If you’ve been keeping up with the blogs, you’ve probably already read your share about parametric constraints/drafting, contextual ribbon, 3D modeling, and the like. Not to say those topics aren’t appreciated additions to AutoCAD, but to me sometimes the little things make all the difference in the world. If my memory serves me correctly AutoCAD 2006 brought us the JOIN command. Sure I used to have a LISP command that would join two objects together, but there’s one thing all AutoCAD commands have that LISP commands don’t – support!
I just recently returned home from San Francisco, CA where I was privileged enough to join some of the most popular AutoCAD bloggers in the blogosphere for the AutoCAD 2010 release event in San Francisco. Although we stayed incredibly busy throughout the day Thursday, I must say I really did have a great time at the event. It’s always a golden opportunity when you get to have meaningful chats with the people who manage and develop AutoCAD.
Aside from a few odds and ends, I have finished packing & am incredibly excited to be travelling to San Francisco, CA. Tomorrow (Thursday 2/5/09) I will join some of the most esteemed bloggers in the AutoCAD blogosphere for a Special Event being hosted by Autodesk. From what I hear just the Autodesk Gallery at One Market venue is a destination in and of itself. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s all the fun to be had at the event itself.
As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been much activity here on The CAD Geek since AU. The reason for that is quite simply I have been on vacation since December 13. Today however was the end of my three-week break from the office, and gasp; AutoCAD. As much as I love to play with and explore the depths of AutoCAD, I must say my vacation was a much needed break from CAD.
But now that I have returned to the office and the holidays are behind us, I shall also return to this, my humble corner of the blogosphere. I must admit, after taking a 3-week break from AutoCAD it was hard to think up a blog topic, but I remembered a post from August titled “Dynamically Aligning Your Blocks”. It was with that post I realized how few posts I had about the most versatile Dynamic Blocks.
It’s a fundamental law of AutoCAD Blocks, blocks shall have an insertion point. And frankly, this is a good thing. Sure, AutoCAD needs to know this location so it can remember where you placed the block, but face it – you need this insertion point too. When drawing blocks we’re taught to place this insertion point in a meaningful location. Maybe it’s the face of a curb in a civil plan, or a wall in an architectural plan.
So at this point I’m actually sitting in JFK International Airport waiting for my connecting flight. Shouldn’t be too much longer, but while I was here I figured I’d get caught up on my AU blogging. AU 2008 seemed to absolutely fly by (no pun intended as I am sitting in an airport). I’m sure part of that was greatly due to my schedule of assisting 3 labs, presenting 1 class, and spending what time I could helping AUGI. Nonetheless, Thursday was my big day at AU. As I have mentioned a few times before, I was invited to speak for the first time at AU this year. My class for those just tuning in was Power to the Parcel, a class covering parcel design within AutoCAD Civil 3D.
I have to admit, I have never been much of a morning person, so frankly my biggest fear of presenting at 8:00am Thursday was oversleeping. Despite staying up a little later than I probably should have Wednesday evening rehearsing my class, I did manage to make it to my class on time. While I made it to class on time I was not able to make it through my class without any technical glitches. Despite everything working perfectly during my rehearsals, my last topic (parcel reports) bombed. Parcel reports being my last topic, it was an absolute nightmare that I had to end my class on a low. Thankfully however, everyone seems to have forgiven me for the technical glitch, and have given me positive reviews. With that, hopefully they’ll have me back as a speaker again next year.
As exhibited by my lack of a dedicated AU Day 2 post, it goes without saying my Wednesday was pretty busy. I’ve heard many say every AU they attend becomes busier than the previous; a statement I can personally attest to. Nonetheless, I got my Tuesday started as a Lab Assistant; this time it was for John Beltran’s Hands-on Introduction to Dynamic Blocks. Even as a Lab Assistant I found the class most enjoyable, picking up a few pointers I didn’t previously know about along the way.
After helping out with John’s lab, I was able to be an attendee for the rest of the day, well most of it at least. Among the sessions I attended was the one casual class I registered for; The Making of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. No the class had absolutely nothing to do with Civil 3D, or anything else I personally do with Autodesk products, but it was incredibly neat to get a behind the scenes look at how the movie was made. As I recall they had datasets of some 140+ GB for each scene. Somehow I don’t think I should attempt such a dataset with Civil 3D.
Today marked the official start to Autodesk University 2008, and boy what a busy day! For me my morning got started being a lab assistant for Andrew Hill of AEC Systems in Australia. In that class he presented his “Project-Based Title Blocks using Fields, Attributes, and References”. Andrew certainly had a lot packed into his class, but I must say it was all very awesome content. Looking to the stats of this blog, among my most popular posts of all time is Update Block Attributes Using Excel. If you’re an AUOL member be sure to find Andrew’s class and download it’s content. Among the goodies in his dataset is a LISP which updates attributes using Excel.
After my morning wakeup lab, it was off to the AUGI Volunteer Meet & Greet. Since my lab conflicted with the event, I barely made it in time, but made it nonetheless. Seems like there was a good showing of volunteers, which is always a good thing. After all, without volunteers like you AUGI cannot be the organization it has become today!
So Autodesk University 2008 doesn’t officially get started until tomorrow (Tuesday). That small detail didn’t get in the way of some very cool sessions and gatherings from being hosted. For me my day got started at the Richmond International Airport, for a quick flight to New York (JFK). My layover was only supposed to be long enough for me to get from one gate to another, but as “luck” would have it – my flight from JFK to Las Vegas was delayed for about an hour. Better late than never, I finally made it to The Venetian (host hotel for AU 2008) just in time for the AUGI Community Leadership Conference.
Back in May I happened to mention Mindjet’s MindManager product in a post titled Some Nifty Tools. Back then I was relatively new to the product, but it has quickly become an indispensible part of my daily workflow. These days I use MindManager for everything from mapping (planning) out my day, planning and documenting my Civil 3D projects (data shortcuts), even down to documenting my Civil 3D Style library.
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.