Not Just CAD! – January 2018 – 30 Years

So, here we are. Nearly at the end of the first month of another year. Christmas is done and the tree is outside looking a bit sorry for itself (awaiting recycling – save the planet, right?). New Year’s Eve has been and gone and Auld Lang Syne is just another memory.

I know this blog is late and there is reason for that. One is the awful lurghi that has been going around that provided me with a snot-filled Christmas and New Year whether I liked it or not, and two, January for me has been incredibly busy for once. and, hey, I also just wanted to get bedded in to the New Year this time too. I don’t know about everyone else, but it has been a struggle to get started this year. Anyone else felt like that about 2018?

Luckily, 2017 for me (and CADFMconsultants – www.cadfmconsult.co.uk) was a great year. Numerous courses for LinkedIn Learning (using Lynda.com content) were recorded, produced and released with another two trips to the LinkedIn offices in Carpinteria (often referred to as Carp). I was invited by Autodesk to be the AutoCAD expert on the AutoCAD booth at the inaugural Autodesk University London 2017 and I became an Autodesk University Speaker Mentor as well as being invited to become a member of the Autodesk Expert Elite program. Busy, huh?

For those of you that don’t know (and if you don’t, where HAVE you been?), I am an [in]structor for LinkedIn Learning, previously Lynda.com and I now have over fifty online courses in my online training portfolio. You can check them out at www.lynda.com and look me up there, Shaun Bryant. Or if you prefer to use LinkedIn Learning, look me up at https://learning.linkedin.com. My LinkedIn Learning author page is here. Both sites contain ALL my courses for you to learn from.

After reading this post, maybe drop me a line at shaun.bryant@cadfmconsult.co.uk. The first few who do and mention Not Just CAD! – January 2018 in their email subject line might get a nice little LinkedIn voucher that gets them some FREE learning!

So, about 2017….

The inaugural Autodesk University London 2017 was a scorcher in several ways. Firstly, I was made up to be the AutoCAD expert at the event (many thanks Tracy, Tanya and Jacqui!). Secondly, it was held on the HOTTEST two days of June 2017, which at Tobacco Dock in London (the event venue), made for insane temperatures as it is a glass-clad building! The event was a huge success and I was even Lynn Allen’s understudy as she could not attend the event due to illness. It was an honour to stand in for Lynn, Autodesk’s AutoCAD technical evangelist, teaching her two AutoCAD classes to the masses!

As 2017 progressed, there was the usual request for proposals for Autodesk University (AU) 2018, held in the delightful location of Las Vegas (sometimes known as Lost Wages), Nevada.

I was lucky enough to get one of my AutoCAD class proposals accepted and become a lab assistant for one of my good friends, who was also speaking, Paul Munford (CAD Setter Out – https://cadsetterout.com/). I was also asked to be an Autodesk University Speaker Mentor, where I mentored a novice speaker on how to create and submit their AU class presentation and handout, plus advise them on speaker techniques, taking advantage of my expertise and experience of being a veteran AU speaker. My mentee was Dr. Munirajulu from the Chennai area in India (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-munirajulu-m-3901a219). I had a great time imparting expertise and knowledge to him, and considering he had never spoken at AU before, he absolutely rocked his AU class too!

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As usual, towards the end of 2017, everything becomes about AU in Vegas, but I was lucky to get out to the LinkedIn offices in Carp in California the week before AU to record some of my online material. This is normally a relaxed (but busy) week and I was even able to get my five-kilometre walk along Carp State Beach in on the Sunday morning before I started recording in my little whisper booth on the Carp campus for the week. I love travelling to Carp too. I fly in to LAX and then take the Amtrak up the stunning California coastline from LA’s Union Station, which has the most beautiful architecture.

Carp was wonderful as usual, but sadly, due to the Thomas fire in December 2017, a lot of the stunning scenery has been burnt to a crisp and been decimated by the landslides that followed. Some of my LinkedIn colleagues lost their homes and the offices were close to being lost a couple of times too. The picture below gives you a good idea of how close the fires were to the Carp campus! Luckily, things are now moving back to normal, but there is a big clean-up operation and lots of rebuilding to do in the area.

LiL-Thomas Fire-Dec 2017

After my week in Carp, I flew out to Vegas from LAX for AU. I even bumped in to the bass player from an old eighties big-hair rock band called RATT who sat next to me on the plane and we chatted for the whole flight, sharing music anecdotes and war stories. The conversation even got around to which were the best guitar strings to use!

I got in to Vegas on the Saturday before AU, so I was able to chill out until the ‘insanity’ began on the following Monday. Being a seasoned AU attendee (this was my eleventh AU), I know the territory, so I got everything prepped and got ready to work the LinkedIn Learning booth in the AU exhibition hall. Have you ever been to a conference where ten thousand Autodesk geeks are all in the same place? Yep, that’s the ‘insanity’ I mean.

As an AU exhibitor, LinkedIn Learning were offering a 90-day free ‘pass’ for various Autodesk courses, mine included, so check out this link here, as the offer still stands until February 14th, 2018!

https://learning.linkedin.com/blog/whats-new/why-we-are-giving-away-40-autodesk-courses-for-free-for-90-days

AU kicked in and my class went well. Manning the LinkedIn Learning booth was busy, and we had a professional photographer taking portrait shots to enhance your LinkedIn profile!

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At AU, I also assume the role of an AutoCAD Influencer. This normally involves attending the Influencer food and drinks event at AU and getting to see something very cool related to design in AutoCAD. It is Autodesk’s way of saying thank you to all us AutoCAD’ers for all our work with AutoCAD over the years. This time it was not only getting to see the Cirque Du Soleil show, Ka (https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/ka), but also getting to go behind the scenes of the show the following morning! This was geek heaven for me. Not only was Ka an amazing show with incredible effects (including the free-floating stage), but it was ALL designed in AutoCAD too.

It was great to see all the AutoCAD Autodeskers there at the Influencers event, such as Shaan Hurley, Lynn AllenHeidi HewettRob McGuire, Marielle Covington, and Marcus O’Brien. Even longtime AutoCAD team member Jon Page came along. Thank you, AutoCAD team, for what was a wonderful evening watching Ka, followed by an amazing tour behind the scenes!

Finally in 2017, there was the thrill of becoming an Autodesk Expert Elite.

To quote the Autodesk website (https://www.autodesk.com/expert-elite/about) : –

‘The Autodesk Expert Elite program was created to recognize customers around the world who have contributed a significant amount of time, knowledge, and assistance to our customer support community. These people have demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and use an engaging style of collaboration that contributes to a healthy and valuable customer community’

There are over 400 Expert Elites in 53 different countries who use EVERY Autodesk product imaginable and I am thrilled to have joined their ranks. I was able to attend Expert Elite meetings and the Expert Elite Global Summit at AU and sit in the same room as Andrew Anagnost, the new CEO of Autodesk, and listen to what he has to say about the future of Autodesk and its software. As they say, the future is bright.

2018 is my thirtieth year of using AutoCAD (yep, you got that right – thirtieth). I started on AutoCAD 10 for MS-DOS at the tender age of eighteen (showing my age now…LOL) and I have seen AutoCAD go from a clunky, monochrome drafting system to a refined, capable design tool, that allows you in to work in both 2D and 3D and take your designs further, with interfaces that link seamlessly with other Autodesk products, enhancing the entire design workflow for just about every type of design and discipline imaginable.

I am proud to work closely with Autodesk, one of the biggest software providers in the world, and impart my knowledge of AutoCAD (and Revit) as an [in]structor on LinkedIn Learning to users all over the world. My passion is to educate and encourage learning. Learning never stops, and I can safely say that I still find things in AutoCAD that I did not know existed. Workflows that I have never noticed that can make you work smarter and faster. Shortcuts that make you that little bit quicker.

So, to celebrate my 30 years of AutoCAD, I am going to go and learn something new. A new challenge, a new string to my bow for 2018, using my LinkedIn Learning account. I sincerely hope that you will all do the same!

Here’s to a newly learnt skill for all of us in 2018. I hope you all have a great year, and if I bump in to you and any event, class or conference, say hello!

Happy learning!

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Autodesk Design Review….remember that one?

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So, Autodesk have FINALLY released a NEW version of Autodesk Design Review!

The last version was 2013 so it is about time!

Many thanks to my good friend at Autodesk, Scott Sheppard, for his blog on this over on It’s Alive In The Lab! (link here).

Autodesk Design Review is a great little tool that allows you to save out your AutoCAD drawings as the Autodesk DWF file format and then review them with tools such as redlining and design and revision comments, and with the ability to save out the DWF with that redlining and comments.

You can then view the redlining and comments in AutoCAD by way of the Markup Set Manager, opening up the marked up DWF file and seeing the redlining and comments in the layout tab of the original drawing file.

What does this do for you? Why will it help you?

Well, we have all heard of the cloud and I am sure many of you use Autodesk products such as A360 Drive and A360 team, but there are still situations where the cloud just isn’t available. Autodesk Design Review covers that little anomaly by providing you with a FREE piece of software that allows collaboration over a traditional client/server network. You don’t need to be a super AutoCAD guru Jedi either to drive it and with minimum training you can be up and running, redlining and commenting at your leisure, making sure that designs are corrected and revised where necessary.

I have used Autodesk Design Review in many training sessions I have run on AutoCAD, and I have used it in industry too. It’s a great little product, highly under-rated and best of all, it will cost you nothing.

So, what are you waiting for?

Here’s the download page!

http://www.autodesk.com/products/design-review/download

Enjoy that redlining! (see what I did there?) 🙂

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AutoCAD 2018: It’s here and here’s the new stuff….

As a member of the AutoCAD Blogger Council and a part of the AutoCAD Influencer team, I thought I should get some stuff out there about AutoCAD 2018 now that the embargo has been dropped!

Now, AutoCAD is a VERY mature product. So what can Autodesk do to AutoCAD to make it even better? Here are just some of the improvements and new features….

New DWG file format

Autodesk have released AutoCAD 2018 with a new AutoCAD 2018 DWG file format, so when you save a drawing using AutoCAD 2018 out of the box, it will save to the 2018 DWG file format. As quoted by Autodesk in the AutoCAD blog, the new 2018 DWG will improve the efficiency of open and save operations, especially for drawings that contain many annotative objects and viewports. So be careful if you upgrade and work on existing projects. Older versions of AutoCAD cannot read the 2018 format, so you will need to Save As to an older DWG format, or perhaps set your default Open & Save settings in Options? Just be careful with that one, as it is the first DWG upgrade since the 2013 DWG file format.

PDF SHX text support

When drawings and designs were exported to PDF using older shape code fonts (SHX), there was no support for the SHX text in the PDF and when PDFIMPORT was used to bring the PDF in to an AutoCAD drawing, the SHX text was converted to AutoCAD entities, such as polylines and arcs and the like. AutoCAD 2018 now provides SHX support when imported via a PDF, using the PDFSHXTEXT command. All you need to do is run the PDFSHXTEXT command, set the appropriate settings, select the AutoCAD entities that form the text objects and, hey presto, the entities become text.

External reference (XREF) path enhancements

How often have you had a broken external reference (XREF) filepath? AutoCAD 2018 provides some great new features that allow you to manage your XREFs much more effectively. Even when you have a new unsaved DWG file open (you know which one I mean, drawing01.dwg, right?), you can still XREF in another drawing in AutoCAD 2018. You can alter your reference path type from a relative path to an absolute path. You can also find and replace XREFs, which is very useful should newer versions of your existing XREFs need to be brought in to the host drawing.

Object selection

In previous versions of AutoCAD, you could select a group of objects with a window or crossing selection, then pan them off screen, and when you panned back to the original position in the drawing, those selected objects that were panned off the screen were deselected. Frustrating, right? AutoCAD 2018 now keeps those off screen objects selected, even if you do pan them off screen.

High resolution (4K) monitor support

AutoCAD 2018 now supports high-res monitors and screens making sure that the AutoCAD 2018 user gets the best possible experience on 4K displays and higher. Numerous typical AutoCAD user interface functions, such as the Start tab, Command line, palettes, dialog boxes, toolbars, ViewCube, pick pox, and grips, are scaled and displayed effectively using the 4K Windows setting.

On the surface, AutoCAD 2018 looks very much like AutoCAD 2017. The user interface is similar both in colour and layout, but surely that is what we want? I, for one, like the darker look and feel of AutoCAD, and I really appreciate the consistency and continuity of the user interface. Why re-invent the wheel and change it for changes sake? One thing I do like is that we have moved forward with the DWG version finally. It used to be a regular three year cycle for the DWG file format change, and improvements to the DWG can only be a good thing.

The subscription model is now also in full swing. I have just downloaded my version of AutoCAD 2018 over at http://manage.autodesk.com and it took no time at all over my fibre broadband. Sure I am spoilt with the fibre broadband, you may say, but the Autodesk Download Manager is much improved too. Use it where you can.

Overall, there are no big show-stoppers in AutoCAD 2018, but it is by no means a damp squib either. With the subscription model comes gradual, but regular, improvement to AutoCAD with subscription giving Autodesk the ability to roll out not only new releases but any service packs and hotfixes as well.

You can check out the official Autodesk AutoCAD 2018 blog here: –

http://blogs.autodesk.com/autocad/autocad-2018/

On a blatant self-promotional note, most of you know that I am an AutoCAD content creator for Lynda.com (slowly transitioning in to LinkedIn Learning) and you can find my AutoCAD 2018 Essential Training and AutoCAD 2018 New Features courses at the following websites: –

Lynda.com – https://www.lynda.com/Shaun-Bryant/4625210-1.html

LinkedIn Learning – https://www.linkedin.com/learning/instructors/shaun-bryant

Check out the courses if you wish, maybe even sign up to Lynda.com, or LinkedIn Learning not only for the AutoCAD 2018 titles but all of the other AutoCAD content available too!

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2016: Another trip around the sun….

Well, here we are again. Another year flies by, and we are all another year older, and some might say, another year wiser (albeit that might not be the case in some people I know, including me).

2016 has been a great year for me and the company professionally and I have moved forward with AutoCAD content creation bigtime with the lovely people at Lynda.com (which will slowly transition in to LinkedIn Learning). I have written numerous courses for them, both on AutoCAD and some Revit too. You can check them all out at my authors page over on Lynda.com.

Another Autodesk University (AU) has gone by where I had not one, but TWO classes this year! It is always great to teach there, meet up with old friends and colleagues, and make new friends and contacts. As they say, it is the the BIGGEST networking event for Autodesk users on the planet! And if you haven’t seen Las Vegas yet, it is a great opportunity to do so! Also, bear in mind that AU is expanding. Check out the website. There could be an AU near you real soon!

So, it just leaves me one thing to say in 2016.

I have many colleagues, friends and acquaintances all over the globe. I have met these people through my work, my training, my teaching, through Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) and through many other avenues, and I want to wish every single one of you a great New Years Eve and a prosperous 2017 wherever you are.

Remember that we only grow if we learn, we only expand if we meet and work with new people. Make 2017 that year where you grow and expand your horizons.

Wishing you all nothing but the best for the New Year.

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LYNDA.COM – Are YOU Certified Yet?

So, are you certified yet? No, I don’t mean certifiable, either! LOL.

CertifiedProACADCertifiedProREVIT

Autodesk offer a whole range of professional qualifications when it comes to their software. You can be an Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD, for example. I am Certified in both AutoCAD and Revit Architecture. Autodesk provide examinations to get these Certifications and they reflect on your professional standing. The Professional certification assesses a user’s skills and knowledge of tools and features and common tasks performed in each of the Autodesk products.

As of February 2016, all Certified Professional examinations will be delivered by Certiport (www.certiport.com) via their web-based examination portal. Certiport offer all Certified Professionals digital badges for each respective qualification. The digital badges are web-enabled versions of the Professional qualification that give the user the ability to share their skills online in a way that is simple, trusted and can be easily verified in real time, by clicking on the badge in an email signature or on social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Autodesk certifications are now some of the most requested qualifications by employers when searching for staff online. So the digital badge makes it easy for a potential employer to check out a Certified Professional’s ability with their respective Autodesk product. All they have to do is click on the digital badge to learn more about the user’s Autodesk skills. For example, the AutoCAD Certified Professional status demonstrates knowledge of dimensioning, basic drawing skills, using hatching and gradients, and more.

My course on Lynda.com, the AutoCAD Certified Professional Prep course, allows you to work through topics that enhance your existing AutoCAD skillset and assist you in preparing for your AutoCAD Certified Professional examination.

Check out the course here…..

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LYNDA.COM – Using the Command Line in AutoCAD

So there I was using WhatsApp to send a quick message to a colleague today, and I suddenly thought how much we use command lines, text boxes and prompts when we are using social media, especially when using communication tools such as LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter from a smartphone or a tablet (or if you are really geeky, a phablet – you will understand if you are geeky enough, right?).

This got me thinking about how often I still use the command line in AutoCAD as well. I am a seasoned AutoCAD user with (now in 2016) twenty-seven years experience of Autodesk’s flagship product (I started on AutoCAD R10 for DOS – remember those five and a quarter inch floppy disks?). Now, I STILL use the command line. I still type certain commands and use keyboard shortcuts, due to my old DOS-based AutoCAD habits, and the AutoCAD command line is still there, still being the old faithful, ready and waiting to be used, even in the latest version of AutoCAD.

So, when you have a moment, check out that AutoCAD command line. It has a lot more to offer than you might think. Maybe use my Lynda.com course, Using the Command Line in AutoCAD, to discover some shortcuts and workarounds that will make you just that bit more productive at work. Who knows? You might even impress the boss or become AutoCAD guru for the day in the office!

LYNDA.COM link – Using the Command Line in AutoCAD

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AU2015 – Ten Questions

Scott Pawlowski, Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument

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(Scott Pawlowski on right of picture)

Autodesk University (AU) is a place to network and meet fellow peers and new people who work in the Autodesk world. I had the chance to meet Scott Pawlowski at the AutoCAD Blogger Social at AU2015 this year. The Autodesk Special Projects Team, which includes Pete Kelsey and Shaan Hurley worked with Scott to develop a full 3D digital model of the USS Arizona, one of the first ships to be sunk in Pearl Harbor on the island of Hawaii in WWII. We were privileged to see an amazing 3D print of the USS Arizona at the Blogger Social. The USS Arizona is an official WWII war grave and many technical, social and cultural considerations had to be taken in to account when the 3D surveying work was done by the team, which was mainly conducted under the surface of the waters of Pearl Harbor itself.

  1. What is your name and what role do you perform?

My name is Scott Pawlowski and I am Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources in the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument (VALR). That is a polite title which describes that I look after cultural heritage and scientific research at VALR for the National Park Service.

  1. What is a typical day for you?

Pretty much every day is a new day and I get to work on anything from chewing pencils whilst filling out reports for program managers in the region to leading the park dive team. I also have to maintain my dive qualifications, as well as keep the ship looking good. Any day might include figuring out how to pay for preserving our nation’s cultural heritage in the national monument, or deciding which research focus is most needed for managing effectively. I often meet with donors who give family heirlooms to the national monument museum collection. The other day we were testing ROV equipment to image the ship better and we found that the entire electrics in the dock were not wired properly so we had to troubleshoot the system! It’s a very diverse position.

  1. Do you feel a sense of pride in all that you do?

Absolutely. In this place it is important to get everything right, rendering honor to those who perished and to those who think about them; families, friends and colleagues. It is great to get feedback, good or bad, when you are dealing with the memory of people who lived and died for their country. It is a great responsibility and knowing that you get it right, by the type of feedback we receive, gives a great sense of pride.

  1. How do you get to work each day?

Through the traffic, just like everyone else….in the party wagon, my late model Honda Civic, sometimes watching construction of the light rail system here on Hawaii.

  1. What (if any) Autodesk software do you use?

Almost exclusively, I use Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite (IDS), but I am learning everything else like 123D Catch and 3ds Max. We also have a contractor using the Unity game engine for modeling and a touch of Autodesk Memento. To test the efficacy of the Autodesk software, we use CloudCompare as a counter point to see how accurate the Autodesk point clouds are.

  1. Name a project very close to your heart and why do you hold it in such high regard?

The USS Arizona digital check-up project is one of my most professionally enriching projects because of the partnerships with the fifteen project partners including Autodesk, the US Navy and US Coastguard, all helping over 1.7 million visitors understand what the resource is like here today. To herd fifteen different cats for a common goal valuable to our nation is pretty cool.

  1. Is your role challenging and if so, why?

It is challenging but in a positive way because the work requires both creativity and a lot of humanities, scientific and engineering background to get the day done. It’s nice to be in a profession where you get to think creatively a lot also.

  1. Name a group of people you have loved working with.

Working in Pearl Harbour for the last nine years has been really rewarding because of the number or really high quality people you get to work with, such as the Mobile Dive Salvage Unit One in Pearl Harbor and the 14th District Coastguard folks as well as other military units. However, Autodesk staff have also been spectacular to work with at the same level as all the other groups. That has been the cherry on the top of the sundae. I recently had the chance to say that to Carl Bass and anyone else who will listen to me.

  1. Do you have any habits or superstitions that you always stick to?

First thing in the morning, I try to sit down and be introspective about what I am going to do for the day. I also frequently clear my emergency regulator on my dive rig, but that is another necessary habit.

  1. Where would you like to be in ten year’s time?

Sitting on a beach in the Bahamas, in the Exuma Cays near Georgetown!

I would like to thank Scott for his precious time and patience on a mobile phone call from Hawaii to Glasgow (where I was working in my hotel room) as we went through the interview. The line was sketchy at best but we got through it! I have watched the USS Arizona project with interest from day one, and I have to say that the dedication and the ambition of all involved was incredible. The ship is a national monument to a war that decided our way of life as it is today, and the maintenance of the ship is imperative to ensure that it remains there for many more years for people to see and understand the sacrifice of all who served on her on that fateful day.

You can find more information using the links below: –

http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH7kYh6hR24

http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/2014/07/3d-prints-of-uss-arizona-artifacts.html

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