Category Archives: News

ARCHICON / RTC Hunter Valley 2016


I am very excited to have been asked to present one of my favourite features, namely CineRender in ARCHICAD at this years ARCHICON / RTC Hunter Valley 2016. The event is to be held 12-13th May 2016, with RTC Australasia running a day longer. For more information and to Register click here!

The focus of my presentation will be to highlight how ARCHICAD provides enhanced, more realistic rendering capabilities out of the box! In practice, this means, that anyone can create state-of the art, professionally rendered visualizations of their projects without the need to buy, install and learn any additional software applications!

For example one of the topics I talk about will be Surfaces, and how Cinema 4D Textures capabilities were integrated into ARCHICAD. Including an expose of Textures / Channels / Procedural Shaders etc.

Then there will be an opportunity to showcase the fact that the CineRender engine was updated. Here is the details as per the GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD 20 announcement that was made yesterday the 3rd May 2016:

ARCHICAD 20 runs the latest CineRender version, based on the Cinema 4D R16 engine. The result is a major enhancement concerning surface settings.

This ensures even more realistic surfaces, while rendering improvements reduce render times and enable highly-realistic contact shadows.

A new Reflectance Channel allows multiple reflection layers and control over blurriness and distance dim. Perfect for architectural materials like metals. A “turbo boost” to render times is possible thanks to the Irradiance Cache and the Physical Renderer, which features a new ray-tracing solution and faster grass calculation.

I look forward to seeing all those attending ARCHICON 2016. Including the opportunity to be there to participate and learn from the other Presenters.

Gideon Taljaard is the ARCHICAD Manager at Plus Architecture. Plus Architecture is an award-winning, integrated architecture and interior design practice founded in 1997. With offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and New Zealand, its capabilities extend to multi-residential, master-planned, commercial, aged care and mixed use developments.

Gideon’s previous experience saw him working for the ARCHICAD reseller in South Africa from 2000 to 2012, and from 2013 to 2015 for the ARCHICAD reseller in Australia. He has 20 years’ experience using ARCHICAD starting with ARCHICAD 4.5.


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

Bon Voyage! User Group Meeting this Monday


Join me, this coming Monday! For a Bon Voyage User Group Meeting. The subject that we will be covering will be the use of EcoDesigner & Green Building Design Analysis.

ArchiCAD Usergroup Meeting, limited to SSA clients only

Venue: GRAPHISOFT SA Office, 500 Esther Roberts Road (formerly Frere), Glenwood, Durban.

Monday, 29 October 2012, 2pm – 4pm

face to face training, booking essential, send booking request here

Modular Joinery Object on

Modular Joinery Object (MJO) for ArchiCAD 16, is now available to all users on Software Subscription Agreement (SSA). To download it launch ArchiCAD 16, open up the “Door/ Window Default Settings”, and search for ‘modular’ with the option “On BIM Components Portal” or “Both” selected. Then select the Modular Door/ Window object and click on the button “Download and Embed” at the bottom. Please note: You need to do this in both “Window Default Settings” and “Door Default Settings”.

Thanks to our partners at GRAPHISOFT UK, who commissioned Ralph Wessel of Encina Ltd. to create a window/door/panel/storefront/curtain wall GDL object, called Modular Joinery, for kindly making it available for Southern Africa users on SSA contract. Special thanks go to Simon Gilbert from GRAPHISOFT UK, who assisted me with this process, and of course Levente Filetóth and his team at GRAPHISOFT HQ.

MJO allows for amazing complexity and unifies both window and door options into one Object. MJO for ArchiCAD 16 also includes an update. This update has now been extended to incorporate typical uPVC and timber profiles along with improved representations enabling the objects to be used in conjunction with the default library of doors and windows in ArchiCAD. Download the “Modular Joinery update.pdf” for more details.

Modular Joinery update

Download the “Modular Joinery Manual. pdf” for help with using MJO.

Modular Joinery Manual

For a “quick guide” to using MJO please refer to the following two images:

Graphisoft Releases ArchiGlazing for ArchiCAD 16

The new version has been updated to work with ArchiCAD 16 and it has the same feature set as previous releases.

ArchiCAD’s Window tool meets the needs of the architect when selecting and placing traditional window styles. The parametric quality of the window objects supplied with the standard ArchiCAD library also allows the definition of a large range of individual types of glass structures.

ArchiGlazing was developed to fulfill special needs, for instance when it is impossible to create the desired glass structure using the Window tool due to complicated geometry. It offers tools for upright, tilted, opening, façade and greenhouse glazing, and for creating sketch windows. ArchiGlazing is an Add-On for ArchiCAD.

ArchiGlazing is freely downloadable for existing ArchiCAD 16 users with a valid Software Maintenance Agreement. To receive a download link, Click here!

Once installed you can find the ArchiGlazing User’s Guide accessible from the Help menu in ArchiCAD 16.

Climatic zones of South Africa & Energy Analysis using ArchiCAD 16

A new feature of ArchiCAD 16 Energy Evaluation is  the ability to choose the Climatic Data for your project location. Previously you were limited to a single  source for this data, namely: “Download from StruSoft Climate Server”. This option is still there but now you can also choose: “Use ASHRAE IWEC, TMY, WTEC2 file”. I received the current 6 “official” climatic zone weather files that have the file extension EPW from Agrément South Africa. You can download these files from my Dropbox link – Click here!

You can also get your own free Dropbox account by joining and installing Dropbox by – clicking here

GRAPHISOFT MEP Modeler released for ArchiCAD 16


The MEP (Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing) Modeler is an addon to ArchiCAD® 16. Architectural practices and architectural departments of firms using ArchiCAD can use the GRAPHISOFT MEP Modeler™ to create, edit or import 3D MEP networks (ductwork, piping and cable tray) and coordinate them with the ArchiCAD Virtual Building. The MEP Modeler uses familiar tools and interface. Poor coordination between trades is perhaps the biggest reason for budget and time overruns in buildings. These problems regularly cause as much as a 2-4% cost overrun on a total project budget. Thus, owners and architects are looking to dramatically reduce coordination errors. The MEP Modeler is the best solution for architects to help achieve greater efficiency in the building process.

For more information and to download visit the Products page / MEP Modeler site

Demo version

In order to try MEP Modeler without a license under a licensed ArchiCAD 16, you need to run ArchiCAD 16 in DEMO mode. Unplug the WIBU dongle prior to launching ArchiCAD to switch to DEMO mode.

How to obtain a Graphisoft MEP Modeler license

If you decide to purchase an MEP Modeler license, please contact GRAPHISOFT SA (TotalCAD Solution Centre). +27 (0)31 205-1854

Product licenses may be uploaded to the ArchiCAD protection key via the internet. After obtaining the license to the MEP Modeler you have already installed, it is going to work under your licensed ArchiCAD 16 with full functionality.

BIM Workflow

  • Where the MEP engineer can provide 3D data, architects are able to import the consultant’s MEP model into ArchiCAD using the IFC format. In addition to this generic IFC interface, the MEP Modeler package provides an improved connection with AutoCAD MEP 2008/09/10 and with Revit MEP 2010/2011/2012 via the IFC format, using an export plug-in called ArchiCAD Connection.
  • If the MEP Engineer provides 2D data, using the MEP Modeler it is very easy to model and visualize the designed MEP systems in 3D and eliminate possible collisions.