Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Working with Display Themes

I apologize for letting this blog languish so long. I've been on the road a lot lately and extremely busy. I'm still busy and traveling a lot, but I found a few minutes to throw together a quick, rough tutorial on one of the really nice new features of Architectural Desktop.

A powerful new tool in Architectural Desktop 2006 is Display Themes. These allow you to override the current display settings for objects by keying on properties that are attached to them. Display Themes will work with any Architectural Desktop object.

Some examples are provided on the "Document" palette group, on the "Scheduling" palette. As an experiment, try this in a blank drawing:

1) Create three space styles. The details of these styles are not important. Name them "CORRIDOR", "DINING ROOM" and "OFFICE LARGE". On the "General" tab of each space style, use the "Properties" button to attach the "SpaceStyles" property set definition to each style. Save the styles and exit Style Manager.

2) Add some spaces to your drawing using any means that you like. Assign each space to one of the three styles that you created in the previous step.

3) On the "Scheduling" palette, locate the "Theme by Space Type - Commercial" tool and select it. Place the display theme legend (which defines the space theme itself) anywhere in the drawing and note the changes to your display. The display configuration is still the same, but now the spaces are displaying according to the display theme that is currently enabled. (You can disable the display theme by selecting it and bringing up a right-click menu).

If you want, now would be a good time to take a look at the display theme definition to see what it's doing. Right click on the legend and select "Edit Display Theme Style". In the top box are the Indices. Each index describes a display setting. For each index there is one or more Theme Rule. Select the index for the "CORRIDOR". Note what the display rule below specifies. If the Space Style property is equal to "CORRIDOR", then it will follow the display assignments defined in the index above. Simple!

Now, try doing one on your own. This one will allow you to create a display theme based on phasing:

1) In the same drawing, go to Style Manager and create a new Property Set Definition. Call it "Status". Make sure that it applies to all object types. Create a single manual property called "Phase". Save the property set definition.

2) Next, in the "Documentation Objects" category, you'll find a new node called "Display Themes". Create a new display theme style called "Phasing". In the "Design Rules" tab, select the top button on the right to add an index component. Name the component "Demolition" and assign it a color value and a linetype of HIDDEN2. Select the second button from the bottom to add a new theme rule for your new component. Under the "Property Set Definition" column, select "Status". Under "Property" select "Phase". Set the "Condition" to "Equal to" and under "Value" enter "DEMO".

3) Create another index component. Call it Existing, assign it another color and a linetype of "Continuous". for it's index design rule, set the "Value" condition for the "Phase" property to "EXIST".

4) Select "OK" and exit the style manager.

5) Draw a wall, insert a door and a window into it. Copy the wall,door and window combination twice.

6) Select one wall, door, window combination and using the the "Extended Data" tab of the Properties palette, add the "Status" property set definition to the objects (use the little button in the lower left corner of the palette). Set the "Phase" property to "DEMO".

7) Select another wall, door, window combination and repeat the above to assign a Phase property of "Exist".

8) Select the "Theme by Space Style" tool from the Scheduling palette and in the properties palette change the style to "Phasing". Place the legend and note the change to the appearance of your walls. Change the property of one of the walls, doors or windows to something else (either EXIST or DEMO, since that's all you're allowing for in your display theme) and note what happens. Purty cool, huh?

You can use Display Themes for a variety of purposes. Imagine color-coding walls according to fire-rating, or spaces according to occupancy (you could even get really inventive and come up with a way of color coding them based on a combination of occupancy and areas for code-checking purposes).


Blogger petermoltrup said...


Can display themes be use in an elevation view. I´ve made it work in the plan view but when i make a vertical cut through the building it dosn't seem to show.
Is there another way do do it or am I just doing it wrong?


1:24 PM  
Blogger Matt Dillon said...

It's been awhile since I posted this article and I haven't worked a lot with display themes lately, so I'm a bit rusty, but off the top of my head, I don't see an easy way (if any way)to make them work with elevations and sections. They're primarily intended for plan displays.

5:24 PM  

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