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HP Designjet Printers (HPGL/2) - AutoCAD 12 for DOS Plotting and Rendering

Task 4: Configuring for Rendered Plots
(Optional / Inkjet Printers Only)
To render a plot is to apply variable shading to surfaces in order to give a three-dimensional appearance to the drawing. AutoCAD Release 12 includes its own rendering routine, AVE RENDER (= AutoCAD commands RCONFIG and RENDER). However, HP strongly recommends that, rather than AVE RENDER, you use the rendering routine HPRENDER supplied as part of this driver, because:
  • HPRENDER's features are geared specifically to HP printers.
  • HPRENDER lets you specify the page size (unlike AVE RENDER).
Step 1: Configure AutoCad to Use HPRENDER
  1. At the AutoCAD command line, enter:
    RCONFIG
  2. Press <Enter> to see the Configuration Menu. (If you see a message stating that no rendering device is yet configured, this means that RCONFIG itself is not configured.)
    (Press <Enter> to see the Configuration Menu and choose "Configure rendering device". Otherwise ...)
  3. In the Configuration Menu, choose:
    "Configure hard copy rendering device"
  4. From the list of devices, choose:
    "P386 AutoDesk Device Interface rendering driver"
  5. The name of your current HPCONFIG (.CFG) file is displayed. Answer the questions with reference to your own printer.
    For help on the port connection questions, refer to Task 2, Step 2 above.
  6. Back in the Configuration Menu, choose:
    "Exit to drawing editor"
Step 2: Configure and Plot With HPRENDER
HPRENDER both configures the render attributes and sends the rendered drawing to the printer. The rendered version of the drawing is not displayed on screen.
  1. At the AutoCAD command line, enter:
    HPRENDER
  2. In the Render Configuration dialog box, first check that the .CFG file displayed at the top is the same as the current one displayed in RCONFIG. If they are not the same, the rendering will not work. To change the current .CFG file, use HPCONFIG.
  3. Set the render attributes:
    Render Type
    Smooth = smooth ON (slower, but smoother surfaces)
    Facet = smooth OFF (faster, but less smooth surfaces)
    Media Size
    Select either inches or millimeters and then specify the width and height of the media to be used in the printer for rendered output.
    The size you specify here is also used as the default in HPMPLOT.
    Position of Rendered Plot on Media
    Specify the bottom left and top right corners (1st and 2nd respectively) of the image to be rendered.
    The units are as under Page Size and the X and Y coordinates are with reference to the bottom left corner of the page.
    Render to File
    To send the rendered output to a file rather than to the printer, select Render to File and specify the filename in the window that appears. If Render to File is already selected, then to change the filename, select Filename.
     caution:
    The file could be as large as 20 MB, especially with a large page size.
  4. To send the rendered drawing to the printer (or to a file), select OK.
     note:
    If you are using the AutoCAD command SCENE to define the scene to be rendered, make sure that it refers to the CURRENT view; otherwise, the orientation of your rendered drawing may not be correct.
Plotting a Mixed Rendered and Non-Rendered Drawing (HPMPLOT)
HPRENDER renders the current viewport or the model space view that you see on screen. If you want to plot a drawing with one viewport rendered and the others not, use HPMPLOT instead. (..MPLOT stands for mixed plot.)
Before using HPMPLOT, you must already have used RCONFIG to configure AutoCAD for rendering, as explained above in Step 1 of this task.
  1. At the AutoCAD command line, enter:
    HPMPLOT
  2. In the Mixed Plot Configuration dialog box, first check that the printer displayed at the top is the same as the one whose .CFG file is current in RCONFIG. If they are not the same, the rendering will not work. To change the current printer, select Device and Default Selection. The list of printers that appears is as specified in the CONFIG command.
  3. Change the mixed plot parameters as required, including the selection of the viewport to be rendered:
    Media Size
    Select either inches or millimeters and then specify the width and height of the media to be used in the printer. The default is as specified in HPRENDER.
    What to Plot
    Choose whether the area to be plotted is:
    • Display: as displayed on screen.
    • Extents: as defined by the extents of the drawing.
    • Limits: as defined by the LIMITS variable.
    Hide Lines
    Select this if you do not want hidden lines to be plotted.
    Render Type
    Smooth = smooth ON (slower, but smoother surfaces)
    Facet = smooth OFF (faster, but less smooth surfaces)
    To send the output to a file rather than to the printer, select To File and specify the filename in the window that appears. If To File is already selected, then to change the filename, select Filename.
    To File
     caution:
    The file could be as large as 20 MB, especially with a large media size.
    Scale
    If you want the drawing to be plotted to the same scale as specified in the drawing, leave this as 1 to 1.
    To plot to an enlarged scale, make the Plotted Units greater than the Drawing Units, vice versa for a reduced scale.
    If you want the drawing to be scaled to fit the media size specified above, choose Plot to Fit.
    Viewport to Render
    Choose Select and then select the relevant viewport in AutoCAD.
  4. To send the drawing to the printer (or to a file), select OK.
Day-to-Day Plotting
Plotting a Normal (Non-Rendered) Drawing
  1. Enter the PLOT command to get to AutoCAD's Plot Configuration dialog box.
  2. The printer configuration currently selected is the one shown in the Device and Default Information box. If you want to change it, choose Device and Default Selection.
  3. If you are using a non-standard media size, choose "Size ..." to specify the plotting area as a USER SIZE.
    plotting area = media size - margins
    For margins, refer to your printer documentation.
  4. HP recommends that, if you are in any doubt about what will be physically plotted, you select a full preview in the Plot Preview box.
Plotting a Rendered Drawing
See above under Chapter 3, Task 4:
  • HPRENDER both configures and plots a rendered drawing.
  • HPMPLOT both configures and plots a mixed rendered and non-rendered drawing.
Deciding Whether to Configure the Software or the Printer
Many of the features available in AutoCAD and in HPCONFIG are also available on the printer -- pen settings, number of copies, merge, and etc. On the printer, these may be available in the front-panel menus, in the setup sheet, or elsewhere, depending on the printer model.
To help you decide whether to set a parameter on the software or on the printer, here are some considerations:
  • Do you understand which setting will take priority: software or printer? It is not always the same answer. For advice, look up the feature either in this manual (chapter 2, step 3 and chapter 5, "HPCONFIG field-by-field") or in your printer User's Guide.
  • If your printer is on a network, or is used by several colleagues in any other way, do you want to affect just your plots or all their plots? If it is just yours, then you should configure the software.
  • Do you want to experiment with a plot while it is plotting, for example, by changing the plot quality? This would be easier to set on the printer.
  • Do you want to define a set of parameters for regular use in certain circumstances? For example, when plotting a drawing for a customer, you may always want final plot quality, scaled to fit, with specific pen settings. This would be easier to set on the software, by creating a special .CFG file.
  • How quickly do you want to make the change? It is likely to be quicker on the software.
  • How permanent do you want the changes to be? Temporary changes are likely to be easier to reset on the software.

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