Revamped Revision Clouds in AutoCAD 2016

9 Dec, 2015 By: Lynn Allen

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

Many of us use revision clouds to highlight various parts of our drawings, yet our AutoCAD tool for doing so has long been in dire need of improvement. Fortunately, there’s a fabulous updated revision cloud tool in AutoCAD 2016, and I can assure you that once you’ve tried it, you’ll never look back!

A Little RevCloud History

The first official RevCloud tool was introduced via the wonderful Express Tools. Prior to that, it existed as an AutoCAD Release 14 bonus tool called Cloud. It was written by former AutoCAD User Group International (AUGI) President David Harrington, who found himself frustrated by the lack of a revision cloud utility and opted to write his own using AutoLISP. Later, the Express Tool programmers polished up the idea and wrote the RevCloud tool. Eventually RevCloud grew up and became a real AutoCAD command — which was certainly good news for AutoCAD LT users, since they can’t access the Express Tools!

The old RevCloud command was difficult to control, however, and created a polyline object with grips on every vertex, as seen below. Editing the old revision clouds was extremely difficult, because the individual arcs could not be edited as a symmetrical whole object. (On the brighter side, the old RevCloud made great representations of shrubbery, bushes, and trees.)

The old RevCloud command created a polyline with grips at every vertex. 

On to the New!

The shiny new RevCloud command draws nice, symmetrical revision clouds with easy-to-use grips for editing. You can draw rectangular or polygonal revision clouds easily, or turn any closed object into a revision cloud. The RevCloud command can still be found on the Markup panel of the Annotate ribbon tab.

The RevCloud tool can be found on the Annotate tab of the ribbon.

Use the Freehand option to draw a freehand revision cloud; there’s no need to pick any points. Just realize that as in previous releases, the Freehand option draws a polyline with grips on every vertex — consequently, it is difficult to edit.

If you’d like to make a circular revision cloud, you’ll need to draw a circle first (which most of us did with the old command as well). Enter the RevCloud command and choose the Object option (or press Enter an extra time to use the Object default) to convert it into a polyline. You can convert most closed objects into revision clouds. Whenever you choose the Object option, you’ll also be asked if you’d like to reverse the arc direction (which in most cases would cause the arcs to curve to the inside). Note: The Object option is not available from the ribbon.

Command: RevCloud

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

By default, the minimum arc length and maximum arc length are both set to 0.5. The maximum arc length cannot be larger than three times the length of the minimum (there’s a little AutoCAD trivia for you). Thankfully the arc lengths are multiplied by DIMSCALE to accommodate different scale factors in different drawings. Ideally, this should keep you from needing to modify these lengths.

The grips on the new revision clouds are intuitive and easy to edit. Now it’s simple to maintain the original shape while making modifications.

The new revision clouds have easy-to-edit grips.

There are two styles of revision clouds: Normal and Calligraphy. The Calligraphy option adds in a heavier arc that looks as though it were drawn with a calligraphy pen.

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

Wish Granted!

For years, the AUGI Wishlist contained an item requesting the ability to combine multiple revision clouds together. Finally, in AutoCAD 2016, that wish has been granted!

It may not be the most intuitive means of combining more than one revision cloud together, but the Modify option in the RevCloud command will do the trick. Simply select the revision cloud you’d like to build from, then draw another revision cloud. When the cursor returns to the selected revision cloud, you’ll be asked to designate which section you’d like to delete. It’s just that easy!

When combining revision clouds, simply select the portion you’d like to delete.

Should you prefer your revision clouds to return to pre–AutoCAD 2016 behavior (if you miss all those pesky grips at the vertices), you can set the new system variable REVCLOUDGRIPS 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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