Automation, efficiency, cloud collaboration, oh my!
By Tim Yarris and Ramesh Sridharan
Hello, Tim and Ramesh here from the civil infrastructure product team at Autodesk.
Ok, not gonna lie, when President Biden announced his ambitious American Jobs Plan, this was music to our ears. The plan includes a significant investment in modernizing transportation (highways, roads, bridges, airports, and transit systems). We also applaud efforts to improve drinking water and electrical systems, among other initiatives. Those of us in the civil engineering industry can appreciate how important it is to invest in infrastructure for the future.
Now, back to the topic at hand, at the end of this annual product development journey, we’re proud to bring new capabilities to you – which were inspired by you, our customers. If you would like to join us to more directly shape future capabilities of Civil 3D and InfraWorks software, sign up for the Autodesk Infrastructure Futures program.
Our product line teams have been hard at work over the past year to deliver 2022 releases of Civil 3D and InfraWorks. We recognize the continued impact of COVID-19 on communities across the globe. Autodesk maintains these resources to help our community of customers.
Civil 3D and InfraWorks have unique strengths on their own but they’re even more powerful when combined. InfraWorks is an outstanding tool for aggregating data, visually evaluating design concepts, and communicating design intent. Civil 3D is the best tool available for detailed infrastructure design and documentation. Having good data flow between the products provides more flexibility. Our 2022 releases for civil design come packed with new capabilities and updates. We’re most excited about:
- New capabilities advancing automation for site grading
- Enhanced conceptual design features for transportation workflows
- More streamlined multi-disciplinary bridge design workflows
- Updates driving project efficiency with Project Explorer and Model Builder
- Expanded reality capture capabilities to help convert the physical world to a digital model
Here are the top five reasons you should get excited about Civil 3D and InfraWorks (2022):
Better yet, join our live webinars introducing these releases. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and meet with us (virtually).
- April 27, 10-11 am PST/1-2 pm EST. Register here.
- April 28, 7-8 am PST/10-11 am ES. Register here.
Let’s dive deeper into the best new capabilities just released in Civil 3D and InfraWorks.
The BIG news: Grading Optimization for Civil 3D
Civil + Structural Engineering Magazine published Design Automation is the Necessary Future for Civil Infrastructure, an editorial penned by our very own Theo Agelopoulos. We see design automation as a step towards realizing computational and generative design for civil engineering.
Automation is introducing new and innovative ways of working for civil engineers, contractors, architects and those on the frontlines of today’s urgent infrastructure requirements.
After introducing Dynamo for Civil 3D with the 2020 release, we continue to automate design with the introduction of Grading Optimization for Civil 3D. Grading Optimization, available only in the Autodesk® AEC Collection, brings automation to manual, complex, and tedious site grading processes, helping you to save time while optimizing terrain surface and 3D geometry for further design.
Grading Optimization takes the parameters that you have specified and generates, very quickly, an optimal grading solution. This grading solution will also be mindful of earthwork quantities. The result of the optimization can be sent directly back to Civil 3D, giving the engineer great flexibility in choosing the best, most cost-effective grading design. Grading Optimization gives the engineer the power to more efficiently grade their engineering projects.
Learn more about Grading Optimization for Civil 3D here.
Enhancements for roadway design
New features for Civil 3D 2022 include the expanded capabilities of the connected alignment workflow, particularly for complex intersections and interchanges.
When selecting intersecting alignments, users have a broader range of geometric options for the connecting alignment. The new connected alignment solution supports complex curve groups, offsets from parent alignments, curves larger than 180-degrees, and calculates the crossfall of the associated profiles. This tool puts greater control into your hands for interchange design. Learn more in the video below.
New Improvements for InfraWorks (2022) include enhancements to the component road decoration tool. InfraWorks allows users to add decorations to component roads or linked corridors from Civil 3D. The InfraWorks model will display the features immediately, helping to save time and effort.
You can choose from a large library of decoration to place along the corridor. Now users can create more realistic landscape environments to add to the model context. Watch the video below.
Full-span complex 3D bridge girder support
New enhancements for InfraWorks include new capability for bridge modelling providing for the definition of full span complex parametric 3D bridge girders.
Where there is a requirement to exchange the default girders provided by the heuristic rules, Autodesk® Inventor® can be used to define new complex parametric girders.
The expansion of bridge girder modeling capabilities enables designers to use and create their own complex 3D models of full span bridge girders to reflect requirements and LOD, making this traditionally difficult work much easier and quicker.
Watch the new enhancements in action:
Learn more about bridge design with Autodesk with our video series and learning path.
Enhancements to drive project efficiency
Last year, we introduced Project Explorer through the AEC Collection, transforming how users navigate, visualize, and interact with infrastructure design models in Civil 3D.
“I have been wanting something like this for a long time in Civil 3D. On top of all the other wonderful features, to be able to quickly export individual objects to 2D DWGs is a breeze! Project Explorer is going to save me some serious man-hours.” —Amir Habibi, Civil Engineer, ATCS PLC
With the release of Civil 3D 2022, we’ve made two major updates to Project Explorer. First, we added pressure networks to the Civil 3D objects supported through the Project Explorer user interface. Project Explorer offers land development customers a more holistic view into the design data of their pressure network and enables them to extract that data into custom reports and dynamic AutoCAD tables.
In the update to Project Explorer, the interaction with the new pressure network tab will feel familiar if you have used the Pipe Networks tab in previous versions. One key difference to note: The Pressure pipe runs, which are supported in core Civil 3D, can be selected on the upper left corner of the Pressure Networks tab.
The second major update to Project Explorer is support for local languages – which is now on par with languages supported by Civil 3D. The Project Explorer user interface will be shown in the language that is detected in Windows. If Windows is set to use a language Project Explorer does not support, it will default to English.
For InfraWorks, Model Builder service makes a huge impact on project modeling by providing existing conditions and build model for quick conceptual modeling. In this release, this service is enhanced with new and streamlined interface to provide more consistent experience and improve usability.
Reality Capture gets a big boost
Autodesk® ReCap™ Pro 2022 brings an exciting and noteworthy laser scanning workflow with Scan to Mesh.
With Scan to Mesh, you can select all or a portion of a point cloud in ReCap Pro 2022 and have it create a low, medium or high quality mesh. Once the scan or scans have been uploaded to the cloud service, the mesh that will be generated can now be saved to Autodesk® Drive, BIM 360, or Autodesk® Docs. Learn more about Scan to Mesh:
We’ve also made updates to ReCap Photo, the popular 3D photo reconstruction service included with ReCap Pro, allowing for more flexibility with the use of Cloud Credits. To learn more, head over to the ReCap Pro blog.
Cloud Collaboration for Project Reviewers and Designers
In March, Autodesk unveiled significant news for cloud-collaboration. Collaboration for Civil 3D and Collaboration for Plant 3D, which were previously under the BIM 360 Design name, have been rebranded to BIM Collaborate Pro. This new product offers anytime, anywhere cloud collaboration, now on the Autodesk Construction Cloud – our unified platform. We brought cloud-connected products for project reviewers that don’t need to access design authoring software. Learn what these new offerings mean for you.
For AutoCAD enthusiasts
If you’re an AutoCAD Plant 3D user, you’ll be happy to know that as part of our ongoing commitment to creating secure and compliant products, Collaboration for AutoCAD Plant 3D is now SOC2 compliant for both US and Europe data centers. For compliance details please visit the Autodesk Trust Center.
And speaking of AutoCAD, the 2022 release of AutoCAD (now available) comes with new capabilities in the Map 3D and Plant 3D specialized toolsets that can help you automate tasks and save time. Learn more about these specialized toolsets.
In summary, we believe these releases of our core desktop and cloud software will drive considerable benefits to designers, reviewers, and the AEC industry at large. We have many reasons to be optimistic about the future of civil engineering design and we’re glad to partner with our customers.
Core infrastructure design solutions, including Civil 3D, InfraWorks, AutoCAD, and Revit are available for 30-day free trials through the AEC Collection.
Get FREE 30-day trials of civil engineering software
About the authors
Tim Yarris has been with Autodesk since 2006 and spent several years designing the user experience and producing in-product learning materials for Civil 3D and InfraWorks. In his current role as Civil 3D Product Manager, Tim works closely with customers and the development team to define the future of Civil 3D.
Ramesh Sridharan has been with Autodesk since 2014 working on different aspects of Infrastructure product development. He is currently holding the responsibility of Product Manager for InfraWorks as well as ESRI relationship towards infrastructure design of the future.