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Guidance Requested: Using AIA Standard Colors for Layers
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* August 21, 2012, 12:08:48 PM
Hello All!

I have been tasked with creating CAD standards for a small company. To accomplish this, I have been reviewing the many different CAD standards found on-line. I am primarily interested in standards for building construction.

When I was taught engineering drafting (the hard way), I used Rapidograph pens and mylar.  This meant that the purpose of lines was partially communicated by line weight. (e.g.  .25 mm for dimension lines, .35 mm for walls, .50 mm for drawing sheet borders).  When I moved to CAD, I essentially continued that method.

CAD standards I reviewed seems to advocate the use of:

1) Line color to indicate the weight of plotted line (e.g. red lines are plotted at 0.0035 in)

--OR --

2) Line color to identify layer (e.g. Dimension Line layer is Med Gray with a weight of .25 mm)

I am just curious if these color standards are used "in the field" and how they are used.

I appreciate your input!

Kate---

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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


August 21, 2012, 12:29:59 PM
#1
Hello All!

I have been tasked with creating CAD standards for a small company. To accomplish this, I have been reviewing the many different CAD standards found on-line. I am primarily interested in standards for building construction.

When I was taught engineering drafting (the hard way), I used Rapidograph pens and mylar.  This meant that the purpose of lines was partially communicated by line weight. (e.g.  .25 mm for dimension lines, .35 mm for walls, .50 mm for drawing sheet borders).  When I moved to CAD, I essentially continued that method.

CAD standards I reviewed seems to advocate the use of:

1) Line color to indicate the weight of plotted line (e.g. red lines are plotted at 0.0035 in)

--OR --

2) Line color to identify layer (e.g. Dimension Line layer is Med Gray with a weight of .25 mm)

I am just curious if these color standards are used "in the field" and how they are used.

I appreciate your input!

Kate---


Hi Kate,

As you can see from reviewing the "Talor 6.tcw"* file of mine that you downloaded off the Forums previously, when I first started establishing my particular technique, knowing I had different choices on how I could use Color to aid me in my drawings, I chose to use them in Layers.

Many of my Layers have different colors assigned to them.  Then- usually- I assign the objects (Lines, etc.) a Color of "By Layer".  That way I can easily and quickly ascertain what Layer an object is on, and help avoid mistakingly putting objects on the wrong Layer; when I get to drawing at a pretty quick- and, sometimes, frenzied- pace, I can sometimes forget to assign the right Layer to an object before drawing it.  That's just the way I do it and works well for me.  It's a good question, so I look forward to reading how others utilize Color assignments in their drawings.

-Alvin

-----
Note:  Just so that I am not "fooled" into thinking that the printed drawing (which will almost always be in "black-only" for Architectural 2D construction drawings), is "clearer and easier to decipher" than it actually is, I am using Black more often in my Layers color assignments.  That way my printed drawings (I do not have a plotter/large-format printer at home or office, and have to send them out for printing- even "test"-printing) end up looking more like my Model Space drawing desktop.  I usually draw with a White background in Model Space, and White paper-color in Paper Space.

*Edit:  I just opened that "Taylor 6.tcw" file (which was originated in TurboCAD versions 10.5 & 11.2) in version 19.  There are a lot of issues when opened with version 19.  Mostly with the Walls, as far as I can tell; particularly how they intersect and "heal" (old term: "self-healing" like newer term "Autocleanup").  -Alvin
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 01:56:24 PM by Alvin Gregorio »

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Alvin Gregorio
(mostly Residential Architectural 2D; no formal CAD Training; intermittent TurboCAD user since yr. 2000 [ver6.5])
---TurboCAD: V21PP; V20.2PP; V19DL; V11.2Pro; Windows-7-Pro/64-bit; Intel-Core-i3 CPU; 2.27ghz; 4GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics (CPU based)


* August 21, 2012, 01:27:37 PM
#2
I looked at AIA layers years ago, but couldn't wrap my head around all the acronyms. I did make a Template, but I believe most of this is out-of-date. Something to experiment with, though I wouldn't use all of the Layers in a drawing. ;)

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John R.

V17—V21, 2015—2019
Designer, Deluxe, (Professional, Expert, Basic), Platinum
RedSDK enabled
Windows 10 Pro (1903), 64-bit


* August 21, 2012, 03:23:48 PM
#3
Hi Alvin,

It was the Taylor 6 design that inspired me to start looking at CAD standards, especially in the use of color on different layers.

Old school me first thought that if I was going to print black and white, then why shouldn't I replicate the good ole Rapidograph pen weights in black and draw like I did on mylar using line weights to designate line types.

But, in that environment, we drew different plans on different sheets of mylar. In the building construction world, this would be a sheet for the foundation plan, one for the site plan, one for the roof framing plan etc... Drawing types were kept physically separate.

Now, in the CAD world, most folks use layers and colors to designate a layer (a la Taylor 6).  After drawing in layers, but leaving all layers with the color black, I found it was*very* hard to look at and it was very hard to see things I had missed. I needed color!
And other CAD users must have, too, because most every standard I look at addresses color, although not in a consistent way.

Thus my question to folks like you who do this for a living.

As always, thank you Alvin!

Kate---

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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


* August 21, 2012, 03:46:55 PM
#4
Hi John,

Thank you, thank you for providing your template that implements the AIA layers standard.  Wow! It must have taken a very long time to build the template as it covers the entire standard. I am experimenting with the it by using the layers most appropriate to the drawing I am working on and not digging down too deep.

A long time ago in the data engineering world, someone told me that there are two types of people:  "Lumpers" and "Splitters". I fall squarely in the "Splitters" category. By this I mean that Splitters would go to the level of detail using:

A-WALL-FULL-NOTE-N for a layer dedicated to notes about new full height walls in the architecture domain
A-WALL-FULL-LABL-N for a layer dedicated to labels about new full height walls in the architecture domain

Whereas Lumpers would be happy using:

A-WALL-TEXT for both object types

I am trying to convert to being a Lumper. And I am glad the AIA standard seems to accommodate both types of people.

Sorry for the rambling and thank you again,

Kate---


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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


August 21, 2012, 04:01:14 PM
#5
...After drawing in layers, but leaving all layers with the color black, I found it was*very* hard to look at and it was very hard to see things I had missed. I needed color!....

Kate---

(Referencing quote above)  That's exactly what I was talking about, Kate, in the third paragraph of my earlier post in this Topic ("Note:...").  So, by using Color when drawing, "things" are easier for you to see, but that can be non-constructively deceptive.  When using a bunch of Color, you say "Oh, that looks pretty good.  That's easy to see and decipher.  That looks clear and should effectively communicate my intent and meaning."  But when you go to print- in Black only, of course, because who can afford to print large/multiple sheet drawings in Color- you were "duped"; the drawings aren't anywhere near as legible and easy to read as on the screen before printing to paper.  Having said that, I still draw in Color, using it in Layers in the way I described earlier.

It's a cool thing when I don't have to print to paper.  Or when I can print something on my regular ol' 8½"x11" deskjet printer.  Then I can use Color to really communicate effectively.  Same goes when I am sharing and communicating to someone (like a customer, or fellow contractor) via Internet and .pdf or .jpg.  (See attached .zip folder with a multi-8½x11 sheet .pdf and .jpg that the Building Department actually accepted as construction drawings [they're not too fond of 3D drawings, but they allowed it anyway].  I developed them as Internet communication with the homeowner and my "constuction partner" for the project, and didn't feel like creating a whole new 2D drawing.)

----
Print Styles:  If I am using Colors in Layers as I described, then I can't use them- efficiently- in Print Styles.  I don't use Print Styles, but it sure looks like a good feature.  In Print Styles, I can set Line type, Line Width, Color, etc., and have the Style be dependent on the Color if I should so choose.  That's handy!   ····I guess it's one or the other.

Still would like to hear if anyone is efficiently using Colors in another way that would supersede the efficiency in using them in Layers as I described in my previous post.

-Alvin
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 06:39:57 PM by Alvin Gregorio »

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Alvin Gregorio
(mostly Residential Architectural 2D; no formal CAD Training; intermittent TurboCAD user since yr. 2000 [ver6.5])
---TurboCAD: V21PP; V20.2PP; V19DL; V11.2Pro; Windows-7-Pro/64-bit; Intel-Core-i3 CPU; 2.27ghz; 4GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics (CPU based)


* August 22, 2012, 09:16:30 AM
#6
Hi Alvin,

I had the same experience as you when printing what I thought was a nicely colored plan (on screen). When I printed it to a plotter (in black because I found print color on a plotter is expensive) I found that the resulting plot did not communicate the plan very well. All of the lines were the same weight and several important details were visually "lost".

Out to the intertubes I went again and found some standards that equated visual color to plotted line weight.  One source was from NPS:

http://cadd.den.nps.gov/PenColorReference.htm

The site also provided an AutoCAD  *.ctb file which I understand can be used by TC. I plan to experiment with that today.

Using 3D to communicate the design of the pergola makes good sense.  The building department and homeowner could easily see exactly what you were proposing to build. A 2D plan view of such a structure could potentially be visually confusing, espcially to the homeowner.

Kate---


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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


* August 22, 2012, 11:40:11 AM
#7
I have been interested in this subject for a while now myself.

What I have found is that many software applications are not set up to display long layer names very well.  You can get to them, but it requires opening a dbx or drop down lists.

I also like to use colors, but generally for my own uses for error checking in 2D.  In 3D views line styles and line colors are distracting IMO.

I have also found that some programs organize layers by floor internally.  Long and Short is that it can get very complicated very quickly.  What I would like to find is some kind of standard for 3D that could provide a guide line for using layers to print, or what I think of a publishing views of 3D models with attractive line weights.

I have made my own modified alpha numeric version of what is referred to as the AIA standards.  Alphabetical only is very not very easy to work with IMO.   I used the long style so others could follow along, but it really needs to be much shorter.  I will be redoing mine pretty soon.  It is my understanding that the actual standards were from an international committee, not just the AIA.  They also looked into setting standards for 3D and decided it was too difficult.

I have a spread sheet set up where I can copy layer names in as needed to a basic template.  Otherwise I have found it to be too tedious to deal with such a cumbersome list for simple projects.  Times are changing regarding the time one can spend in order to produce quality drawings.  It would be nice to have some kind of standard for 3D that is flexible enough to be worthwhile.


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TC V21 Pro Platinum  Win 7 Professional


* August 24, 2012, 02:23:49 AM
#8
Hi John,

Thank you, thank you for providing your template that implements the AIA layers standard.  Wow! It must have taken a very long time to build the template as it covers the entire standard. I am experimenting with the it by using the layers most appropriate to the drawing I am working on and not digging down too deep.

A long time ago in the data engineering world, someone told me that there are two types of people:  "Lumpers" and "Splitters". I fall squarely in the "Splitters" category. By this I mean that Splitters would go to the level of detail using:

A-WALL-FULL-NOTE-N for a layer dedicated to notes about new full height walls in the architecture domain
A-WALL-FULL-LABL-N for a layer dedicated to labels about new full height walls in the architecture domain

Whereas Lumpers would be happy using:

A-WALL-TEXT for both object types

I am trying to convert to being a Lumper. And I am glad the AIA standard seems to accommodate both types of people.

Sorry for the rambling and thank you again,

Kate---

I made that about 10 years ago when the INI file was still accessible. I worked up the list in Excel, dropped it in the [Layer_Table] section of the INI, then made and saved a drawing for tweaking later on. Then reset the [Layer_Table] to the "0" layer.

When you mention pen colors and sizes, all I think of are the colors on my pen caps.  ;D

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John R.

V17—V21, 2015—2019
Designer, Deluxe, (Professional, Expert, Basic), Platinum
RedSDK enabled
Windows 10 Pro (1903), 64-bit


* August 24, 2012, 08:38:32 AM
#9
Hi John,

Oh my gosh!! The rendering of a pen carousel is amazing! I especially appreciate the rendering of the transparent plastic of the carousel and the details of the shadows. Plus, you included the threads in the top of the pen body. That's detail! I am sure that is not a very easy thing to accomplish.

Being first trained in the black-and-white world of pens and mylar, when I first thought of line colors in CAD, I thought of the pen cap colors too!

Kate---

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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


* August 24, 2012, 11:55:59 PM
#10
I usually make threads the old fashioned way, Revolve a thread profile. People rarely notice that they just go 'round and aren't genuine threads. Fake threads don't eat up resources like real threads. That was a concern 10 years ago, but not so much these days. The carousel was made by a guy named Brian in Toronto and was originally made for markers. That's why my pens 'float'; they're too small.  :D  Here's another picture or two of just a pen which contains a real thread.

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John R.

V17—V21, 2015—2019
Designer, Deluxe, (Professional, Expert, Basic), Platinum
RedSDK enabled
Windows 10 Pro (1903), 64-bit