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Revising/Updating Symbols

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#1 Keith Almond

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 11:07 AM

This is a problem that has bothered me for a long time, and I have sent suggestions to Softplan in previous years, but nothing seems to have improved.

 

There are really 2 parts to it, but are definitely related.

 

Firstly, If you want to create a new symbol for lets say a bathtub, but have a symbol with the same name, you have to delete the old symbol and then create a new one. Softplan even warns you that you already have a symbol with that name if you don't delete it first. Why can't it do the same as almost every other program and ask if you want to overwrite it? (Understanding that it can't overwrite something that's already in use). It would save a lot of time.

 

Secondly, and this is the one that really bothers me. I'd like to be able to replace a 2D plan view of a single symbol WITHOUT destroying all the other information. If you use the symbol wizard and create a fantastically complicated symbol (typically from something you have downloaded from Sketchup). Go through all the Texturing and Orientation, and then generate the symbol, Suppose (and I've seen this a lot), that the 2D is missing parts. It would be nice to be able to explode the 2D representation, mirror bits, or redraw bits so that the 2D is presentable, and reinsert the 2D information into a 3D symbol where everything else is perfect, without having to completely recreate that symbol.

 

If 2016 has addressed any of this then great, but I suspect that I don't need to hold my breath.

 

I'm going to resend this as a suggestion again ...


Keith

There are 10 types of people in this world ....... Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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#2 Yvon Gonthier

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 12:07 PM

Agree Keith

 

Sent similar suggestions in the past also. Wish we could edit a symbol without having to redo it. Also, why is it that, for example, you can in the drawing options edit a symbol such as a door assembly in the openings but those changes won't appear in the drawings unless you do a rest to system?



#3 Chris Stewart

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 01:18 PM

The logic seems to be that you may not want to change the drawing instance of the symbol  but I do not think that is correct. 

 

If the goal was to have a new instance we would most likely save it as a new name. 

 

Having to reset the library has always been a pain. 

 

I also agree that we should be able to update the 2d view without having to completely redo the symbol 

 

Frankly the entire symbol creation process needs to be revised 


All comments are my opinion only and may or may not be correct
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#4 Keith Almond

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:06 PM

I'd actually really like to change the billboard trees to be linked to a typical plan view for trees, similar to these, rather than a line. I understand that the single line probably uses less resources and memory, but really .....

 

‎April-‎09-‎15_ - 16h03m20s_001.png

 

The billboard trees work fine on the 3D's, but are virtually useless on the site plan, but as mentioned above this means recreating all the separate symbols, which is a real time consuming task.

 

Anyone got any bright ideas?


Keith

There are 10 types of people in this world ....... Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Softplan user since version 5.5.2.5

www.homehardwarekingston.ca

#5 Chris Stewart

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:23 PM

Other than to create a custom symbol set?


All comments are my opinion only and may or may not be correct
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#6 Douglas Morell

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:28 PM

It might also be nice to adjust symbols like they were 'components in Sketchup', .. with the ability to click and 'make unique', thus editing the one instance of the symbol while not altering the parent one.


.. invariably, someone will have a simpler solution.


#7 Thomas Roman

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:44 PM

I'd actually really like to change the billboard trees to be linked to a typical plan view for trees, similar to these, rather than a line. I understand that the single line probably uses less resources and memory, but really .....

 

attachicon.gif‎April-‎09-‎15_ - 16h03m20s_001.png

 

The billboard trees work fine on the 3D's, but are virtually useless on the site plan, but as mentioned above this means recreating all the separate symbols, which is a real time consuming task.

 

Anyone got any bright ideas?

 

eh, I suppose "time consuming" is relative..

 

as a test, I just timed myself using the symbol wizard to create a new symbol that linked a high surface count tree to a new 2D circle plan symbol ...

 

it took me 63 seconds...



#8 Keith Almond

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:59 PM

Right, but there's 60 or 70 billboard trees and I can guarantee that I forget to either scale or make transparent or something. And then I'll have to make sure that the proportions are correct, so the sizes each of the billboard trees has to be close to the size of the new circles, so there's quite a bit of preparatory work, before making the actual symbols. The high surface count tree will make it's own generated 2D so that will be much quicker. I can see this task taking a good part of a day by the time it's done.


Keith

There are 10 types of people in this world ....... Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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www.homehardwarekingston.ca

#9 Chris Stewart

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:02 PM

if you had to do that for every billboard symbol it would take over 6 hours

I just did one and it took longer but after a few it would get easier.

 

That is like the stair project I was working on.

Sure i can make my own stair parts which overcome the poor stairs which SoftPlan provides but why should I have too? 

 

What is the point of not providing this to all users when we are only talking about 6 hours? 

 

I spent 20 or more hours just showing them what stairs needed to look like and do and making my own stairs. 

 

Why should a billboard not be linked to a 2d symbol? Maybe there is a reason


All comments are my opinion only and may or may not be correct
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#10 Thomas Roman

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:38 PM

Do people really use EVERY tree symbol?... yes there are 75 medium surface count trees, but who on their right mind uses all of those?. Eh, I will simply pick my five pr six favorites, for my climate, and I'm done in 5 out 6 minutes... forever...
but go ahead and feel the need to tweak, personalize and customize every single one of the many 1000's symbol that ships with the program if you like...

#11 Chris Stewart

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:45 PM

I think you just missed the forest for the trees. 

Sure no doubt that each one of the thousands of users can pick 6 billboard symbols and spend 6 minutes (once they get to your level of expertise)

and be done forever so that SoftPlan does not need to spend 6 hours doing it for us. 

 

You can also spend 20 hours doing your own stairs or just settle for what they give you.

 

For that matter do we really need generated elevations? wouldn't it be much simpler on SoftPlan if they simply provided a line drawing tool?

There is nothing that can not be drawn with a line. 

 

That being said, I am not sure that billboards are the way to go in the future since they do not work in top down views. 

I would rather SoftPlan work on providing higher quality 3d symbols.

 

But that brings us back to another old complaint that was never addresses -in order to use plants in elevations they have to be edited 


All comments are my opinion only and may or may not be correct
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#12 Thomas Roman

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:27 PM

Using the symbol WIZARD does not take any particular level of "expertise" IMO... once you've done it two or three times it's a pretty simple thing... I mean, we do have to learn how to use the program before we can "complain" about how it does, or doesn't work.... no?...

 

So sure, SoftPlan could spend weeks creating all new 2D plan geometry for all the many 1,000s of symbols... and most users still probably would not like they way they're drawn anyway ...

 

In terms of the "billboard" symbols, I think there may be a technical issue with a symbol that needs to be defined with a thickness of "0" (hence the term "billboard"), while the 2D symbol to which it is linked, is drawn as a circle (something with a thickness greater than "0")...

 

and YES, I'm certain that SoftPlan could write all new code to fundamentally change the way 2D and 3D symbols are linked... all in order to address the appearance of "billboard" tree symbols in the plans ... But is that the best use of their limited resources?... How many users NEVER even use the "billboard" symbols or care about how they look?

 

Similarly, I've never needed the level of detail that you seem to require need for stairs...

 

The dilemma for SoftPlan is where to spend resources.. should they spend a ton of development time to provide tools that only a small fraction of the user base will use?... not that only a small fraction of users want the level of detail you want for stairs, I have no idea, but I'm sure you get the point...

 

Folks screamed bloody murder, year after year, begging for "walk through" animations ...SoftPlan spent a ton of development money giving it to them...

 

Do you feel they should have spent that time INSTEAD changing the 2D to 3D symbol link code, so that we could have better looking "billboard" symbols in the plans?...

 

or perhaps instead of 3D walk-throughs SoftPlan should have spent those resources developing an awesome stair building tool?

 

or perhaps a concrete rebar design and analysis tool?...

 

Personally, I would love to have a commercial curtain wall building tool....

 

Do you think that all SoftPlan users would agree on which of these is most important?

 

anyway... I'm glad you used the word "complaint" before I did...

 

I'd rather spend my time on this forum discussing how to best use the tool we have... complaining about things does not make for an interesting forum IMHO.. and there are better ways to effect the changes we all would like to see, as Mr. Montage himself pointed out in another thread...

 

eh, just my $0.02...


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#13 Keith Almond

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:34 PM

Thomas, you're right in someways. I tend to use a forest behind my renders to stop seeing the horizon - rightly or wrongly.

 

I'm not asking Softplan to do it for me, I'm just asking if there is a better way. I am prepared to do the grunt work myself.

 

At the moment I don't know enough about the billboards, I don't know how the sizes work and I don't know how the aspect ratio's work. I don't even know if the default JPG's have an inherent size. I don't want to make a stupid mistake on the sizes of certain species of trees. I am, however, prepared to learn.

 

Typically I use the billboards because there's a wealth of variation - if only six would do, why didn't Softplan pick the best six and omit the rest. I have a default site that has three or four hundred trees. If they were even medium surface trees, I'd never be able to move the view, but the plan bothers me. Also I'm slightly obsessive compulsive. I feel the need to do all of the billboards, not just a few. Obviously a defective personality gene. That's also why I draw with a computer ..... They won't let me have anything sharp .....


Keith

There are 10 types of people in this world ....... Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Softplan user since version 5.5.2.5

www.homehardwarekingston.ca

#14 Thomas Roman

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:47 PM

Keith... I do feel that it's a issue with the way the program works.... it's a 2D "link" to 3D...

 

so change the dimensions of the 2D symbol, and it also effects the 3D symbol.. that's great. because if I tell the tub to be 6 ft. long in the plan, it's going to also be 6 ft. in 3D...

 

so a fundamental issue with "billboard" symbols is that that are  "0" thick...

 

I welcome you to make this a product suggestion through the usual channels...I'm certain SoftPlan could make it work as you like, because it's a pretty good suggestion, but it comes down to how much effort it would take...  if it's an easy thing to do, they'll likely give it to us... if it's hard, well, they'll need to prioritize their resources...

 

and to be clear... the Forum looses appeal for me, if every time someone posts how to perform a task, the thread degenerates into "well that's not good enough"...or "that takes too long"... or "here is how it SHOULD work"... eh, that's not for me..



#15 Keith Almond

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 07:36 PM

Oh, Yes I have made the suggestion through the usual channels. I was just curious if I could attach a new 2D symbol to the billboards. If I go ahead and do it, it's purely for my benefit, and part of a learning curve.

 

And when I said "I'd actually really like to change the billboard trees to be linked to a typical plan view for trees" I really meant "I would like to customise my symbols" I wasn't asking Softplan to do it for me.

 

I don't understand the "0" thick issue, but since the symbol is always facing the camera it transcribes a circle anyway. Like I said earlier, I have some research to do.

 

I've been using Softplan for a long time, and it just gets better and better. However, all I seem to do is standard residential designs, additions, etc., so I don't get to play with some of the "off the wall" design options that Softplan is capable of.  I also like to personalise my work and a lot of that personalisation is custom symbols etc. I'd love to be able to play at home, but the cost of a second key is too much to allow me to "play". And Version 10 that I have at home is not capable of doing even a portion of what the newer version are capable of.

 

I'm a great fan of Softplan (which is in my humble opinion, the best CAD system on the market), and I firmly believe that Customer Feedback, suggestions and even complaints are what push the Company to make the product push the boundaries of what is possible.


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Keith

There are 10 types of people in this world ....... Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Softplan user since version 5.5.2.5

www.homehardwarekingston.ca

#16 Chris Stewart

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 08:28 PM

It is not that it is particularly hard once you figure out what you need to do but getting to that point takes quite a bit of time.

 

All of us that have been around for a long time know that if you want landscaping to show up in elevations you need to edit the symbols to display in elevations.

A very simple task for us a complete mystery to someone new. 

 

Sure I agree, it always has to be determined what is the best use of resources for the people creating content.

That is why my vote would be for better 3d content because billboards just are not as good.

 

But you could dismiss any change by saying how many people really need that.

It looks to me like you go have gone to a fairly extensive amount of trouble to achieve realism in some of your models. So I am a bit surprised when you say that mediocrity is OK by you.

 

As I said I am not actually advocating that SoftPlan spend time linking billboards to 2d symbols.

What I am advocating is to not just add new fun things but also make the existing things work like they should if there is enough need.   

 

 

Not necessarily billboards but yes I think that the time spent on walkthrough animations could have been spent better on improving stairs or making the shadow board fit under the roof etc.. 

 

Not that it was not fun to tinker with an animation -I can see that it should have been fairly high on the list.

(Unlike HDR Tone Mapping, Gamma and Indirect Lighting which did nothing to improve the quality of renders.)

But those little things that make a model more accurate are more important to me than an animation. 

 

Rebar analysis or curtain wall tools may both be helpful it depends on the demand.

 

I think you are arguing just to argue. You want the same thing we all want -a program that works as accurately, efficiently and intuitively as possible.  

 

I think that spending time thinking on how to improve the program is also important.


All comments are my opinion only and may or may not be correct
-Chris

#17 Thomas Roman

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 08:29 PM

So I tried linking a sort of double circle 2D symbol to the SHAPE / 36 x 36 vertical plane 3D symbol... and surprising to me, it actually worked... I thought since the proportions of the 2D and 3D symbols were so different, as the 3D symbol has a depth of "0", that there would be issues...

 

I pasted a tree image to the symbol and designated it as "always face camera".... I did have trouble getting the "transparent" texture attribute to stick to the definition...

 

I think you'll be able to get what you want using the wizard...



#18 Chris Stewart

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 08:40 PM

I tried it and it works perfectly well.

 

pick a tree that has a 2d view and explode it

place a billboard tree on it

and then create the symbol

(oh yes Thomas is right and you need to click face north -and also you might want extract in elevation and section while you are at it)

 

As Thomas said it takes 60 seconds


All comments are my opinion only and may or may not be correct
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#19 Douglas Morell

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 11:14 AM

Plan View Symbol and Billboard Tree Combination

Here’s a slightly different approach, but pretty much the same as suggested..

 

Combine the Tree Billboard of Choice with the Plan View Graphic of Choice

The Plan View Graphic is a polygon (2D)

Put the Billboard on a Layer that you can use as non-visible in your Drawing Mode.

Position the two together and using the ‘One Step’, .. create a new symbol

 

You’ll have to explode the symbol after inserting in your drawing

so the billboard’s layer non-visibility does its job in Drawing Mode

The Billboard appears in Softview and of course the 2D shape doesn’t anyway

The 2D graphic shows in Plan View but not the billboard

 

Unfortunately, scaling the symbol up or down in size will change the width of both components in the symbol

But the height of the billboard does not. That will have to be adjusted by editing.

 

As well, .. if you explode with the billboard layer visible and trace a 'group' box, .. when the visibility of the billboard is off, selecting the plan view graphic and choosing

'Add grouped object to Selection', both the 2D graphic and Billboard can be re-positioned  simultaneously in Drawing Mode.


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.. invariably, someone will have a simpler solution.






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