Now AutoCAD civil 3D is known as a vertical application because it’s actually built upon several applications civil 3D is built upon AutoCAD map and AutoCAD map is built upon the AutoCAD application now there are vertical tools within each application so civil 3D has the capabilities of all three applications now when you open the program you’ll see the interface is very similar in all three applications in civil 3D you’ll notice a startup page that provides a list of open drawings and software notifications we can also start a new drawing or open an existing one for right now we’re going to focus on the application menu it’s often referred to as the Big C when we click on it it’ll provide us with a list of tools that are application specific such as new open draw and convert drawing compare and recover
now if we go to an open drawing the applications menu reveals even more tools and functions that are available now since civil 3D contains objects that are specific to civil 3D those objects might not be able to be viewed or shared properly with companies or individuals who do not have this application there is an e-transmit button if we go under publish click on e-transmit
go ahead and save the drawing now when we look up at the top we have this files tree and underneath we have everything that’s included within this particular file such as xrefs linked image files and color table files and plot settings that are included into a single folder now all of this information can be exploded and then zipped into a separate working folder that can be shipped off to a company or individual that doesn’t have civil 3D so that makes it very very important now go ahead and click transmittal setups
and we have the option to create a new one but for right now let’s go ahead and modify the standard
and in this dialog box we can control how this transmittal package is set up now common practice is to keep everything within a zip folder but right here we can change all of this information
now drawings can be saved back to earlier versions of AutoCAD which you can see right here and you can also pick an option to have an earlier version of AutoCAD with exploded civil 3D objects now we also have the option to purge our drawings and that kind of cleans up our drawings so they aren’t so large now e-transmit is a very powerful tool in the applications menu now let’s continue our look around the user interface now just to the right of the application menu is the quick access toolbar now these functions will look very very familiar if you’ve used a lot of the Microsoft Office programs
we’ve got default functions such as create a new document open save we’ve got another one called open from web and mobile save to web and mobile we’ve got plot undo redo whenever it’s applicable and within civil 3D we’ve got workspace and what’s nice about having this toolbar up the top is that no matter which tab I’m in that quick access toolbar will stay right up at the top okay nothing changes it’s static so what I’d like to do is I’d like to swap out this workspace list with my layers list Okay the reason being is that I know that this list is actually down here at the bottom as well if I click on this Cog okay we’ve got the list right here so the way that I do that is I right click on this and then click remove from quick access toolbar that disappears and then right click on the layers click add to quick access toolbar and voila my layers now stay conveniently up at the top no matter which ribbon I’m in so that makes it very very convenient so it’s nice having access to the quick access toolbar whenever you need it menu ribbons are a key component to the Civil 3D interface ribbons are now a standard feature for navigating recent versions of AutoCAD software as well as a lot of other Microsoft applications so since we’re getting more and more familiar with it let’s check out the ribbons now ribbons are made up of ribbon tabs if you can see up at the top here all of these are ribbon tabs and this is the ribbon itself so if we click on insert we get a completely different ribbon as well as if we click on the annotate tab we get another ribbon the modified tab analyze so on and so forth now each tab contains panels so if we click on the Home tab we see our home ribbon and you can see a panel called create ground data if we click on this little arrow right here we can see a whole another section panels hold unique tools related to that panel now these also require the proper resolution to appear properly if not these little icons might end up shrinking now the create design panel folds out to Show additional tools that might not be used as often but they’re still very very powerful so any panel that has an arrow next to it will have additional functions listed underneath it now if we look at the annotate tab you’ll see these little arrows off to the side now these arrows shown at the bottom right will feature a dialog box that can Impact Panel features now if we click on the bottom right arrow
we’ll get a dialog box that will of course impact most of the text functionality so it’s important to know these simple tools and tips as we walk through the ribbons in our exercises but one of the most powerful useful ribbon Tools in civil 3D is what’s referred to as a contextual ribbon so if I select a surface civil 3D object which is right here or any other civil 3D object I’ll get a special ribbon just to work with that civil 3D object
in this case because I selected a surface all of the tools to work with that surface are now available and it’s getting me information specifically for the surface named Osceola road now notice that the contextual ribbon has a blue shade around it see this blue box so it’s easy to identify whether or not you’re using a contextual ribbon now contextual ribbon works best when we’re only selecting one object at a time now if we select another object the contextual ribbon changes so it’s now showing multiple objects that we’re working with and will only provide us with General tools to work with multiple objects so contextual ribbons are a powerful way to work with civil 3D objects as we’ll learn further into the class so far we’ve covered user interface features that are pretty typical with the standard copy of AutoCAD but now we’re going to look at the user interface features specific to civil 3D under the home tab within the home ribbon there is a tool space button when you click on that button this is a very powerful palette the tool space helps to navigate through civil 3D objects within your drawing now there are four different tabs to work with such as the prospector the settings tab the survey Tab and the toolbox the prospector tab shows us a tree View
of all the Civil 3D objects within the drawing for this example this drawing contains multiple surfaces if we click that little plus button we have all these different surfaces now these multiple surfaces contain different styles viewed in our graphic space now some are visible and some are hidden visual control of these surfaces can be accessed through this prospector tab under the settings tab additional controls and drawing defaults can be controlled within this area the survey tab controls the database information we use for importing existing conditions such as points and Line work lastly the toolbox contains ways of generating different reports and contains various utilities that might not fit contextually with the ribbon or the panel menus plugins are available such as the subscription extension containing quarterly release tools from Autodesk that are compatible with this version of AutoCAD many of these tools will be released with the next version but Autodesk makes them available as they develop them so recognize the importance of the tool space panel since it is a palette it can be dragged off the screen
docked or set to Auto Hide but I find that it’s best just to leave it docked and open while working with my civil 3D objects so we were just introduced to the tool space palette found here within civil 3D and now I’d like to show you a little bit more within the settings tab settings tab is one of four tabs within the tool space palette and settings provides us not just with settings which we’ll take a look at in a minute but also different types of styles so for example within surface if we click the little plus icon here we have surface styles but we also have label Styles table Styles and commands now these styles can contain many different styles within each type so there’s a lot of setup that goes on beforehand thankfully Autodesk provides us with some great templates to start with but besides the Styles the settings control the default settings and there’s a bit of hierarchy in those settings so if we right click on the drawing name we get some options for our defaults let’s go ahead and click on edit drawing settings
now there are many different controls to the drawing settings one of which is the scale which is associated of course to the annotative scale found here down at the bottom and the coordinate system that’s associated with the drawing which is found right here
more than that we have object layers go ahead and click on that tab as we create an alignment for example begin to really consider that these civil 3D objects are very smart and dynamically controlled blocks when you create a block it may have a line and a circle and a square and each one of those objects have their own layers but when you insert the block definition into the drawing the entire block is associated to a layer as well so everything is encapsulated within a block and so when we create an alignment by default our alignment will automatically go to this layer called C Dash util-align and then the sub components may find themselves on different layers all controlled by the style so that’s how an alignment is encapsulated so the object layers really apply to the overall big picture object that we’re working with now let’s take a look at the abbreviations tab
now when we’re labeling our alignments for example we can control how the station labels show up on our alignment
especially the abbreviations so take a look at alignment beginning point right now it’s abbreviated with the letters BP we can change that though if we hover over this area click these three dots instead of BP let’s put in begin
we can put anything we want and then say for an alignment endpoint we can change that to rather than EP we can type in end
so again we have control over all of these labels that show up in our alignment Additionally you have ambient settings go ahead and click that tab ambient settings are similar to the units found within and AutoCAD drawing and you have those units still here because we’re working on top of AutoCAD in AutoCAD there are linear units architectural units decimal units Etc that are set to a determined precision civil 3D takes this a step further by requiring more information as you can see right here it’s a pretty long list
elevations for example
can be set to a specific unit
or a specific precision stations
need to be set to a certain unit or a certain precision are you working in the United States or the metric system grades and slopes need a format to work with now does that format require run to rise or rise to run so when it asks for information on a slope I can type in three and it knows I mean three to one not three percent now in this panel we aren’t changing the Precision of the drawing itself we’re controlling the way the Civil 3D commands function ambient settings are the parent hierarchy now when we right click on a particular feature we can edit the feature settings
but before we do that let’s click the plus icon next to General we see a folder called label styles when we maximize this folder we have an additional list of folders for General items such as lines and shapes right click on one of these folders we can set the label style defaults for the drawing each category of civil 3D feature settings can be modified by right-clicking and clicking edit feature settings let’s right click on the surface
we can see ambient settings that are actually reading from the drawing settings if we override any of these settings in this panel they will be specific to surfaces what if I want a certain style applied to a surface and set as my default it’s nice to have these defaults set for us ahead of time now feature settings can’t control how profiles are created within this panel there are a lot of other settings such as say passing I height
we can set that right here headlight angle and so on that are specific to profiles these feature settings give you very specific control over how civil 3D will use ambient settings to create these features lastly there is another level within our hierarchy for each feature folder list called commands when we right click on command settings
they are reading the ambient settings for the feature remember that the feature ambient settings are reading from the drawing settings we set originally so the settings tab within the tool space panel is what we use to control how our drawings look and perform the way it should once the defaults are set they should speed up the efficiency of our work if you’re working for a company they should have a template established for you Autodesk has some good templates right out of the box and it’s very useful and efficient to have a template set up to get you up and running with civil 3D we spent some time looking at the tool space palette that’s one of three pellets specific to civil 3D and civil 3D has another palette called the Panorama palette
the Panorama palette is really kind of a catch-all palette for many different functions to provide some type of visual tabular means to view or edit data now as you’re working with civil 3D and getting familiar you may see the Panorama palette within an Event Viewer or as we work with profiles if we click edit pipe Network
we have a list of tools right here
and this is the Panorama button we may choose to view and work with those profiles in tabular form notice that this is the Panorama palette that has opened up to provide us a tab to work with profile entities so the Panorama palette again is a catch-all for different types of tabs that can give us the ability to view and edit data as we’re working with it transparent commands are the only commands you’ll find in civil 3D that are civil 3D specific that come right out of the box with a toolbar type of interface so you’ll find that the transparent commands by default are on the right hand side
now we may be familiar with transparent commands to some extent transparent commands refer to commands that can run within another command an example is zoom you can be in the line command and then begin to zoom really what you’re doing is calling the zoom command without ending the line command civil 3D transparent commands must be called within another command now Zoom of course can run transparent or not transparent commands for civil 3D must be called so notice if I’m in the line command it asks for the first point and the transparent commands really provide coordinate control and we can get coordinates in different ways for whether it’s an AutoCAD command or even civil 3D so you can provide a coordinate from an existing Point using bearing and distance and I’m going to do that by typing in L for line and then go into my transparent commands and I’m going to click this second button right here that’s bearing in distance so I click that click a point and then I can start typing in my quadrants and I can type in my bearings and distances you can also use alignments or in this case we’re going to use a profile views station and elevation so go ahead and type in l for line and then let’s go ahead and click on this transparent Command right here profile station from plan so we click that
click our profile view and then it asks to specify a station along the Baseline so what I’m going to do is I’m going to type in 126.
and you see how it snaps to station 126. now if I want to just arbitrarily just type in an elevation it asks to specify an elevation right here if I want to type in let’s say 250.
okay and then it asks for the next station let’s type in
200. see how it snaps to 200 and then it asks for an elevation again let’s type in 262.
see how it created my line
let’s type in the next station let’s type in 300.
snaps to the 300 station and then let’s go ahead and type in for an elevation 265.
see how it shows up in 265. well now I’m done with specifying a station so I’m going to go ahead and hit Escape I don’t end the line command I’m simply ending the transparent command of profile station and elevation and notice now my line has begun using the coordinate of where the profile view currently sits providing station and elevation so very powerful tools that are really often overlooked that we can use for regular AutoCAD commands as well as civil 3D to identify a coordinate and work with the information using civil geometry or civil objects one additional palette that would make three pallets that are specific to civil 3D is the inquiry tool palette and we can find that from the analyze ribbon under the analyze tab we go over here to the inquiry panel and we can see we’ve got an inquiry tool button if we go ahead and click that you can choose to expand this palliative if need be now the inquiry tool provides us with the ability to inquire or query a civil 3D object and get information visually without providing labels or anything else it simply provides the information on the palette itself so let’s go to the surface and choose we’ve got a list of options here and choose surface elevation and grade at Point
now what I’m going to do is I’m going to select my Surface graphically by choosing this button and it says select surface
I want to pick my existing surface EG no FG click ok and now it’s saying specify point so we’ll just pick a point anywhere
and notice it reads the information out and Visually shows the direction of the grade so the grade at this location is going this direction at 2.18 percent and the elevation is 253.5 so we can continue picking this and it will continue to provide that information to us as long as we have the command active I press enter to end the command and we can choose another inquiry type or we can simply leave the palette open
the information that was last selected will continue to be shown on the screen or in the palette for us this can be very useful as we’re doing design to better understand the information that we’re working with to build our design from