Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What are Workspaces?

The Autodesk 2006 family of products, including Civil 3D 2006, have a new way to manage how the program looks and how we change the appearance and location of things like toolbars.

Workspaces control MENUS, TOOLBARS, and DOCKABLE WINDOWS. They can more easily manage task-oriented configurations than the profiles that we may have used in previous versions to accomplish the same thing.

We can now configure the visibility and location of the toolbars for when we do a specific activity like Annotation/Dimensioning and then save a "Workspace". When we need to insert blocks we may configure the screen differently and then save another "Workspace".

The Workspace Pulldown on the Workspace Toolbar allows us to reconfigure the screen on the fly. This is more efficient than the "Profiles" method that we may have used before because we do not manage directories, settings, and other values with Workspaces.

Lastly, Workspaces are a part of the Customize User Interface (CUI) that I mentioned on the 17th of this month. It will be much easier to migrate and manage these from now on.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What Are Data Shortcut?

Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 is using a new procedure called a "Data Shortcut" to allow for the collaboration/sharing of Surfaces, Alignments, and Profiles.

Autodesk refers to a shortcut producer as the person who has a source object's drawing open, and then creates the shortcut. The shortcut consumer is the person who uses the shortcut to create a read-only lightweight reference to the source object. This process still allows the consumer to apply local object styles, annotation, limited analysis, and access to the objects properties.

The Autodesk Civil 3D webcast on Friday April 1 will be focused on this capability.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Styles Galore

I just did a tally of the styles in Autodesk Civil 3D 2006. I now counted a total of 83 styles. This is up from the 76 I counted in the 2005 version of the software.

The seven new styles are three Code Label Styles (Marker, Link, and Shape) and four that pertain to pipes and structures. They are Pipes Styles, Pipe Label Styles, Structure Styles and Structure Label Styles.

The first three new styles allow us to now control the display characteristics of Markers, Links, and Shapes in a Code Set. Then we can apply the Code Set to Subassemblies, Assemblies, Corridors, and Section Views.

The other four control the appearance of Pipes and their Labels, and Structures and their Labels.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Civil 3D Webcast

The attendance for the today's Autodesk Civil 3D Webcast was noticably higher than usual. At one point there was over 200 attendees. Clearly, there were many of us who were eager to see Autodesk introduce Civil 3D 2006.

As a quick recap for those who missed it there were three primary focuses of the demonstration portion of the webcast.

1. Multi-User Access to Data
2. Corridor Modeling Enhancements
3. Pipe Networks (NEW)

If you did miss the webcast check the link above periodically to see when today's webcast will be posted for viewing.

Based on the questions that can be submitted via Live Meeting. The response to the product was quite good. I likewise, was very pleased by what I saw.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Migrating Customization to 2006

Autodesk is making it easier for many users to migrate their customized tools to a 2006 based version of their software.

Firstly, during installation there is an new automated tool that can read existing customized menus and toolbars and transfers them to the new 2006 installation.

Secondly, the Customization User Interface (CUI) is an XML based file that will keep track of the customized user interface elements. This is a single interface that manages all of the following:

Short Cut Menus
Workspaces (NEW ITEM)
Keyboard Shortcuts
Mouse Buttons
Lisp Files
adds tooltips
adds descriptive text on the stauts line.

There are both MAIN CUI files which are editable per user and ENTERPRISE CUI files, which will be read-only and typically controlled by a CAD Manager, that are available to all in a shared fashion.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Civil 3D 2006 Drawing Format

I have been asked several times '...has the dwg file format changed for 2006?"

No, all of Autodesk's 2006 based products maintain the 2004 file format. This means that there is no need to save to a previous version in order to open the drawing in 2004 or 2005 based products.

By the way, All custom routines and third party applications that worked on 2004 and 2005 will also work on 2006.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Official Introduction Webcast

Autodesk's official introdution for Civil 3D 2006 will be on the Civil 3D webcast of Friday March 18th, from 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. PST.

The title above links you to the site for log on and call in information.

I know I'll be there.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

NEW! Civil 3D 2006

In the coming days, and weeks, I along with many others will begin providing information about the soon to be released Autodesk Civil 3D 2006. This product incorporates all of the improvements of AutoCAD 2006, and Map 2006 (and there are many). Civil 3D 2006 also contains new features and enhancements of many existing features.

Today, I will briefly mention a few topics that I will expand upon in the near future.

Improvements were added to just about every section of the software such as, Points, Surfaces, Sites, Parcels, Alignments, Corridors, Profiles, Profile Views, LandXML Import/Export, and the API (specifics are forth coming).

Brand new features include Pipes and Structures, and Multi-Drawing Access to: Surfaces, Alignments, and Profiles (again, specifics will be forth coming)

I look forward to learning about Civil 3D 2006 and sharing the information with all that are interested.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Map Cleans Up

The Map Drawing Clean-up Tools have proven their value long ago. If you are not familiar with them, you should look into what they can do. Such as:

Delete Duplicates
Erase Short Objects
Break Crossing Objects
Extend Undershoots (lines that end short of a crossing object)
Apparent Intersection
Snap Clustered Nodes (snaps endpoints together)
Dissolve Pseudo-Node (similar to Pedit > Join)
Erase Dangling Objects (deletes objects that are connected at only one end)
Simplify Objects (2D weeding of polylines)
Zero-Length Objects
Weed Polylines (adding and removing vertices of 3D polylines)

The real strength in these tools is the ability to act upon selected objects or the entire drawing at once. It is possible to either mark what needs to be fixed or have the software automatically fix them.

Most of the above cleanup actions also use a built-in user definable tolerance value in order to additionally specify which objects to adjust and by how much.

These tools are well worth the investment to learn.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Undocumented Command

Nowhere in the Civil 3D Help system is there reference to the AECLINEWORKSHRINKWRAP command. This command is present in Land Desktop and is described in Land Desktop Help. You can use it in Civil 3D 2005.

To use it enter AECLINEWORKSHRINKWRAP at the command line. It then prompts you to "Select object(s) to generate shrinkwrap from:". Select object(s) and press Enter. A new Polyline will be created on the current layer from the silhouette/outline of the selected objects.

The command can also be entered after you have selected objects in Noun/Verb mode.

Monday, March 07, 2005

AutoCAD 2006 Sneak Peeks

For everyone interested in finding out about Autodesk's 2006 products now is a very interesting time. There has now been quite a bit written by people in the Beta programs that also Blog.

Autodesk has given them special permission to provide their impressions of AutoCAD 2006 on their Blogs.

If you click on Shann Hurley's or Lynn Allen's blogs in the links below and to the left you can start to find out what is being introduced and improved.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


In Civil 3D there is no reference in "Help" anywhere to a command that is found when you select something(s) and right-click to bring up a shortcut menu. At the bottom of the pop-up menu you will see "Select Similar". The SELECTSIMILAR command, which can also be entered at the command line, will select/highlight all objects that are the same as the one(s) you have selected. I have found this to be a very easy way to select all objects of a particular type.

By the way, this same command can be found in Land Desktop 2005.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Speaking of Stepping Forward

Do not forget that Civil 3D 2005, like all of the 2005 products, has the ability to control the the display order of hatch patterns as they are created. You can choose between:

Do not assign
Send to back
Bring to front
Send behind boundary (this is the Default)
Bring in front of boundary

After they are created it is also possible to control display order with the enhanced HATCHEDIT command. You can choose between:

Do not change
Send to back
Bring to front
Send behind boundary
Bring in front of boundary