It is my goal to share any ideas that will make using Raster Design easier & more productive.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tag... You're it!!!

There's this thing going around where CAD people are playing tag. I've been taged by R. K. McSwain.

Let's see if I can come up with 5 things you guys don't know about me.
1. I graduated from high school with the dream of becoming a nurse. Wait a minute! I normally follow the tracks of my brothers. None of the three brothers are nurses. What's this all about? One works for a municipal electric company as a crew chief. One is a rancher. One teaches high school drafting & computer applications. I'm going to nursing school?
2. Nursing school started out as all books. Not working for me, so I go into electronics repair at a tech school. One of the classes was drafting for electronics. That's a little closer to where one brothers is working. The drafting teacher let me borrow his drafting table. I fell in love with drafting. I finished the training in electronics while starting a minor (in a tech school?) in drafting.
3. Electronics training & gender got me a job as an instrument tech in a suture factory. They wanted a female in a predominantly male profession for the job. I went in with a chip on my shoulder to do a job with serious training & ended up doing work an 8 year old could do. Boring, not happening.
4. Ended up moving back to Mom's house where there is no job market. Nothing better to do, so I become a volunteer firefighter. The fire department paid my way through EMT school, landing me doing work at the local hospital & ambulance service. The respiratory therapist wanted me to train for that job, so I did. Why not? Steady job & something to do. Decided to get married, so moved & went to work as a respiratory therapist here.
5. Hated hospital politics & 12 hour shifts. Husband said it was obvious that I was unhappy, so I should quit. What would I do without a job? He said he didn't know or care, but he wanted me to quit. I remembered my interest in drafting & went to a different branch of the tech school mentioned above & got a drafting certificate. After a little experience on different short term jobs, then 2 years of not being able to find a job, I started my own business. 2 weeks later I signed a contract & have been on this contract for over 7 years.

Now... Who do I tag? Stay tuned & I'll let you know.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I just received a question that I thought would make a good topic.
"Does anyone know how to "stipple" shade a drawing to be used in a design patent? I've heard of using a vector merge and RPENS, but i am unfamiliar with Raster Design. thanks! "

I've never used this, but can see where it could come in handy for shading. If you can find a hatch pattern or design in AutoCAD that you like, you can apply it as a vector pattern over the top of an image then use IVMERGE to turn it into a part of the raster image. RPENS tells Raster Design how many pixels wide the line should be. I normally use 3 pixels as a size, but for stippling, you may want to try it with different settings.

To start with, draw an outline over the image for the pattern, then hatch it as normal. You will not want associative hatch if you don’t want the border to become part of the image. You can either type RPENS, or the pull-down menu. If you use the menu, go to Image > Merge > Configure Raster Pens. Under Pen Width, start with the number 3, & select the radio button for Pixels.

Next, select the hatch pattern, then type IVMERGE in the command line, or for the menu, go to Image > Merge > Vector to raster.

I hope you find this to be helpful.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I've recently had the opportunity to spend a week at AU in Vegas. It was a totally awesome experience. I don't normally use the word "awesome" because I want to maintain the original meaning, but it fits the occasion. This was my 7th AU, & I honestly feel it is worth the cost. Problem is there are many Autodesk product users who live in the UK, & can't take advantage of this event. Because of that, a group of us are working to put a similar event together in that region of the world. To make that happen, some of my friends have a website dedicated to the efforts of this endeavor. If you would like more information, go to Feel free to look around because I feel there is something there for most everyone. There is a new feature called WicCadpedia. Keep this tool in mind as a reference for all things Autodesk. It is in a building process, but then again, so is everything else pertaining to computers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Quick reminder...

If for any reason you have to uninstall programs, remember last in, first out. Always uninstall Raster Design before uninstalling the base CAD programs. If you don't, you will have a confused computer that refuses to let you uninstall the base program.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

AUGI ATP class

If you aren't a member of Autodesk User's Group International, aka AUGI, you might want to look into it. Membership is free. Go to We have discussion groups to help with answering questions & learning neat tricks for many of the programs Autodesk has. Not only that, it is a support group unlike any other. We also have classes that might interest you. They are called ATP classes for Autodesk Training Program. Don't let the price tag of $0.00 fool you. These classes are created by the people who use the programs, not someone who can read a book to you. In case you're interested, I will be teaching a class on Raster Design during the month of October. Check out the website now & see what we have to offer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm back..... I think.

I've been on the road & out of pocket for quite a while. One of my adventures was Autodesk University in Orlando, FL. It was filled with great people & great classes. There were about 5600 attendees & about 400 classes to choose from.

Since this is geared toward Raster Design, I'll tell you a little about the RD classes. There are classes from the absolute beginner to the most advanced users. The presenters are great. Felecia Provencal had classes geared toward people who have never used the program through people with experience, but want to see what features they are missing. Gary Stephenson taught classes geared for all levels of users. Some classes taught by Gary & Mathews Mathai were more for GIS users. There were also some labs for hands-on training.

We stay super busy, but leave with so much information & a ton of new friends. This was my 6th AU, & I plan to be at the next one which will be held in Las Vegas, NV. If you want to start planning for next year, put it on your calendar for the week after Thanksgiving. Autodesk always goes over the top to make sure it's an experience you will never forget.

I highly recommend Autodesk University.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Reminders & Gotcha's

I thought it would be good to have some notes & reminders of some RD gotcha’s.

Most of my work is with black lines on a white background, but I also like to use this package for photo editing. I like to look for ways to push this program to see what it will do. Most of my tips will be geared toward the black & white, known to RD as bitonal images. Something that can be a gotcha here is the difference in scanners. You can scan a white page with black lines on a color scanner & RD thinks it’s a color image. So what if it only has 2 colors. For basic linework, a monochrome scanner is the way to go. It makes smaller files & is much easier to edit.

Most of my scanning is done at a resolution of 300 dpi. That keeps the images from becoming memory hogs, but still workable. The only time I would recommend the really high resolutions is if you’re scanning small photos for enlargement - like wallet size printed as a poster. Smaller resolution makes it tougher to pick out lines & details.

Speaking of file types & sizes, I’ve gotten questions about the difference between JPG & TIF files, as well as others. My main experience is narrowed to these two. Which is the best format for RD? JPG’s are smaller & easier to store. Great for full color maps & things that don’t need to be edited. If you need to make changes to the files, TIF’s are easier to work with, but file size is quite a bit larger.

In Vanilla AutoCAD, you can insert images, scale, rotate & print them, but edits are not an option.

Keep in mind that the raster images are treated like an XREF with AutoCAD. When I started working with RD, that was the hardest part for me to grasp. If you e-mail or copy a DWG file with an image, there are 2 separate files to deal with. We did have an express tool called pack & go. Now, we have e-transmit in the file pulldown. E-transmit neatly packs all necessary files into a little package that can be transferred in most any form you might encounter.

Many AutoCAD commands work in RD, as well after parts of the image have been selected. Some of them are Move, Copy, Rotate, & Erase. More are available, but you will see them as you work with the program.

If you want to do anything to the whole image, the Imageframe must be turned on. AutoCAD has added a new setting for Imageframe. In the past, it was either off, meaning no selection, or on, meaning it showed in prints. Now, there is a blend of the two. If you set Imageframe to 2, it is in the on setting, but doesn’t plot.

If you insert an image into a drawing just to edit the image, don’t forget to save the image. Something new to RD2006 is the failure to ask if you want to save the image when you close, unless you save the DWG file. Some of the images I work with don’t have a DWG file tied to them, so it is very possible that I work on an image, print it, or whatever, then tell RD to erase the file & go to the next one for more of the same. If I didn’t save the image file, my clean-up work just got dumped. Hopefully that will be tweaked in the next version & I’ll get my save reminders back.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Time off

Just wanted to let everyone know I haven't abandoned the blog. I took a few days to go visit our new Grandson. I'm now on a job site, but will be back later in the week & hope to have more information soon.

I've recieved requests for information for beginners & for using RD with the Civil Series of products from Autodesk. I'm not sure how much I can do with the Land Desktop & other programs, since my experience is with what Autodesk calls vanilla AutoCAD. I will try to help with those questions as much as I can, but may have to do some research to see what I can find.

Thank you again for your interest in my work with Raster Design. Keep the questions & comments coming & I'll do my best to publish information you can use.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Locating RD Options

Hey everyone. I'm getting great feedback. Thank you for your time & interest. It has been brought to my attention that I didn't mention one little detail. It's the details that can get ya. Keep the feedback coming to help me make this a better site for everyone.

To access the Options dialog, go to the Image pulldown & look toward the bottom of the list.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Options - Load Menu on RD startup

Under the Startup Options in User Preferences, it asks if you want to Load menu on Raster Design Startup. If you deselect this, it is supposed to not show the pulldown menu for RD. If that happens & you decide that was not what you had in mind, you can type in menuload to get the menu back where it belongs.

Options - shift + left click

Have you ever loaded Raster design only to discover your shift+left click no longer works? If so, you can change that by going to the Raster Design Options box. The Mouse Settings in the User Preferences tab will take care of it. The advantage to having that little box checked is that you can select an image from inside the image frame, without zooming out, so it's a trade-off. I hope Autodesk will make a keyboard shortcut to make it easier to toggle this setting on & off since I change that setting frequently for different projects. If it happens, I'll post an update.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

AutoCAD Animation

I know.... I said I would line this out for Raster Design, but some AutoCAD stuff affects how RD works & looks, so I thought I would get some of that out of the way early. AutoCAD has a new feature that is pretty neat for visual effects. Some people love it, & some think it slows things down too much. You can set preferences by typing vtoptions in the command line. It will give you a dialog box which looks like:
It's something worth playing with to see how it works & what it can do for you.

Finding Express Tools

This tip doesn't really pertain to Raster Design, but to AutoCAD.

I've been seeing quite a few posts on newsgroups about loading the programs, but the Express Tools don't show up. If you are having trouble finding these, as well, type in MENULOAD & select Express Tools.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Image Frames

This has been making big news for people working with images in AutoCAD. It's one of my favorite new features, so thought it should be my first post.

When working with images, & you want to do something with the whole image, the image frame has to be turned on. In the past, if you want to print an image without the frame, you had to toggle it off, then back on to do edits. Problem was that if you forgot to turn it off, you had it on your prints. Now, you can set imageframe to 2 & it shows on the monitor, but not on the prints. The best of both worlds. To make sure it's set on new drawings, I save that as part of my qnew drawing template.

Getting Started

This is an effort to help anyone new to Raster Design. When I started using this program, it was called CAD Overlay. At the time, it was an almost unheard of program in this area & finding help or information was not easy. I hope I can make learning this program easier for others.