Ez-Architect 6 Released 7-27-13

July 28, 2013

Hello All,

We have just released today, July 27, 2013 Ez-Architect 6. (Actually we released it last night. But we’re announcing it today since we had to put a few finishing touches on some web pages.)

So what’s new in Ez-A 6? Why would you want it? Why would you want to upgrade? Super upgrade deals are available BTW. You need the email address you originally ordered with and your key. You can upgrade from version 4 to version 6 or from version 5 to version 6 for the same low cost. (10 bucks, US)

We also have special prices now for a second or third “copy.” Buy your first copy at the regular price of 19.99, and get a second copy for just an extra $2 or a second and third copy for $4. What a deal!

The new features are dynamite and powerful. Here’s what’s new:

  • DXF 2D file import and export
  • Continuous wall and hollow wall tools which support auto-dimension lines, constrained (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 degrees) and unconstrained at any angle;
    • continuous hollow wall tool draws continuous colored or patterned hollow walls AT ANY ANGLE that scale up and down perfectly
    • continuous wall tool draws continuous, 3-pixel-wide walls AT ANY ANGLE
  • Option to maintain height and width ratio when changing sizes in the Object Info dialog
  • Import graphic files directly at their original size from the Import item in the File menu
  • Updated manual
  • Better wall scaling

All with new Continuous Wall and Continuous Hollow Wall  icons, too. Can you pick them out?

Ez-Architect 6 Icon Bar

Ez-Architect 6 Icon Bar

This isn’t a long list, but it’s a powerful one. We will continue to make improvements and welcome your input on features you would like to see in future versions.

You’ll find a complete features list here, which includes Ez-Architect version 5 changes as well, in case you’re still working with version 4.

Questions:

What features would you like to see in future version?

What’s your favorite feature about Ez-Architect (any version)?

Visit here to purchase the new version of Ez-Architect.

Or go ahead and download the demo to try it out.

The demo provides all the features of the program. You just can’t save or print or export, things like that…

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Using Photos to Show Modifications to Ez-Architect Elevation Plan

July 1, 2013

It’s easy to add a photo to your plan. This is especially useful if you’re doing some remodeling and you want to see how the remodel changes the look of your elevation(s).

Here’s how to do it:

Take Some Shots

Take some photos of each side of your house (or just the sides that will be affected by the remodeling). Make those photos as square to the house as you possibly can. You might have to go across the street or into your neighbors’ yards. (Maybe that’s a good excuse to meet your neighbors…)

If you can’t get a square shot, you can use an angle shot, but your plan will be more of a drawing than a true elevation. But that’s okay. There are no laws about this!

Take a bunch of shots so you don’t have to shoot them again. (You don’t want to wear out your welcome at your neighbors!)

Choose Your Photo(s)

When you get back to your computer, look over your photos and decide which one you like best for showing how your elevation(s) will change; not that you’ll modify the photo itself in Ez-Architect. But you’ll be making a sketch of it. Modify the photo, if you feel the need, in any photo editing program (like Irfanview, for example). Save your photo as a jpg, jpeg, tif, tiff, png, gif, or bmp. Be sure to remember the name of the folder where you save it.

Bring Your Photo(s) into Ez-Architect

Start a new Ez-Architect plan. Open a second layer. Call it Photo (or whatever you prefer). Use the Library/Image Tool (lower left corner of the left icon group). Drag an outline and a dialog will open. Use the lower dropdown and select the file type of your photo. Then navigate to the folder where you saved it.

Select your photo file to insert it into your plan. Stretch it appropriately so that it has the same aspect ratio as your original (as your house, that is). That means you want to make it look as much like your real house as possible; don’t stretch it too wide or too tall.

Sketch Your Elevation

Create a new layer. Call it Sketch or whatever you like. Then go back to the photo layer and choose Layout/Layers/Disable Selected. This will change your original photo to gray scale. Add the Sketch layer by clicking on Layer 2. You’ll still see your gray scale photo. But when you start sketching you will only be drawing on Layer 2. Draw as much detail as you like. Draw enough detail so you can (next step) change the sketch adequately to clearly show the changes you’re planning Don’t go into too much detail; do just enough so that you can easily modify the sketch and still have useful “before” and “after” sketches.

Yet Another Layer

Now that you’ve got your photo sketched on its own layer, add another layer. Call it New View or whatever. Select Layer 2 (your first sketch), and now disable that layer. It will turn gray. So when you select Layer 3, you’ll see your gray scale photo and your gray sketch. I suggest that you un-select Layer 1 so that your photo doesn’t show up at this point. You can leave it if you wish, but you might want to keep what you’re seeing as uncluttered as possible. So guess what’s next. You’re looking at Layer 2 which is disabled (gray) and you’re about to draw on Layer 3. Start drawing your modifications by using Layer 2 as a guide and take off point.

Let me know how this works for you. Keeping layers separated can be tricky. So if you don’t see gray when you expect to, just select that layer only and click Disable and it will change to gray once again.

Have you Used your Ortho Today?

May 19, 2013

And I’m not talking about something you put on your lawn… or find at Home Depot…

Truth is, I recently learned the term “ortho” from a customer.

I didn’t do any research on it. But the customer inquired about how to find this tool in Ez-Architect. I wrote back and honestly said I didn’t have a clue what it was. The reply described a tool that would draw straight lines East, West, North South, without a struggle.

“YES! ” I wrote back and explained our term for them “constrained lines.”

If you haven’t made use of this handy tool in Ez-Architect, you’ll want to do it soon. It will make much of your drawing quicker and easier.

So how does it work?

First our ortho lines go in eight directions. Not just the 90 degree angles, but 45 degrees as well.

If your diagonal lines look a little jaggy, like this:

Not quite 45 degrees, a line may look like this. Perfectly acceptable if you need this angle. But what if you want 45 degrees.

Not quite 45 degrees, a line may look like this. Perfectly acceptable if you need this angle. But what if you want 45 degrees.

Look at the difference here:

The perfect 45 degree line is smooth as silk in any resolution.

The perfect 45 degree line is smooth as silk in any resolution.

Again, if you need the odd angle, the non-45 degree-er is perfectly acceptable. But if you want 45 degrees, you don’t have to struggle to get the angle. “How” you ask, “can I draw perfect ‘ortho’ lines?”

“Easy.” I say, “Just press the Shift key while drawing any line.”

Here’s a little sample I drew with the most delicate lines:

Hold the shift key in line mode and your line will snap to these angles.

Hold the shift key in line mode and your line will snap to these angles.

Here we go again with thicker lines:

You can also use lines with special ends, dotted, dashed or any type of line. Just press Shift while drawing! Easy!

You can also use lines with special ends, dotted, dashed or any type of line. Just press Shift while drawing! Easy!

Have you used ‘ortho’ lines in your Ez-Architect plans? Or is this one of those things you wish you’d known a long time ago?

What other “hidden” tools have you discovered? (They hide in every application AFAIK. And we all discover the ones we need eventually, or finally some kind friend shows us. Right?)

You can share your Ez-Architect discoveries here.

 

 

Crazy Fun with Dimension Lines in Ez-Architect

May 12, 2013

Ah, you might get confused when you start using dimension lines, especially if your lines have arrows on the ends. Here’s how it goes.

You draw a simple line:

Here's a simple line without added dimension lines.

Here’s a simple line without added dimension lines.

Now it gets a little interesting when you add a dimension line. You see the plain line on the lower left, then dimension line above and to the upper right. It’s relatively clear what’s what, especially if you know that you’ve set dimension lines to be “below/right” in your preferences. Here “right” takes precedence.

Add a dimension line to a plain line and it gets interesting.

Add a dimension line to a plain line and it gets interesting.

Now what happens if you’re working with double-arrow lines. Here’s the double arrow:

The double arrow without a dimension line.

The double arrow without a dimension line.

And now, the thrill comes when you add a dimension line to the double-arrow line.

Here's a double-arrow line with its neighboring dimension line. Which is which?

Here’s a double-arrow line with its neighboring dimension line. Which is which?

If you know what you’re doing, you’ll know that the dimension line is the one with the measurement info in the middle. But this could get confusing in a detailed plan. You do have a few options you can play with when you need to have dimension lines:

Some Options for Dimension Lines

Some Options for Dimension Lines

You can select whether to have auto dimension lines or not (Yes/No). You can select how far they sit from the object. You can also decide whether you want to group them with the object or not. And for rectangles, you can have them in- or outside.

If you don’t group them, you can separate them so there’s no confusion:

Because these are not treated as one object, I can easily add distance between the dimension line and the object line.

Because these are not treated as one object, I can easily add distance between the dimension line and the object line.

Of course, you can always ungroup a dimension line set should you need to.

And finally, there’s always the option of using the dimension line item instead of an auto-dimension line. This depends on what you need in your drawing:

The line itself has a label, so a dimension line isn't needed.

The line itself has a label, so a dimension line isn’t needed.

Again, depending on what else you’ve got going in your plan, this can be very handy. You’ll find this line type at the bottom of the line palette. This is especially useful if you want to draw dimension lines that aren’t directly associated with one particular object. This line type always has some kind of end on it. So you’ll likely use it to set down measurements unrelated to individual objects.

Some examples of different line ends and thicknesses

Some examples of different line ends and thicknesses

These line ends you see above can, of course, also be used with nondimensional lines. Just select any line thickness and then double click the line palette to cycle through the different types of ends.

Lots of different ends are available

Lots of different ends are available

You’ve got two types of hollow arrows, two types of line arrows, slashes in two directions, ball ends and a lovely “X.” What more  could anyone ask for more!

Have some crazy fun with lines!

 

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?

The Truth about the System Requirements for MacDraft 6.0.6

January 26, 2013

I am planning to confuse you about this. So let’s see how smart you are.

The newest versions of MacDraft PE (6.0.6) and MacDraft Pro have some interesting system requirements. The INSTALLER requires Mac OSX 10.5. HOWEVER, the PROGRAM requires only Mac OSX 10.4.11.

OMG, so what does that really mean? It means that if you haven’t yet upgraded your MAC to OSX 10.5, you are not out of luck. (That OS 4 to 5 upgrade can, in many cases, require getting a whole new computer, which you may or may not want to do.) It means that you can run the newest 6.0.6 version of MacDraft, with a little TLC from us. It just takes a little tweaking and talking via email for us to make it work for you.

Here’s what to do if you’re champing at the bit to purchase 6.0.6 (and you are running Mac OSX 10.4.11) and want to try the demo (we recommend you do this first). Contact us via email (wisdomandinfoATtheliquidateherDOTcom) and tell us that you’re running 10.4.11 and that you need a special link to the MacDraft demo that will run on your computer.

We will dutifully respond with the links to Pro and PE demo versions 6.0.5 which have the installer which will work on 10.4.11.

Now I didn’t get my numbers wrong: we will send you links to the 6.0.5 demo which will be sooooo close to version 6.0.6 that you probably won’t be able to figure out the difference once you decide to purchase 6.0.6.

When you decide to purchase 6.0.6, follow the links here for the Mac Draft PRO CD version or for the MacDraft PRO downloaded version. Or for MacDraft PE CD version.  or the MacDraft PE downloaded version. Or go to our website to make your purchase.

You will receive the 6.0.6 version with your purchase and it will have the installer that requires OSX 10.5.  What to do? Contact us via email (wisdomandinfoATtheliquidateherDOTcom) and we will verify your purchase. Then we will email you a special download link for the full 6.0.6 version that does not have the installer and will work on 10.4.11. And you’re good to go.

I told you it would be confusing.

P.S. If you do have OSX 10.5, you can immediately download the current demos or make your purchase from our site. And you can ignore everything that you just read! (Sorry, that was awfully mean.)


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