Using custom blocks is a great way to create drawings that are striking and unique. But you’re not limited to just AutoCAD’s tools to create these blocks. We’ve formulated a workflow that incorporates Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator along with AutoCAD to create custom block content. Join us as we walk you through the process of transforming an image into a polished, optimized, and unique block for your library.
Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)
- Introduction and Information on Blocks
- Preview of Today’s Workflow (Today’s Goals)
- Create an Elevation Tree Block
- Guide to Color Render Plant Block
0:00 – 2:37: Intro/TOC
2:38 – 6:18: Introduction and Information on Blocks
Blocks and Land F/X (2:38)
Land F/X uses blocks for the majority of its content. (2:38)
Layer setup (2:57)
- LK=Landscape Block
- Following LK- is the name of the block type.
- The layer suffix is the object on that layer.
Examples of Land F/X layer name suffixes (3:50)
Block files (4:12)
Our default block files start with the prefix LAFX-
In the blocks folder, you should find 3 files for each block:
- SLD or JPG for Color Render symbols
3 tips for success (4:43):
- Create simple shapes with solid boundaries to ease with coloring the block.
- Linework should only be composed of polylines, arcs, and circles.
- Imagine what size the block will actually be viewed at. Does the amount of detail within make sense?
Example of a block that may have too much detail (5:40)
6:19 – 12:09: Preview of Today’s Workflow (Today’s Goals)
Goal #1: Take a photograph of a tree and, without drawing any lines in CAD, create an AutoCAD block (6:19)
Workflow preview – Adobe Photoshop (6:55):
1. Clean up and simplify the image using Photoshop.
- Use layer filters to simplify.
- Remove unwanted elements.
- Draw a simple trunk with branches.
2. Use Illustrator to further simplify and create a DWG file.
- Use Image Trace to turn the image into a vector graphic.
- Export Trace results to a DWG.
3. Set up our drawing in AutoCAD.
- Drawing Units
- Scale objects
- Clean Export
4. Optimize the block in AutoCAD.
- Separate the different hatches.
- Create boundaries for each.
- Remove hatches.
- Change splines to poly lines.
- Simplify poly lines.
- Replace hatches.
- Recompile all elements.
- Set up layers.
Goal #2: Color Render plant block: Wrap up by demonstrating proper Color Render plant block creation. (11:12)
Color Render plant blocks: notes (11:38)
We will be updating our Color Render blocks soon.
If you’d like to contribute your style to the Land F/X library, you can!
Send us your color symbols.
12:10 – 53:54: Create an Elevation Tree Block
Opening the image for the block in Photoshop and creating a new layer (12:57)
Adding a filter (example: Cutout filter) (13:30)
Adding a Gaussian blur (15:40)
Creating a white background and cleaning up the image (17:24)
Saving the Photoshop file as a PNG (19:24)
Opening the PNG file in Illustrator (20:25)
Tracing the image (Image Trace) (21:10)
Saving the Illustrator file as a DWG (24:47)
Setting the units and scaling the block (26:00)
Creating a Clean Export of the file (27:10)
Exploding the block (28:09)
Separating out the hatches within the block (28:50)
Generating a boundary around each hatch (37:25)
Removing the hatches from the boundaries (39:20)
Converting all splines into polylines (40:00)
Simplifying the linework with the POLYSIMPLIFY command (41:30)
Cleaning away small unneeded remnants of linework (42:30)
Recompiling all items into the block using the AutoCAD Hatch tool (43:55)
Applying our layer standards to the block (47:00)
Making lines nonplot (47:50)
Creating a print preview of the block (49:10)
Saving the block into the LandFX/Blocks folder using our Save Block tool (49:58)
53:55 – end: Guide to Color Render Plant Block
Saving the current layer settings in a Layer State (54:30)
Overview of our color plant layers (55:20)
Moving objects and linework in the block to the corresponding color layers (56:10)
Adding color to the block using our Site Color tool (57:10)
Adding a shadow to the color block (58:10)
Creating a print preview of the color block (1:01:53)
Question: With this technique, can we use the Site Color tool to change the colors of the tree? (1:02:26)
Answer: Yes. You can use Site Color change the colors in the block while creating it, or even after you’ve placed the block in a drawing. (Just keep in mind that if you turn off the color and then turn it back on, the block will revert to its default color scheme.)
Have color plant blocks you want to send us to add to our libraries? You can email them to us at Submissions@LandFX.com