Let’s start to take a look at Alias Sketch for AutoCAD. The screen captures are from a beta version, so it may vary upon release.
First thing we’ll do is take a look at the workspace. Alias Sketch works in AutoCAD’s Paper Space, and instead of traditional Viewports, we’ll use the concept of Canvas, just like in any image editor.
Once you have an active canvas, you can start working with brushes. As you can see in the image below, the brushes react to different pressure with a tablet, so I encourage you to try one of these devices. The price has dropped, and you can find a great tablet for around 100 dollars. Actually, all I’m doing in the videos that will be part of these posts, is with a Wacom Bamboo, which is the cheapest of all. I also use a Cintiq, but the one I carry everywhere is the Bamboo, which is extremely portable.
As usual in other image editors, we have different brushes, like you can see in the Ribbon. In this case, check what you can do with the Marker.
Let’s check some of the Ribbon panels in the Alias Sketch tab (which appears as soon as you install the plug in).
The Workflow Panel is the one that controls the options for Canvas and Desktop. Speaking in AutoCAD lingo, you should think each canvas like a viewport, that can be activated, and then, whatever you do happens in that specific viewport. The main difference is that the canvas is not essentially a representation of the model space, but a place for editing images or sketching. In following posts we’ll see that we can access the model space through the canvas, but let’s go step by step.
The option Active Canvas lets you select which existing canvas in the desktop will you edit.
New Canvas is quite obvious. Once you select that option, AutoCAD will prompt you to draw a rectangle, just like when doing a new viewport.
New Canvas from Image lets you select a bitmap and start a canvas from here. This is an ideal scenario when you want to start to edit an image.
Resize Canvas deals with the size of the canvas. We’ll explore that option in a following post.
The next panel in the Alias Sketch tab is called Selection. It has two options, called Region and All. Select All will select the whole canvas (and will act on a specific layer of the canvas). It is important to clarify that every time I refer to layers, I’m not talking about traditional AutoCAD layers, but about layers of images in the canvas. That’s why what is normally called Layer Browser in image editing applications, here it is called Canvas Browser.
If you select the Region option, you will notice a change in the Editor (see image). The Editor is a context sensitive palette, so you will notice that its functionality changes according to the active command.
There are several options for selection, and you may know them all from other image editors.
You have different methods for selection, such as Rectangle, Ellipse, Polyline, Lasso and Magic Wand. Depending on the selection you want to do, you will choose different options. We’ll refer to them in detail in other posts, with specific examples.
The modes within the editor are three. You have the Replace Mode, the Add Mode and the Remove Mode. Replace Mode will deselect anything you have selected in the screen, and replace it with the new selection. Add Mode will add the new selection to the previous one, while Remove Mode will subtract from the previous selection.
Action contains two options, which are Deselect and Invert. Deselect will remove any selection you have on screen, while Invert will make an inversion in the selection. Maybe your scene has a rectangular floor plan and its environment, and you select this shape with the Rectangle option. Now, what you really want is to operate on everything else but the rectangle, so you will invert the selection. Smart selections will make you work really fast!
Too much information for one day J In next post, I’ll cover the Canvas Browser and go through an example of 2d compositing using three images.