Three-dimensional graphics are often handy for presentations, and 3D AutoCAD images are frequently used for that purpose, as well as for producing.drafted 2D drawings. You may want to show off some of your 3D work directly from the computer screen. However, if your drawings are complicated, your audience may get impatient waiting for the hidden lines to be removed. Fortunately, AutoCAD provides two commands that let you save a view from your screen in a form that will display quickly.
The Mslide and Vslide commands both save a view as a file on disk. Such a view is called a slide. You can display a slide any time you are in the AutoCAD drawing editor. Slides display at redraw speed, no matter how complex they may be. This means you can save a slide of a hidden-line view of your 3D drawing and recall that view quickly at any time.
Slides can also be used for reference during editing sessions, instead of palming, zooming, or viewing. A slide cannot be edited, however, nor will it be updated when you edit the drawing.
In the following exercise, you will make a few slides of the Unit file.
- Open the Unit file and dick the Hide button on the Render toolbar to get a hidden-line view of the unit.
- Type Mslide at the command prompt.
- In the File dialog box, click Save to accept the default filename, Unit.sld. (The default slide name is the same name as the current drawing, with the extension.sld.) The actual drawing file is not affected.
- Zoom in to the bathroom, and use Mslide to save another view called Unitbath, this time without the hidden lines removed.
- When the File dialog box appears, highlight the File input box at the bottom of the dialog box, enter Unitbath and click OK.
Now that you’ve saved two views, let’s see how to view them.
- Zoom back to the previous view and then type Vslide.
- In the File dialog box, locate and select Unitbath.dwg and click Open. The slide of the bathroom appears. You can move the cursor around the view and start commands in the normal way, but you cannot edit or obtain information from this slide.
- Start Vslide again.
- This time, click Open in the dialog box to accept the default slide filename, Unit. The 3D view of the unit appears with its hidden lines removed. Because slides display at redraw speed, you don’t have to wait to view the unit without its hidden lines.
- Choose View > Redraw to return ,tb the drawing being edited.
- Open the Plan file and use the Vslide command to view the Unitbath slide again. As you can see, you are able to call up the slide from any file, not just the one you were in when you created the slide.
- Now create a Slide of the Plan file and call it Plan1.
Next, you’ll get to see how you might automate a slide presentation using the slides you just created.
Automating a Slide Presentation
As mentioned in Chapter 7, Script (fools> Run Script) can be used to run a sequence of commands automatically. Let’s create a script file to automatically show the slides you made in the last exercise.
A script file is really nothing more than a list of “canned” AutoCAD commands and responses. In this example, you’ll add the Delay command, whose sole function is to pause a script for a specific length of time.
- Create a new file called Show.
- Use a text editor like the Windows Notepad to create a file called Show. scr, and enter the following lines into this file, pressing .J at the end of each line:
These lines are a sequence of predetermined instructions to AutoCAD that canbe played back later. Save this file in the same place where your slide files are located. When you play this script file, each line is entered at the AutoCAD command prompt, just as you would enter it through the keyboard. Notice that the Vslide command is executed before each slide, which is then followed by the line delay 3000, which tells AutoCAD to pause roughly 3,000 milliseconds after each Vslide command is issued (you can substitute another value if you like). If no delay is specified, the next slide comes up as soon as the previous slide is completed.
You can also have the slides repeat themselves continuously by adding the Rscript command at the very end of the Show. scr file. You may want to do this in a presentation intended for casual viewing, such as an exhibit in a display area with people passing through. To stop a repeating script, press the Backspace key.
Now try playing the script .
- Return to AutoCAD, and then choose Tools >Run Script, or enter Script.
- In the Select Script File dialog box, highlight and pick the file you just created Show. scr) from the file list, and then click OK
The slides you saved will appear on the screen in the sequence in which you entered them in the Show. scr file.
Creating a Slide Library
You can group slide files together into one file to help keep your slides organized for example, by project or by drawing type. Slide libraries also save disk space, since they often require less space than the total consumed by the individual slide files.
Slide files are also used to create custom dialog boxes that show sample views of objects. An example of such a dialog box is the 3D Objects dialog box, which is displayed when you select Draw > Surfaces > 3D Surfaces.
The tool you use to create a slide library is the slideb.exe utility that comes with AutoCAD. This utility can be found in the \support\ sub directory of AutoCAD 2000. To create a slide library, follow these steps .
- Use a word processor and make a list of the slides you want to include in the library. For the slides you created earlier, it would look like the following:
Notice that you do not have to include the .sld extension in the filenames in your list.
- Save this list as a plain text file, with an appropriate name. For this example, call it slide1. 1st. Be sure it is saved in the same directory as your slide files.
- Locate the Slideb.exe program; you should find it in \Support\sub directory.Be sure your Slideb.exe file is in the same directory as your slide list file and slide files.
Do not include the filename extension; the Slidelib utility program automatically adds the file extension.slb. For example, if you use Plans as the library name in step 4, a slide library file called Plans. slb is created.
- Open a DOS window and go to your AutoCAD \Support\ subdirectory.
- At the DOS prompt, enter slidelib Myslides < slide1.1st. A file named Mys1ides. slb is created. The library n,ame can be any legal DOS filename, but don’t use filenames over eight characters long, such as those allowed by Windows 95/98.
Now let’s test your slide library. To view a slide from a slide library, you use the Vslide command. This time, however, you will specify the filename differently. Instead of picking a slide name from the dialog box, you must enter the name at the prompt line in a special format. The name must be entered with the library name first, followed by the individual slide name in parentheses.
- Open a new temporary file called Temp,and at the AutoCAD command prompt, enter Vslide..
- In the File dialog box, click the Type It button. This causes the dialog box to close and lets you complete the command from the command line.
- At the slide file <current file: name>: prompt, enter Myslides(plan1). I The slide appears in the drawing area.
To use slide, libraries from a script, you use the slide library and slide name following the Vslide command, as in the following example:
You’ve seen how you can save and display 3D views quickly and how you can automate a presentation of slides using scripts. With these tools, you can create an impressive, fast-paced presentation,
Architects traditionally use 3D models made from cardboard or chipboard to help others visualize their ideas. And if you’ve ever taken a class in architectural design, chances are you’ve had to make such a model yourself. 3D modeling on a computer is faster and a lot more fun than creating a physical chipboard model, and in some cases it can show you things that a physical model cannot.
The following exercise is really just for fun. It shows you how to do a limited form of animation, using View> 3D Viewpoint, the Mslide command, and scripts.
- Open the Unit plan.
- Do a hidden-line removal; then use Mslide to create a slide called V1.
- Click and drag the Inquiry button on the Object Properties toolbar, and then select Locate Point on the flyout. Pick a point in the center of the floor plan. This marks the view center for the next step .
- Enter Vpoint R at the command prompt.
- At the Enter angle at XY plane: prompt, enter 235. at the next prompt, press button.
- Do another hidden-line removal, and use Mslide again to create a slide called V2.
- Repeat steps 4 through 6, but this time increase by 10 the angle value you entered at step 5 (to 245). At step 6, increase the slide name by 1(to V3).
- Keep repeating steps 4 through 6, increasing the angle value by 10 each time and increasing the slide filename by 1. Repeat these steps at least five more times.
- Use a text editor to create a script file called An; mate. scr, containing the following lines, pressing .J at the end of each line:
- Return to AutoCAD. At the command prompt, enter Script and click Animate in the File dialog box. Then click OK and watch the show.
- Press the Esc key or Backspace to end the show.
You might also want to try creating an animation that moves your completely around the Unit plan.
Here’s another suggestion for experimenting: To practice drawing in 3D, turn the kitchen of your 3D Unit drawing into a 3D object. Make the cooking top 30″ high and add some cabinet doors.