Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Intro to Archicad

Archicad is a really efficient program to use for all tech documentation. Once you know how to use it, it makes life a lot easier and does quite a bit of the ground work for you automatically. It is predominantly set up for architects, meaning that it does have a few redundancies and some annoying quirks but on the whole it's pretty good. This will be a quick overview of the interface for archicad.

So when you first open up the program you will get this screen:

To create a new project make sure the "Create a New Project" option is selected and click the "New" button. The following screen will then open up:

Lets just have a look at some of the tool bars and palettes we have here. The first toolbar is the standard toolbar which is located here:

It contains a number of tools wich control how the cursor functions and also important short cut buttons such as new, open, save and print. We'll have a more in depth look at what all the buttons do in a a latter tutorial. It can be turned on or off by clicking Window-Toolbars-Standard.

Located just below it is the info box palette:

This controls all the options for the current tool you have selected including settings, drawing options, ect. I currently have the arrow tool selected so it has very few options visible but this toolbar becomes essential when interacting with any of Archicad's tools. It can be turned on and off by clicking Window-Palettes-Info Box.

All tools in archicad are accessed through the Tool Box located to the left of the screen. 

Tools are divided into four sections General, Design, Document and More. Each category can be toggled on and off. The palette itself can be switched on and off by following Window-Palettes-Tool Box. 

The drafting aids can be moved around a bit but are generally located somewhere close to where mine are now in the picture below.

This toolbar controls most of the guides which can be turned on and off in the program to aid drafting. As with all the toolbars it can be found under Window-Toolbars-Drafting Aids.

The Statusbar located next to the drafting aids, is like a help bar telling you how to use the tool you currently have selected. 

It can be located under Window-Palettes-Statusbar.

Next to the Statusbar is the Mini Navigator. It gives you a whole lot of options allowing you to navigate through your documents various sections including stories, views, layout and 3D view. It can be found under Window-Toolbars-Mini Navigator.

Quick options allows you to select a number of view options quickly changing the way you see your model. This will become more useful as you learn about layer combinations and model views. I can be found under Window-Palettes-Quick Options.

Finally the Navigator is the main way you interact with your project to be able to take a design from the 3D model to the technical drawings. It contains a number of different tabs allowing you to look at your stories, views, layouts and publisher sets. We will go into far more detail about the navigator in another tutorial. It can be found under Window-Palettes-Navigator.

What we haven't mentioned is the big gridded area in the middle which is the main drawing area. This is the plan view window.

I learnt how to use most of these tool bars by playing with them but I will be going into detail on each later.