Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Saving A Library Object

December 7, 2013

Yes, I promised.

I promised a couple of posts ago that I’d follow up on the post about Adding a Border to Your Plan.

Today I’ll show you how to take the border we created and make it into a Library Object that you can use and re-use in any plan you create.

Here’s how.

1. Open the Ez-Architect file where you saved the border.

2. Be sure your border (or other object) is selected. If it’s not already grouped, group it and then select it.

3. If you already have a library file with your own custom objects, that’s good. You can add this new border object to it. If not, go to Options/Library/Create New Library and create a new library file. Depending on the permissions on your computer, you may need to change permissions for the Library directory if you want to add your own file there. This can be done. Otherwise, just put your custom library file in your My Documents directory, or with your other Ez-Architect data files. Your Library file will be an *.aal file. Your Ez-Architect files are *.aad files.

4. Next select the object. (Read 2, above again if you haven’t grouped it).

5. Go to Options/Library/Add Object to Library…

6. The default Library directory will open. If you have placed your new library file there, find it and click. If your *.aal file is somewhere else, then navigate to it and then click the file.

7. To make sure your border is now in your library file, go to Options/Library/Manage Library.

8. When the Manage Library dialog opens, click Open, navigate to your library file via the file dialog and then open it.

9. You’ll see your border as an object in the library. You can use the Rename option to give it a name. Then save.

10. To use your border, click the Library icon Tool and draw a rectangle, the Library file dialog will open where you can select your library file (or navigate to where you saved it). Click to open.

11. Double click the library object. Click done, and it will be placed in your drawing. Drag it so it’s the size you want.

That’s it!

Are you having trouble Registering Ez-Architect ?

November 25, 2013

We’ve had a couple of incidents where users have had some trouble registering Ez-Architect.

Did you see something like this?

Do you see this when you try to register your key?

Do you see this when you try to register your key?

There are reasons and solutions (not reasons and excuses…). First, solutions:

Solution A

  1. Check to see what version of Ez-Architect you are using. Go to Help/About. This will operate whether you’re using the demo or have an older registered version.
  2. If you have a version prior to 6.0, you should not be seeing anything like the message, above. If you do see this and you’re trying to register an old version, contact us and tell us about it. We’ll find it very interesting… and strange. And then we’ll encourage you to upgrade to version 6.
  3. If you have version 6.0 or 6.1, you’ll need to download version 6.2 (see why below). You can do this here: Ez-Architect 6.2 demo download
  4. Be sure to uninstall any previous version.
  5. Install version 6.2
  6. enter your key.
  7. Ez-Architect should be in full operating mode.

Solution B

Upgrading from 6.1 to 6.2 if you’ve already Registered

You might be wondering how to get the latest and greatest and what will happen if you’ve already registered.

This is not a problem. If you’d like to upgrade to version 6.2 from 6.0 or 6.1 and you’ve already successfully registered, follow the instructions above (Solution A). But skip step 6. Your software will automatically be in full version (not demo) mode.

Why no re-registration? Because you have registered your computer. So even if you uninstall Ez-Architect, and reinstall Ez-Architect at this version level, you will be automatically registered for the newer version. That’s also why you can’t use the same key on a second computer. AND it’s why we make 2nd and 3rd key options available at a very reasonable cost ($2 bucks) when you make your original purchase. So you can use Ez-Architect on more than one computer. You just have to use the 2 or 3 key option when you purchase (or send us green rectangles after the fact). See this page for more info about getting extra keys after your original purchase:

Get more keys

But I digress.

Why the message?

Explanation 1

I promised an explanation of the message for those of you who care; And more explanation for those who are asking ‘why, if I was able to register version 6.1 a couple of months ago, why can’t I register 6.1 with a new key on a different computer?’

When you register Ez-Architect, it contacts a special server that records your email address and Ez-Architect key. A few months ago, we switched to a new server and so Version 6.2 of Ez-Architect was set to contact the new server. Earlier versions were set to contact the old server, which alas, is no longer there. So if you try to register version 6.1, it cannot do it, and you get the friendly message above when you try.

Explanation 2

There is one other possible reason that you might see the message above: Sometimes your firewall will block you from connecting with our server. If this happens, please try to set your firewall to allow the connection and try again. If it’s still a problem contact us and we’ll assist you.

And there you have it!

Ez-Architect 8 Has Even More Great New Features!

October 6, 2013

How’s that for an opening title? Here’s what’s been added to the newest version of Ez-Architect:

NEW FEATURES for Version 8:

  • Rotation of imported bitmaps
  • All the toolbars can be floated and moved around
  • A new View menu that controls tool bar visibility and floating and unfloating tool bars
  • A new item in the Preferences dialog sets up whether tool bars float on start-up
  • Updated manual
  • Printing in landscape mode on A3 size paper has been improved
  • Textures being added to objects can be rotated after selecting them
  • You can now input text with one click, which will set a text area about 20 characters long and one line in depth; and you can still set a text area by dragging with the mouse as before
  • A Door Tool—this new door tool allows you to cut doors in existing walls
  • Object Properties dialog now lets you rotate textures

 

NEW FEATURES for Version 7:

  • Ability to add textures to objects
  • Eyedropper Tool
  • Ability to change order in which layers display (9 layers are available)
  • Drag and Drop objects from the library
  • Updated manual
  • Solid dimension arrow option as well as hollow dimension arrow for dimension lines
  • Fractional feet and inches and fractional inches problems fixed
  • Area display fixed
  • File import default fixed
  • Object Properties dialog now lets you change the size of objects by percent
  • A3-size paper printing fixed
  • Drawing size fixed
  • Registration simplified and fixed

NEW FEATURES for Version 6:

  • DXF file import and export (2D only)
  • Continuous wall and hollow wall tools which support auto-dimension lines, constrained (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 degrees) and unconstrained (any angle) angles; continuous hollow wall tool draws continuous, colored or patterned hollow walls AT ANY ANGLE that scale up and down fine while the 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
  • Can import graphic files directly at their original size from the Import item in the File menu
  • Updated manual
  • Better wall scaling

FEATURES for Version 5 (originally published in 2009):

  • Four dozen colored patterns
  • Auto-dimension lines for lines and rectangles
  • Drawing method 2 mouse clicks without dragging has been added as an option along with conventional drag-and-click method
  • Printable reports containing all objects, their name, sizes and angles
  • Colors have been added to pattern editing and you may add your own permanently to the palette
  • PDF file export
  • wmf file export
  • Fractional Inches and Fractional Feet and Inches can now be selected as Drawing Units
  • Right click brings up Edit menu display
  • Red lines in rulers that follow cursor
  • Expanded Preferences dialog
  • Preview feature in File Menu allows viewing unopened plans as thumbnails
  • Program opens with all settings the same as last session

Some features of this home design program that make your floor plans easier are the duplicate tool for automatically placing rows or columns of boards, studs, trees, plywood, joists or whatever exactly where you need them—spaced on-center like you need them when you design your own home. And there’s a layering system for keeping upper stories, electrical, and plumbing schematics separate. On the other hand, if you just want to create simple floor plans without any complications or layers or construction detail, this is the home design program for you!

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!

 

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?

New Version of MacDraft Released

December 5, 2012

Recently the newest version of MacDraft was released. The current version is 6.0.6.

As you likely know, version 6.0.5 added support for AutoCAD AC1024 (2010/2011/2012) DWG files, and improved functionality for reading DWG files. Renaming layers and renaming library objects is now easier with the Rename option in the drop down menus of the Layers and Library palettes.  Mac OSX Lion issues have been resolved and many other performance and stability changes have been made. Legacy issues from previous versions have also been addressed.

In addition, we now have a customized toolbar, a new layers palette, new library palette which now works with seamless integration with iPhoto. The new image menu gives you lots more control of your images, and much more.

You can download an update from here. On this page you’ll find free updates for each Microspot program in several combinations.  Be sure to update from the version you are using for the correct software. Each updater is different. Read the list carefully to locate your software, then read it carefully again to find the correct update.

 


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