Identity By Color in Civil 3D

Tags CAD Standards, color, rules, Layer Standards, Layer Manager, layer state, productivity

Does the color of anything in AutoCAD Civil 3D matter? You bet. Color is fascinating if you’re a neuroscience geek like me. Color affects all of us. If you’re personally stuck in the old .CTB mindset to produce work. You must be fixated on it. I could prove that CTB color obsession occupies an inordinate part of your CAD workday. You wouldn’t believe me. STB gives us a lot more liberty to employ color for identification and quality control. We all wish that solved all the challenges. It would be great to…

Break the Color Barrier

The Framework for AutoCAD Civil 3D employs a sophisticated rule-based color system. This innovation helps manage identity relationships between Keys and the resolved properties of Layers and the Civil 3D components in Civil 3D Styles. Those simple rules comply with recognized industry standards. They are consistent, robust, and adaptive.

Consistent color identity behavior is mission critical in complex, model-based software. As we all know, Civil 3D users have a lot more to keep track of. That can be overwhelming and counter-productive. The complexity can be managed. The Framework does that.

Dave? Do our Civil3D Templates and Styles Do That?

Unquestionably, all of that intertwined detail is one of the big issues Civil 3D users and organizations struggle with. This quietly steals productive time out of every Civil 3D user’s day. It certainly erodes capability, skill development, and reduces competitive options. Of course, when the crap hits the fan it can make publication a real problem. CAD is quintessentially visual. It makes sense to build rules around what users in the actual world of civil projects experience.

“I was stunned when I first used the templates...
My experience in Civil 3D had always been painful and frustrating. I was constantly fiddling with styles to get things to plot the way I needed. It’s become a pleasure. Thank you.”

Managed Color Identity in our Civil 3D Style Tools significantly benefits Civil 3D user daily productivity. The user can concern themselves with the civil engineering and survey data not the tedious nuances of how Civil 3D representations display and publish. The difference between poor or merely adequate visual tools and great Style tools matters.
Get Templates Only. You can see and experience the difference.

Oh What a Relief It Is

“You told me on the phone that I wouldn’t need to use the Layer Manager much at all. Being new to Civil 3D and a long-time LDT user, I didn’t believe you. Your Survey templates made the whole style thing in Civil 3D make some sort of sense. I’m still learning the ropes in Civil 3D. I have a long way to go, but you were right. I’m a fan. I almost never touch the Layer Manager or worry about whether my work will actually print.”
“The people in my new company use Civil 3D like it was Land Desktop. They had real crappy templates someone made in 2010. People just change stuff into whatever they think they need. It is crazy. I’d used your templates and styles in my previous company. I managed to talk to talk my new boss into your templates when he saw the amount of work I got done. I hope my fellow workers finally see the light. Wish me luck.”

The customer who said that asked if I had a list of the colors we employed in the products. I recently published the list of Utility colors in this post. Then I realized it would help to put some common names to the color ranges of AutoCAD ACI numbers. Silly me. I even talk about using color themes for identification and quality control purposes in our customization documentation.
I think about them as named ranges of shade. I’d never bothered to publish the list. No one ever asked before.

Color Freedom Matters

These things are now documented separately along with the Layer Standard Tools in which Key to color specific details are built-in and fully documented for all our Production Solution customers.
Our Spreadsheet Tools for the Framework even allow you to reestablish your own preferences for those relationships between Keys, color, lineweight, etc. Truth be told most of our customers love what we do out of the box anyway.

Register and check out the detailed help and training for AutoCAD Civil 3D. Like our templates it works.

Shades of Color Names

Technically, there are many formal names for many RGB colors. These color names actually vary by the formal palette we are talking about. Honestly, they are large websites and many books on this topic. The formal named palettes and their colors are not actually our problem unless we are going to render out work to a print shop – a whole different scene if you know what I mean.

For us AutoCAD and Civil 3D users some simple rules of thumb are probably better. KISS

Color Range Named Themes

The table is provided to help identify typical color shade ranges by a set of typical theme names.

For Release 5 and Release 6 customers you'll notice some upcoming changes for Release 7.
These were made for STB to CTB conversions. OMG!

  • Styles in Styles library collections may refer to the list named themes for convience.
  • Even numbered ACI color ranges are named to keep the list of themes simple.
  • Odd numbered ACI color ranges are or may be employed in the Layer System and Styles.
  • Colors are applied by Keys in the Layer Standards Tools on the NewKeys sheet
    Precedence values are employed to calculate resolved Layer colors and properties for combinations of Keys
  • See the Subassemblies Code Tool for forced colors in General Feature Line, Marker, Link, Shape Styles.
    These and other Styles that employ forces colors are matched and relative to Layer Standards Key colors above.
  • See the Last Digit Rule in Layer Standards Tools documenation for lineweight, plot, and lineweight properties.
  • ACI color ranges that are swapped by default for screen background differences are listed here

ACI Range

Theme

Swap ACI

Swap Theme

Comments

1-9

AutoCAD

-

-

Not Used

10-19

Reds

-

-

Not Used

20-24

Browns

-

-

-

30-34

-

-

-

-

40-44

Yellows

-

-

-

50-54

-

150-154

-

Swapped

60-64

Limes

160-164

Blues

Swapped

70-74

-

170-174

-

Swapped

80-84

Greens

180-184

Purples

Swapped

90-94

-

-

-

-

100-104

PaleGreens

-

-

-

110-114

-

-

-

-

120-124

Cyans

-

-

-

130-134

-

-

-

-

140-144

PaleBlues

-

-

-

150-154

-

50-54

-

Swapped

160-164

Blues

60-64

Limes

Swapped

170-174

-

70-74

-

Swapped

180-184

Purples

80-84

Greens

Swapped

190-194

-

-

-

-

200-204

PalePurples

-

-

-

210-214

-

-

-

-

220-224

Pinks

-

-

-

230-234

-

-

-

-

240-249

Reserved

-

-

% Screens

250-255

Reserved

-

-

50% Screens