Display Rules Series Part 2: Visually Quality Control Your Design!

Welcome to another demonstration of the Display Rule capability found within the MicroStation CONNECT Edition.  In Part 1 of this blog series, we looked at how display rules can create a thematic map based off GIS data for counties for the state of Florida.

Here in Part 2 of the Display Rules blog series, we will take a look at another workflow where display rules could benefit someone whose role might be that of an Architectural designer.  As an example, we will be using the Metro Station dataset that is delivered with the installation of the MicroStation CONNECT Edition, seen here displayed in monochromatic mode.

If you wish, you can try recreating this demonstration on your own Metro Station example dataset.  If you do, you may want to create a backup copy of the dataset.  The location of the dataset may vary, but the typical installation location is:

C:\ProgramData\Bentley\MicroStation CONNECT Edition\Configuration\WorkSpaces\Example\WorkSets

To begin, we are going to start the MicroStation CONNECT Edition.  Then from the WorkPage, we are going to select the Example WorkSpace and the MetroStation WorkSet.  Next, we’ll open the DisplayRules_en.dgn file from the …\DGN\Topics\ folder.

Once we’ve entered completely into graphics, we will open the View Attributes dialog and set the display style to, “Monochrome”.

As mentioned in Part 1 of the blog series, display rules are a powerful feature found within the MicroStation CONNECT Edition in which the display of engineering models can be overridden based on a number of criteria.  Display rules will key-off of elements symbology, file, model, reference, and other properties.  In addition, display rules can key-off of item types.

Item types are a user defined set of properties used to describe an object or an element.  For instance, in the Metro Station project, certain objects in the model have item types associated with them.  To be more specific, for example, the track floor sections have properties indicating the material type.  In the MicroStation CONNECT Edition, Item Types replace Tags found in earlier editions of MicroStation.

As a designer, we might want to create a display based on the material type.  There are many advantages to this.  One is to produce a drawing that shows where the expected floor treatments are to be placed.  Another is for quality control.  Such a display can immediately show where the incorrect floor treatment has been assigned.

To create a new display based on the floor material type, open the Display Styles dialog, from the View Attributes dialog. From the Display Styles dialog, we’ll go ahead and make sure that the Monochrome display style is highlighted from the list of existing display styles.  We’re going to make a copy of this display style as a starting point.  So, we’ll select, Copy, from the icon bank of the Display Styles dialog and then specify a name.  Here we’ll call it, “Floor Treatments”.  Once the new display style is created, we’ll go ahead and double-click it to make it the active display style.

Next, we’ll open the Display Rules Editor by clicking the Display Rules icon next to the Display Rules drop-down list.

The Display Rules Editor opens.  This dialog is used to create and manage display rule sets and display rules for display styles.  From here, we’ll click the, “New Display Rule Set” icon. The display rule set appears in the display rule set list box, where you can give it a name.  We’ll call this, “Floor Treatments”.

So far, we have created the Floor Treatments display style and the Floor Treatments display rule set.  As mentioned in my previous blog, display rules must be tied to, or associated, to a display style.  To do this, from the Display Styles dialog, we can select the Floor Treatments display rule from the Display Rules drop-down menu.

Once we’ve associated the display rule to the display style, we can return to the Display Rules dialog.  Here, we will click the, “New Display Rule” icon to create a new display rule for the selected display rule set. The rule appears in the display rules list box.  From here, we’ll modify the rule by clicking on the condition, Applies Always.

You can select a property from the picker next to the icon.  Clicking the drop-down list is where you can select Element, View, Model, Reference, and File property types.  In this case, we would like to expand the “FloorArea” item type, and then select the “Material” item property.

Next, we’ll set the value equal to the property, “Polished Concrete.

The description for a condition is automatically generated from the conditions that you create. Here, we will override the description to make it more understandable.  For this description we’ll key-in, “Polished Concrete” and then click OK to set the condition.

Next, we’ll click the, “Add or remove display rules actions” (green-plus icon) to assign the action to display rule when the condition is met for the display rule.  In this case, we want to select the, “Display Style Override” option from the list.  Once selected, a preview now appears under the Actions column.  Selecting the icon opens a window, allowing you to select a display style. Here we’ll select, “Smooth”.

MicroStation allows you to assign more than one action to be executed on a given rule. These actions, of course, are executed if set conditions are met for the display rule.  So here we’ll click the Add or remove display rules actions icon again.  This time we will select, “Display Override” from the list.  Next, we’ll click the Display Override preview to bring up the list.  Here we will enable both, “Element Color Override” and “Fill Color Override” and then set both values to the Indexed Color of 2 (green).

So, this will complete the first rule for the Floor Treatments rule set.  To complete this example, we need to create two more rules to the set.  As such, we’ll create the second rule as we did the first one by first selecting the “Material” item property from the “FloorArea” item type.  For this second rule, we’ll set the value equal to, “Rough Concrete” and provide a matching description.

The action will be similar as well relative to the first rule.  We’ll set a, “Smooth” Display Style Override.  And a second action, “Display Override”, setting it to both, “Element Color Override” and “Fill Color Override” and with the Indexed Color of 3 (red).

With the two rules that we have now, both based off the floor area material, we need to create one more rule for how to display everything else in the model that is not a floor area material.  In other words, a capture all rule that does not meet the criteria of the rules 1 and 2.

So, we’ll click the “Add or remove display rules actions” and click on the condition, Applies always.  Here we will just fill in a description – “All other elements”.  For the action, we’ll select the option, Display Style Override, and from there, choose the display style, “Transparent”.

As a result, the floor areas will be colored according to their attribute value.  Polished Concrete as a green color, and Rough Concrete as a red color.  Both utilizing a Smooth overriding display style.

As you may know, rules from the rule set are processed in order.  Each rule has the setting, "Stop if true".  In this case it was enabled for all.  Elements that met the criteria were acted upon and then further processing of these elements were no longer processed by display rules after which.  And that is why everything that was not processed by rules 1 and 2 were able to be captured as a Transparent overriding display style as determined by rule 3.

In this demonstration, the Floor Treatments display rule set, and the associated Floor Treatments display rule were created in the active dgn file.  As a good practice, new display rule sets and display styles can be stored in the DGN Libraries for easy sharing to all project participants.

So, as you can see, there are many advantages to Display Rules.  They can be used to create a wide variety of deliverables from the engineering model.  In addition to displays to be used for product deliverables, display rules can also be used to visually quality control the model.