Civil 3D Updates and Object Model Changes

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It is no great secret that the Autodesk Civil 3D dev team is no longer making Civil 3D Object Model changes primarily in the new numbered year Releases. Say what? Maybe, you missed that? You can’t blame them. They apparently have enough other things to deal with in those new releases each year. We all get that. Civil 3D sits atop both Map 3D Toolset and the core AutoCAD engine.

Frankly, these days there is a lot less integration on top of Map 3D engine except the coordinate systems functionality. That we could argue, should be in core AutoCAD anyway. Map 3D queries could probably support queries of attached drawing Civil 3D Features, but they don’t.

Don’t worry. This undocumented feature disappeared from Civil 3D ages ago. I guess it was deemed too darned scary. This potential query data behind wild side is not too different from DREF functionality in any case. Given the ERSI and Autodesk interop efforts, it will be interesting where this sort of thing goes with parcels and other area topologies in the future.

Civil 3D Updates and Object Model Changes

These days the Civil 3D Object Model and Civil 3D Style changes are made in the Civil 3D Updates.

These Object Model Style changes now also roll back into prior releases via the Updates to older releases. In other words, a Civil 3D 2019.3 Update contains new Civil 3D object model Style improvements and code fixes from the Civil 3D 2020.1 Update development effort.

Civil 3D Object Model changes allow Autodesk to add new Style functionality to multiple Civil 3D releases and even update many identified problems in the code.

If you have an older version of the Framework for Civil 3D, you can get an affordable upgrade to 2020 and even employ the new Styles even in older versions of Civil 3D back to 2018. Imagine that? Often this matters in longer term projects and sometimes it doesn’t.

Do you have some skill Updating projects and the drawings? You do employ the Civil 3D Batch Save Utility? Good stuff that takes only a little work and experience to put to work.

The Good News

There is much better and consistent Civil 3D Style and code behavior between the latest three releases of Civil 3D.
Styles upgraded in 2020.1 work fine back to Civil 3D 2018 with the Updates installed.

The Styles will work as advertised provided you built them well according to the rules and install the Updates in both releases.
Ok. All the Style construction rules are not all exactly well-documented.
More on that in a bit…

The new shared Object Model does not mean you get all the new Civil 3D 2020.1 interface improvements and functionality in 2019.3 for example. You just get the new object model Style behaviors and other code fixes. You might also get new Style Settings too, which you might not expect.

The Bad News

Sometimes we get unexpected consequences when these Object Model and code changes do occur in these cascaded Updates. The Autodesk Civil 3D Futures site is a good place to check for these if you find yourself in a typical hair-pulling day.

For example. The Reference Template update code got more sensitive to what you have set in the TREF Settings in the recent rounds of Updates. For Drawing type Settings there should be only one.

I have nothing better to do. I probably find the nuanced Style “issues” more often than I like. Put another way, I’m sure at some levels the Autodesk Civil group Program Managers dred my emails. I would.

I do try to confine my criticisms to substantive ones that affect lots of Civil 3D users and Framework for Civil 3D customers. I do try to be constructive and proactive about potential solutions as well. I expect most of my emails end up in the virtual circular file. Maybe some for good reasons.

Label Style Upgrade Stability

There are certain Label Style Update issues that come and go in Civil 3D. These get fixed and then get broken again. Sometimes break yet again.

Your fully functional Label Style works fine and then an Update and Object Model change (that appears completely unrelated) breaks one or more Label Styles. Arrrgh. You know the drill.
Style Property values sometimes do change for seemingly no reason at all.
For reasons that are not worth going into, many of these historically relate to Line components tied to Anchor points. End properties become Start properties or vice versa.

What They Don’t Tell You

The stability of any Label Style is directly connected to the geometry structure of the Label Style. Connecting your finger to your nose instead of your hand can be a problem. Sadly, some supplied example Labels Styles are not built all that well.

The Component Draw Order of a Label Style is also more important to maintain than we’d all like and/or assume.

Label Style collections that have child Styles of Child Styles can also be more problematic than simple Parent and Child collection structures.

Understanding honoring and the levels of the LSD (Label Style Default) hierarchy is also important. At the Civil 3D Feature and Type levels, the LSD helps you manage the Label Style Parents and the dependent children better.
Ignoring the issues of LSD can create a bad trip at Civil 3D Update or upgrade time.

We could go on for pages of posts about Label Style mechanics, details, and mechanics. The most important point…

We Need Label Styles that Work and Update Well

The Framework for Civil 3D supports literally thousands of Label Styles that Upgrade and Update fine across multiple Releases and Updates to Civil 3D.

We learned to do this in-depth and detailed level of Label Style construction the hard way. You don’t have to pull your hair out a couple of times a year. Maybe the hair pulling Style consistency problems happen all the time? This still happens out there or I wouldn’t eat.

You can benefit from that hard-won skill and experience even if you don’t employ the Framework for Civil 3D for reasons of your own. If it floats your boat, a little bit Crazy is ok by me.

You can get a copy of Templates Only for the price of a song. This will get you great stable Label Style geometry examples for everything under the sun in Civil 3D. Who knew?

Obviously, Jump Kit, which includes the entire Framework for Civil 3D gets you even more – a lot more. Our Release 7 and Release 8 products already run better than great in all the current releases and Updates to Civil 3D. In three words the Framework is – robust, consistent, and adaptive.

Our upcoming builds for Civil 3D 2020.1 will improve a lot more than a couple of recent Civil 3D object model and Style changes. Why? We all need more to the work done.

Everyone wants to be better able to produce more kinds of varied types of project work in Civil 3D with less effort and fewer hassles. Don’t you?

We Make Civil 3D Work
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8


Civil 3D Data References and the Object Model Posts

How To Be Ready When Civil 3D Changes

  • Proactive and practical steps to take to make Civil 3D Upgrades and Updates easier

Civil 3D Updates and Object Model Changes

  • How Changes to the Object Model effect Label Styles and Civil 3D Upgrades and Civil 3D Updates

Civil 3D Styleless Data References

  • Why and How Styleless Data References make Civil 3D work better and reduce Upgrade and Update hassles

Civil 3D Styleless DREF Mechanics

  • The Civil 3D Styleless Data References workflow mechanics in detail and the benefits of its usage in Civil 3D projects

Surface Data References and Civil 3D

  • Civil 3D Surface mechanics and methods for better project Data References in detail

Civil 3D TREF Styles and Local Styles

  • Both Reference Template Style collections and Local Styles work together in Civil 3D projects and maintenance