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In AutoCAD 2011 New Features, instructor Jeff Bartels highlights productivity and creativity enhancing additions to the AutoCAD toolset. This course covers improved functions for selecting and creating geometry, updated modification tools for hatches and polylines, simplified parametric constraint tools, and the new dynamic surface modeling techniques for creating complex shapes. Exercise files accompany the course.
The way we edit splines has also been improved in AutoCAD 2011. Rather than drilling down through cryptic menus, we can now edit our splines dynamically using multifunctional grips. On my screen I have a pair of straight- line segments, and I would like to create a spline that connects them. So I'm going to open up my Draw panel and I'll launch the Spline command. If we look right down here, we can see that we're using the default spline method of Fit. I'm going to start my spline at the endpoint of this line.
I'll pick a few more points on screen. I will then go to the endpoint of this line, and to finish I'll hit my Enter key on my keyboard. To edit the geometry of the spline, I will select it. This brings up several grips. This triangular one is obviously brand new. This is a lookup grip. I will select this first. This guy brings up a menu that lets us choose which grips we'd like to use to edit the geometry. Would you like to edit the fit points or the control vertices? I'm going to select control vertices. Those now show up on screen.
At this point I could select a vertex and I could drop at some place else. I could grab this vertex and move it, very easy to edit the geometry. Let's select the lookup grip again and I'll choose fit points. Now I have a grip at each fit point location. I could select this fit point and click to move it someplace else. When I'm finished making my changes, I can hit my Escape key. Now let's look a little bit deeper at some of the other edits we can make with these grips. I'm going to select my spline again, I will hover over this fit point and AutoCAD brings up a menu with some options.
If I select Stretch, this is the same as Move, I can move this fit point. I'm going to click to place it here. I can also add a fit point. If you choose to do that, the fit point will be placed after the current location. I will click on screen to place mine right here. And I will hover over the new fit point. this time we'll use Remove to take it out of our spline. All of the options we've just seen can also be accessed through your Ctrl key on your keyboard. Rather than hovering if I click to select this grip, AutoCAD defaults to the Stretch or Move mode.
If I tap my Ctrl key, AutoCAD will cycle to add. If I tap my Ctrl key again, it will cycle to remove. I'm going to click on screen to accept the removal of this fit point. All of these grips work the same way except for the ones on the ends. If I hover over this one, notice I get an additional option, Tangent Direction. I'm going to select this and I would like to define the direction of my start tangent by selecting the endpoint of this line.
Let's take care of the other side. I will hover over this grip and select Tangent Direction. And I will define the direction of my end tangency by grabbing the endpoint of this line. Now let's take a look at some of the edit options available with our control vertices. I'll click the Lookup Grip,. We'll select the other option. I'll then hover over this control vertex. Notice I have a Stretch option so I can move this vertex wherever I like. I can also add a vertex after the current location.
Let's hover again. I will remove the vertex that I just added. Let's take a look at this option Refine Vertices. If I select this option the same of my spline won't change, but AutoCAD will add an extra vertex such that I have another measure of control. I'm going to hover over this one in Refine Vertices. Once again, same thing, but now I have a few extra points that I can select to adjust this geometry. And just like with the fit points, if I click to select a vertex, I can tap my Ctrl key to cycle through all of the options.
I'm going to use the Stretch option and place this vertex right here. When I'm finished making my changes, I'll hit my Escape key to deselect the spline. Let me show you one more new editing option available in AutoCAD 2011, and we can only access this through the Spline Edit command. We can launch Spline Edit two ways. I can open up my Modify panel and I can click the icon right here, or I can also launch the command by double-clicking the spline. From here I'll select Edit Vertex. Notice there is a brand new option called Add Kink.
If I select this and move my cursor, this little X follows me around, and wherever I place the X, that's where I'm going to create a kink in my spline. I'm going to click right here to place my kink, and then to get out of the menus I'm going to hit Enter, Enter, Enter. Let's reselect the spline. I'll then hover over my new vertex and select Stretch. And as I pull this out and we zoom in, you can see that I've created a nice sharp kink in my geometry.
Now that we understand the fundamentals of editing a spline, let's try and edit a spline in a practical example. I'm going to back up and I'll pan my drawing over. On my screen I have a conceptual plan for a proposed bike path. Now I would like to edit the geometry of my centerline. So, I'm going to start out by zooming in and I'm going to launch my Erase command and I'll erase the left and right edge of the path. I really don't need those. Once I change my centerline geometry I can always create new offsets.
Next, I'll select my geometry, this is obviously a spline, and I'm going to edit this using the fit point grips. I'd like to start by removing some of these. I actually have too many. Some of the grips are forcing the spline to be rather straight. So to remove some of these points, I'm going to hover. I'll select Remove. I'll hover over this one, Remove. Notice my arc is now a lot cleaner. It's a lot smoother than it was before. I would like to move this fit point, so I will hover and select Stretch.
Be careful when you're moving the points around. I happened to have a running object snap set for endpoint. And if I'm too close to this line, when I clicked that fit point kind of snapped to the end and it looked like it disappeared. I'm going to click Undo to bring that back. I will then select my spline again. I'll hover and select Stretch. This time I'll make sure to be very mindful of my running object snap. I'm going to pull this down here and click. Let's back up a little bit. I'd like to change the route of my path through here, so I'm going to remove several of these grips.
We'll select Remove. I'll hover and select Remove, Remove. Much easier to remove grips in a spline in AutoCAD 2011 than it has been in any prior version. I will hover and select Stretch. I will move this grip over here. I'd like to add a few points. Let's take and run the path around this cluster of trees. To do that I will hover and select Add Fit Point. I'll place my fit point right here.
I will then hover and select Stretch. We'll pull a new one up here. Don't worry if you accidentally click and select these grips. We can always tap the Ctrl key to cycle through the same options. Since I selected mine it defaults to stretch. I'm just going to pull this up and click to set its new location. I think I can get rid of one more vertex. I'm going to remove this one. I'm going to take out one more, I'll remove this one. That's much better. I now have a very lean spline with just enough fit points to keep my arcs long and smooth.
Now that I'm finished with my edits, I'll hit Escape, and then we'll offset the geometry. I launch the Offset command. I'll enter a distance of 5 for 5 feet. I'll offset my centerline to this direction, and then I'll select it again and offset it in this direction. I'll hit Escape when I'm finished, and then I will select each of these edges. We'll open up the layer control and I'll put these on the proposed edge of pavement layer. I am sure you'll agree that using the new multifunctional grips makes editing our splines faster and more intuitive than ever.
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