The Draw Order Demon and Civil 3D

Tags block, symbol, Symbol Set, Upgrade, Reference Template, customization, Draw Order, Display Order

You do it. I do it. Most of us do it in Civil 3D. We employ no plot solid hatches as masking devices in our blocks to make the output we want to produce work when we publish. Put another way, we want our white space in the right place for a bunch of readability reasons.

Note to self.
Please resist the temptation to turn we want our white space in the right place into political humor.
How does anyone teach basic graphics principals anymore?

In the current classic contexts of drawing, XREFs, etc and in the AutoCAD 2013 and 2018 dwg object models Autodesk has sorted out past failures of Display Order settings for the most part.

If you employ an older release of AutoCAD or Civil 3D, you may still deal with evil manifestations of the unresolved conflict between Draw Order and Display Order in block and drawing content.

The Return of the Dark Lord

Nah. Not really. But the details and hassles can make you look like a hairless cat or an orc oh so quickly. Sort of like a sharp sword in the eye if you catch my drift.

A couple of Framework customers who are working on Reference Template implementations with their own older block libraries discovered that the Reference Template Tools import of AutoCAD Blocks does not appear to honor the Display Order property in block content.

If you haven’t explored the Reference Template tools, you should. This issue is no reason not to.

After I explained what’s going on and how to fix it one fella named this…

The Draw Order Demon

You gotta love that.

When we put a name to the nasties that come back to haunt us, it helps us remember the fix. Good luck searching on AKN about Draw Order issues with blocks even if you know what the real issue is.

My educated guess is the Civil 3D programming group employs the AutoCAD API to check the blocks for changes and only reads the initial block table. In other words, the actual Draw Order or technically the creation order of the block. The Reference Template Tool seems to ignore any Display Order property changes made to the block. Those details are held separately.

For the time being the fix is simple – correct the Draw Order of the mask or other similar graphic order problems in the block resource and the issue will go away.

Thanks for the Memories

The Framework for Civil 3D supplied block resources in the Symbol Set have been through the wringer of lots of AutoCAD and Civil 3D Releases, Updates, and Service packs. We put to death the Draw Order Demon in our content ages ago. Honestly, the Draw Order Demon has come and gone more than once by my recollection. Pay no attention to the twitch.

Can block conversions and edits for a Civil 3D upgrade cause PTSD?

The recent Symbol Set Construction in Civil 3D post poses some other related challenges and some practical solutions for Civil 3D symbol upgrades.

Release the Power Beyond the Code
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8