Draping images over surfaces in Civil 3D

Having recently overcome various difficulties to successfully drape an image over a surface in Civil 3D, it may be useful to pass on a few points I have learned. There are various posts and videos out there that helpfully go through this process, but some of them (including Autodesk sources) contain information that is irrelevant or just plain wrong, and none of them contained all  of the information I needed to complete the task.

I used Civil 3D 2015 for this, but the principles apply to all recent releases. Here is the basic sequence required:

  • In the drawing containing the (continued…) Full post
  • Restoring the Classic workspace in AutoCAD 2015, 2016 and 2017, etc.

    One of the more common queries on my putting things back to “normal” posts is how to restore the AutoCAD Classic workspace in those releases where it is absent. Since Autodesk removed that workspace it has been too involved a process to fully describe how to do it in the context of my post. In the 2017 version of that post I’ve added a useful link, but as that’s a massive post and the link is buried near the end of it, this may have escaped your attention.

    Here’s the link to Brazilian AutoCAD expert Luciana Klein’s step-by-step (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal”

    The most frequently accessed posts on this blog are the AutoCAD 201x – Putting things back to “normal” series. They also attract a lot of comments:

    Most Commented Posts

  • AutoCAD 2013 – An Autodesk Help writer responds – 164 comments
  • AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal” – 158 comments
  • AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” – 135 (continued…) Full post
  • AutoCAD 2012 – How to “hatch” using any objects

    Here’s a trick you can use in AutoCAD 2012 to fill an area with any objects you like. It’s not actually hatching, but it has several advantages over the real thing:

    • You aren’t restricted to straight line segments as you are with real hatching. Circles, splines, even solid objects, you name it, you can use it.
    • To define the pattern, you don’t have to master an arcane file format or use trigonometry to work out the numbers used in it. Just draw the objects you want repeated.
    • You can easily change the spacing between the objects later, or even (continued…) Full post

    Installation tip – save time and space

    If you download AutoCAD or other Autodesk products from either the trial or Subscription sites, the executable you get (e.g. AutoCAD_2012_English_Win_32bit.exe) is actually a self-extracting archive rather than a real installer. When you run it, you are prompted for a destination folder, with a default location such as this:


    The actual installer (setup.exe) and all of the files it needs are then unzipped and placed in a folder structure in that location. When the extraction is finished, the self-extracting executable automatically runs setup.exe and the installation proper can begin. Once the installation is complete, the extracted files are left in (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal”

    The most popular post on this blog, in terms of both hits and comments, is AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal”. This is followed by AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”, with AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” not too far behind. As it seems many people find these posts useful, here’s an updated version for the latest release. Much of this post is based on older versions, but there are many additions and differences in this year’s “keep off my lawn” post.

    One thing that’s regularly asked whenever a new (continued…) Full post

    Dealing with blacked-out leader plots in older AutoCAD

    Any drawing created in AutoCAD 2008 and later which uses Multileaders will present problems to users of AutoCAD 2007 and earlier. The users of the earlier release will find that rather than having leaders to deal with, they have proxy objects. As a result, it is impossible to edit these leaders in any way other than erasing them. Also, depending on the setting of the PROXYSHOW system variable in the earlier release, the objects may not display at all, or could display only as rectangles.

    If the user of 2008 or later used the background mask feature when creating Multileaders, (continued…) Full post

    Edwin’s 100 tips, plus my own

    Over at Edwin Prakaso’s CAD Notes site, he has collected 100 AutoCAD tips and published them in a highly useful post. Very nice job, Edo.

    While you blog readers are collecting tips, you might as well have a look at mine, too:

     http://www.blog.cadnauseam.com/tag/tip/ (and page 2)

    I was surprised how many tips I have posted over the couple of years this blog has been running, although not all of them are for AutoCAD. Anyway, I hope you find some of them useful. If you don’t want to wade through all that lot, maybe you can get started (continued…) Full post

    Restoring Hatch double-click in AutoCAD 2011

    In AutoCAD 2011, the default action when double-clicking on a hatch object is to invoke the Properties palette for that object. In previous releases, it would invoke the Hatch Edit dialog box. In my AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” post, I briefly described how to restore the old double-click action. I have since seen some incorrect advice being given out about how to do this, so this post describes the correct process in full detail.

    What to do

  • Invoke the CUI command.
  • In the top left pane, find the [+] next to Double Click Actions and (continued…) Full post
  • Filling the holes in Autodesk’s CHM Help stopgap

    It was good to see Autodesk react to criticism of AutoCAD 2011’s browser-based Help with an acknowledgement of the problems and an attempt to provide a workaround by making a zip file of CHM files available for download. That’s much better than ignoring people’s concerns, denying the validity of those concerns or shooting the messenger, which has been known to happen in the past.

    However, there are some holes in the workaround, only some of which can be filled.

    • Under 64-bit Windows 7, the Search pane is blank, as it is in the CHM Help for earlier releases (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal”

    Easily the most popular post on this blog, in terms of both hits and comments, is AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal”. Not too far behind it is AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”. Apparently, lots of people find these posts useful, so here’s an updated version for the latest release. Some of this post is based on the originals, but there are significant additions and differences in this year’s Luddite post.

    Note: there is an updated version of this post for AutoCAD 2012.

    One thing that’s regularly asked whenever a new AutoCAD (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD tip – which drawings use an xref?

    Here’s a tip I just rediscovered while cleaning out my old emails. It applies to all recent AutoCAD releases.

    Let’s say you have a drawing that you think has been used as an xref by at least one other drawing, and maybe more. How can you find out which drawings use it as an xref?

    First, turn on DesignCenter. You can do this with Tools > Palettes > DesignCenter, the ADCENTER command, or Ctrl+2. Pick on the Search button at the top (the magnifying glass thingy). In the Search dialogue box, change the “Look for” item to Xrefs (but have (continued…) Full post

    Repost – how to get your picture next to your comment

    This is a revisit of a post I made about a year ago.

    You may have noticed that some people’s comments have an avatar picture next to them (no, not the film with the Roger Dean visuals), while others have a randomly assigned pattern. On this blog, the avatar picture is a gravatar (globally recognised avatar), and you can have one too. Once you set it up, you will find that it works in all sorts of places, not just this blog. Some other blogs may use other avatar standards, though.

    Here’s how to do it:

  • Visit Full post
  • Quick and dirty clicks and drags in AutoCAD

    I’m sure most of you draw your objects with great precision. But sometimes even the most precise among us may want to make a quick and dirty move or copy of some drawing objects and are not too bothered about the exact place they end up. Text, for example.

    As always in AutoCAD, there are many ways of doing this. Long-termers like me may automatically gravitate towards the short-form commands for Move and Copy, but there are various alternatives.

    In this post I’m going to cover the click-and-drag method. This isn’t grip editing; although you will see grips appear when (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD does a Cheshire Cat

    In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat gradually disappears until nothing is left but its smile. The AutoCAD packaging has done the same thing over the years until now nothing is left but the 0s and 1s. In Release 13, one box was not enough to keep all the materials, but Autodesk gradually slimmed it down until in recent years your slab of upgrade or Subscription cash gets you nothing but a DVD in a case (with or without a pack of cards). However, you can go cap in hand to Autodesk and ask for a real (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD virus protection update

    As I mentioned in my last post, I had some reservations about the code provided by Autodesk to deal with suspect acad.vlx and logo.gif files. Based on a suggestion from Jimmy Bergmark, I have written my own, safer version which you can download here: clean_virus_safe.lsp.

    The comments at the top of the clean_virus_safe.lsp file explain what to do with it, but I will reproduce some of the relevant points here.

    • Purpose: Checks for existence of acad.vlx and logo.gif files, which are associated with virus AL/Logo-A, also known as ACAD/Unexplode, ACAD/Agent.A or ACM_UNEXPLODE.B. Written as a safer alternative (continued…) Full post

    Another AutoCAD malware warning

    Shaan Hurley has posted some useful information about another AutoCAD-based virus that is doing the rounds, and I strongly suggest you read it. However, I have some reservations about the solution that is posted there and in the Autodesk knowledgebase.

    The LISP code suggested will delete any files called acad.vlx or logo.gif that are located in the current user’s current AutoCAD search path. There are a couple of problems with that.

    • The search path will change depending on the user, the profile, the startup folder and the drawing folder. That means you can’t just use (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”

    Easily the most popular post on this blog, in terms of both hits and comments, is AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal”. Lots of people seemed to find it useful, so I guess it’s worth doing an updated sequel for the current release. Much of this post is the same as the original, but there are differences.

    Note: there are updated versions of this post for AutoCAD 2011 and 2012.

    One thing that’s regularly asked whenever a new AutoCAD release hits the streets is how to make it work like earlier releases. As I stated (continued…) Full post

    AutoCAD’s magic vanishing attachments

    There are now quite a few file types that you can attach to an AutoCAD drawing as a reference, in the same way that you can attach other drawings as xrefs. We’ve been able to attach other drawings since Release 11 (1990) and images since Release 14 (1997), but every release since 2007 has introduced a new kind of attachment. In AutoCAD 2010, you can now also attach PDFs, MicroStation DGNs (v7 and v8), DWF and DWFx files.

    But should you? Maybe not. It depends who is going to use those drawings after you. If you know for certain that (continued…) Full post