The Power of a Pre-Linked ArchiCAD Template, Part 4 – Publisher SetsAECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #77 (March 9, 2016)
ArchiCAD Technical Director, BIM6x
In this series of tutorials, we’re discussing pre-linked templates in ArchiCAD. A pre-linked template offers huge benefits in easy adoption, consistency and automation. Once created, it also offers flexibility and scalability, both of which can be achieved far more quickly than traditional ways of building a project structure from a base template, or worse, a previous project.
A pre-linked ArchiCAD template has all the viewpoints of a project linked into sets of deliverables before a model is created, as illustrated below: Viewpoints> Views> Layout Book> Publisher Sets.
Following from the first three tutorials where we discussed the Viewpoints in the Project Map, the Views in the View Map, and the Layouts in the Layout Book, this article will focus on the fourth and final step: Publisher Sets.
The final step in creating deliverables is what is referred to in the ArchiCAD terminology as Publishing. We can publish to various formats: Print, PDF, DWG, BIMx PRO, IFC, etc.— the list is quite extensive. Before we can publish anything though, we need to define what is included in each Publisher Set and then define what format to publish that set as.
This is done in the Publisher mode of the Navigator or Organizer. Firstly, we create a Publisher Set, then we select the Layout Book (or just parts of it), and hit the Add Shortcut>>> button to add it to the Publisher Set.
The format of the Publisher Set can be different for each part of the set, but it is more common for the entire set to be the same format. For example, pictured below is a PDF Publisher Set, where all items will publish in PDF format. If the upper level folder is set to PDF, all present and future items within those folders will also be PDF.
Once a specific Publisher Set is created, there is no need to recreate it. The connection between the Layout Book and the Publisher Set has been established. Any changes to the Layout Book, including the drawings within it, will be updated in the Publisher Set.
Publisher Sets don’t have to just come from the Layout Book though; they can be derived directly from the model by including views from the View Map instead of layouts from the Layout Book. An example would be to create DWGs. Perhaps these DWGs don’t need to be arranged on layouts; they can be published directly from the model, using Views from the View Map.
It is typical to have multiple Publisher Sets for different deliverables. These are created and viewed by clicking the One Level Up button and viewing the Publisher Set Chooser and Manager.
Next we’ll discuss several typical examples, such as:
- BIMx Pro: Save
- BIMx Pro: Upload
But before we go into each example, here are some ideas to consider:
These examples assume that you have previously created the relevant types of views in the View Map, stemming from previous articles in this series of tutorials. It’s a good idea in a template to create the content of Publisher Sets using the Add Shortcut>>> button in the Organizer. This means that the Publisher Set is an exact copy of that View set or Layout Book subset.
Any changes in those view sets or subsets will automatically be updated in the Publisher Set. It’s similar to a clone—the Publisher Set is always up-to-date. Publisher items created this way are indicated by a small arrow in the lower left corner of their icons.
When it comes time to publish, if you do not require the whole set, you can shift select or ctrl/cmd required items and just publish the selected items using the drop down list in the Publisher within the Navigator or Organizer,. Or you can publish all sets at once.
You will also need to set the publishing path for all the Publisher sets. As each project is different, it is best to do this on a project-by-project basis. So it may be best to leave blank publisher paths in the template, which results in ArchiCAD prompting the user to enter a publisher path if they attempt to publish without first setting one. Set the publisher paths by clicking on the Publishing Properties… button in the Publisher within the Navigator or Organizer. In the Publisher Set Properties dialog, enter your path or browse for a folder to publish to. This may be on your computer, network or to a DropBox folder. Do this for every Publisher Set, but it only needs to be done once per project.
Let’s now move on to discussing the different examples of publisher sets that were listed earlier.
BIMx Pro: Save Publisher Set
At the top level of the Publisher, create a Publisher Set called BIMx Pro: Save and using the Publishing Properties… button in the Publisher within the Navigator or Organizer, set the Publishing method to Save files. Create a single file and set the Format to BIMx Hyper-model. Then hit OK and double click on it in the list.
A BIMx Pro: Save Publisher Set should contain a BIMx view set and the Construction Documentation layout book subset. Together, these create a BIMx Pro presentation that also has a selection of predefined 3D views that are linked to the full set of Construction Documents. This Publisher Set can be saved to your computer, network or DropBox folder via the Publishing Properties… button as mentioned above.
For any BIMx Pro presentation, you need to include at least one 3D view, which ArchiCAD will use as the opening view. This view should come directly from the View Map and would need to have been created earlier.
You can also add other Gallery views which the viewer can use to jump to predetermined locations in the model. These are available in the resulting BIMx presentation, but these views must be made using the camera tool in ArchiCAD. Regular 3D viewpoints won’t be translated into Gallery views. Once created, if you don’t need them all, just select the ones you do need in the Publisher and choose Publish the Selected Items.
In the BIMx Pro app, simply tap on the Favorites button to access your gallery views.
Alternatively the Gallery views can be combined into a single movie in the resulting BIMx presentation. Simply select the BIMx Gallery Views folder in the Publisher Set and hit the Options… button under the Format panel of the Navigator/Organizer. This is also where you can enable global illumination for the presentation, but beware: this can add many hours to the rendering time.
Design Options can also be included to show different design options based on the Renovation Filters.
Layouts also need to be included in the Publisher Set so that ArchiCAD can automatically hyperlink them to the model. In a template, it is a good idea to include the whole Construction Documentation set. If you don’t need the whole set when publishing, simply shift select or ctrl/cmd required items and publish only the selected items using the drop down list in the Publisher, within the Navigator or Organizer.
Once published, you can upload the file to any of the usual file transfer apps: iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive. Then they can be opened in the BIMx Pro app.
BIMx Pro: Upload Publisher Set
GRAPHISOFT provides 5 GB of space for free to SSA users (subscribers) on their own dedicated BIMx Model Transfer site. To utilize this offering, you can create a BIMx Pro: Upload publisher set. This will contain exactly the same items as the BIMx Pro: Save publisher set. The only difference between the two is the way they are exported.
The BIMx Pro: Upload publisher set needs to have its Publishing method changed to Upload BIMx Hyper-model.
This will upload the BIMx Pro presentation to the BIMx Transfer Site on the cloud at bimx.graphisoft.com. You will need to sign into your GRAPHISOFT account, using the same GRAPHISOFT ID as you may have used to download ARCHICAD originally at myarchicad.com. Or you can choose to sign in with your Google or Facebook credentials, or choose to sign up for a GRAPHISOFT ID if you do not have one yet.
Also, once you’re signed in, you can choose whether to upload to the Public Domain or to a Private Folder. Publicly shared files are visible for everyone at bimx.graphisoft.com without signing in. These files can be downloaded by anyone as well. If you choose Private Folder, you can optionally password-protect the file.
Once the Publisher Properties are established, follow the same steps as before to include the contents and to publish the documents. To access these presentations on your mobile device, tap the same + icon in the top left corner of the app and select BIMx Model Transfer.
You will be asked to sign in using the same credentials you used when uploading to the BIMx Model Transfer site.
Now you will have access to all your private folders and public models. Tap on your desired BIMx file. It will download to your device and appear in your list of projects.
DWG Publisher Set
At the top level of the Publisher, create a Publisher Set called DWG and using the Publishing Properties… button in the Publisher, set the Publishing method to Save files. Select Create a real folder structure. Then just hit OK and double click on it in the list. Creating a real folder structure will create a folder structure based on the folders included within the Publisher Set. Each folder will contain its relevant items.
The DWG Publisher Set saves out all the Construction Documents views as AutoCAD® DWG files. Some exceptions are schedule and index views that cannot be saved in DWG Format, so consider saving these in Excel XLSX format. Also, any renderings are saved in TIFF format.
Create your DWG publisher set by making a shortcut of the Construction Documentation folder in your View Map. This will provide DWGs in Model Space instead of making your consultant deal with Paper Space.
Because the contents of this Publisher Set includes items that cannot be saved as DWG, you’ll need to set the Format of each folder or each item individually. For instance, if a folder contains an index, a plan and 3D views, these will need to be selected and changed uniquely. The Format for the folder itself will be set to Various and any new item added later will automatically assume the format of PDF. Be aware of this when adding new items!
Most other items should be able to be set at a Folder level. Just select the folder and set it to DWG and everything in the folder will be set to DWG, including any (compatible) items added later.
When publishing DWG files, a DWG Translator determines how the DWGs are saved. Setting up these translators is outside the scope of this article, but if you are frequently providing DWGs to specific consultants, consider setting up a unique translator for each one. Due to technical limitations when sharing the template publicly, only the special built-in translator can be used as the translator for these DWGs. But for in-house templates, you should be able to select any of the standard translators.
Excel Publisher Set
At the top level of the Publisher, create a Publisher Set called EXCEL and using the Publishing Properties… button in the Publisher, set the Publishing method to Save files. Select Create flat folder structure, as the Publisher Set won’t contain any sub-folders anyway. Then just hit OK and double click on it in the list.
Create your EXCEL publisher set content by making a shortcut of the cloned Schedules folder in your View Map. Select the uppermost Schedules folder in the Publisher Set and set the format to XLSX. The XLSX format should suit most users, but if you prefer the XLS format, simply select the Schedules folder again and change the format to XLS. This will change the format of every folder and item to XLS. Either way, once opened in Excel the schedules can be further formatted, including calculating costs based on lineal and square footages.
IFC Publisher Set
Create the Publisher Set as described in the previous section, except that you would call it IFC rather than Excel. Then, create the content in the publisher set by making a shortcut of the IFC folder in your View Map which you need to have created earlier, containing a 3D view with appropriate view settings. Select the IFC folder in the Publisher Set and set the format to IFC 2x3 file (or whatever the most recent version is available to you). As with a DWG file, when publishing an IFC file, an IFC Translator determines how the IFC file is saved.
The IFC Publisher Set saves the IFC 3D views to IFC file format. These can then be viewed in an IFC model viewer application such as Solibri Model Viewer®. They can also be imported into a vast selection of programs, including even Revit. IFC files contain not just the model geometry, but also a lot of data, particularly IFC Property Sets.
PDF Publisher Set
Create the Publisher Set as described in the previous sections, except that you would call it PDF. Create the content in it by making a shortcut of the Layout Book Subsets individually. Then select each folder in the Publisher Set and set the format to PDF. Be sure to check Merge to one PDF file. This will make one PDF out of each subset and is denoted by a horizontal red bar across the top of the icon.
To publish specific items, use shift or ctrl/cmd keys to select the items you need and select Publish Selected Items from the bottom of the Navigator or Organizer. The PDFs can also be renamed to include Revision Management data such as issue numbers and dates.
Print Publisher Set
The Print Publisher Set will send any or all of the Layout Book to a printer for printing. At the top level of the Publisher, create a Publisher Set called PRINT and using the Publishing Properties… button in the Publisher, set the Publishing method to Print. Then hit OK and double click on it in the list.
Create your PRINT Publisher set content by making a shortcut of the Layout Book Subsets individually.
To change the Print Format for your Printer, you will need to repeat the following steps for every set of Publisher items whose layouts use a different master layout (such as the 8.5x11 for Marketing Set, 11x17 for Schematic Design and 30x42 for Design Document and Construction Documentation). To change the Print Format to suit your printer, you will first need to set your Master Layouts to match your Printer, as outlined in the previous tutorial.
Assuming your Master Layouts are set correctly, you will need to match those settings for each Publisher folder using the Page Setup. Select your Printer from the drop down list and set the paper size and orientation.
Check that your Printer is listed in the Print Settings dialog, and adjust the Print Quality to suit your needs, but there’s generally no need to edit anything else in this dialog.
Finally, check the Print Options dialog. Using the Layout Margins under Margin Options, the Resize options should read 100% on Fit to Page. You should not use a Custom Resize setting, unless you intentionally want to scale your drawings down (e.g., 50% to fit on smaller paper sizes for draft printing).
The Arrangement preview should show only a blue outline. If it shows red, review your settings.
Each set should now be ready to print. Be sure to test just one page at a time!
Renders Publisher Set
The Renders Publisher Set saves the Renders View Set out as high quality color TIFF files. TIFF stands for Tag Image File Format and it is a lossless image file type that is common amongst most image applications.
Create a Publisher Set called RENDERS as previously described, with the Publishing method to set to Save files and the option to Create flat folder structure. Hit OK and double click on it in the list. Create your RENDERS Publisher set content by making a shortcut of the RENDERS folder in the View Map (these views would need to have been set up at the view creation stage). Select the topmost folder and set the Format to TIFF. In the Options window, select High Accuracy Color with Alpha Channel for the best quality available. If you find these files are too big for your needs, you can dial them down later, but the Alpha channel is important if you want to edit the images with layers in a photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop®.
Publishing a Render Set activates the Publishing Command. When this is active, you will not be able to continue working while the Renders are being generated, which could potentially take hours. You may select just one Render at a time if you don’t need them all at once. Alternatively, if you want to generate a Render in the background and continue to work, it is best to use the PhotoRender Projection command and render images one at a time. Do this by activating the view in the View Map instead. When the render is complete, just use the File > Save... command to save the image manually. Otherwise it may be best to publish these overnight!
Below are some examples of published renders from views with unique rendering scenes.
The Publisher Sets covered in this article are the most typical. You will, of course, vary your approach and add or remove some, but hopefully, you now have a good understanding of how they are put together. Remember, this only needs to be done once in your template and it will be ready to use for all future projects. Indeed, all of the principles in this series of articles only need to be done once, and everything is pre-linked and ready to apply.
I trust you have gained some insight into the power of pre-linked ArchiCAD templates and how to create your own. If you are short on time or simply want to be assured that you have the best professional offering available, please visit BIM6x and check out the ArchiCAD Template Kits we have on offer. The BIM6x Starter Kit is absolutely free!
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