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AutoCAD Tutorial

AutoCAD 2004 New Plotting Features

By Alireza Parsai, April 22, 2003

The new plotting enhancements in AutoCAD 2004 have turned it to the best AutoCAD release for plotting 3D models. The good news is that you can plot shaded models. There are also some enhancements for plotting 3D models through layouts.

Plotting in Model Space

Figure 1 shows the new Plot dialog box. The area enclosed in red rectangle contains the new features.


Figure 1 - Click image to enlarge

When you are plotting a 3D model you can select one of the following options in Shade plot drop-down list [Figure 2]:

► As Displayed
► Wireframe
► Hidden
► Rendered


Figure 2

If the objects are shaded in the drawing area, selecting the first option results in a shaded plot. Select the Rendered option to plot objects as if they are rendered. The result depends on the render settings. You can set rendering options in Rendering Preferences dialog box [Figure 3]. Invoke RPREF command to view this dialog box.


Figure 3

If you select either As Displayed or Rendered you have the chance to set the quality by one of the following options [Figure 4].

► Draft: Plots the models as Wireframe objects, regardless of the selected option.

► Preview: The quality of rendered or shaded plot will be up to 150 dpi.

► Normal: The quality of rendered or shaded plot will be up to 300 dpi.

► Presentation: The quality of rendered or shaded plot will be up to 600 dpi.

► Maximum: In spite of its name sets the quality to the current settings of the plotter not to the maximum capabilities.

► Custom: You can set the quality by enter a number in DPI edit box. The valid numbers that you can enter depend on the printer/plotter that is in use.


Figure 4

Figure 5 compares different plotting outputs for the same model.


Figure 5 -  Click image to enlarge

3D Objects in Paper Space

Paper Space is a 2D environment but you can still create 3D models in it. There are many limitations. You can only create the model and there is no chance to use viewing commands. In AutoCAD 2004 you can remove the hidden lines at the time of plotting. Select "Hide paperspace objects" option in Plot or Page Setup dialog box [Figure 6]. This option is only applicable for those 3D objects that are created in Paper Space (i.e. in a layout).


Figure 6

Although you can hide such models in AutoCAD 2002 the result in AutoCAD 2004 is better. Figure 7 compares the plot outputs for such models in AutoCAD 2002 (left) and 2004 (right).


Figure 7

Floating Viewports

The "Hideplot" option of MVIEW command is replaced by "Shadeplot". The new option enables you to plot your drawing in one of the following modes:

► As displayed
► Wireframe
► Hidden
► Rendered

Invoke the MVIEW command. Select Shadeplot option. Select the proper mode. Click those viewports that should be affected. Press Enter. Done!

About the Author

Alireza Parsai is the founder of cadpanel.com. He is a mechanical engineer with more than 12 years experience with AutoCAD. Alireza is an Autodesk Authorized Author, the AutoCAD consultant for Al Khawarizmi Institute, a contributing editor for Augiworld magazine, a writer for CAD Digest, an instructor for AUGI Training Program, and an elected speaker for Autodesk University 2002. He has written 7 books in Farsi, 3 booklets in English, and more than 30 articles for different magazines and newsletters. You can reach him at alireza.parsai@cadpanel.com or visit his website www.cadpanel.com

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