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Saving & Editing Dynamic Blocks

We've integrated dynamic blocks into our software. A dynamic block is essentially a single block with multiple variations, designed to provide variety and an element of realism in your drawings.

 

Our software allows you to save your existing dynamic blocks into our block library, make changes to our dynamic blocks, or create and save your own. In any of these cases, the dynamic blocks you save will be available to place in your drawings and select from the available versions, or views, of the placed block.

Dynamic blocks simplify the block placement process because they allow you to place several views or versions of a block while only searching for and defining a single block.

Saving Your Existing Dynamic Blocks

If you have dynamic blocks you've already created, we make it easy to save them into our system for easy access while designing. To save your dynamic blocks, simply use our Save Block tool as you would with a normal block.

Editing Our Default Dynamic Blocks

You may want to customize our default dynamic blocks in order either add or subtract views of these blocks. This will allow you to toggle through a dynamic block you've edited and place all (and only) the exact versions or views of that block you'd like to see.

 

 

First, open the DWG file for the block from its folder within your LandFX folder. In this example, we'll open the drawing for a boulder block named LAFX-STEP-STON from the folder LandFX/Blocks/PLAN_GRAPHICS/06-site_amenities/boulders.

 

 

 

 

You'll receive a message that the block contains authoring elements, and be asked whether you want to open the block drawing in the AutoCAD Block Editor.

 

 

Click Yes.


 

 

 

The drawing will open in the Block Editor. Make sure you have the Authoring Palettes turned on. You'll know the Authoring Palettes are turned on if: 

 

  • The Authoring Palettes button in the Block Editor ribbon is blue, and ... 

  • ... the Authoring Palettes are visible on your screen

 

 

You should see one object in the Block Editor window.

 

 

 

 

Open the Visibility States Manager by clicking the Visibility button on the Block Editor ribbon.

 

 

 

 

The Visibility States dialog box will open.

 

 

Here, you can see all current Visibility States that reside within this dynamic block.

 

 

 

Adding a Visibility State

 

To add a new Visibility State, click New.


 

 

In the New Visibility State dialog box, name your new Visibility State.

 

 

Select the bottom option, Leave visibility of existing objects unchanged in new state.

 

 

Click OK to save your new Visibility State.

 

 

 

Deleting a Visibility State

 

To delete a Visibility State, select it and click Delete.

Deleting a Visibility State will not delete objects and linework that are assigned to it. Be careful when deleting hidden linework, as it will stay hidden and possibly start complicating the block. Make sure you are clean with your adjustments.

 

 

 

When finished adding and/or deleting, you'll be able to see the available Visibility States in the Visibility States pull-down menu.


 

 

 

Inserting Your Desired Block Into the Block Drawing

If adding a block, you can now insert your desired block into your drawing in one of two ways:

 

  • Using the AutoCAD Insert Command

 

 

 

The new block will appear in the block drawing you currently have open.

 

 

 

Assigning a Block View or Version to Each Available Visibility State 

 

Select the top Visibility State from the pull-down menu to make it active.

 

 

Then click the Make Invisible button (pictured to the right).

 

 

 

The cursor will turn into a pickbox, and the Command line will prompt you to Select objects to hide.

 

 

 

Click the original linework to hide it.

 

 

You should now only see the block you've just placed.

 

 

 

You should now only see the block you placed.


 

 

Activate each of the rest of the available Visibility States, and hide the original linework as described above. Each Visibility State should now show only the block you've placed.

To double-check whether you've hidden the original linework correctly in a Visibility State, select it from the pull-down menu and click the Visibility Mode button (pictured to the right).

 

You should now see all the linework you've hidden.

 

 

 

If you've mistakenly hidden the block you actually want to see in a Visibility State, select that Visibility State and click the Make Visible button (shown below).

 

You can now "unhide" the block you'd like to see in the selected Visibility State.

 

 

 

Once you're certain that each available Visibility State contains only the block you want to see, open each Visibility State from the pull-down menu and complete the following two steps:

 

 

1. Move the block so its insertion point is at 0,0.


 

 

 

2. Explode the block so it only consists of linework. (Type Explode in the Command line, select the entire block, and press Enter.)

 

Open each Visibility State in the pull-down again, and confirm that:

  • Each Visibility State contains one (and only one) version of the block you placed, and
  • Each version of the block is placed at the insertion point 0,0 (as shown above).

 

Saving and Testing Your Changes

 

Close the Block Editor by clicking the Close Block Editor button on the Block Editor ribbon.

 

 

 

You'll receive a message that the changes you made have not been saved.

 

 

Select the option to Save the changes to <Current Drawing>.

 

 

 

Test your changes by placing the block in a new drawing from your Plan Graphics location.

Turning Your Existing Blocks Into Dynamic Blocks

Finally, our software also allows you to create dynamic blocks from your own existing blocks, allowing you to toggle through and place different versions of that block. You can complete the following steps with a block in any existing DWG file.

 

 

Select the block you'd like to turn into a dynamic block.

 

 

Right-click, and select the Block Editor option from the menu that opens.


 

 

The DWG file containing the block will open in the Block Editor. Make sure you have the Authoring Palettes turned on. You'll know the Authoring Palettes are turned on if: 

  • The Authoring Palettes button in the Block Editor ribbon is blue, and ... 

  • ... the Authoring Palettes are visible on your screen

 

 

 

Giving Your Block a Visibility State Parameter

 

Click the Visibility button on the Authoring Palettes.

 

 

 

Now click in the drawing near the block. You should now see the text Visibility1 with a small blue triangle next to it.

 

 

 

Select this text, and open your Properties Manager. (If it isn't open already, type Properties in the Command line and press Enter.) Locate the Visibility Name Visibility1, and change it to Randomize.

This step is crucial. Renaming this label Randomize allows our software to recognize your Visibility States when you use:

  • The shortcut keys for toggling through dynamic blocks (Q and E)
  • The Copy Along Polyline, Line, and Arc tools

 

 

 

Creating Additional Visibility States

 

Open the Visibility States Manager by clicking the Visibility button on the Block Editor ribbon.

 

 

 

You'll now see the available Visibility States for the selected block. (At this point, the block will likely only have one.)

 

 

Click New to add a new Visibility State.

 

 

 

In the New Visibility State dialog box, give the new Visibility State a name.

 

 

Make sure you've selected the bottom option, Leave visibility of existing objects unchanged in new state.

 

 

Click OK to save the new Visibility State.

 

 

 

 

Continue to add Visibility States by clicking New and naming them until you've created your desired number.

Each Visibility State, or variation, of your block will require its own name. Therefore, if you want to show 10 different Visibility States, you'll need 10 different names. You can name them as simple as 01 through 10 – it doesn't matter. Also, you can delete the Visibility State that is there already, or rename it to fit your desired naming structure.

 

 

 

When finished adding visibility states, click OK and use the pull-down menu to see all names you've just created.

 

 

 

Each of these Visibility States will provide a different view of your block when you place it in a drawing. (In our example, we've created 10 unique views of our block.)

 

 

 

Inserting the Versions of Your Block into the Block Editor

 

Place the block into a drawing using one of the following methods:

 

 

 

  • Using the AutoCAD Insert Command

 

 

 

You can now place or draw each version of the block that you'd like to include in the dynamic block.  

  • To place an existing and saved block, use the AutoCAD Insert command or our Plan Graphics tool.
  • To place a block from within another drawing, open a new tab in CAD, open that drawing, and copy the block into the Block Editor.
  • You can also simply draw new versions of the block within the Block Editor.

 

 

 

The example below shows our original block, along with the additional versions of the block that we've placed, copied, or drawn into the Block Editor.

 

 

When you place your dynamic block, you'll be able to toggle through and select any of these various versions of the block.

The number of blocks you place in this step should match the number of Visibility States you've created. If necessary, add or delete Visibility States so you have the same number of Visibility States as you have blocks placed in the Block Editor.

 

 

Assigning a Visibility State to Each View or Version of Your Block

This step will isolate each version of your block into a different Visibility State. Each of these Visibility States will become a different version of your block that you can toggle through when you place your dynamic block.

 

 

 

Select the top Visibility State from the pull-down menu to make it active.

 

 

Then click the Make Invisible button (pictured to the right).

 

 

 

The cursor will turn into a pickbox. Select all versions of the block that you don't want to see in the first Visibility State (as in the example below).

 

 

 

Select the next Visibility State from the pull-down menu, click the Make Invisible button, and hide all versions of the block you don't want to see in the second Visibility State (as in the example below).

 

 

 

Repeat these steps to assign a Visibility State to each block. If necessary, add or delete Visibility States so the number of blocks matches the number of Visibility States.

 

Now open each Visibility State and:

1 Move the block to the insertion point 0,0.

2 Explode the block so it only consists of linework. (Type Explode in the Command line, select the entire block, and press Enter.)

To keep this dynamic block as clean as possible, it should only be linework at this point – no blocks.

 

Saving Your Dynamic Block

Click the small arrow to the right of the words Open/Save on the left side of the Block Editor ribbon. A small menu will open. Select Save Block As from this menu.

 

 

 

 

The Save Block As dialog box will open. Give the dynamic block a name that follows your office's naming standards for other similar blocks.

 

 

Select the option to Save block definition to drawing file.

 

 

Then click OK to save the block.

Selecting the Save block definition to drawing file option will save your dynamic block to a completely fresh drawing. Therefore, it's crucial that you select this option when saving your dynamic block.

 

Save the block drawing to a temporary location on your computer, such as your desktop. We will need this file just long enough to insert it into a different drawing.

 

Open a new CAD file or an existing drawing, and insert the newly saved block.

 

Now use our Save Block tool to save the block into our blocks library as you would any other block. (For instructions, please see our Save Blocks page.)

 

Important: When saving your block into our system, you'll receive a prompt asking Rename the block in this drawing to match? Take care to click No, which will allow the block to behave correctly when you place it in a drawing.

 

If you plan to turn your dynamic blocks into Amenity (Object) Reference Notes, you'll need to save them within the PLAN_GRAPHICS folder structure in your LandFX folder.

 

Quickly Copying and Placing Dynamic Blocks

Want to place a line of dynamic blocks quickly? Our Copy along Line and Copy along Arc tools can alter Dynamic Blocks as they're placed.

Related Webinars

  • Dynamic Blocks: Dynamic Blocks add an element of variety to your plan without the need to edit the block or alter its definition. We'll show you how to create and use dynamic blocks, as well as how they work with our software. (57 min)
  • Working With Blocks: Take a broad look into the role of blocks within Land F/X and how to integrate your personal set of blocks into our system. (1 hour 4 min)
Last modified on Thursday, 24 October 2019 08:15
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