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    Default AutoCAD 2010

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    AutoCAD 2010

    Well, I sat down in front of my PC last night between 8pm and 9pm GMT and watched the live webcast from Autodesk that effectively launched the AutoCAD 2010 campaign. This morning I have just read through the AutoCAD 2010 Preview Guide.

    My first reaction is very, very positive. There are a number of "headline" new features but probably the two most impressive are the new parametric drawing tools and the 3D mesh modelling tools. However, there are lots of smaller tweaks that will help to make our existing work more efficient. There have been some major changes to the Ribbon and the menu browser - all good, as far as I can see but the one thing that made me whoop with joy was the ability to change layer colour from the layer pull-down menu - no need to go the the layer manager. A small thing, I know but an anomaly that has bugged me for years.

    Like previous releases of AutoCAD, 2010 has been heralded as a "watershed" release and for once, I think that might be true. Autodesk seem to have a new roadmap for AutoCAD and have repositioned the product within their portfolio. This is very good news for all AutoCAD users. In recent years, we have become used to Autodesk treating AutoCAD like the rather dim older brother of some younger, brighter siblings (Revit and Inventor) with the youngsters getting the bulk of the attention. For years I've been expecting Autodesk to announce the death of AutoCAD; it certainly went through a wilderness period when new releases contained nothing much more than minor tweaks. AutoCAD 2007 was a major release with the first significant improvements to solid modelling in almost 10 years. But many of us suspected that this was simply a ploy to counter the increasing popularity of SketchUp.

    Autodesk seem to have rethought their strategy with regard to AutoCAD, billing it as a "freeform conceptual design tool" with a clearly defined separation between it and the "intelligent" Revit with Revit now being seen as the second step in the BIM workflow rather than a one-stop solution.

    So, now in terms of workflow, everything begins with AutoCAD, whether the end result is a BIM (via Revit) or high-end visualisation (via Max or Maya).

    The result of this repositioning of AutoCAD (we could probably now refer to it as the "prodigal son") is that Autodesk have invested a great deal of time and effort in improving almost every aspect of the product and is now the focus of their development efforts.

    Of course there will be questions over the stability of a product after such massive changes but on balance, we should consider this as short-term pain for long-term gain. Inevitably, with the inclusion of fundamentally new features (to AutoCAD), a change in the DWG format is required and this is always a pain but again, it's a reasonable trade-off.

    It's a long time since I could honestly say that the future looks bright for AutoCAD, but I can now. Autodesk are even considering a version for the Mac - how times change!

    Have a look at the archived version of the webcast and let me know what you think.

    2010.jpg
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    Default AutoCAD 2010

    From the point of view of my own work practices with AutoCAD I think there's one major pro and one major con:

    Pro: Freeform modelling improvements of surfaces (then converting to solids afterwards for me) is fantastic - I no longer need to revert to 3DS Max. Keeping as much as possible native to AutoCAD is superb

    Con: The parametric and contraint abilities are for 2D entities only - grrrrr. The dynamic blocks are also still only for 2D (I know visibility states will work for 3D parts but they tend to get too heavy in memory for me to use effectively).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh_Compton View Post
    Con: The parametric and contraint abilities are for 2D entities only - grrrrr.
    Agreed, but I suspect that we'll see parametric abilities applied to 3D objects in future releases. Although A2010 offers a lot of new stuff, Autodesk are often cautious with new features and tend to roll them out progressively over a number of releases.

    I forgot to mention in my original article that A2010 will be released in mid-March with subscription holders getting it first - it will then be released to the normal distribution channels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADTutor View Post

    It's a long time since I could honestly say that the future looks bright for AutoCAD, but I can now. Autodesk are even considering a version for the Mac - how times change!
    ]
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    Looks good to me. Hope it has less bugs than 2009 too. Now that would be a BIG plus. I'll be loading it up as soon as it arrives.
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    I think it's time for Autodesk to split this program into two separate applications. One for 2D and one for 3D, and eliminate Autocad LT entirely. They are just trying to cram too much stuff into this application. I think you're probably going to need a high end system to run it, and even then, I think it will probably be prone to crashes and will probably take a long time to load up and will be very sluggish and slow to respond. I will certainly take a look at it, when it arrives, but I will probably end up sticking it on the shelf next to 2009 and continue using 08 as long as I can get away with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cad64 View Post
    I think it's time for Autodesk to split this program into two separate applications. One for 2D and one for 3D, and eliminate Autocad LT entirely.
    I'm not sure that's a good idea. I like the seamless transition from 2D to 3D in AutoCAD and that very much suits the way I work. But I can understand someone who only ever uses the 2D stuff and also wants the "full" AutoCAD advantages feeling that the 3D stuff could be jettisoned.

    It's true that AutoCAD is slow to load (certainly I find myself having to wait for 2009) even on speedy PCs but it is pretty responsive once it has loaded. On the other hand, I often run out of memory (only 4GB with Vista 32bit) and have to close down and restart - or sometimes reboot but I hope to move to a 64bit OS shortly so that I can access more memory.

    On balance though, having all that stuff at my fingertips is worth the odd hassle - I just wish it wasn't quite so buggy.
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    Why i didn't find for 3d visualization improvement in acad 2010?
    Eg..mapping ,material...lighting effect.. etc!
    Then i always afraid system requirement!
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    I think we'll be seeing some major improvements in materials, mapping and lighting in 2011. Did you do the recent Autodesk questionnaire on materials etc.? They are obviously gathering user opinion now.
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    I can't wait 2011..!
    I will send Autodesk questionnaire!
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