Monday, October 6, 2008

Image Plotting Issues

Today we had a repeat issue of plotting a sheet from paperspace that contained tiff images of a two page subdivision plat in model space. The preview looked correct, and everything on the sheet plotted except the two images of the plat. The Plot and Publish Details showed that the plot had been canceled though it wasn't the user that canceled it.

  • We plotted the layout to a different plotter with the same results.
  • We plotted the layout to a DWF and the images appear as expected.
  • We plotted the layout from a different computer and it plotted fine.

At this point, we decided it had to be computer specific. We contacted DC|CADD and Mark Martinez recommended that we uninstall and reinstall driver, plotter, etc. before proceeding any further. We got the same results (everything but the image was plotting) after the reinstall.

So, now we're thinking maybe it's a memory issue. We checked the system settings and the /3GB switch was not enabled on the problem computer. We changed the System Startup settings so that the /3GB switch would be enabled upon boot, then we rebooted the system.

After the reboot, the resulting plot contains everything on the sheet including the two images.

After the plot worked, we checked the size of the tiff images. (Yes, I know, why didn't we do that at the beginning.) Both images were under 300 KB. Hmmm, sounds small enough to me, but hey, I'm not going to look this gift horse in the mouth.


Viewport Change Scale Lockup

Here's a quick workaround for an issue that has occured in a couple of Civil 3D 2008 drawings. The workaround was found by Matt Castelli of DC|CADD. Here's the deal:

We have a 2008 drawing that contains 8 or so xref overlays. Some of these xrefs have attached xrefs and most have at least one xref overlay. After creating a viewport in paperspace, the viewport scale was changed to 1" = 10'. It worked fine. Then the annotation scale dropdown was selected so that it could also be changed to 1" = 10'. That's when Civil 3D 2008 froze. The only solution was to kill the AutoCAD process tree.

The workaround is:
  1. Unload all xrefs.
  2. Change the annotation scale.
  3. Reload all required xrefs.

The long-term solution is to open all xref drawings and audit, purge reg apps, reset scale list, and detach missing xrefs. Most of this process can be achieved relatively quickly through two utilities released by Autodesk this year.
  1. Scale List Cleanup Utility
  2. Regapp ID Cleanup Utility
NOTE ADDED 10/06/2008: This drawing freezes in 2009 also

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Walk This Way, Talk This Way

I know, I know. I haven't posted in a while, but this particular subject is well overdue.

I'm sure you all know what it's like to get drawings that have objects in the wrong layer. So today I wanted to share with you an AutoCAD tool that might help you identify layering issues before you ever send the drawing to the client or start working with the drawing in your project.

The tool is called LayerWalk. The tool can be found in the AutoCAD LayersII toolbar. Or it can be accessed from the command line by typing laywalk and pressing enter.

After executing the command, a dialog box will appear that shows all the layers in the current drawing including xref layers.

By left clicking on any layer in the list, you can see what objects are on that layer. For us civil folks, it works great for checking the layers in a survey drawing before you start working with the file.

Unfortunately, it can work with Civil 3D objects if you set up your styles correctly. For example,create an alignment style with the alignment lines, arcs, and spirals on layer ALIGN. Now create an alignment object on layer WW-A-ALIGN. During execution of the layerwalk command, select only layer ALIGN, and you will see all the alignment linework in the drawing. If you select only layer WW-A-ALIGN, you don't see any alignment linework in the drawing.

On the other hand, create your alignment style with the alignment lines, arcs and spirals on layer 0. Now create an alignment object on layer WW-A-Align. During execution of the layerwalk command, select only layer ALIGN, then you don't see any linework. If you select only layer WW-A-ALIGN, then you see only the WW-A alignment linework.

Now don't forget to audit then purge your drawings (including regapps) and it just might brighten someone's day.