This is Part 1 of a series regarding information on Civil View.
Many times when I am at a clients site training, I will look around the office and see piles of foam board with computer graphics superimposed over top of aerial photographs. These are often used for interviews with towns, public hearings or for proposals. These are good ways to show the location of the future project but what if you could give the future clients or citizens of a town a more realistic view of what this project might look like when it is built?
Civil 3D does a great job of creating a 3D design but often isn't the best tool for creating a visualization of the project when it is completed. Therefore another tool would be needed to complete a visuallization I am describing. I know what you are thinking, this guy is just trying to sell me more software! Well that is far from the truth, I am a techy person and therefore don't work in sales for a good reason....It's not what I am good at. I am here to explain that when your company purchases an Autodesk Suite of products, it's not just because they got a package deal on the software. Autodesk Suites are Autodesk's way of bundling software so your company can take advantage of the micellaneous software packages Autodesk has to offer and not have to spend rediculous amounts of money per seat to get them.
Now that we know a little about Suites, we can talk about some of the software contained in those suites. If you are reading this blog then you are most likely a Civil 3D user which means your company has the Infrastructure Design Suite Premium edtion or above. The Premium editition offers the following Software:
AutoCAD® Map 3D
AutoCAD® Raster Design
Autodesk® Storm and Sanitary Analysis
Autodesk® Navisworks® Simulate
Autodesk® Infrastructure Modeler
AutoCAD® Civil 3D®
Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design
The two I am talking about using to replace that old standard foam board are Civil 3D and Autodesk 3ds Max Design. When we install 3ds Max Design there is an option to install a plug-in called Civil View. This plug-in gives us the ability to import Civil 3D data into 3ds Max Design. This import is done using the vsp3D file that can be imported and stylized in 3ds Max. Now I know you are probably thinking, "GREAT! another software for me to learn and how much money and time will that take?" Well, I will admit you would certainly benefit from training and it will take some time to master the software but I will also say that many things can be done with just a little playing around and reading online. Below is a picture on how to export the data from Civil 3D.
Once the data is exported is can be brought into 3ds Max. Let's take a look at how to import it. First start up 3ds Max Design and check to see if Civil View was installed. You will know if it is installed when you open 3ds Max and check the menu system at the top of the screen. At this point, if you don't have the plug-in installed, you will need to run the installation from the original software files for the suite. This can be done by running the setup file and clicking on install tools and utilities. Place a check mark next to Autodesk Civil View. See pictures below.
If this is the first time Civil View has been used, you will need to initialize it by clicking on the Initialize Civil View option in the menu (See Below) to setup some system defaults. Once it has been initialized, them menu will look like the second image below.
Once all of this is completed, you are free to use the Civil View tools to create visualizations like the one below.