Archive for the ‘Using Layers’ Category

Adding a Border to your Plan

November 11, 2013

In some circumstances, depending on what you are drawing, you might want to add a border. In fact, you might want a standard border for all of your plans, kind of like a logo or a way for your customers/clients/friends to quickly identify that the work they’re looking at is from you. Almost like a trade mark or identifier.

There is no specific border tool in Ez-Architect. But there are plenty of tools included that make creating a border easy enough. You can even create a border and save it as a library object so you can use it over and over. You can create several different borders for different types of projects.

You can easily come up with a way to create your border. I’ll just give a couple of simple examples. (I’ve drawn these smaller than a full page so they’d capture more easily.)

First start with a simple hollow rectangle. See the fill pattern with the dash in it at the upper left. That’s your empty fill “color.”

This is simpler than you'd want for a special saved border. But it's a good place to start.

This is simpler than you’d want for a special saved border. But it’s a good place to start.

Next, change the rectangle’s line thickness by selecting the rectangle and then clicking on the thickest line icon. Then right-click on a color in the color palette. (Be sure the rectangle is still selected before right-clicking on the color.)

Here's the border, now in blue with a thicker line.

Here’s the border, now in blue with a thicker line.

Note, the fill is still empty, but now your corner color indicator shows up in blue. You’ve made the simplest border of all!

Next I make an arc pie.

The little Arc Pie, selected.

The little Arc Pie, selected.

Then I rotate it.

Use Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 1 to rotate the arc into a new position.

Use Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 1 to rotate the arc into a new position.

And next, I duplicate it 3 times.

The duplicated Arc Pie.

Duplicated Arc Pie.

Now the fun begins. First group the new object. (Forget about the old rectangle. No one needs that any more…)

Then duplicate it again. You can experiment with difference offsets to make it interesting. I settled on 60″ to come up with this. It’s just duplicated 3 times.  The first object plus the 3 dupes. Be sure to use the duplicate tool (it’s shown in the icon bar to the left of the border) so that you have perfectly spaced duplicates. If you don’t use the tool, you’ll have to carefully place them individually which is a silly exercise, if you ask me. (You didn’t, I know.)

Duplicated group.

Duplicated group

I experimented with a variety of fills for this pattern. But I like the dynamics of how it looks “empty.”  Fills made it look flat. But you can certainly experiment, and depending on what object shape you begin with, a fill pattern may be just what you need for your own unique border. Fill the pattern if you wish and then continue to group and duplicate it until you have a complete border. You’ll have to rotate it a couple of times, too.

Here’s the complete border. After positioning everything, I did group it. I didn’t want any of the segments to go astray.

Complete Border. The right, left, and bottom were rotated and/or flipped.

Complete Border. The right, left, and bottom were rotated and/or flipped.

One more thing (as Colombo was wont to say). Be sure to place the border on its own Ez-Architect layer. That way it won’t interfere with other objects in your drawing, nor they with it.

Next time, we’ll look at saving it as a library object that you can bring into any new plan.

Scanning Objects into Ez-Architect

February 26, 2012

Ez-Architect actually doesn’t have an acquire function whereby you could bring in an image directly from your scanner. However, it’s easy enough to bring a scanned image in.

  1. Scan your image with your favorite scanner and scanning software.
  2. Save the scanned image to your computer as a bmp, jpg, jpeg, tif, tiff, wmf, emp, png, awl, iwl, lwl. Remember its location on your computer and its name.
  3. Use Ez-Architect’s Library Tool to bring the image into your plan.

Put the scanned image on its own layer, if you have an empty layer available. This will enable you to include the image with other layers of your choosing.

Examples of items you might want to scan are logos, clip art photographic images like landscape items or examples of details for your plan, maybe a window or door detail, kitchen appliances, furniture ideas, swatches, or even your face “the designer!” You can enhance a floor plan with these types of details just off to the side of your drawings. You can also scan and import library objects and save them in one of your libraries.

Note: images you import, whether they are scanned or are existing graphics or photos, cannot be manipulated the way you manipulate Ez-Architect objects. They can be stretched and resized, but you can’t change individual parts or colors.

Another great use for a scanned image is a floor plan or idea that you want to use as a starting point for your own plan. Or you may have a plan that you sketched on a napkin, or one that you made with other software (print it and then scan it). Or how ’bout the original plan for your house? You can start with these for your remodel.

You might also find sketches in a magazine or floor plan book, or even an interior setting that you want to arrange your way. Be careful of copyright issues here. Someone owns those plans, but you can probably use them as starting points for your own ideas. Scan the plan, save it, then import it to its own layer, set the settings so that the layer shows along with other layers. And then make the modifications on a new layer to create a new plan that is your own.

What ideas do you have for scanned images?  How have you used them with Ez-Architect?

Don’t Let your Ez-Architect Layers Fool You

August 4, 2011

Ez-Architect is very dynamic when it comes to layers. You can enable them, disable them, look at any number of them at once (enabled and/or disabled).

You may get confused at times if you are looking at more than one Ez-Architect layer and trying to move an object that you can see, but is on a disabled layer. You may think that something crazy is happening. It’s not.

We suggest that before you work with layers on a detailed plan, that you play with layers. Enable several layers and give them useful names. Then start placing objects of each of them. Disable some, but still view them and see what happens when you try to select something on a disabled layer. Look at the base layer and see what happens when you move something on a disabled layer. What happens when you try to move it when looking at that disabled layer along with one that’s enabled.

The function is very dynamic, but can be confusing when you first use it. Have fun with it while you’re learning. You’ll find it very useful when you create your floor plans and house plans.

We have had suggestions for making layers even more dynamic including being able to reorder them. All suggestions are welcome–for layers or other parts of the program–as it does get updated to new versions fairly regularly. So let us know your ideas.

Working with Layers in Ez-Architect, part 3: What if you didn’t?

July 19, 2011

Oops! There’s your entire Ez-Architect plan sitting on the Base (B) Layer. A big no-no!

What to do. All that work. Don’t want to start over?

Here’s the solution

Depending on the complexity of your plan, you should be able to grab parts of it and move those parts to separate layers. If your plan is terribly detailed, you may have to do a little bit of do-over. But we should be able to separate various parts into layers pretty easily.

Here are the Steps

1. Back up your plan. Use Ez-Architect’s Save As menu item and give your plan a new name so you preserve the original in all its erroneous forms. Call it MyPlan-all-on-the-base-layer or something equally descriptive and revealing.

2. Next, re-open the original plan. Be sure you see “My Plan” in the title bar of the window (not “MyPlan-all-on-the-base-layer”).

3. If you really drew your entire plan on the base layer. Select B just below the menus. If you are uncertain whether you used other layers. Unclick B and sequence through all the layers 1-9, selecting and UnSelecting each one, so you’re only looking at one at a time to see what might be on them. If you haven’t used a Layer, the program will pop a dialog to name it, cancel it and you can go on reviewing the other layers.

4. For this little tutorial we’ll assume you put everything on the Base.

First we’re going to get EVERYTHING off the base layer.

1. Click B.

2. Do a Ctrl+A or use the edit menu and Select All

3. Cut (or Ctrl+X)

4. Click Layer 1

5. Paste (Ctrl+V)

Now everything is on Layer 1. NOTE: you will still see your plan on the base.  Remember, the base layer includes everything from all layers. But now you will also see your floor plan on Layer 1. Layer 1 is where we’ll start separating out the different parts and moving them to new layers.

This really isn’t difficult, only possibly a bit tedious depending on the complexity of your plan. So here’s how to proceed.

1. Start with the easy stuff. If you have landscape elements select all of these at once (Ctrl+click click click click etc.) If you have a ton of them, just click as many as you wish at one time and then —

2. Cut (Ctrl+X)

3. Click Layer 2. (Name it Landscape when the dialog pops up.) You’ll still see layer 1 when you click 2.

4. Paste (Ctrl+v) , and your Landscape elements will plop down onto the new layer in the same positions they were on in the original layer. After you paste you can UnClick 1 so you can see the landscape elements separate from the floor plan.

5. Go back to layer one and select a group of objects for the next layer, Bathroom fixtures, for example.

6. Ctrl+click each one and Cut.

7. Click on Layer 3, name it Bathroom Fixtures, and paste. You’ll still see layer 1 when you click 3. So after you paste UnClick 1 so you can see the separation. Click both together again, or click B to see all of your layers assembled. (You can also click 1, 2, and 3 to see all of the layers.)

8. Continue selecting elements of your house plan or floor plan for each separate layer for easier editing and management as your home design evolves.

9. Save often.

Using layers enables you to create as detailed a home plan as you wish. You can include plumbing, electrical, furniture, carpeting & other flooring, and every imaginable detail that you wish to include in your plan.

Using Layers in Ez-Architect, part 2

July 18, 2011

A big advantage of using layers in Ez-Architect is to see everything on already drawn layers, but not accidentally manipulate them, while working on a new layer. This is very easy. Yes, that’s why it’s called Ez-Architect 😉

Let’s say you have designed a floor plan or room plan using an appropriate variety of layers to make it easy to work with (see Using Layers in Ez-Architect, part 1).

And now you want to add some small details like electrical wiring and outlets, maybe some light fixtures and toggles. And you don’t want them to clutter up your basic plan. In other words you want to be able to see/not see them at will.

Here are the steps:

  1. Add a new layer, call it electrical when the layer dialog pops up.
  2. Un-select the new layer by unclicking the layer’s button (beneath the menu bar).
  3. Be sure that all the floor plan layer(s) that you want to see are selected (but not the base).
  4. Go to /Layout/Layers (note that one or more layers are selected), but NOT the new electrical layer.
  5. Select Disable Selected and the selected layers will become grayed out, but visible on your screen.
  6. Click your new electrical layer number and then start adding your electrical components and wiring while looking at but not disturbing your grayed out plan.

Next time I’ll write about how to separate out layers from a plan you’ve already drawn.

How to make ALL of your line ends snap together

July 16, 2011

In Ez-architect it’s easy to connect all of your lines and other objects without having to be terribly careful about where you start. First set the Wall Tool to snap, so that all of your walls will be connected properly. Go to /Options/Preferences/Snap Wall Ends and set the snapping distance. Each wall will snap to the next if you are within that distance.

For lines and other objects, use the Snap To Grid options /Layout/Snap to Grid. You can set the Grid to be visible /Layout/Show Grid and also experiment with Grid spacing /Layout/Grid Spacing to see what works best for your floor plan.

This makes it very neat and easy to draw very precisely connected lines and objects for your home design or other designs. Try it. You’ll like it!

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