Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

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Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Edson » Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:16 pm

I have tried many times to export files from Layout to dwg/dxf. it always fails: not a single line gets exported.

I followed some advice given in another thread but it did not help me. I am not AutoCad savvy. all I want is to export the line work for the people doing structures, etc. they will be accompanied by nice pdf files with the real stuff in them.

any advice?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Krisidious » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:08 am

Use Sketchup... Export linework from there.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Krisidious » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:19 am

Otherwise, I'm fairly certain that to get DWG from Layout you need to use all vector SU inserts.

  1. Go to Layout.
  2. make sure your model is a vector model in options.
  3. go to file>export>dwg/dfx.
  4. Pick a file name.
  5. choose DWG.
  6. choose one sheet or many.
  7. choose model space.
  8. scale of Full Size 1:1
  9. I choose create DWG/DXF layers from Layout Layers.
  10. everything else unchecked.
  11. Export.
You now should have linework in autocad. and text...
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:31 am

Krisidious wrote:
  1. make sure your model is a vector model in options.


I think Kris means the model tray...

Either vector or hybrid modes will get you the lines otherwise you'll only have an image exported and the big problem is that the image might be white against white background and all other lines might also be white against white background or black against black background.

The first thing I do when I open one of this cad files is zoom extents, (Double click wheel button)
Then select all geometry and make changes to layer colors.

Most ot the times things are there but you can't see them for strange properties configurations from LO to CAD... They should fix that.

You'll also have problems with text... They should fix that.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby juju » Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:31 pm

Would anybody be willing to upload a sample export (from layout) of work (in DWG + PDF) as would normally be communicated to engineers, etc.?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby juju » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:05 pm

juju wrote:Would anybody be willing to upload a sample export (from layout) of work (in DWG + PDF) as would normally be communicated to engineers, etc.?

Seriously? Nobody? I would like to use this file to guage what the information would be like (on the receiving end) that one circulates to other consultants if a SU+LO workflow was adopted.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby TIG » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:23 pm

Have you seen the several of Nick Sonder's videos on how to use SketchUp and Layout for CDs ?
Start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3xUOAicq-Y

And "The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiZ8OYqLv8w
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:26 pm

That would depend on a lot of things. The DWG file that is being exported from Layout will be geometrically correct, but the format will be wrong on texts, layers, colors, linestyles, linewidths. Pdf will be perfect as it is shown in Layout.

If you want a perfect DWG out of Layout you have to work on CAD after the export. If you want geometry that consultants can relate to, the CAD export from DWG is enough for most of them. If you want to plot from DWG after export directly, you shouldn't.

PDF export is for having exactly the same output that you would have from Layout. DWG is for... other stuff...
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby pbacot » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:42 pm

I don't use LO for this, except for elevations at present, but I do use another CAD app that is not AutoCAD and I know my files lack the full setup when I give dwg to engineers. There is no problem with this. They have all the background and dimensional information they need. They don't use much of my text etc. but adjust the linework for their documents. I usually give them pdf files as well for reference. You will not get a perfect dwg (or any other format) exchange if you aren't using the same application. It's only useful for one time one way.

As JQL says, you'd have to work on it afterwards to make it more AutoCAD freindly. I wouldn't waste time trying to make it perfectly compliant, but if you are coordinating in a large project, cleaning the file up in AutoCAD might not be a bad idea.

If you are further worried about fitting in--ditch SU and get Revit.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Edson » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:18 pm

TIG wrote:Have you seen the several of Nick Sonder's videos on how to use SketchUp and Layout for CDs ?
Start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3xUOAicq-Y

And "The SketchUp Workflow for Architecture": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiZ8OYqLv8w


yes, tig. i have seen those and all available videos. the problem is that i try to export from my layout files and when i open the dwg file there is nothing there. i am told there has to be some work in autocad for the to show but i wish this was more direct. i do not work with autocad and thus this next step becomes hard to do. i wish LO would export something immediately recognizable.

best regards
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Krisidious » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:42 pm

Did you try my process Edison?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby KrisM » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:46 pm

Edson,

The most obvious problems would be -

1) The linework is exported as black or white. Depending on the colour of the background in Autocad, it would appear that there are no lines but in fact they are there. Open the layer manager and change the colour of the layers that the lines are on.

or 2) The lines are off in the distance somewhere. Do a Zoom-All or Zoom Extents to see if the lines appear. #1 still applies to this instance.

The fact is that you will have do a little clean up in Autocad to make sure your file is useful to your consultants. This is not going to be a totally automatic process.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby juju » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:58 am

TIG:
I've watched all of Nick Sonder's videos, he seems to have sorted his system pretty well. I've also watched quite a few of Mike Brightman's videos, bought his book subsequently (I still need to read it though).

JQL:
I'm used to getting and sending PDF's and DWG's that are the same but the hatch/fill/text is a little messed up, all there, just messed up - the vector data is fine though (depending if the original was properly layered or not). I've been in the business for just about 20 years, so this part I understand, I just need to check and see what my consultants could expect when I send them information exported from SU+LO.

pbacot:
Fitting in is of much less importance than communicating efficiently, Revit is not an option to me at this point in time.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Edson » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:55 am

Krisidious wrote:Did you try my process Edison?

yes, kris. i did. but when i open autocad there seems to be nothing there. perhaps it is a problem of changing the color of the layer for them to appear. this i have to learn how to do. my aversion to autocad is so great that i know almost nothing about it. i obviuously must learn to do that.

by the way i abandoned autocad more than 20years ago when i discovered minicad, the former name of vectorworks.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby juju » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:42 pm

Edson:
I use Dassault Systemes Draftsight (free version) to view / convert AutoCAD files to the format required for the CAD software I use. It works well enough for that.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Krisidious » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:50 pm

I assume you used zoom extents to check zoom?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby Elibjr » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:31 pm

Ahh! Edson, If your AutoCAD background is black the inser will not show. I had this issue before. Go into your options menu in AutoCAD and under display in model space change the background color to something like a dark gray and try the process again. Make sure you import while in model space. Because the Sketchup lines are black, for some reason they DO NOT default to white when you insert the file into AutoCAD. It took me a while to figure this out! I hope that helps.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby RaulAvalos » Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:55 pm

That´s the anwer!!!! You have to change de background color in AutoCAD to get the lines.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:04 pm

Elibjr wrote:Because the Sketchup lines are black, for some reason they DO NOT default to white when you insert the file into AutoCAD. It took me a while to figure this out! I hope that helps.


All layout exports are not colored by layer. Every entity has a single color that corresponds to the color set in Layout. If your line is black in layout it will be black in Sketchup.

In theory you could change all entities to color by layer in you CAD file, however if you have a lot of CAD files this is, to say the least, painful. I have tried to switch every entity color to by layer and also tried to fix every layer's color to a standard. But I've given up doing that because the moment you need to update your exports, you'd have to redo everything... it's absolutelly pointless!

So switching background to white is the easiest turn around.

But this poses a question that will probably hinder you later:

CAD defaults to black background, and you are probably going to share your drawings with consultants.

Most of them will have black backgrounds and probably will not understand what's going on either. This will mean trouble, as you'll be the cause of the little grain that get's in the cog ruining all the clock. On small projects this might be easy to control as teams are small and usually picked by you. But if you want to use Sketchup in bigger projects, you'll have to figure out a way to do it.

Now you can think that entities like lines and dimensions or leaders are probably not that hard to fix if you really need to... so problem solved with a few more hours work... but what about texts?

Texts are even more troublesome:

- In CAD's standards you have a global text style and a color set by layer.
- Layout exports most texts creating a global style too...

BUT:
- Each single text entity is a Mtext, Layout makes no distinction between Mtext and dtext;
- Each Mtext entity has a global style too;
- However each character inside an Mtext has got it's style overriden;
- This is not nice;
- Funny enough is that every text is also justified left. This should be overriden and it's not.
- So if you change global style in a CAD file, you change nothing in your display;
- You'll have to edit each single mtext to change the color of all the characters inside it to Color By Layer;
- You'll also have to change Text Font to By Style;
- And only then can you change Your CAD's text Style's font and color, affecting all texts in the model...
- Then you'll have to fix every text justification;
- You can also think of exploding all mtext into dtext wich will facilitate things.
- But if you actually have a style or color override that you want inside your texts it will be lost.

The thing is that exploding or not exploding, you have to ignore your Layout text color, style and justification issues, ignore your consulting teams complaints or simply have an insane amount of lost time fixing CAD exports... it's your call.

Layout workflow is not so good, but Sketchup's workflow clearly pays uppon that, making Sketchup+Layout combo the best you can get for designing purposes...

So I've chose to ignore consultants complaints, but with bigger clients knocking at my door, I'm absolutelly sure, that I will have to ditch Layout for good... all because of CAD exports... It's a bit stupid!

The issue seems low priority so that's probably why Trimble still hasn't tackled it properly, however this is a major hinderance on using Sketchup+Layout for a proper Architectural workflow.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby sonder » Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:46 pm

Are you exporting as paper space? That is the key, and making sure your consultant selects paper space. Then everything is there. I coordinate all the time with surveyors, civil and structural engineers without issue. The key is paper space.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:18 pm

No, I'm exporting to model space. But that's where the model is supposed to be.

I dont understand why would it be better in paperspace. Would it be because of the deafault white background?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby sonder » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:18 am

JQL wrote:No, I'm exporting to model space. But that's where the model is supposed to be.

I dont understand why would it be better in paperspace. Would it be because of the deafault white background?


In Layout, everything exists in what is effectively the equivelant of paper space. You can also export the Sketchup model as DWG in either 2d or 3d, to replace the raster image that is exported from layout in paper space. The Sketchup model is exported in the effective equivelant of model space.

Give it a try. Since I've done it this way, all my consultants have no issues at all.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:38 am

I understand what you're trying to say.

Are all your texts left aligned in Layout?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby sonder » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:34 pm

JQL wrote:I understand what you're trying to say.

Are all your texts left aligned in Layout?


Most are left aligned, some centered and some right.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:10 pm

I'm having some trouble with paperspace as I need to xref my drawings for doing "demolished vs new" drawings.

Apart from the background being white I see the same issues...

Probably text makes more sense as they might be at correct scale, but they still have a style overriding global style, they are still off place, slightly off, or not on the right place on leaders, dimension texts over dimension lines are still not as they should, etc...

Linestyles are still impossible to read and entities are still neither styled by layer nor colored by layer.

And juxtaposed viewports in hybrid mode, are simply... not working. Sketchup is exporting a PNG image for every viewport and juxtaposing it on top of each other. This works in Layout as PNG's have transparency but not in CAD where PNG's alpha isn't working right and the PNG background Layout sets up is black.

What Layout should do is merge images that are juxtaposed so they are exported as a single image.

At the very least, Layout could assign a white background to PNG's as Layout's DWG exports only work on white backgrounds. This way we could send images to back, and they would work as a background no matter you exported to model space or to paper space, and the raster information from our sketchup projects would be handy in CAD...

Bottomline, Paperspace or Modelspace, both are too unuseable for me. I still think it's easier for me to use Model space as at least I can XRef my CAD files.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time Nick. All the best and good luck on your book!

Are you using some custom text?
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby sonder » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:49 pm

I use simple Arial. I used to use AvantGarde, but it causes issues as well. The font you are using may be a cause for text alignment as well. If they do not have the font, then alignment with leaders will be off depending upon which text is used to replace it.

I don't use hybrid mode. The benefit of using vector linework is the ACAD export is perfect. Only the raster viewport exports as an image.

So far no issues with Surveyors, Civil Engineers, Sprinkler designers Etc.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:37 pm

Sonder wrote:I use simple Arial.

...

The benefit of using vector linework is the ACAD export is perfect.


Yup! I imagined you'd say that!

What I do is erase the exported images... I get the vector lines and it's easier than rendering everything in vector inside layout. I use hatches inside walls a lot in my workflow.

In what concerns Typefaces, I also considered using standard fonts, but I usually prefer not to. (Even if I know CAD exports fail.)

I simply use 2 perfect type fonts that are not standard. One of them is great for writing on top of drawings. The second is all capitals.

The fact is that I use those two fonts for everything in my office...

I prefer a bad CAD export than not having those on my Construction docs and all other stuff I do.

However CAD export should be flawless as PDF's are.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby aikibrown » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:56 am

I would agree with most here. The task of providing dwg format drawings for consultants, although workable is far from perfect and really needs to be addressed by Trimble.

The following process works for me:

1. Before exporting from layout, ensure all viewports are reset to vector rendering. There is no point using the Hybrid render setting. I found that hatches and textures
Created in Su or the raster hatching in LO will not be exported in a format that can be editable or of any use in CAD. Therefore, consultants receive a usable dwg but with no hatching. This is not ideal, but they can refer to the full pdf version.

2.In LO switch off the layers containing the title sheet line-out and title sheet text. I have instead created a standard CAD dwg template with title sheet, layers, line width and colouring already set up.

3. In LO, export drawing to paper space in dwg format.

4. Open the exported dwg file in Draftsight. Then cut an paste the drawing papers pace entities into the separate template dwg file and save as a new drawing. In paper space my background colour defaults to white and so all drawing entities are visible.

5. Select all drawing entities and change their properties. Set colour to default white or black so that visibility is ensured regardless of CAD background colour.

6. Now I simply move all line work into model space and scale to full size. Tip-Draw a couple of lines in paper space as reference points for positioning new viewports. Turn off all layers containing dimensions, leader lines and text. Then select all that remains visible in paper space and hit Ctrl x. Switch to model space and hit Ctrl V. All your line work should now appear in model space. Use the scale command to make everything full size in model space.

7.Switch back to paper space and create viewports as required, scaling and positioning them using the reference marker lines that you Hopefully left in paper space. Turn back on all the layers containing text, dimensions and leader lines. Leaving these in paper space is less of a headache than trying to rescaled them in model space.

This process takes me about 10 mins per drawing but gives consultants a usable drawing. And saves countless phone calls and emails asking how to sort out problems with drawing formatting. Yes, it is tiresome on large projects and has to be repeated for drawing revisions but I'm all ears if there is a quick method.

Hope that helps some.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby JQL » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:38 pm

I simply export from Layout and erase the Images Folder from the CAD location. No need to change from hybrid to vector.

Also, if you use only left justified text on Layout and vector graphics for your logos your export will mostly work without the need for having it pasted into a CAD template file.

It will never be perfect and the background must be white, but it's passeable.

People that afford loosing time modelling their projects to be solids should really think of exporting using skalp.
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Re: Layout to DWG/DXF: can it really be done?

Postby sonder » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:39 pm

The way I have been doing it works fine for all my consultants. I don't get any calls or issues, so I'm not sure what you folks are running into? Here are my steps:
1. Create an "ACAD" folder that has sub-folders based upon drawing type exported....floor plans, elevations etc. Inside those folders are sub-folders labeled Mspace and Pspace. You only do this once and re-use the format for all projects.
2. Export .DWG from layout to the appropriate Pspace folder.
3. Export .DWG from Sketchup of your scenes to the appropriate Mspace folder.

This gives your consultant an organized export of each plan type. A typical project can be exported in about 10-15 minutes.
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