Opening some files in OpenBuiildings Designer can be slowed down by the regeneration of automated annotation symbols, door and window identification labels for instance. Messages mentioning “visibility calculator” may be displayed which are a good indicator that performance is being affected by Auto Annotation.
The visibility calculator is the scan process that looks for any geometry changes that would affect the display of annotation, and it is that scanning process that consumes most of the time and resources, not the creation of the annotation itself.
A consensus has emerged that running auto annotation constantly is unnecessary on a day to day basis, it can be turned on at appropriate review points to create or regenerate the annotation.
There are two configuration variables that control the behaviour of auto annotation, these can be set to give you control over when auto-annotation runs.
BB_AUTOANNOTATION is set by default to USER enabling each user to to control whether or not they are being processed automatically using the 'Auto Annotations' toggle button in the Ribbon > Building Design > Drawing Production tab > Place Annotation:
When on, auto Annotation will apply whenever a Building dynamic view is created, referenced, or opened in a drawing or sheet model. It also runs when relevant dynamic view reference settings are modified. This can slow down file opening as a model becomes more complex so we recommend that it is toggled off in day to day operations, just being toggled on when auto annotation needs to be updated.
BB_AUTOANNOTATION_ONCREATE runs Auto Annotation after opening a newly created dynamic view drawing or sheet, regardless of the value of BB_AUTOANNOTATION and is turned on by default (set to 1). This sets the initial state of the auto annotation in a new drawing view.
The Refresh Annotations drop-down offers a range of refresh and rebuild options for auto annotation, these are the tools available in OpenBuiildings Designer Update 6 (earlier versions do not have all of these options):
Note 'Refresh' commands will update annotations respecting manual repositioning or rotation, 'Rebuild' will delete any position edits.
The options available in V8i are in the Building Designer menu:
Auto-annotation can be updated in V8i by the Drawing Composition > Reference > Refresh Automatic Annotations tool. There are also a number of key-in commands listed in the 'Refresh Automatic Annotations tool' help topic.
BB_AUTOANNOTATION can be set to MANUAL, in which case the Refresh Automatic Annotations tools would need to be used to refresh each drawing view. This is probably going to require too much manual intervention and is not recommended.
Note that setting BB_AUTOANNOTATION to MANUAL will hide the Auto Annotations tool:
Leaving BB_AUTOANNOTATION set to USER is the recommended option as it allows user control.
If the value for BB_AUTOANNOTATION_ONCREATE is changed from 1 to 0 Auto Annotations will not be created in new dynamic view drawings or sheets. So while setting it to 0 will minimise impact on performance setting it to 1 will only have an impact on performance when the DV is created.
At that point OpenBuiildings Designer will search for qualifying rule-based annotation elements and generate the labels. This engenders confidence that the application and data are both performing correctly.
It will have no effect on subsequent file open events so is recommended as a site setting.
(It could be set to 0 at the WorkSet level if needed to troubleshoot/resolve performance issues on a project when creating dynamic views.
In either case each individual should set the ‘Auto Annotations’ toggle to Off, only setting it to On when required to generate or update Auto Annotation.
BB_AUTOANNOTATION = USER
BB_AUTOANNOTATION_ONCREATE = 1
[both are the Bentley defaults]
As an additional step, if there are Drawing Rules that you do not need at the current project stage they can be turned off to reduce processing load/time, then turned back on at the appropriate stage in the project.
If these recommendations are implemented it can appear that Annotation is missing or out of date and users may think there is a fault with the application or model data.
Users need to understand how and when to generate/regenerate auto-annotation.