BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

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carlopav
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby carlopav » Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:05 pm

yorik wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:53 pm
Yes absolutely!
Being that mine was just a small modification of your SectionPlane I was quite sure about that :P . Cool! we curretly have at least 3 persons with the same development plans!
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby yorik » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:38 pm

We could actually make a small roadmap...

1) Refine the label property I just added, add font + font size properties
2) Your change prevents the "normal" edit mode of the section plane (double-clicking "activates" it instead). We should find a way to have both.
3) The "activation" of the section plane should open in a new view with (optionally) a white background
4) that new view should be findable somehow so if you reactivate the section plane while there is already a corresponding view open, it goes to that one
5) Any (Draft only?) object (dimensions, texts...) added in that view should be automatically added to the list of elements viewed by the section plane
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby yorik » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:44 pm

cross-posting from https://yorik.uncreated.net/blog/2020-0 ... -september

FreeCAD BIM development news - July/August/September 2020

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Hi all,

After a very, very long delay, here comes finally another development report about the BIM tools for FreeCAD. Awfully sorry about the black-out during these last months, lots of things happened (all the 3D&BIM done with FreeCAD and Blender) and of course the pandemic didn't ease things either. Anyway, that doesn't mean nothing happened on the FreeCAD front, on the contrary, bugs still get addressed, things get fin-tuned, ideas get discussed, and FreeCAD gets everyday better.

This last month we also had a hectic turnover, because Autodesk changed the terms of the free version of their Fusion360. There is a full load of new limitations that restrain much the use for personal/hobby users. For example, the g-code you export from Fusion360 to CNC machines (that cut objects out of a block of material), is now making the machine running slower (and therefore raising the production costs), for no apparent reason other than nagging the users into buying a subscription. As a result, we saw a massive migration of users to FreeCAD, and it's really thrilling to see people discovering FreeCAD and learning it and liking it.

Thanks once more to everybody who contributes to my Patreon or Liberapay campaigns, I'm really grateful you guys didn't just drop me away when I fail to write for 3 months.

Also, for who didn't notice, FreeCAD now has a proper Liberapay teams account where all money received is divided equally between the FreeCAD developers registered there (currently 7). This account has seen a huge raise of donations these last weeks (it receives around 1000 USD/month at the moment), thanks to the flow of new ex-Fusion360 users, and the impressive job Kunda1 is doing on the official FreeCAD twitter account (subscribe to it if you are a twitter user, that account used to be just a mirror of the FreeCAD Facebook page, but is now very, very well maintained) and the campaigning of other people (special thanks to my girlfriend, the most awesome person in the world).

So, no more loitering, to the news! Here is what we got this month:

Customizable section color

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Materials now have a new **Section Color** property, which allows to give a different color when the material is viewed and when it is cut through. So for example you can now have your walls appear white when viewed, but black when cut and seen on a TechDraw page.

This is a small improvement so far, but it laid the structure to have more advanced things, such as supporting hatch patterns. The main problem for this, is that, although the SVG format has an excellent support for hatch patterns (anything can become a hatch pattern, even bitmap images), the Qt implementation of the SVG format lacks support for it (it has its own system but it's not very practical to make that compatible with SVG). Therefore at the moment we have no clear idea of how to go further.

TechDraw's implementation of hatch patterns internally recreates OpenCasCade geometry, which works very well but might be heavy for large BIM models. In any case, that's a track I'm exploring too.

Default windows are now openable

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Another very small fix, but the default door and windows created with the Door and windows tools now have a hinge edge defined, so their **Opening** property now works out-of-the-box. It might not open in the direction you want, though, so you might still need to tweak this. But next items on my list are adding a couple of controls to easily switch opening directions.

Default pattern size option

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The Draft patterns system is now working again (hatch patterns can be added to all closed Draft objects such as rectangles, polylines, circles, etc). I also added a preferences option under *Edit -> Preferences -> Draft -> Visual settings* to set a default hatch pattern scale, which is useful when you always work with objects of a similar size range, for example building plans. I still have to experiment a bit (0.0025 seems like a very good default setting for BIM), but will add that to the BIM setup screen once I found a couple of good settings.

Section plane label

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Section planes now have a **Show Label** property, which, when turned on, show the section plane label on the plane in the 3D view. This is useful to easily identify these section planes when there are many in your document. The text size currently depends on the arrow size, but I'll make all this better customizable later on.

We have further plans too for the section planes, such as be able to double-click or activate them somehow, and find yourself in a separate 2D view with all needed geometry cut or turned off, where you can still work on the model in a 2D environment. This would be a bit like an intermediary step between the full 3D model and a TechDraw view. You can see a first draft of that coded by Carlo Pavan on the experimental tools palette in the BIM workbench.

TechDraw tools in BIM workbench

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Among the annotation tools on the BIM workbench, you'll now find two TechDraw tools, **Create page** and **Create view**. The first one is the same of the Create page from template TechDraw tool, except that it remembers the last template you used and gets you right there when you use the tool again, so it gives a little bit faster workflow. The second tool is currently the same as the TechDraw ArchView tool but I plan to make it a bit more flexible in the future so it would become a mix of TechDraw's ArchView and DraftView tools, depending on the selected objects.

TSV export

The Schedule tool has been extended to now allow to export results to the .tsv (Tab-Separated Values) format, which is basically the same as the .csv (Comma-Separated Values) format, but using tab characters to separate columns, instead of commas. The big problem of csv, of course, is if there are commas in the columns texts. Usually spreadsheet apps are pretty tolerant with .csv files, they will usually ask you what character to consider as column separator on import, but others (for example GitHub) doesn't display them correctly if they don't use a comma as separator. So from now on there is a correct way to please everybody :)

Blender exporter upgrade

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The FreeCAD exporter for Blender has seen several small fixes, it now automatically adds the .FCStd extension to the generated file if you haven't added it yourself, it now correctly handles object rotation and scaling, and it applies modifiers before exporting. It now also supports faceless objects (wireframe objects).

This coupled with the BlenderBIM improvements, it now becomes increasingly easy to work on BIM models in Blender, or parts of BIM models, and when needed, integrate everything seamlessly in FreeCAD. There are many more joint FreeCAD/Blender developments going on, such as the new Sverchok nodes that use FreeCAD internally, literally creating a kind of new interface for FreeCAD withing Blender.

Detect and suggest development version

The BIM workbench will now detect your FreeCAD version on the setup screen, and suggest you to install a development version if you are not using one. This will help people to be aware of the existence of development versions, and become more used to them and how to install and mange them.

Grid extension setting in Working Plane panel

The overall size of the grid is now settable directly from the Working Plane task panel.

Multiple custom folders on start page

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The start page can now show multiple custom folders. To achieve that, go to the start page preferences under menu *Edit -> Preferences -> Start* and instead of choosing one custom folder, type manually several folder paths, separated by ;;

For example: `/home/yorik;;/home/yorik/Examples;;/home/yorik/FreeCAD/Examples`

Image Plane scaling

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The Draft Scale tool now support image planes created with the Image workbench. So it is now easy to import reference images such as scanned floor plans, position them on a common reference point, and scale them to the desired size.

Unit and Show Unit in Draft dimension preferences

You can now set default value for these two settings under *Edit -> Preferences -> Draft -> Dimensions and Texts*, that will affect all newly created dimensions.

Manual upgrade

And last but not least, I started upgrading the manual to FreeCAD 0.19, and this time I intend well to produce a printed book with it. To be continued!

That's it for this month I guess, I promise to do everything I can to resume posting once per month!

Cheers

Yorik
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby carlopav » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:11 pm

yorik wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:38 pm
We could actually make a small roadmap...

1) Refine the label property I just added, add font + font size properties
2) Your change prevents the "normal" edit mode of the section plane (double-clicking "activates" it instead). We should find a way to have both.
3) The "activation" of the section plane should open in a new view with (optionally) a white background
4) that new view should be findable somehow so if you reactivate the section plane while there is already a corresponding view open, it goes to that one
5) Any (Draft only?) object (dimensions, texts...) added in that view should be automatically added to the list of elements viewed by the section plane
+1
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby bitacovir » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:05 pm

Image


This image looks cool. I miss the option of splitting the 3D view window. Also maybe this view could be undocked to move it to a second monitor.
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby yorik » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:33 am

I'd really like to have better multiview handling as well indeed, with a splitter, etc... The tiled windows system is not really elegant... But there are layouted splitter views in Qt, maybe there is something possible there...
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby yorik » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:34 am

cross-posting from https://yorik.uncreated.net/blog/2020-0 ... ad-october

FreeCAD BIM development news - October 2020

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Hi everybody!

Here goes another monthly report about the BIM tools development for FreeCAD. A bit of everything this month, but I basically spent a lot of time doing housecleaning and bug fixing. Hopefully we are slowly getting ready towards an official 0.19 release (no date yet, be sure to follow the forum thread to know more), so it is time to go through everything and make sure everything is solid and 100% working. But I managed to bring out a couple of improvements too, read below.

As always, thanks to everybody who contributes to my Patreon or Liberapay campaigns! There has been a big increase of donations recently, it's really cool that I can now dedicate the biggest part of of my work time to FreeCAD!

TechDraw patterns available to Draft

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The TechDraw workbench contains several SVG pattern definitions. These are now available as well in all Draft objects that can be closed, such as rectangles, polylines, circles, etc.

These hatched Draft objects can at the moment only be displayed in the 3D view, and not on TechDraw pages, and they can't be exported to DXF/DWG yet. I'm looking at that last point, but it's currently hard to implement because the DXF export library we use has no support for hatch patterns. Maybe it would be a good time to ditch it completely and rebuild a clean and more robust DXF/DWG import/export system based on some better library such as ezdxf or even libreDWG (this last one still presenting many problems, one being the license which prevents from including it in the FreeCAD source code, another being a C++ library, which requires compiling and therefore hard to use as an addon, etc).

In any case, the translation from FreeCAD pattern hatching to DXF/DWG hatches would never be fully accurate, because FreeCAD can use SVG patterns, which can do much more than DXF/DWG hatches, but anyway it is really an important thing to have, even with small differences.

Another path I've been looking at, is reusing TechDraw's automatic pattern generation system to produce shape-based patterns in Draft objects. These would then be fully supported throughout FreeCAD, and could be exported to DXF/DWG as blocks instead of patterns. That's not ideal of course, but many CAD apps do that, it might be a good alternative for the time being.

New Draft styling controls

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The Draft, Arch and BIM workbenches all use the basic Draft styling toolbar, which contains several buttons to set styling defaults such as line color or line width. This month, I have redone all that part and condensed the styling controls into one single button. When pressed, this button opens a task panel that allows you to change not only these defaults but almost any visual setting of Draft, such as dimension style, text font, etc.

From that task panel, you can also bulk-set styling to selected objects without changing the default (press "Cancel" instead of "OK" after you're done).

This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce the need for users to navigate though the complex preferences system. Tools should remember their last used settings, and you should be able to modify most things when you need them, on the fly.

Better TechDraw view tool in BIM Workbench

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Last month I added two TechDraw buttons to the BIM workbench interface: A page button and a view button. This month, I worked further on them, and added a couple of additional features:

* The Page tool now remembers the last template you used, and will already preselect it when creating a new page
* The View tool now combines both the TechDraw Arch view and TechDraw Draft view, depending on the objects selected (a selected section plane or building part produces an Arch view, anything else produces a Draft view). I'm looking at maybe integrating the standard TechDraw view too, but I have the impression that one is less useful for BIM...

Homepage fixes

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I also fixed a couple of things on the FreeCAD homepage, specially making the translated versions work more smoothly, ie. if you switch to another language, you now stay in that language throughout the page.

I want to update a couple of screenshots too, but it's a delicate matter, because people coming from the professional world want to see complex, mind-blowing images showing the capacities of FreeCAD, while hobby users will more want to see how simple it is and that FreeCAD can do the job for them. And we want to cater for both categories, with the same level of dedication.

WorkingPlane button fixes

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The working plane button icon now changes depending on the chosen working plane, and the button label is also properly translated. You can now also set the grid extension directly from its task panel.

New defaults in BIM setup

When launching the BIM setup tool for the first time, new defaults are now set: The Draft hatch size, which is set to 0.025, which is a good value for buildings, and the wall baseline is set to use Draft objects instead of Sketches (This affects only the wall tool when used directly with no object selected, but you can of course still build a wall from a selected sketch)

ImagePlane tool in BIM

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The BIM workbench now also carries the Image Plane tool from the Image workbench. This is a bit more advanced version of that tool, it basically works the same way as AutoCAD, you can click two points to place the image and define its size.

The sketch in the above image is one of the really cool floor plans sketched by architect Motohiro Ishikawa.

Material UI improvements

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The full material interface, that is used throughout other FreeCAD workbenches like FEM, and can be accessed from the Arch/BIM material task panel, has now received a bit of cleanup, some properties were not displaying correctly or were not following how they were defined in the documentation, and the panel gained two preview icons, one for rendered view and one for section view. Although there is still not much to define for sections (only the new Section Color property, which affects the fill color of cut faces in TechDraw Arch views), we plan to make every aspect of it customizable in the future, so all the rendering of your objects will be controlled by their materials.

Awming window preset

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The window tool has gained a new preset, to create an awming window. This is basically the same as the 1-pane window, but with its hinge edge on top.

Section plane label settings

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The possibility to show object label on section planes, that I implemented last month, has been refined, and you can now properly set font and text size.

That's it for this month, hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!

Cheers

Yorik
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby Roy_043 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:29 pm

Awming should be awning?
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby paullee » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:53 pm

Thanks ! Would be nice if hatch pattern works in TechDraw and output to svg / pdf :)
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Re: BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog

Postby yorik » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:44 am

Roy_043 wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:29 pm
Awming should be awning?
Right you are :oops: will fix that ASAP