My Top Three New Features of AutoCAD Architecture 2008
Additionally, it may seem that I've been ignoring Autodesk Architecture (what used to be Architectural Desktop) in favor of Revit. Not so. While it is true that my customers have been demanding more services on the Revit side, I have not abandoned AA (what the heck acronym do we use for this thing, anyway - it's an Autodesk product - it HAS to have an acronym!!!).
While there are several improvements in the new AutoCAD Architecture, I'm going to list my three top features:
1) Display Control: Last year (or was the the year before?) at AU, Chris Yanchar, Director of Product Design for (then) ADT told me that his goal was for me to never ever teach my long-running "Complete Display Control in Autodesk Architectural Desktop" class again. They've been working on making the display control interface easier to navigate and manipulate, and with AA 2008 they have succeeded! You now have one-stop shopping for all display control needs. Using the new Display tab on the properties manager, you can quickly and easily manage all level's of an object's display properties. For complex objects, you can directly select nested components for editing as well. In the image below, for example, I have selected the hatch component of a brick wall with the tool indicated. The display properties are exposed to me for editing in the Display panel of the Properties editor. This allows for direct editing without complicated dialog boxes, and with immediate graphical feedback.
Additionally, if you're about to do something that could be potentially dangerous, you get an alert notifying you of what you're about to do. In the example shown, the hatch pattern is controlled by the material assigned to the component selected. If I select the hatch pattern color (or any other property), I'm presented with the following warning.
This, in my opinion, is a huge improvement in and of itself - notifying a user who may not be completely familiar with the intricacies of the display system that he or she may want to pause and consider their actions before proceeding.
Bad news, though, Chris... I think my class will still be necessary - albeit with major modifications. While the display system is now much, MUCH easier to edit and manipulate, the underlying concepts and functionality are unchanged. Ease of use and streamlined interface are a welcome enhancement to, but not a substitute for knowledge of the concepts involved.
The good news though, is that with this enhancement, my Display Control class can easily be accommodated by a 90 minute lecture, not the 3.5 hour tutorial I've been lobbying for the last few years.
2) Annotation Scale: While you might argue that this is an AutoCAD enhancement, it still applies to AA 2008 - all annotation objects, including schedule tags, support the annotation scale feature of AutoCAD 2008. This means that you no longer have to create multiple view blocks in a M/V block schedule tag, for example, to handle multiple scales - simply make the text that makes up the single view block "Annotative".
3) Match Sheet Layers to View: This has been a huge wish-list item for users of Project Navigator. Now with a single setting in the Project Properties dialog you can make the layers in your sheet drawing update automatically with the settings you modify in the associated view drawings. No more chasing your tail! This one is easy - if you use Project Navigator, just make the setting indicated below and try it out for yourself!
Again, there are a lot of other improvements (some nice one for spaces, for example), but these are the top three, off the top of my head. If you'd like more detailed posts about any of these or any other new features, post a comment to this article. If there's enough demand, I'll see what I can do to accommodate!