I need to file this under, “I can’t believe I didn’t know about this one!”

So, here’s the problem: When you go edit a corridor model graphically from the contextual ribbon tab (such as Edit Targets), it’s very difficult to determine which region your cursor is in because the corridor is highlighted and a big blue mess.

How Annoying is This?

How Annoying is This?

What to do? Well, simply change the system variable SELECTIONEFFECT to 0. That’s it!

Much Better!

Much Better!

Yes, this have been around for over a year. Yes, I’ve been complaining about it for over a year. Yes, I feel like a jerk for criticizing Autodesk for making this change and hurting my workflow when they allowed me to change it back.

I found this out thanks to Lynn Allen’s new “2016 Tips and Tricks” booklet. What else is new that you didn’t know about?

It’s an exciting time of year for all of us Civil Software Geeks, new software is coming out and we get to see the new and exciting things in the latest release. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my recap of What’s New in InfraWorks 2016.1. I just downloaded the latest release of Civil 3D 2016 and there are several things that are new. Here are the things in this release and the bold ones are the ones I’ll be discussing:

  • Manage data shortcuts to repair broken shortcuts and replace DWG objects
  • Display vault project objects that exist in subfolders within object type
  • Create data references to objects that exist in different vault projects
  • Import and export IFC (Industry Foundation Class) files
  • Select alignments by layer to be used as width and targets
  • Control the direction of sections in section views
  • Subbassembly Composer loop geometry support
  • Create exclusionary catchments
  • Crossing pipe and pressure pipe profile view labels
  • Pressure pipe labels in section views
  • Import Bridges from InfraWorks into Civil 3D

Just because I’m not discussing them here doesn’t mean they aren’t great improvements, it’s just that I haven’t installed Vault 2016 yet and I haven’t had a chance to learn what an IFC file is yet.

Oh, one more thing before I get started, NO DRAWING FORMAT CHANGE! That’s right, 2016 has the same drawing format as 2013. They’ve broken the 3 year cycle on changing the drawing format.

Manage Data Shortcuts

This one is sweet! Ever have a drawing move or have IT move data to a different drive? I know what you’re thinking, “Brian! They would never do that!” Yeah right. Anyways, this command allows you to repath your data references to a new drawing or to the original drawing if it moved on you. Not only that, you can replace an object in your drawing with a data reference and all the references to that original drawing are maintained!

Manage Data References

Manage Data References

Another fantastic thing that isn’t advertised in the “What’s New”, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAVE PRIOR TO CREATING DATA SHORTCUTS!!!!!!

Data Shortcuts Without Saving

Data Shortcuts Without Saving

Alignment Targets By Layer

If you have several alignments that a corridor region needs to target, you can now choose the targets by layer.

Alignment Targets By Layer

Alignment Targets By Layer

Section View Display Direction

Section Views have finally caught up to Profile Views, they can be drawing “Right to Left” or “Left to Right”. This should make all those hydraulic modelers happy!

Section View Direction

Section View Direction

Subassembly Composer Loop

Have you needed to put benches in your daylight or a series of walls or something else repetitive in your subassembly? New in 2016, you can now add a loop component that will continue until either a criteria is met or a maximum number of iterations has been done (this keeps it from blowing up on you).

Subassembly Loop

Subassembly Loop

Exclusionary Catchments.

I’ve always liked the idea of creating catchments (or drainage areas or drainage basins or whatever term they use in your area) in Civil 3D from a surface but the problem has always been, but what if I need to subdivide this large basin into smaller ones? For example, I have a road with inlets at a low point and so I create a catchment to that inlet but, the flow in the street is too big. What do you do? You add an inlet upstream and then define a catchment to it. Now in 2016, this new catchment area will be removed from the original catchment so you won’t have duplicate areas!

First Catchment Added

First Catchment Added

Additional Catchment Added

Additional Catchment Added

Crossing Pipe Labels

We’ve been asking for this one for a LONG time and it’s finally here! We can label the a pipe where it crosses in a profile view!

Crossing Pipe Label

Crossing Pipe Label

In the image you can also see the different crossing properties that you can place in your label.

Pressure Pipe Labels in Section Views

In addition to being able to label pressure pipes crossing in a profile view, you can also label them crossing in a section view as well.

Pressure Pipe Crossing Section

Pressure Pipe Crossing Section

Import Bridges from InfraWorks

So, you have InfraWorks 360 with the Roads and Highways and the Bridge tools and you’ve created a nice bridge in InfraWorks. When you import that model into Civil 3D 2016, the bridge comes along as well now!

Bridge from InfraWorks into Civil 3D

Bridge from InfraWorks into Civil 3D

So, what do you think of Civil 3D 2016?

So, you like to use the Bearing and Distance command while drafting in Civil 3D you say? Well, you might want to be aware of a little inconsistency in the command depending on how you run it.

Rick Ellis over at Cadapult Software Solutions (the author of the Civil 3D book we use here at CAD-1) pointed this out to me and I thought it would warrant a blog post. Thanks Rick!

So, here’s the problem, two lines drawn from the same location using the Bearing and Distance transparent command end up with different bearings depending on how you run the Bearing and Distance command.

Different Results, Same Input

Different Results, Same Input

So, what did I do differently? Well, the bottom line I drew using the Bearing and Distance command by typing ‘BD at the command line (don’t forget the apostrophe). The top line I drew it using the Bearing and Distance command from the Transparent Commands Toolbar (by default on the right side of your drawing area).

This will make more sense if I explain what it is I typed. I start the line command and snap to the center of the circle. I then invoke the Bearing and Distance transparent command using one of the methods listed above (repeat with the other method). I then type “1” for the quadrant, “45.4545” for the bearing, and “100.00” for the distance.

Same input different results

Same input different results

That’s great and all but, which one is wrong? Well, technically, they are both right, they’re just different. When ‘BD is typed at the command line, and you input 45.4545 for the bearing, it sees that as 45o45’45”. when you use the Bearing and Distance command from the toolbar, you are actually using the ‘_BD command and it returns a bearing of 45.4545o which, as you can see in the video, works out to be about 45o27’16”. Neither is wrong, they’re just different.

Here is a video with commentary that I made if you want some additional clarification:

So, I was doing some work for a client, creating some custom subassemblies, and I created a document that I wanted to include as a help file. When working in Subassembly Composer, on the Packet Settings tab, there is an option to include a help file.

Add Help File

Add Help File

When you select the ellipsis (that’s the button with the three periods…) you can browse for the file and it shows you the allowable file types.

Available File Types

Available File Types

As you can see, you can choose .htm, .html, .pdf, .doc, .docx, and .txt. Just a tip,

NONE OF THESE WORK!!!!!!!!

That’s right, want to add a .pdf as a help file, nope not gonna happen. To be honest, the html options sorta work but not like what you would expect. If you choose a .pdf file, when you right click on your subassembly on your tool palette and choose, “help”, you’ll get a blank Civil 3D help screen.

Blank Help

Blank Help

So, what do you do? Well, don’t use any of those file types. Instead, use a .chm file (Microsoft Compiled HTML Help). This one works like a charm. Right click on the subassembly, and you get exactly what you would expect! If you’ve never before created a .chm file, it’s really not that hard, there are tutorials online that will walk you through it. Make sure you have a .htm file for your subassembly and compile it into the .chm through HTML Help Workshop (it’s a free Microsoft program).

Adding a help file to your subassembly in Subassembly Composer:

Quickly creating a .chm help file:

Yes, you heard right, you can now open an InfraWorks model directly into Civil 3D! Did you do all that preliminary layout in InfraWorks and now it’s time to start doing that detailed work? Well, simply open it up. There are a few caveats that you need to be aware of before you’ll be able to do this so just keep on reading.

Prerequisites

So, can anyone do this? Nope, sorry, you have to be on the latest version of everything (at least at the time that I’m writing this which is December of 2014).

Update Civil 3D 2015

If you haven’t done so, you’ll need to install the latest Service Pack 2 for Civil 3D 2015. It can be found HERE. Once that’s installed, you’ll need to install the…

Civil 3D 2015 Productivity Pack 1

This is the tool that will actually allow you open up that InfraWorks model. Without it, you can’t do it. In order to install this productivity pack, you must have Service Pack 2 installed. Don’t know where to get it? I didn’t either and spent quite a bit of time looking for it and then I remembered, there’s the Autodesk Applications Manager. Just go to your Windows Start Menu and search for “Autodesk Application Manager” and you should find it.

Autodesk Application Manager

Autodesk Application Manager

Once you launch it, you should see the update for Civil 3D 2015.

Download and Install Update

Download and Install Update

InfraWorks 2015 R3

I’m not actually sure this is required for the tool to work but, if you have InfraWorks, just go get it. I did a write up on my other blog HERE about it’s tools. I’ve updated InfraWorks and the models I’ve been playing around with have been updated so if you can’t get this to work, you might have to update your models too.

How does it work?

It’s actually pretty straight forward, once you can find the tools. After installing the productivity pack, the tools will be found in the Toolbox of your Toolspace.

Tool Location

Tool Location

The first thing you’ll want to do is to configure the exchange settings. Double click on the second item in the list and this will bring up the dialog box. Basically, this allows you set the styles, layers, and labels that will be used for the different objects brought into Civil 3D.

Configure Exchange Settings

Configure Exchange Settings

Now that we are all set up, double click the first icon to import your model. You’ll get a dialog box that first asks you for the model you want to import. Simply browse to the .sqlite file you want to import.

Select Model to Import

Select Model to Import

As you can see, there is a warning here. The drawing you import into must have a coordinate system that is compatible with the data from the model. You can set the coordinate system right here if it isn’t already set. You’ll get the options to choose one you want or you can use the same coordinate system of the model.

Set Coordinate System

Set Coordinate System

Next thing you’ll need to choose is the area of interest. You can bring the entire model in if you want but, remember, InfraWorks can handle way more data then Civil 3D can so be careful bringing in the entire model. If you decide to choose a portion of the model, Civil 3D will zoom in on the area of the model, show you the limits of the model (using a white rectangle), and then, if you have it set up, it will show you the Bing imagery for the area. You can then choose the area you are interested in.

Choose Area of Interest

Choose Area of Interest

Select Area in Civil 3D

Select Area in Civil 3D

After choosing the area of interest, you choose your configuration settings. Didn’t set your settings? Go back and read the first part of this post to see how to do that. And now, finally, you can choose which objects you want to bring into the model by clicking on the Refine Selection Set button. This will then show you all the objects that are going to be brought into your drawing. You can pick and choose which ones you want and don’t want.

Refine Selection Set

Refine Selection Set

Enjoy the new functionality and let me know what you think of it. Does this work for you? Did Autodesk miss an important piece? Let me know in the comments!

 

So, I was installing Vault 2015 Professional today and I noticed that the projects weren’t showing up in my Civil 3D and I couldn’t figure out why. I searched the help system, searched the discussion groups, searched Google (I know, talk about desperate!) with no luck. Everywhere I went it said that after installing the client, the projects should just show up (provided the Master View is set in the Prospector) and I couldn’t see my projects. I had the Vault Client installed, I even had the server installed locally (for demo purposes, you shouldn’t do this in a production environment). What to do?

I figured it had to be something with the Vault Client install because, “Projects should be visible after installing the Vault Client”. So, I went to the Control Panel – Programs and Features (aka “Add or Remove a Program”). I found the “Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 R2 (Client)” program, right clicked on it and chose, “Uninstall/Change”.

Change Vault Client

Change Vault Client

In the Setup dialog box that comes up, choose “Add or Remove Features” and then choose the “AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015 Add-In” and then click the “Update” button. After the install finishes, you should see the projects show up in Civil 3D 2015 now!

Install the Civil 3D Add-In

Install the Civil 3D Add-In

Now, the next time I install the Vault Client and I don’t see the projects in Civil 3D, when I search Google for it, hopefully this blog post will come up and remind be about it!

Wouldn’t that be amazing? Set up your InfraWorks model with some zones, put in some signal information at your intersections, place some walking paths, and boom! You have cars and people in your InfraWorks model!

If you find this appealing, you need to head over to Autodesk Labs. There is a technology preview for software that, hopefully, will do just this, AUTODESK LABS: PROJECT COMMUTER – INFRAWORKS.

Currently, the application doesn’t run within InfraWorks but, the powers that be are looking for feedback from you, the valued customer that spends money on software, to determine if this would be worthwhile. Would you like to be able to run travel simulations directly within InfraWorks? I know I would! So get over there and tell them what you think!

HERE is a playlist of examples of what can be down withe the current version of the software (outside of InfraWorks).

<edit 4/3/15>Well, you asked for it so here it is! The March 2015 release of InfraWorks 360 has a preview of traffic simulation in it! Go check it out!

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