AutoCAD selectively colorblind



  • Having had reason to use AutoCAD recently, I've come to the conclusion that it's one huge WTF (no doubt due to about 30 years of legacy "standards" it maintains). Since I'd not used the program in at least 15 years, and even back then I only tinkered with it a bit rather than having a genuine use for it, no doubt many of my "WTF?!" moments over the last few days with it were caused by my own ignorance of how to properly use the program.

    Still, it seems any time I turn to a Google search for something I'm wrestling with, I find loads of forum threads and web sites about AutoCAD that all include questions about basic techniques that seemingly can only be done in convoluted ways, and which don't even seem to work when I follow them to the letter. Want to remove the outline around a view port (a frame in which you see your drawing) in "paper space" (that's the term for laying out drawings on a page so you can print them)? Take a bunch of steps involving different layers, which can't have certain names — but no answer remotely like "Uncheck the box labeled Draw frame border" because that simply doesn't exist (and no, setting the border to have 0 thickness still gets you a thin line). Want to make one object obscure part of another without seeing the lines of the one behind? Add a "washout" object, which can only be a polygon with straight lines — and from which, despite claims to the contrary, it appears to be impossible to remove the border, so you end up with unwanted lines anyway. Etc. etc. etc.

    However, what really made me wonder what on earth people at AutoDesk are smoking is the sample shape, shown below, that I've given a solid-color fill as per the pulldown menu:



  • @Gurth said:

    Still, it seems any time I turn to a Google search for something I'm wrestling with, I find loads of forum threads and web sites about AutoCAD that all include questions about basic techniques that seemingly can only be done in convoluted ways, and which don't even seem to work when I follow them to the letter.
    This is very common, not only with AutoCad but with many other fairly complex programs. There seems to be a belief among the developers of these programs that "professional" users don't need simple ways to do things.

    I discovered this when I switched to Photoshop, having previously used Corel Photopaint, which is not nearly as good as Photoshop but is quite a bit cheaper and easier to use. One of the features Corel had that I really liked was the ability to create a custom toolbar containing your most frequently used functions, rather than having to dig through a lot of menus every time I wanted to do something. In a Photoshop forum I was told very sternly that "professional" users don't need such a feature. Well, fuck me. I get paid to create stuff in Photoshop so that makes me just as "professional" as anyone else.



  • AutoCAD made much more sense in the late 80s and early 90s. It went very much downhill from there. As a kid, I was quite proficient in it. It ran fine on an IBM XT clone with a Hercules graphics card with a Roland monochrome monitor - white phosphor with blue persistence. That's where I first got to experience LISP, although arguably AutoLISP is a bad excuse for a LISP once you learn Common LISP. Last project I've done in AutoCAD was methinks in R13 or some such, using boolean 3D. Once I got wind of SolidEdge and now Alibre (now Geomagic), there was no looking back.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    In a Photoshop forum I was told very sternly that "professional" users don't need such a feature. Well, fuck me. I get paid to create stuff in Photoshop so that makes me just as "professional" as anyone else.

    To some extent I'd agree since you should be using the shortcuts. Typically any professional working in a design shop or as a contractor doesn't stay in business long if they're mouse or tablet is used for anything but manipulating actual art. Everything else is done with keyboard shortcuts. Once you reach that point, the menus are largely there just to look up shortcuts to commands you don't have in your muscle memory yet.



  • By default in the last version of AutoCAD I used, the default "canvas" colour was black, so white lines and shapes drawn on it were clearly visible. This goes waaaaay back to the days of monochromatic monitors and probably has more to do with engineering nerds not wanting their eyes toasted by CRTs in darkened rooms than anything else. Regardless, on a black canvas black objects are painted white; on a white canvas, white objects are painted black.

    It goes without saying that mixing black and white objects on the same canvas is never a good idea.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    There seems to be a belief among the developers of these programs that "professional" users don't need simple ways to do things.

    It's long been clear to me that most types of program have their own standards for doing things, so that if you've learned to use, say, one vector graphics program you'll easily find your way in another, but you'll be out of your depth in another type of program even if they seem similar — say, a CAD application or one for working with bitmap graphics. Knowing that in advance still didn't prepare me well enough for AutoCAD, though.

    @El_Heffe said:

    In a Photoshop forum I was told very sternly that "professional" users don't need such a feature.

    Of course they don't — those professional users would have to find other ways to spend more time to bill with features like that!

    Oh, and here's another AutoCAD one I forgot about last night. This is the widget you use to change the direction from which you look at your drawing:

    Do you get a mirror in the box when you buy the program, or do you need to supply your own?

    As a bonus WTF related to this thing: changing the point of view is an operation you can undo … So, you change something, look at it from a few angles to see if it's right, and then have to undo (number of angles + 1) times to get back to where you were before the last change. That gets old very fast, trust me.

    @dfcowell said:

    on a black canvas black objects are painted white; on a white canvas, white objects are painted black.

    While I can see how this would make sense for visibility when editing, it is completely stupid to also do this when exporting. I need my drawings as PDFs with black lines on a white background, yet this doesn't let me simply use a white fill to obliterate things I drew but don't want to see … no, I have to dick around with breaking the shapes, adjusting lines manually so it looks like they go behind another object, change their lengths when I adjust the thing in "front", etc.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    "professional" users don't need such a feature.

    Thanks for the new signature.

    I dislike photoshop for potentially circumstantial reasons. My resent actually comes from people sending me photoshop files even though I don't have photoshop on my machine (why would it not be possible to send me the individual component images). Admittedly this is part of the fault of the users for expecting me to have access to expensive software, presumably from their yacht. I'm sure it's the best graphics package around for graphic designers.



  • @Shoreline said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    "professional" users don't need such a feature.

    Thanks for the new signature.

    I dislike photoshop for potentially circumstantial reasons. My resent actually comes from people sending me photoshop files even though I don't have photoshop on my machine (why would it not be possible to send me the individual component images). Admittedly this is part of the fault of the users for expecting me to have access to expensive software, presumably from their yacht. I'm sure it's the best graphics package around for graphic designers.

    Photoshop and its evil FOSS counterpart (GIMP) are for people who have too much free time. Unless someone wants to touch-up wrinkles or remove a bottle of K-Y from the background in a family photo, there are plenty of less tedious applications, some are even free. On Windows I typically use Microsoft Expression Design (it's free now), it does just about everything and has a decent list of brushes, textures and effects. Even Paint.net is usually good enough.

    Try this: go on a forum where designers hang out and ask if Photoshop is better than Paint.net. A few will shit bricks, and the rest will bring up "content aware" bullshit. And if you feel that too many of them are smug, ask if someone would touch up a photo for you but your budget is only $10, and you will receive countless PM because designers are a commodity and they all have to pay for their expensive Mac and Adobe software.



  • I saw my dad using AutoCAD in the 90' on a 386DX laptop. He had to buy a math co-processor as an extra just for AutoCAD. He was no architect but had the idea of doing the plans for our home on it and as I recall, he was pretty proficient with it. Out of curiosity, I played with the thing too and it felt very powerful at the time, doing 3D rendering and all bunch of stuff.

    Funny thing is that the first time I was shown vim I exclaimed "Wow, it's AutoCAD for coding".

    So maybe, AutoCAD is a software that hasn't evolved well with mouse dependent users who can't remember more than three key commands?



  • @Ronald said:

    (why would it not be possible to send me the individual component images). Admittedly this is part of the fault of the users for expecting me to have access to expensive software, presumably from their yacht.
    Other than Windows, I would bet that Photoshop is the most widely pirated program. The term "photoshopping" used to describe editing a picture has become more common and more widely used than it should be, considering its cost and complexity. I suspect there are millions of people out there using Photoshop but never doing anything more complicated than you could do with MS Paint.



  • @dfcowell said:

    By default in the last version of AutoCAD I used, the default "canvas" colour was black, so white lines and shapes drawn on it were clearly visible. This goes waaaaay back to the days of monochromatic monitors and probably has more to do with engineering nerds not wanting their eyes toasted by CRTs in darkened rooms than anything else. Regardless, on a black canvas black objects are painted white; on a white canvas, white objects are painted black.

    It goes without saying that mixing black and white objects on the same canvas is never a good idea.

    Cold-hearted orb that rules the night,
    Removes the colours from our sight,
    White is black and black is white,
    First star I see tonight,
    Tyger, tyger, burning bright,
    Romper stomper bomper boo.



  • @ubersoldat said:

    I saw my dad using AutoCAD in the 90' on a 386DX laptop. He had to buy a math co-processor as an extra just for AutoCAD.

    IIRC my first exposure to it was on an 8086 with 8087 coprocessor, using a copy my father (who was a draftsman at the time) had "acquired" through his job. I used it to draw stuff related to scale modeling at the time, and could easily find my way around it and don't remember any real problems with it. Fast forward a decade or two and I find a recent version sluggish (all it does is draw some lines on a white window, yet it frequently takes long enough to register a click that I've accidentally moved my mouse just too far for that click to be where I made it — on a 2.9 GHz quad-core machine) and almost horribly difficult to use … could be I've grown too used to more sophisticated UIs, of course.

    @ubersoldat said:

    So maybe, AutoCAD is a software that hasn't evolved well with mouse dependent users who can't remember more than three key commands?

    Most likely. I complain about Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. sticking to legacy ways of doing things rather than all using the same UI as far as possible, but AutoCAD is way further behind.

    @El_Heffe said:

    I suspect there are millions of people out there using Photoshop but never doing anything more complicated than you could do with MS Paint.

    Isn't that the case with most software? Even if you give people a Notepad-level text editor, I doubt they'll make use of all the features it has. "Copy and paste text? Whut?" — never mind .LOG :) (TBH, AutoCAD is probably a great amount of overkill for what I need it for right now, but it's the only application I have access to that quickly and easily adds measurement lines to technical-style drawings, which is why I decided to use it.)



  • @Gurth said:

    Even if you give people a Notepad-level text editor, I doubt they'll make use of all the features it has.

    I find that many people are astonished to find out that notepad can display line numbers.



  • @boomzilla said:

    I find that many people are astonished to find out that notepad can display line numbers.
    Count me among them. I thought all it could do was automatically add a datetimestamp to the end of the file when you open it.



  • @Shoreline said:

    @El_Heffe said:
    "professional" users don't need such a feature.

    Thanks for the new signature.

    I dislike photoshop for potentially circumstantial reasons. My resent actually comes from people sending me photoshop files even though I don't have photoshop on my machine (why would it not be possible to send me the individual component images). Admittedly this is part of the fault of the users for expecting me to have access to expensive software, presumably from their yacht. I'm sure it's the best graphics package around for graphic designers.

    It's the best photo editing software. Designers should be designing with vectors, not pixels. Regarding your component images gripe, I totally agree. However, Photoshop's slicing tools suck. This is why I always pushed Fireworks so much was that you could actually set up a document where every single element could be sliced (without backgrounds) with a single File > Export.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @Gurth said:
    Even if you give people a Notepad-level text editor, I doubt they'll make use of all the features it has.

    I find that many people are astonished to find out that notepad can display line numbers.

    It can??  :O



  • Not actually line numbers, but it can display the current line number and column number in a status bar if you disable word-wrap (the status bar and word wrap can't be enabled at the same time in Notepad).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Medinoc said:

    the status bar and word wrap can't be enabled at the same time in Notepad
    Wut?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    If you enable Format > Word Wrap, the status bar disappears if it was visible, and the option under View is disabled (ditto for Edit>Go to/ctrl-G). Probably because Notepad can't/won't handle line numbering with word-wrap enabled, and the only thing the status bar is used for is for line/column placement of the cursor



    Some people think this is a bug



  • @PJH said:

    Probably because Notepad can't/won't handle line numbering with word-wrap enabled, and the only thing the status bar is used for is for line/column placement of the cursor.
    Yes, not showing the status bar when word wrap is enabled makes sense because word wrap makes the apparent line/column number different from the actual line/column number. @PJH said:
    Some people think this is a bug
    That link seems to be about a completely different "bug" -- when you save a file, Notepad immediately resets the line/column value to 1/1 regardless of the actual position of the cursor and doesn't update it to the correct value till you move the cursor.




  • @Zecc said:

    @boomzilla said:

    @Gurth said:
    Even if you give people a Notepad-level text editor, I doubt they'll make use of all the features it has.

    I find that many people are astonished to find out that notepad can display line numbers.

    It can??  :O

    TRWTF is that with everybody and their mother writing their own enhanced notepad, people still use an app that has barely seen an update since Windows 3.1, for which the only update in the last 13 years or so was removing an obscure, yet WTF-worthy bug, and which still throws its hands up when you feed it "\n"-terminated lines.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    @Zecc said:

    @boomzilla said:

    @Gurth said:
    Even if you give people a Notepad-level text editor, I doubt they'll make use of all the features it has.

    I find that many people are astonished to find out that notepad can display line numbers.

    It can??  :O

    TRWTF is that with everybody and their mother writing their own enhanced notepad, people still use an app that has barely seen an update since Windows 3.1, for which the only update in the last 13 years or so was removing an obscure, yet WTF-worthy bug, and which still throws its hands up when you feed it "\n"-terminated lines.

     

     All professional companies I know just buy volume licenses of UltraEdit. Their release circles go forever and it's 10 bucks on amazon. Also makes a very fast and customizable scripting editor, if you don't want to use an IDE for config, LUA, or Python-editing.

     And while it's all good to say "90% of users don't use the full potential of AutoCAD, Photoshop, 3dsMax or <insert software here>" there are applications and use cases for all of them. I use 30% of all features of Visual Studio and still like it more than the free alternatives.

     



  • @fire2k said:

     All professional companies I know just buy volume licenses of UltraEdit. Their release circles go forever and it's 10 bucks on amazon. Also makes a very fast and customizable scripting editor, if you don't want to use an IDE for config, LUA, or Python-editing.

    UE is pretty good but they tend to have their own standards for many basic things and it's annoying:

    • CTRL-H toggles the Hex view instead of starting the replace dialog (which is done with CTRL-R) like most Windows editors.
    • The icons are custom and not intuitive. As an example the Save button looks like a Download button (green down arrow over a floppy).
    • The File explorer tab does not offer a Folder + Files window, only separates Folder and Files windows, like the old file explorer in Windows 3.1

    Also the Configuration menu is weird and it's not easy to figure where to enable/disable basic stuff like code completion. And in the UE Studio version, the Project feature is unusable, the weird features like virtual folders and the awkward process of adding a new file are too unpleasant.

    When I work on a website or a PHP webapp, I would happily use UE Studio as my IDE because the editor is second to none and the search+replace features are terrific, but without a simple tab that shows me at once all the folders and files in the website it's not convenient. Even Netbeans is better for that. It's too bad because UE has the best behavior for editing remote files (FTP).

    At least they now disable by default the backup-on-save option and the multiplication of .BAK files that nobody was using anyways.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    @Zecc said:

    @boomzilla said:

    @Gurth said:
    Even if you give people a Notepad-level text editor, I doubt they'll make use of all the features it has.

    I find that many people are astonished to find out that notepad can display line numbers.

    It can??  :O

    TRWTF is that with everybody and their mother writing their own enhanced notepad, people still use an app that has barely seen an update since Windows 3.1, for which the only update in the last 13 years or so was removing an obscure, yet WTF-worthy bug, and which still throws its hands up when you feed it "\n"-terminated lines.

    I was hoping there was a newer version of Notepad that actually displayed line numbers, rather than just display the current line number when the status bar is shown.

    So I had a brief moment of "Wow, it's so much better than I remembered!" when I pressed Winkey, 'notep' and Enter at the familiar blue notepad icon; then immediately followed by "wait, that's Notepad2, never mind". Ah, Wednesdays.

     


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Zecc said:

    So I had a brief moment of "Wow, it's so much better than I remembered!" when I pressed Winkey, 'notep' and Enter at the familiar blue notepad icon; then immediately followed by "wait, that's Notepad2, never mind". Ah, Wednesdays.

    You can pretend.



  • we use sublime text instead of ue.



  • @joe.edwards said:

    @Zecc said:
    So I had a brief moment of "Wow, it's so much better than I remembered!" when I pressed Winkey, 'notep' and Enter at the familiar blue notepad icon; then immediately followed by "wait, that's Notepad2, never mind". Ah, Wednesdays.

    You can pretend.

    I don't see where you were heading with this post. I was already using Notepad2 instead of Notepad, that was the point.

     


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Zecc said:

    @joe.edwards said:

    @Zecc said:
    So I had a brief moment of "Wow, it's so much better than I remembered!" when I pressed Winkey, 'notep' and Enter at the familiar blue notepad icon; then immediately followed by "wait, that's Notepad2, never mind". Ah, Wednesdays.

    You can pretend.

    I don't see where you were heading with this post. I was already using Notepad2 instead of Notepad, that was the point.

     

    The guide is to replace Notepad rather than use an alternative. If a program tries to launch Notepad, Notepad2 launches in its place. It effectively assumes Notepad's identity.



  • @joe.edwards said:

    @Zecc said:

    @joe.edwards said:

    @Zecc said:
    So I had a brief moment of "Wow, it's so much better than I remembered!" when I pressed Winkey, 'notep' and Enter at the familiar blue notepad icon; then immediately followed by "wait, that's Notepad2, never mind". Ah, Wednesdays.

    You can pretend.

    I don't see where you were heading with this post. I was already using Notepad2 instead of Notepad, that was the point.

     

    The guide is to replace Notepad rather than use an alternative. If a program tries to launch Notepad, Notepad2 launches in its place. It effectively assumes Notepad's identity.

    Following this recipe, maybe I could use Excel instead of Notepad. I see no potential downside.



  • @Ronald said:

    Following this recipe, maybe I could use Excel instead of Notepad. I see no potential downside.
     

    "Shell"="C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\Excel.exe"



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @Ronald said:

    Following this recipe, maybe I could use Excel instead of Notepad. I see no potential downside.
     

    "Shell"="C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\Excel.exe"

    My Excelbook runs Excel OS. The only program it can run is Excel.


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