Wednesday, March 21, 2007

AutoCAD 2008 Layers per Viewport

When I explain the value of layers and paperspace viewports to students, I explain that the two features allow us more control over what is presented on a drawing. Now Autodesk has given us another branch from that theory.

You will not see this in model space, but if you are in paperspace you will now have many more columns available when you are working through a viewport.

You may have one color in your model space, but you can change that color of the layer per each viewport. For those that work with different disciplines or new and existing or any comparison of conditions, you can now save a lot of time and effort by setting a single layer to behave differently with colors (greyed out in one) or linetype (hidden line in one) for each viewport. This is a huge step for productivity. Now the question is, how many people will notice and how many will continue working as they have since R14?

The other nice thing about this feature is that you can set a color to highlight those layers that you have changed this way. That sure will keep you from thinking you are insane when you are working in model space with a blue layer and a magenta layer keeps plotting out!

These new features are available in any Autodesk product that is based on AutoCAD 2008.

How old can you go with AutoCAD?

I've told students for years that they can open any drawing from their current release and any previous. Depending on file format change such as with 2004 & 2007, you may not be able to open a newer drawing.

A recent discussion prompted me to contact Shaan Hurley for proof of this. I was not imagining this fact as he provided me with the Release History which has a line at the bottom "AutoCAD 2008 can read DWG files back from AutoCAD version 2.0 released in 1984."

To use this table and determine the release an old drawing was created in, simply use Notepad to open the .dwg file. Yes, you will see a lot of garbage, but the first characters will tell you what release it is.

2008 Autodesk Graphics Card List

Shaan Hurley has posted the link to the new Graphics Hardware List that includes 2008, 64-bit and Vista.

With yesterday being the official marketing launch of the Autodesk 2008 product line up, the Autodesk website has been totally changed. It looks easier to navigate than the last change, which I greatly dis-liked. Time will tell.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I am fortunate enough to live where there is a fantastic St. Patrick's Day celebration. We have a big parade with acts from all over that come to march in it and a pre-parade party the night before with lots of Celtic music.

We have a very strong Scottish organization, of which I am a member, here with several local bagpipe groups.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Deploying ADT & CAD Standards

I have spent a fair amount of time lately working on a project for a local firm that has seen the light and upgraded all users to AutoCAD, Land Desktop, and Architectural Desktop 2007 with subscription, training, implementation, and CAD Standards assistance. It's been a most enjoyable project and the people have been great.

I have always been a big advocate of placing any shared content on a network and pointing the user's Options to the location. I have read a few comments about that degrading performance and have done a fair amount of research on the topic. Just because I do something doesn't mean that I shouldn't keep looking for more information.

In doing so, I ran across an AUGI friend, Steve Bennett. Steve has been active with AUGI in working with Architectural Desktop and went to work for L.A. CAD almost two years ago now. He has a blog 2D or Not 2D that is loaded with great information.

I found his following posts helpful and asked him to elaborate more, which he has done. If you have any interest in CAD Standards or implementation of ADT or AutoCAD I highly recommend his reading.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

My only comment open for discussion with Steve is his suggestion and reasoning for keeping content on local machines and using methods for updating it. My disagreement with that is that it seems like a lot of extra work that needs to be done. I am more interested in whether there is any performance hit between keeping templates, plot styles, blocks on the network?

I generally install the basic AEC content in ADT that includes styles to the local computer because those are simply for users to reference. I then create a directory called companyname ADT Styles and another one called New Styles.

The first ADT Styles directory is where I create a drawing named Walls, one called Doors, one called Windows, etc. These drawings are where users will place new styles they create. I normally recommend that they start with an ADT Out of the Box (ootb) style and copy it to the appropriate drawing and then rename it and modify it. I often create these styles for them. These dwgs are also used to feed their palettes that I set up to update from Content Browser.

The second directory for New Styles is actually for downloaded styles. By going to the Autodesk website or anywhere else and downloading styles, users can often find a style they can use or use a downloaded style to reverse engineer how an object was created. I prefer to keep these separate so that it's known that these are styles they created to use. There again, a user could copy a style, rename it, and modify it for use.

It doesn't matter so much which method you use for your content, as long as you are consistent and it's documented.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Basic drawing tips from an ADT or ABS class

Templates – If you are using either an AutoCAD Architecture (ADT) or AutoCAD MEP (ABS) product of any version, you should create a template by first opening a template out of the box for these products. This assures that you will have display configurations and annotation scales. The ADT templates are named “AEC…” while the ABS templates are named “ABS…” Those templates with “sheet” in the name contain titleblocks. You will typically want those with “model” in the name.

From that template, add anything else that you want in the template.

· Options that are drawing specific (have the dwg icon in front of it)
· Snap
· Grid
· Drawing setup (units, layer key styles)
· Text and dimensions (though these are better served on palettes)

If you were to use your old stand-by, you would be missing out on any display configurations.

In the 2008 products, all products from basic AutoCAD and those built on AutoCAD will have annotation and scales built in like we are used to having in ADT & ABS.

Drawing Cleanup – AUDIT & PURGE are our friends, but they do not do enough in ADT or ABS. Styles are only cleaned up with the Purge Styles
and in ABS you also need the Purge Building Systems Objects. Purging ABS objects used to be found under the MEP Common pull-down menu. In 2007.1, that menu has gone away and the tool is now found under File>Drawing Utilities.

Layer Filters must be deleted separately as well.