Attributes Tutorial

Attributes Tutorial

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ED 597A COMPUTERS IN ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Fall 2005Professor Mark S. Lindhult, FASLA Office: Room 311 Hills North e-mail: lindhult@larp.umass.eduTA: Elizabeth Lokocz elokocz@larp.umass.eduTutorial - Extracting Attributes from AutoCADSo far in using AutoCAD you have created geometry: lines, circles, plines, etc... You have also added things such as text and dimensions. All of these things could easily be done by hand, so what else does CAD have to offer?As discussed in class, AutoCAD is also a database of information. Most of that database contains the information for reproducing what you have drawn, but you can also add information that is non-graphical. One of the easiest ways of adding non-graphical information is to use attributes. An attribute is text or values that can be attached to a block to convey more information than just the geometry.Look at the two drawings below for an example: The first example shows a circle and some lines and arcs that could be anything. The second example shows the same geometry with the attributes visible so that you see that the pictures show a tree. The attributes describe the tree key, botanical name, common name and diameter of the proposed tree. You can see that AutoCAD has a useful tool for showing more than just geometry. This information can then be extracted out of AutoCAD and then used in a ...

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ED597A COMPUTERS IN
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
Fall 2005
Professor Mark S. Lindhult, FASLA
Office: Room 311 Hills North
e-mail: lindhult@larp.umass.edu
TA: Elizabeth Lokocz
elokocz@larp.umass.edu
Tutorial - Extracting Attributes from AutoCAD
So far in using AutoCAD you have created geometry: lines, circles, plines, etc... You have also added things such as text and
dimensions. All of these things could easily be done by hand, so what else does CAD have to offer?
As discussed in class, AutoCAD is also a database of information. Most of that database contains the information for
reproducing what you have drawn, but you can also add information that is non-graphical. One of the easiest ways of adding
non-graphical information is to use attributes. An attribute is text or values that can be attached to a block to convey more
information than just the geometry.
Look at the two drawings below for an example:
The first example shows a circle and some lines and arcs that could be anything. The second example shows the same
geometry with the attributes visible so that you see that the pictures show a tree. The attributes describe the tree key, botanical
name, common name and diameter of the proposed tree. You can see that AutoCAD has a useful tool for showing more than
just geometry. This information can then be extracted out of AutoCAD and then used in a spreadsheet or other program which
could generate a Bill of Materials. You can also use custom programs to use them in the CAD drawing.
In this Tutorial you will be creating attributes and attaching them to the computer block that you made previously. Like
everything you do in AutoCAD, there are particular steps involved when you work with attributes.
1.
Define (or create) the attributes.
2.
Create the block with attributes.
3.
Insert the block you will give it the specific information.
4.
Extract the information from AutoCAD and save it as an Excel file for formatting.
5.
Merge the data back into the drawing
Many of the commands that you will be using are tough to remember at first. You may find it easier to use icons (but then
the icons look very similar). Pull down menus are another option, so you can see exactly what the command is that you are
starting.
Command
Keystroke
Icon
Menu
Result
Define an attribute
DDATTDEF / ATT
Draw > Block >Define Attribute Creates an attribute definition
Edit attributes
DDATTE / ATE
Modify> Object> Attrb.> Single
Edits the contents of an existing attribute
Block
Block / Bmake
Draw > Block >Make
Creates a block from separate entities and
attributes.
Display Atts.
ATTDISP
None
None
Hides or shows attributes
Extract Attributes
EATTEXT
Tools > Attribute Extraction...
Extracts attributes using the wizard
Create a simple tree symbol in an AutoCAD drawing.
Begin the Attribute definition command: ATTDEF.
Look at the dialog box to the right. Fill in the Attribute
boxes just like the example. Make sure to check the
constant mode (as shown) and adjust the text height.
Select an insertion point near your tree symbol and hit
OK.
Repeat the ATTDEF command for the Botanical Name
and Common Name of your plant, except instead of
picking a point check off the Align below previous
attribute checkbox.
Repeat ATTDEF one more time for the Size but make
certain that you uncheck the Constant Mode.
TAG
PROMPT
VALUE
KEY
Symbol for plant, usually a two letter abbreviation.
BOTANICAL NAME
Botanical name of your tree
COMMON NAME
Common name of your tree
SIZE
What size is this tree?
XXX
Once all the attributes are created you should have a symbol with the attribute
tags listed next to it.
BLOCK & WBLOCK
Now create a block that includes your four attributes. Start up the BLOCK command. When you are asked for the block
name, give it a name such as T-OctoberGloryRedMaple. For consistency, use TD- for deciduous trees; TO- for ornamental
trees; TC for coniferous trees and S for shrubs at the beginning of the file name and then type the common name. Make certain
that you select the whole symbol and all of the attributes to be part of the block.
Use the center of the tree symbol for your
insertion point!!
To save this block for others to use, you will use the WBLOCK command,
which Writes the block out as an AutoCAD drawing. Simply type
WBLOCK on the command line to get the dialog box shown to the right.
Click on Block as the source and notice that it puts the same name as the file
name. The block already has an insertion point. Save this file in the ED597
folder on the M: drive in the Tree symbols folder.
Now, insert the block and you will get a dialog box where you can enter the
values for the tags. You will be prompted to provide answers to the prompt
that you defined in the attributes. For the tree, the size is the only TAG that
you will be asked to provide an answer.
Command: I INSERT
Specify insertion point or [Scale/X/Y/Z/Rotate/PScale/PX/PY/PZ/
PRotate]: (click)
Enter attribute values
What size is this tree?
<4”>: 3.5”
After inserting the block and answering the prompt, your
block should look like this:
DISPLAYING ATTRIBUTES:
Sometimes you don’t want to
see the attribute values displays (say for plotting). You can
turn them off. This can be done by typing in the command
ATTDISP and then OFF. To turn them back on again, type
ATTDISP and ON. It can’t get much easier.
EXTRACTING ATTRIBUTES
So what can you do with all of this information? A CAD drawing can be used to count how many trees, benches, lamp posts
or other objects a designer is using and export that data to another file for others to use to generate a cost estimate. In our case,
we’re going to use the plants blocks to set up a plant list for our planting plan.
Exporting the data became MUCH
easier in recent versions of AutoCAD
with the EATTEXT (Enhanced Attribute
Extraction) command box appear. Accept
all the defaults in the wizard dialog, hitting
the Next button until you get to this step
(right).
Note that all the attributes are checked
- including ones you don’t want. Hit the
Uncheck All button, then select the ones
you want as shown to the right.
Continue to the next step (right) and click on Alternate View so that
you see a count of how many times each block appears.
Continue until the wizard asks you for a filename and save the data
as a Microsoft Excel (*.xls) file and finish. Click on the box next to
filename to select the directory where the file will go.
OPENING IN EXCEL & INSERTING IN AUTOCAD
Now comes the exciting part. When you finish saving the excel file you can open it up and format the data…. change
the width of the columns so that all text can be read; add bold to the headings; rearrange the columns so that they are
in the proper order
like the example plant
list; select the font you
want; add borders
around the cells; and
any other changes you
wish to make. After
you have finished
formatting the file, save
it in your folder.
In AutoCAD set up your LAYOUT. Making
certain that you are in PAPER space, go to the
Insert
pull-down menu and select
OLE object…
When you see the dialog box to the right, make
certain that you’ve selected Create from File and
then click on Browse to pick your file. After hitting
OK, the plant list will appear in the drawing. Use
the grips to resize it on your drawing.
You now have a drawing with the data revealed!
Assignment
You must create at least five (5) plant symbols (or other objects) that will be used in your Mid-semester project. If you
are in the sophomore studio, coordinate with other students in your class so that you don’t duplicate too many symbols
and can share others so that you can have a wide range of plants to use in your planting plan. All symbols should be
saved in the common Plants folder on the M: drive. Check out the plants in the folder before you create a new symbol to
make certain that the plant hasn’t been made already.
The final components of the project are:
1.
the 5 plant symbols
2.
the excel file
3.
a planting plan drawing with a plant list
4.
a rendered master plan using photoshop
The project:
For those taking a design studio, you must work on your current project and create a planting plan with plant list. For those who
are not in a design studio, you will use the plan handed out on Wednesday in class.