- Enable planners, engineers, and designers to model existing infrastructure and import detailed models in order to create realistic 3D models of the environment;
- Sketch early-stage designs directly into 3D models;
- Create and manage multiple alternatives;
- Communicate visually rich infrastructure proposals; and generate preliminary design models which can be used to create submittal documentation in civil engineering software, such as AutoCAD Civil 3D.
In the following post we’ll describe how to use existing information to create compelling 3D design visualizations with MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) requirements in mind.
If you are installing Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler for the first time, review the hardware requirements to ensure your hardware will run the software efficiently. (For more advice on the best hardware configuration for Autodesk software, review our series on AutoCAD 2013. Much of the same advice applies to other Autodesk products.)
Once installed, to create a realistic 3D model using Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler:
- Start Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler and click new from the start page.
- Choose a directory and name for your project. If you know the extents of your project you can also enter them in here.
- With the project started, data is imported and used as the basis for your 3D model. Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler allows you to combine 3D and 2D data in order to create a full 3D scene. For this post, we will use a terrain model (DEM) as our base 3D layer, and all of the other contextual data, like imagery, roads, and buildings come in 2D formats. Click on ‘Data Sources’ from the ribbon; on the ‘add file data sources’ dropdown, select ‘Raster’. After import this data source shows up in the ‘Data Sources’ panel. Double-clicking the data source allows you to modify the viewing properties of this data source. Click the ‘Close & Refresh’ button at the bottom of the configuration window to generate a 3D visualization in Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler.
- Add imagery using the same procedure.
- Use the same process to add roads, but use SHP as the Source Type. In this example, roads are stored in a 2D Shapefile. After import, double-click on the newly imported data source to configure it. Select ‘Roads’ as the ‘Type’ in the dropdown list. With ‘Roads’ selected you can now configure the roads style and other properties based on the metadata that comes with the Shapefile. For instance, you can choose a style rule to match the 3D road style (striping, sidewalks, median, number of lanes, etc.) based on existing metadata. Click the ‘Close & Refresh’ button on again to generate the 3D visualization.
- Lastly, we’ll add buildings to our scenes using the same procedure outlined in step 5. Select ‘Buildings’ as the ‘Type’ in the dropdown list. Since the buildings in this case are 2D footprints, we’ll select an attribute with a Z-value (elevation or height) from the ‘roof height’ dropdown. Once again click the ‘Close & Refresh’ button.
Voila! You have just created a 3D model using Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler. You can use this model to sketch preliminary designs of new infrastructure which includes roads, railways, city furniture, water areas, and even buildings. You can also exchange information with Civil 3D – using the IMX file type – to maintain consistent data and context as the project is further developed. This 3D model-based approach enables you to deliver on MAP-21 requirements for 3D modeling and visualization, on infrastructure projects of varying scales.
Author: Justin Lokitz, Senior Product Manager, Autodesk.
Autodesk and Lenovo have recently teamed up to help create Technology Makeover, a program that supplies hardware and software to a deserving small business. For the first ever award of this program, Autodesk reseller Ideate was asked to recommend a customer. That customer turned out to be Alan Mascord Designs.
Alan Mascord Designs is an architectural design firm in based in Portland, Oregon. They were an early adopter of technology when founder Alan Mascord went cold turkey from the drafting table to an AutoCAD equipped PC back in the 1980s. For the next couple of decades, the company grew as did their reliance on current hardware and software technology. In the mid-2000s however, as the economic crisis hit, Mascord was forced to make some tough choices. Staff was reduced by half and company morale was at a low point. It was also during this time that Mascord avoided making large investments in hardware and software.
This is where Autodesk and Lenovo came in this year. As a result of the Technology Makeover, Mascord received eight seats of Autodesk Building Design Suite 2012, five new Lenovo workstations, one new Lenovo server, a Lenovo tablet, two 3D mice, and twenty five Autodesk training guides — all free of charge. Autodesk reseller Ideate also provided three days of training for five employees.
“Lenovo and Autodesk were excited to team up on this Technology Makeover,” said Amy Bunszel, vice president of AutoCAD Products at Autodesk. “We know many of our customers are still struggling through this down economy, and both Autodesk and Lenovo wanted to do something that could make a significant impact.”
Other than the obvious, Mascord has witnessed a boost in morale among employees and a very tangible benefit, an increase in business due to the new 3D design services they now offer.
Gary Higginbotham, Director of Marketing, Graphic Design and Green Building at Alan Mascord Design Associates says, “Autodesk’s generosity and fantastic new tools and resources give the staff a huge morale boost and provides our business an opportunity to innovate and redefine what we can do for our clients — which will help us recover from the economic turmoil the residential construction industry has experienced in a more efficient, streamlined and much faster fashion than we would have otherwise been able to do.”
If you are wondering about future awards of the Technology Makeover, Melissa Christensen, Director of AutoCAD Marketing says, “Due to the positive response from Mascord and the public, Autodesk will soon be launching a contest to find the next small business for a Technology Makeover. Look for more information on the AutoCAD Facebook page in the coming weeks.”
For more information on this story, catch the five part series on YouTube at:
- Technology Makeover – Episode 1
- Technology Makeover – Episode 2
- Technology Makeover – Episode 3
- Technology Makeover – Episode 4
- Technology Makeover – Episode 5
Author: R.K. McSwain
Since early August, Cadalyst.com has been running a poll asking users, “What type of computer do you use primarily for CAD-related work?” As this post went live, 905 people had voted.
As every user knows, CAD software isn’t your standard PC software. It takes some horsepower to work with these heavy-duty programs. Add 3D rendering, design analysis, or other high-end tools, and you’ve got to have a machine with some muscle behind it. So we aren’t too surprised that our poll results show that desktop professional workstations are, so far, the most common among our readership (37%). The standard desktop PC is a close second (35%).
Mobile workstations (11%) and standard PC notebooks (8%) are making a respectable showing in our poll. Mobile computers offer a great deal of flexibility, especially for those who travel, and in recent years have evolved to offer power that’s comparable to that of a desktop system. However, that mobility comes at a price. Whether opting for a mobile workstation or standard PC notebook, the user can expect to pay a premium for mobility. This may be the greatest factor behind most companies’ decisions to opt for desktop systems.
Last, but just as intriguing, is the number of Mac users (7%) who have responded. Mac OS owns about 10.7% of overall PC market share as of summer 2011, according to research firm Gartner. However, fewer Mac-based software solutions are available for the Mac user vs. the PC user — in fact, AutoCAD for Mac was absent from the market for nearly two decades until its reintroduction
last year — which likely explains the nearly 4% lower adoption rate indicated by our poll. As Mac continues to grow in popularity and software developers continue to introduce more Mac-based CAD products, this number will no doubt increase.
So, what type of computer are you using for CAD? Are you part of the desktop crowd, going mobile, or having a Mac attack? It’s not too late to chime in. Vote today!
Test your powers of prediction and comment below on any hardware trends you see in the CAD world!