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Thread: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

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    Default Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    Hi All,

    I want some opinions on CTB vs STB in regards to company standards; there are no wrong answers here. Our company has grown over the years and a reckoning is upon us about trying to nail down standards, documentation, and uniformity between offices as teams grow and one big debate that has come up is STB vs CTB.

    Strictly from a company perspective (ie: ignoring external clients that may have their own standards that will govern)
    -Do you prefer CTB or STB more? Why?
    -Do you believe a company should be either entirely STB or entirely CTB or can be both?
    -Do you believe a company can function entirely off one (maybe two) tables or needs multiple to cover any specific needs such as different department, office or state specific needs, etc
    -If possible share your STB/CTB file design, or in the case of STB, at least style count. In regards to STB I am curious to see how many styles other firms are running with as the main draw to STB seems to be having a concise table to manage.

    The issue I have seen in our discussions is that the STB tables being used by other teams on STB is rather bloated. The smallest STB table I've seen is over 70 styles and this seems to defeat the purpose of going STB; the cause of the style quantity is done via referencing screening and lineweight such as "100% - 0.15" and "75% - 0.15". There are 9 screen varieties and each screen group has different weights attached which leads to the quantity of styles and while 70 is less than 255 styles it is still too many to manage if you ask me. Plus I've seen people duplicate styles to plot it in color (ie: 100% - 0.15 - Purple). I believe a comfortable style count should land somewhere in the 5-20 range at most. My department switched over to STB, but nuked the lineweight component of the styles (it felt redundant), reduced screening options down to every 20% and then also added in a color option; this put us at 12 styles in total. I could see another variation where you created named intention styles such as Proposed, Existing - to remain, Existing - to demo, and maybe a few others.

    My opinion is I do not really care if we land on STB or CTB; both work fine, and have pros/cons to them so as long as either is intelligently set up. I believe we should either go one or the other and every department that uses CAD must use a company specific table. There shouldn't be a need for a Development.STB, Water.STB, Aviation.STB, etc. But again, this is where you come in. Some people argue they should be left to their own devices because there is not always a lot of overlap between teams, but the team that is discussing standards (with management) is afraid that this leads to scalability issues because the standard becomes blurred and difficult to understand for newcomers to the company.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by CCarleton; 2024-05-24 at 02:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    I moved my firm to STB more than a decade ago. Our style count is ten with about four of those being the most used. We assign line weights to the layer (or object as a last resort) along with the plot style. If a screening needs to be used, we use transparency settings on the layer (or object as needed).

    I have a menu for creating layers that contains the necessary line weights and plot styles predetermined. It seems to work well. I do need to work on updating the menu. Inertia kind of keeps me from updating it though. Too many other things get in the way.

    Our list consists of the following with the first four being the most used.
    • Black
    • Dk. Grey
    • Color
    • Purple
    • Red
    • Blue
    • Green
    • Lt. Grey
    • Greyscale
    • Normal


    Of course, working with drawings from outside sources requires conversion to match our methods for plotting.
    If you have a technical question, please find the appropriate forum and ask it there.
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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    Thanks for the reply Opie,

    I imagine that your STB probably changed a little bit from first iteration to what you currently have, but overall would you say it's remained consistent for the bulk of its life? It does look like the way you've set it up does not require adding in styles over time as it hits the main colors people would realistically ever want to plot in color. I think the goal I have in mind with this is that, assuming we settle on STB, is that whatever we come up with should not have to be constantly iterated on.

    The transparency setting you mention is also one I've never used, but have recently been considering if we need to look more into utilizing it. I believe there is some technical discrepancy between screening and transparency (or at least I've heard a few grumble about trying to interact with transparency), but I think of them as achieving the same thing.

    I'd also be curious about firm size for any answers as it would be interesting to see if things change based on size of company.

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    I believe the only change was to add the Normal plot style. This was due to importing drawings from others that utilize CTB based drawings. Those imported elements are automatically assigned that style by AutoCAD. Other than that, no other changes to the STB file in the last 15 years.

    Initially, the transparency was not considered. It came about from others in the office utilizing SOLID based hatches and wanting the hatch shaded/subdued on the page.

    The Color Plot style handles any colors that can be created with AutoCAD. The four named colors override to simplify assigning a color to elements. I have used the named colors to highlight the differences between reference drawings (prior to the XREF compare being implemented).

    Firm size is small with a handful of CAD users ranging from drafters to engineers and surveyors.
    If you have a technical question, please find the appropriate forum and ask it there.
    You will get a quicker response from your fellow AUGI members than if you sent it to me via a PM or email.
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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    Doing Civil 3D drawings in Florida adapting Florida Dept of Transportations' FDOT.STB plot style made sense.
    It has one style for drawn color, one for a light shade of drawn color (great for plotting solid hatch, no need for transparency), one for black and 3 for grayscales.
    With only those six plot styles that work with all colors not just 256 and more plotting options than possible than any CTB.
    Six plot styles are pretty simple to remember, I remember having to remember 256 of them before STB's were introduced.
    As the last 26 releases of AutoCAD have been able to control lineweight bylayer or by object with templates and layer states simple I haven't used lineweights in a CTB since the r14 release.

    Can't imagine needing more than one STB or why one would ever need as many plot styles as you described.

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    I believe the only change was to add the Normal plot style. This was due to importing drawings from others that utilize CTB based drawings.
    Yeah I noticed that as well. I REALLY want them to implement a system variable to set default plot style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Beauford View Post
    Doing Civil 3D drawings in Florida adapting Florida Dept of Transportations' FDOT.STB plot style made sense.
    That's interesting, I was under the impression DOT was 100% Microstation.

    It has one style for drawn color, one for a light shade of drawn color (great for plotting solid hatch, no need for transparency), one for black and 3 for grayscales.
    I see both of you went with color based options, which I suppose I did as well with the screening aspect attached. Do either of you know if this is the typical approach? Or if there are others?

    With only those six plot styles that work with all colors not just 256 and more plotting options than possible than any CTB.
    Six plot styles are pretty simple to remember, I remember having to remember 256 of them before STB's were introduced.
    After I got involved in this CTB/STB debate a few years ago that is the realization I came to. The controls inside of both files are exactly the same, STB just gives you control on naming and count.

    As the last 26 releases of AutoCAD have been able to control lineweight bylayer or by object with templates and layer states simple I haven't used lineweights in a CTB since the r14 release.
    I believe what you are saying here is that, before STB, you set all CTB styles to be object property based, which is what our company did as well beyond a handful of gray colors we used to identify screening. This is the only thing I miss about CTB; you open a drawing and immediately know what is faded and what isn't.

    Can't imagine needing more than one STB or why one would ever need as many plot styles as you described.
    One table is the direction I definitely wanted to take us, but we are a decent sized company that is orientated on growth. We span multiple offices across multiple states and there is a lot of debate about what we can accomplish in this regard and everyone has their own idea of how they want it to work. I'm still of the opinion it's achievable regardless of company size, the number of states we span, or number of departments we have.

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    Quote Originally Posted by CCarleton View Post
    That's interesting, I was under the impression DOT was 100% Microstation.
    It's what they mostly use but they support AutoCAD & Civil 3D as well. FDOT AutoCAD State Kit downloads. https://www.fdot.gov/cadd/downloads/...ocad-state-kit
    I attached their plot style so you can see how simple it is with only 6 plot styles.
    Quote Originally Posted by CCarleton View Post
    This is the only thing I miss about CTB; you open a drawing and immediately know what is faded and what isn't.
    To view your drawing display with the plot styles you need to set it to Show Plot Styles, I use a macro that toggles that display on the current layout.
    Code:
    ; Plot Style toggle
    ; by: Tim Creary
    ; http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=75802&highlight=ShowPlotStyles#3
    ;^C^C^P(or C:ShowPlotStyles (load "ShowPlotStyles.lsp"));ShowPlotStyles
    (defun c:ShowPlotStyles (/ acDoc ctab)
      (vl-load-com)
      (setq acDoc (vla-get-activedocument (vlax-get-acad-object))
            ctab (vla-Item (vla-get-layouts acDoc)(getvar "ctab"))
      )
      (vlax-for oLayout (vla-get-layouts acDoc)
    	(if (= (vla-get-ShowPlotStyles ctab) :vlax-true)
    	  (vla-put-showplotstyles oLayout :vlax-false)
    	  (vla-put-showplotstyles oLayout :vlax-true)
    	)
      )
      (vla-regen acDoc acAllViewports)
     (princ)
    )
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    Oh hey that's cool. Never noticed that toggle, and nifty macro. I see how that having it on all the time could be a pain.

    Thanks for the other info as well. I'm hoping we can get some more opinions on this, but so far this is confirming what I believed was the route we need to go.

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    Quote Originally Posted by CCarleton View Post
    Oh hey that's cool. Never noticed that toggle, and nifty macro. I see how that having it on all the time could be a pain.

    Thanks for the other info as well. I'm hoping we can get some more opinions on this, but so far this is confirming what I believed was the route we need to go.
    I almost always have that toggled on and include the display of lineweights. It allows the placement of notes in the layout to not be inadvertently overwritten based on the assigned lineweights and plot styles.
    If you have a technical question, please find the appropriate forum and ask it there.
    You will get a quicker response from your fellow AUGI members than if you sent it to me via a PM or email.
    jUSt

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    Default Re: Opinions wanted: CTB vs STB

    We have been using CTB for 35 years, only because it was what we started with. I came up with a CTB that we standardized on. Really, I only have one other CTB that reduces the lineweights by 50%. We standardized on all D size sheets. But we print plot checks to B size and use the reduced CTB to scale the lineweights. You might do something similar with STB. It would have the exact same style names, just with reduced lineweights.
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