Thursday, December 30, 2004

See What You Want

I am now more frequently using the Isolate/Hide objects capability in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 (it can also be found in Autodesk Land Desktop 2005). This allows you to Isolate objects or Hide objects independent of their layers.

One way to use these commands is to:

1. Select the object(s) you wish to Hide or Isolate.
2. Right-click, and click Isolate Objects > then choose either "Hide Selected Objects" or "Isolate Selected Objects".

To end the Hide or Isolation:
1. Right-click, and click Isolate Objects > "End Object Isolation"

A small light bulb in the drawing window status bar (lower right hand corner) indicates whether any object(s) are currently Isolated or Hidden.
Yellow means NO object(s) are Isolated/Hidden.
Red means object(s) ARE Isolated/Hidden.

Right-click on the light bulb also gives you these options.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Parcel Labels Part II

I used to believe that in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 it was only possible to change the area labels of parcels one at a time. What that means is that if I labeled many lots and then created a new label style, I would only be able to change the labels one at a time to the new style.

Well, after some clues found in the Discussion Groups I found that if I selected multiple lots in the Toolspace then Right-Clicked on the column that I wished to change, i.e. "Area Label Style", I could then choose "Edit..." This would bring up the "Select Label Style" dialog box. When a style is selected and the "OK" button is pressed, that style would be assigned to ALL of the selected Parcels.

This removes one item from my wishlist.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Corridor Boundaries

In Autodesk Civil 3D 2005, corridor boundaries can be very useful for defining and displaying corridor surfaces.

The most important part is to define it properly. The trick is to pick each segment in the direction that you want them to connect.

Once a boundary is defined it is very useful to ask the software to verify that you defined a valid boundary. The software can also draw the boundary as it is defined on the screen. This can assist in reordering the segments or reversing their direction in order to make a valid boundary.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Now You See It. Now You Don't.

I learned something very useful from the Autodesk Civil 3D Discussion Group. It had to do with turning off any particular label.

Specifically, Someone asked how to turn off an alignment station label that he did not want to see at the end of an alignment. I posted a much more round about process. But, Scott McEachron of DC CADD Company (Dallas) answered.

Pick the label > Right Click > Label Properties > Set Visibility to "False".

I found this to be a quick process.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tell Me All The Dirt

When it comes to doing earthwork volume calculations Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 makes the entire process very streamlined.

The process boils down to initiating the "ReportSurfaceVolume" command, from one of the various methods, then telling the software I wish to do a new calculation. Lastly, I select the two surfaces that I wish to compare. The Panarama window instantly provides the results. These results include the "Cut", "Fill", and "Net".

The software uses the composite method for the calculations. Civil 3D Help explains this method as "...using the points from both surfaces, as well as any location where the triangle edges between the two surfaces cross. The new composite surface elevations are calculated based on the difference between the elevations of the two surfaces."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Parcel Labels

Of the many labels for parcels that come with Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 there are two very interesting ones.

The first uses a block (_Wipeout_Circle) which contains a wipeout. It is a parcel label style called "Iron Pipe Node Label". When this label is used, the label places the block at the endpoints of a parcel line. The block "hides" the area beneath it. The benefit of this label is that when parcel lines are labeled with length the label displays the actual entire length of the line (not the shortened visible length).

The second interesting label for parcels, is any label style that has the "Span outside segments" set to true. This label can apply a single label with an overall length to segments that run along the outside edge of multiple parcels.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Make Your Point

On August 24th, I mentioned some methods for creating points in Civil 3D 2004. The methods for point creation have been expanded in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005. The enhancements, as mentioned in help, include:

New point creation commands.
Redesigned Create Points dialog box for better consistency with Autodesk Civil 3D user interface.
XDREF functionality (override an attribute of a point with information stored in an external database).
Enhancements to Description Key dialog box to ease use of scaling parameters.
Enhancements to the geodetic calculator, including the ability to select an X,Y coordinate, and integration into the Prospector tab.
Enhancements in the selection of points and point groups in the AutoCAD Object Properties window.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Civil 3D Disscusion Group

A very important resource for information is the Autodesk Civil 3D Discussion Group.

Users can post questions and receive answers for topics related to Civil 3D. The discussions found here can very very insightful and enlightening.

Click here to connect via you internet browser.

Click here to choose newsreader access.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

AU Day 2

Lots of classes about Civil 3D. I learned several little things that will make a big difference. Several things were clarified. I will be passing this info along shortly.

I have met several Autodesk employees I had not met before.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

AU 2004

I am attending Autodesk University for the first time. I have had a very good time learning new things about Civil 3D 2005.

The most interesting thing I saw today was a side-by-side competition between Land Desktop and Civil 3D. For creating Alignments and Parcels Civil 3D won easily. But, when it came to editing Alignments and Parcels Civil 3D was far and away easier and quicker. It was not even close.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Most Fridays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am (Pacific Time) Autodesk holds free Webcasts that highlight features and offer tips and tricks for Autodesk Civil 3D 2005.

This Link (click here) not only allows you to view the webcasts (You must phone in US Toll free to 888-593-9101 to hear the audio), but you can also view previous recorded sessions.

These sessions can be valuable at demonstating the product's current capabilities.

I will be at Autodesk University. I hope to post a report on Monday, December 6th.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Labels exhibit several very interesting characteristics in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005.
1.) All text related to objects can update in size when the drawing scale changes.
2.) They can be set to world orientation or view orientation.
3.) Bias controls at which angle they flip. Unlike LDt they can flip at a user specified angle, i.e. 110 degrees, instead of only at just past 90 degrees.

When viewed through a viewport...
1.) Labels can appear horizontal in different views, even though those views have different orientations.
2.) Labels can appear the same height in different views, even though those views have a different zoom scale factor.

The ramifications of these two last capabilities is a user only creates one set of labels. But, those labels will appear correctly in drawings with different scales and orientations.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

By Style or By Layer? That is the Question.

When creating a new drawing in Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 we must first make a decision as to how we will control the appearance of the objects, and the components, that we will be creating. The software uses two method to accomplish this.

The first method is referred to as "By Style". This method controls the appearance of an object by a style that is assigned to that object. The style sets for the object and it's components how they will appear. The layer of the object does not play a role in it's appearance. This method overrides any layer properties for the object.

The second method is referred to as "By Layer" This method assigns the components of an object to specific layers. The properties of these layers i.e. color, linetype, etc. control the appearance of the objects. This method is similar to how most AutoCAD users have traditionally controlled the appearance of objects. This method also allows for the control of the component's appearance when it is xref'ed.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Subassemblies Part IV

I had mentioned before that Subassemblies can be thought of as Lego pieces that can be snapped together in order to create an Assembly. If I remove an interior segment of an Assembly all of the segments outside of that one, snap inwardly to fill the void left by the removed segment. This makes working with Subassemblies and Assemblies very easy, and forgiving.

Perhaps a more interesting fact is that Assemblies can exist in drawings for the intention of inserting the drawing and having the Assemblies ready for use.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Subassemblies Part III

Although there are many different Subassemblies Catalogs that ship with Civil 3D, the "Generic Subassembly Catalog" provides some of the more intriguing segments.

These segments can be used to create a wide assortment of custom links and shapes that are not provided "in the box". Links like "LinkOffsetAndElevation" which is described as a general purpose link, that can be tied to an alignment and a profile, give tremendous flexibility in addressing challenging design issues.

There are 11 different generic segments which should be able to address most needs.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Subassemblies Part II

One of the more interesting facts about Subassemblies is that the Properties Palette is used to set the different values for the subassemblies. Items such as the roadway width, pavement depth, sidewalk width, and grading slopes are all set via the Properties Palette.

If the user must adjust the Subassembly that is used in an Assembly they simply pick on the component withing the Assembly and change the values in the Properties Palette.

Because of the dynamic nature of Civil 3D such changes can immediately update the Assembly and the Corridors that the Assembly is used in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Many Subassemblies are provided "in the box" with Civil 3D 2005. They consist of several different types of roadway segments that can be snapped together, similar to lego pieces, to create a roadway cross-section.

The different types of segments include:

Medians - Primarily for divided highways
Lanes - Used for driving surfaces
Urban - These include different curb, gutter, and sidewalk types
Shoulders - For paved shoulders
Daylight - Many daylighting scenario segments
Generic - Many multipurpose links
Rehab - For Overlay sections with Milling or Leveling options
Bridge and Rail - For bridge or rail visualizations

Subassemblies have built in logic that tells them how to react, and what to connect to, under different conditions.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Yesterday, I mentioned that Corridors are made from Alignments, Profiles, and Assemblies. So what are Assemblies?

Assemblies are a collections of Subassemblies (i.e. Sidewalk, Curb & Gutter) that are placed together to form a roadway cross-section. Civil 3D comes with many stock Sub-Assemblies to use.

Because of Civil 3D 2005's dynamic nature, even after Corridors have been built changes to an Assembly can cause the Corridor it is referenced by to update automatically.

Assemblies are applied at user specified intervals along an alignment and they connect to the next Assembly along that alignment. The image used yesterday shows the embedded Assemblies in the Corridor

Monday, November 15, 2004


Without question the best new ability in Civil 3D 2005 is the addition of Corridors. This is an "easy to use" way to create a 3D Road Model.

At the bare minimum all a user needs is an Alignment, a Profile, and an Assembly. Together these items are used to create the Corridor.

Corridors can be used to address in a few steps what used to take many in Land Desktop (LDt). The Dynamic nature of Civil 3D also allows lightning fast adjustments to data as compared to LDt.

Corridors can also be used to address design challenges that were very difficult in LDt such as Cul-de-sac's, Knuckles, and Intersections. See the image above.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

NEW! Civil 3D 2005

Today Autodesk announced Civil 3D 2005. Based on AutoCAD 2005, this new product extends the dynamic relationships found in Civil 3D to include Road/Corridor Design & Modeling. Enhanced grading allows many grading objects to combine into a single grading group.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Point It Out

Autodesk Civil 3D can create points by the following methods:

By an Alignment-
-at PC, PT, SC, Etc.
-Divide an alignment
-Mesaure an alignment
-Radial or Perpendicular
By a Surface
-Along Contours
-On Grid
-At Contours Vertices
-Random Points
By Importing a File
-Various combinations of PNEZD
By Miscellaneous
-Various manual placement commands

Monday, August 23, 2004

Dynamic Updates

Without question among the most compelling characteristics of Autodesk Civil 3D are the dynamic relationships.

Examples of this behavior are changes that occur to points automatically causing changes to surfaces built from the points, causing changes to contours based on the surfaces, and causing changes to profiles sampled from surfaces along alignments. Another example would be when an alignment is modified (this can occur by simply drag and drop), Stationing can be automatically updated and profiles would resample at the new location of the alignment.

The new processes eliminate the need for users to have to manually run the steps to make sure changes to one type of data are reflected in other data. This also eliminates the possiblilty of using out of date data.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Do It With Style

One of the most important aspects to Autodesk Civil 3D is the concept of styles. Styles control the appearance of "Objects". At a later point I will list all of the Civil 3D "Objects". There are many.

All a user has to do to change the appearance of an object is change the style applied to the object. For instance, a Point Object's appearance is controlled by two styles. The first style applies to the point marker. The second applies to the point label (the text). Changing one or both changes what it looks like.

Styles can be applied to points in various ways. Default styles will apply to all points at the moment of creation. Styles can be applied to a point group. Styles can be applied to individual points. This gives the user tremendous flexibility for controlling the appearance of points.

So, one of the more important goals in using Autodesk Civil 3D is to learn how to create, manage, and use styles for the various "Objects" within the program.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

What Does It Do?

Specifically Autodesk Civil 3D can do the following:

Data Management and Sharing-
-Import directly from Autodesk Land Desktop 2004 Project Data
-Import/Export via LandXML 1.0
-Create points
-Point Groups
-Description Keys
Terrain Modeling-
-Create Surfaces
-Visualize Surfaces
-Analyze Surfaces
-Create Parcels
-Create Alignments
-Generate Profiles
-Generate Sections
-Create Grading Objects

What it cannot do yet:

Road Sections-

No Survey Module-

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What is it?

Here is the official word about Civil 3D:

Autodesk® Civil 3D™ 2004 is the only civil engineering tool that creates intelligent relationships between objects so design changes are dynamically updated. The enhanced 3D interaction gives the user more design flexibility by making it easy to run and visualize what-if scenarios and to correct errors on-the-fly.

Note that the product is officially a preview release. This means it is not fully intended to be used for production yet. The intention is that user learn the new processes and begin creating styles for future production use.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I hope to be able to provide information and news regarding Autodesk Civil 3D.