AutoCAD 2012 top news, part one

clip_image001Finally, as announced by this date, Autodesk has provided all the information concerning the latest AutoCAD 2012. Similarly, it has provided what it implies for other disciplines, with exception of AutoCAD for Mac, which still stands on what we saw last year in the 2011 version.

From the outset, we are pleased that it was not necessary a new dwg file format, the 2010 format remains, so to deploy with older versions of AutoCAD 2010 it will be need to convert them using TrueView. Although AutoDesk insists in saying that its dwg is a wave down from an alien spacecraft, the message that appears when you open a file worked with gvSIG, Microstation, BricsCAD or any other software that can now generate dwg make us think other thing. It reminds me that old lawsuit that had when it wanted to own the format and while it has the right, it seems unnecessary to me as if it were a virus.

Also, it is interesting to know that this new version supports parallel processes, so if there is a video card or computer with multiple processor, difference can be felt when routines such as rendering and panning in 3D view are done.

And another aspect that we also like is to know that this version can be downloaded legally for testing purposes, although version is fully functional for 30 days.

From here you can download AutoCAD 2012 for free.

clip_image002There are some themes I love dealt carefully, especially because many changes are quite similar to what has been done by Bentley in Microstation V8i, however much of what’s new in AutoCAD 2012 exceeds it. In this first approach, I want to talk about data construction and output deployment.

Constructive aspects

There is not much novelty in this respect; understandable because the best AutoDesk can do is to improve existing routines. That’s why stand enhanced tools, becoming more dynamic objects and stealing more advantage of the graphical aids, although it shows great use of improvements in 2011version:

It improves the Spline. We recall that the spline is a kind of freehand curved line that takes vertices in the air; it was a problem that it could not be treated as a polyline in aspects such as area calculation or cut.

… Hell the day I used this to make contour…

Now it can be treated almost like a smart line of Corel Draw, add and relocate vertexes and convert strokes in arches. Including an option called blend tool allows you to go creating the spline with aid toward where we want to walk.

In the same way we see what happens with the hatch, already long ago patterns management came improved, to make them dynamic. But now the grips are more useful and equally applied to the gradient fill (gradient).

clip_image003This benefits processes such as sizing, arcs, ellipses, polylines, faces, mleaders, although the latter includes much more than that because there is more nodes control and proximity to text. Here I leave the video which shows how it works.

Among the most beneficial of thisclip_image004 dynamic action is that has been given to the Array Command, which now becomes a dynamic element rather than a simple alignment of single figures. After making the settlement, objects maintain relationship, whether linear, curved or 3D environment, depending on the type of arrangement. Great, because now you can operate with greater agility design as is the case of a Joist bar, being able to modify the linear pattern, scale, distance or angle without having to redraw even if we change the camber.

clip_image005In addition, even the array can be copied although it can not be think so. It can be said, I want to copy this arrangement, as the case of bars in the same Joist, from this point to this end. This would make that patterns such as stairs, aligned chairs, room lamps, trees, etc. may be copied in the way we used the Measure command with blocks, with the variant that they keep the association and linkage with the object’s alignment.


Duplicatesclip_image008 Cleaning. This is not surprising to those who have used SIG tools, where topological cleaning includes the removal of dirty. AutoCAD 2012 now implements a button for the duplicate elements.

… It would have been helpful when I had a nice assistant that duplicate the layers in a single drawing…

There are more about drawing with parameters. This is one of the best features that AutoCAD has been achieved, what is innovative in this 2012 version is that you can perform it on the fly with Visual aids displayed in each objects node. In this video you can see it working, interesting, the functionality that this brings to what we did before as simple together objects.

… As an example the drawing of steel reinforcement details … It was really crazy when you changed the proportion and the boss wanted to keep sharp curves at the ends.


clip_image010What’s new in the Ribbon. An interesting access called Content Explorer has been added, this reminds me ArcCatalog routes, for not getting fool while searching for files using Windows Explorer.

Similar to this, it has been added access to AutoCAD Exchange, which was once seen but not from the desktop, thus Ribbon topics will be told by me in another post because there are improvements in customization that deserve a while.

clip_image011Command Line dies but lives. This has been questioned, as it is dinosaurs’ legacy. But quick access to commands is still a common routine for technical drawers; I could see more when we Ribbon tool came to confuse us in AutoCAD 2009.

Now it has added an AutoComplete feature, similar to what we do in Google when we write one word. It would have to see if it remains, since many people could be lost in the meantime with so many similar commands, perhaps it would be good if search becomes intelligent and return us commands that have been most used in the list or it remember us the access key quickly so that we remember it.

Aids that help improve the output. There are some novelties that had taken time, but if they arrive, are welcome. In this seems to me that AutoDesk and Bentley are warn to not overshadow the moment, we had improvements in colors handling but for strange reasons planes generated from a CAD (compared with GIS) look better in monochrome that in color.

Transparencies Improved. This is nothing new in this version, it actually came from the 2011 version but this has been made visible by AutoDesk with more emphasis and as we see some extra functions have been included. Microstation implemented it from XM, but what AutoDesk has done goes further, as we see in this video.


The transparency role is both in the properties panel for each object, as in the layer manager to apply to an entire layer. Additionally, you can apply a layout for print and contextually appears from several sides, I think this will cause impact on the visual presentation, as well as when it reached the gradient fill.

… Until today (a year before the Mayas prophecy) we can print planes with a background-color orthophoto…

There are other improvements in the layout. It has been added a scale option for the notes, this helps not to have being driving styles in texts that only serve to label views. Additionally, the sheet manager is very similar to what Microstation does with Models, but with more look like and interaction in a vertical window that will surely help to further improve output management.


Great for document. This is from the best, though I do not reach digesting it yet. The image has turned the world, but few of us have imagined the process, we who are civilians.


But surely Autodesk Inventor will take benefit of it, because now import models such as SolidWorks, Pro / ENGINEER, CATIA, Rhino and NX.

Finally, I cannot let pass over what I’ve seen in pdf files generation. This is also a further issue which has never arrived with all property, not as now.

Generate PDF files. This is not a novelty, but an improvement to functionality that comes from the 2010 version. It doesn’t send only, but you can define if an entire file can be send, if it is send only one layer, a layout or if multiple pages are going.

Then you can choose images resolution and if you want that fonts will be embedded. This takes a lot of benefit to the generated pdf file, for there layers can be turned on or off, this reminds me what long ago do programs such as Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator… and many other programs that already do this.

In Microstation’s case, if pdf is not generated the with 3D option it will not go with separate layers; not beyond there are so many options to configure output conditions but it exported to pdf from 10 years ago.

Here you can see the video of how pdf works in AutoCAD 2012.

What lays under PDF. The truth is that generate pdf files is not new, but beyond that, I like what AutoCAD 2012 makes when calling a pdf file as a reference and interact with it. While this is here for two years (AutoCAD 2010), now AutoDesk makes more noise using light but useful improvements.

It is not bad, the best I’ve seen when interacting with pdf files that contain vector layers because among other things you can:

  • Georeferencing pdf
  • Make clip to hide portions of the plane
  • draw on this using snap on pdf vectors
  • Turn on or off pdf layers

Anyway, just missing an option to make merge or copy fence and bring it to the dwg and we would be satisfied. For Microstation, pdf can georeference but behaves as if it was an image, it can not be done a snap or interact with layers and I feel that both don’t have immediate support to recognize pdf georeferencing.


And well, in order to not make a post that reaches an oceanic trench, I’m up here with this first revision of AutoCAD 2012 new features. We continue in the next post.

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