Revised revision clouds in AutoCAD 2016

Dec 9 2015

By: Lynn Allen

Circles and Lines Tutorial: Unlike the old RevCloud command, the new version creates symmetrical revision clouds with easy-to-use handles for editing.

Many of us use revision clouds to highlight various parts of our drawings, but our AutoCAD tool for doing this has long needed improvement. Fortunately, there is a fabulous updated cloud review tool in AutoCAD 2016, and I can assure you that once you try it you won’t look back!

A bit of RevCloud history

The first official RevCloud tool was introduced through the wonderful Express Tools. Prior to that, it existed as an AutoCAD Release 14 bonus tool called Cloud. It was written by the former president of AutoCAD User Group International (AUGI), David Harrington, who felt frustrated with the lack of a cloud-based review utility and chose to write his own. AutoLISP help. Later, the Express Tool programmers refined the idea and wrote the RevCloud Tool. Eventually RevCloud grew and became a true AutoCAD command – which was certainly good news for AutoCAD LT users, as they cannot access Express Tools!

However, the old RevCloud command was difficult to control and created a polyline object with handles on each vertex, as shown below. Editing the old revision clouds was extremely difficult, as the individual arcs could not be edited as a whole symmetrical object. (On the brighter side, the old RevCloud made large depictions of shrubs, bushes, and trees.)

The old RevCloud command created a polyline with handles at each vertex.

On the way to the new!

The shiny new RevCloud command draws pretty, symmetrical revision clouds with easy-to-use handles for editing. You can easily draw rectangular or polygonal revision clouds, or turn any closed object into a revision cloud. The RevCloud command is still in the Annotation panel of the Annotate ribbon tab.

The RevCloud tool is located on the Annotate tab of the ribbon.

Use the Freehand option to draw a freehand revision cloud; it is not necessary to choose points. Just be aware that, as in previous versions, the Freehand option draws a polyline with handles on each vertex – hence, it’s hard to edit.

If you want to create a circular revision cloud, you’ll need to draw a circle first (which most of us also did with the old command). Enter the RevCloud command and choose the Object option (or press Enter longer to use the object’s default) to convert it to a polyline. You can convert most closed objects to revision clouds. Whenever you choose the Object option, you will also be asked if you want to reverse the direction of the arc (which in most cases would cause the arcs to curve inward). Note: The Object option is not available on the ribbon.

Order: RevCloud

Minimum arc length: 1/2 “Maximum arc length: 1/2” Style: Normal Type: Rectangular Specify the first corner point or [Arc length/Object/Rectangular/Polygonal/Freehand/Style/Modify] :

By default, the minimum arc length and the maximum arc length are both set to 0.5. The maximum arc length cannot be more than three times the minimum length (there is a little AutoCAD trivia for you). Fortunately, arc lengths are multiplied by DIMSCALE to accommodate different scale factors in different designs. Ideally, this should save you from having to change these lengths.

The handles of the new revision clouds are intuitive and easy to modify. Now it’s easy to keep the original shape while making changes.

The new revision clouds have handles that are easy to modify.

There are two styles of revision clouds: Normal and Calligraphy. The Calligraphy option adds a heavier bow that looks like it was drawn with a calligraphy pen.

Use the Calligraphy style option to draw arcs of varying thicknesses.

Wish granted!

For years, the AUGI wishlist contained an item asking for the ability to combine multiple review clouds. Finally, in AutoCAD 2016, that wish has been granted!

It might not be the most intuitive way to combine multiple revision clouds, but the Edit option in the RevCloud command will do the trick. Just select the revision cloud you want to create from and then draw another revision cloud. When the cursor returns to the selected revision cloud, you will be asked to designate the section you want to delete. It’s that simple !

When combining revision clouds, just select the part you want to remove.

If you’d rather have your revision clouds revert to the pre-AutoCAD 2016 behavior (if you’re missing all those pesky handles at the vertices), you can set the new REVCLOUDGRIPS system variable to Off. You never know when you might need to draw a bush!

The updated RevCloud command in AutoCAD 2016 is a real crowd pleaser. Give it a try and you’ll never want to go back to the ‘good old days’. Until next time, Happy AutoCAD-ing!

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