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Tips for Creating Color Plans

This document is not intended to cover the entire process of creating colored presentation plans. Many of the tasks can be done by multiple methods. There is typically no correct or preferred method to creating the color fill patterns. With experience, each individual will find the method that works best for them. The tips below provide a general outline to the process. Suggestions for enhancing this document are welcome and encouraged.

The first step is to create the new drawing to contain the color fill areas. Hearing plans will be called #####her.dgn and other color drawings should be #####clr.dgn. The # characters represent the project number.

Import the HER.CSV level library if it isn't already attached. From the Level Manager dialog box, select Levels > Import... to obtain the Import Level Library panel. Choose the HER.csv level library.

Attach other project drawings as reference files. Use the nhref macro to assist with this process so that Logical names are applied.

Level and color settings are set by selecting the appropriate Task from the NH**HER Tasks list. The Task list should automatically load if you are working in a drawing named HER or CLR.dgn.

Create filled areas by using the Create Region tool on the Groups toolbar.

region tool dialog box

Adjust the view so only graphics necessary to define the area to be filled are displayed. It is helpful if you select the elements that will make up the boundary.

create region dialog box

Use the Flood method of the Create Region tool and select a point inside the area to be filled. Checking the Keep Original box will prevent graphics defining the boundary of the fill from being deleted. On 3D drawings, better results will be obtained if the referenced drawings are flattened.

Features such as buildings, waterways, and woodslines can be outlined if desired. This can be done by copying the feature outlines from their original drawing onto the HER or CLR drawing. Set the correct color and weight by selecting the item from the rule file. Use the Change Element Attributes tool to alter the lines.

pattern area dialog box

Building, pavement, and structure removal patterns can be created by a combination of the hatch command and flood fill. Use the Task to set the appropriate level. Use a line weight of 8, line style 0, and color 15. Issue the Hatch Area command. Set the method to Element, Spacing to 4m (16'), and Angle to 45. Uncheck the Associative Pattern and Snappable Pattern boxes, if necessary. Select and accept the element defining the boundaries of the pattern. Follow this by using the create region command to flood fill the spaces between the lines with the appropriate color.

The legends.cel cell file contains two hearing plan legends, Ilgnd (Imperial) and Mlegnd (metric).

A pen table, hearing plan.tbl, has been developed that will adjust colors and line weights of elements on the drawing when plotted. To use the pen table, first select the printer where the plot will be sent. Then select Attach from the Pen Table menu on the Print dialog box. Pen tables are stored under the workspace folder in ...\standards\tables\pen\. When modifying plot color, weight, etc., the pen table refers to the reference drawings by logical name. When manually attaching reference files, be sure to define the logical names appropriately.


update sequence dialog box
  • nhdot-penwhiteRaster.tbl - color plans over aerial
  • nhdot-pen_white.tbl - used for property layout - line work over aerial, no color fills
  • hearing plan.tbl - color plans no aerial - Forces white to plot black - Colored ROW lines
  • hearing plan 5500.tbl - used by preliminary design for hearing plans over aerials
  • hearing plan transparency.tbl - preliminary design with fills forced to 50% transparency on aerial
  • nhdot-pen.tbl - color plans all line work black

Before plotting the color plan, the update sequence of the references should be modified. Reference manager Settings > Update Sequence. Any Aerial files should be top in the list and the Active Design file should be second (top if no aerial files). This will let all other detail drawings be drawn after the colors so they will show up on top. Element priority is set to -100 for existing color floods so that proposed floods will be on top. This can be done as part of the pen table also. An alternate method would be to use the Stacker macro. The Stacker macro orders the displayed levels by placing proposed colors on top of existing colors. This is essential for some plotters and when creating PDF's to avoid existing color from obscuring proposed fills. (Utilities - Macro - MicroStation

New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483  |  7 Hazen Drive  |  
Concord, NH  |  03302-0483
Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914