Over the last several years we’ve seen Autodesk feature renderings created using Autodesk 3D Studio Max Design and a third-party product from 3AM Solutions named Dynamite VSP. For the uninitiated, Dynamite VSP is a product designed specifically for the civil engineering industry. No pun intended, but it helps bridge the gap between AutoCAD Civil 3D and Autodesk 3D Studio Max Design, making the civil visualization process more accessible.
A couple weeks ago, I had what some would call the perfect storm; a major deadline, crashing grading drawings, and managerial pressure to get it fixed yesterday. Trouble was, regardless of the series of commands I threw at the troublesome drawings, the errors remained, and the drawings continued to crash. In fact, there was a time in the troubleshooting process that I questioned if the AUDIT command actually did anything, or if it was simply a random number generator. Sometimes the number of errors went down, sometimes it went up, apparently the AUDIT command had become a mood indicator for Civil 3D. Long story short, this problem had The CAD Geek stumped (it happens from time-to-time).
Pressures mounting, I called some friends from both Autodesk and my reseller Avatech. I really have to give it to the folks at Avatech and Autodesk Subscription Support. Their combined insight and expertise made this a support ticket with a happy ending. Just how did we end up solving this problem?
The blogosphere has been talking about it for a while now, but until today, you haven’t been able to get AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010. I just checked the Subscription Center and found a very welcome addition to the Product Downloads section. That’s right, anyone on Autodesk Subscription for AutoCAD Civil 3D can download the 2010 release starting today!
Ever since Microsoft launched Office 2007 the trend has undoubtedly shifted from the traditional interface employing menus and toolbars, to the “new and improved” ribbon. Users of vanilla AutoCAD got ribbonized with last year’s 2009 release. While a classic workspace was still shipped with the product, the ribbon was an integral part of the default workspace. On the other hand, Civil 3D users got a stay of ribbonization in the 2009 release, but 2010 is a whole different story. You guessed it; the 2010 release of AutoCAD Civil 3D has been ribbonized!
Many of you have probably launched “AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 as AutoCAD” at least once since installing it. Under that configuration, you got the full ribbon experience! If you were like me, you took a look at it, thought eh’ that is cool, and proceeded to change back to the AutoCAD Classic workspace. Here’s the deal, the ribbon in 2009 was cool, but not overly useful (in my own opinion). I personally felt Autodesk ribbonized AutoCAD just so they could be like every other software manufacturer, following in the footsteps of Microsoft. To be fair, I can certainly see how the Ribbon might help someone first learning AutoCAD.
While importing surface data from Google Earth is probably the easiest way to get some conceptual topographical data into your drawings, DEM’s have to be a close second. For the uninitiated, DEM’s or Digital Elevation Models could be described as a surface whose data is organized in a grid. This is fundamentally different than DTM’s (standard Civil 3D surface) which still stores a collection of points, but in the form of triangles not a structured grid. The great thing about DEM’s is they’re readily available for FREE from a wonderful website named the Geo Community. Now don’t be fooled when you visit the site as you will see all sorts of premium content; never fear as there’s ample data that can be had for free!
The first week of March 2009 has proven to be rather eventful. On Sunday/Monday Richmond, VA saw it’s first real snow since 2005. Geeks got to celebrate square root day for the first time since 2/2/04 on Tuesday (3/3/09). As if each of those weren’t noteworthy in their own right, Autodesk posted two new Civil 3D customer success stories on their website. Among the customers …
This is a bit of an oldie, but goodie. Civil 3D Pipe Label Styles can give me the Invert In or the Invert Out of a pipe, but not the invert between point a and point b. That limitation is never really an issue until you go to label the invert of a crossing pipe. If you’re like me the first time I encountered this …
When compared to Land Desktop’s View/Edit Sections command, Civil 3D has always been the winner. Still it was easy to get lost modifying your corridor. Did I need to modify station 13+25.17 or 13+25? Prior to Civil 3D 2009 I always found myself flip-flopping between plan view and the View/Edit Corridor Section command. Civil 3D 2009 introduces some secret superpowers to the View/Edit Corridor Section command.
You may have to dust off your AutoCAD for DOS manual (from the bygone era when Autodesk gave us printed manuals) to remember the VIEWPORTS command. For the uninitiated, no I am not speaking of paper space viewports, I’m talking about model space viewports. Simply stated the VIEWPORTS command will split your model space view into a designated number of windows.