Monday, September 28, 2009

Working from a Layout Tab?!

There are many mythical creature out there: vampires, wood nymphs, unicorns and people who work in layout tabs with modelspace active.

I've met exactly two people who do this, and both were civil drafters with a long history of AutoCAD knowlege. At first I was dismissive of this concept, but the more I think about it, the more I can see where it might be handy.

I decided to try it for a few days. It was uncomfortable, yet exhilerating; much like wearing your underpants backwards.


  • You can work in a DVIEW > TWist mode without messing with your modelspace.

  • You don't have to worry about what layers you freeze and thaw, as you are not affecting the main model space. However, the better way to work is to use the layer states manager.

  • Civil 3D pops you back into the model tab after some operations. For instance, after I imported points, I was shot back to "real" modelspace. It feels like Civil 3D was not designed to work this way.
  • VP scale is constantly changing as you zoom around. When the drawing is regen'd your text updates and can be a mess to work with.
  • Seems to slow things down. It took a few beats longer to, say draw an alignment.

So, if you've ever wondered what this button does and if you should be pushing it - just say no.

Civil 3D 2010 SP 2 is Here!

Everyone who's even thought about blogging has already posted this, but here's my contribution:
Civil 3D sp 2
Be sure to download the correct version for you - there is a seperate download for plain old Civil.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Thing About Geo-referenced Images...

The thing about geo-referenced images is that there really isn’t one way to insert images into Civil 3D.

Depending on your situation you may use the traditional Map > Image > Insert command. However, if your drawing is at a different coordinate system from the image you are inserting, the MAPIINSERT command will not transform it - leaving you with an image in la-la land.

Here’s an informal guide to what to do & when with raster images. Hope this clears up some of the serious confusion out there!


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Weirdest Support Problem Eh-var!

After a long few weeks of training people until they were ready to run screaming, I am back in the office and back in the saddle with tech support. Well, at least today I was.

So I had this call today that was initially very mysterious. In modelspace plan view the corridor looked perfect. The layout my client was getting ready to print looked exactly as expected.

But when he went to print preview he got strange lines that always emanated from the lower right of the viewport.

When I took a closer look at the corridor in object viewer, I noticed that all was not as it seemed.

The links were totally freaking out and throwing themselves into infinity. I guess you could call them FREAK-quency lines. Harhar.

Taking a closer closer look I went to the subassembly properties and noticed that there were a bunch of zero's in the subassembly parameters.'s.

Since the guy really just wanted a simple model of a road and wasn't concerned about thickness, we recreated his assembly using generic links instead.

Ahh. Mystery solved. After fixing the assembly, no strange lines.

Lesson learned: Avoid zeros in your subassembly properties. If you need to set something to zero, use 0.001' instead.