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Are there any parametric limitations using ArtiosCAD canvas?


The terms rebuildable, resizable and parametric should be considered interchangeable.

Prior to 16.1.1, rebuildability within a canvas was maintained at the canvas level. This means all variables, e.g: LWD, were shared by all parts.  Parametric ARDs which were imported into the canvas were stripped of their parametrics.  Parts could not contain different boards and they all shared the canvas board.

Starting with ArtiosCAD 16.1.1, parametric ARDs can be imported into a canvas as a new part.  Standards can also be run into the canvas.  The parametric information will be maintained and the part will be rebuildable within the canvas. Parts could contain different boards within the same canvas.

However, some parametric limitations do exist which this article will address.

Editing part geometry defined with CAL

ArtiosCAD 16.1.1 allows each part to have its own board definition that is different from the canvas board.  However only one log file exists.  

Create new part


For each part that is newly created in the canvas that might define geometry in terms of CAL, the underlying command in the log resolves CAL to CAL(x) where x refers to the part Id within the canvas. The other board allowance variables, IL and OG are resolved in this way.

Allowing each part to define CAL in terms of CAL(x) allows each part to be rebuilt in terms of a new board, regardless of what board the other parts have been drafted with.

Draft a new part (Create Part)

Draft a second new part (Create Part)

Create a new third part by either running a standard or importing an existing rebuildable design as a new rebuildable part into the canvas:


ArtiosCAD can only resolve to CAL(x) where x = the part Id when the user starts a canvas anew and drafts all the parts from scratch as above or when a parametric ARD is imported into the canvas as a new part as below.


If CAL is part of any of the prompts, the designer need only enter CAL and ArtiosCAD will resolve CAL to the proper CAL(x) within the log file. The designer does not need to remember the underlying part Id.

Copy geometry

Let's assume a simple cutout is created in part 2.

The logged command is as such: rect by ((L+CAL(2))/4 (2*#I) ITEMREF (:S:U:P2:U1,2) type 1 poi 2.

Note that the rectangle will be further resolved to item reference :S:U:P3:U1:R2,1-4.

Now copy the cutout from part 2 to part 3.  The operation is logged as such:

Resolved geometry

Once geometry has been resolved to item references, the source command and variables used to define the geometry at the outset are lost. Further operations reference such geometry only as item references. The original spec which defined the geometry within the logfile is lost. For example, the copied rectangle no longer knows that it was created with a length of L+the CAL of the material in part 2. That expression has been resolved to 2.5" and the item reference is now simply a length of 2.5". The log only knows that the item references which comprise the rectangle have been copied.

The geometry copied into part 3 does not assume the CAL (IL, OG) of the board used in part 3. It effectively maintains the CAL from part 2 because it will encounter commands that created the geometry first. This further means that a rebuild of part 3 with a different material will not resize the cutout. Further a rebuild of part 2 with a different material will not only resize the cutout in part 2 but also the cutout in part 3.

Editing operations

Editing operations by which geometry of the source part does not assume CAL of the destination part:

  1. Splitting geometry from part A to part B
  2. Move, Copy geometry from part A to part B
  3. Move to part from part A to part B
  4. Copying, changing material in 3D

Convert to canvas

Assume a simple ARD with two closed contours defined parametrically in term of CAL.

When this design is converted to a canvas, note that CAL(x) is the same for both parts ( CAL(1) ) within the logfile , even though logically these are two distinct parts.  This is because at the time the contours were drafted in the ARD, both parts shared the same material as an ARD only allows one material.  It is assumed that at the time of converting to a canvas, the expressions that were defined during the drafting of the geometry in the ARD were created in terms of one CAL.  The commands in the logfile are changed to CAL(1), to reference the first part created.

Rebuild by Board

This means when part 1 changes its material, both parts will be re-evaluate in terms of that board. Further, if part 2 changes its material, any part 2's commands logged in terms of part 1's material ( CAL(1) ) do not re-evaluate.

However, the parts now have an internal part Id and from this point forward, new geometry added to the parts and defined in terms of CAL are logged in terms of CAL(x) where x = the internal part ID.  This means if a part changes material and is rebuilt, that new geometry added to that part since the conversion to canvas, will be rebuilt in terms of the part's new material.

Parametric ARD

Older rebuildable (parametric) ARD should be rebuilt before converting to canvas. This will help minimize rebuild issues that may exist in the canvas.

Consolidating parts


If a given contour in an ARD is copied N different times via the CopyRepeated Copy tools  or Copy Mirror ... when converting to a canvas, the copied parts, although technically duplicates, are considered as N separate parts:

Copy times offset

If a given contour in an ARD is copied 1 time via the Copy times offset  tool, creating N additional instances... when converting to a canvas the copied part will be aggregated into one part with a count of N.

...with variable

If the number of copies was defined parametrically in the ARD with a variable, the variable will also be used within the canvas as the number of copies.

...with transformations

Assume the sequence below was created with the Copy times offset tool with 5 copies and the last three were subsequently mirrored.  Upon converting to canvas, only the first 3 parts will be consolidated:

...with autorepeat

If an instance is edited a certain and autorepeat is used to also edit the other instances, all the parts will still consolidate into one upon canvas conversion.

...hybrid copy

If copies were made with any combination of the Copy times offset tool, and the Copy tool as such:

then all the parts will be consolidated into one with an aggregate Number of copies.

Note that if N parts were created N times using Copy times offset with number of copies = 1, then upon canvas conversion, N different parts will be created.  Such use is akin to a regular Copy.

...with Annotations ( Assume a number of parts created via the Copy times offset tool)

A dimension that spans all the parts, will result in a single part

If only one part is annotated, consolidation will occur.  However, annotations are focues around the original source part.  If the original part is annotated, the annotation will be preserved.  If any copied part is annotated, as the original part was not, then the copied part annotation is not preserved.

Parts that are annotated differently will be considered different parts

If a part is annotated with a hatch, varnish, artwork panel, detail, dynamic art or a bleed it will be consider a unique part

If all the parts are surrounded by a grouped bleed, they will be considered one part

If a part is first annotated, then copied via the Copy times offset tool, unique parts will result.

Saving of parametric parts

Parts that have been design parametrically within a canvas may be saved as individualized ARD files.  However, any parametrics will be stripped from the ARD file and the ARD itself will not be resizable.

This limitation is due to the fact that canvas parts will more likely than not be drafted and logged with references to points in other parts, canvas conlines or dynamic drafting.  None of these points will be available to the part when saved as an individual ARD, thus the resulting log file of said ARD will be incorrect.  For the moment, there is no way to resolved these points correctly.

"Rebuilding" by part with differing boards

Once a part has been defined allowance using a part ID for example CAL(x), the board may be changed, allowing the new board allowances to influence the design in a a rebuild.

  1. Make a part active in a canvas.
  2. Navigate to Info > Board information and select a new board for the part.
  3. Navigate to Design > Rebuild Canvas.

Interoperability of canvas files:

Backward compatibility

With 16.1.1, creating a canvas by importing a standard or existing rebuildable designs resulting in the logging of new import log commands which were introduced to be able to identify the part and maintain its parametric information.   This means ArtiosCAD versions prior to 16.1.1 which support the canvas format will not be able to rebuild a canvas file created in 16.1.1 and later.

Forward compatibility

Canvas files created in ArtiosCAD versions prior to 16.1.1 will rebuild in 16.1.1

Running Laserpoint , IQ or DWB standards into a canvas

Only pure standards based on the ARD format can be used in a canvas.  Neither Laserpoint, IQ, DWB standards nor ARD standards derived from the previously mentioned formats may be run into a canvas.


Article information
Applies to

ArtiosCAD 16.1.1 and newer



Last revised


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