Computer-aided drafting for scenic and lighting designers


Material Information

Computer-aided drafting for scenic and lighting designers a training guide using the AUTOCAD drafting package and the Zenith Z-100 microcomputer
Physical Description:
viii, 201 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Hall, Delbert L
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Computer-aided design   ( lcsh )
Stage lighting   ( lcsh )
Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1986.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 194-200).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Delbert L. Hall.
General Note:
General Note:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000925282
notis - AEN5931
oclc - 15987335
sobekcm - AA00004860_00001
System ID:

Full Text







Copyright 1986


Delbert L. Hall


I would like to thank all of the members of my

committee for their hard work and for their guidance in

helping me complete this work. I also want to thank the

students who helped by participating in the testing phase

of this dissertation. Very special thanks are extended to

Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg for more reasons than can be named.

I would to like thank my parents, who have given me so

much moral support over the years. And most importantly, I

want to thank my wife, Kathy, for all the love, support and

understanding which she has given me during this period.

AutoCAD is a registered trademark of Autodesk Inc.

Permission from Autodesk Inc. has been granted for the use

of copyrighted materials for this dissertation.







. iii

. vi

. vii



Background of the Problem.
Statement of the Problem .
The Purpose of the Study .
The Hypothesis .
Scope and Delimitations. .
Notes . .


Background of Computer Use in Theatre. .
What Is CAD? . .
The History of CAD . .
What Is a Microcomputer-Based CAD System?
CAD in Nontheatrical Professions .. ..
CAD in the Theatre . .
Summary of Literature . .
Notes . . .


The Software .
The Hardware .
The Tutorial .
Preliminary Studies. .
The Subjects .
Methodology. .
Notes .

S . 34
S . 38
S . 41
S . 44
S . 45
S . 47
S . 51


Statistical Analysis .
Breakdown of Scores by Area .
Conclusions . .
Note . .


Summary ....
Recommendations.. ...
Notes . .

* .. 63
S. 66
. 67

GLOSSARY. ............ .















. 69

. 73

. 174

. 175

. 178

. 180

. 183

. 185

. 188

. 189

. 191

. 193

. 194

. 201

i j


Table Page

1 Evaluation by Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg of the
Drawing Test for the Test Group. ... 52

2 Evaluation by Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg of the
Drawing Test for the Control Group ... 53

3 Evaluation by Ronald A. Naversen of the
Drawing Test for the Test Group. .. 53

4 Evaluation by Ronald A. Naversen of the
Drawing Test for the Control Group 54

5 Evaluation by Delbert L. Hall of the
Drawing Test for the Test Group. 54

6 Evaluation by Delbert L. Hall of the
Drawing Test for the Control Group ... 55

7 Grand Totals of Test Scores. ... 55

8 Comparison of Scores on the Drawing Test
Between the CAD and the Manual Methods 56

9 t Distribution Comparison of Mean Scores on
the Drawing Test . ... 57

10 Comparison Among Evaluators of Scores from
Test Group on the Drawing Test ... .. .. 58

11 Comparison Among Evaluators of Scores from
Control Group on the Drawing Test. ... 58

12 Pearson Product-Moment Correlation of Scores
Between Evaluators . .. 59

13 Time Chart of CAD Training by Members of
the Test Group . 64

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Delbert L. Hall

December 1986

Chairman: Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg
Major Department: Speech

The purpose of this study was to develop a method for

training scenic and lighting designers to use computer-

aided drafting (CAD) as a tool for producing technical

drawings for theatrical productions. To bring four

subjects to an acceptable level of performance using CAD, a

self-study tutorial was employed. The effectiveness of the

method was subsequently determined by comparing the

drawings of a test group, which learned CAD using the

tutorial, with the drawings created by a control group,

which used manual drafting techniques. After each drawing

had been scored on four key areas of drafting quality, the

mean scores of the two groups were compared and the

effectiveness of the tutorial judged.


Two microcomputer-based CAD workstations were used for

the study. The AutoCAD drafting package, version 2.02, and

the Zenith Z-100 microcomputer were the major components of

the CAD workstations. The purpose of the tutorial was to

train scenic and lighting design students to draft

theatrical drawings using the workstations and the AutoCAD

drafting package.

The results of the testing in this study showed that a

test group, who had learned to use CAD through the

tutorial, scored 33 percent higher on a drawing test than a

control group using manual drafting methods. The drawings

were rated by trained raters on productivity, accuracy,

readability, and reproduciblity by trained raters with an

average reliability coefficient of .9490907. The test

results suggest that scenic and lighting designers trained

by the self-study tutorial method to make theatrical

drawings using CAD produced significantly better theatrical

drawings than students using manual drafting techniques.



Background of the Problem

Drafting is the process of graphically representing a

design in a precise manner so that it can be accurately

constructed by craftsmen. Architects, engineers, interior

designers, scenic designers, and lighting designers, all

use drafting in some way to communicate their design ideas

to others. Until recently, designers used drawing boards,

T-squares, triangles, pencils, erasers, templates, scale

rulers, and other specially designed drafting aides to

manually draw each element of the design onto paper.

Computer-aided drafting (CAD) is an alternative method

which offers benefits over traditional methods of drafting

and which has been adopted by many designers and draftsmen

as the preferred method.1

This researcher first became aware of computer-aided

design and drafting (CADD) on microcomputers in October

1983 in a review of CADD programs in PC World magazine

entitled "Computer-Aided Design."2 The review explained

some of the applications of CADD and gave examples of

drawings created using each of the three CADD programs

considered in the article. According to the aforementioned

article, the three leading CADD programs available for

microcomputers at that time were AutoCAD, The Drawing

Processor, and MicroCAD. It was obvious to this

researcher that CADD was a tool which scenic designers

might use to create drawings. It was not until August

1984, when the researcher saw one of these programs in

operation, that he realized the potential of computer-aided

design and drafting for theatre.

In September 1984, the theatre department of the

University of Florida decided to investigate the use of

computer-aided drafting as an alternative to traditional

drafting methods. Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg and the researcher

made up the team investigating the use of CAD for

theatrical uses and potential CAD programs for this


During the investigation, seven CAD programs, AutoCAD,

CADplan, CADdraft, Design Board Professional, The Drawing

Processor, MicroCAD, and VersaCAD, were reviewed or tested

by the team. During the investigation, the team tested a

CAD program used by the theatre department at Florida State

University. Jack Miller, the theatre department's

technical director, showed the investigating team the work

he had accomplished using the program and allowed the team

to spend several hours creating their own drawings using an

IBM workstation and VersaCAD software. During the session

several simple theatrical drawings were created. The

process was slow, however, due to the overwhelming number

of commands possible and the complexity of the program's

command structure. The investigating team's difficulty in

creating quality drawings with this CAD program made it

apparent to the researcher that, if this program was

finally selected, a method of training users would need to

be established. Tests with the six other programs being

reviewed by the investigating team revealed that

difficulties with command structures and uses was not an

isolated problem and that training designers to use CAD was

a serious problem that had to be addressed.

Statement of the Problem

The problem identified for this study was the lack of

training materials for teaching scenic and lighting

designers to use CAD to produce construction drawings for

theatrical productions. CAD had been widely accepted in

the architectural and engineering professions, and was

being taught in the architecture and engineering

departments of colleges and universities.3 Despite CAD's

wide use by other professions, it had been ignored by most

theatre departments as a method of producing working

drawings for theatrical productions.4 The major reason was

the lack of computer knowledge by most theatre

practitioners. In 1984, when this study was begun, most

scenic and lighting designers knew little of CAD and did

not know the benefits of using CAD to produce drawings for

their productions. As theatrical designers have been

introduced to CAD and its potential advantages over

traditional drafting methods, theatrical designers have

shown great interest in using this new tool. These

designers realized the complexity of CAD and their major

concern was training in the use of CAD.5 Currently, there

are no publications for training theatrical designers to

use CAD to produce working drawings for theatrical

productions. The lack of training resources makes many

university theatrical designers reluctant to spend between

$7,000 and $14,000 to set-up a typical microcomputer-based

CAD workstation.6

The Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to develop a method for

training scenic and lighting designers to use computer-

aided drafting as a tool for producing working drawings for

theatrical productions. A self-study tutorial method was

selected to be used in creating the training procedure.

The tutorial was divided into twenty lessons for teaching

both the commands and the uses of the commands for

producing theatrical drawings.

The goal of the research study was to determine the

effectiveness of the training method by comparing the

drafting of a test group who learned CAD using the tutorial

with drafting by a control group using traditional methods.

Research conducted by the University of Illinois, the

American Institute for Architects, and several companies

interested in CAD cited several advantages of CAD over

manual drafting. The advantages include productivity,

accuracy, and legibility of drawings.7 An increase in

productivity in producing construction drawings would give

the designer more time to develop the design. An increase

in drawing accuracy and legibility would result in fewer

construction errors which cost time and money. The

benefits of CAD could result in better productions at lower


The Hypothesis

The study was designed to develop and test a method for

training scenic and lighting designers to use CAD for

producing working drawings for theatrical productions. The

null hypothesis tested was as follows:

There will be no difference in the mean scores of

the drawing test between the test group using CAD

to produce their drawings and the control group

using manual drafting techniques on the measures


Scope and Delimitations

1. Participation in the research was limited to

scenic and lighting design students in the theatre

department at the University of Florida who had

completed the department's course in manual

drafting, TPA 3070. Students who met this

requirement and who were available to participate

in this study were used as the test group. An

equal number of students were selected as a

control group from the qualified students who were

not available to participate as members of the

test group. The students in the control group

were selected on the basis of their scores in TPA

3070, their GPA, their SAT/GRE score, and profile

evaluations, so that the two groups were made up

of members of equal abilities and drafting skills.

2. The test group followed a structured schedule in

completing each step of the tutorial (APPENDIX G).

The length of study was fifteen weeks.

3. A room designated as a CAD laboratory was equipped

with the CAD workstations described within this

document. The room was used solely for the study

and was readily accessible for members of the test


4. The test group (N = 4) was divided into two groups

of two students for taking the two-hour test.

The test was taken in the same location with the

same equipment used to train the students in the

use of CAD. The four members of the control group

took the same test as the test group in the manual

drafting classroom where they had taken the manual

drafting course.

5. The drawings created by both groups were evaluated

in four areas.

1. Drawing productivity
2. Drafting accuracy
3. Readability/neatness
4. Reproducibility

The success of the training procedure was

determined by comparing the mean score of the test

group against the mean score of the control group.

If the mean score of the test group had been higher

than the mean score of the control group, the null

hypothesis would not have been supported. If the

null hypothesis had not been supported, the

proposed method of teaching CAD to scenic and

lighting designers to produce theatrical drawings

would have been considered a successful method.

If the mean score of the control group had been

higher than or equal to the mean score of the test

group, the null hypothesis would have been

supported, and the proposed method of teaching CAD

to scenic and lighting designers would have been

considered unsuccessful.


1 Daniel S. Raker, "CAD Angles," Plan and Print, Vol.
N58, No. 8 (1985), pp. 114-115.

2 Davis Straub, "Computer-Aided Design," PC World,
October 1983, pp. 100-114.

3Elizabeth Bollinger, "EduCAD Outlook," Plan and
Print, Vol. N58, No. 8 (1985), p. 116.

4 Conversations with Bill Teague of the University of
Alabama, Dr. Richard Beam of Western Carolina University,
Tom Nowell of Lynchburg College, Joe Stell of the
University of Georgia, and other scenic designers, lighting
designers, and technical directors from colleges and
universities across the country, from September 1984 to
June 1986.

5 Conversations with Bill Teague of the University of
Alabama, Dr. Richard Beam of Western Carolina University,
Tom Nowell of Lynchburg College, Joe Stell of the
University of Georgia, and other scenic designers, lighting
designers, and technical directors from colleges and
universities across the country, from September 1984 to
June 1986.

6 Steven M. Lord, "What I Wish I Had Known About CAD
Software, But I Didn't Know Enough to Ask," Mechanical
Engineering, Vol. 107, No. 11 (1985), pp. 24-26.

7 Oliver R. Witte, "Afforsable CAD," Architectural
Technology, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1984), pp. 42-47.


Background of Computer Use in Theatre

The first major use of computers in the theatre began

in the late 1950s when data processing equipment was linked

with theatrical dimming equipment to produce computer

controlled lighting consoles. The punch card driven

consoles used were not reliable. By the early 1960s, high

speed memory storage devices, magnetic drums, and ferrite

core stores were being used to create dedicated computers.

One of the first marketed computerized lighting control

systems utilizing this technology was the IDM/R system by

the English company Rank Strand (1966). By 1972, Rank

Strand and its U.S. counterpart, Strand Century, were

producing three memory lighting control systems: 1) DDM-

Digital Dimmer Memory, 2) MMS-Modular Memory System,'3)


The first two systems were designed for large theatre

applications and could control several hundred dimmers at

the same time. Both systems permitted time fades and

precise control of dimmer settings. The Mini-Q/II was a

lower budget memory system targeted for schools and

community theatres. The Mini-Q/II could control up to 96

channels and store up to 128 cues for playback. The three

systems provided computerized control systems that met the

needs of theatre and began a revolution in lighting


By 1974, most lighting control manufacturers were

producing at least one computerized control system.

Computerized lighting consoles had proven reliable and

provided users with advantages not possible on pre-set

lighting consoles. "The computer is a fantastic tool

because it allows greater speed in lighting cues,"2

according to Roland Bates, the production stage manager for

the New York City Ballet.

Despite advantages over other lighting control systems

and widespread acceptance in colleges and universities,

computerized lighting control did not debut on Broadway

until 1975 when EDI's new LS-8 computerized control system

was used for A Chorus Line.3 Change to the computerized

console reduced the number of electricians required to

handle lighting during performances and helped reduce

production cost.4 Designer Tharon Musser won a Tony award

for her lighting for this production. The computer was now

established in the profession for use in stage lighting.

Most computers that helped operate lighting control

systems were dedicated computers and could not be used for

other purposes. But by the late 1970s, general purpose

microcomputers were available at modest cost, and theatre

practitioners began looking for ways to use them. One of

the first uses of microcomputers in the theatre was in the

business area. The microcomputer was marketed as a tool for

small businesses and software written for that purpose

could be easily adopted by theatres. Theatrical supplier

Herb Schmoll of Design Line, Inc., was one of the first

individuals to develop a line of computer programs for

theatre business applications.5 Schmoll wrote programs to

create seating plans and print theatre tickets; keep

inventories of scenic materials, costumes, and lighting

equipment; and estimate the cost of building theatrical

scenery. Schmoll also developed a box office program to

keep track of ticket sales. These programs were marketed

as Theatre Application Programs (TAP) by Design Line, Inc.

Russ Houchen, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of

Florida, wrote five programs for the TAP product line.

These programs included a budget program, a calendar

program, a mailing list program, a student record program,

and a library program. Most of the programs written by

Schmoll and Houchen for the TAP product line are still

marketed today by Rosco, Inc.

From the beginning of the use of microcomputers by

theatre practitioners, individuals were writing their own

programs or adapting programs written for other purposes,

to manage the business side of the theatre operation. The

theatre department at the University of Southern

Mississippi adapted a public domain check balancing program

to a financial management program for theatrical


Designers who knew the power of the computer in

controlling lights wanted to use the tool for the paperwork

of lighting design. By the late 1970s lighting designers

began adopting data base management programs to help manage

board hook-ups and instrument schedules. One of the

earliest programs for this purpose was written by Gerard

Duffin in BASIC for the NorthStar computer.7 Duffin wrote

his program as part of a Master of Fine Arts thesis project

at the University of Florida in 1978. Despite Duffin's

work, the first article published in theatre journals on

how to use computers for handling lighting paperwork was

"Microcomputers In Stage Lighting" by Michael R. Brooks in

Theatre Crafts magazine, April 1983. Brooks's program,

written for the Atari 800 microcomputer, produced

instrument schedules and illustrated diagrams of hanging

positions from data entered by the user. As more powerful

data base management programs became available for

different microcomputer systems, the use of microcomputers

grew. Craig Miller, lighting designer for the Santa Fe

Opera, began using an Apple computer and a data base

management program called Quick File in early 1982 to

help him manage the paperwork of his lighting designs.

Miller now uses a portable computer and AppleWorks software

to help handle the constantly changing arrangement of

lighting instruments while touring.8

John Weygandt, a professor at Pomona College in

California, uses an Apple Macintosh computer and Filevision

by Telos Software Products to create both lighting plots

and the paperwork for his productions.9 Weygandt feels

that the computer provides the designer with more freedom

to experiment with a lighting design than he would have

without the use of the computer. About using the computer

to produce a lighting design Weygandt said, "I am sure that

revisions in the plot and paperwork were faster and easier

to handle [than using traditional methods of producing a

lighting design]. I felt somehow less encumbered by the

revisions and consequentially freer to try new


The desire by lighting designers to use the computer

for paperwork has spawned a program written by John

McKernon, a USA #829 member. McKernon's program, ALD

(Assistant Lighting Designer), compiles instrument

schedules, hook-ups, gel cutting lists, and circuiting

information while checking for overloaded circuits,

overloaded dimmers, and notation errors in the paperwork of

a lighting design.11 Marketed by Rosco Inc., the program

was designed to help the lighting designer save time by

organizing designs and finding errors on the paperwork

before the design is hung.

Although lighting designers have made great use of

microcomputers, scenic designers have found far fewer uses

for them. In 1982, Robert Reinecke of Kutztown State

College in Pennsylvania wrote a computer program for a TRS-

80 microcomputer that would calculate the minimum amount of

lumber needed to build the necessary flat for a production

from the dimension given by the user.12 His program also

calculated the number of cornerblocks needed and the cost

of the lumber. Reinecke also used the microcomputer to

create a chase sequencer for strings of lights on a set for

Thurber Carnival.13

Since the scenic designer's work is far more

graphically oriented than the lighting designer's, scenic

designers have had to wait for the development of computer-

aided drafting programs before the computer could become an

important tool for them.

What Is CAD?

CAD, as an acronym, can stand for computer-aided

drafting or computer-aided design. The acronyms can be

combined to form CADD, computer-aided design and drafting.

Regardless, the word stands for a computer program which

can be used to create, edit, and make hard copies of

graphic images. "CAD can be thought of as 'image

processing.' The process of creating an image with a CAD

system is akin to that of creating a document"14 with a

word processor. It is a tool to make the process of

creating and editing fast and easy.

A CAD program allows the user to enter commands,

instructing the computer to draw lines, arcs, circles, and

other shapes called primitives, in order to construct a

design.15 Primitives can be edited by other commands of

the CAD program in order to correct mistakes or alter

design ideas. CAD programs can have more than one hundred

commands with each command having multiple options.

Several tasks easily accomplished with CAD are tedious

and time-consuming operations when performed using manual

drafting procedures. They include mirroring an object,

inserting a copy of a previously created object into a new

location, moving an object or group of objects to a new

location, and changing the size of an object or group of

objects in a drawing.16

One example of CAD's power to perform tasks not easily

accomplished manually is its ability to place a copy of an

object previously drawn at a new location. To perform this

task manually, the user would have to measure each part of

the object and determine the relationship of each part to

the next. He or she would re-draw the object in the new

location, measuring each part. If the object was made up

of many lines, arcs, circles, or text items, this process

could be slow. To accomplish the same task with CAD, the

user specifies the object to be copied by placing it in a

"window" and then specifying where the copy is to be

placed. The computer does all of the measuring and places

a copy of the object specified at the new location.

Details on moving an object can be found in LESSON 11 of


Once a drawing has been created with a CAD program, it

can be stored and re-edited at a later time to create a new

drawing. The scale (size) of a drawing created with CAD

can be changed with fewer than a dozen keystrokes. Another

advantage of CAD over traditional methods of drafting is

the precise accuracy which it provides. Many CAD programs

have an accuracy greater than one-billionth of the unit of

measurement in which the user is working.17 This measuring

and drawing accuracy can produce drawings superior in

quality to drawings created with manual techniques.

APPENDIX J shows an example of a section of a drawing

created using CAD and a section of a drawing drafted

manually. Details of this may be found in LESSON 17 of


The drafting ability of CAD is only one part of its

capability. Because the computer can solve complex

mathematical equations, manipulate data, and display

graphic information at high speeds, CAD is capable of

performing many tasks in addition to drafting. Several CAD

programs allow the user to customize the program by adding

new commands and features not part of the original program.

New commands are usually developed around a specific task

performed by the user. As the user designs these new

features for the CAD program, its usefulness is expanded.

Defining CAD is becoming increasingly difficult because

the uses of CAD are growing as designers discover ways to

use the programs. Architect John Voosen said, "Although

we started out intending to use our CAD program just for

technical drafting, we are now using it for design

explorations and presentation work of a kind we never would

have attempted several months ago."18 Carol Ann Tunell,

another CAD user, said, "When you begin to understand how a

computer can work for you, how it can actually aid

creativity by allowing you to work faster and more

precisely, the computer's usefulness and versatility become

obvious."19 A study conducted by Arthur D. Little, a

respected computer consultant, showed "the overall

productivity increase of CAD users to average 4:1, with a

minimum gain of 2:1."20 Another study conducted in 1983

predicted that 40,000 draftsmen would be out of work by the

year 2000 due to the increased efficiency of CAD over

traditional methods of drafting.21 Computer-aided drafting

is a productivity tool that offers benefits over

traditional drafting methods. The use of such a tool

should make CAD's users more productive and gives them more

time to develop a better design.

All computer graphics do not fall into the category of

CAD. One area of computer graphics related to CAD is

computer imaging.22 Computer imaging is the computer

simulation of three-dimensional objects. In simulation,

the surfaces of objects are colored or shaded in a manner

that reveals the form and texture of the objects under a

specified lighting situation. The technique is sometimes

referred to as "solid modeling."23 Computer imaging has

numerous uses including design. However, it is not a

technique used in the drafting aspects of CAD. Although

the use of computer imaging is becoming more common in the

microcomputer environment, it is still found predominantly

on mini and mainframe computers. 24

Some CAD programs have the ability to create three-

dimensional representations of objects in the form of wire

frame models. Two such programs are MicroCAD and Design

Board Professional. Wire frame models do not show surfaces

of the objects as solid models.25 They show only the edges

of the structures. Hidden lines can be removed from wire

frame models to give them the illusion of being solid.

However, they do not show their form by indicating

reflected light. Three-dimensional CAD ability is

increasing in popularity among CAD programs.

The History of CAD

IBM (International Business Machines) and DEC (Digital

Equipment Corporation) established the foundation for

engineering graphics' support of computers in the early

1960s.26 Shortly afterward, the first computer-aided

drafting program, CADAM, was developed by Lockheed

Corporation to run on IBM mainframe computers.27 General

Motors and McDonnell-Douglas Corporation also developed in-

house CAD programs.

In 1969, Data General Corporation introduced the first

minicomputer which was inexpensive in comparison to

mainframe computers. CAD programs were developed for a

growing number of minicomputers. By the early 1970s, CAD

systems had become an industry.28

In the late 1970s, microcomputers were developed and

marketed. Often referred to as personal computers, these

off-the-shelf computers are simple to use and, unlike mini

or mainframe computers, within the price range of many

individuals. Around microcomputers, the largest revolution

in the CAD, microcomputer-based CAD system, was about to

take place:

International Data Corp. of Framinghag,
Massachusetts, estimates that personal computer
based CAD hardware and software systems shipped
will increase from 1,900 in 1983 to 32,000
systems this year [1986] and2to 205,000 CAD
packages by the end of 1988."

Because a microcomputer-based CAD system is the most

affordable and likely to be the choice of colleges and

universities implementing CAD into their programs, it was

selected as the type of CAD system to be used in this


What Is a Microcomputer-Based CAD System?

The microcomputer has one central processing unit,

located in a single computer chip, which handles all of the

mathematical calculations of the computer. Every function

of the computer is controlled in some way by this

microprocessor. The use of a single microprocessor makes

microcomputers slow in comparison to minicomputers and

mainframe computers which use several processors to control

the computer's functions and mathematical calculations.

Microcomputers using an eight-bit microprocessor, the most

common microprocessor size of the early 1980s, were also

limited to small amounts of memory space, usually sixty-

five thousand bytes or less.

CAD, which is calculation and memory intensive, was

limited on the early microcomputers. However, developments

in technology in the last five years have produced sixteen-

bit microprocessors which operate three times faster than

the eight-bit microprocessor and can address ten times as

much data. Such advances have led the way to the

development of CAD for microcomputers.

Not only have microcomputers increased in speed and

memory capacity the past several years; their cost has

dropped steadily. A microcomputer CAD system with 70 to 80

percent of the features of a minicomputer CAD system can be

purchased for about one-tenth the cost of a minicomputer

CAD system.30 The cost difference has made CAD on

microcomputers affordable to many. Steven M. Lord, a

mechanical engineer who has investigated the use of CAD in

his profession, said:

A workstation capable of handling most of the
design and drafting tasks typically performed by
a product development group can be assembled for
a total cost of between $7,000 and $14,000.
Assuming only a very conservative 25 percent
increase in engineering efficiency, plus a
substantial decrease in drafting and checking
time, the investment should pay for itself in
less than a year.31

Most microcomputers come with a keyboard to input

information into the computer and a monitor on which the

computer displays. Monitors can be monochrome or color

video display units. Monochrome monitors usually have the

best resolution because monochrome monitors use only one

electron gun to produce each pixel or dot on the screen,

and the more pixels per inch, the better the resolution.32

Color monitors use three electron guns to produce each

pixel. Because of the need for greater numbers of electron

guns, color monitors usually have fewer pixels per inch on

the screen and therefore, less resolution. Because color

can be used in the communication process to help define

layers, linetypes, or special symbols for objects, color

monitors are good communication tools for CAD. High

resolution color monitors for CAD are available and improve

the ease of using a CAD system, because they show better

detail of objects as well as differentiate between objects

by using color.

If drawings could be displayed only on a monitor, CAD

systems would be almost useless. The microcomputer-based

CAD system requires a device for producing the finished

drawing on paper so that the drawing can be reproduced and

given to the craftsmen who execute the design. The most

commonly used device for producing hardcopies of drawings

is a pen plotter. Using a technical drawing pen similar to

those used by draftsmen, a pen plotter can produce inked

drawings from data sent to it by the computer. Plotters

can operate with accuracy up to 0.001 of an inch.33

Operating at between 3 inches per second and 15 inches per

second, a pen plotter can produce drawings which can be


Other peripheral devices used in a microcomputer-based

system might include a mouse, a digitizing tablet, or a

light pen. These three devices are input devices and can

be used in place of the keyboard which is the most common

input device. The above mentioned input devices can be

used to tell the computer which commands it is to perform

or where to locate precise points on a drawing so that the

user can draw lines, circles, arcs, and text. Because of

their design, the alternative input devices are often

easier and faster to use than the keyboard. The digitizing

tablet is the most versatile and accurate of the alternate

input devices. It can also be used for tracing pre-

existing drawings into the computer's memory.

The third and most important part of a CAD system is

the CAD program or software. The software is what gives

the user the drawing and editing features of the CAD

system. Therefore, choosing a CAD program that best fits

the user's needs is the most important decision in setting

up a CAD system and should be made first. After the

software has been selected, a microcomputer and peripheral

devices that work with the software should be chosen. Some

CAD programs work with different models of computers and

many different peripheral devices, but other programs

operate only on a select group of computers.

CAD in Nontheatrical Professions

When CAD programs were first developed for micro-

computers in the early 1980s, CAD developers looked at the

possible markets for their products.34 The markets

targeted as potential CAD users were architects, interior

designers, electrical engineers, and mechanical

engineers.35 The program developers looked at the design

and drafting needs of these professions and tried to

develop products suited to their needs.36 As the

advantages of CAD were realized by other professions, CAD

programs with features directly related to other fields,

such as cartography and landscape planning, appeared. CAD

programs were also developed as "general drafting"

programs,37 capable of doing most architectural or

mechanical drafting, but limited in the number of

specialized features. General drafting programs have

spread the use of CAD from sophisticated industrial use to

teaching general drafting principles and concepts in high


Architects are among the most common users of CAD.

Aware of growing interest in CAD, in 1984 the American

Institute of Architects tested six CAD programs and

published the results in its journal, Architectural

Technology.39 According to Charles B. Thomsen, architect,

the use of CAD by architects is based on three factors:

cost, time, and quality:

Architects are hired to solve problems: to
design buildings. But our big cost is not the
cost of design. It is the production of working
drawings. We spend our money not in solving the
problem, but in documenting the solution .
How many times have you looked at something you
have just finished and thought, 'If only I had
time to do that again, I could do it better.'
With CAD you can.

Thomsen concluded that CAD would help improve the

designs of architects by providing time to test more

alternatives and that the architect's clients would be the

big winners with CAD.41

Dennis Davey, an architect in Tolland, Connecticut,

first acquired a microcomputer in 1978 for word processing

and office accounting. In 1983, he used it to produce his

first CAD drawing. Davey says that he can complete his

drawings on the computer in about one-fourth the time that

it would take him to prepare them manually.42 Davey also

feels that the quality of the drafting produced on the

computer is superior to hand-drafted drawings.43

Carol Ann Tunell, founder of an interior architecture

firm in Phoenix, Arizona, says that CAD has a 3:1

productivity gain over manual drafting and that translates

into lower overhead and salary costs. Tunell says that

CAD eliminates much of the repetitive redrawing and

reworking common to manual drafting.44 "CAD's an

invaluable tool. It saves money, and at the same time,

helps you to do a better job."45

Warren Ferguson, president of Ferguson Map Co., Inc.,

of San Antonio, Texas, replaced the traditional drafting

methods in his company with a CAD system called SAM (Simply

Amazing Mapmaker). He said:

You used to see a big drafting room with a lot of
people doing a lot of repetitive work. Now you
see a few people at computer installations
putting out the same amount of work. A computer
can be anywhere from five to ten times as
productive as a human being in this business.46

Using computer-aided cartography,

it may be possible for an individual to
produce custom-tailored maps designed to meet a
specific need. According to this scenario, a
person planning a vacation trip could ask the
computer to create a map outlining possible
routes, as well as to provide weather forecasts
and locations of gas stations.47

Jerry Wisdom is the owner of a firm that designs and

builds amusement park rides. In 1984, Wisdom installed a

single computer-aided design workstation to handle all of

the company's design and drafting needs. Wisdom says that

CAD helps his company maximize time and minimize costly

material waste:

Since CAD permits me to quickly manipulate design
elements, I can design a ride, and before
beginning construction, make sure all parts fit
and that tolerances are correct. CAD's
versatility and accuracy let me play 'what-if'
with a design.48

Wisdom's mechanical engineer William Hatch said,

The readability of a CAD-generated drawing is
superior to that of a manual drawing. When
you're dealing with a 100-foot-long ride that
must be folded onto a truck trailer, you can't
afford a construction mistake because a drawing
is unclear.

CAD in the Theatre

An early article published about the use of CAD as a

design tool for theatres, "Computer Set Modeling," by

Arnold R. Ness and Brent L. Fleming appeared in Theatre

Crafts magazine in April 1983. Fleming, who was the

supervisor of technical production at Bradley University's

Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts, conceived the idea

for the program to help foresee sightline problems caused

by the deep thrust stage, optional sidestages, and steeply

raked house of the center's Meyer Jocob Theatre. With the

help of Ness from the university's department of

manufacturing, he developed a computer program that would

create a graphic representation of a set on the stage of

the Meyer Jocob Theatre.50 Once the data on the setting

were entered into the computer, this program could be used

to view it from different locations in the theatre's house.

Using this technique, the designer and the director could

view a design and solve scenic design problems before the

set was constructed.

The program developed by Ness and Fleming was written

in FORTRAN and used Tektronix Plotl0 graphics.51 Running

on a Control Data Cyber 171, a mainframe computer, and

Tektronix 4000 series terminals, this program helped solve

many design problems at Bradley University. The cost of

the equipment, estimated at over $300,000, made Ness and

Fleming's program an unrealistic solution for other scenic

designers. The program was also limited to perspective

problems and did not have any drafting capabilities.52

"MicroCAD: Three-Dimensional Computer Aided Design,"

published in Theatre Crafts magazine in February, 1985,

dealt with the use of a general drafting program for

theatrical design. Michael R. Brooks's article reviewed

MicroCAD, a CAD program by Computer Aided Design in San

Francisco. Brooks explained how he used this program to

create perspective views of his scenic designs from

different locations in the house in much the same way as

Ness and Fleming's program did. MicroCAD also made it

possible to draft ground plans, elevations, and other

typical working drawings needed for theatrical

productions.53 Because MicroCAD was written for

microcomputers, it was a design and drafting tool that was

affordable to potential users.

Lighting designers have also been looking for ways to

use CAD to help them create light plots and manage

paperwork required for a lighting design. The first

commercial CAD program designed specifically for creating

light plots was ShowPlot by Jon Harshaw. The program was

not merely a data base. It made it possible to draw plan

views of theatres and scenery on which the program could

superimpose the lighting design. ShowPlot has been adopted

by several professional lighting designers to produce

lighting graphics.54

Another program for creating lighting graphics is

Instaplot by Steve Kaye of Source Point, Inc., of Norcross,

Georgia.55 The program works as an extension to the

AutoCAD drafting package and was created to help lighting

designers create extensive lighting plots for concerts.

Lighting designers Jim Chapman and Robert Roth have used

AutoCAD and Instaplot to draft lighting plots for several

concerts including Michael Jackson's Victory Tour, the

Live-Aid concert, and Madonna's Virgin Tour.56

Although the use of CAD by theatrical designers was

increased over the past several years, it is still uncommon

to find a CAD system in use by scenic designers. At a

program on computer-aided design the researcher chaired at

the Southeastern Theatre Conference in March of 1986, in

Charlotte, North Carolina, less than half of the nearly

seventy designers and technical directors present used

computers in any of their work. Among those who did use

computers, the most common use was word processing. Four

of the individuals attending this program used the Apple

Macintosh computer and the MacPaint or MacDraw programs to

produce some drawings for their productions. They were

limited to drawings with a maximum size of 11 inches by 17

inches.57 In addition to those on the panel, only one

designer attending the program was presently using a

complete CAD system. Interest in CAD systems by attending

designers and technical directors was high and many

indicated they were seriously considering purchasing a CAD

system within the next two years.

To help inform potential CAD users about the new tool

for drawing, at least two of the twenty-one regional

sections of the United States Institute for Theatre

Technology, the Alberta section and the Southeastern

section, will hold master classes on CAD for members in the

summer of 1986.58 These classes will concentrate on

showing potential users different CAD programs and giving

them a first-hand look at CAD.

Summary of Literature

The review of the literature shows the development of

the use of computers by scenic and lighting designers. It

also shows how members of other professions have used CAD

to benefit them in their work. Research supports the need

for establishment of a method for training scenic and

lighting designers in the use of computer-aided drafting as

a means of producing working drawings for theatrical

productions. Training programs similar in method but

geared to the architectural and engineering professions,

have provided many users with a means by which to learn to

use the computer as a design and drafting tool.


1 Phillip Rose and Charles Levy, "Thanks for the
Memory," Theatre Crafts, October 1974, p. 25.

2 Phillis Wollman and Larry McClain, "Computers Shine On
Stage," Popular Computing, August 1983, p. 126.

3 Patricia MacKay, "A Chorus Line: Computerized
Lighting Control Comes to Broadway," Theatre Crafts,
Nov./Dec. 1975, pp. 28-29.

4 Wollman and McClain, p. 123.

5 Personal interview with Herb Schmoll, author of
several computer programs for theatrical applications, 22
September, 1981.

6 Personal interview with George Crook, scenic designer
at the University of Southern Mississippi, 9 September, 1983.

7 Gerard Duffin, Development of a Basic Computer
Program for Theatre Light Plots, Project in Leu of Thesis,
University of Florida, 1978.

8 Craig Miller, "Using Your Apple to Handle Lighting
Paperwork," Theatre Crafts, March 1985, pp. 16, 57-61.
John Weygandt, "Filevision for Your Lighting
Design," Theatre Crafts, October 1985, p. 100.

10 Weygandt, p. 107.

11 Robert Heller, "ALD: Lighting Software from Rosco,"
Theatre Crafts, January 1985, p. 16.

12 Robert Reinecke, "Computer Calculation of Lumber
Required for Flat Construction", Theatre Design and
Technology, Vol. 18, No. 4 (1982), p. 18.

13 Robert Reinecke, "A Microcomputer-Controlled
Chaser," Theatre Crafts, May 1982, p. 56.

14 Glenn Hart, "CAD: The Big Picture for Micros," PC
Magazine, March 1985, p. 108.
15 John Lowell, Computer Graphics (New York: Van
Nostrand Reinhold, 1985), pp. 56-57.

16 Weygandt, p. 107.

17 Personal interview with Kathy Ricks, president of
CAD dealership and training facility in Charlotte, NC, 11
May, 1985.

18 Oliver R. Witte, "Affordable CAD," Architectural
Technology, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1984), p. 44.
19 Mark Josephson, "Space Planning with CADD," Plan
and Print, Vol. N59, No. 3 (1986), p. 43.

20 T & W Systems, How to Select a Low-Cost CAD System
(Huntington Beach, CA: T & S Systems).

21 Davis Straub, "Computer-Aided Design," PC World, Oct.
1983, p. 100.

22 Lowell, p. 41.

23 Lowell, pp. 60-63, 132.

24 Lowell, p. 45.

25 Lowell, p. 128-131.

26 Patrick R. Carberry, CAD/CAM with Personal
Computers (Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books Inc., 1985),
p. 4-5.
27 Carberry, p. 5.

28 Carberry, p. 5.

29 Hart, pp. 108-109.

30 Hart, p. 109.

31 Steven M. Lord, "What I Wish I Had Known About CAD
Software, But I Didn't Know Enough to Ask," Mechanical
Engineering, Vol. 107, No. 11 (1985), pp. 24-26.

32 Carberry, p. 149-152.

33 Donald J. Jung and Michael J. Bethel, "Selecting a
Plotter," Theatre Crafts, Nov./Dec. 1984, p. 19.

34 Personal interview with Gregory L. Bloom, vice
president of products and services for MegaCADD, Inc., 11
May, 1985.

35 Bloom.

36 Bloom.

37 Byron Ryono, "Let Your Apple Do the Drafting," A+,
December 1984, pp. 42-47.
38 "CAD Stirs Interest," Electronic Education, Vol. 5,
No. 5 (1986), p. 21.

39 Witte, pp. 42-47.

40 Charles B. Thomsen, "CAD's Greatest Promise Is as a
Creative, Interactive Tool," Architectural Technology, Vol.
2, No. 2 (1984), pp. 64-65.

41 Thomsen, p. 65.

442 Robert Bede, "Two-Member Office and CAD," Plan and
Print, Vol. N59, No. 3 (1986) pp. 34-35.

43 Bede, p. 35.

44 Mark Josephson, "Space Planning with CADD," Plan and
Print, Vol. N59, No. 3 (1986), p. 43.

45 Mark Josephson, "Space Planning with CADD," p. 58.

46 Mike Sheridan, "Back on the Map," Sky, May 1986, p.

47 Sheridan, p. 25.

48 Mark Josephson, "Amusement Park Rides," Plan and
Print, Vol. N59, No. 3 (1986), p. 29.

49 Mark Josephson, "Amusement Park Rides," p. 31.

50 Arnold R. Ness and Brent L. Fleming, "Computer Set
Design," Theatre Crafts, April 1983, pp. 28-29.
51 Ness and Fleming, p. 81.

52 Ness and Fleming, pp. 80-82.

53 Michael R. Brooks, "MicroCAD: Three-Dimensional
Computer Aided Design," Theatre Crafts, February 1985,
pp. 85-88.

5James L. Moody, "Showplot: A New Program for
Lighting Designers," Theatre Crafts, Aug./Sept. 1985,
pp. 28, 86-88.

55 Personal interview with Steve Kaye, author of
Instaplot, 13 September, 1985.

56 Lionel Johnston, "AutoCAD Applications: Lighting
Design," CADalyst, Jan./March 1986, p. 52.

57 Personal interview with Robert Warren, technical
director at the University of Southern Mississippi, 8 March,

58 Ron Olson, "Computers and the Arts," USITT
Newsletter, Vol. 26, No. 3 (1986), p. 11.


The Software

In response to the increase in demand for CAD,

manufacturers have marketed a wide range of CAD programs,

each having strengths and weaknesses for different types of

design and drafting work. These programs range in cost

from $100 to nearly $3,000.

The following checklist outlines the questions that

prospective CAD users should ask themselves in evaluating

CAD programs.

1. Does the program have features needed to do the

2. Is there a local dealer for the program who can help
match equipment with the program to meet needs?

3. How difficult is the program to learn and is
training available?

4. Does the company which produces the program have a
good reputation and will they be in existence to
supply updates in years to come?

5. Are there other users in the area of theatrical
design who use the program and recommend it?

6. If the user already owns a computer, is there a
version of the program for this computer?

7. Will the program support a wide range of peripheral

8. Can the user purchase an entry level version of the
program and add more features later?

The selection of CAD programs can be narrowed to the

program which best fits the user's needs by answering these

questions as they apply to each CAD program which the user

is considering. APPENDIX D contains a list of CAD programs

currently on the market.

The checklist was used by the theatre department at

the University of Florida in the fall of 1984 to choose a

CAD program which best fit the theatrical drafting needs of

students and faculty. The needs included

1. General drafting
2. Creation of custom templates (blocks)
3. Text writing
4. Isometric drafting
5. 3-D drawing
6. Auto-dimensioning
7. Ability to plot 24" x 36" drawings
8. Hatching
9. Creation of arrays
10. Scaling of objects

In addition to drafting features, most CAD programs

contain non-drafting features that aid the drafting

features or have special applications that theatrical

designers can use. Some of the non-drafting features of

CAD desired were

1. User-defined menus
2. Attribute extraction for reports
3. On-screen coordinates, distances and angles
4. Help feature
5. Well documented user's guide

When the choices had been narrowed to three, the

dealers of the CAD programs considered were given several

examples of standard theatrical drafting and asked to

duplicate these drawings using their CAD programs. When

the drawings were being produced, careful attention was

paid to ease of use and features of each program useful for

theatrical drafting. After reviewing the results, AutoCAD,

by Autodesk Inc., was selected as the CAD program which

best fit the needs of the theatre department at the

University of Florida and which was used in this study.

Although AutoCAD lacked several useful features

available on some of the other CAD programs, such as

parallel lines and 3-D perspective capabilities, AutoCAD's

command structure seemed easy to understand and use. This

was important, because most theatrical designers have

little or no computer experience. AutoCAD also provided

for the creation of custom menus and commands. That

feature proved to be one of AutoCAD's greatest assets.

Kathy Ricks, a CAD specialist in Charlotte, North

Carolina, recommended AutoCAD because of its flexibility

and its user base. AutoCAD is the largest selling CAD

program on the market with 44 percent of the market share.1

Because of the large user base, numerous third-party

software developers have created add-on programs to provide

new functions and customized applications to AutoCAD.

Several programs, including Instaplot, were written

specifically for theatrical applications. The large user

base also meant that support from other users,

publications, and local dealers would be available to

provide training, insights into new ways to use the

program, and add-on features to make AutoCAD a more useful


AutoCAD, available for 31 different computers,3

provides the user with the option to upgrade to a varied

selection of different computers and still be able to use

the CAD program with which he or she is familiar. AutoCAD

also supports a wide range of plotters and digitizers.

AutoCAD's major drawback is its expense, $2,500 for the

complete package. According to PC Magazine's 1986 review

of CAD programs,

the low-end programs tested are good values for
the money, but that's about it. Even though they
are easier to learn than the heavy hitters (and
obviously costing less), most users would be
better served by making the investment in buying
and learning a more serious CAD program.

An entry level version of AutoCAD can be purchased for

about $1,000. The three extension options can be added

separately to spread out the cost as the user learns the

program and its functions. However, about 90 percent of

the sales of AutoCAD include all three drafting

extensions.5 The theatre department at the University of

Florida chose to purchase the complete AutoCAD drafting

package, version 2.02.

When purchased, AutoCAD, version 2.02, was the most up-

to-date version available for the Zenith Z-100 micro-

computer. Since that time, Autodesk, Inc., has released

another version of AutoCAD with additional features

including polylines, 3-dimensional object creation and

view, hidden line removal, chamfer, and the ability to plot

drawings to dot matrix printers. The newer version of

AutoCAD was not used in this study because it was not

available until after the proposed training procedure had

been conceived. Future training procedures should take

advantage of the latest version of AutoCAD.

The Hardware

AutoCAD provided a wide choice in the selection of

microcomputers. Because the University of Florida had a

purchasing agreement with Zenith, a Zenith computer was the

most economical choice. The selection was narrowed to the

Z-100 microcomputer and the Z-150 microcomputer, both by

Zenith. The difference between the computers was

substantial. The major advantage of the Z-150

microcomputer was its compatibility with the IBM PC

microcomputer. Because of the large number of IBM PC used

by businesses and individuals, compatibility meant that a

number of other programs would be available to run on the

Z-150. Many programs which would be desirable, such as

Design Board Professional, dBASE III, Generic CAD, and

MicroCAD, were not available for the Z-100.

The Z-100, however, had advantages. The Mechanical

Engineering department of the University of Florida was

using eight Z-100 computers running AutoCAD to teach CAD

as part of a computer graphics class. They reported

success with the Z-100 running AutoCAD and offered help for

the theatre department in establishing its CAD facility.

After reviewing cost, features, repair records,

availability of local repair facilities, and other factors

outlined on the checklist on pages 34 and 35, the Zenith Z-

100 computer was selected. Two Z-100 microcomputers each

with a 10 megabyte Winchester disk drive and one floppy

disk drive were purchased from Zenith. The Winchester disk

drive was selected because of the need for high speed

interchange of extremely large amounts of data between the

storage device to the computer's memory. The Winchester

disk holds thirty times more data than a five and one-

quarter inch floppy disk used by the Z-100, and the

Winchester disk drive operates 10 times faster than a

floppy disk drive.6 These factors made the Winchester disk

drive a better data storage device for the massive amount

of data involved with CAD. These computers use the 8086

16-bit microprocessor with an 8-bit data bus and had 443

kilobytes of RAM memory. The computers did not have the

optional 8087 math co-processor which increases the speed

at which the computer is able to make mathematical

calculations by 300 percent, and therefore, makes the CAD

process faster.7 Lack of experience with CAD by the team

selecting the hardware for the CAD workstations was the

reason for the item's not being purchased for the CAD


Each of these computers was equipped with a 12-inch

monochrome monitor. Expense prevented the use of color

monitors. The monochrome monitors cost $89 each whereas a

color monitor costs between $700 and $3,000 each, depending

on the size of the monitor and the quality of resolution.

Hardcopy output was obtained through the use of a

Houston Instruments DMP-42 plotter connected to each

computer. These plotters were capable of producing the two

most common sizes of drawings used by scenic and lighting

designers, either 18" X 24" (C size) or 24" X 36" (D size)

drawings. The DMP-42 plotters were selected because of the

size of drawings they would produce, their cost, and their

excellent repair record.

Although no alternative input devices were purchased

for the study, an optical mouse was borrowed from the

mechanical engineering CAD facility and used during a

portion of the study. The device was not available during

the testing phase of the study. The lack of such a device

will be discussed in Chapter IV.

The testing done during the study used only the

equipment listed above. The system described above is

considered a minimum CAD system, and the results of the

testing should be viewed with the limitation in mind. The

use of high resolution color monitors, alternative input

devices, and math co-processors would have improved the

efficiency of the CAD system.

The Tutorial

How to train scenic and lighting designers to use the

CAD workstations described in Chapter III to produce

drawings for theatrical productions was the problem to be

solved by the study. The first step was to investigate

present methods of training designers to use the program.

AutoCAD was shipped with a reference manual entitled

The AutoCAD Drafting Package User Guide which explains all

of AutoCAD's commands and features in great detail and is

an excellent source of information about the program. It

is, however, a reference manual and not a training manual.

It does not clearly lead the user through a process by

which he or she learns to set-up a drawing and use

AutoCAD's commands to accomplish a desired task. For

training users, another source needed to be found.

Several training manuals for AutoCAD were investigated

including House 1, an architectural drafting workbook for

manual drafting or for CAD; CadPACK Beginning AutoCAD

Tutorial, a general purpose guide to AutoCAD's commands;

and Inside AutoCAD, an extensive teaching guide for AutoCAD

on the IBM PC microcomputer. Each of these training

sources had strengths and weaknesses, but after discussion,

it was decided that none of these methods were acceptable

for teaching computer-aided drafting to scenic and lighting

designers using AutoCAD and the Zenith Z-100 microcomputer.

Two major flaws in the training manuals were that they did

not address the way AutoCAD used the function keys of the

Zenith Z-100, and the above-mentioned manuals did not

relate AutoCAD's commands to theatrical drawings. Instead

of using one of the commercially created training programs

available to the theatre department, the researcher decided

to develop and test a program specifically aimed at

problems faced by scenic and lighting designers.

The tutorial method was chosen because it could be

used either at the user's own pace or as part of an

organized course in CAD. The method also allowed for

step-by-step instructions for each command as the user

carried it out at his/her workstation. Two of the three

commercially designed training programs reviewed, Inside

AutoCAD and CadPACK Beginning AutoCAD Tutorial, were-

tutorials. The tutorial method of training designers to

use a CAD program appeared to be the clearest and easiest

method for the user and it was selected as the method used

for the tutorial in the study.

The guidebook for scenic and lighting designers was

conceived as an introduction to AutoCAD and was designed to

be used with the Zenith Z-100 microcomputer and AutoCAD,

version 2.02. The tutorial does not cover all of AutoCAD's

commands or features. Instead, it concentrates on teaching

the user the commands which relate to the drawings most

commonly done by scenic and lighting designers. AutoCAD

also has commands intended for expert users and these

commands were not taught as part of the tutorial. The

tutorial should be used in conjunction with The AutoCAD

Drafting Package User Guide in order to provide detailed

information about each of AutoCAD's commands or options.

One objective of the tutorial was to address typical

drafting tasks faced by scenic and lighting designers. The

twenty lessons of the tutorial and the exercises at the end

of most lessons were designed so that the user progressed

to the point where he or she was prepared to create

complete drawings for a production.

Since the tutorial was conceived as an introduction to

AutoCAD, a determination had to be made as to what commands

would be taught and in which order. The process began by

defining the goal of the project in terms of a final

examination and then preparing an outline for teaching the

materials needed to successfully complete the examination.

As part of the objective of the study, the proposed length

of the training period was limited to fifteen weeks, the

typical length of study of a one semester course at the

University of Florida. Thus, the proposed training

procedure could be used within the format of most

universities and colleges operating on the semester system.

Preliminary Studies

A preliminary test of the proposed training procedure

was made during the fall semester 1985. The test involved

a single student with a basic knowledge of scenic and

lighting design. The student completed each lesson in the

tutorial along with the accompanying exercises and progress

was monitored with each lesson. Frequent consultations

with the test subject revealed strengths and weaknesses

within the tutorial and its design. Upon completion of the

tutorial, the test subject was successfully able to

complete the final examination prepared prior to his

training. Knowledge gained by the researcher during this

preliminary testing led to the reorganization of the

tutorial. The revised tutorial, APPENDIX A, was used for

training the students in the testing section of this study.

Since many students in the technical theatre program at

the University of Florida had been exposed to some uses of

computers in theatre, a survey was taken to discover to

what extent a theatrical population would have experience

with computers and to discover knowledge and beliefs about

computer-aided drafting. The results of the survey appear

in APPENDIX J. Overall, thirteen technical theatre majors

who completed the questionnaire were familiar with

computers and their uses in theatre and felt that a

knowledge of computers by theatrical designers and

technicians would be necessary in the future. Most of the

group surveyed had seen CAD demonstrated and believed

strongly that a knowledge of CAD would help then seek

future employment and that CAD should be taught by theatre

departments in colleges and universities.

The Subjects

Two groups of four students were used for the testing

of the proposed training procedure. One group was the

control group and the other was the test group. All eight

students involved in the test had previously taken the

theatre department's manual drafting course TPA 3070,

Theatrical Drawing Methods and Procedures. The test group

was selected by a random chance method from the pool of

eleven qualified students. A control group of comparable

ability was selected from the remaining students in the

pool by using the students' final grade in TPA 3070, GPA,

score on standardized tests, and profile evaluations.

APPENDIX K contains a comparative analysis of test

subjects. Four students in each group is a small sample

size. However, the number was necessary for several

reasons. First, the study was limited by the number of CAD

workstations available. With only two workstations for the

test subjects to use, the researcher decided to limit the

number of students participating in the training to four in

order that each student have adequate time to use the

equipment. The researcher believed that a larger number of

students would create scheduling problems and the students

might not complete all of the assigned exercises due to the

lack of CAD workstations. The second reason for the small

number of students participating in the test was a result

of the small number of scenic and lighting design students

currently at the University of Florida. It was the belief

of the researcher that CAD should be taught to students

only after they have had experience with manual drafting

methods. Although researchers at the University of

Illinois felt that CAD could be a better method for

teaching design and drafting concepts,8 the researcher and

other members of the theatre department's design staff at

the University of Florida, felt that knowledge and

experience with manual methods of drafting provide a

background on which the student could base his/her work

with CAD. Because of the number of scenic and lighting

design students at the University of Florida who do not

have adequate manual drafting experience, the number'of

students involved in CAD instruction is likely to remain

low. Therefore, having a test group of four students was

in line with the estimated class size of future classes in

CAD at the University of Florida.

At the current enrollment level, a more conclusive

study which would involve a substantial number of test

subjects would take in excess of ten years at the

University of Florida. Because the length of such a study

exceeds the parameters of a dissertation, and because

changes in the backgrounds of subjects over the length of

the study would jeopardize the validity of the test, an

exploratory test will be used to set up results to be

confirmed or refuted by other researchers. Therefore, for

this study N = 4 is considered a valid sample size for the



During spring semester 1986, the four students

involved in the CAD portion of the testing took an

independent study course in which they used the proposed

method for learning CAD. Progress was supervised by Dr.

A.F.C. Wehlburg and the researcher. The syllabus and

course outline for the CAD course can be found in APPENDIX

F and APPENDIX G, respectively.

The course emphasized typical drawings which would be

created by scenic and lighting designers in preparation for

a theatrical production. The four drafting skills

emphasized were drawing productivity, drafting accuracy,

readability and neatness, and reproducibility.

Drafting productivity is defined as the amount or

quantity of drawing that the draftsman can complete in a

set period of time. The speed at which the draftsman

creates a drawing determines the productivity of the

draftsman. Productivity is affected by the amount of time

the draftsman spends perfecting the accuracy of the

drawing, the readability of the drawing, and the

reproducibility of the drawing.

Drafting accuracy is the degree to which the draftsman

has successfully rendered the drawings. Drafting accuracy

includes both drawing accuracy and measuring accuracy.

Accuracy includes the draftsman's ability to draw sharp

corners, straight lines, and consistent symbols.

The third area of evaluation is readability and

neatness, including arrangement of information on a

drawing, clarity of lines, readability of symbols, text and

dimensions, and the overall appearance of the drawing. The

readability of a drawing can be affected by the users

choice of drawing media, i.e. ink or graphite. Another

factor affecting the readability of drawings is the

indication of lines which are left on the paper after a

drawing is corrected.

Reproducibility is the degree to which the drawing is

able to be reproduced using typical blue line reproduction

techniques. The two factors controlling reproducibility are

darkness of lines and consistency of line weights. Because

several individuals on the production staff need copies of

the working drawings for a production, successful

reproduction of drawings is considered an important feature

of drafting.

Upon completion of the course, the four students were

given a scaled drawing of the floor plan for a theatrical

production (APPENDIX H) and were instructed to complete the

following drawings for this production in two hours:

1. Floor plan
2. Front Elevations

The students were told to complete as much of the

assignment as possible in the scheduled time and that the

drawings were to be presentational quality and as error-

free as possible. The students were aware of how the

drawings were to be evaluated and were instructed to do the

best work possible. The test group created their drawings

using the CAD workstations described above in the study.

Since there were only two CAD workstations, the test was

given to two students at a time. No communication between

the students taking the test was allowed.

The four students in the control group were given the

same drawing test. However, they were to produce their

drawings using manual drafting techniques. The group also

was aware of the evaluation procedure and told to do their

best work. The members of the control group worked

individually in a drafting classroom.

The experimental design used in the study was

"Randomized Control-Group Posttest Only," which has good

internal validity.9 This testing design controls for

history, maturation, protesting, statistical regression,

measuring instruments, differential selection of subjects,

and experimental mortality.10

The drawings created during the test were evaluated

by faculty and staff members of the theatre department.

The evaluators were Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg, former technical

director and lighting designer for the theatre department,

and the instructor of the manual drafting course offered by

the theatre department; Mr. Ronald A. Naversen, scenic

designer for the theatre department; and the researcher,

who teaches manual drafting as part of a course in

stagecraft for the theatre department. Each of the four

areas being evaluated was assigned a grade between zero and

ten with zero being the worst grade possible and ten being

the best grade possible. The maximum possible grade for

each test subject was forty points. The grades for each of

the four areas were totaled and every student was assigned

a final grade by each evaluator. A final -score for each

group was obtained by tallying the scores for all of the

test subjects in the group.

A t test for independent samples was used to determine

if the difference between the scores of the two groups were

significant. The 99 percent confidence level, with six

degrees of freedom, was selected for the test. At this

level of confidence, the possibility of an error in the

test results is 1 percent. The results of the test are

found in Chapter IV.


1Personal interview with Kathy Ricks, president of
CAD dealership and training facility in Charlotte, NC, 11
May, 1985.
2 Glenn Hart, "CAD: The Big Picture for Micros," PC
Magazine, Vol.5, No. 5 (1986), p. 126.

3"CAD Stirs Interest," Electronic Education, Vol. 5,
No. 8 (1986), p. 21.
4 Hart, p. 109.

5Hart, p. 126.

6 Donald B. Vitz, "Hard Facts about Hard Disk,"
Architectural Technology, No. 2, Vol. 2 (1984), p. 63.

7 Personal interview with Kathy Ricks, 11 May, 1985.

8 "U of Illinois Studies CAD vs Manual Instruction,"
Plan and Print, Vol. N85, No. 8 (1985), p. 118.

9 Stephen Isaac, Handbook in Research and Evaluation
for Education and the Behavioral Sciences (San Diego: EdITS
Publishers, 1980), p. 42.

10 Isaac, p. 49.


Statistical Analysis

The drawings created by both the test group and the

control group were evaluated by three experienced scenic

and lighting designers. Using the criteria established for

the study, the three evaluators independently scored the

drawings during the test by both the test group and the

control group. The scores of these evaluations are

recorded in tables 1 through 6.

Table 1

Evaluation by Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg of the Drawing Test
for the Test Group



















Reproducibility Total

10 40

10 33

10 32

10 39.5








Table 2

Evaluation by Dr. A.F.C. Wehlburg of the Drawing Test
for the Control Group

























Table 3

Evaluation by Ronald A. Naversen of the Drawing Test
for the Test Group
















































Table 4

Evaluation by Ronald A. Naversen of the Drawing Test
for the Control Group
























Table 5

Evaluation by Delbert L. Hall of the Drawing Test
for the Test Group







Accuracy Readability

9 9

8.5 8.5

8 9

9 9

34.5 35.5






























Table 6

Evaluation by Delbert L. Hall of the Drawing Test
for the Control Group

























The scores from the three evaluators for all members of

each group in each of the four categories were tallied, and

Table 7 displays the results. The scores in three of the

four areas being evaluated were significantly higher for

the test group (CAD) than the scores of the control group


Table 7

Grand Totals of Test Scores

Productivity Accuracy

CAD 97 108.5

Man. 108 62

Readability Reproducibility Total

108.5 120 432

71.5 82.5 324
- - -












The null hypothesis established for the study was

tested by computing the mean score for each group and

comparing the scores. The mean score for the test group

was 36.0 while the mean score for the control group was

27.0. Table 8 shows the mean score, standard deviation,

and the variance of each of the test groups.

Table 8

Comparison of Scores on the Drawing Test
Between the CAD and Manual Methods

N Points Mean SD Variance

CAD 3 x 4 432 36.0 3.0069 9.0417

Man. 3 x 4 324 27.0 2.6771 7.1667

A comparison of the mean scores for each group shows

that the test group's mean was 9.0 higher that the control

group's mean. Using a t test for independent samples to

test for significance of difference between the two groups,

a .01 level of significance was applied. The critical

value of a two-tailed t at a .01 level of significance was

3.143. In the comparing of the mean between the test group

and the control group the t-value was 7.544. At the 99

percent confidence level and 6 degrees of freedom, a

significant difference exists between the mean scores of

the two groups. Therefore, at the .01 level of

significance the null hypothesis was not accepted. These

statistics are reported in Table 9.

Table 9

t Distribution Comparison of Mean Scores
on the Drawing Test

Mean Difference df t value

CAD/Man. 9.0 6 7.544

p < .01

Table 10 and Table 11 compare the scores given by the

three evaluators to the test group and the control group in

total points given, mean, and the standard deviation.

The tables show consistencies in the scoring pattern of

each evaluator (standard deviation) and consistencies in

the scores of each group compared among evaluators

(points and mean). The scores given by the three

evaluators were compared the combined data across the

two groups using the Pearson product-moment correlation

to test the interrater reliability of the scoring of the

evaluators. Table 12 shows the results of the

comparisons. These correlation coefficients show a high

degree of reliability in the scoring by the evaluators

on the drawing test in the study.


Table 10

Comparison Among Evaluators of Scores from Test Group
on the Drawing Test
















Table 11

Comparison Among Evaluators of Scores from Control Group
on the Drawing Test

Points Mean SD
--- --- ----------- ---------- ---------------
Wehlburg 108 27 3.166
--- --- ----------- ---------- ---------------
Naversen 106 26.5 1.118

Hall 110 27.5 2.958
--- --- ----------- ---------- ---------------

Table 12

Pearson Product-Moment Correlation of Scores
Between Evaluators

Evaluators Correlation Factor

Wehlburg/Naversen .9278522

Wehlburg/Hall .9915364

Naverson/Hall .9278837

Breakdown of Scores by Area


Productivity was the only area in which the traditional

drafting method scored considerably higher than CAD. This

can be attributed to poor scores on productivity by two of

the four students in the test group. Productivity in

drafting comes with practice of the craft and all students

do not develop at the same rate. It can be speculated that

the two students whose productivity rating was low did not

develop skill as rapidly as the other two students. Since

the productivity rating of 50 percent of the test group was

in line with scores from the control group, the lower

scores of the remaining 50 percent were considered to be

due to lack of experience with the method.

The workstations used for the testing were minimally

equipped. Productivity should increase considerably if the

workstation were equipped with math co-processors, higher

resolution monitors, and digitizing tablets. This

conclusion is based on information obtained from Kathy

Ricks who conducts training programs in CAD for



The drawings created by the test group contained far

fewer measuring errors and represented the design with a

higher level of accuracy than those of the students using

manual drafting. Drafting inaccuracies such as over-drawn

lines, corners not meeting properly, line weight problems,

and lines not drawn straight where necessary, were far more

common in the manually drafted drawings than in the CAD

drawings. The test group scored 108.5 on accuracy while

the control group scored 62 which computes to a 75 percent

higher degree of accuracy on the test for drawings created

using CAD than on drawings created using manual techniques.


The drawings created using CAD were more legible, and

lettered more clearly than the drawings created using

manual techniques. Symbols, a prime communication source

in drafting, were drawn more consistently and were more

legible in drawings created by the test group. Dimensions

and text items were also more legible in the CAD drawings.

Also improving the readability of the computer-aided

drawings was the use of ink. The ink lines were crisper

and easier to read than lines drawn with graphite.

Readability of the drawings created using CAD scored 52

percent higher than manually created drawings on the

drawing test.


Ink also reproduced extremely well using diazo (blue

line) printing techniques. Ink offered several advantages

to the draftsmen in terms of clarity of lines and

reproducibility. However, mistakes drawn in ink are

difficult to correct. One student's drawings, created

manually using ink, suffered from errors and inaccurate

drafting. Reproducibility of CAD produced drawings was

45 percent better than manually drafted drawings.


Overall, the test group scored 33 percent higher on the

drawing test than the control group, a mean increase of

9.00 with a maximum score of forty points. These

statistics indicate a significant difference in the

drafting ability of students using computer-aided drafting

to create typical working drawings for theatrical

productions. They also indicate the success of the method

to teach students to use CAD for producing construction


Exit interviews with the four students in the test

group indicted they unanimously preferred CAD over

traditional drafting methods. They also indicated that

they felt their productivity with CAD was increasing and

had not reached its potential with this method of drafting.

All of the students in the test group indicated a strong

interest in continuing to use CAD and improving their CAD


The four members of the control group were also

interviewed by the researcher. All members of the control

group had seem drawings created by the test group during

the training process and were impressed by the quality of

the drawings. The members of the control group were

unanimous in their belief that computer-aided drafting was

superior to manual drafting, and all expressed interest in

learning to use CAD.


1 Personal interview with Kathy Ricks, 11 May, 1985.



This study indicates that the proposed method for

teaching CAD to theatrical designers is effective and

infers that designers using CAD are capable of creating

drawings of better quality than designers using traditional

drafting techniques. Other important observations about

the use of CAD were also made during the study. The most

important observation concerns the attitude of the students

when using CAD.

The students involved in the study were excited about

learning CAD and showed enthusiasm for the course. This

was reflected in the amount of time they spent using CAD,

averaging 114.5 hours over the semester long course (the

amount of time spent using CAD by each student in the test

group is reported in Table 13). Three of the four students

used CAD to produce drawings for other classes which they

were taking or for theatrical productions in which they

were involved. These extra CAD drawings were not part of

the course and it was the students' decision to produce

their needed drawings with CAD rather than with traditional

drafting methods.


Table 13

Time Chart of CAD Training by
Members of the Test Group

Total Hours


Weekly Average


122 8.13



136 9.06

485 30.52



Similar reactions to CAD were reported in a study at

the University of Illinois/Urbana by Dr. Michael Pleck and

Dr. Tom Woodley of the Department of General Engineering:

A majority of the students like, and in fact,
prefer to use the micro-based facility over
traditional methods of drawing. Further, .
once the associated system procedures have been
mastered, most students can make the same graphic
representation faster and better with the micro-
based CAD system than with traditional methods.1

Pleck and Woodley reported that, "Students using CAD

have more time to grapple with cognitive problems and

develop advanced skills because they are less caught up in

repetitive, monotonous manual tasks."2 Excitement about

CAD is attracting more students to learn drafting:







Student drafting class enrollments have increased
by more than 120 percent during the last nine
months in the Albuquerque Public School District,
according to Al Sanchez, specialist for the
district's practical arts program. The sudden
jump is attributed, he says, to the district's
recent acquisition of computer-aided design (CAD)

Colleges and universities should embrace CAD as both an

excellent teaching tool and a marketable skill for their

students. According to Elizabeth Bollinger, an associate

professor in the College of Architecture at the University

of Houston and a member of the steering committee of the

Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture:

The microcomputer-based CAD system is now
recognized as a viable tool in the design office,
and colleges and schools throughout the United
States are looking for ways to respond to their
students' needs for CAD skills in support of
industry demands.

The computer may someday be as common a part of the

scenic and lighting designer's tools as T-squares and

pencils are today.

Future studies using the four students who learned CAD

for this study should be conducted to test improvement

after one year of using CAD. Other studies might also

include research into using different CAD programs to do

theatrical drafting and in using computers for teaching

scenic design concepts. The use of computers as teaching

tools is limited only by the programs available and the

imagination of the teachers using them.

As more people in the arts learn to use the computer,

they will discover more ways to use the tool. As the

number of ways to use computers increases, computers and

the arts will grow closer together. CAD is just one of the

ways that theatre can benefit from new technology. Future

uses of CAD may go far beyond the present uses of CAD.

According to Daniel S. Raker, president of a CAD consulting

and marketing firm, "Within ten years many CAD experts

predict that engineers and designers will sit down at their

CAD workstations, use the computer to build a design and

the CAD system will 'automatically' produce the drawings to

match the design."5 Present uses of computers should be

thought of as building blocks for the future.


A follow-up study of the test group after six months of

using CAD and again after one year of using CAD would be

valuable in graphing the continued progress of individuals

with computer-aided drafting. Such a follow-up study could

provide comparative information on the skills tested in the

study. Using the same control group would allow the

researcher to compare the development pattern of the two


The conclusion of the study regarding the effectiveness

of the teaching method and the use of CAD for producing

theatrical drawing leads the researcher to recommend that a

similar study be conducted using a different test group in

order to compare the results and confirm or rebut the

findings of this study. In addition to recommending a

similar study, the researcher recommends a study be

conducted using more complete CAD workstations. The study

could show variances in the productivity level of the

students using the different workstation configurations.

The following recommendations are made with regard to

the teaching method used in this study:

1. Increase the rate at which the lessons are

assigned to five or six per week instead of three.

2. Revise the rate at which the lessons are

assigned to five or six per week instead of three.

2. Revise the schedule in order to spend more time

drafting and re-drafting actual working drawings.

3. Schedule several drawing tests with increased

emphasis on productivity.


1 "U of Illinois Studies CAD vs Manual Instruction,"
Plan and Print, Vol. N85, No. 8 (1985), p. 118.

2 "U of Illinois Studies CAD vs Manual Instruction,"
p. 118.

3 "CAD Stirs Interest," Electronic Education, Vol. 5,
No. 5 (1986), p. 21.


4 Elizabeth Bollinger, "EduCAD Outlook," Plan and
Print, Vol. N85, No. 8 (1985), p. 116.

5 Daniel S. Raker, "CAD Angles," Plan and Print, Vol.
N58, No. 9 (1985), pp. 8-9.


"A" size sheet: 8 1/2" x 11" drafting paper.

Attribute: non-graphic information assigned to an object in
a CAD drawing.

"B" size sheet: 11" x 17" drafting paper.

BASIC (Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code): a
popular computer language.

Boot: the automatic process of loading the operating
system of the computer into its memory.

Bus: system by which information is transferred between
the CPU and memory.

"C" size sheet: 18" x 24" drafting paper.

CAD: computer-aided design or computer-aided drafting.

CAE: computer-aided engineering.

CAM: computer-aided manufacturing.

CRT (Cathode-ray tube): a type of monitor for viewing data.

CPU (Central Processing Unit): the part of the computer
that does the mathematical calculations and control the
flow of data within the computer.

Configure: to set up peripheral devices so that they
communicate properly with the computer.

Coordinates: the numerical representation of the location
of a point using X,Y (and Z) directions.

Cross hatching: filling in an area of a drawing with a

Cursor: the rectangle of light on the screen (sometimes
flashing) prompting the user to input data or a

Crosshairs: crossed horizontal and vertical lines on the
screen indicating the position of a point.

"D" size sheet: 24" x 36" drafting paper.

Dedicated computer: a computer which was designed to
perform only one task.

Default: pre-defined.

Digitizer tablet: a device for inputting coordinates of

DOS (Disk Operating System): a computer program that tells
the computer how to store data on a disk.

"E" size sheet: 36" x 48" drafting paper.

Floppy disk drive: a medium capacity data storage device
that uses a removable disk.

Format: to prepare a disk to store electronic data.

FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation): a compiled computer language
designed for math intensive programing.

Function keys: keys with specific functions defined by the

Hardcopy: any data printed or plotted onto paper.

Hardware: computer equipment.

Input: to enter commands or data into the computer's

K: multiplied by 1024 (64k is equal to 64 times 1024 or

Layers: (also called levels) they are a way of grouping
objects on a drawing; each layer can be turned on or

Light pen: a pen-like device which is touched against the
screen to indicate coordinates of a point.

LISP: a computer language in some versions of AutoCAD which
allow the user to create new commands.

Mainframe computer: large computer with mass storage
designed for corporate use.

Memory: location where the computer temporarily stores
programs and other electronic data before it is sent to
the CPU.

Menu: a list of command options displayed on the screen.

Microcomputer: a small, single-board computer with the CPU
located on a single chip.

Microprocessor: a computer chip that contains the CPU of a

Minicomputer: a medium-sized computer designed for large
businesses, the CPU is located in more than one chip.

Monitor: another name for a CRT.

Mouse: input device that is moved across a table to
specify position of crosshairs or a cursor.

Object: any line, arc, circle, or text on a drawing.

Origin (also called base): a reference point, usually in
the lower left-hand corner of the screen, whose
coordinate is 0,0.

Output: data displayed to the user on the CRT, printed on a
printing device, or sent to a plotter from the

Pen plotter: a device for creating a hardcopy of a drawing.

Peripheral device: any input or output device.

Polar coordinates: coordinate system defined by angle and
distance from a starting point.

Puck: a device commonly used with a digitizing tablet to
select coordinates.

RAM (Random Access Memory): memory in the computer where
the program and data are stored while the program is

ROM (Read Only Memory): data stored on chips by the

Rubber-banding: the process of stretching a temporary line
between two points to indicate the final
placement of a line.

Scale: a ratio between the original size of an object and
the drawn representation of that object.

Serial: common type of output procedure for transferring
data to and from peripheral devices.

Software: a computer program.

Stylus: pen-like output device used with a digitizing

Toggle: the ON/OFF switching of a CAD function by the
repeated pressing of a key.

USA #829 (United Scenic Artist): union for theatrical
designers, New York local.

Window: a partial or whole view of the drawing area on a

Winchester disk drive (also called a hard disk drive): a
high speed, high capacity data storage system.

Workstation: a computer and peripheral devices needed to
perform the tasks associated with a particular job.

Zoom: enlarging or decreasing the display image.



This tutorial uses the Zenith Z-100 microcomputer to

teach AutoCAD. Using other computers with the tutorial

may be confusing at times since the keyboard arrangement

may be different and the function keys of other computers

may be assigned functions other than those on the Z-100.

It is assumed that the computer has been properly setup and

is ready for use. If not, consult your owner's manual for

instructions on setting up your computer.

Although prior computer experience is not required in

order to learn to use AutoCAD, a fundamental knowledge of

the computer and its parts is helpful. Most interaction

with the computer will be through the computer's keyboard

which is similar to that of a typewriter. However, the

computer's keyboard has several keys not found on a

typewriter with which you need to be familiar. Below is a

list of these keys and their functions. Find these keys on

your keyboard or on the drawing of the Z-100 keyboard in

Figure 1, and be familiar with their location and use.

CTRL: The CONTROLkey (abbreviated CTRL) is used in a
similar fashion as one normally uses the SHIFT key
on a typewriter. By holding down the CTRL key and
pressing another key, special commands are sent to
the computer.


These thirteen keys are function keys and are used
to send special commands to the computer. AutoCAD
uses many of these keys to allow you to change
some of the display characteristics of the

D.CHR/I.CHR: (Delete Character/Insert Character) Used by
AutoCAD in the same way as a function key.

DEL LINE/INS LINE: (Delete Line/Insert Line) Used by
AutoCAD in the same way as a function key.

Specific function within AutoCAD of above keys:

F5 or CTRL D
F6 or CTRL G
F7 or CTRL 0
F8 or CTRL B
F9 or CTRL T

Toggle COORD
Toggle GRID
Toggle ORTHO
Toggle SNAP
Flip Screen
Fast Crosshairs
Slow Crosshairs
Menu Cursor
Abort Crosshairs

HOME: Used in AutoCAD to display crosshairs on the screen.

ARROW KEYS: (Located on the keypad) Used in AutoCAD to
position crosshairs on the screen.

ENTER: This key is a duplication of the RETURN key.

f (TI a \ IID COI -~
^ II oo InI u, I jIc
*- '--- 4- < ^

If you make a mistake while typing in any command,

pressing the BACK SPACE key will back the cursor over text

that you have typed, erasing as it moves.

The second part of the computer with which you must

interact is the disk drive storage devices located on the

face of the Z-100 above the keyboard. Disk drives come in

two varieties, floppy disk drives and Winchester disk

drives. Winchester disk drives are also known as hard disk

drives. If your computer has a Winchester disk drive, it

will be located on the left hand-side of the face of the

computer and will be labeled as such. Hard disk drives are

approximately ten times faster than floppy disk drives and

can contain from 30 to 100 time more data. Because of

CAD's great memory requirements and the need for CAD

programs to read and write information to and from the

computer's disk drives, a hard disk drive makes working

with CAD faster.

If your computer does not have a hard disk drive, then

it must have two floppy disk drives in order to run

AutoCAD. Floppy disk drives use removable floppy disks.

These disks, which store much less data than non-removable

hard disks, can be removed from the computer and other

disks containing other programs or data put in their place.

When not in use by the computer, floppy disks should be

stored in a safe location. A diagram of a floppy disk is

shown in Figure 2.

/ Disk Inside Envelop
/ \Write Protect Slo
/ \
\ Cardboard Envelop

S- Index/Sector Hole

SRead/Write Acces
^\ U I Slot

Figure 2. A floppy disk.

The read/write access slot exposes the shiny disk
within the stiff cover. Be very careful to never touch
this shiny disk. The floppy disk is placed in the disk
drive with the label up and the side nearest the
read/write access slot leading the way. Holding onto the
disk label will help to protect the disk when inserting it
into the disk drive.
Although microcomputers generally use one micro-
processor for handling all mathematical calculations, math
co-processors are available for many microcomputers. These
co-processors can handle the mathematics involved in CAD,
relieving the main processor from this job. Math co-
processors, such as the 8087 used in the Zenith Z-100,
speed up the mathematics involved in CAD and makes the CAD

program run from two to three times faster. These co-

processors are optional and your computer may not have one.

If not, your local dealer will be able to give information

about them.

About the Tutorial

This tutorial is designed to lead you step-by-step

through many of the most commonly used drawing commands

provided by AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a sophisticated CAD

program, and it would be impractical for this text to

attempt to teach all of AutoCAD's commands and command

options. It is anticipated that, as you become familiar

with AutoCAD, you will discover new uses for the program

and experiment with many of the command options not covered

in the tutorial. The key to learning AutoCAD is to

practice. The AutoCAD Drafting Package User Guide can

provide in-depth information about all of AutoCAD's

features. The tutorial is not a substitute for the user

guide. It is a guide book for teaching AutoCAD's commands

in a logical and progressive order.

Before you begin, you need to become familiar with

several terms and procedures used throughout the tutorial

which have special meanings.

]: The square brackets are used around a word,
letter, or special symbol to specify a
specific key on the keyboard, (i.e. [RETURN],
[Y], or [F6]).

"AutoCAD will prompt:": AutoCAD is asking you a question
and you must respond with an

"Enter": The bold printed character or characters which
appear after "Enter" are the desired response to
the prompt. You should type this response as
it appears and then press the [RETURN] key.

"Select": Place the crosshairs or cursor on the point or
menu item you desired and press the [RETURN] key.

Text which is indented in the tutorial is text that

will be displayed on the monitor at that time. This text

could be a prompt or information that AutoCAD is giving you

about its operation. Below is a tutorial for formatting a

floppy disk. It is written in the same fashion as the

lessons in the tutorial. Use the tutorial below to become

familiar with the style of this guidebook. If your

computer has two disk drives, you will need to format two

data disks on which you will save your drawings and a

system disk to use in configuring AutoCAD. If your

computer has a hard disk, only format the data disks, and

use them to save back-up copies of your drawings.

Formatting a Floppy Disk

When you purchase a new floppy disk, it is completely
blank. Before you can store information on that disk, you
must encode it with a system for storing the data. Think
of it as painting lines on a road to create lanes for the
traffic. Formatting sets up these lanes and a directory to
keep track of where it stores the data. Since all models
of computers do not store information on disks the same
way, you must format the disk for your computer.

Before you begin to format a disk, you need to know the
difference between a system disk and a data disk. When you
turn on your computer, the first thing it does is to read a
special program off the disk in the default drive (A for a
two drive system; or E for a computer with a hard disk
drive). This program is called the Disk Operating System
(DOS). DOS provides the computer with the information it
needs to perform most of its tasks, including how to format
a disk. DOS is stored in the computer's memory and is not
read again until the computer is turned off and back on or
unless you press the [RESET] key. Since DOS is read only
once, when you first turn on the computer, it is only
needed on disks that you might use to "boot the system,"
such as a program disk. These disks are often referred to
as system disks.

Some disks may contain data files produced by computer
programs and not the programs themselves. These disks are
called data disks and do not need to contain DOS, which
takes up space on the disk. The drawings you create with
AutoCAD will be stored as data files. Therefore, you need
to format a disk on which to store your drawings and it
does not need to contain DOS.

Begin by placing a system disk in your default drive. If
you have a hard disk, do nothing. Then, turn on the power
to your computer. The disk will whirl and the computer
will read DOS from the disk. When this is complete, the
computer will display the drive letter followed by the
greater than sign (>). This is the computer's way of
telling you that it is ready to begin.

To format a data disk, first enter FORMAT. The computer
will respond:

FORMAT version 2.19
Copyright (C) 1984, Zenith Data Systems Corporation

Drive to format?:

Enter B if you have a two disk drive system or A if you
have a hard disk drive. The computer will now respond:

Insert new disk in drive (A or B)
and press RETURN when ready.

Follow these instructions. The disk drive you specified
will now spin for about 35 seconds. The computer is now
formatting the disk. Next, the computer will prompt:

Enter desired volume label (11 characters) RETURN for none?

You now have the opportunity to encode your disk with a
volume label. This electronic label can be used to you to
identify the disk as yours or to identify the type of
information on the disk. You are limited to 11 characters
(spaces count as characters). "HALL DATA I", "MY DISK
#1", and "ACAD Data" are all valid labels. Choose a name
that is meaningful and descriptive and enter it. The disk
will spin again, and the computer will display:

322560 bytes total disk space
322560 bytes available on disk.

Do you wish to format another disk (Y/N)?

You have just formatted your first disk. Remove your newly
formatted-data disk from the disk drive and place it back
into its paper envelope. With a felt tip pen, write the
volume name on one of the labels that came with your disks,
and place it in the upper right corner near the notch.
Never write on your disk with a hard writing device such as
a pencil or ball point pen that might damage the fragile
disk inside of the cover. Enter Y to format another disk
or enter N to exit this command. Your data disk are
important, because they will contain the results of your
work with AutoCAD. Treat them gently and protect then from
moisture, heat, and magnetic fields. Also, be careful
NEVER to touch the shiny disk that is inside the protective

To format a disk and place DOS on the disk at the same
time, enter FORMAT /S. This type of disk is called a
system disk. The process for formatting a system disk is
exactly the same as formatting a data disk. A system disk
can be used for booting your computer, whereas a data disk
cannot. If your computer has two floppy disk drives, you
will need to format at least one system disk.

Configuring AutoCAD and Peripheral Devices

Before you can begin using AutoCAD you should make

backup copies of all AutoCAD program disks and store the

originals in a safe location. Your Z-100 User's Manual

will tell you how to use the DISKCOPY command to accomplish

this task.

Next you must prepare AutoCAD to run on your computer.

If your computer has a Winchester disk drive, copy all of

your AutoCAD disks onto the hard disk drive. You can then

configure the copy of AutoCAD on this disk drive.

If you have two floppy disk drives, you must copy the

following files onto the system disk which had been

formatted earlier:


Other files such as text fonts, hatching patterns,

and library files should be added to this disk as you

become aware of your need for them. Label this disk

"AutoCAD Boot Disk."

If you have a plotter, a mouse, a digitizer tablet, or

a light pen, connect these devices to your computer. Use

The AutoCAD Drafting Package User Guide and the

instructions that came with your specific devices to

connect them to your computer. When you have completed

these tasks, boot AutoCAD by entering ACAD. If you have

two floppy disk drives in your computer, your "AutoCAD Boot

Disk" must be in disk drive A. The following menu should

appear on your monitor:

Main Menu

0. Exit AutoCAD
1. Begin a NEW drawing
2. Edit an EXISTING drawing
3. Plot a drawing

4. Configure AutoCAD
5. File utilities
6. Compile shape/font description file
7. Convert old drawing file

Enter Selection:

Enter 4 to configure AutoCAD. When you do the following
configuration menu will appear.

Configuration menu

0. Exit to Main Menu
1. Show current configuration
2. Allow I/O port configuration

3. Configure video display
4. Configure digitizer
5. Configure plotter
6. Configure system console
7. Configure operating parameters

Enter selection:

If you have a digitizer, mouse, or light pen, enter 4

as your selection and answer the queries to configure the

input device you have connected to the computer. If you

have a plotter, enter 5 as your selection and answer the

queries to configure the plotter. If you have none of

these devices, go to the next step.

Finally, you must enter 7 to configure the operating

parameters. When you do, the following menu will appear:

Operating parameters menu

0. Exit to configuration menu
1. Alarm on error
2. Initial drawing conditions
3. Drawing Editor menu

Enter selection:

Enter 3 to begin setting the initial drawing

conditions. AutoCAD will query you with prompts that you

may not understand. These prompts will become clear to you

as you learn to use AutoCAD's commands. Set the initial

drawing limits to 12",9", the snap resolution to .25, and

the coordinate display format to 2 (Decimal). Now, select

0 in each menu to return to the Main Menu and save the new

configuration. You only configure AutoCAD once, unless you

decide to change the configuration.

If you have a plotter connected to your computer, you

can plot any of AutoCAD's sample drawings to paper. Below

are instructions for plotting a drawing. If you are not

ready to plot a drawing, you can return to these

instructions at any time during the course of the tutorial

to do so.

You are now ready to begin learning to use AutoCAD.

The following tutorial will help teach you many of

AutoCAD's commands and ways to use these commands for doing

theatrical drafting. Although CAD at first may be slower

than traditional methods of drafting, practice will result

in a better knowledge of the commands and increased CAD

speed. Turn to Lesson 1 and begin.


How to Plot a Drawing

AutoCAD can use many different plotters. In the example
below, a Houston Instruments' DMP-42 plotter is used.

Plotting a drawing can be accomplished within the Drawing
Editor by using the PLOT command or from the Main Menu by
selecting option #3. If you select this command from the
Main Menu, AutoCAD will ask you for the name of the drawing
to plot. If selected from the Drawing Editor, it will plot
the current drawing. Next, AutoCAD displays:

PLOT Drawing
Drawing color assignments:

Color Line type Pen speed Color Line type Pen speed
1 0 16 9 0 16
2 0 16 10 0 16
3 0 16 11 0 16
4 0 16 12 0 16
5 0 16 13 0 16
6 0 16 14 0 16
7 0 16 15 0 16
8 0 16

Sizes are in Inches
Plot origin is at (0.00,0.00)
Plot area is 34 wide by 21.5 high (MAX size)
Pen width is 0.010

Do you want to change anything? (Y/N)

Enter N. These specifications will rarely, if ever, need
to be changed. However, should you wish to change any of
them consult The AutoCAD Drafting Package User Guide for

Next, AutoCAD will prompt:

Position paper in plotter.
Press RETURN when ready.

First, turn ON the power to the plotter. When you do, the
plotter's roller will rotate one direction and then the
other. When it stops, position your paper in your plotter,
aligning it with the front edge of the plotter. Next,
you must inform the plotter of the size of the paper you
are using by pressing the [SMALL] button if your paper size

is 18 x 24 inches, or by pressing the [LARGE] button if
your paper size is 24 x 36 inches. When the button is
pressed, a small red indicator light will come ON, and the
paper will be rolled through the plotter and back to its
original position. Next, you must set the communication
rate between the computer and the plotter. This is done by
first pressing the [ENTER] button on the plotter. When you
do, an indicator light will come on. Then press the "up
arrow" button on the plotter. The [ENTER] indicator light
will then go OFF. Finally, place the pen in the pen holder
of the plotter. Once you have completed these steps, press
the [RETURN] key on the computer. The paper will be rolled
into position for plotting, and AutoCAD will then prompt:

Scale (N, 1:N, RETURN, or "V"):

Since you created your drawing in "full scale," AutoCAD
must be told a scale in which to plot on the paper.
AutoCAD gives you four different ways to specify the scale
of the drawing. Use Appendix B to translate the scale in
which you want your drawing plotted into AutoCAD's scaling
system. Enter this scaling factor. (If you want the
drawing plotted in 1/4" = l'-0" scale, you would enter
1:48). AutoCAD will inform you of the effective plotting
size of your drawing, and the plotter will be start
producing the drawing.

When the plotter has completed the drawing, AutoCAD will

Press RETURN to continue.

Press the [RETURN] and AutoCAD will return you to the Main
Menu or to the Drawing editor.

Pen plotters require very little maintenance. The
plotter's pens should be kept capped when not in use to
prevent the ink from drying out and clogging the pen.
Different types of pens in different line widths are
available for most plotters. You should also cover the
plotter to help keep it clean.


LESSON 1--Creating a Drawing: HELP, *CANCEL*, QUIT, END

When you run AutoCAD it displays its MAIN MENU. This menu
gives you eight choices.

Main Menu

0. Exit AutoCAD
1. Begin a NEW drawing
2. Edit an EXISTING drawing
3. Plot a drawing

4. Configure AutoCAD
5. File Utilities
6. Compile shape/font description file
7. Convert old drawing file

Enter selection:

This lesson will teach you how to create a drawing using
AutoCAD's drawing editor. The drawing editor allows you to
create and edit drawings. Choices 1 and 2 will take you to
the drawing editor, but they serve different purposes.
Enter 1 at the prompt and "Begin a NEW Drawing." AutoCAD
will now ask you for the name of your drawing. The
following rules govern the name of a drawing.

1. Names must be between 1 and 8 characters long.
2. Only letters A-Z, numbers 0-9, and the special
characters "$" (dollar), "-" (hyphen), and "_"
(underscore) are allowed.
3. AutoCAD converts all lower case letters to upper case
letters ( "a" is the same as "A").
4. Blank spaces are not allowed.

BOB BOB*R (illegal character)
house RESTAURANT (name too long)
DRAWING1 DRAWING 1 (blank space)

Besides the name of the drawing, you may indicate on which
disk drive you wish the drawing to be saved. You do this by
the drive's designation letter, followed by a colon (:),
and then the name of the drawing. If no drive is
indicated, the drive currently in use is the one selected.
If the Z-100 you are using has two floppy disk drives, they
will be designated as A and B. A Winchester (hard-disk)
drive is designated as the E drive. Most computers with a
hard disk drive have only one floppy disk drive.

Place a formatted disk in the floppy drive you want to use,
and type the indication letter for that drive, a colon, and
then the drawing name LESSON1. If you want your drawing
saved on drive A, then you would enter A:LESSON1, and press
RETURN. AutoCAD has now created a drawing file called
LESSON1 on the disk in the A drive and now displays the
drawing editor screen.

The Drawing Editor

The drawing editor screen is divided into five areas.




Drawing display area
Status line
Coordinate display
Menu area
Command line

The drawing display area (1) is the area in which your
drawing will appear as you create or edit it. The status
line (2) indicates the current layer on which you are
drawing and any drawing aids which are turned on. Layer 0
is the layer AutoCAD begins with when you create a new
drawing, and the "Fill" aid is presently on. AutoCAD's
drawing aids will be covered in subsequent lessons. The
coordinate display (3) is next to the status line. It
should read "0.000,0.000." This feature will be explained
fully in the next lesson. First, you will learn how to
issue AutoCAD commands.

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AutoCAD gives you several methods of issuing commands, but
two will be dealt with in this lesson. The first method
allows you to select the command you want from one of
several menus which AutoCAD displays in the menu area (4)
on the right-hand side of the screen. The first menu is
called the "ROOT MENU" and it is used to select other
menus. A breakdown of the menus appears in Appendix E. In
order to select an item from this menu, first press the
[DEL LIN] key. When you do, the word ROOT becomes
highlighted. This is AutoCAD's way of indicating that this
item is ready to be selected. In order to position the
highlighter on the item you want to select, use the up
arrow and down arrow keys on the keypad. Practice moving
the highlighter up and down with the arrow keys. Notice
that the highlighter will "wrap around" when it reaches
the top or bottom of the screen.

Place the highlighter on the word UTILITY and press
[RETURN], [SPACE] or [ENTER]. All three of these keys will
tell AutoCAD to accept the item indicated by the
highlighter. AutoCAD then replaces its ROOT MENU with the
UTILITY menu. When this happens, notice the last two
choices on this menu. "Last Menu" returns you to the menu
before the present one. Sometimes the menus can get three
or four levels deep. You are presently on the second
level, so the last menu was the ROOT MENU. Choosing "ROOT
MENU" will always return you to the root menu, no matter
what menu you are presently using. Now, go one level
deeper by moving the highlighter to the word "RENAME", and
selecting this command. When you do, AutoCAD will replace
the UTILITY menu with the RENAME menu, and it will begin
executing the RENAME command. Notice the word RENAME on
the command line near the bottom of the screen, followed by
a prompt for more information needed to execute the command
on the next line. Sometimes you may select a command and
then realize that this was the wrong command. When this
happens, as it now has, move the highlighter with the arrow
keys to the word CANCEL and select this command. CANCEL
will get you out of the command that you have started. You
still have the RENAME menu displayed, so select "LAST MENU"
to return you to the UTILITY menu.

AutoCAD has a command that can help you before you enter a
wrong command. It is called HELP. Select HELP from the
menu at this time. HELP does not have a sub-menu; instead,
you must enter your response at the keyboard. AutoCAD

Command name (RETURN for list):

The HELP command can give you information about any of
AutoCAD's commands or list all available commands in case
you cannot remember the name of the command you need.

w -

Right now, enter RENAME to find out what this command does.
Enter means to type in the command name, followed by
hitting the [RETURN] key. The [BACKSPACE] key allows you
to delete the last character you typed to correct typing
mistakes. When you press [RETURN], AutoCAD will remove the
drawing editor screen and replace it with the command line
screen. This screen, of which you normally see only the
bottom two lines, only displays text. This is where
AutoCAD will write information about the command you have
specified. The HELP command will also tell you in which
section of the User Guide to find more information on that
command. Once you have read this information, you can flip
back to the drawing editor screen by pressing the [F10]

Of course, you can enter AutoCAD's commands directly at the
keyboard instead of selecting them from one of the menus.
Enter HELP. AutoCAD will again prompt with:

Command name (RETURN for list):

This time only press [RETURN]. Now AutoCAD will list all
of its commands. Again, press [F10] and AutoCAD will
return to the drawing editor screen. If you misspell a
command name, AutoCAD will respond with:

Unknown command, type ? for list of commands.

The question mark (?) is the abbreviation for HELP.
Remember to correct any misspellings by using the
[BACKSPACE] key to delete typing errors before pressing

One AutoCAD command is entered differently on the keyboard
than it appears on the menu. This is the *CANCEL* command.
This command appears on the menu as CANCEL. To cancel a
command at the keyboard, hold down the [CONTROL] key on the
left side of the keyboard (and often abbreviated as CTRL),
and press the letter [C] key once. Then release the
[CONTROL] key. AutoCAD will then prompt you that it has
canceled the command in progress.

The next thing you will learn in this lesson is how to exit
the drawing editor and return to the main menu when you
have finished editing a drawing. To exit the drawing
editor and have AutoCAD save your drawing on the disk drive
you specified when you began the drawing, enter END. If
you do not want to save this drawing on a disk, enter QUIT.
If you enter QUIT, AutoCAD will ask you:

Really want to discard all changes to drawing?

This is AutoCAD's way of checking before it destroys this
drawing. Type Y for YES if you are sure that you do not
want this drawing saved. Since you did not create a
drawing in this lesson, enter QUIT and Y to end the drawing
and return to the main menu. At the end of each lesson you
will have the option to exit the drawing by using END or
QUIT. In most cases, you will want to use the END command
and save your drawing on your drawing disk. Some of the
drawings you create in one exercise will be needed later in
other exercises. Only use the QUIT command if you are sure
that you do not want to save the drawing.

The Final Step

If you are using a computer with a hard-disk drive, take
the following steps to protect your equipment before
turning it off.

1. Exit AutoCAD
2. Enter SHIP
3. Enter 0 (zero)

Finally, turn off your computer.

LESSON 2--AutoCAD's Coordinate System: SNAP, POINT, REDRAW

In this lesson you will learn how AutoCAD keeps track of
points on the screen, how to move to any point on the
screen, and how to draw points on the screen.

Run AutoCAD and create a new drawing called LESSON2. Do not
forget to put the drive prefix and colon in front of the
drawing name and to have your drawing disk in the drive you

The Coordinate System

AutoCAD uses a coordinate system called Cartesian
coordinates. This system has an X axis, and a Y axis. The
cartesian grid can be divided into four quadrants.


< 1 1 I 1 1 1 I I

-8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2



2 3 4 5 6 7 8

i I I I I I I I -


Locations on the grid are represented by first giving the X
coordinate, and then the Y coordinate. Point 2,3 is two
units to the right and three units up (point 0,0 is the
reference point). Point -4,-2.5 is four units to the left
and two and a half units down. It is easiest to think of
computer graphics occupying only Quadrant I, although they
can use any or all quadrants. If only Quadrant I is used,
point 0,0 would be in the lower left corner, and all
coordinates would be positive numbers. Now, press the [F5]
key. This turns on the coordinate display at the top of the
screen, and the message "" will appear on the
command line. When the crosshairs (coordinate markers) are

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