ArchiCAD 17 INT New Feature – “BIM pen sets” by Material

The assigning of pens to an element for the  ArchiCAD INT version has been around for some time. In fact it was introduced in ArchiCAD 10 INT for the very first time. ArchiCAD 10 was released in 2006, so it has been with us for 7 years with very minor changes in its workflow.

ArchiCAD 9 INT to ArchiCAD 10 INT

That was until the release of ArchiCAD 17 INT and the introduction of “assigning pens to a material”. This functionality change of course was due to the introduction of “Building Materials…”.

“A Building Material is a “super attribute”, a combination of multiple attributes having defined properties. Starting with ArchiCAD 17, all model elements use Building Materials instead of Cut Fills.” The most important part about this statement would be the part I highlighted in bold.

I am trying to seek simplicity in emphasizing this. Previously model elements had a cross sectional representational Cut Fill, but this has been replaced by skins of composite structures. Each skin of a composite structures are assigned with their own building material, and building materials have their own surface definitions.

This means that “Composites…” in ArchiCAD are no longer represented by 2D fills but are in fact “solid” which is now evident in both 2D plan, elevations/ sections and of course 3D. This change in functionality has brought about a change in how pens are assigned to both Building materials & Composites in ArchiCAD 17. We now have Pen Index Number Assigned by ‘Material’ in addition to Pen Index Number Assigned by Element.

Pen Index Number Assigned by 'Material'

The strangest thing is there does not appear to be any documentation or reference to this change in functionality by GRAPHISOFT. The only reference I could find is to the subject of ‘Pen Sets”, the new Help Center refers to Pen Sets with its related subtopics. But I could not find any reference to Pen Index Number Assigned by ‘Material’. So herewith my explanation for:

ArchiCAD 17 New Features – Pen Index Number Assigned by ‘Material’.

ArchiCAD 17 - 03 Architectural 100

Changing the Pen Set from ’03 Architectural 100′ to ’04 Building plans 50.

ArchiCAD 17 - 04 Building plans 50

For more information on Pen Index Number Assigned by Element in ArchiCAD, please refer to the ARCHICAD WIKI article > Pen Sets

I don’t want to appear to be “reinventing the wheel” when looking at this subject. The easiest way that I can think of describing how Pen Index Number Assigned by Element works, is to change the way you look at the pen table. That is to say “look at it sideways” (by column) instead of horizontal (by row). Each column represents an element in ArchiCAD. And the most important thing to note is don’t change the pen position to change its Pen Weight, but change the Pen Set. Changing the pen set re-assigns the Pen Weight to the Pen Position.

For example, walls are assigned a default cut line pen with index 27 (column 07 Walls / Curtain Walls, which corresponds to the function “Walls – Cut Structural.”

Pen 27 (column - 07 Walls : Curtain Walls = Walls - Cut Structural

But maybe a little “history” will not hurt.

ArchiCAD 9

255 Pens with Pen Weight assigned to each but no description

ArchiCAD 9 Pens & Colors

ArchiCAD 10 New Feature – Named Pen Sets

In ArchiCAD 10, named Pen Sets are available as a new feature, and the matrix “Pen Index  Number Assigned by Element is introduced. All Pen Sets have 255 pens which are arranged in 20 columns and 14 rows.

ArchiCAD 10 Pens and Colors

ArchiCAD 11 New Feature – Pen Sets in Views

Pen Sets are assigned to the views (as a result model views will be WYSYWYG). Pen Set selection is available from View Settings and can be varied for placed drawings in Drawing Settings. Pen Sets can be edited directly from Drawing Settings.

ArchiCAD 11 New Feature - Pen Sets in Views

ArchiCAD 11 to ArchiCAD 16 Pens & Colors (Model views) functionality:

ArchiCAD 16 - 03 Architectural 100

Changing the Pen Set from ’03 Architectural 100′ to ’04 Building plans 50

ArchiCAD 16 - 04 Building plans 50

Last but not least, to better understand ArchiCAD 17 New Features – Pen Index Number Assigned by ‘Material’ I produced the following table from ArchiCAD that I saved in PDF format for printing out to A3 for reference purposes.

AC17 Pen Sets

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One thought on “ArchiCAD 17 INT New Feature – “BIM pen sets” by Material

  1. Congratulations Gideon, this is the best ArchiCAD tutorial I have read in a very long time. You’ve explained it exceptionally well and I wish there were more ArchiCAD articles of this calibre.

    I have seen many different takes on pen sets, but your explanation may even make me reconsider my own!

    I wonder why these are not applicable to the US version, perhaps they’re not compatible with the library parts, translators, etc? As most of my template work is for the US market, this may be the only stumbling block.

    But thanks again for this brilliant insight.

    Cheers,
    Link.

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