Automatic dimension/measuring tool please
A tool to automatically dimension signs would be an advantage to those of us working in the sign industry who create visuals for clients. It would also assist in maintaining accuracy of the artwork created and automatic checking device. This with the removal of the artboard size limitation would create a full working drawing platform for the manufacture of large signs for the retail industry.
A couple of questions on this:
1. Would it be okay to have a separate spec creation service much like the upcoming Adobe XD service? On this service, anyone with a link, can select any objects, and view its dimensions (W/H), colors, fonts etc. Or should it be inside Illustrator.
2. Are you only going to create horizontal, and vertical dimensions? Or would you also like to have angular dimensions as well?
Please share more details about your workflow.
Bradley Smith commented
i asked for Astute to create something basic like this.
David Creamer commented
I would hope Adobe would purchase CADTools, not put them out of business! Hotdoor is a small mom-and-pop business. Adobe has purchased plugins (or at least the technology) in the past with InDesign's Table and Cell Styles from TeaCup Software.
I agree 100% with PGAV! I'm a graphic designer, but I work with architects. I'm frequently tasked with creating signage designs, with at least basic dimensioning (and drawn to scale).
I'm actually pretty surprised Adobe hasn't bought CADtools already. Or Sketchup (another discussion)
Yes, i agree, CADtools functionality should be the goal. It’s the best tool out there …
PGAV PGAV commented
We are a design firm consisting of Architects, Illustrators, Graphic Designers, Exhibit Designers, and many other disciplines. While our buildings have their own set of construction documents, all of our Environmental Graphics and Signage have to have their own set of construction documents that are given to the fabricators and Contractors for bidding purposes. They are not going to use an app to find the sizes of things. It has to be done by looking at a paper set, and it has to have dimensions and drawn to scale. The files are created in Illustrator, dimensioned with CADTools, and are imported into InDesign to create our Construction Documents. I would like nothing more than to eliminate CADTools, as it is a pain to upgrade every time there is a new version of Illustrator. But, CADTools is exactly what you should be looking to emulate, as that is what our Graphic Designers all what. This is a feature we asked for over 10 years ago, and I'm glad to see you are finally getting around to it. It is the most requested feature as far as I can tell. If you can't beat them, buy them. You have all the money.
Rebecca Sylvers commented
Adding another +1 to the CADtools functionality request — and more clarification in agreement with Derek Jenkins.
I'll add that designers who work in spatial design, like exhibitions, retail displays, and so on, are often working with architects who do the "hardcore" CAD-related work. We still need to be able to make basic elevations and plans to communicate information about how large our graphics are and where they should be placed.
It's important to be able to work with scale because files would get quite unwieldy if we had to work at actual size for complex large-scale applications.
Really excited that some progress is starting to be made to these ends!
Dina Dembicki commented
Obviously I have no idea, which is why I'm asking. That was a good answer, thank you.
Another question then: does the CADtools plugin create the lines with arrowheads at each end and input the dimension, all automatically? And I take it there is native AI art involved with these dimensions (which is why it's in AI to begin with)? This would certainly be useful, no question about that.
The way they market AI is so illustration-centric, one can forget how functional it is on the non-creative side. I wonder how they decide which ideas to explore further... (whew different convo.)
I create graphics and signage along side of people working in CAD. Working in CAD doesn't give me the design capabilities of Illustrator. I could round trip the designs back into a layout in CAD, but it's an extra step and I find it nicer to keep everything in one (Illustrator) document and do all of my dimensioning, notating and creation of scale drawings there.
Derek Jenkins commented
Dina Dembicki, CADtools is an Illustrator plug-in. We designers who use Illustrator need tools for Illustrator, not just to SEE the size of something. We have annotate the dimensions on our artboard for clients. We have been needing tools, like CADtools (an Illustrator plug-in) to make annotating those jobs easier and quicker. Just because those functions being requested aren't useful to you, doesn't mean they aren't for a large portion of other users.
Dina Dembicki commented
Playing a little devil's advocate here... if you (users) need so much CAD-like functionality, why are you not using a CAD application? In Illustrator, if you know what size you need to make something you can draw a shape with particular dimensions. If you want the dimensions of a particular thing, you can select it and see the measurements in the tool bar. If you want to draw at a smaller dimension, you can scale to whatever percentage you need with one of the transform tools. When I endorsed this idea, it was about a simple drag and measure function, nothing so complex as what's being discussed here. One application cannot be all things to all people. But I get it. In my world we use AI for both creative execution and print prepress and these tools would probably be useful once in production.
+1 for the matching CADtools functionality.
Adham Elrayyes commented
Not sure if anybody uses it, but it seems to me that CADtools by Hotdoor is the holly grail of dimension and measuring tools. It would be nice to have Illustrator use some of that functionality, specially when it comes to:
- Measuring by points or segments
- Measuring angles
- Measuring curvature radius
- Measurement would follow the angle of the segment being measured
- Configuring unit type, decimals/fractions, precision, dual/multi dimensions and scale
- Live dimensions (updates when artwork is resized), with possibility to turn it on/off
- Formatting arrow types, line thickness/color and font type/size
Looking forward to see how this feature will flourish and become an integral part of Illustrator.
Hello @Saurav Agrawal, that is amazing! Generally, I like functionality of Dimensions Illustrator Script by William Campbell (Mars Premedia), who elaborate good set of useful features.
I do not work on any complex technical drawings in Illustrator. My common use case of dimensioning is, to specify dimensions and positions of brand, symbols, text and other labels on objects, like for branding of vehicles according to brand manuals.
If it can help, here is, what I would consider as good basic feature set for dimension tool in Illustrator:
— an ability to set scale of the drawing (like 1 : 50, to multiply displayed dimensions values by 50)
— an ability to use scale for object editing (like new fields in control panel, where you can set scale and edit the width, height, stroke, type size and other dimensions scaled; it should be easy to use both dimensions, original size on the artboard and real/scaled too)
— an ability to select an object and set left / top / right / bottom position of measurement results, ideally from on-screen context menu for adding dimensions quickly
— smart keyboard shortcuts to adding new dimension labels is necessary, adding dimensions should be as quick as possible
— labelling distances between selected objects would be useful
— some kind of smart object with extension lines to measured object interacting with smart guides and glyph bounds/baseline would be great
— live dimension labels, where label value changes if you change associated object, would be nice, with a possibility to convert the live labels into static texts when the work is finished
— an ability to set different scale for different part of the drawing could be possible, as in one drawing there can be parts with different scale ratios
— an ability to label text objects would be nice too (specify font, cut, type size in points and upper-case size in millimetres, leading, tracking, colour swatch name and definition)
For consistent formatting of the displayed dimensions, there should be styles or user presets, which should allow to set, save, and reuse in any document:
— scale ratio (inherited from drawing, zone or set to fixed value)
— the unit, displayed unit label, decimal places for dimension label and decimal separator (comma, period)
— rounding to nearest multiply of a user-defined number
— the distance/offset of lines and labels
— the paragraph style for text labels to be used
— the layer, where dimensions should be placed
— the colour swatch, stroke weight or graphic style for lines and line endings
I am looking forward to the updates for this new tool. I would love to see improvements in typesetting too. Implementation of non-breaking space would help a lot even on technical drawings where I specify dimensions, units, or manufacturing details.
Hello @Saurav Agrawal,
Thanks for your reply.
I attach an example of a file with dimensions.
1- Diameter of circle of curve line, can be changed to radius. Center of the circle can be added automaticaly (same for other shapes, that's interesting to add center with a tool)
2- Just one clic on the shape to have lenght and height. But some tools can magicatly add more informations with one clic.
3- Specific tool to comment a drilling, counterbore or countersik.
4- Multiclic : one first point, second, then clic and slide for the last one to have the serial measuring.
5- Same thing than before but serial from first point.
6- Measure of a free line. Tool to clic and drag a comment.
What's important is customization and ergonomic so speed to use. (That's very boring to add mesaures... ahah !)
You can also have a look to the plugin I use here : http://jlg.outils.pagesperso-orange.fr/Telechargementsus/dimensionlightmodeemploius.pdf
Thanks ! If needed, I can test your new tool :-)
I use this marsmedia plug-in https://www.marspremedia.com/software/illustrator/dimensions-illustrator and I am very happy with it. I can set up preset settings for different uses. I also call up the plug-in with a simple F key (via action) and then insert project measures with a simple key press. In my opinion, the most important thing about the new tool is the customization and speed of use (even from the menu).
Just look at all the other software out there..... CorelDraw has an excellent dimension function. Why are you dragging your heels so much Adobe?
Saurav Agrawal commented
Hey @Eloi, Thanks a lot for your kind feedback, can you please share few examples where you have annotated dimensions for us to have a look at?
Hello @Saurav Agrawal
What a so good news, thanks a lot !!!!
I'm not enough fluent to speak with you over a video call, I'm better at writing than speaking...
A tool like http://jlg.outils.pagesperso-orange.fr/cotationmodeemploihtmlus.html is great, I use it for many years for design.
Here are the main functions, the must have :
- Measuring segments, angles, circles, bezier lines, perimeters, lenghts and areas + options for each tool. (radius or diameter of circle tool for instance)
- Change unit and/or put double unit.
- Personalize font (size and kind), colors, number format, lines, arrows, scale, tolerance, gap between lines and shape measured.
- Autorize serial measuring, double measuring (vertical, horizontal), constraint to horizontal or vertical measuring. Oblique measuring.
You can contact me directly by email if necessary, I can send you screenshots if needed.
Saurav Agrawal commented
We can't be more excited to tell you that we will soon have a native dimension tool on Adobe Illustrator!
We have recently started working on it and we would love to hear your expectations for this tool so that we can build a tool that meets your requirement and makes you successful!
We have also been collecting our perspective on how the tool should be and we would love you to have a look at it and tell us your opinion.
The tools that you have been waiting for years is finally arriving and this is your chance to voice your needs to us!
For this, we are requesting few minutes of your time where we would want to talk to you over a video call. Click on the link below and chose a time slots that suits you and I would be happy to connect.
Eagerly waiting to listen to your requirements!
Product manager for Ai
We also use PowerScript Dimension from o2creative (https://www.o2creative.co.nz/Dimensions_PowerScript_Plugin_Extension_for_Adobe_Illustrator.php), it works even better than CadTools for us. Nowadays we only need very basic dimensioning and with the PowerScript Dimensioning plugin this works quite well (and very fast).
CadTools does have a lot more possibilities for extensive dimensioning (which we used before), but the update schedule and pricing did not justify using it for us.
The JLG Dimensioning plugin also looks very nice: http://jlg.outils.pagesperso-orange.fr/cotationmodeemploihtmlus.html, we have not used it, but it looks very nice.