize the layers system to visualize appropriately the new 2D information generated.
  6. Minimal and systematized editing, by layer only, for better visualization of segmented lines.
  7. Create a drawing sheet with all section viewports and add a title block.
  8. Add some annotations and graphic elements just for testing, like dimensions, symbols, titles, notes, etc., and hatches.
  9. Export to PDF the test drawing sheet.

On the other hand, this process is never linear and always iterative, requiring updates to the 3D geometry to correct errors, add more information or make simple changes. Therefore, it's essential to establish an efficient working method and preview a reliable and fluid system.

Initial results to share

After some intensive learning and a positive preliminary round of testing with both programs, I decided for logistical reasons to focus first only on BricsCAD, and I plan to return to Vectorworks as soon as possible. The following are my observations and initial test results that I would like to share.

I'm very optimistic about what I accomplished on BricsCAD in such a short period, exceeding all my expectations. Because it started as a clone of AutoCAD, its interface and logic are very familiar to me, but I think other factors could be the main underlying reason. First, BricsCAD is a native DWG application, and formZ has a well-implemented DWG exporter, which I have been able to confirm after years of working with ACAD. Additionally, its modeling engine is ACIS-based, which formZ also uses to export its smooth geometry, with the option to include the facetted objects written as embedded ACIS entities. Last and very important, the 3D modeling module in BricsCAD shares with formZ some fundamental modeling tools and concepts with similar implementations. In the end, it seems feasible that both applications could integrate and complement strongly in the 3D work field, and not only with the more narrow-ish and specific purpose to produce technical 2D information, which was a great and very positive surprise.

After my limited but intense test experience and base on those assumptions, I can say that moving to technical drawings production was pretty easy, considering that the 3D geometry in the formZ model has to be well built and organized. The process was quick, systematic, and very straightforward, with predictable and accurate results. I can visualize with clarity that it's also possible to define a fruitful 3D-based workflow between both applications, with multiple and enhanced connections that further facilitate and deepen the whole process. As an example, parametric 3D blocks, which you could model in formZ and parameterize in BricsCAD.

All clear so far to me. However, I would like to add that a very intriguing aspect and a big difference could be in the next step. Although I tested it only superficially (and perhaps I'm projecting, my apologies!), if this application delivers what it promotes within its BIM module, it would be possible to define a method that allows moving from formZ to the BIM world.

Files to share

Due to the size of the files, I'm sharing in the forum some of them only. The others, including the 3D models, can be downloaded in the following link to a  Dropbox folder for that purpose:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6rkb2j3vr3i1thw/AAB0--IWUjDS2kNLtyoWQu1Va?dl=0

The following files are attached:

Additional files in Dropbox:

  • A PDF file with multiple shaded views of the original formZ model.
  • FMZ file with the original formZ model for the test.
  • DWG file with the BricsCAD model and drawings.

Finally, I would like to say that, in the last two months, apart from using BricsCAD and Vectorworks for this test, I was also experimenting for other purposes with Archicad, Rhino3D, and exploring some 3D tools in AutoCAD. In this regard and before closing, I would like to say that working on my designs in formZ is still the best experience by far, like fresh air, and I love it!

Take care,

Marcelo

P.S. I leave you two links related to formZ that I discovered during my search, one very up-to-date and the other techno-vintage and cool!

Integrating Parametric Modeling With BIM Through Generative Programming For The Production Of NURBS Surfaces And Structures
Lilian Silva (1), Neander Silva (2) and Igor Lacroix (3)
(1,2) Universidade De Brasilia, Faculdade De Arquitetura E Urbanismo, Brasilia, Brazil
(3) Centro Universitário de Brasilia, Faculdade de Tecnologia e Ciências Sociais Aplicados, Brasilia, Brazil
http://papers.cumincad.org/data/works/att/caadria2019_103.pdf

It Cost About $65 To Have A Cold Pizza Delivered In The Middle Of The Night To Skywalker Ranch
The Intensive Previs Process On "The Phantom Menace"
By Ian Failesmay 22, 2019
https://beforesandafters.com/2019/05/22/it-cost-about-65-to-have-a-cold-pizza-delivered-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-skywalker-ranch/

Edited by ZTEK

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Marcelo,

Looks like you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into finding what will work best for you, hope you find something that is close to what you want.

If it makes you feel any better, even very large, successful firms (which you think would have the budget for adequate software training) are turning out drawings done in Revit with numerous modeling errors which become visible in the sectional views.  The errors I’ve seen would be totally unacceptable if the drawings were standard two-dimensional drawings done in any CAD application.  Plus the quality of the drawings is generally very disappointing in my opinion, such as weak lineweight hierarchy and excessive detail for the scale of the drawing (such as showing wallboard on a 1:48 floor plan.)

Funny thing about those kinds of errors is how it seems to be an example of the tool mastering the user instead of the user mastering the tool.  That the user accepts the errors because it’s the best the tool can do might be an indication that the user needs to find a new tool!  But that comment is coming from someone who is not a fan of BIM, I prefer two-dimensional drafting and I’ll use a stand-alone modeler as needed.  I understand the efficiencies offered by BIM, just not a fan, not how I prefer to work.

The models and drawings in your two attached files appear to be nicely executed, I’d say your preliminary tests have been successful.

I used VectorWorks 8 years ago for two-dimensional drawing, I liked it a lot.

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Skybound13,

Thanks for your comments. Yes, a lot of thought, but not too much effort. I have fun and enjoy the learning process also. Your observations are in alignment with my own experience and way of thinking. More than anything, in this area, I believe in the right tools with the best method of integration. I learned this when I try a vertical app like Archicad long ago. I learned a lot, but in the end, it didn't work.

At the beginning of my career, I worked for 15 years at an architectural studio specializing in residential design. The owner is a famous Chilean architect, from the old school, and with a particular mix of traditional Chilean and Mediterranean style. In the office, the work was done only by hand drawing with drafting instruments. A little later, I bought two Archicad licenses, one for the office and another for my personal use, setting up a studio offering custom 3D modeling and visualization services. In the end, in the office, we could not solve the kind of architectural details, and the expression of our new digital plans was of lower quality and disappointing. Later, I left Archicad after I discovered formZ, and then the office moved to AutoCAD.

The teaching was clear: you cannot force yourself if the tool doesn't allow you to do otherwise.

My search is still a work in progress. As I mentioned before, AutoCAD works very well with formZ. To me, that means seamless integration and the ability to produce accurate and expressive 2D drawings. I measure efficiency in terms of flexibility rather than speed. That's how I work in formZ, and I expect the same for my 2D production tool.

BricsCAD accomplishes perfectly well, and with the plus of complementing with formZ in the 3D side better than ACAD. Much better, according to my particular way of working. On top of that, you have the possibility of further expansion to BIM, which is not part of my goals now, but it could be like an expansion pack for later. The only drawback could be that Bricsys, the developers, have a Wintel oriented history. As a result, the Mac version is a little behind and not so polished, but supposedly they are working to resolve that, and the Apple Mx processors are pushing to make it real. We will see what happens soon.

With Vectorworks, the issue is more about the 3D integration and the modeler in itself. It's a beautiful app that produces excellent drawings and graphic work, and there is no problem with the support to macOS. I need more learning time and investigate more to visualize a better way to integrate them. Now, I can do it acceptable, but degrading and losing some of the info on my formZ models. It works, but the methodology is not very good. Probably, it would force me later to make some changes in the way I work in formZ.

For example, as we know, the DWG format only carries the material info at the object level and not at the face level. I use the latter a lot in my architectural models. I build complex solid objects with different associated materials. Before exporting, you can separate those objects by color. formZ has all the tools to do this easily. Then, in BricsCAD, I can rebuild the topology, stitching into a solid all the surface objects preserving the edges, and maintaining the face colors with very little work, the same way you do it in formZ. In Vectorworks, I couldn't find yet a way to repeat the same procedure. I can change my method in formZ, but I don't want to do that in the early stage of the design process because it's not very efficient. I could also obviate this step and equally produce the 2D drawings with the section tools, keeping the surface objects unstitched. It works, but it degrades the models.

About the possibility of expansion to BIM, this is not part of my search now. I do not need it, but it would certainly be interesting to explore, to see which could be the advantages for later. The BIM part, or modules, of this kind of apps, includes specific tools to facilitate or enhance different aspects of a project. I want to try some of them, not the BIM itself in terms of the concept. What attracts me the most is the possibility to move from my generic solid-based formZ models to a BIM-ify model. That is what BricsCAD offers in its implementation, to design/model with freedom using generic 3D tools first and convert your designs to BIM in the process. Without knowing the app deeply, I have the idea that Vectorworks could allow something similar.

Again, my interest is in the process of integration and the workflow.

People who use Rhino-Grasshopper have Rhino.Inside and other connections to link their geometry to different BIM apps. I use formZ for my designs, so I need to find my customized method.

Edited by ZTEK

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ZTEK,

You’re welcome.  It’s better to have some fun and enjoy the process as much as possible, it will be interesting to see what unexpected things you learn along the way.

I worked for a firm that tried ArchiCAD for one project, principal architect and myself took a full-day new user training class offered by the reseller.  Even with that and phone support we struggled, principal ended up hiring a former employee who was doing his own thing and using ArchiCAD, that guy ended up basically doing all the drawings.  Principal came to the conclusion that ArchiCAD wasn’t for us and we continued using AutoCAD.

I am still friends with that ArchiCAD user and have reviewed his drawings for three projects, two were new construction, the third was an interior renovation.  All his drawings have been weak in my opinion (poor text, leader, and dimension management as well as weak lineweights on all drawings.)  He has commented about how drafting details is difficult for him, not a good thing considering he’s used ArchiCAD for well over a decade.

For some reason over the last year or two I’ve had a great interest in doing manual drafting.  I bought a used drafting table that had a track-style drafting machine, bought a couple elbow-style drafting machines to play around with, a new parallel bar, and even a T-square!  When I told my ArchiCAD friend that I bought the drafting table he asked, “What for?”  I told him, “Ah, for drafting!”  :-)  I do not intend to stop doing final drawings in CAD (I use HighDesign,) but my intuition is telling me the manual drafting is something I should investigate.  I know from past experience that when I get such a feeling and don’t follow it that I end up looking back and wishing I had.

Regarding speed, I’d rather sacrifice speed than quality.

I never tried to use Vectorworks with any other software, can’t offer any thoughts or advice on that.

I assume when applications such as formZ and SketchUp create layout applications that they want their software to move in the direction of BIM, I guess.  I’m still investigating formZ, but the way it keeps track of objects seems like that could be used to BIM-ify the model so it contains useful information to the CAD application.

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Interesting thoughts...

I use Vectorworks to make Layout / Sheets from my FZ Models, it is pretty simple to set up and generates drawings from imported dwg`s from FZ quite well. (if geometry not too heavy/complex, don't know about nurbs etc..)

Downside is when changing stuff you need to reload the file into VW and tweak a few things again, but once its all set up this works pretty quick (Needs "architect" version of VW though which is a bit overpriced imo.)

My BIM adventure is the dynamo/revit route, which is really interesting.

ACIS Sat and dwg can be imported into revit and turned into parametric objects. Downside is that revit is not much fun .... 

Dynamo is great and does what we would the python scripts want to do in FormZ.  In fact if FZ free would be able to export ACIS/SAT it would make a great startup - companion to revit as even simple modeling is quite an effort there. 

FZ and Dynamo can be used for non-destructive editing / booleans, Variations etc., so if you own FZ pro its worth a shot (dynamo sandbox is free); generate geometry variations based on your FZ data and import back into FZ. 

On 1/27/2021 at 3:00 AM, ZTEK said:

I would like to say that working on my designs in formZ is still the best experience by far, like fresh air, and I love it!

+1 for that, and now with dynamo its +2 😎

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I worked on a project where the architect did a very detailed model of his new house in SketchUp then exported orthogonal views as DWGs, it worked fairly well.  Fortunately we didn’t have any changes to the drawings once he finished the model but I can imagine what it might be like to reload the DWG exports if there were changes.  On my own projects I’ve only inserted raster files of perspectives to give an overview of the project, I add a note saying that they are conceptual and may not represent the information found in the drawings.

I’ve never used any scripts or third-party plug-ins for any CAD or modeling application, I can’t think of anything I’ve tried to do that couldn’t be handled with the application’s standard functionality.

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Hi ZTEK,

I really enjoyed your post. It made me smile as I thought I was the only person who does this kind of detailed analysis to find the best product to create a specific workflow. In my case, I reviewed Rhino and  BricsCAD. I am interested in creating a workflow to go from modeling to CNC. At the end of a very long process, I concluded that Form Z is still the best product out there for my kind of work. All it needs is for Layout and Draft to be improved so that they are reliable for professional use. 

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On 2/1/2021 at 4:49 PM, kim said:

All it needs is for Layout and Draft to be improved so that they are reliable for professional use. 

I agree. A much improved Layout application would lend a huge productivity boost to my workflow. Currently use VW to produce drafting documents and managing changes this way can be a bit of a chore. This alone makes me consider switching to Sketch Up about every 3-4 months, but then I shudder to think I would be forcing myself to use such a crude piece of software. Always lean on FormZ for original design.

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Shibui:  I also use Vectorworks.  I use Layout for DWG export.  I setup Scenes in FormZ (plans, elevations, sections).  Open in Layout.  Then export DWG linework to Vworks as a referenced file.  Works quite well.  If we can get referenced DWG into FormZ then the process would go both ways quite seamlessly.

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7 hours ago, AsOne said:

Shibui:  I also use Vectorworks.  I use Layout for DWG export.  I setup Scenes in FormZ (plans, elevations, sections).  Open in Layout.  Then export DWG linework to Vworks as a referenced file.  Works quite well.  If we can get referenced DWG into FormZ then the process would go both ways quite seamlessly.

AsOne, I follow a very similar process. When a drawing package contains 30 to 40 drawing sheets, this becomes labor intensive. Work smarter, not harder follows a familiar mantra! If only the software became a little smarter...

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Thanks, guys, for your comments and info.

Thanks, Kim, for your support... you made me laugh also. I would like to know more about your CNC workflow... share something later 😉

The link between formZ and Dynamo sounds very promising R2D2, could you share something? I'm a Mac user though, but I would like to try it sometime soon... I could take a walk to the dark side to try using it with my Parallels shield! (sounds like a conspiracy theory!)... oh, and my mask, of course!

For years, I have been using the method you mention skybound13. Generating drawings in AutoCAD (ACAD) from orthogonal projections of my models, sectioning them first if necessary. Both ACAD and BricsCAD (BCAD) have a tool called Flatshot, which works perfectly well as a smart version of a hidden line view. The method is simple. You start importing your formZ models in DWG-ACIS format, slice them as necessary to produce the horizontal or vertical sections, and using Flatshot, generate the flat projections as blocks. It requires some methodology, but it's simple to do and systematic. Then you explode the blocks and continue editing and drawing in 2D, like in any CAD software. The results are excellent if the models are well constructed, with clean geometry.

This method is essentially manual, and the only part automatic is the use of the Flatshot tool. But it works very well if it suits you. Updating the drawings could be tedious if the model changes too much, but it will depend on how organized it's everything. To do it right, I usually generate a new block without exploding it and overlay and lock it. This way, I can edit my drawings with some ease. Both ACAD and BCAD have all the necessary capabilities and tools for that. A newer option is to compare two DWG files to update changes with ease and systematically, which sounds great, but I did not test it yet. formZ can help if you are organized. For example, if you make changes, you don't need to export the whole model each time, and you can export only the modified objects selecting them beforehand. Again, it's more about the method than anything else.

Next phase

What I'm exploring in my testing is how to move to the next phase, more automatic than manual, similar to what formZ Layout is trying to do. BCAD is superior to ACAD to achieve this, which is saying a lot. BCAD has more tools that expand it to other areas, and some tools in common more developed. After using it for a while, ACAD feels like a younger brother.

Two major A/E/C developers are pushing the DWG format to a higher level than Autodesk. One is Bricsys with BricsCAD, and the other is Gräbert with ARES Commander.

The way BCAD works to produce drawings is similar to Vectorworks and others. In simple terms, they offer an automatic system to generate drawings sectioning a 3D model or directly from 2D information, which could be previously drawn with 2D tools or imported. Based on viewports linked to drawing sheets. The info is organized, managed, and displayed according to a system of layers/classes. In theory, not destructive, and the flow is alive from 3D to 2D only.

Everything will be easier if you model or draw in the same software, of course. But the situation changes a bit if you model in another 3D app and you import the geometry. That's why the quality of the exporter module is so important. More recently, all the new connections between different apps like Rhino.Inside, Dynamo-Revit, etc. ACAD and BCAD are DWG-based, and the DWG exporter in formZ is great. VW is based on the Parasolid kernel and not on ACIS, like formZ, and I'm still not clear if this may produce some limitations for what I want to do, based on VW's implementation. Archicad uses the proprietary GDL and is a different history, but they have their custom connection with Rhino-Grasshopper.

One possibility is to import the 2D information generated in formZ Layout as an intermediate step, the way that Shibui and AsOne work. The other is to import the 3D geometry directly, like R2D2. The latter is the one I'm trying with BCAD in my test. In my case, I want to redefine the connection with formZ, looking to establish a new workflow that integrated both apps in 3D.

My idea is simple

Find the right app, learn it well and develop a new workflow with formZ that complements and integrates them on the 3D side, blurring the boundary between the two. For me, the key is to establish the link as a relationship of "intersection" where the two apps share an area and stop seeing it as if it were a "bridge" to cross from one to the other. In practice, I imagine the method modeling interchangeably in both applications using their best tools efficiently in a combined way, exporting and importing in both directions, and editing the resulting drawings as little as possible. The method has to be systematic, without causing more problems than it intends to solve, and efficient and not a waste of time. As I said before, I prefer it to be flexible rather than fast, and with good quality results, of course.

I have been using formZ in different areas in the past, not only in architecture. I used it for a couple of jobs in hardware design with prototyping, working with geodesic domes and fabric patterning, and fabrication. Base on these experiences, using fZ Layout does not appeal to me in its current implementation. Just as I never liked the 2D drawing module in version 6 and earlier. I tried it many times and even used it on a couple of multi-story buildings in the office where I was working at that time, but in the end, I decided not to insist any more.

It works if you are trying to make architectural drawings at the usual scales to generate plans, and small errors don't cause trouble. But it doesn't work for other purposes that need the precision of a CAD program. In the end, it's not about how much it's needed or how many decimal places. The problem is with the transfer of information and how fZ Layout degrades it, producing little errors. formZ is a double-precision floating-point CAD application, and fZ Layout is NOT in its current implementation. That is the problem for me. The same doesn't happen with software like ACAD or BCAD, Rhino, and I'm guessing in VW or Revit either. I leave Archicad aside because it's not a very open application. It's the same reason I use formZ and don't use Sketchup, and if you need to share a 2D file with a co-worker or provider that requires precision, fZ Layout doesn't work as an intermediate stage.

About the test

I made some modifications to the formZ test file and generated all the plans again. In total, the "redrawing" process in BricsCAD took me no more than 1 hour, including deleting the entire previous model, importing the new version, and generating all the sections replacing the blocks automatically. The only new thing was to reapply the gray glass hatches.

In total, the whole test took me between 35 to 40 hours of work during one week, measuring the entire apartment with my new laser meter while learning how to use it, haha. Modeling everything simultaneously in formZ and then generating the plans in BricsCAD. The latter took no more than 10 hours to produce the complete test drawing sheet.

FZC-BC-model 6 test sheet Arch D 210206.pdf

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Thanks ZTEK for your detailed analysis, I've been watching this post for a while. The PDF is nice, and well laid out with nice clean lines, thickness's, hatching etc. Was the hatching generated in BricsCAD? It seems quite dense and might cause problems when printing but I'm sure that can be adjusted easily enough. I started back in the 80's drawing on tracing paper using varying pen thickness's to achieve this effect and I think you have managed to get the same feel (too many architects have lost this over the years imo). In fact I'm dismayed by the quality quite often of the lack of skill or the want to produce nice drawings these days, I receive drawings on a daily basis from designers that either don't work, are messy as hell and as a result are difficult to read. While I'm no longer required to produce drawings like this any more by choice (all my work is 3d imagery), it's still interesting to see.

Query; the "reflected ceiling plan" is flipped as if one were looking up at the ceiling on your drawing. Is this a result of using a section of the plan with the "camera" looking up? In my experience a reflected ceiling plan is the same as the floor plan and not flipped over (like a mirror is held under the ceiling, hence 'reflected').

I had not heard of BricsCAD until this post, it looks very capable and the fact that it's for macs as well is great. I started on Vectorworks and PowerCADD back in the day.

Des

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Des,

I, too, have noticed the lack of skill and/or desire to produce nice drawings.  By “nice” I mean well drawn (such as effective use of lineweights, appropriate level of detail for the scale of the drawing) and well organized (placement of dimensions and notes,) both of which contribute to how easy the drawings are to read and use for construction.

You are correct that the reflected ceiling plan should not be mirrored, plus there would not be any door or window openings unless they continue to the ceiling plane.

Regarding manually drafting on translucent media, back in studio I did a few drawings on trace where I cut out a piece of trace to put behind the area of the drawing (such as the bounds of the floor plan) which made the drawing stand out from the surrounding field of the single layer of trace.  I was wrapping boards with the trace so you’d see some of the color of the board through the trace.  It’s kind of funny, my last year of architecture school I stopped using vellum and just used white trace, I think they were some of the best drawings I’ve done.

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Yes, the PDFs are from BricsCAD, although I imported the last one to Affinity Publisher to make other tests. You are right when you mention that it looks a bit dense but can be adjusted quite easily. I need to optimize it a bit, hiding some details and some layers. For now, my focus is on playing with the options and the whole system.

The reflected ceiling plan is wrong and should not be a mirror. I'm not paying too much attention because these are only trials, but thanks for point that out. I don't remember when was the last time I did one of those, and I don't have my Francis D. K. Ching books with me anymore! haha

I made some quick editions and changed the hatching. I added a second page displaying only the viewports content, with only the information generated automatically sectioning the formZ model, without any intervention. The third page only shows what I added in BCAD, like annotations, dimensions, and hatching for the interior glazing.

I was without a demo version for a few days and stopped testing, but already I have a new educational license installed. Now I'm starting to play with other options, more interesting. For example, how you can convert repeated objects to blocks with the Blockify tool. I plan to convert all possible, edit their parameters in BCAD and bring them back to formZ as components to see what happens.

Another test I did was to open the file in AutoCAD without any problem. It keeps all the information in the model space and the layout. It seems to be 100% compatible.

FZC-BC-model 6 test sheet Arch D 210208.pdf

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I own Vectorworks and Bricscad. Another economical alternative which I recently found is QCAD. So far it appears to be very capable. Especially for the straight forward projects

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