Building Options -vs- Layers

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Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Building Options -vs- Layers
SoftPlan Version:
2014

I am currently working on a big article discussing Building Options -vs- Layers. It will take me several days to complete since this is a big subject. If you have anything that you would like to see included please let me know. I will also be including a discussion about enhancements I would like to see added to future versions to make Building Options and Layers much more powerful and easier to manage, particularly in large projects with many Options and/or Layers.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Still writing

I'm still writing this article about Building Options and Layers. I'm just about finished with the Building Options section. I am including a pretty extensive wish list for future versions. If you use Building Options and/or Layers I would like to hear from you so I can include additional points of view in the article.

jimcrook@live.com
jimcrook@live.com's picture
Building Options & Layers

Bill, I haven't used Building Options too much other than for adding bearing beams sometimes when trying to get a roof correct and I don't want the beams to show in 3D renderings.  I think if I use layers for that they will generate in 3D even if the specific Layer is turned off.  

 

In any videos I've watched on using Building Options they tout it's use for an optional sunroom or building facade.   I sometimes wonder if there is a logical way to use Bldg Options for keeping the various developmental revisions of a project seperated i.e. sometimes I would do a first draft of a layout, the client would want significant changes so I ended up changing the original drawing thereby losing the original layout, and on occasion they would decide to go to the original and I had to recreate it.   Then I reasoned if I created a carbon copy of the project before doing any significant revisions I would still have a copy of the originals.  The only thing with this is on a project that ends up with four or five major revisions you end up with just as many sets of files.  So I wondered if there were some logical way to use Bldg Options to maintain various versions of a project versus fully seperate file sets ?

 

With respect to Layers, I tend to use them more for altering Pen Weights than anything else.   I preset several Layers to specific Pen Weights so I can fairly easily highlight what I wish.   I don't have this automated I do it manually but it is pretty quick.   For the most part on Elevations I darken the Building Perimeter and the grade line.  Sometimes I want to fade something and it's easier to have a very light pen setting on a Layer than try to use the Fade checkbox on a Layer that might apply to a bunch of things.   I do also use layers to assist while drawing ( particularly busy areas ) whereby I can temporarily turn something off to stop with interference when drawing or dimensioning.   Its also useful for stuff that will be demolished or infilled.   Say I have windows that will ultimately be removed, I can put them on a layer of their own and show or hide them when it suits.

 

I have not yet got to the point where I have set colours to use with layers, but it's something I should do.

 

JimC

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Building Options and Layers

To prevent an object from showing in 3D simply edit it and on the Common tab uncheck "Extract in Model"

To save various versions of a Project use File ⇒ Save ⇒ Save Project Revision. A numbered copy of the entire Project will be saved within the existing Project. Each time you use Save Project Revision a new numbered project is created. If at any point you want to go back to an earlier time you simply open up the appropriate saved Project.

Irish2
Irish2's picture
Looking forward to reading

Looking forward to reading this one Bill. It is a very big topic for sure.

jimcrook@live.com
jimcrook@live.com's picture
Save Project Revision

Bill, has the "Save Project Revision" been around long or is it new with 2014 ?

 

JimC

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Save Project Revision

Save Project Revision was introduced in version 2012. Prior to that a similar functionality existed called Save Revision. Save Revision just saved the current drawing. Save Project Revision saves the entire Project.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Building Options

I have the Building Options portion of the tutorial posted. I still have quite a bit more to do on the Layers portion before it will be ready.

I would like to get comments regarding my Wish List for Building Options. For those of you who have used Building Options I think that if these functions were added it would make using Building Options much easier.

jimcrook@live.com
jimcrook@live.com's picture
Bldg Options

Bill, very nice Tutorial on the use of Bldg Options - 54 Bldg Options on a project - wow I can't imagine how confusing that gets.  I start getting confused if I use more than 4 or 5 Layers and 1 Bldg Option on a project.   I guess that would be my question; how do you know on each project what Bldg Options you have assigned and hence what you might have available for teh client to look at ?  You must have to do a pretty extensive front end consideration of how you will attack these projects ( Bldg Option wise ) before you actually start the project and keep a very detailed speadsheet of what you've done on it ?

 

In terms of your wishlist 1) I totally agree with the Drag & Drop reorder - I too find both Layers & Bldg Options frustrating and limiting in that regard.  LIke you say every time you want to add an Option or Layer if you want to maintain some type of order to the list you have to retype the whole thing.  That is a biggie.

2) The Insert & Delete is along similar lines to item # 1 above and would be much welcomed.

3) The Mouse Hover to see what is on a Bldg Option ( or Layer ) would be fantastic too.

I think the biggest problem with Bldg Options and Layers is a) how to keep track what you've got on the various Layers or Options ( this is where the Hover would be great )  and the limited ability to manipulate/assign the Layers/Options ( seems such a rigid structure in todays drag/drop/reassign age ).

 

I fully agree with all of the Wishlist items you have pointed out although some of them would apply mostly to advanced active users of Bldg Options.  But in general adding more flexibility for the users at setup time would go a long way to improving usability, speed and understandable control.

 

Well done, you have my support for the changes on your Wishlist.

 

JimC

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Building Options

Jim, on the project that I was using as an example I had to follow a numbering and lettering format matching the builder's accounting system. This actually made things even more difficult because I couldn't arrange the Building Options in a logical order. So I created a master Building Options list that included all of the possible options. This master list will be used in each project. The builder provides a list of the options that will be used on each plan. So I use that list as a guide for removing Building Options that will not be used on that project. It leaves a lot of holes in the list but at least it is simpler to see what options are actually available. And it maintains consistency since the ones that are being used will be in the same place in the list from project to project. Of course if we could insert and delete lines and move things around I would give up that consistency and trade it for simplicity. The master list for this builder contains 150 options.

One thing I neglected to mention in the tutorial was how I use color coding. I set all the Building Options that are considered the "standard" options to green. Downstairs options that are not standard are blue. Upstairs options that are not standard are red. And any options that are not being used are set to black. Anything that is on the Default Building Option will use their normal color. By using this color coding it is easy to reset everything back to "standard" because you just go through and check all the options that have a green color and uncheck everything else. This is one of the places where the Grouping would come in handy. Just click on the Standard Group and everything resets to Standard.

ChrisStewart
ChrisStewart's picture
Good Job on the tut.

Good Job on the tut.

Well it is fairly small but I think that it would be handy to rename the building option from the edit item menu -this would save a few steps.

 

Like Jim, my use of building options and layers in limited.