Join Shaun Bryant for an in-depth discussion in this video Using transparency in AutoCAD drawings, part of AutoCAD: Tips & Tricks.
- [Teacher] So here we are again in another AutoCAD Tip and Trick from Lynda.com. And as usual, we have a new drawing for you, which you can download from your Lynda.com exercise files. And we're going to be looking at the transparency settings that you can utilize in AutoCAD to your advantage. Now, as usual, it's a nice simple drawing, so I can demonstrate the technique without all of the constraints of a really busy construction or mechanical drawing. So we've got some very simple objects in our drawing.
We've got a hexagon right here, we've got a rectangle, and we've got a circle, like so. Now, obviously, what I'm going to do here is demonstrate how the transparency tools work really well in AutoCAD so that you can see one object that might be underneath another object, for example. Now you might think to yourself, whenever would I place one object on top of another? When you're hatching. For example, you might put a hatch pattern on top of a solid fill.
So what I've done is I've created some layers to that effect. So if you go to your Home tab on the ribbon, into your Layers panel, you'll notice here, we've got some layers. We've got Fill, we've got Hatch, we've got Objects. There's obviously a Titleblock and Viewports, but we're not using those. So I'd like you to make sure that you're on the Fill layer, like that. So you're on the gray fill layer. We're then going to go to the draw panel, up here, click on the flyout and select Hatch. Obviously, the ribbon changes to the hatch creation contextual tab, and what we're going to do is we're going to stick with Pick Points here, so I'm going to Pick Points there.
And my Hatch Pattern is a little bit squished, but I want you to go to your Hatch Pattern and select Solid, like so. And then we're going to place the hatch pattern. See, pick a point inside the hexagon and click. Press Enter to finish, and there's our hatch pattern in place, albeit a solid fill. So now we're going to go back to the Layers here. Change our layer to the Hatch layer, so we're going to use a hatch pattern this time. So we go back to the Hatch command.
And, this time, my hatch pattern I'm going to select is going to be ANSI31, the cross hatch. I'm going to hover over that there. You can't see anything at the moment. There's nothing showing at all. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to come in here, change my hatch scale to 25 and press Enter. And then I'm going to come in there, and I'm going to click in there, and there it is. Now, the reason I changed it to 25 was to make sure that we had decent gap between those hatch lines in the hatch pattern. So, I'm going to press Enter again to finish.
Now, the lovely thing about that is, that obviously, the draw order is working there, because the hatch pattern is on top of the solid fill. Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, draw order, what is he talking about? Let me show you something. If I select the hatch pattern, the lines, like so, obviously, the Hatch Editor comes up on the ribbon, just ignore that. And if I now right-click and come on to the Shortcut menu and go to Draw Order, and I send that hatch pattern to the back, it disappears, because it's now underneath the solid fill.
Now, sometimes, this happens. So you'll do a lovely hatch pattern, and then you'll put a solid fill on top by mistake, thinking that you're going to be able to see the hatch pattern through it. Now, in this case, because the draw order is set, with the hatch pattern at the back and the solid fill at the front, you can't see your hatch pattern anymore, which is a little bit annoying really, because you can't see it. It's kind of pretty, right? So, here's where the transparency comes in. If I select my solid fill pattern like that, you can see it there, it's the gray one.
Obviously the Hatch Editor tab comes up on the ribbon, and you'll notice, there is a hatch transparency. Now, this hatch transparency works in the hatch command. You can also make objects transparent as well, such as lines, polylines, and so on. And you can have one overriding the other. So if I change my hatch transparency here to say 50, like so, and press Enter, can you see it kind of goes a translucent kind of thing? If I now hit Escape, the nice thing is, I've got the solid fill in place, I've got the hatch pattern in place, and it highlights really well.
So, what you want to do is make sure that you utilize that transparency setting. You don't have to worry about draw order then. You know that your solid fills are 50% transparent, so you can basically make sure that any hatch patterns are visible, regardless of the draw order of the hatch pattern or the solid fill. It's a really, really nice feature in AutoCAD, and you can also do that with objects as well. Now, you can make sure that an object is transparent purely by selecting it here, like so, and if I now just right-click and go to Properties, on here, you'll notice, here, there's nothing about transparency, but if I want to make it transparent, I can in its properties.
So if I now go to View and bring up the Properties palette here like so, and if I just drag down over here, there we go. Can you see Transparency ByLayer? So if I change that there, I can change the transparency to, say, 50 and press Enter, and that transparency is changed. So I now close the Properties palette. Now I do now that the Properties palette has gone slightly off the top of the screen there. Don't worry, that's just the resolution of my screen, and it just means I can see the transparency bit a bit clearer.
So I'm now going to just jump off the top of the screen slightly just to close the Properties palette. If I hit Escape now, can you see that this one is a different color to this one? And that's because the transparency has kicked in, it's slightly transparent. So if I draw a line or anything else either above or below that, it will actually show up either underneath or on top. Now, that sounds kind of confusing, doesn't it? But, basically, you can make any object transparent so that you can see another line.
Let me show you what I mean. If I go to the Home tab now, and go to Layers here, I've got the Hatch layer, and it's red. So if I now just draw a line on the hatch layer, and I draw it from there to there, and just press Enter, I can see that red line because my green polyline is transparent. So that's really rather useful. I can have two objects coexisting, and I can see both of them because I've set the transparency at one of them to allow me to see the other one. So there's your transparency both in hatch and in drafting in AutoCAD.
Skill Level Intermediate
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