Category Archives: AutoCAD

AU London 2018 – Long live AutoCAD!

There is an old saying that bricks and mortar make a solid foundation. Yes, they do, but it’s the mortar that holds it all together. Mortar is made from three constituents; sand, cement and water. Without any of these three ingredients, the mortar is useless, and the bricks won’t bind together. Hold that thought for a moment and you’ll see why I mentioned it later.

This time last week was the week of Autodesk University (AU) London 2018 where I was in the privileged position of being the only speaker with an AutoCAD class at the event. The temperatures were cooler than the insane heat in London last year at AU London 2017 (the temperatures were the hottest London had seen for over 70 years), and Autodesk used much more of the Tobacco Dock location this year with many rooms being used on the lower levels (the original dock cellars) where it was much cooler. I enjoyed a morning coffee down there on the Tuesday and it was a lovely experience. Slightly off the beaten track, it was quieter, cooler and with the delightful English summer sunshine and it was quite relaxing, I have to say.

IMG_0615

AU London ran over two days; 19th and 20th June, Tuesday and Wednesday. The usual AU agenda was in place with keynotes, classes and the regular breaks in between where delegates could meander from their classrooms between Exhibition Hall 1 and Exhibition Hall 2, checking out the wares of resellers, third-party developers and consultants and the usual hardware providers. There was also the AU party on the Tuesday night, where all attending could socialise and network to their hearts content.

 

All in all, AU London 2018 was a great event. What I love to see is the usual initial AU ‘buzz’, just on a smaller scale than the signature AU in Las Vegas in the USA. The AU keynote this time was excellent with a superb presentation from Jaimie Johnston, Head of Global Systems at Brydon Wood, where he showed us the amazing refurbishment work being done on the London Underground using Autodesk software.

 

However much I enjoyed the keynote, I’m an old school civil and structural engineer, and in a previous life, I worked on numerous engineering projects, so I have an enquiring mind when it comes to engineering of any sort. I love to know about workflows and what software got you to this part of the project and so on. A lot of Autodesk keynotes nowadays don’t tell you that and this one was no exception. Dynamo was mentioned but that was about it. There were none of those slides with the big arrows and the Autodesk product box graphics, saying that this Autodesk product helped us to get here, and then we used this Autodesk product to do this. Remember those? Sometimes, the AU keynotes are a bit too high level (in my humble opinion). The audience are there to see HOW to use those processes and understand the workflows being presented. They need to know which Autodesk products to use too.

Tuesday morning flew by, and as a speaker, my solitary AutoCAD class on Express Tools Workflow was on the Tuesday afternoon. The graveyard shift in the AU timeslot just before the AU party started. I wasn’t holding out for a big audience but to my surprise, two thirds of the room was full, and the audience were animated, inquisitive and a pleasure to present to. Not only that, EVERY delegate that attended came up at the end and asked for a business card. Now, in all my years of presenting at any AU, that was a first. I actually ran out of my daily quota of business cards in my class!

I also had some lovely reviews of my class too: –

“Best class I attended, thanks Shaun”

“….whilst many of these other technologies are fantastic, we forget that keeping it simple i.e. AutoCAD, can often be better”.

 

The rest of my AU London was spent networking and (on the Tuesday night) socialising with new contacts, old friends and colleagues. As an Autodesk Expert Elite, I enjoyed the hospitality of Katinka Sante, Joe Travis and Rachel Rosenkrantz from Autodesk, so a special thank you to all, and I am glad you all got to partake of the legendary English beverage called Pimm’s at the AU party! As they say, it was Pimm’s o’clock, right? I also thoroughly enjoyed my Wednesday at the Autodesk Answer Bar, talking to both delegates and Autodesk staff alike, providing answers where required, and discussing all things Autodesk.

Another highlight for me was seeing so many schoolchildren and college students at AU London. These children are the future of ‘making anything’. Their enthusiasm and inquisitive minds makes for a formidable combination. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah O’Rourke from the Tinkercad team at Autodesk, whose support when writing the ‘Tinkercad for Dummies’ book was invaluable. Tinkercad is an amazing entry level 3D modelling tool that schoolchildren can use and is now being used intensively in engineering education in schools globally.

I’m also a bit of a petrolhead, so here’s a funny story for you. As you all know, I love to chat and talk and sometimes a bit too much. I bumped in to Matt Bell, Global Strategic Partnerships Manager, outside the Tobacco Dock building during the AU party. Matt is a good friend and Autodesk colleague. I start the usual pleasantries, but he gestures for me to keep quiet with the ‘shh’ (finger on lips) gesture, only for me to realise that David Coulthard, famous Formula 1 driver, is standing right next to him, talking to him. I smiled and caught up with him later. Not David Coulthard, Matt Bell! David Coulthard was there as the leadership speaker at AU London and to promote the F1 In Schools program that Autodesk endorses. He partook of the F1 challenge that was set up outside on the quayside to promote the F1 In Schools initiative. I’m pretty sure that ALL the younger members of the F1 In Schools were excited and inspired by the presence of a real F1 driver at their event!

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So, speaking of inspiration. I am glad I was able to inspire AutoCAD users in my AutoCAD class at AU London. That inspiration acts as a foundation for them to build on their AutoCAD knowledge and become more proficient and productive in their roles using the AutoCAD software. So now let’s go back to the bricks and mortar. Mortar is the thing that holds all the bricks together. The sand, cement and water. Well, all three are important. Relate that to Autodesk products. Back in the day, AutoCAD was the ONLY Autodesk ‘hero’ product, hence the name AutoCAD. It is derived from the name of the company, Autodesk. It was their FOUNDATION product. Autodesk now has many ‘hero’ products, but ALL are equally important. They ALL generate business for Autodesk and provide a solid foundation to ‘make anything’.

Therefore, I saw myself as a privileged speaker at AU London this year. I was the ONLY AutoCAD class. I represented AutoCAD at AU London, with AutoCAD being one of those key components holding it all together. AutoCAD is one of the components of the mortar that holds Autodesk together. Long live AutoCAD.

AutoCAD_LegoFigures_ClintBrown

(Above photo courtesy of Clint Brown – @ClintBrown3D on Twitter)

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

SCB.

 

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One AutoCAD – Install Now!….[PART 2]

No, you don’t have to install One AutoCAD right NOW, but maybe consider the Install Now option in your Autodesk Account page at manage.autodesk.com if you are subscribed to the One AutoCAD.

InstallNow

Install Now

In my previous blog about One AutoCAD and AutoCAD 2019, I mentioned a great blog from my Autodesk friend and colleague, Marcus O’Brien, about using the Install now option when installing ANY of the One AutoCAD toolsets. You can find the blog here.

I had to run an install of the AutoCAD Architecture toolset recently and decided to give the Install Now option a go first-hand to see whether it did save me time and (most importantly) disk space when running an install.

I am happy to report back that it DID work. Normally, the Architecture toolset would provide an install file set of around 7GB. This would normally end up in the Autodesk folder on your root (C:) drive, taking up space (and download/install time). My normal workflow (once downloaded and installed) would be to put all these files on to a portable hard drive for safekeeping. Now, with the benefit of the Install Now with One AutoCAD, it only downloaded about 1GB of files and took just over thirty-five minutes to install. Now, the install time DOES depend on bandwidth, but this was so much better!

How does One AutoCAD do this?

It’s really simple. You make sure you have your basic AutoCAD installed, and then if you need one of the One AutoCAD toolsets, the Install Now option checks what core AutoCAD files you have already, and only downloads and installs the necessary toolset install files. If you think about this, it is such a simple process. When just running basic AutoCAD, you already have most of the necessary AutoCAD files already installed. You just download whatever extra is needed for the appropriate toolset and then you’re done.

(NOTE: The 15.0 MB in the graphic below is just the installer file size, but wouldn’t it be nice, eh?)

InstallNow_ICON

So, thanks Autodesk, for providing us with a break from huge software downloads and install times. That Install Now option with the One AutoCAD subscription is a blessing and will save a lot of time for a lot of users.

You’ll also be pleased to note that there was not ONE mention of Christopher Lambert, the Quickening or Highlander in this post. Pardon the pun.

This is Part Two of a series about One AutoCAD and the AutoCAD 2019 toolsets. Please stay tuned for the next instalment!

Happy One AutoCAD’ing!

SCB

One AutoCAD – there can be only TEN?….[PART 1]

 

In my previous March blog about the release of AutoCAD 2019, I referenced the movie Highlander, and when the Quickening starts there can be only ONE. Well, how’s about we re-word that a little and play around with artistic licence? As one of my fellow CAD gurus, Steve Johnson, quite rightly quoted, “There can be only TEN”.

One AutoCAD gives you exactly that. It gives you TEN ways of accessing AutoCAD.

So how exactly does that work?

ONE AutoCAD

As a subscription customer (yep, subscription only on this one, folks), you will now be able to get One AutoCAD. This means that when you look at your Autodesk licence management screen, you will see this: –

OneAutoCAD_LicenceMgt1

And when you expand that on screen, you will see this: –

OneAutoCAD_LicenceMgt_1to10

So, what does this mean? Does AutoCAD now install as ONE application with all these flavors available as ribbon tabs perhaps, in the same way Revit now has Architecture, Structure and MEP all under one roof (pardon the pun)? Simple answer, no. One AutoCAD is not made to be used that way.

One AutoCAD is there so that all AutoCAD users can use their ONE AutoCAD that fulfills their needs; architects can use AutoCAD Architecture, engineers can use AutoCAD Mechanical, electrical and instrumentation techs can use AutoCAD Electrical and so on.

Let’s go back to 2012. I was at the Autodesk Media Summit held in the Autodesk HQ in San Francisco. I can always remember the now ex-CEO of Autodesk, Carl Bass, stating back then that he wanted Autodesk products to be a ‘toolset’, like tools in a toolbox, or like a Swiss army knife, where you chose the appropriate tool or blade to perform the required function. That’s what One AutoCAD does. With ONE subscription, you get all the AutoCAD ‘toolsets’ or blades, should you prefer my Swiss army knife analogy.

TOOLSETS

If you look back up at the screengrab of the expanded One AutoCAD on the licence management screen, you will see that I have numbered the AutoCAD toolsets available under the One AutoCAD licence. They are as follows (with a few ribbon screengrabs to break the monotony): –

AutoCAD 2019

AutoCAD2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD – Mobile app (Premium)

AutoCAD Architecture

AutoCAD Electrical

ACADE2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD MEP

ACADMEP2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD Map 3D

AutoCAD Mechanical

ACADM2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD Plant 3D

AutoCAD Raster Design

ACADRaster2019_Ribbon_840long

AutoCAD – Web application

So, there you go. There can be only ten. Steve Johnson, I concur, you were quite right!

Ten AutoCAD’s. All available as ONE subscription = One AutoCAD.

INSTALLATION

How do you install your One AutoCAD? Well, it’s simple. You install it just like you used to, in fact. You install vanilla AutoCAD if you need it. You install AutoCAD Raster Design if you need it. The only two exceptions to this are AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile (for obvious reasons).

You simply download the specific toolset of AutoCAD that you need. Run the install. Put in your serial number and product key and off you go. Situation normal.

Yes, there is a little bit of crossover in the AutoCAD universe. You can utilize blocks and move them between drawings using DesignCenter or Tool Palettes. You can use the Windows clipboard to copy and paste, but there’s no BIG AutoCAD interface in a single AutoCAD application that covers all the toolsets. However, there’s nothing to stop you running a session of vanilla AutoCAD and AutoCAD Electrical and moving blocks between the two. That’s how One AutoCAD works. So, I hope now you get what I am saying about the toolbox/Swiss army knife idea when you install what you need.

Before you do install your One AutoCAD, check out a great time saver on the AutoCAD blog from Marcus O’Brien. If you use the Install Now option, and the installer will check if you already have AutoCAD installed and will only install the parts of the toolset that you need, thus saving download time and disk space!

And by the way, there is no need to install EVERY toolkit either. That is just AutoCAD desktop icon overkill. Yep, it looks pretty, but ask yourself, do you really need EVERY SINGLE AutoCAD toolkit installed? 🙂

WEB AND MOBILE

What about the two exceptions? Well, AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile have had some serious face-lifting done. AutoCAD Web is a NEW browser-based version of AutoCAD, and in my humble opinion, this is a superb piece of AutoCAD kit. It runs best in Google Chrome and it replaces the older, dated AutoCAD 360. I won’t bore you with the browser technology stuff here but, suffice to say, Autodesk have used some very cool programming to give you an excellent user experience of AutoCAD on the web. Sure, it is not as sophisticated as your regular desktop AutoCAD, but it has a great interface with many of the traditional AutoCAD commands in place, plus development going on to add many more. It also works EXTREMELY well on touchscreen devices, such as the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface (other touchscreen devices are available). Major benefit here is that someone WITHOUT an AutoCAD licence could use this to view and edit drawings whilst the AutoCAD power user on the desktop can be ‘driving’ the design.

AutoCAD Mobile is the ‘traveling’ AutoCAD, as I like to call it. It can be installed on any smart device, such as phone, tablet, phablet etc. It gives you a great workflow to facilitate any imminent changes to your drawings. The workflow is very simple. Upload your drawing from your desktop to your A360 Drive. Load up the drawing from A360 Drive in to AutoCAD Mobile and you can mark up changes, perform simple edits and then version control those changes. You can then sync/upload the changes to your desktop via the internet immediately or if you are offline, when you get back to your desk. I demo’ed AutoCAD Mobile on the Autodesk booth at the first Autodesk University London last summer, and the interest was huge. I think the super whizzy iPad Pro I was using also helped with the interest levels too though!

Also, bear in mind now, you have Save to Web and Mobile and Open from Web and Mobile built in to the 2019 versions of AutoCAD. This gives you the ability to save and open immediately from your A360 Drive directly through your desktop AutoCAD. A great time-saving workflow.

PROS & CONS

The benefits of One AutoCAD are obvious. You get TEN different access points to the AutoCAD product via ONE subscription. You can utilize any of the AutoCAD toolsets, or many of the toolsets. It is entirely up to you; personal choice, project requirements, company needs etc. Yes, the subscription cost has gone up, but you now get TEN AutoCAD’s for the ONE price. Not only will this help you should you need a specific flavor of AutoCAD, but it will also cover all your bases for future AutoCAD work.

Cons are that you must be a subscription customer to get One AutoCAD. That is the only route to get it. Now, I know that many of you out there are wary of subscription and are still fighting for perpetual licences. I know that numerous licences on subscription have increased in price too. This happens. I am not defending it, nor am I saying that I am totally happy with it either. I sit in between both camps, a bit like Switzerland. I used to be a CAD manager and the cost hikes would upset me (initially), but I am now a consultant/guru and I can see the benefits too.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

One thing I learnt as a CAD manager was to utilize or rationalize. Use or lose, basically. One of the big benefits of subscription is that you can cut back on licences when you need to, or increase licences when you need to, thus keeping the running costs down in your department. Secondly, subscription does have certain tax implications, where you can class the software as rental software, rather than a capital asset, which is what perpetual licences were. However, if you are tied in to subscription and the prices keep going up, that doesn’t help. I have heard all the arguments and I am staying Swiss, if you get my drift.

So, with my consultant/guru head on, I would look a to subscription as a way forward. A workflow, if you like. It’s a constant moving target, where you can forecast how many licences you need for future work as subscribe to those licences only when you need them. It is the way forward. Adobe have done it with Creative Cloud, Microsoft have done it with Office 365. Autodesk are now another subscription player in the marketplace. My suggestion is take advantage of it to utilize and rationalize. Make your CAD function lean and profitable and look at all the ways and means to use subscription as means to progress, not hold you back.

By the way, this is Part One of a series about One AutoCAD and the AutoCAD 2019 toolsets. Please stay tuned for the next instalment!

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

SCB

AutoCAD 2019 – There can be only ONE….

For those of you old enough to remember the movie Highlander, when the Quickening starts there can be only one. Apart from the stunning Queen soundtrack, it was a great movie, and Connor MacLeod (actor Christopher Lambert) of the clan MacLeod was THE one, combined with incredible support from famous co-star Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, who (unfortunately) does lose his head.

As they say in the movie (and the Queen song), it’s a kind of magic……

(For those of you that like a bit of Freddie and the band Queen, here’s the link to the album, A Kind Of Magic – CLICK HERE).

So, here we go, why ONE AutoCAD?

ONE AutoCAD

In the world of the new version of AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2019, we have only ONE too. When you subscribe to AutoCAD 2019, you get ONE subscription, but the many faces of AutoCAD; Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, MEP, and various other flavors. This not only gives you a specialized AutoCAD by allowing you to work in various disciplines and verticals, but also gives you various workflow improvements too. However, Civil 3D has been omitted from the ONE AutoCAD intentionally, and I am sure Autodesk have their reasons for that.

Design Toolsets

When you log in to your account portal, you will see that it has changed and the view of your subscribed AutoCAD you get now is one (pardon the pun) of many, listing all the products under your main AutoCAD subscription. You will also find that the view of AutoCAD in your Autodesk Desktop App has changed as well.

What’s nice here is that you can select all the AutoCADs to be trialed or you can select individual flavors of AutoCAD to be trialed. This is especially advantageous if you are already a vanilla AutoCAD user and want to test a specific flavor of AutoCAD to see if it fulfills your needs and requirements. For those of you that just want all the flavors, but for one price, it is a great move by Autodesk also.

On your desktop, each flavour of AutoCAD will still have its own individual icon (just to clutter your desktop, I guess…an untidy desktop is a sign of a great mind, right?), plus, there will be no change to the DWG Launcher. You know, that little gizmo in Windows that allows you to open all DWG files using AutoCAD as the preferred application to do so.

Web and Mobile

There have been some great improvements in AutoCAD 2019. One of these is the ability to save your desktop AutoCAD designs directly to AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile. If you go to the Quick Access Toolbar (top left of the desktop AutoCAD application window), you will see the new icons there that not only provide you with the facility to save to web and mobile but also go directly to those saved cloud-based designs and open them directly in the AutoCAD desktop again as well. This is also available in the AutoCAD application menu. These cloud-based files go to A360 Drive in the usual way.

Save to Web and Mobile

So, what’s new with AutoCAD Web and Mobile then? Well, AutoCAD Web is much enhanced to give a highly sophisticated browser-based AutoCAD interface, that is quicker and faster. I won’t bore you with the techie stuff, but suffice to say, you will be using the equivalent AutoCAD executable (EXE) in your browser, the same as you would be on your desktop. This makes for a much-needed boost to what was (sometimes) quite a jerky, laggy web-based application in the past.

You will find AutoCAD Web at web.autocad.com and if you are using the subscription version (it comes with full AutoCAD), you get a great new command panel incorporating some of the more familiar AutoCAD drafting icons, that even have a preview, just like desktop AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Web

What’s also new is the referencing capability of AutoCAD Web. You can add reference drawings (XREFs) at your leisure, and if they are saved in the cloud in the same location as the host drawing, using the save to web and mobile options in your desktop AutoCAD, they will operate in the same way as relative XREFs that you might use locally.

Something I love (yes, love, not just like) is that you now have the native AutoCAD window and crossing selection tools in AutoCAD Web. They work in the same way as your desktop AutoCAD and provide a rounder user experience. We have grown used to these methods of selection, and it is great to see Autodesk taking the desktop user experience tools in to the web-based version. It is by no way perfect yet, but I can see AutoCAD Web getting to a point where your AutoCAD desktop will become fully mobile. The hardware is there now; such as the Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro, that have the grunt under the hood to run AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile well.

What makes AutoCAD Web even more like desktop AutoCAD is that there are even some keyboard shortcuts included as well. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a keyboard shortcut or two? Trust me, as a seasoned AutoCAD user (thirty years this year), I am a big fan of keyboard shortcuts!

Overall, though, I have to say that I am mightily impressed with the new AutoCAD Web. It has been well thought out and gives you a great browser-based AutoCAD experience that relates back to your desktop AutoCAD this time. And with regular updates promised by Autodesk, I can see AutoCAD Web developing at a quick pace to bring you a much slicker experience with AutoCAD Web on the web. Did I say ‘web’ enough there for you?

New Features and Enhancements

Back to the desktop AutoCAD now. Autodesk have added a couple of new features to AutoCAD 2019.

On the new Collaborate tab in the AutoCAD ribbon, you will find the DWG Compare command. This new feature is, quite simply, excellent. I wish I’d had it years ago. You can now compare two separate DWG files and AutoCAD creates a new comparison DWG file, highlighting any differences between the two compared drawings, using colors and revision clouds, providing tools to iterate between each difference and zoom in to each difference automatically.

DWG Compare

Another great new feature on the Collaborate tab is Shared Views. You can upload your designs directly to the web in to the Autodesk Viewer, a cloud-based viewer. You can invite other collaborators to view your design by way of a private URL that can be emailed to the respective team members. Also, in the Autodesk Viewer, there is a Comment feed that allows all invited users to comment on the shared design and link their comments to the design as well.

Shared Views

You may also notice that there are enhanced icons in AutoCAD 2019 that look different too. To bring AutoCAD 2019 in line with the 4K monitors out there, over 5000 icons have been revamped and redesigned in the ribbon, status bar and application menu. They provide a slick, professional look to AutoCAD that looks modern and clean. The cartoony icons now have a tidier, minimalist look that I have to say I prefer.

Enhanced Icons

Conclusions

Autodesk are taking AutoCAD to a new level with this release. Not only are you getting numerous flavors of AutoCAD as one subscription package, but you’re also getting a great web-based offering too, along with some cool new features and enhancements in the desktop application, with cool command icons. And don’t forget, you STILL get seamless DWG compatibility with AutoCAD for Mac too.

Overall, a nice AutoCAD offering from Autodesk, and I love the new AutoCAD Web, but I would still like to see more new features and enhancements in the desktop AutoCAD, especially on the new Collaborate tab. Collaboration is becoming more and more prevalent in this age of email, webmail and the cloud, and I hope to see Autodesk take advantage of that movement to make AutoCAD even more mobile in the future.

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

SCB.

PS – As some of you may know, I provide online AutoCAD learning content over at LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com. You’ll find all the new AutoCAD 2019 Essential Training material below: –

LinkedIn Learning – CLICK HERE 

Lynda.com – CLICK HERE

 

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!

IMG_0208

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!

IMG_0192

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!

SCB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autodesk Design Review….remember that one?

ADSKDesignReviewINSTALLED

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?) 🙂

SCB

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!

SCB