To Mask or Not To Mask – Matchline Mask Tip for Plans Production

If you read my previous post, you’ll see how much mobile email helps me – getting gentle reminders of functionality that I’d forgotten while traveling home from presentations is just one bit of fun I use to pass the time while traveling.   Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving.    I also received a support request (twice, for some reason)  regarding plans production in Civil 3D 2008.   The issue was that the hatch outside the matchlines was coming in over the other geometry, not allowing it to display.    I thought it was a simple draworder issue, and responded as such.    In my call today to the client, I realized that it goes a bit deeper than that, and could be an issue for some people – follow the link to find out more.

When I create my sheets normally, I drop my new layouts in the current drawing.    I realize that some people may want to create their layouts in a new drawing, or even multiple new drawings – this would allow for more than one person to work on the sheets at a time.   OK, fine, no problems with that…until you get to the issue of the match line mask.

See, when you create a matchline style, you have the opportunity to put a mask on the outside of the matchlines in the layout to either screen back or block geometry outside the matchlines .   There’s no one that I’ve ever talked to who is ambivalent about this subject – project managers either want to show geometry outside the matchlines or not show anything outside the matchlines.   I haven’t found anyone who sits on the fence regarding this.    But the hatch that can be provided is just one funky Civil 3D object – it’s a component of the matchline style, which is displayed in model space, but the hatch only exists in the layout (see, I told you it was funky.)   But when the plan view is shown in a new drawing, it’s xreferenced.    As such, if you go into the viewport and try to select the hatch, it selects the entire reference.    Well, OK, so a refedit command should fix it, right?   Wrong – because of the funkiness of the object, refedit won’t work correctly either.   There’s no way to send the hatch to the back if you create the layouts in a new drawing.   

Hmmm, so what can I do?     After some emails and and a phone conversation today with some people in the know, I found out why it behaves as it does.   Understanding the “why” doesn’t always help to comprehend the “how,” but with some hand-holding as I thought aloud, I’ve figured out two possible workarounds:

1) Consider creating a color in your CTB file that applies screening.    Make sure that you have your line merge/overwrite settings correct in your plotter setup, though.    I kinda like Mark Scacco’s idea better:

2) Consider changing your hatch pattern in the matchline style to a dot style or something similar that can be set dense enough to allow you to see through it, providing an effective “screen” outside your matchlines.

I know, neither is a perfect solution – but it’s the best answer that I’ve come up with so far – if you have any other ideas, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Have fun!

One comment

  1. jeffcrick says:

    I found I have good results with the first suggestion. I set color 255 to 0% screening and utilized this as my hatch color, I also set the hatch pattern to solid, the results are a completely blank background beyond the match lines. I have only been doing this for a short time but it seems to be working well so far.

    Thansks for the insight.