Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WisDOT Template-in-Progress

Lots of my users have been asking about the WisDOT draft Civil 3D template. My friends at the DOT have given me the green light to post the link to the FTP site where the template-in-progress can be found.

Keep in mind that this is NOT the final cut and that they are posting updates every month or so.
I'm told the final cut should be available in fall 2009.


Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick, Non-technical Update

As the Holiday season approaches I am spending more free time making Yule logs and wrapping presents than blogging - so I apologise to my adoring, somewhat neglected following.

I've got my hands elbow deep inside a Map 3D implementation project and I've been ramping up to be the next Revit Architecture guru at my company. Oh! I've always wanted to make a family!

Dare I say I'm Tuckered out?

So just a few shout-outs to keep the hits up:
Ladd Nelson of Carlson Software - it was AWESOME to see you last weekend. I could really use another margarita.

Anne Gerriets of Eagle Point - break a leg sista' and I don't mean on the Iowa ice!

Peace and love to everyone else. I'm planning on posting a real post before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back to Basics: Panning, Zooming and Selecting Stuff

This week I conducted a class in which one of my students did not want to use the middle mouse wheel to pan and zoom. She wasn't using Autocad with MBUTTONPAN set to 0, she just was used to right-clicking all the time to get there. I gave up trying to coax her into using the middle mouse wheel when she said, "..But all that panning and zooming makes me seasick!"

The problem arose when creating Civil 3D objects - many of the Civil 3D commands treat any right-click as ENTER. When we were creating Profiles by Layout, for example, she would try to pan over and set a PVI, but her right-click kicked her out of the layout tools. Watching her use the scrollbars to pan thereafter was nothing short of painful.

So, in short:
  • Roll forward to zoom in.
  • Roll Back to zoom out.
  • Wherever your cursor happens to be is where Autocad is aiming for the center of your view to be.
  • Double-click the mouse wheel as if it were a button for zoom-extents.
  • Push and hold the mouse for panning.
A little Dramamine and you're production speed will double!

Selecting Sh*t:

I'm always surprised at how many people still don't know this after years of CAD work.
By default Autocad (and by association, Civil 3D) you are in a selection mode if you are not in a command. (If you came from Microstation, this fact is a hard one to get used to).

A Left to Right crossing window only selects items that are completely inside the selection window.

A Right to Left crossing window selects items that are inside the selection window as well as items that touch the dashed line.
And that's just outside of a command.
Now, let's say you are in a command. Let's take the Civil 3D command Delete Lines iinside the surface editing tools, for example. At the Select Edges: prompt, type F for fence, then enter. You now are in fence mode and can click around to make a temporary line. Anything that touches this line becomes selected. Hit enter when you are done creating the fence and you can keep selecting or hit enter again to continue deleting triangle legs.

Lastly, don't be shy about using the SHIFT+SPACEBAR trick to select objects that are on top of each other. This happens all the time in Civil 3D. You have alignments under corridors, surfaces coinciding with grading objects and featurelines everywhere in between. Hover over an object until it "lights up" without clicking. If that is not the object you were aiming for, hold down the SHIFT key, then thumb the spacebar at the same time. When the object you want "lights up," click it. This is a heck of a lot faster than flipping around the Draw Order.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In Honor of Jame's AU Presentation

Did you see James Wedding's presentation today at AU?

You should have - and this is what I think of him...

Back to Basics: Changing Your Background Color

Let me save you some time if you're a long time user of AutoCAD - browse away and come back later.

If you are a new-ish user of CAD, the following may be of interest to you.

The following instructions will work for any AutoCAD-based product pretty much any version you may have running. (Unless you are, like, in v11 DOS or some shiat)

Here are the instructions as far as changing the background color in AutoCAD:

1) Type OPTIONS at the CAD command line (or right-click anywhere on the screen and select Options from the menu).

2) Go to the Display Tab.
3) Click the Colors button.

4) Click the color pull-down and select black.

5) Click Apply and Close.
6)Last click OK to the Options box.

AutoCAD will stay this way from now on. Now if you are interested in more nitty-gritty, keep reading.

The colors and everything else inside the Options dialog box are stored in your Profile. By default, Civil 3D loads with "Unnamed Profile" and all your changes get saved there. If you like your settings and want to save yourself some time if you ever need to reinstall, you can export your Profile out to an ARG file.

I feel I've gone too far. One of these days I'll do a more detailed post on Profiles vs CUI's but for now we'll keep it simple.