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Everything posted by altoids

  1. This doesn't sound like a VW problem. Did the printshop use the same printer for the two PDF prints? Was it the same PDF file? Setting VW to plot in color and B&W can also alter the appearance of the plots. Different printers will print the same line differently, particularly for non PostScript printers, like the 1280. Set your line weights to match your preferred printer's output.
  2. Thanks for the tip, and you might be interested in my archive below. But if VW12 has nailed it, that is good enough for me. http://techboard.nemetschek.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=22;t=000520
  3. We bought and installed a non-postscript Designjet 500 with an Ethernet card about 3 months ago and despite what HP's website said, the 500 without postscript is supported by HP for use with OS X 10.4; and HP provides drivers. No need for gimp, Ghost Script or setting up a print server. Installed and worked since day one, first time. The printer is on our network and has become invisible technology; we say print and it does. Three disadvantages so far: 1) Unlike HP's Windows counterpart, their OS X driver does not allow plot rotation, so we are constantly wasting paper. 2) Light gray fills print with a v. slight red cast. 3) Not HP's fault, but VW 11 show diagonal line weight problems on this printer as well. The latest OS X drivers (3.1 - Nov 9, 2005) are available on HPs website. You can download the drivers onto your laptop, bounce along to your local dealer and try plotting from VW before buying. When we bought our 500, HP also threw in free paper & ink and offered a 30-day money back trial.
  4. We are thinking about upgrading to VW 12 mostly because of VW 11 poor diagonal line plotting abilities when used with Mac OS X. Does VW 12 solve this diagonal line weight problem? Thanks. [ 01-31-2006, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: altoids ]
  5. Sounds like a VW bug. Other posts have complained of slow viewport plotting. There is the typically VW solution of using another program to do what VW claims to be capable of doing. Export your rederings individually in some Photoshop readable format. Within Photoshop, convert them into JPGs. Import them back into VW and arrange them as images on a single sheet, then plot. Tedious as hell, but probably quicker than VW's 40 minutes.
  6. Thanks Barry. I tried exactly as you suggested, but it is no better. Different, but no better. Yes, the pen is rotated on some of the angled lines, but not all of them. Why on some, I cannot begin to guess. When a line is rotated, the intersection between the two angled lines shows a gap on the outside off the angle. The curves are still crapulent, varying in line thickness and position, due to what I assume is VW still using deprecated integer plotting routines. On round-cornered rectangles, VW creates polygons for the rounded corners, but uses fat lines for the straight parts. Needless to say, the pen thickness for the straight lines and the VW-calculated polygons is not consistent. We regard our drawings to be both functional and artistic, portraying the same craftsmanship that our hard line sets used to. When a contractor sees a beautiful drawing, not only is the design clear, but it helps him understand the quality of the craftsmanship expected. Conversely, when he see a set with widely varying line weights, not only is it difficult to read, but it conveys an unintended acceptance of sloppiness. If anyone else has this problem and/or a fix, I'd be very grateful. Katie, when you get back from your August break, will you say when this will be fixed?
  7. If you can print normally when connected directly, it is unlikely to be a VW issue. From VW onn the Mac, save a print as a PDF (in the print dialog box), open it in Preview, and then print it. Any improvement? What happens if you print a non-Vectroworks graphic documents from the Mac? Still lousy?
  8. Thanks Barry. I'll try it, and report back. I used to have an old MG, that I could never get into 1st gear unless I put it in 2nd gear before trying to get it into 1st gear. I think the synchromesh was broken. It wasn't that I couldn't drive the car, it was just a extra step I had to take to use the car as designed. The car was old and its idiosyncratic gear-shift was charming. I am ranting because it seems to me that I shouldn't have to do a similar dance to get Vectroworks (which by the way, cost more than the MG) to print as expected. There are reports on the boards of users writing scripts to adjust the line width so that printout look correct. Why do we have to take a two-step just to print a plot? Isn't printing/plotting a fundamental property of a CAD program?
  9. It sounds like a memory related problem if reducing the size of the image eliminates the problem. Even in your machine has lots of RAM, the amount of physical RAM may not be the problem. VW may be having trouble rending the image at the printer's/PDF's resolution. How big is the PNG, both in pixels and bytes? If you are using Photoshop, try reducing the resolution of the image (but not the image size) before importing it. Usually, the resolution doesn't have to be that high for an image to look great. Try half the # of pixel, hoz & vertically. If it prints, you at least have found the source of the problem. Less likely to help, but you could convert the PNG to a JPG in Photoshop and then use the JPG as the background image.
  10. Viewport seem to slow down the printing. What system are you using? PC. Mac, etc...
  11. What happens when you print to a PDF, then examine the file in Preview?
  12. Thanks for the VW history. ClarisDraw does/did have the problem with fat diagonal. Just like VW, it uses QuickDraw and sqaure pen tips. But ClarisDraw was last updated in about '93. The fat pen with round tips sound strange. The round cap could have been added after the line was drawn using a square pen, but that sounds unlikely. Sorry, but I am out of my depth on PC issues.
  13. 40 minutes is outrageous. If the viewports are not overlapping, how long does it take to print? I know that this will not give you the desired image, but it is diagnostic.
  14. How do the files print before importing the PNG image, on each printer? How does the PDF file look? As expected? Is the Ricoh a Postscript printer? What happen if you make a new VW file with nothing but the imported PNG image. Does it print normally?
  15. Jan15, I am not a PC guy, so I'd have to guess why the PC doesn't have this particular problem. Most likely, Microsoft has updated their libraries, or possibly Vectorworks has rewritten their drawing routines for the MS versions of Vectorworks (highly unlikely). I suspect that Microsoft updated their drawing libraries to perform an auto pen rotate, or they may now be drawing with a virtual round-tipped pen. What shape are the end of your thick, diagonal lines? All platforms, Windows and OS X included, are constantly improving and expanding their libraries. Typically every time a major operating system release comes out, it is the libraries that are changed, which allow us, the end users, to have funky new features as soon as the software companies rewrite their code to use the new libraries. At the same time, the platform shelves the old routines, or "deprecates" them, to use the current terminology, allowing old programs to still access the old libraries, but warning developers that the libraries will not be supported in the future. Apple supports old library calls for many, many, many years after they have officially stopped supporting them, allowing old software to run on new systems. I can still run WriteNow, a Mac word processor from 1989, on apples latest system, OS X 10.4.2. MS is happier breaking old software, forcing software companies to rewrite or at least recompile their software. Because of Apple's legacy support, software companies can delay updating their applications, knowing that they will still run, albeit without the latest and greatest features. In this case, the latest and greatest feature is correct line widths. To be fair to Vectorworks, depending upon the level of change to the libraries, updating to modern libraries may take considerable effort on behalf of the software company, involving not just rewriting, but potentially moving to an entirely new development platform (similar to an office changing drafting software). So while I can understand Vectorworks running a little behind, the should not be years behind for such a critical issue. In addition, system software often lags the latest software tricks, and software companies often "roll their own" routines to achieve what the operating system cannot. Vectorworks should have done this with their angled line drawing routines from the beginning. To be fair to Apple, this problem doesn't show up on the Mac except in Vectorworks, or other QuickDraw dependent programs. (MacDraw or Claris Draw anyone?) As highlighted above, the angle line weight problem doesn't show up on the Mac for any software that has been written to use Apple's more current libraries. The fat diagonal lines no longer appearing on your old PC version of Vectorworks sounds like MS rewriting their libraries, or you might not have "Zoom Line Thickness" turned on in the preferences. Unless Vectorworks just doesn't like their Mac cousins anymore.
  16. Sad, isn't it. But this problem is particular to Vectorworks, not the Mac. And it occurs because Vectorworks is using legacy code. I downloaded a 15-day trial version of some other cross platform CAD package (whose name rhymes with "blurboSAD") and it does not have the diagonal line thickness problem. Although this software has many limitations, it does rotate the pen/nib at the angle of the line to create accurate line thicknesses. When drawing ovals, it segments the oval into many small pieces and rotates the pen for each piece. When an angled line meets a straight line, the endpoint is not orthogonal (just like using a calligraphy ink nib), but this can be rectified by "capping" the endpoints with either a round or square shaped mark (as some other Mac CAD programs do). Thus, this is an soluble problem, and not a problem between Apple and the printer manufacturers. I did a little web searching and found that Apple's square pen line thickness problem is an old well known ( Google "quickdraw square pen" ). Interestingly, Quartz (Apple's 5-ish year old OS X imaging technology) does not display this problem, as it is very similar to Display Postscript, which is very similar to Postscript, which is the basis for PDFs. To answer your question, QuickDraw was Apple's 1984 (and later) collection of graphic routines that programmers could call to do the hard work of displaying graphics. (BTW, Quickdraw was "deprecated" by Apple shortly after they introduced OS X.) A programmer could write something like "move (0,0); line (100,100)", and the computer would generate a diagonal line at 45 degrees starting at the origin in a window (a new-ish concept at the time, at least on a PC). There was more setup involved, but this is the basic idea. The programmer did not have to think about which dots on the display to turn on, how to clip the line if it ran outside the window, and so on. In 1984 this was a great step forward. It is impressive that Apple implemented a square pen of variable size as concurrent graphics system often had just a 1-pixel pen for all drawing. Having control of fonts and graphic was a thrill unto itself. But by the mid 80's, the limitations of Quickdraw were apparent and (I believe) two Apple employees left the firm and started Adobe and proposed Postscript as a device independent vector graphics language. Apple adopted Postscript as the imaging language for their high end printers, and digital graphic design was born. For the last 20 years, it has been possible to generate accurate diagonal lines from a Mac. To answer your question, QuickTime is a collection of media handling software and libraries that was a develop by Apple in the early '90s (I might be out a few years), and then stolen by Microsoft, (settled out of court after years of legal battle). It is responsible for playing "media" ?essentially movies and music? in real time on a computer, without much programing difficulty. Roughly, a programmer needs only identify the source file and the destination window and size, and hit the "play" button, and QuickTime takes care of the rest. No small feat, even now. QuickTime used to use QuickDraw library calls, but I believe once it became cross platform, Apple rolled it into its own independent thingy. So back to you Katie. Could you please let us know when Vectorworks will be updated to draw lines at their correct thickness? And again, if I am wrong, I will publicly apologize, bow deeply and promote Vectorworks to all. refs: QuickDraw Apple's QuickDraw page Apple's OS X imaging technology (Quartz)
  17. Thanks for the response jan15. Were it so. Upon reading the link, I too thought the printing error would be solved. While the results are improved by using the link's recommended "Rastering", it is not cured. The diagonals and circular strokes are still of different widths, albeit less visibly so. The print-to-PDF-and-examining-the-file-in-Illustrator confirms what can be seen visually from a print; the same line drawn at different angles is still rendered with different widths. As the "Rastering" kludge does not address the cause of the problem, it cannot correct the fault. The "Rastering" print option only partially relieves the symptoms and is at best a work-around, not a cure. Rastering has other disadvantages such as generating enormous PDF files, being an order of magnitude slower to print, and being a memory hog. A typical "Raster" print for us increases Vectorworks memory requirement by about 500 MB while rendering. A large print uses up all of the free RAM and require page-swapping taking an enjoyable coffee break to print. A batch print of these files would waste a day. Besides, we are often rushing to print at the last minute. I do not think that I am being unreasonable if, having specified that a line is .35mm thick, expecting it to actually be .35mm thick when printed using a $1000 software package. My copy of Vectorworks did not come with a warning stating that angled lines would be rendered incorrectly. A simple analogy. When my building's elevator breaks, walking up 5 flights of stairs to get in to my office does not fix the elevator, though it does allow me to keep working. A work around, not a solution. If the building manager does not try to fix the problem within a few hours, his phone starts to ring off the wall. Technically, I believe the "Rastering" kludge attempts to minimize the line weight problem by drawing the print file as one enormous, high resolution bitmap (pattern of dots) and then reducing the size of the bitmap to the printed page size. This trick minimizes rounding errors inherent to Apple's old Quickdraw libraries. (Am I wrong Katie?) If this is accurate, then using Apple's updated libraries that draw with real numbers, rather than integers will help solve the problem. If I am wrong, my most sincere apologies. P.S. jan15, I have the same screen problem as you, but I do not use the "Zoom Line Thickness" option so this does not bother me. But the error is there all the same.
  18. There is a fundemental problem with the way Vectorworks (11.5.1 on OS X 10.4.2) determines line thickness for all lines that are not orthogonal. I have read the re-occuring discussions about line thickness, 45 degrees lines, pen shape (round or square tip), Apple QD, Quartz, HP printer drivers, etc., etc.) but the error seems to me to be with Nemetschek. I'd be delighted if this were not the case, as I would be able to produce plots with consistent line thickness; a minimum requirement of a CAD program. Forget new pseudo-hand rendering filters, just fix the basic, enduring bugs in your software to keep your customers, well, customers. If you look at any plot created by Vectorworks, it can easily be seen that the the stroke thickness is greater on the diagonal lines. This is not in dispute and can be reproduced easily. Within Vectorworks draw a few lines at different angles and an oval, and at different line weights, print to a PDF, then open the PDF with Illustrator. Zoom in and the errors can be seen, which become even more obvious if using Illustrator's "Outline" feature, which removes line weights and fill colors and reveals just the pen strokes (in Illustrator, select "View>Outline" from the main menu bar). This will show that Nemetschek converts diagonal lines into outlines with a filled area, but with a reduced thickness to try and compensate for incorrect line weight error. While in Illustrator it is possible to draw exactly the same series of lines without the angle-dependent width error. Lock the imported layer, set up a new layer in Illustrator and trace over the lines. When complete, move the new layers so that the two layers do not overlap. Make sure to set some of the lines to a thick stroke. Print the page (or zoom-in) to witness the Illustrator lines having a consistent thickness at all angles & shapes, unlike the ones created with Vectorworks. There are many graphics programs on the Mac that do not demonstrate Vectorworks' faulty behavior. As an architect I am most interested in producing accurate plots. I feel cheated having paid money for a drafting program that does not draft the thickness of line I draw. From the discussion boards, this is an old and ongoing problem that should have been fixed long ago. As Printing from Illustrator does not display this same line-weight error, it is very unlikely that the problem is anyones but Vectorworks. Why does Illustrator not display the problem? In a nutshell, it avoids this problem by rotating the pen tip at the same angle as the line being drawn, just as you would do by hand when drawing with a chisel-tipped pen. This creates lines that are always the same thickness, no matter what angle. If Nemetschek would rotate their pen when drawing angled lines, the problem would dissapear. Or they could drag Vectorworks kicking and screaming into the 21st century be giving up on QuickDraw (Apple's '80s & '90s era drawings libraries) and instead relying on Apple's newer Core Graphics technology and its component Quartz 2D. If anyone would like copies of the demonstration Vectorwork and Illustrator files, I'd be happy to oblige. Katie, if I am missing something, I humbly appologize. But if I am correct, could you let us all know when this will be fixed? ref: 45 degrees discussion wrong thickness
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