Why are some sketch lines light and others (most) darker? (The top center line; I cannot make it turn dark)
While I cannot give you the SolidWorks reason why, it appears to have something to do with what enclosed area (contour?) was created first. In my screenshot below on the left, I created the triangle area first, then made the rectangle area; notice the horizontal and vertical lines are light. On the right, I created the rectangle first then added the diagonal line; this time the diagonal line is light.
This also appears to apply to implied areas. If I sketch a shape similar to yours.
And then draw a line across the top, it is lighter.
However, when I draw a line to connect the two Ls, that line is dark.
Try it yourself to see if you get the same results (I was using SolidWorks 2016 SP1.0).
If you want to turn all the lines dark, then you will need to follow Kelvin's response.
EDIT: Couple more thoughts on the subject.
In the screen shot below, the upper sketch was created by sketching the three horizontal top lines first; notice they are dark and now the two inner vertical lines are light. The lower sketch was created by sketching one continuous top line; now all the lines are dark. Just another look into what at seems to be the bizarre workings of SolidWorks?
Exit sketch and get back into sketch mode and all would be good. I'm not sure sure about the reason but this won't create any issues.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Still light in sketch mode.
It might just be a feature... When I sketch something like you've shown above, the same line becomes thin. It's like lines that connect two existing points are drawn thinner. You can even make them change thickness by drawing a line in the open space first and then drag both end points to existing sketch points.
Well the only reason I can think of is that SW is giving you a visual difference that these are not continuous lines.
I don't have an explanation for the thinning, but an easy fix is to have just one line extending from corner to corner instead of three separate lines.
This is the correct answer. It has been there since SOLIDWORKS 1995 and is meant to visually show complete closed, single contours vs. entities that don't make up a single closed contour. Back in early versions of SOLIDWORKS you ALWAYS needed a single closed contour; there was no contour selection within feature commands and thin features were not implemented yet so if you didn't have a single closed contour in the sketch, then it was not very useful. Even today, MOST sketches that users use have single closed contours, so it is still a nice visual clue as to whether or not you have a properly closed single contour created or to show if you have an extra, unintended entities. Of course, SOLIDWORKS 2017 now has shaded contours which give even more of a visual clue and add additional useful ease of use to contours.
I hope this helps,
Thanks for the history lesson. From Craig's original posted sketch to those I created for examples, your explanation does not explain why SolidWorks chooses which entity to make lighter (at least not for me) . In Craig's sketch, the top line that was made lighter does form a close contour but the two vertical lines that come off the end points of this line do not; yet they are dark (and there are other lines in his sketch that do not make up close contours; yet they are darker too). In my rectangle example, if I sketch the triangle first then add horizontal and vertical lines to form the rectangle; those lines are made lighter. And when I sketch the rectangle first then add the diagonal line, the diagonal line is made lighter. Either way I do it, there are still 3 valid closed contours (a rectangle and two triangles). In this case it seems to me SolidWorks is guessing at what my design intent is?
As for SW2017 and its shaded contours; that does not seem to work correctly either. Below is a screenshot of my rectangle example. Why is the one triangle on the left not shaded? It is not a valid closed contour?
SolidWorks let me select it as a contour to create this.
I had referenced in a couple of places in my original reply that it is identifying single closed contours but I have now updated my original reply so all references I have made indicate "single" to eliminate any confusion. Single, independent contours are the ones we identify since those are the most common types of contours used and can be used without any additional selections within a feature. They are also the only type of contour that can be manipulated with the new shaded contours functionality by picking and dragging the shaded area.
I don't know the exact heuristics used for the thin line font algorithm vs.the shaded contour algorithm but can infer some things through experimentation. The thin line font one seems to kick in any time a single endpoint connects to 3 entities rather than just 2 (indicating it is not a single closed contour); which entity is drawn as thin looks most likely to be determined by entity creation order. Shaded contours seem a bit "smarter" since it can still identify a single closed contour that has extra entities branching off endpoints, but that looks to only be true if the contour was either identified before the branching entities were added or if the contour was not identified before the branching occurred (i.e. contour is identified as entities are being deleted), it can only handle branching at one vertex.
I have read your reply many times trying to understand what you are trying to communicate. From it, I believe you have not explained why some lines are light; by your own admission, you do not understand the algorithm used. I think it best to say that the order of entity creation dictates which entity(ies) are made light and that the original intent was lost when SolidWorks introduced contours and thin features.
I do not agree that the shaded contour algorithm is a bit "smarter". In the last sentence of your second paragraph, you indicated that certain conditions must be met for a contour to be made shaded. I will use an example to explain how I understand what you wrote.
I started with the top shape shown below. In the middle shape, I first sketched the top line (turned light) then sketched a line connecting the "Ls"; the line turned dark indicating a closed contour, but the shading algorithm did not shade the area. In the bottom shape, I first sketched a line connecting the "Ls"; the line turned dark and the shading algorithm shaded the area. I then drew the top line (turned light). What did I learn? The thin line font algorithm identified a closed contour twice whereas the shaded contour algorithm only identified a closed contour once. Which one appears smarter to you?
I imagine that you could produce examples of just the opposite so let us just say that both algorithms have their strengths and weaknesses. I am just glad that the contour functionality is smarter than both and does not care about line fonts and shades of gray.
Yes, there probably are cases where the thin line algorithm appears smarter than the shaded contour. No point arguing semantics. The main point is that both algorithms are meant to identify single contours.
I agree there is no point arguing; all I want it the shaded algorithm to work correctly. Based on my two examples here where SW incorrectly and failed to shade a closed contour (and another issue I found outside of this conversation) I will probably report this to my VAR as a bug. I know what SW will say; create an enhancement request.
Unfortunately, I was not able to test shaded contours much in Beta because I tested using our company formats and it only worked with SW2017 formats (later fixed on a SPR but after I was no longer evaluating the release). Had I been able to test better, I would have reported it as "not work as I expected".
I spent some time tonight and found how to turn shaded contours off. When we upgrade to SW2017 sometime next spring, our users will not even know the functionality it is there. Most of our users will probably find the shading annoying anyway if it does not shade correctly.
Thanks you all very much for your help!
I can see that this happens in a predictable way, and liked the observation "Just another look into what at seems to be the bizarre workings of SolidWorks?" Also, as Peter said, "It might just be a feature." Peter, the software developers would love you for that.
Peter may be right about it being a feature. I fired up my copy of SW2001+ SP5.1 and the results are the same.
That's a nice version to have access to Also good to know that most of the icons didn't change a thing in 14 years...
What a nice pic, I thought I was the only one to have an old release
as reference for improvement or regressions.
I remember 2001 very well, it was one of the most solid versions. I did a lot
of complex designs with that version.
At that time when you placed a dimension in a sketch there was no delay.
Now we have delays of about half a second or more while CPU's are about
20 times faster. It's a shame Solidworks does not optimize UI speed and
responsiveness anymore. I must say that I like to have the custom UI colors
back that were discontinued somewhere after 2006 but that did not happen
Also having the option "use last saved configuration" allowed you design machines
from standard parts very efficiently and fast. Never understand why that option
was not available anymore after 2006, it took much longer without that option.
I cannot say I ever had a favorite version of SolidWorks (I know I have had ones that I was not happy with).
Unfortunately, I cannot agree with "use last saved configuration". Our users would forget to not select it and every time someone added a new configuration to our screw models, there would be calls asking why the screws were no longer correct in their assembly. In fact, just a year ago I had a user come to me asking why the screws were changing in his assembly (he was updated an assembly done back in that era). Took awhile to figure out. I had to go back to an earlier version of SW that still had that option, create test parts then bring it into the version of SW we were using at the time to see if that was the issue (which it was). But I digress.
2001plus... dang,.. one of my fav versions!
Thanks for your help on his, Solid.
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