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Posts posted by Barton_Brown

  1. To add spice to the discussion, I'll disagree with Lew on the USB key.

    CA used to have this type of hardware lock and I was always in fear of loosing it or moving my laptop and breaking it. I LOVE the new approach CA uses for activating/deactivating the license if you have multiple computers. As long as you have an internet connection, this process is fast, almost as fast has moving the hardware lock around between computers, and MUCH faster than getting the hardware lock replaced if lost or broken or you forgot to put it in your laptop bag when you left the office :-).

  2. Without a little more information, most responses will be guesses... so here is my guess.


    My first guess is that in the 3D preferences dialogbox, under lighting options, that the 'brighten checkbox' is checked. This will make the ceiling lighter than the walls.  

    Another guess is that for the material, in the define material dialog box, the 'shading contrast' value is effecting your view more than you prefer. The shading contrast value effects how the color looks when viewed from different angles in vector views. You might try adjusting this value [warning disclaimer - I have personally never needed to adjust these values from the CA preset values]. That said, if you created your own material, this might be a place to look.


    If you could post an image of your problem, or better yet, the plan, that would be a great help.

  3. I don't want to edit a file that an architect offers to me, but potentially being able to use it in my lower end version of program in same software family and therefore use my own camera views of it or simply orbit around it seems to me a great advantage to me to get a good feel for things. And yes I agree that sometimes paper and colored pencils and blobs of color and tonality are great tools as they are wonderful shorthands for the emotional tone that is wanted as a response or mood for a particular space within the home.

    I'm a little late to this party but...

    Your comment about blobs of color reminded me of a discussion that occurred on this forum a few years ago. The discussion was about how architects and designers interacted with their clients using 3D renders and ray trace images. During the discussion the point was made that some architects/designers preferred to NOT provide their clients with high detail renders or ray traces early in the 'concept' phase of the design. The reason - too many of the clients would focus on the minute details of the image rather than recognize the spacial aspects of the design. Fortunately for the architects and designers, this was about the time, I think, that CA started providing a number of different types of render views, and the favorite one used in this situation was the 'watercolor render'. It provides enough detail to show the concepts without having the details distract the client from the overall design.


    That said, once you are past the concept phase, the details can be important and then the ray trace images can shine. I'm continuously amazed at how much just changing the texture or color of a finish can influence the overall impression of a design. Not all great architects and designers are also great interior/exterior designers. This might be the area where being able to view, and even alter colors or finishes in a design could be very helpful for a client to experiment with without requiring the architects direct involvement unless the client wishes. Of course, this can also be a can of worms if the client has no design sense...


    Anyway, just some random thoughts...

  4. Have you moved any of the first floor walls since you built the roof/ceiling? 


    The cause may be obvious to more experienced CA users, but not to me... If you don't mind, it is always easier to diagnose a problem if one can view the plan file. Zip the plan file and attach it to a post (close the plan in CA first, otherwise your compressed file will have no data).

  5. Interesting discussion - can't resist so here is my perspective on CA.

    It has been mentioned a number of times that 'CA is different from the CAD programs'. Before I continue, please pardon me if you have heard this before, I haven't seen it stated but I haven't been on the forum regularly for a long time. I believe that CA is different from the CAD programs because the CA approach is that everything is an OBJECT (as in object oriented programming) and these objects have properties and behaviors such as lights mount on walls at a specified height, or ceilings, or floors and wall mounted lights must be attached to wall before they are allowed to be part of a plan. This is entirely different from CAD where at the simplest level, lines are lines and have no inherent behaviors. It is the object's behaviors that make CA a powerful program and also at times frustrating. If the object behavior doesn't match real-world or expected behavior then major frustration can occur. OTOH, if one understands the object's behavior, then creating a plan can be a rapid process, and as long as you have the 'house model' correct, in theory anyway, all views of that 'house model' will also be correct (like plan view, elevation, etc.).

    it is understanding CAs objects that allow for creative solutions to problems, such as Bill Emery's recent posting that using narrow sidewalks derived from elevation contour lines allows one to display contour lines in the 3D render views - pretty creative, and required knowledge of the behavior of a sidewalk object.

    Once you start thinking 'objects' instead of lines, using CA becomes much easier to learn. The challenge for CA programmers is to create the object behaviors that match real-world expectations.

    • Upvote 1
  6. Barton,


    I think the difference may be that the OP is using a MAC.  That particular video may not be able to be maximized on the MAC.


    I understand that there are OS and web browser differences which makes it a challenge to deploy something on the web that plays well for everyone. I just wanted the OP to know that it works for some of us - and CA didn't publish a completely broken video.

  7. The overview video found at does expand to full screen, although a little fuzzy. But the same video found at does NOT expand to full screen, which is the one I first viewed. I like the chapter menus on the side. In any case the video presentation is very well done and is nearly capable of being a full training video as well as a promotional video.

    Not sure what is going on with your web browser - the video that will not expand on your machine ( expands just fine on mine by clicking on the icon just to the right of the speaker icon (lower right corner).

  8. This can easily be done with your contour lines copied and converted to very narrow sidewalks.  there are some downsides to this, but in general it should get the job done.


    I'll try to post a picture of this when I'm on my main computer in the morning.

    This works great with one point of clarification, when Bill says 'your contour lines' I believe he means 'your elevation data lines' as I was unable to select any of the CA generated contour lines. That said, and a Chief Guru should step in here, in the worst case, one could trace over a few of the major contour lines generated by CA if they are significantly different from the elevation data one entered and convert these polylines to sidewalks. If you have sufficiently accurate elevation data that the CA contours map your data, then Bill's approach is an excellent solution, IMHO.

  9. Dennis,  if you want to have multiple ray trace configurations, each a modification of a previous setup, you need to click the 'copy' button under the configuration name before making the changes. Rename the configuration setup, make the changes and then 'save and close'. If you just make a setting change to an existing configuration and then save, CA saves the changes to the existing configuration.

  10. Rob, the quick answer to your question is 'yes' it is possible to change the 'symbol color' by changing the symbol layer in the 'Layer Display Options Dialog' - See Chapter 5 - Layers in the X6 reference manual (starting at page 139) for the specifics. Basically, for what you described you can make new electrical layers, define the color for each new layer, and then assign the symbol to that new layer. 


    The 'go further' answer is that is possible too. It requires you create a new CAD block for the symbol. Probably the easiest way to do this is copy an existing electrical symbol CAD block, modify it, and then in the Symbol dbx assign the new CAD block to it. If you are going to go to this extra work, you will then also want to save this modified symbol to your library to make it easy to use again, either in your existing plan or future plans.

  11. Tom, if you have some specific examples of contrast situations you would like to control, please provide some details. The details will help responders to your question provide more specific answers. Thanks.

  12. Discussion of the Image Properties Panel starts on page 928 in the X6 Reference Manual. Once a Ray Trace has been started, these settings can be modified.  The panel includes brightness, contrast, saturation.


    While the Image Properties Panel allows one to change characteristics of the existing image, it is working with the lighting of the existing image, if the lighting is poor, correcting the image with the Image Properties Panel will be a struggle.


    On page 926 of the Reference Manual is the discussion of the lighting options in the Ray Trace Options dbx - altering values in the dbx can have a huge impact on the contrast of the ray trace image.


    Question: are you doing indoor or outdoor ray traces? The values of 'direct sunlight' and 'ambient light' can both effect how much contrast exists in your 'default' image (ie, image not modified by the Images Properties Panel).


    Obviously, if the image is outdoor, the sun intensity value has a big impact and should be much larger than the 'ambient light' values. 


    If you are doing indoor images, the more lights you have on, the brighter (better contrast) will be your image. Also, the more passes you let the ray trace run, the better will be the image. If you happen to make your walls, ceilings, or floors slightly emissive because you don't have enough lights, then your image contrast will look 'flat' compared to a scene without emissive walls, floors, or ceilings.

  13. I'm not familiar with AMD processors other than to say that they tend to have slightly lower benchmark scores than equivalent CPU frequency Intel processors. More importantly, I would be very concerned about using a Dual-core processor as CA gets a lot of its performance by utilizing multiple cores in parallel. As I recall, Doug Park of CA has suggested 'the more cores the better' for improved performance.


    'Working Well' can be personally subjective depending upon what you are expecting to do. If you want 'instant' CA performance in plan views and renders and do a lot of ray tracing (which is CPU-intensive), then I think you will be disappointed with this computer. 

  14. Thanks Gerry, altering the symbol in the library was the step I missed. Obviously, I didn't read Doug's instructions carefully enough - I glanced at them and thought I knew what I was doing. I made the naive assumption that changes made to a symbol while in a plan file would be correctly applied to the symbol.


    Without Doug's process steps to follow, It is not at all intuitive that, since CA Core libraries are locked, one must first copy the symbol to the user_library, alter its 'mounting' there BEFORE adding to a plan.  Or, add the original symbol to a plan, make the change, and (the important step), save the symbol back to the user library and then re-add back to the plan, at which time the modification will take effect.


    I'm going to submit this as a defect as I suspect I'm not the only one that has been bitten by this behavior... EDIT: defect submitted to tech support.