Thursday, February 10, 2011

Balanced Cross Sections Made Easy with Illustrator CS5's Smart Guides

Should you ever find yourself needing to professionally draft a balanced cross section, you may want to try Adobe Illustrator.  Under the Smart Guide preferences, you can customize the angles that lines snap to (so long as you have snapped the beginning node to another node, I think).

Sometimes Smart Guides has a difficult time snapping to angles if you start drawing a line without attaching it to an anchor. One thing that you can do is define the angle using the line dialog.  The other may be to draw a boundary line at the margin of the cross section.  Or, they just won't snap... and I have no idea why.  The Mac version of Illustrator seems rather inconsistent with its functions, at times.

But once you get past that initial point of setting up a line, Smart Guides is usually content snapping between lines that represent dip domains (angles that bisect between dip domains).  Remember, by default, smart guide activity is symbolized with a green line.

Once you've balanced a cross section, use the measure tool to make sure bed thicknesses and angles come out as expected.  It's pretty slick stuff.
30 and 60 degree angles automatically snapped between bisectors of dip domains.

So much for the protractor.

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