Friday, March 20, 2009

Map 2010 Available for Download for Subscription Customers!

Yet another reason being on subscription RULES! 64-bit and 32 bit versions are both available.

And for all you base ACAD users...2010 is out there too.
When you log into subscription, click on "Download your product software"

If you can't log into subscription center, contact your Autodesk reseller NOW.

...Civil 3D 2010 should be up there any day now.

OSNAPZ, eTransmit and a Few Shout Outs

If I ever quit my day job to become a rapper, my stage name shall be OSNAPZ. Besides being a fly gangsta' name, OSNAPZ is an AutoCAD variable which determines whether or not Z is included when using object snaps. When the OSNAPZ variable is set to 0 (default) Z is picked up with object snaps. This can be problematic when placing pipe networks in a Civil 3D drawing, since usually you want Z to come from a surface. It also affects 3D Polylines and Feature Line creation. Setting OSNAPZ to 1 will tell AutoCAD to ignore the elevation of the object you are snapping to. It will use the XY location, but Z will be your active CAD elevation (which 99.999% of the time = 0) or in the case of placing pipe networks - it allows Civil 3D to use the surface for the rim elevation of structures.

eTransmit is a beautiful, beautiful command that is shockingly underutilized.

Say I have a Civil 3D drawing that I want to send to a colleague or a tech support person, and I want that person to see exactly what I see.

eTransmit picks up the drawing, XREFS, attached raster images, color tables and data shortcuts to package up in a neat little zip file. You can even create a transmittal that will automatically explode and save down the civil drawings to an older base AutoCAD format.

In Civil 3D 2009 go to File > eTransmit. In Civil 3D 2010 go to menu browser Send >

Finally, the shout outs: Dan H., Tod H., Scott "Scooter" C., Nicky, and Kent K. of Eagle Point. It was awesome seeing you last weekend. Let's get together for some dirty Irish dancing again soon!

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Autodesk Labs is a website where end users can see what's cooking in Autodesk development. Many of the cool/fun/weird things you'll find in Autodesk Labs ultimately get incorporated into existing products (such as Google Earth extension) while others end up as stand alone tools.

Project Freewheel is a way to view DWF files from your web browser - there's even a mobile version.

With the ShareNOW plug-in for AutoCAD (and Civil 3d!) you get a button in CAD that will publish your DWF, upload it to the Freewheel website and launch your project in your browser in one fell swoop. Damn, those Labs guys are good.

The attached Freewheel screen is from my good friend Dave K. who is CAD manager with RFC Engineering:

Feel free to explore and view his DWF with Freewheel. Zoom and pan just like Design review.

Thanks big D!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Civil Webcasts

Forget HuLu...this link is takes us to the Autodesk recorded webcasts.

Bookmark it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Visualizing Civil Projects

For years architects and artists have teamed up to help their clients understand how the building they are designing will look upon completion. Civil projects often impact more people yet rarely do engineers or designers utilize visualization tools to convey the final aesthetic.

My good friend and colleague Steve Gabriel and I recently had the opportunity to share our work flow for getting Civil 3D data into 3Ds Max. We presented this video and our experiences at the annual WLIA conference.

First I started out on the Civil 3D side of things. I had existing contours for my site, a design alignment and an assembly (or typical cross-section). At first I thought LandXML was the way to go to export data into 3DsMax - however, when Steve imported the LandXML, file the final surface looked "choppy." Instead, we opted to export the Civil 3D contours as AutoCAD polylines at elevation. The smaller the contour interval in Civil 3D, the smoother the surface looked in Max.

The corridor also was not smooth using the LandXML. There was segmentation caused by the way frequency lines are used to create the corridor in Civil 3D. Instead, Steve used my alignment and assembly to re-extrude the cross-section along the road. The result was the smooth, fluid looking corridor that you can see in the video and image above.

Steve created the bridge in base Autocad using 3D solid primitives for the piers, decking, and cables. After inserting the bridge in the correct location in Max he was ready to make it realistic.

Next, Steve did his magic in 3Ds Max. He applied materials, added lighting and inserted entourage items such as trees and water. After the scene was set up, Steve used Max to create several animations. He created a construction timeline animation and an animation showing what it would be like to cross the bridge in a vehicle. The final animation for the presentation took more than 30 hours of processing time on the MasterGraphics render farm.

After several animations and renderings were completed, Steve took the project into Combustion for some final touches. Here he stitched together the animations and renderings into one, cohesive video.

Take a look at the fruits of our (mostly Steve's) labor in this WMV file here. (Requires Windows Media Player)


SQOTD: Service Pack 2.1

I read the readme for the service pack and I saw this:
Per AutoDesk:
Before applying this update, make sure that any customizations made to the user profile (such as, customizations made to the support file search paths, print file customizations, printer support file paths, redirections, custom template settings, and so on) are exported to a secure location, then imported and reapplied after the update has been successfully installed.

What is the best way to do this?

Well - this is how I do backups...
Basically you’ll want to save your CUI file to a non-default location and export your profile somewhere too. To do all this:

1 - Go to: (this is the default location in Win XP)
C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Application Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD Civil 3d 2009\R17.2\enu

2- Copy the enu folder to a backup location.

3- You will also want to go into Civil 3D, go to Options and the Profile tab and export the your profile as an ARG file to a backup location.

Let me know if you need me to go into more detail on this. These should be “just in case” measures, as normally a service pack won’t blow anything away – but it never hurts to C.Y.A.

Hope this helps!