Reference system for images

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Reference system for images

Postby pbacot » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:17 pm

LayOut is a good way to get images out of SketchUp. I use it to create presentations and exterior elevations sheets, but I think most would agree that for all other 2d drawings and annotation PowerCADD is superior and faster. I generally produce a pdf file of the elevations from LayOut and place it in PowerCADD to make annotations and overlays and complete the sheet.

The process tends to be convoluted for each minor update to the drawings...

It would be a great help if PowerCADD had a reference system like LayOut's.

In LayOut you can reference an image file and thereafter it's easy to update the image whenever the image file is revised. It would be nice if PowerCADD had this sort of file referencing. (it would be even better if PC could reference the LayOut file directly, but that seems less likely). For Layout, even if you have cropped or applied a mask to the image, the update will occur to the cropped image without having to import and position the image each time.

By the way, I notice that a raster image of the the LayOut model reference can be pasted directly into PowerCADD though it is not to scale and these raster images are low quality.
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby huc » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:02 am

Have you tried using References > Place Reference instead of simply File >Place?

I ask since I've been using Place Reference for Raster images from Photoshop for a long time - whenever references were first introduced into PCADD if memory serves. It's a technique particularly useful for creating and managing project image boards, or if an image was inserted as part of a detail sheet for example. A few years back when PShop changed their file format it did become important to use their save as backward compatible format.

The referenced (vs placed) PShop file can be updated in PShop, saved, and the update appears in PCadd (after using References >Update all references of course)

I haven't tried every file format but would wager it'll work with most anything PCD can read. I have used PSD as mentioned, also TIF (for images I render from Sketchup), or TIF (for images I render from Painter) and need them to update. The raster images have also referenced as full resolution for me and printing was never an issue for the image boards in PCADD

Might be worth a shot to see if a similar approach could work with your workflow. No guarantees but can't hurt to try.
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby Paul H » Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:08 pm

huc,
Thank you for References. I've never tried it and just experimented a bit with it and I'm thrilled it's available. I use SketchUp and PC all the time interchangeably for all my projects and References will be a valuable time saver.

What I found was using a .png file format allowed updated referencing to work but a
.pic format would not be updated.

Also the only way to rescale a .png file was to use the window in Edit - Reference window and type in a new scale. Not happy about that but it works.

The .pic file can be rescaled on screen by using the curser and drag. However it won't respond to being updated by the command update all from the menu bar.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks again,
Paul
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby huc » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:14 pm

Not sure but I believe *PIC = PICT file and that ancient Mac OS 6,7,8,9 file format has been dead for a while. If thats true then 't's no surprise there were/are issues with being hit and miss in terms of behavior.

*.PNG: Is a better choice anyway as compared to PICT as it's modern format. I wouldn't apply any compression to the PNG as it will simply get uncompressed when Referenced in PCD anyway so why waste the time.

To address your workflow question, Last I checked:
- Once referenced, PCD doesn't care what file format the item is, PCADD, PSD, PNG, TIF, etc all behave the same. How you work with the Referenced data (scale, rotation, etc) is all the same.

- References don't support scale by dragging when selected in PCD 9 from what I can tell. They might have done so in the past but I don't specifically recollect the specifics of if or when that might have changed. Yet another sign of old age i guess :(

- The Reference Window doesn't allow me to edit a references scale. Rather it just tells me what the scale factor is applied. I may be missing something?

- Only two methods I use to scale are Reference are:
1) Automatically when inserting into a drawing as check in the Place Reference dialog
2) Edit menu > Scale... immediately after a reference is inserted into a drawing and it's selected. Or, after the fact and I select the reference, then apply a scale. The latter is likely what you'd be doing with raster files and is what I did/do typically.
3) To the best of my knowledge those are the only methods that work for scaling. Last I tried even WTools scale tool wouldn't scale a reference with a pre or post pick operation. My recollection could be wrong in that regard so it's likely worth testing.
4) [EDIT 3:35pm MTN Time Mar26] I re-read your scale note - you were referring to assigning a Scale in the EDIT window , not the References Window. Sorry for the confusion. yes you can assign a scale factor there as well

- References remember the scale assigned to them. So, it's only necessary to scale the reference once, and the next time it's updated that scale is retained. If the scale's changed later, that new scale factor will be the one applied. Note there can be odd behavior if a Referenced item is scaled by an non equal ratio. For example scaling a Referenced image by a factor of X:2, Y:0.5 (as opposed to X2 Y2 to say double it's size) can create weird results when updating the reference. However I can't imagine a condition where that would apply in the real world. The only time I ever had to scale a raster image by a non equal XY ration was dealing with olde school air photos that hadn't been orthographically corrected. That required assigning differing XY ratios to get the tiles to align but in those cases I never referenced the data.

So, if you:
1) create the PNG from AppX (uncompressed is my recommendation)
2) Reference the PNG in PCADD
3) Scale the Ref+PNG in PCADD using Edit menu > Scale...
4) Save PCADD file

The next time you update a PNG and the Reference is updated in PCADD life should be good: The referenced PNG should update and retain the user specified scale

Sorry for the long reply - may have missed the mark - but wanted to cover some important context and "show my work" (back in grade school math :D LOL) so you can cross check it all at your end. Your results might be different or might lead to a better solution.

Hope that helps
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby Alfred Scott » Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:27 pm

There are only two places in WildTools that act on reference file objects: Linear Move and Rotate tools. But it's a simple matter to change the Scale tool to handle them.

Please tell me what is important. I think we should be very careful to only hook things up where it makes sense.

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Re: Reference system for images

Postby Alfred Scott » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:08 am

In re-reading Brian's notes, I realize it might make sense to have the WildTools Stretch tool handle reference objects. That will make much more sense than doing it with the Scale tool because you almost certainly will want to do it interactively and not be a scaling number. I'm in Florida now with our daughters, and I'll look at it when I get back to my office in a week.

I've been working on tool icons in WildTools, drawing most of them with vectors, but also using tiff bitmaps in places. In the process, I learned something new. I can create transparent/invisible pixels in the tiff files, but they still show as white pixels. However, if I save the images as png and then to tiff, it works right.

No reason for any of you to do this, but in the programming we have to use tiffs when we have high resolution images that automatically are used for Retina displays, such as with cursors.

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Re: Reference system for images

Postby pbacot » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:42 pm

Thank you for the replies, everyone. Sorry I missed this. I have not been using the references in PC at all, since I thought they were only for referencing PC drawings and whenever I tried it, it did not seem worthwhile for what I needed. This should make things much smoother.
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby patrickm » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:33 pm

Similar to Peter, I use PC for my working drawings and SketchUp for modeling. I normally draw my elevations in PC, because I hadn't thought about using SketchUp integrated with PC.

I am wondering how this would work -- I assume you'd model in SketchUp, create elevation Views in Layout, "export" PNG's of the elevations, then "reference" those PNG's in PowerCADD, right or am I missing something?

Thanks for the great ideas in this forum...
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby huc » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:52 pm

patrickm wrote:I am wondering how this would work -- I assume you'd model in SketchUp, create elevation Views in Layout, "export" PNG's of the elevations, then "reference" those PNG's in PowerCADD, right or am I missing something?
patrick


Yes you can reference the PNG in PowerCADD
Updating the PNG (e.g. export a new version from SKup w/same file name) will update the reference in PCADD
Last edited by huc on Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby huc » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:02 am

patrick wrote:... I normally draw my elevations in PC, because I hadn't thought about using SketchUp integrated with PC.


Here's one example of a workflow I've used for a long time:

PCD for 2d Geometry (it handles complex geometry vastly better than SKup IMHO) > Dwg out > DWG In to Sketch > model > repeat that loop until I get the geometry right in 3D

SKup > set and render scene(s) (I consider these crude start points in color and texture) > Export as TIFF to a specific size suitable for desired output > import into Painter to create a layered rendering > export to PSD for final tweaks > Export as TIF or PSD > Reference TIF in PCADD and annotate/compose sheet. If needed rendering can be edited in Painter, exported, and those layer(s) dropped back into the PSD file for corrections. Update the PSD (perhaps color balance, or whatever's needed) and Save - the referenced PCD file will update.

Sounds more complex than it is in reality. Obviously various combinations exist on how to manage that workflow depending on needs. All in all I try not to keep live rendering data in PCadd until the very end - then I'll typically bind the references to the PCADD file when I'm thoroughly happy and know revisions are done.

Hope that helps
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby patrickm » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:45 am

That does help -- the thanks!
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby Paul H » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:06 pm

Terrific info, thanks.
I use pretty much the same flow as you Huc, however I haven't taken the time to learn LayOut. I'm an old dyed in the wool PC user which I love for 2D and it's always my starting point and finished product with SketchUp as my modeling tool.
SketchUp I've used since it was introduced and can't imagine working without it now. It's my primary design tool along with pencil and sketchbooks. And it's replaced a lot of good old fashioned model making.

However, I keep things very simple with detailed complexity. Black, grays, and white with some subtle color and no textures or materials . . . period. I keep it as a graphic not a rendering. The purpose is to emphasize design not a finished product but a process. I've found clients remain more open to a project evolving rather than becoming attached to a finished idea by designing this way. Mind you there are always exceptions. I've found a little of this and a little of that goes a long way in SketchUp for communicating the concept.

If the project requires a rendering, I hire it out. I spend too much time on this damn computer as it is.

Thanks again for the referencing, I use those 3D graphic images from SketchUp in the PC final drawings. It a great combination of tools and these last updates from PowerCADD and Alfred are terrific . . . simply terrific.

Sorry for the long winded response, I guess I needed a distraction.
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby Alfred Scott » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:11 pm

Paul,

Thanks for the nice words. FWIW, I have it on my list of things to do is a PowerCADD/SketchUp translator both ways, and I think I can get copy and paste going between PowerCADD and SketchUp as well. Other things keep getting in the way. I assume this would be a big deal for everyone.

Main obstacle is dealing with the 32-bit / 64-bit programming worlds so I'm planning to have an OpenClip Bridge program as a first step so there would be an interim step to start with.

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Re: Reference system for images

Postby Paul H » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:15 pm

Alfred,
Yes it would be a big deal . . . and a dream come true.

Thanks again for all your hard work, you've made a contribution to my life in ways you can't imagine by doing what you do.

Ciao,
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Re: Reference system for images

Postby pbacot » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:27 pm

Yes, great work Alfred. Lookin forward to what you create next.

The Reference system does work great for pdfs from LayOut. The advantage of LayOut I think is managing your export from SketchUp in a consistent manner, not the least of which is organization of scenes. I am not sure of the advantages of .png over pdf. I export "hybrid" views and Pdf, and this leaves the option of exploding the pdf (or copy of it) in PCADD for various uses. One use would be to provide snap points for additional overlay of lines and dimensions.(I still do not like LayOut dimensioning.)

I think the reference system would be made more robust simply by providing a "re-link" method. At present the documentation suggests that if the link is lost to the file,, you have to start all over again. I am using a reference with a colleague in another office and it's sort of a lack that, down the road, each of us cannot store a separate reference file for legacy files.
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