Who Wants to Compete?

Graitec USA’s (formerly Total CAD Systems) 2018 Product Release/Roll-out Event is approaching for this year.

We want to hold an InfraWorks 360 design slam.

In order for this to happen, I need at least 3 candidates to sign up for it. Make sure you will be able to attend before you sign up.

Yours truly, Civil 3DJ, will be DJ-ing the design slam!

Please contact me at todd.rogers@graitec.com to sign up for the InfraWorks 360 Design Slam.

There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Autodesk Prerequisite Checker

Autodesk released this today…

Using the Autodesk Prerequisite Checker

At times it can be difficult to know if your computer is capable of running a particular Autodesk software product, even when presented with the published prerequisites. The Autodesk Prerequisite Checker analyzes the hardware and software environment of your computer and provides an output to let you know if you will be able to install and run a particular Autodesk product, or if you might run into difficulty. 

To Install the Prerequisite Checker:

  1. Download the installation executable from the following link: Download Prerequisite Checker. (This tool can be downloaded on a windows operating system)
  2. Double-click the executable file and click the “Install” button.
  3. Accept the license agreement and click “Next.”
  4. Click the “Install” button. The installation should complete in 1 minute or less.
  5. Click “Finish” when complete.

To use the Prerequisite Checker:

  1. If the software does not launch automatically, the launcher can be found in the Windows Start menu under All Programs > Autodesk > Diagnostic Utilities — or simply search for “Autodesk Prerequisite Checker.” 
  2. Once launched, the software takes a moment to initialize and analyze your system.

No information about your system will be transmitted. This process simply compares your environment versus the requirements of the product.

  1. When this process is complete, a window is displayed.

First select the product year (such as 2017 or 2016) and then select the product (for example, “Autodesk AutoCAD 64-bit”).

A results page based on your system analysis and the program’s minimum and recommended requirements is displayed. 

Results Meanings:

“Congratulations! No issues found which will block installation or cause significant negative impact to running this application”:
This output means your system meets the minimum and recommended requirements for your the software you selected.
Warnings for installation (Yellow highlight):
This error means something was found on your system that meets the minimum requirement but not the recommended requirement for the Autodesk software. Details are provided in the error description. Typically this type of error indicates you may sometimes experience performance issues when running the software.  
Errors for installation (Orange Highlight):
This error means that something on your system does not meet the minimum requirement for the Autodesk software. Details are provided in the error description. Typically this type of error indicates you will experience performance issues such as latency when running the software—or you may not be able to run the software at all.  
Blocking Issue (Red Highlight):
This error means your system environment has an incompatibility that will prevent you from installing the selected software. Details are provided in the error description. 

Notes:
Multiple Display adapters: Many systems are equipped with multiple video cards. The Prerequisite Checker will identify all video cards and displays on your system. Your results may indicate that one video card meets requirements and one does not. If this is the case, make sure your drivers are configured so that the Autodesk software launches using the card that meets the requirements.
Multi Core Processors:  For some systems with 8- and 16-core processors, advances in Multicore processors and hyper-threading may allow your processor to run the Autodesk software without limitations, even if your processor appears to have a Clock speed that does not meet a software requirement.

Civil 3D to Stingray

As promised from last week, I am taking a Civil project and bringing it in to Autodesk’s Stingray, which is a gaming engine. This is a pretty neat workflow. A big thanks to Andy Carter with CivilE for showing me this workflow.

Hopefully you will get a lot out of this and maybe start using it. I have shown how to use a vehicle in the scene. You can also use the standard person to use in your scene as an alternative.

See video below…

InfraWorks 360 to Lumion

If you want an extremely realistic scene, you can bring your InfraWorks model into Lumion. These two programs play very well together.  The workflow is rather simple.

First, you export your InfraWorks 360 model out to an .fbx file.  Second, import it into 3ds Max. Once in Max, there are only a couple of things you need to do. The most important (and time consuming) is to rename all the models material. This isn’t so much important when working with Lumion as it is important for bringing into Stingray (a future tutorial).

Finally, you will export your file back out as an .fbx. Make sure not to overwrite the .fbx from InfraWorks. Once it’s exported out of Max, it will create an extra folder (for the materials) and a .pos file.  Import the new .fbx file into Lumion and start assigning some REAL textures to your model.

See the tutorial below…

How to Place the Built-In Bing Imagery in Surface Coordinates

I had a customer call yesterday wanting to place an aerial image into the drawing. After logging into his machine and showing them how to use the built-in Bing imagery, I noticed that his drawing was in surface coordinates. The Bing imagery is in grid coordinates. If you have every tried to scale the imagery, then you have noticed it doesn’t work.

We came up with a workaround that seems to work pretty good.

Basically what you are going to do is perform a SAVEAS. Save the drawing somewhere and rename it. Your surveyor should supply you with a scale factor. Scale the entire drawing using the basepoint of 0,0 and entering the scale factor provided to you. 

Now, turn on the Aerial image from the built-in Bing Imagery. NOTE: You must be signed into A360 and a coordinate system set in your drawing settings. Now, capture an area. Once the area is captured, turn off the Aerial. Click on the area you captured and in the ribbon change from Optimal to Very Fine. This resamples the image for better clarity.

Next, close and save the drawing. Open up the original drawing. Once there, XREF in the other drawing. Now you can scale the XREF’d image. Scale it from basepoint 0,0 with the opposing scale factor (1 / Scale Factor).

A big thanks to John Guajardo with JAG Engineering for providing the data to create the instructional video below…

InfraWorks 2017.3 Has Been Released

Autodesk has released InfraWorks 2017.3 as of this morning. The update will show in your Autodesk Desktop Application Manager or you can download it here. Below are some of the new features in the new release:

Overviews of what’s new:

Updated tutorials for component-based roadway design:

New Help topics about key updates:

  • Assign different modes to Views: views can have a mode, such as select or edit.

Applyto

  • View roadway station and component station labels at key geometric locations such as start and end points of horizontal and vertical curves, points of intersection, points of vertical intersection, and road component and transition lengths.

Annotations

Grading

  • Modify start/end stations for grading areas to create grading zones, and add grading transitions. Specify slopes and materials independently for each zone. Specify length of transition between grading zones.

Roadgrading

Cutfill

  • Right of Ways limits shown on Cut/Fill View. You can also convert any ROW line segment to an arc.

ROWS

Floodsmi

Pointclouds

Beechtree

Videos to acclimate you to new features in 2017:

InfraWorks and WMS

In this article we will take a look at integrating NearMap server with InfraWorks 360. If you are not familiar with NearMap, they are super high-resolution aerial images.

There is a couple of things to keep in mind when doing this;

  1. You MUST set your model extent to a minimal area. You can use as much area you need, but to get the highest resolution, a small area is indeed what is needed. You will see how this works later in the article.
  2. Check the area you are creating the model in from the NearMap website to ensure there is hi-res imagery for that location.

Keep in mind, NearMap is NOT a free service. I am using my trial version to write this article. 

Create a new model, or open an existing one. In the image below, you can see the aerial background. This aerial was created from using the InfraWorks 360 Model Builder. It’s not a very clear image as you can see. This is downtown Houston, Texas…

We are going to start by going to the Model Properties .

Set the coordinate system that you would like to use. In my case, I’m setting it to Texas State Plane. InfraWorks will convert from the NearMap coordinate system, to your set coordinate system. Click OK.

Next, you will need to open the desired XML file I have attached below. Open in Notepad. In this case, I’m choosing the nearmap_USA_GDAL_parameters.xml.

Toward the bottom, you will need to replace Demo:Demo with your NearMap username:password…

Save the file and go back to InfraWorks.

In your Data Sources click on Raster. Browse to the XML file you just edited.

Double click on the new connection to Configure it. Click on the Raster tab and check the box next to Clip to Model Extent. Click Close & Refresh.

Depending on the size of your area, depends on how long it takes to load the raster file. Mine took about 2 minutes for this small area. Why did it take so long? The resolution of these images are amazing!!

Look at the resolution of the image now…

Also, notice that the imagery was automatically clipped to my model extents.

Are You Using Civil View? You Should Be…

I’m sure many of you have noticed when installing Civil 3D (especially if you have a suite or collection), that there is a plug-in called Civil View. This is a plug-in for 3ds Max. If you’re not using this, YOU SHOULD BE! This is an easy way to present to a client or stakeholder your proposed road design animated with cars, signs, lights, etc. 

The most common phrase I hear is, “I don’t have time to learn 3ds Max”, and “It’s a too convoluted to learn”. This is a big misconception. Reason being, is that you don’t have to learn or know 3ds Max, you just use the Civil View plug-in to do it for you.

In the 20 minute video below, I show you how to create a design road in InfraWorks 360, bring it in to Civil 3D, build a corridor, export it out to 3ds Max, then create an animated presentation. This process literally took me 20 minutes to do. Hopefully this will aid you in starting to use your Infrastructure Design Suite or AEC Collection to it’s full potential.

Once you view the video, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at trogers@tcadsys.com, or you can call our office at (281) 445-6161.

Are You Struggling with Civil 3D Performance?

I have had a lot of calls on Civil 3D taking forever to open, and there is finally a fix. You will have to follow the directions from here. Once you have followed the instructions, open the problematic drawing. It will still take forever to open. However, once it’s opened and saved, the problem goes away.

Thank you to Steve Hill at Red Transit Consultants for reminding me to edit this post.

Make sure you do this on ALL machines. Otherwise the issue will keep reoccurring.

Take a stop over at Red Transit Consultants if you are interested in some awesome add-on tools for Civil 3D, Map 3D, AutoCAD, and much more.

InfraWorks 360 2017.2 Update

Autodesk has released an update for InfraWorks 360.  The issues that were resolved are listed below…

Bridge Design

  • A bridge must have 8 or less girders per girder group for deck haunches to be supported.
  • Haunches are not supported if a girder crosses the centerline of the bridge deck. Therefore using an odd number of girders will not allow for haunches unless you offset the center girder from the center of the bridge deck.

Design Views

  • If you are in Engineering View and have Show Sky disabled in View Settings, the sky will becomes visible again if you switch proposals. Toggle to Conceptual View then back to Engineering View to re-disable the display of the sky background.
  • Some component textures, such as the bridge component deck texture, can be difficult to see using the default Conceptual View settings. To improve texture visibility, adjust model time in Sun & Sky settings, or reduce light intensity in the Visualization tab of the View Settings panel. You can also switch to Engineering View.

Drainage Design

  • After creating a flood snapshot, toggling the display of the flood snapshot on and off more than once may cause your view to zoom in too far, and InfraWorks 360 will also select a piece of city furniture and show its attributes in the Stack. Single-click in canvas to de-select the city furniture object, then zoom out to see the flood snapshot area again.

Road Design

  • The workflow to generate Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D drawings of design roads has changed. Instead of using the Generate Civil3D Drawing intelligent tool in InfraWorks 360, open AutoCAD Civil 3D and use the Insert InfraWorks 360 Open InfraWorks 360 Model tool to bring your InfraWorks 360 data into AutoCAD Civil 3D.
  • Roadside grading materials may not display properly when fixed-slope roads intersect with fixed-width roads or planning roads.
  • Roadside grading is not fully supported for roads or intersections with unresolved geometries, and may produce unexpected results.
  • Calculating earthwork volumes is not supported nor excluded in intersections with unresolved geometry, and may produce unexpected results.
  • The Cross Section Viewer does not support viewing intersection area cross sections for left turn lanes.
  • The Cross Section Viewer does not support viewing cross sections for roundabouts.
  • Superelevation is not supported for component roads if your model uses the DMRB Metric Road Standards.
  • Right of Ways are not supported for component roads if your model uses the DMRB Metric Road Standards.

Viewing Models in a Browser

  • Bridge component parts will display a white color instead of material textures when you view an InfraWorks 360 model in a browser.
  • Bridge abutments with offsets will not display when you view an InfraWorks 360 model in a browser.