Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How to learn more about your Autodesk Product

No one learns in the same way. With some topics, even the best instructor in the world can't explain the topic in a way that you really "get".

I have always been of the opinion that the more resources I provide students, the better chance they have of truly understanding their software and being successful with it. I don't care how you do it. I just want you to learn what you need to know and use the software in the most efficient manner.

I hand out to students I meet in person a list of resources that includes the list of blogs listed on the sidebar here. I also give a list of book recommendations.

Two of the best resources I can offer are:

Autodesk University (AU)
This is an annual event that is almost like attending college for a week. Registration will be announced in early August and it's held every November. If you can't attend or want the chance to learn during the other 51 weeks of the year, anyone can do so now.

Visit the AU Website and look through the course content. You need to sign up to be able to download. Trust me when I say this is some of the best material you can find.

Granted some material is better than others, but it is all very specific. Are you having trouble understanding curtain walls, roofs, or Project Navigator? Then search through the Building sessions and find courses specific to that. Some contain data sets, but most contain .pdf files with very straight forward explanations and examples to aid you in understanding.

The other resource that I put up on the top of the list is AUGI. Not just AUGI in general, but the ATP program. This stands for AUGI Training Program. There is content here for downloading from archived classes that you may find helpful as well in your quest for enlightenment. But the true value is from attending an ATP class. Yes, attending is what I said.

The ATP program is designed to offer a series of specific 3-week courses. Each Monday another .pdf file of the course material for the week is posted. There is an associated forum just for students of the class. Here you can ask questions, make comments, discuss the class material with your instructor and your fellow classmates who generally number in the hundreds. This way if the light bulb is not coming on after reading the material, you can keep asking until someone flips the switch for you.

Don't just sit idly by and use your program the way you have since R14. It doesn't matter what Autodesk software you use, you'll find valuable help in these two areas.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ADT Content Tips and Tricks

Well organized content in AutoCAD Architecture or Architectural Desktop is one key to efficiency.

Content Browser is often not investigated except by those that dig into everything or those who receive training and have the values identified.

I've learned two tricks recently and wanted to expand more on some of the uses of Content Browser.

First, I learned from the book in my previous post that it is best not to have any project open in Project Browser. You may not even be aware that you have one open if you don't use Project Browser or Project Navigator on a regular basis. It is possible that you have a project active because once upon a time you began a tutorial that instructed you to open a certain project. Many tutorials begin this way.

To check, choose Project Browser from the File pulldown menu. If there is a project listed in bold in the left hand pane, right click and choose to close the project.

The reason this is important is that if you do have a project open, your custom tool palettes may be stored with the project.

The second tip I have is that if you do start creating content on Tool Palettes or in a Catalog in Content Browser and get to a point that your tools don't work from the Tool Palettes, you will receive an error about the tool not being registered. This is an indication that you need to do a repair of your installation.

The tip is regarding this repair. If you installed with a DVD (shipped by default), but only have CD media to do the repair; the installation will not work. The same hold true with installing media when prompted for a service pack.

I wouldn't have thought it true, but it just so happened that I ran into this situation. There is a registry setting that probably identifies this, though I really didn't have time to get into it at that level. Perhaps more likely it doesn't know that different files are on different disks and is only "remembering" that it was originally all on one disk.

I'll post some more on Publishing Catalogs in Content Browser coming up and also some of the new features in AutoCAD MEP 2008.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

ADT Book Recommendation

I finally received my copy of the book that was co-authored by two of ADT greats, Paul Aubin and Matt Dillon. I mentioned it previously when it was released, but due to waiting lists and printing mistakes it somehow never got ordered until now.

I can't recommend enough that you rush right out and buy Autodesk Architectural Desktop An Advanced Implementation Guide, Second Edition. I have flipped through the pages and just the table of contents is impressive. I can't wait to start reading it.

I especially like the sounds of Chapter 2 CAD Standards Assessment with topics such as Existing CAD Standards Assessment through Living Up To The Standards.

Even if you are just thinking about CAD Standards within your firm in using ADT of any version, I would make this mandatory reading.