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Empowering Design Professionals

The CAD Geek is your source for free AutoCAD and Civil 3D tutorials, CAD/BIM Management best practices, and the latest industry news.

CAD Geek Interview: Streamlining Decision Making with Civil 3D and InfraWorks

On July 22, 2015 I joined DLT Solutions with my company (CADD Microsystems) and Lynn Allen for an event specifically tailored to the challenges faced by government customers. During the event, I shared a presentation on InfraWorks that demonstrated ways it could be applied as a planning and preliminary design tool very early in the project cycle. During that presentation, I identified the phrase “Just Imagine” as the two most toxic words teams could use to describe their designs.

Why do I feel “just imagine” are the two most toxic words of design?

Put simply imagination is a thing with infinite possibilities, whereas your project will only be built one of those ways. Describing your project with the term “just imagine” is like playing stakeholder roulette; there’s a chance your imagination matches theirs, but odds are your imagined solution and theirs are two entirely different things.

My presentation at the DLT event focused on this very point, and how InfraWorks can be used as a tool to communicate designs to stakeholders in lieu of imagining designs with stakeholders. After the event, I had chatted with the team from DLT on what all of this means for public-sector design teams in the video interview above.

AutoCAD Light Interface

Brighten up AutoCAD with a Lighter Color Scheme

Customization has long been among AutoCAD’s core strengths. Even as changes are made to the program it’s typically always possible to tailor the interface to your liking. One recent change that some users love, and others could do without is the graphite interface. Those who enjoy the graphite interface cite the reduced eye strain, whereas others seem to prefer the contrast of the former (lighter) interface.

Whilst I don’t have a strong preference either way, I have found the light interface to work a little better for me when presenting to an audience with a projector. Given the number of presentations I do for my job at CADD Microsystems, it likely goes without saying I typically change the AutoCAD interface to its former – lighter interface. Watch the video above to learn how to make this change on your own system.

Applying Child Dimension Styles: A Geek and a dimension is born

JacksonWrapping up my sixth edition of AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required; few things can top the excitement of sharing months of hard work that, as an author, I sincerely hope will help others get a footing in the industry – much as I did many years ago. I emphasize few things can top that excitement because Shaan Hurley, longtime friend and Between The Lines blogger, recently spotlighted one of those moments that even exceed the definition of excitement. My wife and I just celebrated the 1-month birthday of our first child, a baby boy, that we chose to name Jackson. Joining in the festivities (and the subject of Shaan’s blog post) was the outfit my company, CADD Microsystems, had made for our little guy. The outfit that set off an incredibly geeky Facebook thread simply reads “Latest Autodesk Product.” Needless to say, my wife and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Jackson into our lives, and I certainly can’t wait until the day I get to begin teaching him about design.

In the spirit of children, I thought I’d share a quick tip on creating and using Child Dimension Styles. If you’re not familiar with the concept, Child Dimension Styles are an absolute necessity when you need to change the appearance for different types of dimensions. As an example, many architectural plans use Architectural Ticks for linear dimensions, but an Arrow may be more appropriate for Radius dimensions. In lieu of creating a different style for Linear and Radius dimensions, Child Dimension Styles can capture both dimension types into a single (centrally managed) dimension style. Have a look at the video to learn how.