With so much to cover about AutoCAD 2011, it’s hard to decide where to start. But since surface modeling is probably the biggest news in terms of new object types, commands and workflows, it looks like a smart place to begin the AutoCAD 2011 posts.
Before diving into the surfaces, let’s talk about an AutoCAD citizen that has been around for a while, and that certainly needed some enhancements. I’m talking about the splines.
So why work on splines? First of all, in order to have healthy surfaces, we need to be able to make better splines than what we had available. Secondly, since we added multi functional grips for polylines, it seemed to be the right time to make the editing consistent.
All this release, as last release, has made improvements in direct manipulation. You may have seen that we have tried to eliminate as many dialog boxes as possible (have you checked hatch already?). Not being disrupted by a dialog box, and being able to always focus on the object, will really help you improve productivity. In other words, you will finish your work faster.
Back to splines. If you move into the 3D Modeling workspace (you can do that from the Quick Access Toolbar or from the gear icon at the right of the status bar), you will notice there’s a new tab called Surface. This tab contains a panel called curves, and Splines have the lead role here. If you need to work on splines for 2D drafting, you may consider either remembering the options, or directly customizing your UI in order to have these icons on your Draw tab in the 2D workspace.
So what’s new? Well… where can I start? Now we have three methods for creating splines. We just had one in the past, which was the SPLINE command. It created a spline through Fit Points. That option is now called Spline Knot, and you can find it in the drop down under Spline CV. The second method we’ll cover is Spline CV. This enables you to create a spline through Control Vertices. If you have used splines in other packages, you will know what I mean. If not, I’m going to cover the fundamentals in a following post. The third method is Spline Freehand. This is the good and old SKETCH command, which has been enhanced. If you have a tablet, you’ll love the new Spline Freehand.
In the next post I’ll cover Spline Freehand extensively.
For now, just try something (assuming you already have 2011). Start SPLINE command, and do whatever you did in the past in order to draw a spline. Now hit Enter. Guess what? No more three annoying clicks in order to define tangencies! Yay!
See you later. My plane is landing in LA, and I have a long day ahead speaking about AutoCAD.