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Join Jeff Bartels as he covers the most important features of this industry-standard drafting and design application in AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training. This course begins with a tour of AutoCAD's interface and the tools used to create basic shapes. It then focuses on the methods used to modify and refine geometry while emphasizing accuracy and good habits to build a solid design foundation. The course covers using layers, line types, and colors to organize a drawing file and explains how to efficiently annotate a design and prepare it for final output. Throughout the title, Jeff shares industry techniques used in production and reinforces concepts using practical examples. Exercise files are included with the course.
Probably the most compelling reason to use blocks is that they can be redefined if necessary. By simply changing the geometry of one of the blocks, every other instance of that block will automatically update. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to redefine a block. On my screen I have a site plan for a proposed restaurant and there are several blocks in this file. These tress were created using blocks, as were the cars, these tables and these doors. In this example, we're going to focus on the trees. Let's say I wanted to colorize this exhibit.
Normally we colorize a drawing by filling everything with various colors of solid-fill hatch. Now, I'm sure you would agree it would be very time consuming if we had to hatch each of these trees individually. Fortunately, we don't have to do that. Since these trees are blocks, I can modify the block definition and all of the trees will update automatically. Let's add some color to these ornamental trees. To redefine a block, all you have to do is double-click on it. This brings up a dialog box where I can confirm the Block that I want to modify, I'll click OK and then AutoCAD brings up the Block Editor.
This allows me to jump into the Block itself and get access to the individual components. Notice the new Block Editor tab and the additional tools. Also notice the model space background color has changed. This is so that I don't forget that I'm in the Block Editor. Now, the Block Editor can do a lot of things. We can add special grips to modify the Block shape. we can apply Parameter Constraints, we can also create multiple Visibility states. For right now, we're just going to make some simple changes to the geometry. I'd like to start by erasing some of this line work.
So, I'm going to set the Home tab current, and I'll launch the Erase command, I'll select this geometry and this extra circle. Now, I'll hatch this remaining shape. To do that I'll launch the Hatch command and then I'll click the Pattern fly-out and let's kill two birds with one stone. Let's take a look at the gradient fill hatch as well. I'm going to select Gradient Spherical and I can see the colors of my Gradient right here. I'm going to click the Blue fly- out, and I'll change this to Green.
Then I'll come down and I'll click to turn off the Centered toggle and when I do watch this preview, notice my second gradient color is no longer centered and if I wanted to, I could further refine this by dragging the Angle slider, I'm going to set this back the way it was. This will give me the appearance of a light source being cast down from above. Since I'm happy with my settings, I'm going to place my cursor inside the shape and I'll click, and then I'll press the Enter key to accept the hatch. This is exactly how I want my revised block to look.
So, I'm going to go back to the Block Editor, I'll come down and click Close and then I'll click to save my changes, and notice that each instance of that block has been updated in the drawing. Redefining a block is one of the biggest time savers in AutoCAD. If you have the foresight to create blocks for your repeated geometry, making global changes later can be done in seconds instead of hours.
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