Automatic Pen Color Visibility Adjustment for Model Views

Automatic Pen Color Visibility Adjustment for Model Views

Did you know all the ArchiCAD 16 help files are accessible online? With a little searching and guessing at URLs, I actually found as far back as version 12. For bloggers, trainers, and mentors, this is very handy. It’s much easier to give people a link to an answer, than telling them, “Okay, open ArchiCAD, go to the help menu at the top of your screen, type…”

Automatic Pen Color Visibility Adjustment for Model Views

ArchiCADAbout once a month I get this frantic question from one user or another “All my walls have turned gray! My fills look weird! What is going on? I didn’t do anything!?” Automatic Pen Color Visibility Adjustment for Model Views, when triggered accidentally, can cause quite a stir. I still don’t know what exactly triggers this option to turn on (other than obviously manually turning it on). The fix is fortunately VERY easy. Go to the Options/Work Environment/On-Screen Options… menu. Uncheck Automatic Pen Color Visibility Adjustment for Model Views and click OK. Problem solved. Or just reapply your standard Work Environment (assuming the Automatic Pen Color Visibility option is unchecked). Problem also solved.

So what exactly is this feature and why is it there?

Here’s where those online help files come in handy:

When the luminance value of a particular background color falls below a threshold value – that is, if your background is sufficiently dark – black pens will be shown as white on your ArchiCAD screen. (This is useful if you use a dark or black background to imitate AutoCAD methods.) However, when printed, pen colors will print according to their actual settings in the pen set. Non-black pens that would be difficult to see against a particular background will automatically shift to a similar, but more easily visible color. On a white background, elements in white pens are adjusted to a light gray to enhance visibility. Again, when printed, pen colors will print according to their actual settings in the pen set.

To better illustrate that, here’s the same view, but with Automatic Pen Color Visibility turned on and off with a black and white background.

ArchiCAD

Automatic Pen Color Visibility ON – white background.

ArchiCAD

Automatic Pen Color Visibility OFF – white background.

ArchiCAD

Automatic Pen Color Visibility ON – black background.

ArchiCAD

Automatic Pen Color Visibility OFF – black background.

 

ArchiCADIf you’re going to use this feature regularly, perhaps because various coworkers want different background colors, it is worth paying closer attention to what colors you choose for your fill backgrounds. And remember fills can be discrete 2D elements or part of any 3D element, such as a composite, door, morph, etc. Instead of just defaulting to pen 91 for a white background, think about using pen (0) which is Transparent or pen (-1) which always matches the window background. Those two pen backgrounds will blend in much better with a changing background and won’t be effected by Automatic Pen Color Visibility.

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