Power CADD is essentially a 2-D technical drafting package, designed for architects and engineers using the Macintosh operating system. It provides competent professional drafting capabilities within a user-friendly Macintosh interface that doesn't hamper your design capabilities (Figure 10.9). It also has enhanced color management capabilities, and added support for popular file formats as well as built-in direct translation for DesignWorkshop making for a powerful 2D/3D CAD combination for Macintosh design professionals.
PowerCADD tends to give the impression of a simple draw program, because it lets you use any font you want in your drawing. Photographs or scanned images for tracing maps are easily imported. Likewise, a drawing can have many layers which is like drawing on multiple sheets of clear acetate. Formatted tables from Microsoft Word or Excel can be imported with publish and subscribe. Recent PowerCADD releases have reference files to allow multiple designers to work on a single project. It also contains some interface refinements, and supports a 64-bit, double-precision internal calculations for increased accuracy and performance.
PowerCADD also differs from other CAD programs in the way it works and in the way that you interact with your drawing, by letting you work with your drawing and become completely connected with the drawing process. Unlike programs such as AutoCAD, PowerCADD's easy to learn, user-friendly features, together with the seamless, intuitive way that you work with the drawing, has made it popular among its users. With many other CAD programs, the process of drawing is linear, and each operation requires a series of steps that must be taken, and a determination made in advance of what the objective is. With PowerCADD, designers are able to make up their mind as they draw, by assisting, without getting in the way. An operator can draw with one hand on the mouse, and the other on the lower left corner of the keyboard, using the Shift key to constrain to snap angles or fixed offsets and dimensions.
Designers have an option to choose between PowerCADD's two main tool palettes,a combination of WildTools and PowerCADD that sets you free to draw with substantial power. WildTools basically takes the fundamental concepts of PowerCADD and adds many enhancements and refinements. Additionally, you can add plug-in tools and commands called Externals. These include the PowerDWG converter for direct translation to and from AutoCAD DWG format, Autodesk's DXF, JPEG, Encapsulated PostScript, ClarisCAD, and others.
PowerCADD is your drawing board, your drafting paper, and your drawing tools. How you arrange your world and how it works is your decision, your business. You have direct control over how command keys work for tools and commands, and you have complete flexibility to assign the command keys of your choice. Setting up is simple, allowing you to work with great rapidity. Drawing tools are used to create the lines, rectangles, circles and curves that make up the drawing. These are considered objects, and they behave like things that you can pick up and move around. You can select the objects, move them, duplicate and rotate them or put objects along a path. There are also tools for trimming, chamfers, and fillets, tools for text, with a built-in spell checker (Figures 10.10a, 10.10b).
Naturally, one can set pen weights and dash patterns with ease, and create hatch patterns with the ability to fill patterns, so that you can have colored textures for brick, stone, water, concrete, marble and many other materials. Even designing custom tool palettes is a simple task. Likewise, new colors can be created which can be added to the menu color palette, and which can later be modified if desired. These colors can be identified with numbers or text, according to popular color-matching systems. Indeed, an entire custom color palette can be created and saved for use on other drawings.
PowerCADD give you the ability to cover up portions of the drawing with white-filled objects, without having to cut and trim all of the objects in the drawing, and allows the use of non-printing guidelines and reference points in the drawing. You can do area and perimeter
calculations as you design, and you have advanced dimensioning tools, as well as the Dimension window to edit dimensions already placed in the drawing.
While in the drawing mode, the designer has a number of ways to view the drawing while allowing easy in and out movement, including the Overview window for a bird's-eye view of the drawing. The WildTools zooming feature (called Zoomer) also allows easy in and out movement, even while in the process of drawing.
Although PowerCADD is primarily a 2D program, it does offers some distinctive capabilities for three-dimensional depictions. Included with the PowerCADD package is a copy of DesignWorkshop Lite, a very useful solid modeling program, which also gives you the ability to save your PowerCADD drawing in DesignWorkshop format.
Symbol libraries are not difficult to create. Symbols can be placed in the drawing using the Symbol tool or the Symbol Palette. The package comes with a number of symbol available libraries, including the Landscape Library, Machinery Designer's Library, Color Portfolio, Architectural Images Library, Residential Construction Library, and the Architectural Delight Library. PowerCADD contains many other drawing tools and drafting aids, such as the Parallel Offset
tool, Door and Window placement tools, an Eyedropper tool, a Paint Bucket tool for filling areas of the drawing, S-Breaks and Long breaks. Selection discrimination allows you to select only the types of objects that you choose, be it rectangles or circles.
The Defaults window lets you set the attributes of tools or selected objects, offering you the choice of working on all layers or on the current layer only. The Status window can be used to adjust the nudge distance, change the drawing scale, or to change to the layer of a selected object. When finished, the drawing can be plotted on a pen plotter or printed it on a laser printer or large-format ink-jet plotter. The drawing can also be transmitted to a client or colleague in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
To maximize the power of PowerCADD's capabilities, you need WildTools external Pow-erDWG translator for direct translations to and from AutoCAD DWG files, and Professional Layer Manager to let you activate and make visible any layer—one at a time—while hiding the rest. Other options provided by Advanced Engineering Tools include S-blends, moments of inertia, and outlines of selected object. While everyone aspires to having beautiful drawings, at the end of the day it is productivity that really counts—how quickly you can get up to speed and how quickly you can draw. This is where the PowerCADD/WildTools combination reportedly comes into its own. It has the capability to do a simple sketch yet powerful enough to do the largest project. There are also a number of third party products that enhance, add to, or work with PowerCADD, including Color PRUF/3, RenderPAK, Detail Manager, Toboret, ADD Professional CAD Symbol Library, Design Workshop, and others.
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