Jim Keen / Courtesy Morpholio

It wasn’t too long ago that architects wanting to sketch a layout, diagram, or vignette would trace over a printout of a floor plan or building model from a CAD or BIM program as a starting point for nailing down scale and perspective. The need for that intermediary hard copy has diminished as tablet styluses have become increasingly precise, and as digital illustration apps blur the line between sketching and drafting.

Since its debut in 2012, Trace and its not-free version TracePro (iOS, $7.99 monthly, $19.99 annually) by New York–based Morpholio is one app that has been breaking down that barrier. Today, the design and software development firm furthered TracePro’s ability to generate passable working drawings with its new Smart Fill feature. The tool attempts to predict which regions of a shape, a floor plan, or even a tree canopy a user wants to enhance with a hue or a hatch, and calculates in real time the fill area, a valuable metric to know for quantity takeoffs and FAR (floor area ratio) calculations.

SO-IL / Courtesy Morpholio

“You not only get the fill function, but you also get a preview of the fill region with square footage and an option to tally different regions to see the total square feet of your master design,” Morpholio co-founder Toru Hasegawa tells ARCHITECT.

To employ Smart Fill, TracePro users must establish a scale factor for their drawing before tapping the area they want filled and measured with a target. The resulting numeric value, labeled with units, can be placed on the drawing and updates automatically should the user revise the region’s shape and size. Fill areas can be expanded or subtracted with the stylus.

Along with the ability to track the areas of multiple regions simultaneously, Smart Fill can produce a list of values for exporting into a spreadsheet program. “Today we’re adding an areas layer with Smart Fill, but in the future, there could be a swarm of these intelligent layers,” says Morpholio co-founder Mark Collins in the firm’s press release.

For now, Smart Fill is best used for 2D areas, such as floor plans, façade planes, or sites with no elevation change. In other words, Hasegawa tells ARCHITECT, the tool assumes the drawing is flat. But, he adds, the ability to tackle 3D surfaces is “something to think about.”

SO-IL / Courtesy Morpholio
WORKac / Courtesy Morpholio