The Civil 3D Segment Elemental is Worthy of Pursuit

Tags grading, feature line, surface, wish, Civil 3D 2021, corridor, segment, node, video

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The goal to significantly reduce those considerable man-hours we invest in the common Civil 3D civil engineering grading problems and tasks is certainly is worthy of pursuit. It is what we do. The work pays or it doesn’t. The boss knows that and demands the work had better pay.

Autodesk is working hard at the faster, better, grading challenges on a number of simultaneous fronts. I often argue that we don’t get exactly what we need from Autodesk Futures projects because we ask based on our CAD viewpoints, CAD workflows, and old school CAD design heuristics.

Maybe you noticed? We all tend to beg for more of what got us into to trouble in the first place.

Autodesk third party developers are also hard at work building new creative innovations for Autodesk Civil 3D as we shall see.

Can you hear me laughing? I’m laughing with you not at you. Money seems to vanish and flow downhill. Money is like water or all that other nasty stuff people don’t like to talk about.

The latest Release 8 Framework for Civil 3D 2021 includes some deeper new Style tools and annotative content resources focused on the same. An increased Freedom to Work in Civil 3D is the fundamental goal behind all the Framework for Civil 3D Managed System products.

Our Civil 3D corporate and user skills, better Code, and better Content resources are all required to make Civil 3D sing and dance if we desire…

Improved Civil 3D Grading Futures

I began this series of Civil 3D Futures posts with a Wish List call for Civil 3D Optimization Styles and not a rash of new specialized, wanna-be Civil 3D grading Features in the Toolspace. See the Civil 3D Future Design and Optimization Styles post.

The Problem is Elemental

We need more powerful, elemental Civil 3D Features not more Civil 3D Features and more specialized commands to deal with them.
How many more specialized Ribbon menus and icons do you want to deal with?
As a Civil 3D Style management geek, I am personally disgusted with the need to keep book on the inconsistent Style behaviors between Civil 3D Styles on a Feature by Feature basis.
My many serious CAD Manager customers would all agree.
Stop stealing our workdays. Please. We have better things to do.

Don’t get my wrong. I believe Autodesk is trying to be responsive like never before. True. Their jobs probably depend on it like never before. Me too. You too.

The discussion and arguments in the Holes Segments and Nodes in Civil 3D post hopefully clarified the issues that working without new elemental Features cripples everyone’s efforts in Civil 3D. Our civil engineering and survey geometry problems cannot all be solved by only Euclid’s ACAD primitives.

We talk about whole Alignments, Profiles, Feature Lines, Pipe runs, and Figures when what we are actually dealing with are collections of elemental Segments and Nodes and not the wholes.

I asked the tongue in cheek question…

“Will Feature Lines grow up to be a topology someday? I hope so. Eheh.
Ok. I am pulling your leg a bit…
A managed topology of related Features Lines (and/or Alignment and Profile Baseline pairs) turns out to be a pretty useful Civil 3D design tool that already exists in Civil 3D.”

What do you know? If you think about Feature Line collections like Civil 3D Corridors, you get something like this recent video that you do need to watch.

Speaking of the Devil


AutoGrader for Civil 3D

Brian Levendowski of CTC Software demos the new AutoGrader Tools grading workflows for residential development projects.
See the CTC Software YouTube Channel.

The new AutoGrader tool for CTC Software's Civil 3D CIM Suite attacks collected and managed kinds Features Lines as family types in Civil 3D. Brian also uses the Revit Family name somewhat in vain.
Whew! I am in the clear. Family speak won’t deem me to be politically incorrect.

We Have to Ask

When and how does a topology of Civil 3D Feature Lines differ from the resultant Surface model topology?
Yes. The order of entrance into the Surface Model is going to matter.
Surface Build properties matter.
The resolved Site Priority property of the Feature Lines makes all the difference.

There is More to It than That

It is important to note that this AutoGrader code design approach works because of the tool’s focus on the managed and applied Segment and Node property definitions in the Feature Lines. Say What?
Go back and watch the video again.
Note the special care that is needed to deal with the potential properties of the Feature Line Segments.

Does the Segment-based applications of these AutoGrader family definitions differ much from simple PKT files and/or collected Subassemblies in an Assembly in a Corridor? Grading objects driven by Assembly Sets always made more sense to me. I said so.

Will AutoGrader work from referenced Feature Lines from DREF Corridors? Probably.

Corridor Resolution Optimization

I will point out that applied and/or resolved Corridor Frequencies in those circumstances are going to be an important new managed property. I hope to make the point here that a set of Frequency definitions is a form of named Optimization Style and should be separate from the Corridor model itself.

Style can and does manage Civil 3D Feature behavior.

Put another way…Corridor Surface resolutions require different Frequency Sets and States for both reporting and annotative tools in Civil 3D production environments.

Don’t miss the vital point that elemental Segment and Node Features coupled with Optimization Styles and Settings are essential for Civil 3D to become less cumbersome and more adaptive. These are required for more complex and detailed collections of managed Civil 3D Features to be possible and therefore be both more interactive and responsive.

Meanwhile back at the shack - Segment and Node think is mandatory for everyone’s future in Civil 3D.

The Geometry of Systems

I previous mentioned Leibniz’s famous Geometry of Position and Euler’s game changing Seven Bridges take on those other forms of geometry that we all must deal with in our projects. We all are challenged to get our heads around these mission critical and fundamental geometry differences.

We need elemental Segment and Node Civil 3D Feature support for what we might call these days the…
Geometry of Systems.

Autodesk is unlikely to hop right on this. They have their current priorities.
God forbid they listen to me. I’m a crazy person.
I asked for non-linear interpolation resolution tools in AutoCAD before Civil 3D was born.
By that I meant that linear interpolation method based on ACAD primitives is not the only game in town.
The practical and functional math is out there. Ok. Maybe it’s already in there?

The Tactical and Practical Application in Civil 3D

How you think about and how you work with the Segments and Nodes and not the Wholes will still make all the difference in your production performance in Civil 3D.

Sorry. I can’t and/or won’t apologize for another Segment focused post even though I promised to get to the mind-numbing complexity of Node elementals.
It just made sense to clarify matters with such a great and current example.

Thanks to CTC Software and Quux Software for making more work possible with Civil 3D every day and in every project.

More next time on the need for a Node elemental in Civil 3D Futures.

The Innovation Beyond the Code
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8


The Civil 3D Futures Posts

The Civil 3D Segment Elemental is Worthy of Pursuit

  • New clear practical examples of faster Civil 3D grading - Why Node and Segment Features in Civil 3D matter

Holes Segments and Nodes in Civil 3D

    Why civil engineering project realities require more forms of geometry and Node and Segment Features in Civil 3D

Civil 3D Future Design and Optimization Styles

    The future of Civil 3D user productivity, optimization, and optionality prove the need for Optimization Style in Civil 3D

The Most Important Feature in Civil 3D

    What is the most important Civil 3D Feature for our Civil 3D project production work