2007-02-13

AutoCAD 2008 and the 2008 Line of Products

Well, AutoCAD 2008 is going to be called AutoCAD 2008, but, the verticals are mixing it up a little...

Revit Building will now be called Revit Architecture
Revit Systems will now be called Revit MEP
Architectural Desktop (ADT) will now be called Autocad Architecture (ACA)
Autodesk Building Systems will now be called Autocad MEP
Civil 3d will now be called Autocad Civil 3d

I have to admit that the new names should make it just slightly easier to talk about to the non-CAD-speakers in the workplace. I don't know why C3D isn't just AutoCAD Civil though?

Design Review 2008 will be FREE from the get-go... until recently Design Review was approximately $200USD.

But, I am primarily an AutoCAD person, so we'll start there.

Overall, I'm pretty excited about this release. I have to admit that I didn't even do my 2007 upgrade until two weeks ago. The only thing in that one that changed my life is the Layer Merge tool being available via a dialog box. 2008 has a lot of great tweaks that will affect quite a few people, I believe.

The really groundbreaking tool will be the Annotative Objects. You can link an object's scale to your viewport scale, so when you change your viewport, your text and hatching will adjust accordingly (Revit people, think about that thing where you choose the level of detail you show, I'm not sure the name of the feature but I see similarities). There are separate 'scale representations' for each scale, so you can sort of drag something out of your way without affecting the annotation on a different scale. Pretty sweet.

Another cool thing is being able to have more control over layers by overriding their appearance in Viewports: Color, Linetype, Lineweight and Plotstyle.

There is also the ability to split a long table to fit on a sheet (using grips or a dialog). Sweet.
There are data linking and data extraction tools with MS Excel, but, I have to admit that I didn't use them at all during testing.

There was a toolbar included for some Autodesk Impression basic tools. SWEET to have some nice visualization tools included like that.

Searching for data just got a little bit easier with the InfoCenter. You can search the new features workshop, the help file, RSS feeds and specified documents all from one little toolbar in the upper-right-hand corner of your AutoCAD session. SWEET! This has 'CAD Standards at your Fingertips' written all over it!
There were also some video tutorials in the help files. Beyond awesome. I certainly grasp concepts much more quickly when viewing them in action than just reading about them.

Hardware acceleration and 64 bit. <- I don't use these, but, I assume they must be important. Direct 3D or Open GL is good to go and so is 64bit AutoCAD on Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Workspaces now include a 2D drafting and annotation configuration right out of the box. You can customize workspaces fairly easily in the CUI.

One of my favorites so far is being able to customize dashboard panels.
I never cared for tool palettes much, aside from block insertion, but, I really dig the Dashboard. You can also associate certain tool palette groups to each panel to access them easily if you decide you do need them. I made my own panel for testing, but, this year there are more built-in panels to choose from. (panel configurations can be a part of your workspace, which makes them even handier)

You can just drag and drop within the CUI to a toolbar and panel now (it used to be more convoluted in that you had to drag the desired command up to the upper left pan that lists all of the toolbars/palettes/etc). Definitely more intuitive than ever before.
If you create a toolbar and drag another toolbar onto it... it creates a flyout. Cooool.

You can now Import/Export and Underlay DGN V8 files. Underlay doesn't support layer controls, but, it does support clipping and reverse clipping (you can also invert an x-ref clip now, too, of course).

And when you underlay a DWF, you can have layer controls... but, I believe that is IF the person who created the DWF enabled layers when they created the dwf. DWF underlays have been snappable since 2007, but, it's worth mentioning again.

There are now tooltips over Dynamic Block grips telling you what the action is.

Drag and Drop Paperspace layouts! That's pretty self-explanatory.

I've heard that the Multiple Leaders (mleader) feature is a little buggy, but, I haven't used it myself, so I can't really comment with any authority. I did have to mention it because this was one of those things from the AUGI wishlist. The CAD community has spoken and Autodesk has listened. So... speak out y'all. :-)


I'm sure I've overlooked a dozen changes/tweaks/adjustments, new features, etc, but, heck, I've only got so much room in this little brain of mine.
:-)
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