Civil 3D 2020.4 Update

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Civil 3D 2020.4 Update

Autodesk has released the Civil 3D 2020.4 update.  Use the Desktop App to install it.  Here are the Autodesk release notes for this new update.

Notables:

  • New SYSVAR “DataShortcutsSourceCheck” to change the behavior of warnings when saving to a mapped drive on a Nasuni Edge Appliance.
  • Improved performance and stability with various features such as:
    • Unloaded XREFs.
    • Corridors.
    • Data shortcuts.
    • Save command.
    • Catchments.
    • Printing multiple sheets.

AutoCAD and Bluebeam

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

AutoCAD and Bluebeam

Many users create PDF files from AutoCAD products as PDF seems to be the standard digital format.  There are three issues you may run into and some settings to consider if you use Bluebeam Revu as well as AutoCAD.

Viewports

First, you may see this message when opening PDF files using Bluebeam Revu (not the free viewer) which were created from AutoCAD using Autodesk’s DWG to PDF print driver.  These “viewports” are artifacts contained within the PDF file to which Bluebeam Revu alerts you when you open a file containing them.  ALWAYS say yes to removing these artifacts.  If you don’t, they will very likely affect the accuracy of any measurements you make in Revu.  If you skip past this message without selecting Yes, the viewports can be removed from the PDF in Revu’s measurement panel.

Why do they exist in the first place?  It seems to be an issue with Autodesk’s DWG to PDF.pc3 file.  PDF’s created using Bluebeam’s PDF printer do not contain these anomalies.  Here is an Autodesk  discussion group thread discussing these viewports.  Interestingly, it indicates that these viewports can cause an issue when measuring using Adobe Pro, but there appears not to be a solution there, where Revu does indeed catch the existence of them.

Searchable Text and SHX Fonts

The second issue is searchable text.  Many AutoCAD users still use Autodesk SHX fonts.  There are several reasons to avoid using SHX fonts; not the least of which is that when a PDF is created containing them, that text will not be searchable when opened in any PDF reader software.  If you want your recipient to be able to search text, and you very likely should, do not use SHX fonts in AutoCAD.  Use a True Type font, such as Arial instead.  This is with one exception.  With Bluebeam Revu, SHX text is in fact searchable, but you must enable “Search Markups”.  More detail about this I the section below “Odd Markups”.

If you’re a Bluebeam Revu user with the CAD version or better, and you prefer to use its PDF print driver instead of Autodesk’s, there is an option to enable SHX fonts as outlined in this article.  Better, do use a True Type font as mentioned above, but there is one more setting you must enable.  A PC3 file must be created using the Bluebeam print driver and then this option set in the printer properties in AutoCAD.  It defaults to TrueType as graphics and your text will not be searchable if it’s not changed.

Odd Markups in Revu

Lastly, using Bluebeam Revu (not the free viewer) to open a PDF created by AutoCAD using its DWG to PDF printer, you may see “markups” already contained in the PDF.  There will be one markup for each text object in the file, indicated by the AutoCAD SHX Text author.  That adds up to a lot of markups if it’s a file with many text objects.  This can affect the performance of the file within Revu and they will definitely be in the way when creating normal markups.  These markups are only required if you need to search SHX text; they cannot be deleted with Revu tools.  They can be Flattened in Revu prior to adding your own usual markups, or they can simply be filtered out if you don’t wish to see them.  Don’t worry, the text in the PDF will not disappear.  I do not have access to Adobe Pro to see if this is an issue there as well.

 

These “markups” are created when printing from AutoCAD using the DWG to PDF driver and it is an Autodesk feature.  In AutoCAD, there is a variable named PDFSHX.  Turned on, a value of 1, enables these “markups” in the PDF file which results in searchable text.  Turning it off will result in no “markups” and non-searchable SHX text.  Here is an Autodesk document outlining this feature.  SHX text may or may not be searchable depending on the PDF reader in use.  For example, the Bluebeam Revu free viewer cannot search SHX text, but the paid version can.

This issue does not occur with PDFs created in AutoCAD using Bluebeam’s printer driver.

Civil 3D 2021 is Here

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Civil 3D 2021 is Here

It’s that time of year again folks; Autodesk has released their flagship Civil Engineering product in Civil 3D  2021.  Here is an Autodesk article explaining the new changes.  Here are my favorites from this release.

Format

There is no format change this year.  Excellent!  You may share your Civil 3D files with users back to 2018.

Pressure Networks

There has been significant development to this feature.  If you have not been using pressure networks due to feature limitations, it is time to rethink your approach; these tools are good!  We now have path-based pressure network Pipe Runs in both plan and profile.  The image below shows a grip-edit to a pressure main.  The bend was automatically swapped after the grip-edit.

Do you need your pressure network to maintain a 1.5m cover below your corridor surface?  Here, the pipes are dynamically linked to the design profile at a 1.5m depth.

Infraworks Interoperability

More collaboration features have been introduced, such as:

  • Civil 3D corridors can now be mapped to Infraworks Component Roads and remain dynamic to the drawing when reimported.
  • Infraworks bridges are now supported within Civil 3D, stylized labeled in profile views.  There is a new Bridges node in the Prospector.

Scripting

There are additional nodes and functionality related to Dynamo scripting.

AutoCAD 2021 is Here

By Matt Kolberg , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

AutoCAD 2021 is Here

It’s that time of year again folks; Autodesk has released their flagship product in AutoCAD 2021.  Here is an excellent article explaining the new changes.  Below are the features that are close to this BLOG writer’s heart.

Format

There is no format change this year.  Excellent!

Enhanced Commands

Trim and Extend have new default behavior resulting in fewer clicks.

Revision clouds are now their own object.  Including a new Arc Length property.

The Break At Point command can now be repeated resulting in fewer clicks.

Drawing version history comparison for files stored in cloud services such as OneDrive and DropBox.

The block palette now contains a Library for blocks stored in cloud services or other folders.

AutoLISP

A brand new AutoLISP development interface which uses Visual Studio Code with a LISP extension.  Auto-complete functions and parentheses.

Finally, plan and profile sheets that update after design changes

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD

 

Plan production tools in Civil 3D are great for creating plan and profile sheets, but what about when the inevitable design changes come and you need to update your sheets? You either update them manually or recreate all new sheets. With CTC Software’s Sheet Generator, you can create plan and profile sheets that update after designs change, including refreshing of viewports, north arrows, matchlines, sheet names and numbers, sheet set data, and more. Sheet Generator provides better control on Profile Views, more flexible sheet management workflows, and easily dovetails with your company standards.

For more click here

Create custom legends and QTO with Data Wizard

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD

 

Tabling, legend creation and QTO workflows leave a lot to be desired in Civil 3D, forcing to use many different subpar tools, or worse, performing the work manually. With Data Wizard you can scan any number of drawings for AutoCAD and Civil 3D objects to generate legends, tables, QTOs, and more, all to company standards, and all automatically. When drawings change, refresh tables to automatically incorporate updates. Save out templates for quick recreation of custom tables and legends.

 

For more click here

BING Images Won’t Appear

By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Have you ever turned on background BING imagery inside AutoCAD products only to find they don’t appear?  There could be a few reasons for this:

  • No Geolocation or coordinate system is set.
  • You’re not logged in with your Autodesk account.
  • You’re zoomed into an area compatible with the geolocation you’ve chose.

These two are the pre-requisites for using images from Bing, but there is one more which has many of my customers stumped.  Have you ever seen this message?  You almost certainly have.

If you choose Yes, then you will see your images.  If you choose No, you won’t.  If you check that little button on the bottom left, you’ll never see this message again.  Good, right?  Well, if you chose Yes, then yes.  If you chose No, well…you’ll never receive this message again and you’ll never see images!

There is a saviour, however.  There are other message like this in AutoCAD.  Toggles that prevent that box from appearing in the future.  These are called “Hidden Messages” and they can be turned back on by opening AutoCAD’s Options dialog box [OPTIONS].  Then opening the hidden message settings in the System tab.

 

I hope you can use this to avoid any unnecessary frustration in your day.

Design better Pipe Networks with CTC Software

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD

 

While Pipe Networks are a great toolset in Civil 3D, they fall short as a true design tool. With CTC Software, we can edit pipe runs through a design-oriented, dynamic interface. We can swap multiple parts, both pipes and structures, in plan or profile. We can also auto-populate properties across multiple parts at once, aiding in proper labeling or tabling.

 

 

For more click here

AutoCAD FLATTEN

By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

AutoCAD has a command contained within the Express Tool named FLATTEN.  It is designed to remove any non-zero elevations from selected objects within a drawing.  It does an excellent job with this, but there is some behavior that may not be obvious to all users.  This command works very well with many objects such as TEXT, LINES, and some BLOCKS.  However, unexpected behavior results when flattening Dynamic and Annotative blocks, even blocks with embedded non-zero-elevation linework.

Annotative Blocks:  For example, an annotative block with a name of Arrow, is inserted 3 times.  Regardless of the attached annotative scales, the result after the FLATTEN command will be 3 blocks with 3 different names; Arrow-flat-1, Arrow-flat-2, and Arrow-flat-3.  Further, they will no longer be annotative.

Dynamic Blocks:  After the FLATTEN command, each dynamic block will no longer be dynamic and will become an “unnamed block” with a name similar to “*U63”.

Blocks:  A typical block will FLATTEN adequately.  A block which contains elements which have non-zero elevations, will also flatten adequately.  Understand that the FLATTEN command will make changes to block definitions in this example to set all elevations to 0.

So what can be done?  Here are two options.

  • Download and run a LISP command from this discussion group post.
  • Be selective when flattening.  Flatten objects which have no deleterious results afterwards.  The AutoCAD FILTER command can be configured to easily select compatible objects.  The filter can be saved for future use.

ArcGIS and AutoCAD – Free Background for everyone using AutoCAD

By Frank Zander , Project Manager – Civil, GIS/FME  at SolidCAD

 

Imagine a world where you could get high resolution background image maps to display and PRINT in AutoCAD.

Esri and Autodesk are working closer than ever and this alliance benefits all CAD and GIS users. Esri provides a free ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin. This plugin allows vanilla AutoCAD users to access Esri maps. As mentioned, the beauty of these maps is that they also print/plot in AutoCAD.

I was surprised at the level of detail!

Download ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin for free at: https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/arcgis-for-autocad

 

Contact SolidCAD for more information about our newly created three-day  training course for any INFRA, GIS/FME training.