Just like last year, I’m going to run through my thoughts on the highs, the lows, and the WTF of Autodesk’s latest release. There are a number of serious improvements in the box this year. Some you’ve heard them talk all about, some are much more subtle, but are real winners in my book. This next week, the full EE team will be hitting on their favorites in more detail, but we wanted to give you the main talking points from our point of view. Make the jump to get quickfix review of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010.
Intersections: An absolute showstopper. They’re dynamic, they’re damned fast, and they work. Pick an alignment, find an intersecting alignment, and let C3D do the work for you. Check out the video from a few days back to compare if you really need to understand the difference in speed brought about by the Intersection wizard. They’re not perfect though. You won’t be able to handle a roundabout, knuckle, or cul-de-sac easily. Curb returns are straight-line connections between the return profile points. They only handle T- and Four-way intersections. But come on, even if you have to tweak the result, the major work is done, including the creation of profiles, regions and targets. To get the intersection at right: Pick the alignment to activate the tab; pick the Intersection button; pick the intersection point; pick the Create Intersection button in the Wizard; clean up labeling (cause I didn’t have any commands set.) Yes, it’s that simple. In my opinion, this is worth upgrading for!
Alignments: Bringing in the demand for alignments that understand their relationships, we now have categories of alignments. Offset alignments can be created from any alignment, and can be used to create things like widenings with reverse curves. These offsets are dynamically related to the parent alignment, and can include transition properties like Reverse Curve, Curve-Curve, Curve-Line-Curve, allowing you to solve most geometry problems in a straight-forward manner. These are real alignments, and can be used to target corridor data, sample profiles, or generate sections. And you can mask them too to hide the dirty bits you don’t want to share with the world.
The Ribbon: Seriously, it’s good. One week in, I hated going back to 2009’s collection of menus and fly outs. Pick an object, do what you want, move along. I seriously love the work that the UI team did on this, and while some pieces make you search a bit until you understand the logic, overall it’s a good deal.
Labeling: I won’t get into all of the nifty updates to the labeling, but take a second look at that first intersection picture. See the zig-zag on the Intersection label? That’s STILL a dynamic C3D label. It’s still intelligent. And it can still be tweaked further. Want a spline version? Easy. Want ten zigs? Knock yourself out. And you can change where the label attaches to the leader in a dragged state. And there’s label staggering on profiles and sections too.
Projections: You can now project points, blocks, feature lines, etc into a profile or section view, and use a style to determine how that object looks in section. In the image at right, the FH blocks have a elevation style assigned in the Profile View, while the MVBlock of the car is just showing it’s normal model projection. Way cool for all the pieces and parts you’ve wanted to add over the years. This works for all sorts of solids as well, so get after it!
Of course, there are still some things missing, but they tend to fall into big wish instead of need: pipe flowlines in a band label, project templates that let you assign a dwt, better partbuilder (Or just a complete ditch and rewrite, but alas, that’s a pipedream. I crack me up…) are some of my big misses. I’m sure there are others, but really, we’re getting down to cracks in the feature set instead of full gaps.
These are just some of my big ticket faves with this new release. We’ll be covering some of the other cool stuff, (and more about these items!) in much more detail throughout the week, so stick around. And don’t forget, you can get the latest C3D related bits from the entire EE team by following us on Twitter. Go to www.twitter.com/civil3d to get started.