I appear to be on a Section Editor details kick for the last couple of posts.
Let’s kick it up a notch. Bam!
What’s Cookin' in the AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 SE?
The 2013 Section Editor got many tune ups and interface improvements. Things look almost like everything is the same as AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012. Mostly it is, but everything works together better. If you were a corridor wiz in the previous release your skills apply and some previously frustrating stuff disappeared. Yeah!
All the horizontal (Alignment) and vertical (Profile) control tools got deeper in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 as well. To get things set from multiple Intersections for the creation of a complex Corridor got easier and faster. You might want to check out this post about the Magic Button and the Intersection Wizard.
I do get all hot in August about Intersections.
Let’s get back to the 2013 Section Editor updates and tweaks.
View and Edit Options
The View and Edit Options for the Section Editor are a little different between 2012 and 2013. They are deeper. 2012 is on the left and the more of 2013 is on the right. On your smartphone that of course may not apply.
Since the 2012-2013 SE upgrade you have more immediate control of some key options like a percentage Text Height of the Elevation and Offset labels of the Section Editors grid.
You can dynamically resize them when necessary.
Control the Displayed Precision
The displayed grid text precision values are still controlled by the Section Editor's View and Edit Command Settings. These will probably be an override of your typical Distance and Elevation settings.
You can even adjust these while the Section Editor is live. Ain't modal cool.
Come on guys this should be in the View and Edit Options box too.
The 2013 Section Editor’s grid is now also adaptive and has a new Major Line Every property. An Adaptive grid will get rid of unnecessary grid lines and reduce the visual clutter you have to deal with. Me Like. I still think more tune up work could be done.
The display of old and new Civil 3D Features like Railway Alignments, Pressure Pipes, etc inside the Section Editor can also be controlled by the Display Object list.
I wish for an All Off and All On button in the Display Objects list.
Can I dream of future by Named Feature selections? I won’t hold my breath.
You Missed This?
Speaking of clutter, you might want remind yourself that your current Annotative Scale applies to the Section Editor viewport. Too many or too big/small labels in Section views can be easily adjusted by changing it. You can do this on the fly too.
I do Annotative Scale, Style, and Set changes more than I’d like to admit everywhere in Civil 3D. Good Style collections like the ones in InstantOn Basic have pampered me.
Get what you need to see now faster than ever.
2013 Baseline and Region Hops
Station and Region Hops
Both 2012 and Civil 3D 2013 have better and faster ways to get to the right Section by Baseline, Region or Station.
In the bowl of spaghetti and meatballs of Baselines and Regions in a complex Corridor made from multiple Intersections this can be really helpful. It can maybe be a little too easy to overlook.
The Next and Previous Region buttons I use a lot.
What YOU expect the next Region to be may NOT be what Civil 3D evaluates as the next Region.
Blame the Names
The Civil 3D evaluation is about A…B…C as well as proximity down and around the corridor.
Hint - watch the Baseline list while you hop regions.
Double hint- how you NAME your Baselines (really every corridor collected Feature) matters more than a lot in a multi-Baseline Corridor.
Accepting Civil 3D default name templates may NOT be what you want to do.
Plan ahead and/or rename to the plan.
Pick Your Poison
The 2013 Section Editor added a new pick list that is designed to limit the list of displayed stations in the Station Selection pick list.
For upgraded drawings the Region limiter doesn’t always appear to me to work as advertised.
For drawings with corridors built in 2013 the Region Stations limiter does appear to work.
Maybe the poor behavior has something to do with differences between the old Station based or new Geometry based default Alignment definitions that underpin the Baselines. You tell me.
The last Out of Regions limiter is unexpectedly cool - a good corridor QA detail tool.
What sections did I (or Civil 3D) miss in readjusting the corridor regions?
Be aware Civil 3D does not remember the last Station list limiter between sessions or on Baseline hops any more than it remembers the last Baseline you “edited”.
Now that might be handy.
Inquire Me Please
It’s way too easy to forget the Civil 3D Feature Inquiry Tool over at the far left of the Section Editor ribbon.
Given key labels from the Code Set(s) you still may need more feedback about the specific details in a Section.
No one and nothing is keeping you from Inquiries about any other Civil 3D Features from deep inside the Section Editor. Yes and these do include things like Surfaces, Corridor Surfaces, all the Baseline info, and more. Modal programming is just more useful.
I do wish we could tune the Inquiry palette box with some preferences along the lines of the Qmode box. Some of the info here is just noise sometimes.
I’d at least put the option and results at the top and the more basic informational details lower down.
I, for one, would use Property palette tool to find out the Style of something especially since I can’t even change it inside the Inquiry tool anyway.
Can I Edit a Section Yet?
Some of you might note that I've avoided the actual edit tools of the Section Editor ribbon in this and recent posts.
Frankly, those jiucy bits of the SE are worth posts of their own. They also haven't changed much.
For a host of reasons I advocate delaying and/or not doing Individual or by Range Section Edits as long as possible.
There's always a trade off between Section Edits by Range and Corridor Region count.
There are lots more horizontal and vertical control options available to us as well.
I usually perfer a By Feature edit approach rather than By Section edits.
Basically these "control parts" are all replacable inside a corridor - albiet with work and care.
The Section Edits are harder to maintain.
AutoCAD Civil 3D unquestionably favors the top down Feature driven approach.
This is especially applies in complex corridors that must be managed more thoughtfully.
A Word of Warning
AutoCAD Civil 3D will happily save your drawing in the Section Editor state. However, when a user later reopens the saved drawing they aren’t in the Section Editor interface at all. They are in the last viewport configuration.
Are You Experienced?
No big deal, but the result can be pretty disconcerting to some.
I’ve also heard a few rumbles about issues with drawings left in this state.
I suspect most of them really involve recovery issues from crashes inside the Section Editor interface.
Honestly, I beat the snot out of the SE and I almost never crash since the big upgrade.
I also probably habitually avoid the crash generating actions almost automatically at this point.
Until your experience level is higher, I’d make sure you’re out of the Section Editor and have the drawing returned to “normal” before you do the final…