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Everything posted by IanPellant

  1. I've been using Chief Architect since 1998. Many computers have been custom built for Chief over the years. Things have changed... I needed to do a lot of Ray Tracing back in Chief X6. At that time, the advice was simply: the more cores, the faster the Ray Trace. I built a system with the hottest I7 of that day along with the hottest OpenGL graphics card. Since then I began using a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with an i5 processor and Intel HD Graphics. With an external HDMI monitor it works quite well. Only trap was to let Windows 10 play around with screen font scaling. 3D views were as quick as I had seen on the custom built computer. Ray Tracing took twice as long To be blunt: a special purpose, "Gaming" graphics card is more an ego boost than a need in Chief Architect today. Serious renderings can only be done with Ray Tracing... and that needs fast CPU cores... as many as you can get. My latest computer, built very recently, uses a Shuttle XH170V - a small 3 litre box - about 240 x 200 x 76 mm. Based on the Intel Skylake chipsets. I fitted an i7 6700 which runs up to 3.8HGz. Put in a 240GB Samsung M.2 SSD card for the OS and a WD 500GB HD for data. Graphics is the on chip Intel 530 HD Graphics which will support up to 3 monitors at 4K resolution each. I'm running 3 old monitors on it - brilliant for Chief: main for Plans, another for 3D views and the third for Layout. Ray tracing tests at 3.8 times faster than the i5 that maxes out at 2.4GHz. This Shuttle is so small and light, it carries easily from home to office. Moral is: if you need to do photo-realistic work, you need to use Ray Tracing. Ray Tracing is CPU dependent. Graphics card has nothing to do with it... spend more on the CPU and use built in graphics which are now quite good... don't get sucked into the Gaming Computer specs. Autodesk have gone to a subscription based licence with Revit 2017. They provide a web based ray tracing service... it is much faster than most users can do on their own machines. Such servers probably use CPUs such as Intel Xeons, or similar AMD's, in parallel and no graphics beyond a console window. That is where Xeon's are intended to be. On your personal computer: go for the latest Intel i7 that you can find / afford. Cheers, Ian
  2. Scaling depends upon whether you are exporting from Plan or Layout. Layout is 1:1 paper space - Not model space... that means that a foot gets shrunk to an 1/8", etc. I'm working in Metric these days. DWG export has a bunch of limitations with my current project: Line styles are not exporting - that is dashed, dotted lines all become solid Rich Text notes are hit and miss - AutoCAD doesn't get all of what Chief exports. Stick with old fashioned plain text for annotations; avoid Rich Text. Patterned areas will export as black fill. This is mostly a problem where you use Filled Shapes using screen background colour - such as filled footing shapes. AutoCAD will see them all as black fills Exporting from Layout (paper space / drawings) has a lot of quirks. Plans sent to Layout at 1:100, export from Layout best by choosing dm or m as the unit of measure. Millimetres used for export produce a dwg file that is scaled way too small and some thin lines disappear. If you need to export a Layout drawing and it has problems: try CAD > CAD Detail from View while in Layout and then export that. This process tends to strip complex elements down to more basic ones that will export more correctly. Text justification may be a problem. Check for your text notes moving. To validate my dwg exports, I use Autodesk DWG TrueView 2016 - it is a free download from Autodesk For surveyors, use the unit that they work in. In metric, architects uses millimetres; surveyors often use metres.... we have to scale their dwg drawings up by a thousand, and vice versa for them. If you have success or failure, please leave a note on this forum. Cheers, Ian
  3. Some tips: Set the North and Sun Ngles to get a balance of light and shade on the facade Go to 3D View Defaults <Ctrl> <1> and zero out all of the Lighting Options... these Default lights play havoc with the Ray Tracer In the Ray Trace Options, set Uniform Intensity to 0.5; Direct Sunlight to 5.0; Environment Light to 0.5 If you have some outdoor light fittings turned on... Use Photon Mapping; otherwise leave Photons Off for quick Ray Traces The ray trace wizard is not good for outdoor traces. The key that took me ages to find was that Chief has Default Lights that ensure internal perspective renders will be illuminated.... these settings confound outdoor ray tracing... So zero out the 3D View Lighting Options before doing a Ray Trace. Reset them back to high Ambients for workaday camera views.
  4. I suffered the absent User Catalogs frequently when changing computers - I run X6 on three computers and deactivate then activate my license from one to another. Usually on fresh statup, just after going through the activation dialog, my User Catalogs or even all the Catalogs would not list anything in the Library Browser.... it was a symptom of a deeper problem in X6... I have lots of custom library symbols; many were created from 1999 onwards... some really old ones from CA 6 or 7 that had totally different ways of defining materials. Many materials were "pointing to" textures (bitmaps / jpegs) that are longer on my system. This was sort of accepted by Chief as being a lack with no great problems through to X5. X6 has problems. When importing a "legacy" library catalog it will advise that a texture cannot be found and provide the options to find or replace it or cancel to ignore. Cancel causes problems later. X6 will fail to export a catalog that contains items that do not have a matching texture. The whole catalog will fail to export if it contains missing texture paths. This was not a game stopper with X5. X6 stops dead... and this is a clue to the blank / missing catalog lists in the Library Browser. It seems that on first load, X6 builds a thumbnail cache of texture images. If it cannot find a texture, it goes slow, or fails to show the catalog. This has caused slow X6 loads and missing catalogs on my computers. Only fix has been to check every legacy symbol I have for material assignments; fix where bad or missing; export the catalog; delete the loaded one, import the recent export. Very tedious and time consuming.... results: I can now reliably export my user catalogs in X6 and import them on other computers; and X6 startup is much faster. To stretch my sense of humor: "jasper" is a Colorbond color that is a brown. When my Catalog textures got confused, a "jasper stone" color was linked instead... "jasper stone" is green. That was almost funny at the time.
  5. I have been running X6 on three computers with no crash problems until yesterday when I tried to train a colleague on X6. A plague of crashes occurred while doing very preliminary tasks such as reviewing Preferences and Plan Default Settings... as far as we got was to place 4 walls and review Wall Types... and crash again. Stopped the training session and took a lunch break... during which did a Windows Update check and found four Optional Updates that had not been installed. Windows 7 64 Pro - been running since early 2012. Installed the updates, rebooted, did further training on Chief X5. No crashes or problems. This morning did a torture test with X6. No crashes. Hypothesis: there was something in the Optional Windows Updates that fixed a problem in Windows 7 64 Pro that was causing the crashes in X6. The computer has been running X4, then X5 almost daily for the past two years, so whatever the updates affected was only applicable to some new technology that X6 is calling. I haven't had time to do forensics on the KB numbers to try and find what was in the KB update fixes... I suspect it may be C runtimes ? Will post details if I can pin it down. Suggest that anyone with X6 crashes run Windows Update and install those mysterious "Optional' Windows updates.
  6. Umm... having a problem logging into the Support Center... seems to want to ignore me and is not using my credentials for the new Chief Talk or my Digital Locker... and so far has not given me a response to the request for password... so I'll post here... I'm having a ghost bug that pops up every few days. The User Catalog disappears from the Library lists. The icon does not have the expand arrow and nothing seems to get it to refresh. Only solution so far is to close Chief (Build and re-open to force a refresh of the Libraries. User Catalog will then list again. Screen shots attached. Several CA versions ago there was a Library Refresh command... seems we may need it again ? Cheers, Ian
  7. The simplest, brute force way to setup a second computer is to copy the entire data folder structure. This may not have the blessing of Chief Architect support, but it can save a day of waiting on downloads... here in Australia, I'd swear every byte of data that leaves the US via Internet, is scrutinised by a snifter... it takes well over 6 hours to download / update X6 libraries! I've updated four computers from X5 to X6 and have had to find a faster way. On Windows 7 and 8 look under "C:\ProgramData\Chief Architect Premier X6" Copy all of the folders except "Program Data" to the new computer into the same relative folder locations. (Replace or Skip any that may have been created by the new installation). The "don't_change.dat" file contains your license registration data. Do not copy it across computers without Deactivating your license first. Also: don't bother allowing a new installation of Chief X6 copying libraries from an installation of X5... it's a waste of time, since almost all the libraries will need to be updated to X6... and that can take a long time on a slow net. It took 10 hours to download all of the X6 Manufacturers and Bonus Libraries in preparation to doing a fresh installation of X6. That is a total of 3.77GB of 183 files. Took 10 hours to download them all. Do it once and save them if you have not already updated all of your first X6 installation. It was not a batch download. I found that Windows 8.1 IE will queue up to 3 download files reliably at the same time... so you don't have to sit there and wait for the big ones. Pushing IE beyond 3 simultaneous downloads caused confusion.
  8. This is an old topic that has been raised and ignored over the past 8 years or so on Chief Talk.... Apologies if it may be considered a "suggestion" topic. in Australia and New Zealand it is common for roofs to be constructed with timber trusses, typically spaced at 900mm centres (say 3 feet). The trusses are then battened on the top chord to support metal sheet roofing. Battens are also fixed under the bottom truss chord to support the ceiling linings. Chief Architect does not do battens (sometimes called lath in the US) There is no adequate paradigm in CA for implementing roofing battens. We can provide the space for battens by specifying a "sheathing layer" for the batten depth, but cannot readily model the individual battens using any manual framing tool. The battens need to be angled to the roof pitch and be trimmed to hip roofs. Ceiling battens can be manually modelled using generic framing. The space for the battens needs to be specified in the ceiling layers; not in the ceiling structure. It would be nice to have an auto-framing batten tool set... but like Trusses, a manual tool would be acceptable. Has anyone found a good paradigm for modelling the roof battens on a hipped roof? Ideally they need to be framing members that can be accounted in the Material Lists. Cheers, Ian