Productivity is all about our time. In AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018 we get both a new DWG format and a new deeper Feature definition of Civil 3D’s powerful Design Control Manager – the Alignment.
The Civil 3D 2018 Alignment and the surrounding design paradigm definitely got an upgrade. Our exploration of the updated 2018 Alignment Feature and the new possible mechanics will certainly take more than one post. There’s a lot to talk about.
Will we think or blink? Some of the nuance will require that we put on our thinking caps. No surprise to us out here in Civil 3D Land.
An Unbridled Alignment
If Wishes Were Horses
“I want fast ramps, merge lanes, better control between alignments. Why can’t Civil 3D do that?”
The 2018 Alignment upgrade certainly answers historical sales objections for those who design and manage more complex arterial intersections and highway interchanges. Intersections of any kind get easier. Admittedly, the new tools are based on classic linear road design thinking. The tools are also extensions to pre-existing Civil 3D behaviors and methods. For those of us wishing for formal Lane model objects and the like, the wait continues. I’m not complaining. Just wishing for better, non-linear, and managed design solutions.
The 2018 Alignment Property box is stuffed to the gills with new potential tabs. The Type of Alignment you select still determines the Alignment Property tabs you get. Most of the Alignment Property tabs are familiar to long time Civil 3D users. There are new expressed relationships between Alignments, Offset Alignments, Curb Returns, Profiles, Profile Views and (the new for 2018) Connected Alignment. Nah. I didn’t forgot the Rail Alignment tab.
The Good News. From a user perspective this means a bit less bouncing around inside the Civil 3D Toolspace interface to get at what you need. The only slightly bad news…There are new Offset Profile features in Civil 3D 2018 too. Sadly, there is no new Offset Profiles tab or access to them from the parent Alignment. The new slope-controlled Offset Profile properties and regions are over in the parent Profile Property tabs. More on the important usages of Offset Profiles in another post.
Needless to say, there are new Civil 3D Alignment Ribbon tools and tool access in the Right Click menus to look for and learn.
Speaking of horses...
Let’s ramp back up to the Beef (cad I say…Wellington?). Cute.
I know…He’s the wrong misquoted general, but you still got to love the historical and foody allusions.
Enter The Connected Alignment
If you’ve become a Civil 3D Intersection Wizard in the past, you bet on the right horse. The basic concepts and behavior of 2018 Connected Alignments make a lot of intersection sense.
The Connected Alignment essentially individualizes previous release Intersection behavior and construction methods to a single pair of intersecting alignment|profile pairs. Please, don’t miss that intersecting condition or the need for a naming plan.
A Brief Overview Demo of Connected Alignments
Road design folks have asked for this ability in Civil 3D for way too long. We can expect a ton of public web videos on the basic mechanics of that. It is a pretty basic point and shoot connect from this to that operation.
The design details of a change from one Alignment and a Profile control system to another can now be specified. Yes. There is a big difference between a dynamic and a static Connected Alignment connection.
Thankfully, you can still restrain yourself a bit and do the horizontal control apart from the vertical control.
“What? Why would I do that?”
If you do subdivision design work, please don’t dismiss the Connected Alignment as only a new road design tool. This is like the fabricated belief the Civil 3D Intersection is just for roadways and corridors. Say What?
More than Better Roads
You employ Alignments in your Parcel construction workflow? You should. You are going to benefit even more in 2018. Isn’t that Right of Way typically an offset from that design alignment? Now how skilled are you at Widening construction and edits? Ok. Never mind. Stay old school; draw it in AutoCAD; and work harder. Just sayin’.
Do pay careful attention to your new tool use. Is individual Connected Alignment control really required? A classic Civil 3D group of Intersections may still be the better design control solution to your road/parcel design problem. You have to know my infamous Stop That Intersection trick (that I first showed off years ago at AU) to make that real. The individualized control of Connected Alignments must be individually managed and maintained.
Autodesk? Isn’t a Group of Connected Alignments a collected Intersection that I might want to manage together? Maybe next time.
Improved Alignment iPOD
Civil 3D iPOD (Intelligent Publish on Demand) plan set publication relies on the Alignment. You know that. In 2018 you are now allowed and can manage multiple Plan and Profile viewports on a single Layout from a Plan and Profile publication template in the Plan Production tool.
Plan Production Tool 2018 Improvements
Civil 3D viewports have a new Viewport Order property that allows you to assign the next order of station ranges assigned to multiple viewports in a single Layout be they plan or profile typed viewports.
Finally, we don’t have to generate a ton of extra sheets and edit copy paste to produce intersection snapshots and the like.