The bell rings at midnight, the NDA gate lifts, and AutoCAD bloggers everywhere are madly pushing buttons to post about all the new goodies we get as AutoCAD 2011 emerges from it's codename phase as "Hammer".
Or like I did, they set up a delayed post. My first try at that - sure hope it works right!
Some of our bloggeek gang are in San Francisco right now for tomorrow morning's big general-design webcast. (Are my eyes green? Yup.) Others will be there on-line, or "at" other events for other AutoCAD-based products, as I will be for Civil 3D.
For us CAD nerds, this is an exciting time of the year, and a big "release" of our own. Some of us have been held under Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) for quite a few while, and we finally get to spill the beans today.
Some darned-near magic beans, I'd say.
I have said here before that Autodesk LISTENS to what we users have to say. This year's release is one that proves that statement, big time. There's lots of stuff in there, but I wanted to jump right out with two features that I think will rank so high with users as to be reason enough for upgrading, and to heck with waiting for the first service pack!
There's a new setting on the properties section of the ribbon:
Ooh, yeah. Riding high on the AUGI wishlist for years, and right at the top of MY list for a decade - TRANSPARENCY!
Map 3D gave us transparency in GIS theming a couple years back. The dough was pretty soggy in the middle of that cookie, so I admit to being a bit skeptical when, early in this year's testing cycle, I saw that ribbon panel. I hinted to the Hammer team that we'd probably not react well to the feature if the implementation was half-baked. After all, we've seen the capability in other graphics applications for a long time...
I can tell you now that Hammer's code-monkeys did not match the transparency options you get from the competing products. Not even close. They sailed right on past them, well beyond my expectations. Heck, they went beyond my hopes in some areas - AutoCAD 2011 transparency does stuff I never even thought to ask for.
First off, it just plain works. Apply a transparency value to your geometry, and you can see through it. Lines. Circles. Polylines. Solids. Hatches. Solid hatches. Text. Raster image underlays. PDF underlays.
Set'em. Overlap'em. Print'em (Be sure to turn on the "plot transparency" option!). Print'em to a PDF.
Ready for the oooh, aahh moment? Print transparent text to a PDF via DWG to PDF driver, and EDIT THE TEXT in Acrobat! Oooh! Aahh!
Yup. They did it, and they did it right. This gets my vote as feature of the year, my hearty congratulations, and an all-caps THANK YOU to the Hammer crew.
2011 biggie number 2: I do a lot of mapping stuff, where sometimes 80 percent of the geometry in a drawing are polylines. That means I spend a lot of time EDITING polylines, and PEDIT is really an old clunker, isn't it? All that command-line entry, navigating from vertex to vertex, I for insert, M for move, S for straigthen...
Improvements to PEDIT have been high on AUGI's wishlist for a while. And mine - and however much transparency may make my day, improving polyline edit functions will make my day many times a day, workday after workday. Maybe even some non-workdays, when I'm home having fun instead of at the office, re-doing polylines.
It isn't huge, or flashy, but improved grip-based editing of polylines gets another big thank you from me to the Hammer folks. Add vertex, delete vertex, and the long-requested "convert segment to arc/line". Nice stuff!
AutoCAD 2011 has more goodies to offer. Enhancements to 3D design and navigation keep on coming, with new navigation palettes ghost-floating above your drawing...
... and WHAT is that in the background? The GRID option - it's really a grid now! Graph paper; it's almost weird how long that idea took to hit the feature set. I like it.
I'll be back with more over the next week or so, and with more detail on some topics, plus the goods on what's new in Civil 3D. So will all the other blogs - check those links over on the right and read us all!