my CAD Story, WYSIWYG

As it turns out, WYSIWYG is a term that i was introduced to in the early 2000s when i went to purchase my first Mac from a local shop. However, it took a jogging of my memory a couple of years ago to remember what it is. You see, the guy at the local shop did not actually use the acronym when speaking with me about the correlation between the the screen and the printed output. But he was talking about the same thing. Namely, What You See Is What You Get.

This term had very little meaning for me until a couple of years ago when it came up in a discussion in one of the Google+ communities i belong to. I do not recall the exact topic of the discussion, but someone made mention of WYSIWYG in relation to CAD. Having no recollection of ever seeing this term, i took the risk of looking foolish and asked what it meant. And despite some mild chastisement, i am glad i did.

As i mentioned in a previous post, my introduction to CAD was drawing in AutoCAD using almost every color imaginable under the sun. Every layer had it's own color that was associated with a line weight for printing in black and white. We soon recognized the folly in working this way and scaled down to five colors, each associated with it's own line weight. And i quickly learned to visually associate the color with the line weight. So when i moved to HighDesign, i carried that same system over. And while HighDesign does support this way of working, it does not do it very well. The connection of the pen weight to the color is precarious at best and more often than not, the connection would be lost somewhere in the drawing process. This meant going through and selecting all the lines of a certain color and reassigning the proper pen weight prior to printing. This worked ok with only five colors, but i am sure you can see how this would be frustrating at times.

Early Project in HighDesign using the system of assigning pen weights to colors.
Early Project in HighDesign using the system of assigning pen weights to colors.

So when i was introduced to the concept WYSIWYG as a working mode in CAD, i was eager to try it out. As the name implies, what you see on the screen is what will be printed on the page (at least to some degree). As lines are drawn on the screen, pen weights are assigned to it and displayed on the screen as such. After a very short while of working in this mode, i had come to appreciate it as a superior way of drafting. A way that emulates hand drafting to a greater degree, but also gave me more immediate control of the output. Rather than relying solely on the automation of the computer to assign pen weights by color, i can immediately see when a pen weight is wrong and correct it.

One of the first projects in which i had adopted the WYSIWYG method of working in HighDesign. The Vault Wine Bar, Shelby, OHio.
One of the first projects in which i had adopted the WYSIWYG method of working in HighDesign. The Vault Wine Bar, Shelby, OHio.

I still use the old way of assigning pen weights to colors when i work in AutoCAD for consulting work, but i now work exclusively in WYSIWYG for my own projects. It may not have been revolutionary, but it certainly has proven to be a much better way for me to work. And HighDesign is better suited to this way of woking as well.

Recent project using WYSIWYG method of drafting in HighDesign. New Pavilion for South Park, Mansfield, OHio.
Recent project using WYSIWYG method of drafting in HighDesign. New Pavilion for South Park, Mansfield, OHio.
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