Archive for the ‘Ez-Architect’ Category

Modifying a Pattern in Ez-Architect

April 14, 2013

Even though Ez-Architect includes a ton of patterns, you can also either modify an existing pattern or make a totally new one.

First review all the patterns on the pattern bar. Use the Left and Right arrows on the right side of the bar to scroll it left and right. The default position of both the pattern and color bar will always be to the left. So if you haven’t looked before, have a look at both bars to see what you might have been missing.

Notice that the patterns and colors on the right tend toward gray, black & white

Notice that the patterns and colors on the right tend toward gray, black & white

The left side of the pattern and color bars are full of a variety of colors.

The left side of the pattern and color bars are full of a variety of colors.

View a few patterns to see which ones you might want to edit. They look very different and simple in the editor, so it’s a good idea to get a full view of any pattern on the screen before you begin editing.

Start by selecting Options/Edit Pattern:

Select Edit Pattern from the Options menu

Select Edit Pattern from the Options menu

You’ll see this working dialog:

Here's where you start to either create a new pattern or edit an existing one.

Here’s where you start to either create a new pattern or edit an existing one.

Select a pattern from the scrolling bar at the bottom. In this shot I have scrolled so that the pattern I’m editing is at the far left. Double-click the pattern to make it appear in the work window. Or select it and click Load. Alternately, you can start from nothing and create a totally new pattern by clicking Add New or Clear.

You can start with any pattern and make simple or complicated changes.

You can start with any pattern and make simple or complicated changes.

You will likely need to test your new pattern several times as you edit. But handily, you can see the full pattern in the editor window (to the right) and determine what your changes will look like. Below, I’ve  added some  light green.

First select Color from the menu on the right.

After clicking Color from the menu, you'll see the color dialog where you can select any color to add to the pattern.

After clicking Color from the menu, you’ll see the color dialog where you can select any color to add to the pattern.

Here’s the pattern with Green added.

You can see the green in the pattern and subtle changes to the full pattern on the right.

You can see the green in the pattern and subtle changes to the full pattern on the right.

Here’s a shot of the changed pattern on the right side of the dialog (not much bigger, sorry).

Subtle, in this case, but now the pattern has green.

Subtle, in this case, but now the pattern has green.

Next, save the new pattern (it will replace the pattern you’re editing) and then you can test it out in your Ez-Architect plan.

If this isn't clear in your browser, be sure to click on it to see the full pattern.

If this isn’t clear in your browser, be sure to click on it to see the full pattern.

Other options in the Pattern Editor allow you to Delete a pattern (select it from the pattern bar, below) or Clear to start over, Add New to create a new pattern, Color to select colors for editing or creating a pattern and Saving to save your work.

Remember, if you’re editing a pattern Saving will replace the old pattern.

What uses can you think of for creating unique patterns?

Next time: Fun with Dimension Lines.

What other functions would you like to see me highlight in this blog?

A Kalidescope of Patterns in Ez-Architect

March 2, 2013

The pattern bar in  Ez-Architect is obvious, underneath the colors. But the variety it offers is pretty much endless. You can easily modify these patterns by cleverly using colors, but you can also edit them and make your own unique variation.

This pattern is the 16th pattern from the left in the color bar. I’ve selected this one because it’s easiest to see that changes since the components are larger than some of the other more subdued patterns.

Here's the default for this pattern. It's the 16th from the left in the pattern bar.

Here’s the default for this pattern. It’s the 16th from the left in the pattern bar.

You can easily modify this pattern by using the Control Key along with mouse clicking.

NOTE: if the following patterns look kind of mushy on your screen, click on them to see the true colors (resolution, browsers, etc. may not show you the true colors I have placed here).

Control+Left Mouse button on yellow changes the pattern like this:

Control+Left Click on yellow changes one color.

Control+Left Click on yellow changes one color.

If we Control+Right Click on the first (Lavender) pattern, we get this:

Same colors, but different juxtaposition.

Same colors, but different juxtaposition.

The difference in these two is that in one we’ve changed the background, in the other we’ve changed the foreground. But they are both lavender and yellow. But look quite different.

Now to have some fun, control+right click to change the line color within the pattern. So here we have lavender, and yellow with red lines.

Another control+right click changes the line colors within the pattern.

Another control+right click changes the line colors within the pattern.

Play with the mouse and the control keys to see what interesting combinations come up.

Next time we’ll experiment with changing the pattern itself. Although many many patterns are already included in Ez-Architect, it has plenty of room for your own special constructions.


Changing the Border Colors in Ez-Architect

February 25, 2013

In the last post I showed you how to change the internal colors and patterns of an object.

Changing the border color is just as easy as changing the inside color. You just have to use another finger.  Here’s a simple circle with a black border. Note the status box to the left of the patterns/colors bar. It shows the same configuration. (In this case, it’s a white circle. If it was transparent, it would look the same.)

Here's a simple circle with a black border.

Here’s a simple circle with a black border.

To change the color of the border, just use your third finger on the right mouse button and you’ll easily change the border color. Select the object, right-click your mouse on the color that you want and you’ll change the border. Note that the status box to the left of the color/pattern palette matches your object (well, my object).

The same circle with the border changed to purple

The same circle with the border changed to purple

And if you don’t want borders on your objects, you can either change the border color and the inside to the same color as you can see below. OR you can choose a line width of zero, the first line on the line palette that looks like this:

–      –

The same circle with the border and internal color changed

The same circle with the border and internal color changed

It would look perhaps a little smaller (depending on the line width) if the border width was zero. In both cases, the status box to the left of the pattern/color bar shows both the currently selected border and inside colors, whether you have a line width of zero, or a wider line. That’s so you always know the current color configuration.

Next time, fun with patterns.

Have you done any experimenting with making your own patterns or changing pattern colors? We’ll have some fun with this.

Colors & Patterns in Ez-Architect-It’s Easy when you Get it.

February 3, 2013

Ez-Architect is VERY dynamic when it comes to using colors and patterns. However it can be a little confusing at first. But once you “get it” you’ll be an expert every time.

Here’s a little lesson:

When you start Ez-Architect, the program will begin with default settings. Most objects will be white with thin black borders, like this. (I have placed the standard object over some red so you can see that it’s white-on the inside.)

White rectangle with a narrow black border

White rectangle with a narrow black border

Now, to emphasize our example, I’ll increase the size of the border so color and pattern changes will be obvious. I have selected line width 4 by clicking on the widest line in the icon bar to the left. Be sure to select the object before changing the line width.

White Rectangle with wide Black Border

White Rectangle with wide Black Border

Now, I can play with color changes. To change the inside of the rectangle, simply left-click on a color or pattern from either row of colors & patterns on the color bar. Be sure to select the rectangle first.

Rectangle with new Inner Color

Rectangle with new Inner Color

The same rectangle with a pattern inside. Select the rectangle, then select the pattern. Notice that the pattern is visible at the left of the pattern/color bar.

Right-click on any pattern to fill the rectangle.

Right-click on any pattern to fill the rectangle.

Next time I’ll show how to change the the border color and pattern. Then we’ll learn to change the pattern colors.

What is your favorite use of colors and patterns in Ez-Architect?

Network Printing from XP to a Windows 7 Printer

November 4, 2012

Did you ever try to set up to print from XP across your network to a Windows 7 computer with the printer attached?

If you’ve tried this, you already know it’s not fun, and to call it frustrating would be generous. With some help from online research, I found a solution that worked, to my shock. It’s not something you would guess—ever— so prepare to follow the instructions and be delighted at the results. And it’s NOT in the on-screen instructions in Add-Printer!

After many frustrating hours of trying to connect our XP computer to our HP 2200D printer, which is connected to the newly upgraded Windows 7 computer, I discovered some unusual instructions online which worked perfectly. In fact, I found them in more than one place.

I realize that this is a rather obtuse post since we’re usually talking about home design software. But really, if you can’t print, what good is the software!

I’m posting this for anyone else who has had trouble getting network printing in order.

If you have a mix of Windows OSs, especially Windows 7 with XP, you are looking at some frustrating challenges if you try to install the Windows 7 printer at the XP machine following the normal instructions. In other words if you follow the instructions in add-printer, it will not work. (a most unusual occurance when following Microsoft instructions, right?), it will ask you to locate drivers (for the XP computer) but will not tell you the names of the drivers you need, nor where to find them. You get a little browse dialog that will take you anywhere you want to go to find that elusive .inf file. But even if you found it, you wouldn’t know that you found it because you don’t know its name. So it might be right in front of your face. But what good will it do. So succeeding with the ostensibly easy wizard instructions will only end in frustration. Forget that and follow along below. You’ll be glad you did.

In our circumstances, Windows 7 initially led me into the installation for the HP 2200D and it installed the Microsoft driver (I’m pretty sure). And the printer works fine from Windows 7. [As an aside, I later installed some HP Universal drivers and they were much more limited than the Microsoft driver, so I through them out–no duplexing there.].

Be sure to share the printer in Windows7 and give it a share name that doesn’t have spaces. (Spaces in the share name may or may not cause problems. But we are trying to avoid and solve problems here, not cause more, right.)

Make sure your network connections are working. I won’t get into networking issues here. Just be sure that all of the computers belong to the same workgroup. And that you can see all of the shared items from one computer to another. This means you can see the shared printer on the Windows 7 computer from the XP machine (even though it’s useless at this point for printing).

Here’s how to do it and you will wonder how it can work. But it does, and in the end I din’t really care how.

Here’s a quick run through of all the instructions.

1. Be sure that the printer on the Windows 7 computer is shared. For this example, let’s say the share name is THEPRINTER.

2. From the XP computer, browse your network and make sure you can see THEPRINTER.

3. On the XP machine, select to add a printer. At the first dialog, choose to “add a LOCAL printer” NOT a printer on the network. (This is just temporary and will be changed.) Add it at port LPT1. And continue through the wizard. Yeah, this is really weird since there is no printer attached to the XP. So lie to the wizard. (Wizards lie all the time anyway, right?)

4. Go back into the printer’s Properties (right-click on the printer), select Properties, then select Ports, and add a NEW port for the printer and put it in this form and call it \\nameofwindows7computer\THEPRINTER.

XP will load some drivers.

Print a test page and you’ll be cheering with glee. To be honest I was dumbfounded as I heard the printer rumbling in the next room! Yea me!

Note: from the Windows 7 computer you control the printer permissions for the remote computer (print, change printer settings, etc.) At first the XP only had permission to print. I changed this so that the XP has other permissions so that user can control the output a bit more. Double click the printer in Windows 7, click Customize Your Printer, click the Security tab click Everyone and set the permissions you want to give to Everyone.

Have you gone through this before? LMK!


How Unusual is your Ez-Architect Project?

September 22, 2012

Tell us how you are using Ez-Architect.

Are you a pro using it often for client projects?

Are you a do-it-yourselfer who plans and executes projects for your home or other location?

Do you do any unusual things with it, like design sets for theater productions, plays, videos etc.

We used it to design our set for The Perils of Cheryl. We came up with a brilliant scheme and it worked great. Watch the demo right here.

And tell us how you use Ez-Architect or MacDraft or MacInteriors, for that matter.

The more unusual, the more unusual……

Ez-Architect – A Bug has been found!!!

September 6, 2012

Okay, we admit it. We’re not perfect. But really, all these years and no one ran into this until last month! Really, has anyone been using this software?

Is your “printed” page blank?

Does your printout not fit the page properly?

Is it cut off where you don’t expect it to?

There are several reasons that these things may happen.

And here are several things to check:

First: Check your scale. For example if you selected 1/4″ = 1′. Given that a sheet of paper is 11″ long, the longest object you could place (at that scale) on the one sheet would be 44 feet, so if you have an object longer than 44 feet or if any part of your plan exceeds 44 feet, it cannot fit on a single sheet of paper.
If you select 2 sheets by 1 sheet of paper, the drawing (at the 1/4″= 1′ scale) will cross over two sheets. However, if you tell the program 1 sheet but draw something that is bigger than the one sheet, things don’t work so well, the program doesn’t really know how to handle it, so it prints just part of it.

Second: Check your paper size. As noted above, if your plan is bigger than the paper size you’ve selected, the printing won’t work properly. Items will be cut off or will try to print (oddly) to the only available page. And please note: there is an anomaly in Ez-Architect where this happens. Suppose you select legal paper and 2 x 2 page layout. If you save your plan and then open it again and then go to the paper size dialog, it will say “letter.”  Note this is only a dialog error not an error in the program. Because if you look at your plan and its layout, you’ll see that your plan is still has legal sized pages.

Third: Check your page layout. This refers to how many pages your plan will cover.

Fourth: Check your printer resolution.

The faint lines that occur on some of the printed objects relate to printer resolution and capability. I, too, can see your plan on my screen (which is set at 1440 x 900 resolution) and some objects print very weakly on one printer (b/w laser) in most of the “better” settings I’ve tried (it is an older printer). However my other printer (color inkjet) printed the plan very nicely, where the lines that hardly show on the laser printout are somewhat light on the inkjet, but they are clearly there, just delicate looking. So you might try another printer or different printer settings so you can see the objects without having to alter your plan.
The other option is to make all the lines in the objects that aren’t printing thicker.  Just select the object and change the line width. Experiment with printing to see what thickness prints adequately before you make them too thick, as on my screen some of the line thicknesses don’t look any different from each other on the screen.

And here’s the clincher, or is it the clinker?

Did you set your page orientation to Landscape? Yes, oh my, if you set your page size for Landscape, your plan will not print! oh my, and oh my again; so many thousands of you out there using this software for years and August 2012 was the first time anyone ran into this problem. Are we all so Portrait oriented that we never ever tried to print the wide way. My goodness, how normal we all must be.

Never fear, the developer has been notified along with a list of other minor glitchees and suggestions for the improving the program. So, if you’re reading and you’re a user who has wishes, now’s the time to get your wish on the wish list for the next update. We don’t know when, but we can say, eventually. But if you don’t speak, you won’t be heard. So let us know.

Sometimes the Simplest Things Elude Us

July 21, 2012

How to “erase” a line or object in Ez-Architect.

Use the selector tool, select the line or object.

Press the delete key.

Not to be facetious, but for those not experienced with object-oriented graphics programs, some functions may seem elusive. Since each item on the screen is an object that has to be dealt with as a whole, it can be moved, stretched, shrunk down, exactly duplicated; but you can’t remove just a part of it. You can shrink it, like in the case of a line. Come to think of it you could remove part of it only by covering it up with another object (and then, you’d want to group the two objects so they stay together). But it’s not like a painting program or photo editing program where you can work with and change a single pixel on the screen–where you can erase part of something, or smear it, or distort it with painting tools.

Nope, Ez-Architect is just Easy. Sometimes not to fancy. But powerful.

What other functions have you discovered in Ez-Architect (or any of our home design programs, for that matter) that were so easy that you had to say DOH! and hit yourself on the forehead when you figured it out?

Ez-Architect for Landscaping & Gardening along with Landscape Vision

July 7, 2012

Are you working outside these days. Don’t let Ez-Architect fool you. You can use it to plan your garden, organize your landscape plan, and all other outside wonders that occupy us this time of year.

Use the trees and plants that you’ll find in the Ez-Architect libraries to place in your landscape. Take photos and use them in your plan, or sketch or draw your plants to place them in your plans. Always save your special drawings, photos & sketches in your own library so you can re-use them.

Combine the details of Ez-Architect with the tools in Landscape Vision and you’ll have the garden and landscape planned and planted before your sunscreen dries. (Be sure to swab it on. No one needs a sunburn.)

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