Black Background

I'm just curious, but why do most cad people still use a black background?
I know that in the early days of cad the monitors had low refresh rates
which caused the screens to flicker, and black bothered the eyes less, but current monitors don't have that issue, and I would have thought that having a screen that looks like the eventual page to be plotted would make more sense.
That's what we do here, especially since we plot in color with layers set to colors that are relatively consistent so that checking of the drawings is easier.
It reminds me of the use of different pen settings for each color when there are no pens on modern plotters. There we use layer lineweights, and use plines or edit the per line lineweight when something in the layer needs to be emphasized over other items in the same layer.
Similarly architects use tickmarks instead of arrows because it was faster to dimension that way when drawing by hand, but now it doesn't save time, and if one dimension snaps over another, it can cause problems (example 2' dimension and 8" snaps on top of it so that it looks like 2' + 8"). At least with arrows you can see that one arrowhead is missing, and then you know that there is a problem with the string.
These are just some of my pet peeves, but I will listen to valid explanations other than "I'm just used to it that way" or "Architects need to have more style than engineers and ticks are more stylish"
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In a previous post JG wrote...

I actually prefer "tick" marks for dimensions.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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but why? I do structural design work and the number of bad drawings due to dimensions snapping on top of each other is frustrating, especially since my design work is third party and some of the architects think that that is a license to rip me off by charging for cad files where I could at least verify if they did have that error. If you use an open arrow it would look like a left tick and a right tick overlapping at the extension line. Your response really fits into the category of "ticks are more stylish" since you don't state a reason for your preference.
Bob Morrison wrote:

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In a previous post JG wrote...

Bad drawing is bad drawing no matter what dimension style you use. The quality of cad drawings I receive from most architects is pitiful: lines that don't meet properly at corners; dimensions that have been overwritten to be correct, but the line work they are associated with isn't drawn correctly; and my biggest complaint is a lack of properly layer standards and adherence to those standards.
I mean what's up with naming a layer "Heavy" in a multi-story building?
With today's cad programs there is no excuse (other than laziness) for not using lots of layers with only a single color on each layer and layer names that are descriptive of their content.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Amen, brother, you're singing my song. I'm not really trying to Architect-bash here, but I have found that as long as it prints correctly, most are not careful with what items go on what layers.
Also folks, why choose 9 or 10 colors for the .ctb when you have in theory 256? (I say, in theory because I cannot differentiate most of the colors ending in a "6, 7, 8, or 9".)
Ah, just my 2.5 cents (inflation, you know)
Bob Morrison wrote:

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I have been using autocad for the past 20 years, I use a black background and prefer solid arrow heads over either tick marks or dots... but thats only because I have used them for the majority of those 20 years.
But as some other posters have noted, it doesn't really matter which one you use... what *does* matter is that the drawing being produced is easy for your clients (or other disciplines) to follow when printed. That is the point of creating the drawing in the first place.
*BUT*, working with someone else's drawing in autocad has always been interesting to say the least. It's kinda like listening to a foreigner to your country that is unfamiliar with your language describe something to you, you can only make out some of the words and have to piece together meaning by interpolation :)
As far as the background thing... I have never put *much* thought into changing my background from the default. The one time I did think about it, I tinkered with the background color a bit, but then felt that I was 'playing around' on company time and dropped it.
Greg
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That's one take on it, I guess. But, interesting is hardly the word I'd use. How about maddening! I used to have to change many CAD dwgs for design revisions and some of the methods used by originators were so bizarre, I'd have to redo the drawing from scratch. The worst were 3D drawings turned so they only appeared to be orthographic. None of the points were on the viewed plane and dimensions floated in space. We had one fellow who refused to stop this silliness and since his drawings wouldn't pass quality inspection, he quit rather than conform. All his work had to be redone.
Oh yeah ....I use a black background.
nb
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wrote:

Greg,
Too unfortunately most people agree with you.
I import ACAD drawings to make 3D surfaces & simplified linework for construction layout. I'm interested in the model, not the paper.
What a pain in the ass all drawings I get are in some point or other. I have never gotten one yet that had all the stuff on the right layers. By that I mean one that was consistent. There's always a piece of curb or 2 that is on a layer other than "curbs". There's a HUGE difference in function of "edge-of-pavement" and "back-of-curb", but most often they are all on the same layer.
I'll be happy when the legal requirement is updated to include a correct model, not merely something that looks okay on paper.
BTW:
Light burns out eyeball tissue. Less light is better for less eye fatigue/wear & tear. White background = light. Black background lack of light. I like black.
Melanie
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Melanie,
The statement of mine that you quoted was about the printed product. In my original post, directly after the part you quoted, is where I mention working with the cad file. The printed product and the cad file, as we all know, are two totally different things.
It is disconcerting to hear a fellow cad operator disagree with the fact that your printed product must be easy to follow. This is *basic* drafting.
As far as making the cad file easy to follow for other cad users, that is *secondary* to the printed copy being easy to follow. The ability to create a cad file that other cad users can follow easily *AND* have it also easy to follow when printed is what separates a good cad user from an excellent cad user... and this ability only comes with experience.
Greg
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In a previous post Greg Young wrote...

Greg:
I think you missed the point. It is possible to have a high quality printed product AND have the line work and layering be correct. It really doesn't take any more time to do the job properly the first time if one is paying attention.
Sloppy workmanship is sloppy workmanship no matter what the medium.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Bob Morrison wrote:

I fully agree.
My point was that they are different. One could create an entire drawing using one layer and still have an excellent quality print. That drawing would be very difficult for another draftsman to manipulate, but it still serves its basic function. That function being an easy to read print.
BTW, the above is playing devil's advocate, I would never create a drawing that didn't serve its purpose to both the client and other draftsmen.
The quality print is for the client. The quality cad file is for other cad users. Understanding bath and implementing both into ones work is crucial to ones job function as a cad draftsman.

True statement. I come across *way* too many people that could care less about the quality of their work.
Greg
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In a previous post Greg Young wrote...

Greg:
I am pleased to see we are on the same page as to what a quality product is.
It shouldn't be such a hard concept to grasp, but as you say, "Way" too many people don't seem to care if they turn quality work or not.
Keep up the good work! Other drafters (and even some engineers <grin>) will thank you for it.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Bob Morrison wrote:

Doesn't layer selection have to be done manually? As you get more and more layers doesn't that get to be a cumbersome chore? I guess a lot depends on if your good and you can put all of the information down in a layer in one go around, opposed to draw 2 items on layer 132, switch layer draw 3 things, switch layer draw one blob, then back to 132 for some more items, and so on.
Doug T
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In a previous post Doug T wrote...

Doug:
Yes, it does take a few seconds more time to switch layers. If you have your tool bars and layer names set up properly it only takes a few clicks to make the switch. This would be somewhat akin to changing pencils if you were drawing with pencil and paper.
In other words it doesn't take long and the final product will be much better.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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And a trick to make it easier is to draw a filled rectangle as a block on the sheet (could even be in your template) for each layer. then use the select layer tool to switch to the desired layer. All you would have to do is zoom all, select layer, zoom previous. You can set a script with a pause or set quick-keys to do the zooms and select. When the drawing is done, if the blocks are outside the viewports they don't get plotted, or you can delete the blocks.
I'm glad that my little rant got a good discussion rolling.
Bob Morrison wrote:

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Doug T wrote:

Isn't this as LISP board? Many years ago I wrote one that added dynamic text to the leader. And I wanted the leader to be a polyline. Nailed it with lisp. When I do a leader, it comes in in my text layer without me doing the switching. Lots of my routines work in a specific layer.
It's a wider world outside of the box. Canned software is powerful, but can be SO limiting.
Jump into LISP, the water's fine.
And the simple little things that make life so much easier are usually PRETTY DARNED SIMPLE.
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Greg Young wrote:

IT'S A DATABASE !!!!!!! I feel better now. 2d, 3d, paper, standards, other people's standards (and limited comprehensions) very many considerations.
a good engineer or a good architect or a good computer geek, each can do cad, but they need to understand more than just one piece. drafting is usually the ultimate goal in my world, but i conceive that we may one day have electronic as-built drawings which will NEVER see paper, and still be quite valuable for doing things like the base data base for fire alarm systems, lighting systems.
or the eventual demolition of the structure. you should be able to extract the steel data for when you want to tear it down.....
exacting quality control of input. YES ! (or, put it in the right layer, damn it.) and the right elevation, yada yada yada.
happy Friday to all.
roy
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what standards are PE's & SE's supporting these days, Bob? :}
-- R'zenboom
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In a previous post R'zenboom wrote...

I don't use any nationally recognized standard. I looked at the AIA standard, but find it almost incomprehensible. The other thing is some clients have their own standard, so you set stuck using that one.
In my opinion any layering standard that names the layers clearly with a name that defines the layer's relationship to the building, site or other matter at hand will work just fine.
For a building you might have a group of layer that start with "G-" to define layers that cover an entire building, then start go with "F-" layers to convey foundation information, then "1-" layers and on up the building until you get to "R-" layers for the roof.
My $0.02 worth anyway.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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personally I've always prefered using the ticks for dimensioning, I think they look better.
As for using the black screen, my eyes cant take a white screen, simple as. Monitor technology has nothing to do with it, a big white screen will always take its toll on the users eyes, when I used to use autocad LT quite a few yrs ago, I experimented with different colours, I found the lightest my eyes can take is a beige colour, but I will always prefer black, plus all my drawings are plotted in black an white anyway so the coloured lines are purely for my benefit :)
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