First make sure you have a licence that includes the Scan Module - the
icon looks like this on the Cad Navigator (Ctrl+Q).
For information I use an A3 Epson GT 10000+ scanner (SCSI of course!)
but also purchased the excellent Silverfast scanning software from Lasersoft
While I upgraded to version 11 of CorelDraw and Photopaint recently
I now prefer to use Photoshop v 7. I discovered that you can adjust
the grayscale scan in Photoshop by using an Adjustment Layer and the
drawings will often have pencil and pen lines, old notes, coffee stains
and all manner of damage - a bit of 'ironing out' is worth it if the
original is not completely flat. (Note
that there are tools within the Scan Module of Allplan for 'tweaking'
scan images after import if they are distorted - see the Allplan Scan
Module online Help for more information.)
into bitmap editing package in grayscale
Scan the original drawing in '8-bit grayscale'
and not 'line-art' (i.e. black & white or '1-bit') setting;
(The reason for this
will be explained later - essentially it picks up more detail - if you
have a very clean original image on a high contrast background by all
means try 'line art' straight off)
Try to get the paper about straight but do not worry if it is slightly
- or very - skewed;
Set the resolution at 150 dpi - or other fairly low resolution; (I
find this a good balance between detail and file size - for a lot of
very fine detail or where you want to incorporate the scan as part of
the final drawing itself, you might want to 'up' the resolution a bit
to 300 dpi)
I scan directly in to Corel Photopaint 9 (Update
June 2003 now prefer Photoshop 7.1) - but any
'paint' or bitmap editing package will do;
Save out of the package in 'tif' format (uncompressed if there is an
Repeat as many times as you require to cover all the original drawing
in A4 chunks or whatever paper size your scanner can manage. It is best
to be methodical at the risk of scanning too much blank paper than lose
track of what you have and have not scanned.
into Layout package (or leave in bitmap
I import my scans saved as tif files into Coreldraw 9 (Update
May 2003 Coreldraw v11 not as good at this for
some reason) and
manipulate them there;
(This is purely a personal
preference because I happen to have Coreldraw 9 and it turns out to
be excellent at this sort of thing - I would bet that Illustrator
and many other packages including Photoshop type packages would
also be able to handle this as well - my only concern is that rotating
images back and forth in a bitmap editing package seems to rapidly degrade
the quality of the scan)
Update 28 June 2002 -
well, well... I buy Photoshop 7 and guess what?... it does not have
this feature of Corel Photopaint for controlling the conversion from
greyscale to B&W! - so maybe it is just a Photopaint feature - it
is certainly very useful.
Update December 2002
- finally worked this out - use an Adjustment
Layer and 'Threshold'.
Coreldraw 9/10/11 has good tools for batch importing - i.e. you can
mark all the 'tif' files in the Import File window in one operation
prompt you to place each one on the sheet in turn - note that I always
set up a paper size onscreen at least as big as the original drawing;
original drawing (stick your scans
Coreldraw 9/10/11 allows rotating of images in custom amounts - usually
a few degress or fractions thereof are all that is required - you
be surprised how near straight you can line up drawings on the platten
without trying too hard; make sure that you turn off anti-aliasing
keep original proportions during all rotations - I usually pull down
a 'guide line' from Coreldraw to check horizontality and verticality
and then try a rotation of one or two degrees - if too much or too
little use 'Undo' to revert to the original and try a different rotation
- avoid multiple rotations as this will degrade the quality of the
A particular feature of Coreldraw 9 is that if you zoom in really close
and grab one image and then very slowly start to drag the image it becomes
transparent automatically thus allowing accurate placement over other
scanned sections of the original drawing. Other packages probably offer
similar tools. In this way I find I can scan in and recreate a very
accurate copy of the original printed paper drawing.
Update 28 June 2002 -
would you believe it - this feature no longer works in CorelDraw 11
Finally I export from Coreldraw again as a tif at 150
or 300 dpi and uncompressed;(note
the resolution figure for later!)
Reload this image into Photopaint (for Photoshop
v7, import and use the Threshold command in an adjustment layer)
Change the 'Mode' of the image to 1-bit
Black & White - in Photopaint the 'Mode'
command is under 'Image' - but it will
vary from package to package - here it brings up a dialogue offering
the default option of 'Halftone'. This
is useless for fine detail. In Photopaint there is a drop-down box in
this dialogue offering different methods of conversion - my personal
favourite is 'Floyd-Steinberg' - partly
for the name and partly because it seems to offer the best control over
detail. If you activate the preview windows in Photopaint you can drag
around the image to check the fine detail areas and also move the slider
up and down to control the density of the dots that the image will be
converted to. Once a good compromise has been chosen OK out of the dialogue
and 'save as' the image (remember where
you saved it!).
into Allplan FT
Open a project and a blank drawing file in Allplan.
Right click (in v16.2) in the workspace and choose 'Insert
Image' (or go the long route via switching to the Scan Module).
Click 'Import' in the resulting dialogue,
ignore the project directory that Allplan offers you by default and
browse to wherever you have stored the final image described above.
Note that you will have to change the 'drop-down box' entry in this
dialogue from 'RLC' format to 'TIF'
files (other formats are now also supported you will notice).
Find the image file and click 'Open' which
closes that dialogue box and immediately opens another similar one called
'Destination Image' which offers the same
filename but with a 'RLC' file extension.
Unless you want to change the filename click 'Save'
and then accept the offered 'brightness value'
default of 50 and the file is converted
and saved in the project directory.
Unfortunately Allplan has to convert all files
to RLC format - a 1-bit monochrome format made up of lines rather than
dots - to use them in the background to draw over - hence the need to
carefully do your own conversion to 1-bit black and white beforehand
or a lot of detail will probably be lost from the scanned image here.
You should at this stage have the 'Insert image'
dialogue box still on screen with the name of your imported file in
the sort of long button thing at the top. The only option to check is
'Resolution' as Allplan always seem to
offer '300'. If you look back in these
notes you will see that we exported out of Coreldraw at '150
dpi'. Therefore to scale correctly enter '150'
here instead of the default value.
- I am not sure of this but it often seems
to work best if you leave the default '300' setting and try that first...
for no logical reason that often works first time!]
still getting unpredictable results - it could be something to do with
the scale of the original drawing - as a last resort you can 'resize'
the original using the scaling tool within Allplan Scan Module to force
the image to correct scale or if vectorising into a new drawing you
could ignore the bitmap scale and scale up the vectors once traced.
Click the Green Tick
('OK' in v2003) button and your scanned
image will appear.
I usually find that the imported image is rotated 90 degrees (this
only seems to affect tif format files) and so use the Scan
Module tools to rotate it back (-90 deg = clockwise) to the orientation
before importing. (Note that these tools are
quite powerful - any deletions or alterations affect the original of
the 'RLC' image in the project directory. Note that there is a Copy
Image command available - it does not copy the current image but offers
a copy from and then a copy to filelist dialog, so you
can use it to copy any image - I would recommend this in preference
to using Windows Explorer to duplicate image files)
June 2003 - in Allplan 2003 they have fixed the
tif rotation bug! But unfortunately seem to have introduced another
which causes Allplan to crash during conversion of the tif to rlc format.
The workaround is to save the final 1-bit file to be converted to rlc
in jpg format rather than tif. This also has the advantage of keeping
down the file sizes.
To trace over the image switch to another empty drawing file, set it
to 'Active' and set the drawing file linked
to the bitmap image to 'reference mode'.
Allplan will warn you if you try to set it to 'edit'
mode but will not prevent you from doing it if you really want to (?).
Check with the measure tool that the scan is correct in scale (the scale
shown at the bottom of the screen does not matter - the measure tool
should be correct whatever scale you are working in).
If the measure tool is reporting incorrect sizes compared to the original
drawing then it is probably because the import 'Resolution'
setting is wrong. Make Active the drawing file where you originally
imported the scan.
Use the 'Clear Link' tool from the scan
module to unlink the drawing file from the bitmap.
Then click the 'Insert Image' button again
as from the start of these notes and 'Import'
from the resulting dialogue - the resulting file open box will still
contain your scan in 'RLC' format - select
that and you will come back to the 'Insert Image'
dialogue where you can alter the 'Resolution'
setting. If '150' was out by a factor of
say 2, then leave it at '300' or try '75'
- you get the general idea.
For imperial measurements some creative calculations will be needed
to get it to come in correctly at metric scales. Note that you cannot
count on the input box for 'Resolution'
to calculate formulae - it accepts a calculation but will not compute
it correctly in my experience - best to do it first and then enter the
trace or leave as bitmap?...
are no hard and fast rules here - for tracing I sometimes use the 3D
wall tools with a shading setting to the wall so that it is readily
To see the walls over the bitmap you need to enable 'Scanned
images on top' from within the 'Show/Hide'
tool. You can later do a wireframe export of the plan to make everything
2D if you wish (but 'turn off' the bitmap image
in the background first or it seems to cause problems - if you have
forgotten to put the vectors - i.e. the new lines drawn over the bitmap
- in a separate drawing file from the one containing the bitmap - or
more correctly the link to the bitmap - then unselect the 'Show/Hide'
tool option 'Scan element/ scanned image' to switch it off temporarily).
'Tips & Tricks' page
4 for a further note on this.
Tools such as 'Modify Offset' are invaluable
for 'tweaking' wall thicknesses - also
'Fold Line' for 'pulling' bits of non-straight or uneven thickness walls
in 2D vectors it is best to turn off the 'Scanned
images on top' option so that you can see the vectors over the
bitmap. The 2D drawing tools in Allplan are the best I have ever come
'Derive Circle' is just one example which
has within the one tool so many labour saving features you need to try
it to appreciate it. (Have a look at the '2D
This is always supposing you want to create a new vector drawing from
the old. On several jobs I have just left the bitmap in the background
and drawn new vectors over it. The bitmap editing tools in the Scan
Module allow you to cut, copy, paste and reshape the bitmap also.
And if that wasn't enough you can save bits of bitmap as 'bitmap
elements' for future use.
'Get from Library' to bring in bitmap elements
which can be color and not just B&W (apparently - I have not got
round to trying this out yet!)
Update February 2003 - I have
just noticed that in v17 Allplan bitmaps are brought in via the 'Insert'
option in the top of screen menu bar
Update June 2003 Allplan 2003 now has an excellent
method for bringing in bitmap images to the layout editor. It uses OLE
and so you need to have an application associated with the filetype
you are going to import (e.g. jpg or bmp) that is capable of being an
Such applications are Windows Paint, Paintshop Pro and Corel Photopaint.
It does not seem to work with Adobe Photoshop 7.1
Windows Paint will allow bmp files to come into layouts using 'Insert
object' whereas the other 2 packages will allow jpg files to be imported.
For quality output bmp files are bigger but better.
At last(!) images refresh quickly and plotting a mixture of vector and
bitmap output at high quality is possible.
comments or corrections
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