Hiding an object in plan and 3D
As previously discussed, Building Options make items invisible in both the drawing and in 3D. Contrast this to Layers which can make objects invisible in the drawing but not in 3D.
The following is a very simple example using Building Options. I have created 3 solid cubes. I also created 3 Building Options. They are Brick, Stucco, and Stone. Each cube is assigned a Building Option.
In the first image all of the Building Options are turned on.
In the second image the Brick Building Option is turned off. Notice that the Brick cube becomes invisible in both the drawing and in 3D.
You can have multiple elevations for the same plan all within the same drawing. This has the advantage of not having to maintain separate Projects for each version of the plan. But it does take quite a bit of planning and work to set this all up. And if you aren't careful you can really mess things up when editing or moving things around.
In this example I have Building Options created for Elev A and Elev B. Anything that is common to both elevations was left on the Default Building Option. Things that changed for Elevation A were placed on the Elev A Building Option. And things that changed for Elevation B were placed on the Elev B Building Option.
This particular project is much more complex than what I am showing here. This plan uses 54 Building Options. For instance there are 3 different Elevations 4 different upstairs options and 3 different garage options. There are 4 different Master Bath options. There is an option to make Bedroom #4 into a Study. There are 4 different Kitchen/Nook options. And a lot of other smaller options such as lighting and fireplace options.
By selecting the correct combination of Building options this same plan can be used to create any of the possible floor plans. The plans, promotional materials, elevations, roof plan, etc. all change to reflect the selected version of the plan.
Due to the sheer complexity of setting everything up I would actually recommend against using Building Options for projects with this many options unless you really know what you are doing. If you are just learning how to use Building Options start out simple with just a few options. As you gain a better understanding of how Building Options work you can advance on to more complex configurations. If you try to do too much in the beginning you are likely to become frustrated and end up with something that is practically unusable. If SoftPlan were to implement the features listed in my Wish List then I believe that managing projects such as this would not be such a daunting task. It might even be fun.
One thing I do is create a table that shows all of the Building Options used in a project. Beside each name is an X that is assigned that Building Option. So if the Building Option is turned on then the X will appear next to the name and if the Building Option is off then there will not be an X.
Below is an example of a Building Options table. This is a complete list of all the possible Building Options that are set up for this particular builder. Not every option is used on every plan.
And this is a close-up of a small portion of the table. Each X indicates that the Building Option is turned on.
Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com