Extra Civil 3D From the Less Than Perfect

Tags pipe network, pressure pipe, pipes, utility, publish on demand, Style, Label Style

People call me up and ask important things to them like,

“How many Pipe Label Styles does your product include?”

“Ah…Let’s see. Civil 3D Gravity Pipe systems are really well covered. I lost count. Then again, for example and as a matter of perspective, there are even 360 Pressure Pipe Labels Styles alone supplied in the Framework. They cover every type of infrastructure utility system you can think of and probably some things you don’t consider typical pipe utilities. We do both wet and dry utility systems. Trust me. After over a decade of Framework development and feedback from real world users, it’s in there. The Overviews videos show this.”

The Forest Gump and the Trees

“What? Pressure Pipes in AutoCAD Civil 3D sucks. You cannot even do simple landscape or subdivision water system design with the D*&*$% thing. It’s totally useless crap.”

“Yep. I sort of agree with you at one level. The idea of a water systems design product that cannot recognize and shift between system types is indeed pretty stupid. Maybe Autodesk will someday get around to fixing that. The Autodesk product manager said recently that they’re working on a better Part Builder based on Inventor. That has nothing to do with the library and system type change problems of course. We’ll see.

But I think maybe my caller missed the point. The number of Style Tools in the Framework exceeds your needs. More importantly, we all tend to get functionally fixed when it comes to tools. That is normal human behavior. We can miss the useful capabilities right there in front of us. Civil 3D Pressure Systems are a case in point.”

A Box of Chocolates

Why would we bother to supply 360 Pressure Pipe Label Styles in the Framework?

Systems matter. Frankly, because of the way Civil 3D is designed and works the software doesn’t give a hoot about what you call it. Whatever the it is.

The diva that is Civil 3D is very robust about keeping collections in integrated Systems together. She can’t help herself. We can all probably agree the diva is good a hurling out the annotative details from the model too. Our task is to manage her if we want to produce deliverable hits.

Better, more useful, and more productive Style Tools are our only hope. I said as much in Key Based Site Design in Civil 3D. Utilities are just another set of design Keys, aren’t they? We supply all the Civil 3D parts and pieces to make this work without undo user effort. Amazing.

I don’t expect regular Civil 3D users to waste their time figuring out how to get Civil 3D to do the work in innovative ways. No one has the time to waste doing that. We can change water systems into street light electrical conduit systems with some thoughtful Style Tool design. Shouldn't they work in sections? Users need complete and robust systems. We do that in somewhat unexpected ways. Civil 3D Pressure Systems are an interesting case in point.

The State of Label

Old school CAD technology forced us to think our drawing is what we publish. Get it right and leave it alone. To shepherd hundreds to thousands of Text and Mtext objects around is painful and man-hour expensive in practice. In the old days we only had layer management and CAD tools to do the work. We published the drawing we produced. In AutoCAD Civil 3D we don’t do that anymore for good reasons.

Data Behind and Publish On Demand

If we think and act old school like that in Civil 3D, we might forsake or simply ignore the benefit of having systems with replaceable and dynamic Style and Label Styles. Ouch. Not Me.
Style change skill is mandatory and can be very  productive.
AutoCAD Civil 3D is built to:

  • Increase the civil design speed and control
  • Improve our design and publish quality control capabilities
  • And, at the same time, also reduce our annotative man-hour burden

See the Less than Perfect Differently

If those three things aren’t happening around you today, the good news is they can.

After a while using Civil 3D we all tend to fixate on a few commonly useful version of any Styles or Label Styles.
I do. Do you do too? Odds are your current Civil 3D template has only those things.
Unless we make Label Styles for a specific Feature or have a set of power tools like our Production Solution products with a rich Set of Feature Styles and Label Styles all set up for you, we can miss the Style productivity boost that’s possible here.

We need to work smarter not harder to get paid.
The right information at the right time pays. 

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