Have you Looked at Zone Stamps Recently?
At the end of the All the Little Changes in ArchiCAD 18 post I promised more articles focusing on some of the other subtle tweaks to ArchiCAD 18. Have you noticed the huge improvements to the default Zone Stamps? I have…
For years I’ve been using a particular 3rd party Object for Zone Stamps. It was (and still is) awesome; if you need to know which one, search around on Shoegnome. It’ll quickly become obvious which one I’m referring too. I used that other Zone Stamp because it did all the basics better and it also added functionality. In ArchiCAD 18 the Zone Stamp has been completely reworked and it’s time we all looked at it again. It holds a number of surprises. Whether you have been relying on 3rd party Objects like me or have just been happily using the Zone Stamps Graphisoft provided, it’s time to dig deeper and see how much more the new Zone Stamps can do. The following discussion focuses on the Zone_Stamp_1 18, though much of it also applies to Zone_Stamp_2 18.
- Fixed Zone Stamp Width. This is perhaps the most exciting new feature, from a graphic standpoint. We can now set a fixed Width Value for the Zone Stamp. This allows us to wrap text without tricks, cheats, or workarounds. We can get room names on plan to fit correctly and also display properly in Interactive Schedules (I am ashamed of the number of times I had to split room names between Zone Name and Zone ID to get it to read on plan correctly). Also, this defunct trick is no longer needed. But I bet 99.9% of ArchiCAD users never knew that cheat once worked.
- Zone Stamps are now Scale Sensitive. Okay, this is another great new graphic feature. We can have the same Zone Stamp display differently at different scales. Much like other Objects (Windows and Doors for instance) can be scale sensitive, now Zone Stamps can be too. So the same Zone Stamp can show one set of information at 1/4″ = 1′-0″, another at 1/8″ = 1′-0″, and a third at 1/16″ = 1′-0″. It’d be great if we could set these breakpoints between scales, or add more, or just have them linked to Model View Options (which would be my preferred solution). But maybe someday. Regardless, Scale Sensitivity means we now have more control to intelligently show or hide information as we need it.
- Zone Stamps’ relation to the Anchor Point is also Scale Sensitive. While the Zone Stamp’s Anchor Point remains in the same location regardless of the scale, the relationship of the stamp to that Anchor Point can be customized for each of the three scales. This is pretty cool. So for 1:50, the stamp can be centered on the Anchor Point, at 1:100 it can be set to top middle, and at 1:200 it can be a third alignment. While this doesn’t give us complete freedom to move the stamp around other elements that might be in the way as the scale changes, my hunch is that it’ll give us enough flexibility to have the stamp shift up, down, left, and right to meet most, if not all of our needs.
- So much available Content to Display. So easy to assign and work with. New graphic features are nice. But new metadata and digital approximation data display is what really adds value to the new Zone Stamps. Look back at the image I used for point two. We have fourteen customizable lines of information we can add to the Zone Stamp for each of the three levels of Scale Sensitivity. So for 1/4″ plans you might show just the Zone Name and Number while for 1/8″ plans you might show the Zone ID and the occupancy load. Yes, the Zone Stamp will now calculate occupancy load based on area plus additional occupants, or a fixed number of occupants, if you’d prefer. In the Zone_Stamp_2 18 there is also a calculation for price based on area or volume.
- Display any IFC Parameter linked to the Zone. I told you we’d be talking a lot about IFC. Graphisoft is really pushing the integration of IFC into all aspects of ArchiCAD, and here is another great example. Under Additional Tags, you can choose to list, in any order you want, any IFC parameter that the Zone has. This means, because of the power of IFC data within ArchiCAD, you can link and show just about anything you need. Very cool. My gut says we all owe a certain UK based architect a big thanks for pushing to have this included in the out of the box zone stamps.
There’s plenty more awaiting you in the reworked Zone Stamps, so check out the features I discussed above and then do some exploring of your own. As you’re browsing around the Zone Selection Settings, you’ll probably notice how much easier it is to navigate. The cleaning up and unification of tabs within the various dialog boxes that occurred between ArchiCAD 17 and 18 is very much apparent when cycling through all the new options within the Zone Stamp.
BONUS IFC Lesson!
Okay, here’s a bonus IFC lesson for you. If you want to show the Zone Category in your Zone Stamp, one good way to do it is to show the Category (Pet_SpaceCommon) IFC parameter (see image above). That parameter is locked and automatically linked to the Zone Category. The reason for that connection is due to the greater needs of IFC coordination and COBie requirements, but it also makes displaying data for something simple like a Zone Stamp easy. So the next time you want to display your Zone Categories on a plan, try using the IFC route. It’ll be an easy step towards the demystification and mastery of IFC.
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