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  1. #1
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    Default Optimizing for PDF ouput. a wish list.

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    OK, Im going to throw this out there. It’s my opinion, and I know in advance that some people will disagree.However, I think it’s a worthy topic of discussion.
    I see a slow shift in the way AutoCAD output is created, going from the traditional paper plot to greater use of electronic formats. Namely PDF, since AC360 has yet to gain any widespread traction.
    No, I get it, paper isn’t going away soon, especially as long as building departments are under staffed and under funded.
    On the other hand, the improved integration of AutoCAD and Adobe Acrobat makes, to me, at least, PDFs the cad medium of the future. (I see a lot of big screen monitors in construction offices these days) IMO, the ability to pass along the layers to the pdf make is much more useful to the end user.Because of this, I think that there are certain areas where AutoCAD itself and areas where CAD standards need to change.





    LAYER STRUCTURE The first change I would like to see is a hierarchal structure applied to layers similar to the way file folders are organized in computer systems.Something more advanced than group filters that can be passed along to the PDF output.For example you can have a top folder called “A-WALLS” and in that folder you have all the layers that represent wall elements in that drawing, (full height, half height, Toilet partitions, etc.)That folder can be turned off and on, printed or non printed as needed.Another possibility is to allow the option for specific folders to be flattened when outputting to PDF.This will allow greater customization of the PDF output and also allow the designer the option of having a complex layer structure for design purposes, but a simplified structure in the final output.





    LAYER NAMES: Lets face it, the current cad standards for layer names sucks.They remind me of the old 8 character DOS file name limitations.I see too many drawings where layer names are a confusing array of abbreviations that often seem haphazardly applied.My personal preference is to use the first letter category (A = Architectural, G= General, P=plumbing, etc) followed by a four letter code if desired (i.e ANNO, WALL, …)then by a plain language description.For example, A-WALL-EXISTING FULL HEIGHT, A-WALL DEMO HALF HEIGHT, A-ANNO-WALL DIMENSIONS, and so on.





    LAYER COLORS The other advantage to PDF files is that you can use colors. (yes you can use them on paper plots, I use them when plotting to 11x17 all the time. Larger sizes can get too expensive, though)That being said, however, there are certain things that should be noted.1) Colors should be used only to highlight specific elements of the drawing.And 2) colors should be visible on a white background(goodbye yellow).
    Juts a few thoughts and ideas. Flame away.

  2. #2
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    PDF's should not be the CAD medium now or in the future. And why should "generic" AutoCAD adapt to any particular discipline (ex. - architectural)? Create a custom template file and use it.
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  3. #3
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    I name my Layers as I see fit. I know of no Standard for CAD.

    Yellow is a great color to use on black screen, just set it to plot as another color if you desire or plot Monochrome and use True Colors for things you want plotted Color.

    Everything you mention is a part of properly setting up AutoCAD.

    .dwg is the main medium for sharing AutoCAD drawings.
    “A narrow mind and a fat head invariably come on the same person” Zig Zigler



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW210 View Post
    I name my Layers as I see fit. I know of no Standard for CAD.

    https://www.nationalcadstandard.org/...s6_clg_lnf.pdf


    Yellow is a great color to use on black screen, just set it to plot as another color if you desire or plot Monochrome and use True Colors for things you want plotted Color.

    Use of the black screen is a holdover from the old CRT computer monitor days. I get it that some people are used to it and won't change, but (IMHO) it should be discouraged.



    [quote]
    Everything you mention is a part of properly setting up AutoCAD.[




    Layers only exist on one level. a group filter in not the same as a tree structure.


    .dwg is the main medium for sharing AutoCAD drawings.

    Nope. A paper plot is the mane medium for most end users.


    However, not everyone wants to drag a bunch of drawings around. For that reason, a PDF file is a workable substitute.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReMark View Post
    PDF's should not be the CAD medium now or in the future.



    Why shouldn't PDF files be an acceptable output format?


    The file format is readily accessible to everyone.


    And why should "generic" AutoCAD adapt to any particular discipline (ex. - architectural)? Create a custom template file and use it.

    and why should "generic" AutoCAD not adapt to changing methods of use and functionality? Why should it be limited to the narrow range of uses that you are prescribing for it?


    And how did you manage to come up with that complaint from my post anyway. While I may have used architectural layer names as an example, my post was by no means limited to the field of architecture.

  6. #6
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    AutoDesk specifically created other vertical products to address some of the "improvements" you want to see made to AutoCAD.

    CAD drawings, not PDF's, are what we require from outside vendors as we may have further use of them beyond their intended purpose.
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    I'm now a full member of the Society for the Promotion of Mediocrity in CAD. Standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards! Take whatever advice I offer and do the opposite.

  7. #7
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    Those are not any official standard, just something from a particular organization. National Institute of Building Sciences.

    Highlights are mine.

    The National Institute of Building Sciences is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests, and regulatory agencies to focus on the identification and resolution of problems and potential problems that hamper the construction of safe, affordable structures for housing, commerce and industry throughout the United States. Authorized by the U.S. Congress, the Institute provides an authoritative source and a unique opportunity for free and candid discussion among private and public sectors within the built environment. The Institute's mission to serve the public interest is accomplished by supporting advances in building sciences and technologies for the purpose of improving the performance of our nation's buildings while reducing waste and conserving energy and resources.
    AKA Architecture.
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  8. #8
    Quantum Mechanic ReMark's Avatar
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    PDF's were originally created to share documents between different word processing programs not CAD programs. Yes, they are good for sharing information but I'll bet some companies adopted the use of PDF's primarily to avoid providing a CAD drawing to a client/customer. I'm sure this was done, in part, to keep the client/customer from "stealing" the design. So what happened? Well we (i.e. - CAD techs) came up with ways to circumvent that process as best we could with the help of our CAD program (ex. - ImageAttach command) by tracing over the image. AutoDesk recently took it one step further with the introduction of the PDFImport command thus allowing us to "convert" the image to lines and arcs.
    "I have only come here seeking knowledge. Things they wouldn't teach me of in college." The Police

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    I'm now a full member of the Society for the Promotion of Mediocrity in CAD. Standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards! Take whatever advice I offer and do the opposite.

  9. #9
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    Converting a PDF is still a limited process as it can not do 3D it will look 3D but it will just be an isometric drawing but can still be outputted as a drawing on a piece of paper but why would one convert to .dwg just to plot a drawing. Still printing out drawings on a paper will be a thing of the past. I see it as a medium for art that someone might have created from a CAD program. To convey information about the size of something or where to put something it's much more efficient to use a screen of some type like a table on computer screen. I haven't printed out a sheet in a few months now and I'm doing a government job that I haven't printed anything out for ever.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilidawg View Post
    [URL]Use of the black screen is a holdover from the old CRT computer monitor days. I get it that some people are used to it and won't change, but (IMHO) it should be discouraged.
    Wrong. Some people get eye strain from looking at a white screen all day, some don't. I do and have talked to many people that do. Do not discourage something until you are familiar with the facts.
    Drafting is a breeze.

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