Best File Formats

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“What do you need from me?”

This is one of our most frequent questions at the start of a job.  Our clients know that they want a rendering, but don’t know what we need in order to make that happen.

First of all – PDFs are great.  I love ’em!  PDFs are a great way to send pictures, plans, sketches, etc. for me to give you an estimate.  So, if you have a way to make PDFs, please send them to me!  If not, click here and pick one to download and try.  It’s a snap!  I promise!

However, PDFs have their limitations.  Without boring you about the difference between raster and vector, and a dozen other dull topics, just trust me in this.  PDFs are fantastic to show me a quick initial snapshot of your project.  They are much less wonderful for giving me the necessary data to ensure a successful project.

So what are the best methods for providing plans?

Once we are past the initial review stage and the project is going to proceed, please refer to the following:

#1 – CAD is always preferred

#2 – If CAD is not available, we can work from PDFs or even hard copies of plans.  This is far from ideal though, as it requires more time and is less accurate.

#3 – PDFs are fantastic for reference!  If you can, please do include PDFs in addition to your CAD.  This also helps us to see the plans as you see them, with proper layers on, plot styles applied, all necessary reference files intact, etc.  But still send the CAD!

What is the best file format for geometry / CAD?

Ok, so you know we want CAD.  But all CAD is not created equal.  These days there are numerous formats, but the good news is that there are very few applications that do not output a file we can use. Nevertheless, the source data we receive from you often has an impact on the effort required on our part, as well as delivery time, accuracy, and ultimately – cost.

Therefore, when preparing files to send us for production, please refer to the following:

  • If your geometry is currently in AutoCAD, please send us .DWG files
  • If your geometry is currently in SketchUp, please send us .SKP files
  • If your geometry is currently in 3DS-Max, please send us .MAX files
  • For 2D data in any other program, please use the application’s “SaveAs” or “Export” function to create a DWG, DXF, or IGES file (listed in order of preference)
  • For 3D data in any other program, please use the application’s “SaveAs” or “Export” function to create a MAX, 3DS, DXF, or OBJ file (listed in order of preference)
  • If none of these is available, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me to discuss other options

Finally, if your files depend upon XREFs, texture maps, images, or any other external files, be sure to include these as well.

Thanks!  And again, please contact me if you have any further questions.

 

 

Scott Smith 231-941-4202
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