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101: First Steps with Land F/X

Jan 10, 2020
Video Length:  1:01:26
Presented By:  Amanda Berry

Everybody needs to start somewhere. We'll give you the tools you need to begin your journey of mastering the Land F/X plugins for AutoCAD and F/X CAD. You'll learn what Land F/X is, how and why it works, and how you can navigate through your first steps. We'll even provide an example plan, which you can download and follow along. These tips are ideal for new firms or new hires, although please note that we recommend having some knowledge of AutoCAD basics.

Webinar Contents:

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.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • What is Land F/X?
  • Start with Your DWG Drawing
  • Units vs. Scale
  • Using Smart Projects
  • A Practical Example

0:00 – 3:34: Intro/TOC

3:35 – 18:15: What is Land F/X?

Big Picture (3:35):

  • Land F/X gives you new tools inside your existing AutoCAD installation.
  • Every tool is user requested and user tested. It will work for you too!
  • Every tool simplifies a tedious or difficult task, saving you hours to days on any size project.

 

The three parts of Land F/X (4:50):

With Land F/X, you get the power to connect your platform with:

  • A content library: A LandFX folder containing blocks and locally created content).
  • A database that contains information about each object.
  • New commands, such as instant labeling, that connect content to data.

 

How it’s connected (7:10):

  • A serverless shared online folder (using Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.), or
  • A local office server with the LandFX content folder

 

Content library (9:00)

Our content library contains 30,000+ blocks and hatches across the software (irrigation, site, planting, details, manufacturers, 3D), with more content being added constantly by our team for yours. You can also add your own – make your own content smart.

  • Content is stored in an office library folder – the LandFX folder.
  • Just you and a desktop? Keep the LandFX folder on your computer.
  • 2 or more users? Keep the LandFX folder on a shared network drive or shared online folder.

  • All licenses are floating.

 

Database (11:40)

The database contains all the smart information, such as plant sizes, spray head data, detail name and number, aggregate type and depth, and office style standards.

The database is either on:

  • An office server, or
  • Cloud Data (recommended) – this option works great with an online content folder. Benefits:
    • No extra cost
    • Fast connection
    • Reliable backups
    • Little to no downtime
    • Easier technical support
    • High security
    • More power to share data

 

New commands (13:40)

  • F/X ribbons are added to AutoCAD via the Workstation installer (setup64.exe).
  • Easy installer adds the tools and connects AutoCAD to the content LandFX folder and the database for you.
  • It’s easy to learn, and everything can undo.

 

Each command helps with:

  • Automating long, tedious, and common tasks.
  • Making scale easy.
  • Counting quantity for you.
  • Checking for errors and helping you fix them.
  • Enforcing office standards.

 

Recap of understanding Land F/X (15:47):

  • Store content in easier-to-organize folders.
  • Put information into the database (plant species, paver type, notes).
  • Land F/X commands combine the two in your drawing, along with automating tasks.

 

Our technical support team and contact info (16:50)

 

A few client testimonials (17:20)

 

18:16 – 33:29: Start with Your DWG Drawing

Ideal drawing setup for using Land F/X (19:20)

 

Choosing a measurement system, opening a base file, and cleaning it (20:19)

It’s extremely important to clean these and other files, in order to prevent corruption and potentially decrease file size while increasing file speed.

 

Our drawing cleanup tools, including the Nuke tool (22:35)

 

Running the Nuke tool to clean a drawing (23:30)

Be careful using Nuke on your own drawings, or avoid it altogether. Nuke is intended primarily for drawings you receive from others.

 

It’s a good idea to close AutoCAD after Nuking a file – corruption can leak from a corrupted file to a new file within the same instance of AutoCAD being open.

 

Verifying  the units in the base file (24:50)

 

Creating a drawing template to use with Land F/X (26:20)

 

Bringing in a file as an External Reference (Xref) using our FXREF tool (28:30)

 

Selecting a paper size and centering the viewport (31:30)

 

Preparing the file for plotting (32:10)

 

Tool tips that appear when you hover on any tool button (32:20)

33:30 – 38:59: Units vs. Scale

Setting the scale (33:30)

 

Placing a scale bar and a north arrow in the drawing (35:30)

 

Plotting the drawing using our default CTB file (36:50)

39:00 – 47:04: Using Smart Projects

Opening our documentation by the Help flyout option from any of our ribbons (39:30)

 

Our Land F/X Trainer (40:30)

 

Submitting a technical support ticket (41:10)

 

Working with Land F/X data (41:41)

 

How Land F/X projects work (42:00)

Organizing your projects (44:10)

 

Creating a new project, giving it a unique number, selecting a Preference Set, and setting a detail folder (44:50)

 

The Project Manager – your main hub for each project (46:20)

47:05 – end: A Practical Example

Working with Concept Graphics (47:05)

 

Adding data to a project (example: creating a new Concept Node to show prevailing wind direction) (47:45)

 

Placing smart objects (example: placing a Concept Node) (50:00)

 

Running a schedule (50:30)

 

Land F/X and layers (51:00)

 

Importing items from other projects (52:50)

 

Restoring from a backed-up project (54:00)

 

Question: Can Land F/X color symbols be customized? (56:10)

Answer: Yes, it’s possible. However, the process is somewhat involved, and the symbol selector won’t actually show your custom slide as of webinar time. We recommend instead just letting us know what you had in mind, and we can put it on our list of plants to add.

 

Our client-centered approach to software development: Let us know what you’re looking for, and our team just might be able to add not only that item but thousands of versions of it. (58:10)

 

Additional questions and answers:

Question: What do you best recommend for multi-office locations in terms of having a shared server across a country?

Answer: Definitely a shared online folder using something like Dropbox. That, in conjunction with Cloud Data.

 

Question: How do I get the content library?

Answer: The content downloads automatically as you select blocks/hatches/etc.

 

Question: What about when there is no Internet available, which is most common in the field and in certain areas of my state?

Answer: We recommend tethering to your cell phone in those cases.

 

Question: I can’t tether to my cell phone. Cell coverage is often bad and intermittent, and what about data usage issues?

Answer: You can use Local Data in that case.

 

Question: I periodically work from home on my AutoCAD 2020. How can I take advantage of Land F/X from home in this situation? Right now Land F/X is installed on a company server at the office.

Answer: You can install on your home computer. In that case, it will be ideal to use Cloud Data, so you’ll be looking at the same project data as the office.

 

Question: Does there happen to be a webinar on Cloud Data?

Answer: Here you are.

 

Question: When using plant symbols, is there an easy way to use one type of symbol (more graphic) for preliminary design and design development vs. more simplified symbols for construction documents all in one shot?

Answer: One thing you can do is assign your simple construction symbols, and use the color symbols for your more graphically pleasing ones. This way, the Colorization feature can toggle the symbols back and forth.

 

Question: We're a new company installing Land F/X and we're wanting to do everything locally. Do you have documentation regarding setting up a local install? Will blocks still be updated automatically, or do we have to download them and update blocks manually in the LandFX folder?

Answer: The following documentation page discusses Local Data: https://www.landfx.com/kb/installation-help/plugins/item/3003-cloud-data.html You will still need Internet access to connect to our cloud libraries and download content. That will all download automatically to your LandFX folder, and subsequently be accessed from there.

 

Question: Can you please publish a cheat sheet for the cleanup process?

Answer: Right here.

 

Question: The webinar mentioned only using cleanup for consultant DWGs. However, I have some older projects created in AutoCAD 14, 2002, and Draftsight 2018/2019 etc.If I want to use those as a base plan or edit for future projects, do I need to do a cleanup? Sounded like maybe not?

Answer: Correct, probably not. The big issues with drawing cleanup are Proxy Objects and RegApps. AutoCAD has a Proxy Notice dialog – make sure you have that turned on, to ensure your drawings don’t have excessive proxies. And Land F/X has a notice to warn you of excessive RegApps.

 

Question: I have been using AutoCAD since version 12, and I still don’t know what a proxy is. Can you explain? And why it is an issue?

Answer: A proxy is a way of adding additional and/or smart objects into a drawing. It was created to be have more capability than Extended Entity Data, which Land F/X uses. Proxies require having the related code files installed, to even view the objects. So they are very “heavy” from a programming standpoint, and require all this additional code to load. Making this worse, there are several very notable bugs from the 2007 proxy libraries that apparently Autodesk is not interested in addressing. So you can open a file that might have thousands of these 2007 version proxies (because users just kept copying files over and over, and the proxies multiplied each time). Then these buggy code libraries also load, which can bog down the drawing, and even break simple commands such as Insert. Long story short, it is fine to have some proxies in a drawing – for instance, in a Civil drawing. But the clutter of literally 13+ years of proxies can clog up a drawing, rendering it useless. Hence the need for cleaning.

 

Question: Is there a reference doc for the Land F/X CTB file?

Answer: Take a look at our line colors documentation.

 

Question: Does Land F/X have templates available to set up DWGs with common layers, or is there a list of standard DWG names, etc. Setting up your own templates takes a lot of time which one never seems to have with “projects due yesterday.”

Answer: We instead recommend using our Layer States feature.

 

Question: Does the Nuke tool explode and flatten any 3D drawings provided by consultants?

Answer: It does not.

 

Question: Is there an easy way to change all symbols say from detailed for design vs. simple for construction documents – especially plant symbols?

Answer: This would be best.

 

Question: With LandFX folder on a shared office server, can actual job folders be in a different place from the LandFX folder?

Answer: Yes of course! Please don’t store files in the LandFX folder!

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