8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 27, 2014 10:11 AM by blanko 23

    Scaled technical drawings workflow

    blanko 23 Level 1

      I'm making user manuals for some products. We use technical drawings for illustrating the steps that have to be done.

      I can't post the actual drawings because of the firm policy for the yet to be released products, but in attachment there is an example of what I mean.

       

      The illustrations are .ai files which I place into InDesign.

      One product is placed many times in the same layout, sometimes the full view, sometimes an enlarged part of a small detail, or something in between… In other words: one drawing is displayed at many different sizes.

      The trouble here is with the line width.

      For full view images, the line width goes way below 0,25pt. When setting the line width higher, the lines in detailed images are way too thick…

       

      I'm wondering what's the best workflow for using such images in InDesign.

      Using multiple files for the same image, with different line widths? Unfortunately, some minor things can still change in the drawings, and that leads to having to make adjustments to every version of the drawing.

      On top of that, i add extra layers to the drawings, for examples with a button switched on and off, etc… Which also leads to extra work.

      Pasting the drawings directly into InDesign isn't an option either, because the drawings are way to complex.

       

      I like the idea of having only one up-to-date file which is placed many times. Unfortunately i don't think it's possible to alter the line width of links directly in InDesign.

       

      Tips are very much appreciated!

       

      exploded-isometric-drawing.jpg

        • 1. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Sounds to me like you have a complete understanding of the problems and limitiations inherent in your workflow...

          • 2. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
            aax Level 1

            How about Adjust Stroke Weight When Scaling?

             

            unchecked: keeps original stroke weight while scaling

            checked:scales stroke weights with object

            http://www.thegraphicmac.com/wp-content/uploads/id_scale-stroke-option.jpg

            • 3. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
              Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              @aax – that would only work with strokes originated in InDesign.

              Not with placed vector graphics.

               

              And as blanko 23 already stated: copy/paste vector information from Illustrator to InDesign does not work (too complex).

               

              Uwe

              • 4. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
                aax Level 1

                Tell me you're joking!

                Is there any good reason for that?

                • 5. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
                  Laubender Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  @aax – I'm not joking. There are good reasons not to copy/paste from Illustrator to InDesign.

                  Complexity is one reason. Copy/Paste would fail, if the paths are too complex. Or you'll ending up with a PDF representation of your vector drawing in InDesign.

                   

                  There are many more reasons:

                  Effects that change there appearance, effects that cannot travel over and thus, if you are lucky, are transformed into PDF, path winding rules are changed after pasting, changed stroke styles…

                   

                  In post #1 blanko 23 is showing a very simplified version of artwork.

                  There could be some additional levels of complexity and some layers that should be maintained as layers.

                   

                  I think there could be a scripting solution for this situation.

                  A script that analyzes graphic sizes in InDesign and doing scaling and writing new files on the Illustrator side, exchanging already placed ones in InDesign. I'm not much into Illustrator scripting, but it should be possible to write such a script.

                   

                  With a lot of effort ;-)

                   

                  Uwe

                  • 6. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
                    blanko 23 Level 1

                    I was hoping for an existing script or plugin, or a better workflow.

                    Well, i guess i'll have to live with the limitations.

                     

                    Thanks for the replies.

                    • 7. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
                      Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Using multiple files for the same image, with different line widths? Unfortunately, some minor things can still change in the drawings, and that leads to having to make adjustments to every version of the drawing.

                       

                      I think that part of the problem here is that you're using Illustrator where (IMHO) you ought to be using AutoCAD or something like that. Many CAD or CAD-related tools will let you define assemblies (or components, or etc.) that function exactly like placed files do in InDesign - edit the parent illustration, and the child illustrations update automatically.

                       

                      So I would absolutely suggest that you look at the possibility of using Illy only as an interim tool. Are you yourself doing the illustrations from scratch in Illy, or is there some other person doing this work?

                      • 8. Re: Scaled technical drawings workflow
                        blanko 23 Level 1

                        Joel,

                         

                        I'm not making the drawings in Illustrator.

                        The drawings originate from 3D software (done by another team), which are converted to a 2D projection of a (mostly) isometric perspective. I only do small adjustments in illustrator like drawing some cables (too hard to do this directly in the 3D software, i'm told), changing a button or LED state,...

                         

                        No matter which software the drawings are coming from, the biggest problem for me is the stroke width of the drawings, which scales along with the placed image. Therefor for every image in InDesign doc, i have to make a copy of the placed file, and adjust the stroke width in Illustrator.