MicroStation PowerDraft 5.5 offers a user interface that is Windows 95 compliant, with a simple menu bar and icon bar across the top of the screen. All tool pallets are fully dockable. The most commonly used entity-setting controls are available in easy-to-access buttons in the main icon area. Separate buttons are located at the left of the icon menu area for setting active color, layer, line type, and line weight. All image controls are located as icons at the bottom of each view window.
Ease of use is enhanced with the AccuDraw™ tool. AccuDraw includes a wide variety of single- and double-character command directives known as keyboard shortcuts. By pressing the appropriate key, you direct AccuDraw to perform a specific operation. These shortcut keys let you quickly set distances, sizes, and orientations in 3-D space.
For 3-D construction, AccuDraw offers a "compass" interface for quickly establishing different orientations to define active drawing planes in space. Using the shortcut keys to change the 3-D face orientation of the AccuDraw compass virtually eliminates the need to learn workplane setting commands.
The ability to make a custom line style inside of MicroStation PowerDraft is great. The method is completely graphically oriented with controls for stroke pattern, gap and length of line segment, repeatability, and even the addition of other graphic shapes and multiple lines.
For 3-D construction, MicroStation PowerDraft offers primitive construction of a cone, cylinder, slab, or sphere from a dialog-box interface. Complex shapes may be created by projecting or revolving profiles. All of these 3-D objects may be created either as wireframe surfaces or as solid entities. Pre-defined view settings allow the image to be positioned quickly to standard orthogonal view orientations. The view may also be rotated to a user-defined orientation.
Rendering. MicroStation PowerDraft includes all of Bentley Systems' rendering tools, as well as hiddenline and shaded rendering operations that are performed on parts. Hiddenline removes hidden lines from the display. Shading is offered in three modes: Filled Hidden Line, Constant, and Smooth. Material and bump mapping, multiple light sources, shadows, and transparency are also supported.
MicroStation PowerDraft also offers a built-in screen capture utility for capturing all or part of the screen image and outputting it to a number of file formats. A companion product called MicroStation Review offers redline capabilities to be used in conjunction with MicroStation PowerDraft files. Other tools include reference files, associated dimensions, and entity grouping. Dimension features include quickly selecting a setting for establishing dimensions that adhere to DIN, ANSI, JIS, and architectural style standards.
File management. MicroStation PowerDraft offers pre-made symbols and stored file settings for both mechanical and architectural applications. Being able to store a variety of settings and files in what it calls Workspaces is of great value. Cell libraries, design files, line types, level settings and standards, seed files, dimension standards and types, and even menu palettes can be stored for quickly setting a system up to perform a specific design discipline.
MicroStation PowerDraft offers one of the most complete sets of 2-D and 3-D products I've seen. I think its rendering tools make it a leader in offering more than simple line drawings. The AccuDraw functionality has created a whole new paradigm for ease-of-use in both entity creation and 3-D space navigation.
A similar product:
AutoCAD - Autodesk, Inc., 111 McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael, CA 94903; ph: (415) 507-5000; FAX: (415) 507-5100.
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