Welcome to the latest installment of “Why this new release is great!”. This Spring saw the release of Civil 3D 2024, which introduced some great updates and enhancements. Combined with the release of Civil 3D 2023.2, there have been some great updates made to major functionality such as Pressure Pipes, Corridors, Project Explorer, intelligent Labelling, and more!
1. STILL the same DWG format as before
It feels like I’ve written something about this every year! It’s a little surprising considering the fact that Autodesk seemed to be on a 3-year DWG format update cycle for a long time. But, just like Civil 3D 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2023, Civil 3D 2024 continues the use of the AutoCAD 2010 DWG format. This means that all Civil 3D releases including and after 2018 can share files back and forth. It is important to be aware, though, that newer files may lose some functionality in older versions if the newer version contains objects or settings that the older version does not contain.
2. Pressure Network Improvements
Between the Civil 3D 2023.2 update and the Civil 3D 2024 release, the Pressure Networks have seen quite a few exciting updates and additions to their functionality. Civil 3D 2024 contains all of the updates that were made in Civil 3D 2023.2, along with some great additions of its own! Below is a list of some of the best changes in the 2023.2 and 2024 releases.
- Pressure Pipes can now be attached to Gravity Structures! This means that not only will the Pressure Pipe show up correctly as it enters the Structure, but the connection allows for the Pressure Pipe to shift if the Gravity Structure is moved and update Bends or other Fittings at the beginning of the Pipe if necessary.
- Gravity Structures with an attached Pressure Pipe can display information about the Pressure Pipe in an intelligent Structure Label!
While the items listed above are definitely great, 2024 is where a large number of improvements were made!
- Pressure Pipe Networks can be combined using the new “Merge Pressure Networks” function.
- The angle of a branch Pipe Run is now taken into account when the attaching Fitting is placed. If both Tees and Wyes exist in the Parts List, the program can choose the appropriate Fitting based on the angle as well as size.
- Linear Pipes can be converted to Arc Pipes
- Fittings can now be displayed in Profile with a user-defined block, including vertical bends.
- Fittings and Appurtenances can now display hatches in Plan and Profile
- New Pipe Runs can use “<This Pipe Run>” as their Reference Alignment during creation!
3. Corridor Transitions
The new Corridor Transition functionality that was added in 2023.2 and enhanced in 2024 is pretty awesome. It’s a great way to quickly and easily change Subassembly parameters in certain sections of a Corridor and create smooth transitions! Now, you might be saying “Can’t we already do that with the Section Editor?”. Well, yeah, you could, but it wasn’t as efficient or as easy. Now we have this cool thing called the “Edit Corridor Transitions” Palette. It gets launched from a new button on the Ribbon in the “Corridor” contextual tab, and it allows the user to choose station ranges to assign different values for a Subassembly parameter at the beginning and end of the range! The illustration below shows how this can be applied for creating an ADA ramp along a roadway by holding the back of the sidewalk edge to a profile and changing the height of the curb.
4. Project Explorer
As of Civil 3D 2024, the Project Explorer functionality is now available to anyone who has a Civil 3D license and it gets installed automatically as part of the Civil 3D installation. This means that everyone now has access to this powerful data management tool. And for those of you that were already using it, Civil 3D 2023.2 introduced a tab and processes for working with Catchment objects, as well as the ability to see and edit Property Set Data for all object types!
5. Label Visibility Control
The last thing I want to mention is a wonderful new way to control the visibility of Civil 3D labels. Technically, this was added in 2023.2, but many people didn’t even know it was there. There are two new toggles in the Drawing Status bar called “Adaptive Label Group” and “Label Toggle”, and they do some pretty cool things that improve overall performance!
The “Label Toggle” (blue button in the screen shot above) will quickly turn on/off major sets of Civil 3D lables such as Alignment Station Labels, Profile Label Sets, Pipe Network Labels in Profile, and more. Just push the button and poof! – They’re off. Push the button again and poof! – They’re all back on!
The other new button that is just to the left of the “Label Toggle” button is the “Adaptive Label Group” button. This button contains two toggles for controlling how and when Civil 3D labels will redraw themselves. The “Label group level of detail” controls the AECCLABELOPTIMZE variable. With this on, Label groups such as Alignment Labels, Profile Labels, Section Labels, and more will not be drawn in Model Space if they are not in the current Model Space View, limiting the amount of processing that is necessary. The “Redraw when zooming/panning” option controls the AECCLABELOPTFLAGS variable. If this is unchecked (set to 0), then the Labels that are outside of the current view will not reappear when you pan the view over to where they are located. This allows you to continue to pan and zoom to the desired location in the drawing, then use either the REGEN command or the “Redraw Label Groups” option in this new button to redraw the labels!
Civil 3D 2023.2 and Civil 3D 2024 gave us a lot of great production and performance improvements (some of which, I know I have been hoping to have for a long time now)! Take a look at them for yourself to see how upgrading can make you a more efficient and effective Civil 3D user!