Category Archives for "News"

Aug 07

MasterTemplate User Tips Contest

By Eric Bobrow | News

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to everyone on our MasterTemplate list asking people to submit their favorite tips for using ArchiCAD, or links to web pages or posts that included useful tips and resources. We will be awarding prizes for the best entries.

We received some great submissions, which you can view on this page.

Please help us decide which tips are the most useful! Simply give a rating to the ones you like best. Voting is open through the next week, then we’ll announce the winners!

Feb 20

New Video Tip – How to Trace 2D Drawings to Create Your Model

By Eric Bobrow | News

I have prepared a new video tip on a topic that should be of interest to many ArchiCAD users. In this demonstration, I show how to bring in 2D drawings (in this case, DWG files) as a tracing reference to make it easy and fast to create an accurate 3D model.

The video may be viewed here:

At this point, it is about 90 minutes long, and shows every step along the way. I plan to condense it down to focus on the principles and show only the most important steps. Note that for this long version there is a timeline control strip, so you can jump to any point you wish, or replay sections at will.

Here is an outline of the process:

  • Create a new project
  • Import the DWG files into separate Worksheets and coordinate their origin points
  • Set up the Story Levels to correspond to the project heights
  • Use Virtual Trace to reference the ground floor DWG as a background while working on the ground floor plan
  • Move the original MasterTemplate base slabs, elevation and section markers, and gridlines to the vicinity of the traced DWG
  • Set up the wall tool for the proper thickness and height, then trace the outline of the building
  • Repeat for the upper story
  • Place windows in the walls using the plan DWGs as references for location and width
  • Open each of the Elevation viewpoints and correspond the DWG Worksheets for trace reference
  • Adjust window heights, types and glazing patterns to match the original drawings
  • Repeat for the doors, first on plan, then in elevation
  • Draw the first roof piece on plan by tracing over the roof outline from the original drawing
  • Coordinate the height and thickness of the roof in each elevation
  • Use these adjusted settings to create the rest of the roof system on the lower level, then repeat the process for the upper roofs
  • Trim walls to the roofs to clean up the model
  • Adjust some of the windows and doors to have arched tops with bricks above
  • Review the 3D model, elevations and plans, which now correspond beautifully to the original drawings

All of this was done in real time, in 90 minutes!

To be frank, the first time I did this it took between 3 and 4 hours, because I had to become familiar with the project and how the DWGs were organized. The second time it took about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, and then I started over and recorded the process the third time in 90 minutes from start to finish.

I will condense this video into a shorter presentation, perhaps 10 – 20 minutes long, and create an article that explains the process.

I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Dec 03

Cadimage Tools Legends!

By Eric Bobrow | News

Cadimage_LegendsMany AMT users asked us to support Cadimage Tools by adding Interactive Legends of Visual Favorites for their products. At long last, after many days of work by Mark Horrocks of Cadimage Tools (as well as myself) over a period of months, we now have an add-on for MasterTemplate ready for purchase.

This was a much bigger task than originally anticipated – there are LOTS of Cadimage Tools. Separate Legend groupings were prepared for DoorBuilder, WindowBuilder, CabinetBuilder, Landscaping and Landscaping Extras, Trees of the South Pacific, Accessories, and Rapid Detailer as well as objects from the Design Suite. Special efforts were made to synchronize layers, materials, fill and pen settings to enable a seamless experience for MasterTemplate users.

The Cadimage Legends add-on to MasterTemplate is available for $75 – click this link to purchase.

A special bundle is available when the Cadimage Legends is purchased with a new AMT license for $245, saving $25. You may click here to buy this bundle.

To celebrate, we have arranged to offer a 10% discount on all Cadimage Tools products and upgrades for AMT users. Simply visit the Cadimage Tools website and shop for whatever you wish, then enter the promo code “AMT” (don’t type the quote marks) to receive 10% off your invoice.

Disclosure: Bobrow Consulting Group earns a commission on Cadimage Tools sales that are placed using the AMT promotion code. We believe their products are very useful, and proudly recommend them to all our clients. We thank Campbell Yule of Cadimage Tools for his patience and support.

Addendum: For more info on the Cadimage Legends, as well as screenshots, please click the Comments link directly below.

Nov 21

Video Tip – How to Create Sculpted Rafter Tails

By Eric Bobrow | News

Earlier this year, we posted a signup form for a newsletter and promised to deliver regular video tips. This project was delayed, but finally has reached fruition in the form of a rather meaty video. This 23 minute demonstration shows how to create sculpted rafter tails very quickly using a clever combination of Complex Profiles and Solid Element Operations.

To view please click the link above or to to the Navigation menu on this website and click on the ARCHICAD TIPS & NEWSLETTER item and select it from the drop-down menu.

More video tips will be coming soon! If you’d like to suggest a topic, please email or post your ideas in the SUPPORT FORUM.

Nov 15

Video Tutorials for MasterTemplate

By Eric Bobrow | News

We have started to produce a number of video tutorials for MasterTemplate. You’ll find them listed in a drop-down menu under the Support Forum link in the Navigation Area. Each one covers a specific aspect of installation or usage.

  • Installation – how to download and install MasterTemplate, including relinking the Hotlinked Modules and other linked files.
  • Your Company Logo – replace the AMT logo on the Layout sheets with your own company logo.
  • Starting a Project – after saving the customized version of AMT, start a new project from the template, and use the interactive legends to quickly access the kit of parts.

We will be adding to these over the coming days and weeks, as well as revising the QuickStart Guide and Manual. Your comments and suggestions are encouraged!

Nov 09

AMT 13 International Version released

By Eric Bobrow | News

Bobrow Consulting Group is proud to announce the availability of the international version of MasterTemplate 13. After extensive configuration and testing, AMT 13 INT was posted on Thursday November 5, 2009.

AMT 13 INT uses the international ArchiCAD Library, with Interactive Legends (arrays of Favorite parts) and master layouts set up to metric standards. As with all previous versions of MasterTemplate, it may be adapted to any country, regional or office standard.

While preparing AMT 13 INT, a number of additional enhancements were made in the AMT 13 USA version, which has now been updated and reposted.

AMT licensees who purchased after October 1, 2008 are eligible for a free upgrade to AMT 13. Earlier licensees may purchase it for $49 through November 30, 2009; after that point all upgrades will be $75.

To download AMT 13 (USA or INT), please login to the MasterTemplate website ( using your email address as the user name, then click the DOWNLOAD page link in the top navigation bar. One can login to the site using the LOGIN panel at the lower left of the Home page, or directly on the DOWNLOAD page.

New passwords have been set as part of a general site overhaul, and are being emailed to licensees today. If you have not received an email from BCG with your login info, or are having problems logging in to the site, please email for assistance.

The MasterTemplate website Support Forum has been replaced with a system that integrates it more completely with the rest of the site. All posts from the previous forum have been transferred. The download links that were previously part of the Forum are now available on the DOWNLOAD page.

To post a question or comment in the Support Forum, please login (see info above). If you have any questions or need assistance using the new website forum, please email

Oct 11

MasterTemplate for ArchiCAD 13

By Eric Bobrow | News

After several weeks of work, we are proud to release MasterTemplate 13. The new update provides full compatibility with ArchiCAD 13, and also contains new features and revisions based on feedback and suggestions from users as well as our own discoveries and innovations.

The U.S. version is now posted, and the International version is expected to be available later in October.

Here is a summary of the most important new features in AMT 13:

  1. Interactive Legends: We converted the complete Legend kit of parts from the ArchiCAD 12 Library to the ArchiCAD 13 Library. While some elements automatically found their counterparts in the new library, many dozens had to be swapped manually using parameter transfer techniques. Over 400 labels were also updated to reflect the new object names.
  2. The process of Preliminary Design was significantly simplified with the use of new Layer Combinations and View definitions. It is now much easier to go back and forth between the preliminary design model and the Legend kit of parts.
  3. New fills were added including soft insulation, image fills and a DEMO fill (a partial white-out) that makes elements appear dashed.
  4. New composites were created that use ArchiCAD 13’s new soft insulation feature. A methodology was introduced to control visibility of the insulation separately on plan from sections and 3D Documents.
  5. Commercial restrooms in the U.S. version were revised to meet ADA standards. Informative notes were added to show ADA minimums, maximums and other requirements.
  6. A new AMT Work Environment Profile is provided to simplify setup of keyboard shortcuts and other recommended workstation settings.
  7. A variety of other cleanups and fine-tuning has resulted in a tighter, nicer-looking template.

A complete description of the new features, along with instructions for upgrading user-customized versions of MasterTemplate are included in the Release Notes.

New AMT licenses and upgrades include a full year of update coverage. MasterTemplate users who purchased their license or an upgrade after October 1, 2008 will receive free access to AMT 13. Other MasterTemplate users may buy upgrades for $49 USD through October 31, 2009. After that date, AMT upgrades will cost $75 USD.

For more information or to purchase MasterTemplate, please visit or contact your preferred ArchiCAD reseller, distributor or online store.

May 16

MasterTemplate Website and Support Forum Merged

By Eric Bobrow | News

After much deliberation and testing of different website tools and structures, I took the plunge and combined the MasterTemplate website (the site that showcases the template and offers it for sale) with the BCG ArchiCAD Forums (the support board where users ask questions about MasterTemplate and other ArchiCAD Best Practices).

Technically, the Forum is embedded into one page on the MasterTemplate site. However, it has it’s own login and internal navigation links, so it still has the dozens of postings and discussions from the past 20 months. I moved the NEWS postings to the main site, accessible from the NEWS & BLOG tab in the navigation bar at the top of the site. I also created a new Testimonial page that combines many of the wonderful quotes we’ve received from users.

We again are hosting the Daily Tips feed from – check it out from the TIP OF THE DAY link at the top right. These are wonderful quick little nuggets of goodness – you’ll like them!

I believe the new site will provide a better experience for users, and ensure that people who purchase MasterTemplate are easily able to find the Support Forum. It’s been a lot of work merging everything together and reconfiguring it in a coherent way, and I’m still not satisfied with the graphics but it will have to do for now.

Please give us your feedback. We love to hear from you!


Apr 27

MasterTemplate 12.1 Now Online!

By Eric Bobrow | News

MasterTemplate 12.1 (USA version) is now available for download!

Here is a short list of what’s new:

  1. Interactive Legends – greatly expanded with Quick Rooms and Parts Matrixes
  2. Legends – FAST access through a Worksheet using Virtual Trace!
  3. 3D Views and 3D Windows show many of the Legends for study and easier use
  4. Custom Profiles – many new wall profiles show the possibilities
  5. New Fills, Materials, Textures and a smart custom Label
  6. Layers – a few adjustments, new layers and layer combinations

The Release Notes are now posted online at:

The Release Notes are a 23 page document describing what’s new in version 12.1, as well as how to install it and set it up.

I’ve written some guidance on how to upgrade from AMT 12 in two different ways:

1) installing the new template and transferring previous customizations into it, or
2) copying some or all of the new features from the new template into a highly customized template that is already in use.

The version posted April 17 is technically called Release Candidate 1, which means that although it has been tested internally and works nicely, we are requesting feedback from users on anything that may need cleaning up.

Now that I’ve completed the technical description of the new version, my next step is to create marketing materials that explain very simply what’s new and what the benefits are. I’ll also be updating the overall website that describes MasterTemplate, and going back to the original Manual and integrating everything into it.

In parallel, as Scott Bulmer’s schedule allows, we’ll get an International version prepared, as well as finishing up special Legends for Cadimage Tools users.

Somewhere along the line, I’ll be creating promotional materials that we’ll use for our affiliate websites. These are the sites of ArchiCAD resellers and other software distributors such as Objects Online, CAD Garage, Graphisoft West, Cadimage Tools, Object Stop, and others that will be starting to list and sell the MasterTemplate.

I only wish I had more time to devote to this project, so all of this could have been done already!