Archive for Personal Development – Page 2

Are you new to AutoCAD? Have you been using AutoCAD for years but only use the blocks, styles, layers and tools that others have created?  Do you want to learn more or step up your game on features you’re not very strong in and pick up some practical examples of best practices?  If so, this series is for you.  Over the course of 12 months and maybe more I will cover the basics of a lot of AutoCAD tools and features that many may want or need to learn more about.

This is the 1st article in my AutoCAD 101 series – to read about the origination for this series, see the first post here: <Intro>

This month is all about Blocks (4 weeks – Define, Create, Edit, and Important Stuff)

  • What are and are not blocks (What and why)
  • Blocks are easy!!  Here is how….
  • Blockeditor (BE, BLOCKEDITOR)
  • Layer usage and flexibility in blocks (Layers, linetypes, colors, annotation scaling and Tips and Tricks) (redefining others blocks, macro and script usage)

What are Blocks?

AutoCAD defines Blocks as:  A collection of objects that are combined into a single named object. These objects can be symbols or details that are used to create representations of real world objects.  Typically, each of these blocks is an individual drawing file, perhaps saved in a folder with similar drawing files. When you need to insert one into your current drawing file, you use the INSERT command (or enter ‘I’ in the command window).

Examples of items that would be great as Blocks:

Furniture/Appliances/Equipment:

  • Desks
  • Bathtubs
  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Electrical Panels
  • Air Handlers
  • Etc…

Drawing Symbols:

  • Section Cuts
  • North Arrows
  • Arrow heads
  • Column Bubbles
  • Light fixtures
  • Outlets
  • Etc…

Details:

  • Fire Proofing
  • Control Diagrams
  • Wall Sections
  • Equipment Connections
  • Structural footings
  • Etc…

What are NOT Blocks?

Basic line work that is drawn using standard drawing tools like line, rectangle, circle, etc. that are drawn and/or grouped together to represent one of the above items and copied around the drawing.  The issue is that these are just linework – not “Named objects” and therefore not Blocks.  They look pretty, but their also pretty useless.

  • Rectangles are NOT desks, bathtubs, light fixtures, etc…
  • Rectangles are NOT BLOCKS, but BLOCKS can be rectangles
  • Circles are NOT down lights, bollards, columns, sinks, manholes, etc…
  • Circles are NOT BLOCKS, but BLOCKS can be circles
  • Polygons are NOT Revision triangles, Section symbols, note tags, etc…
  • Polygons are NOT BLOCKS, but BLOCKS can be polygons
  • A bunch of lines drawn in to the shape of a chair is NOT a BLOCK, but a BLOCK can be made up of a bunch of lines drawn in to the shape of a chair

The above are all examples of linework that is drawn to look like something, then is inefficiently copied around to make a bunch of useless “copies”.  BUT, Hey – they look pretty!  Yes they do, but lets look at why this is a bad idea and why blocks are sooo much better.

Why use Blocks?

  • Let’s say you use a rectangle to represent a 2×4 light fixture and copy this around the drawing 60 times to represent your lighting plan.   No lets say the plan is reviewed and someones requires that you change the look of the rectangle – like add an offset line, change its color, add a hatch, add some detail to it – whatever…  To change the look, you would modify one of the rectangles and re-copy it to the other 59 locations – effectively starting over.  If this Light fixture (rectangle) was a block, you would just redefine it and as soon as you save it, all 60 get updated!  Yea!  And to add to it, you can then use this symbol over and over again in other projects!   What’s not to love?  Some of you are going Duh!!  Yea… well I see rectangles used as $#%&$ light fixtures waaayyy too often.  This same concept can be applied to nearly any item you create with linework.  Anytime you draw something that you intend to use again or “possibly” use again – make it a block.  I do this even for ‘one-off’ items.  I am sure you have drawn something on a job, then later,  wish you had that same thing on another job.  You typically go back and copy it and then paste it into the new job.  Depending on how you do it, you will end up with copies of linework again or an anonymous block if you “paste as block”.
  • Blocks reduce storage requirements  – In AutoCAD, each line, arc, ellipse, text, etc. uses up memory, both for storage and RAM memory usage.  If a chair is composed of 50 lines, arcs, etc and is copied around the drawing, multiple the number of lines by each copy – 6 times = 300 lines.  A BLOCK having the same amount of lines will be counted once and then a pointer will be used to reference all the other locations.
  • Objects (BLOCKS) are easier to move than linework – Try selecting all the copies of chairs or lights composed of basic linework vs selecting individual blocks. Even using the SELECTSIMILAR command, which depending on how you have it set will take possibly one selection vs many.  With linework you typically would use a window or crossing to select your items, which means you have a high probability of selecting other items as well.  Blocks can be grabbed with a single pick selection for each item or in multiples by using SELECTSIMILAR.

You may be tempted to use the Copy and “paste as block” option (Ctrl-Shift-V) to make temp blocks. that look like:  A$C19F91F38  This is not a BLOCK!

OK – it is a BLOCK, but it is a temporary block made by copying and pasting objects as a block. This is a sad example of a block – Why?

  • Does the name “A$C19F91F38” mean anything to you? – Nope – not to anyone else either…
  • Can you control the insertion point? – yes but only if you edit it in the Block Editor – it would have just been easier to make it a standard block
  • Can you rename it? – Yes, but you will need to list it and try to remember the Number and letter sequence in the RENAME dialogue – do this a lot and this is what you will see:

rename-annon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you are in to making dumb drawings and wasting time, then you are good to go, but if not, then you should know that Blocks are way easy to create!

And in the next post I’ll show you how…

WES

I have been seriously lacking in my writing this year, an area that I am now working on rectifying.  To get things going again I am going to start out with a new series based on some much needed AutoCAD basics or AutoCAD 101 topics that are good for all levels of users.  

After working in the AEC industry for almost 30 years and of that about 20 using AutoCAD I have learned a lot. The majority of my learning came from on the job training, with most being self teaching through books, blogs, magazine, seminars and a lot of trial and error.  I have worked in Architectural, Mechanical and in current years Electrical offices for various firms and have consulted for a variety of other industries.  All of this has increased my education as well – not only in AutoCAD but of the specific industries.  Because of the variety of working fields and environments, I have also been exposed to a gamut of skill levels of co-workers, clients and consultants that use AutoCAD.  In this time frame I have determined that one thing is clear – AutoCAD skill sets are seriously lacking.

I believe that there are a variety of reasons for this:

  • Companies not investing in training for their employees
  • Companies not hiring the right employees
  • Employees (users) not interested in or practicing self development – for either time or money issues
  • Users not realizing the power of new commands or features due to lack of knowledge of their existence
  • As of late, users and companies not seeing the need to learn more about AutoCAD because they believe it is an old technology that will be replaced with a miracle product soon
  • Some combination of all of the above

Well – these can all be overcome and the focus of this series will be to expand users knowledge of AutoCAD features that can and will improve their productivity and efficiency now.  I have written numerous articles for AUGI world http://www.augi.com/augiworld on some of the topics above, including the importance of training, hiring the right people and how to be more efficient in AutoCAD.  As I tend to get long winded in my writing, the goal of this series is to be present bite sized chunks of information that can be followed up prior to the next weekly post in the series.

What will be covered?

There are numerous tools in AutoCAD that are very helpful and and can greatly increase a users productivity and efficiency, but they have to be used to realize it.  Some examples of commands and tools that I have seen so many users not use – because of lack of understanding/knowledge or just lack of exposure:

  •  Blocks
  • Dynamic Blocks
  • Xrefs
  • Paperspace
  • Annotation scaling
  • Layer management
  • Dimensions
  • Basic Customization (just knowing some basics can greatly increase efficiency) 

The first four posts will be all about Blocks – What they are, what they aren’t and how to make and use them.

If you know someone who is lacking in or just looking to learn more in any of the above these areas , I encourage you to share this blog with them.  If you are interested in reading more about some of the other topics I mentioned above, you can find them on the AUGI website http://www.augi.com/augiworld or you can download the specifc articles here: http://www.functionsense.com/authoring/

Also – another good source for learning is the AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) website.  Check it out and consider becoming a member.  I wrote about the membership options here:
http://www.functionsense.com/2013/12/augi-membership/

WES

augiIf your an Autodesk product user, whether it be AutoCAD, Revit, 3D Studio, Inventor or many of the other Autodesk software products, I would recommend you look in to becoming an AUGI member.

I have been a long time AUGI member, and a NAAUG member prior to that.  Although AUGI has always had a free membership plan, two paid membership plans are now available – premium and professional.  Last year, when the paid membership plans were introduced, I chose the professional membership because I felt it was the most valuable.  Each of the plans have their benefits, but the value will vary by individual.  Below is an outline of some of the benefits of being a member as well as descriptions of each membership level. The majority of the data included here comes directly from AUGI’s website (AUGI.COM)

Why would you want an AUGI membership? The website has tons of timely and historical information for the AEC, manufacturing and multimedia industries. No matter your title or position, there is something for everyone.

AUGI has articles in their two publications, one of which is an email newsletter (Hot News) and one is a magazine (AUGI World) that is available as a printed version.

HotNews:

AUGI HotNews, a monthly newsletter sent to all AUGI members via email, disseminates timely information about upcoming events, special offers from Autodesk and its third-party developer community, general announcements, and a number of columns and feature articles designed to deepen your understanding and enhance your use of AutoCAD and other Autodesk products.

The AUGI Board of Directors also uses HotNews as its channel to keep the membership informed about new programs and policies being offered to the membership.

AUGI HotNews…it’s the way to stay in the know.

AUGIWorld:

AUGIWorld is the official magazine of Autodesk User Group International (AUGI). Published every month, it is distributed to AUGI members around the world.

AUGIWorld issues regularly include:

  • A unique cover story with topics such as CAD Management, Salary Survey, AutoCAD add-on’s, Tips & Tricks, and more.
  • Interviews with Autodesk or industry executives answering member questions on big issues.
  • User stories portraying successfully implemented industry solutions.
  • CAD management advice column.
  • Technical Tips & Tricks section
  • Training advice column
  • AUGI events and announcements

Do you regularly search for technical information online, or look for someone to provide support or guidance?  AUGI forums are here for you.

Forums:

The AUGI forums are an online community where AUGI members can discuss what they use everyday, Autodesk Design Software! These forums are the place to ask questions about your favorite design software or help others with their questions. As you frequent these forums, please offer your own tips and share any other helpful information you might come across.

You can view the forums as a guest, without being an AUGI member. But to really take advantage of what being a member of this community means, you’ll want to post. Only members can post, so if you’re just browsing now, be sure to join AUGI. These forums are one of the biggest benefits of being a member. This is, after all, the premiere destination to get technical support, and its free!

Membership Levels:

There are three membership levels, Standard, Premium, and Professional.

Which membership should you choose?

That depends on the value that you see for each membership level. Check out the links below and join up!

AUGI-Basic-member-logo-120x148

AUGI-Premier-member-logo-120x147  AUGI-Professional-member-logo-120x152
I encourage you to become a member and participate in the forums and possibly even consider getting involved as a volunteer.  If you have technical advice that you would like to share, consider becoming a contributing author for one of the periodicals.  I currently write for AUGI World myself. (Link)

WES

au-new-logo-187x32

Another educational trip to Vegas for #AU2013! This is the third year in a row that I have been fortunate enough to attend Autodesk University in Las Vegas, Nevada and each year is more educational then the last.  This year my focus was more on customization, and Revit knowledge and as usual I have a lot to brain dump when I return home.  Although there were many classes that I did not get to attend (over 700 available), the ones I did attend were very good.

If you did not get to attend this year, it does not mean you have missed out, as much of the information is available online by just creating an Autodesk account if you do not already have one – if you do, just login.  Handouts and presentations are posted from the majority of the classes on the Autodesk University website at http://au.autodesk.com/.

Much of the AU experience though really has to be experienced in person.  Behind all the handouts and Powerpoint presentations were very knowledgeable and experienced instructors/presenters that brought the paper to life.  Although many are instructors in their day jobs, many were everyday product users like you and me.

The days started around 6:00am as you awoke and headed off to breakfast and concluded around 5:30 for classes. After that you head out for a few more hours for the evening events and vendor showcase.

Some of the funner the things you did miss out on were the nightly parties and events meant for networking and relaxing after each full day of data gathering.  The two biggest events being the AUGI annual beer bust on Wednesday evening and the closing Autodesk party on Thursday.

The weather was cold (28F on Friday) compared to my home state of Florida, but if you spend most of your time inside like me, it won’t matter.

Overall I had a great time, I attended a few evening events and enjoyed hanging out with some friends I do not get to see very often otherwise.  The final party was not anything like last years event, but was still a good time with lots of food and beer/wine.

I hope to make it again next year.

WES

P.S.  A special thanks to Autodesk and AUGI for another great year.

augi
autodesk_header_logo_140x23    

Taking CTRL in AutoCAD

Taking shortcuts in life will sometimes come back to bite you. But there are some areas in life where shortcuts come in handy and make you more productive.  In AutoCAD there are shortcut keys that you can use to increase your speed and productivity.  Many old-time CADD jockeys are very familiar with using shortcut keys either through CTRL keys and Function keys or through the ACAD.PGP file.

If you are one of the newer generations CADD Jedis that were trained in AutoCAD to do 95% of your work with mouse points and clicks – A faster way there is!   You may think you’re pretty productive that way, but adding in some shortcut keys can further improve your performance.

In this post I’m going to show the CTRL keys that are probably the most commonly used:

CTRL 1:     Toggles the Properties Palette

CTRL C:     Copies objects to the Windows clipboard

CTRL F:     Toggle running object snaps

CTRL L:     Toggles Orthomode

CTRL N:     Creates a new drawing

CTRL O:     Displays the Open Dialog

CTRL P:     Displays the Plot Dialog

CTRL S:     Saves the current drawing

CTRL Shift S: Displays the save as dialog box

CTRL V:     Paste data from windows clipboard

CTRL shift V: Pastes data from windows clipboard as a block (Use this sparingly)

CTRL X:     Cuts objects from the current drawing to the Windows clipboard

CTRL Z:     Reverse the last action (UNDO)

Some other shortcuts that are Non-CTRL keys:

F1:   Displays help

F2:   Toggles the text window (Very helpful when troubleshooting)

F3:   Toggles Osnap

F8:   Toggles Orthomode

Note that CTRL C, X, and V and F1 should be part of your everyday Windows toolkit. You can use this in all your office apps and most any program that allows copying, pasting and cutting – it is nearly universal. No more sliding up to the Edit menu and selecting copy, paste or cut.

As with the CTRL keys above these are not the only shortcut keys available in AutoCAD but more of a sampling of the ones I think that will help increase your productivity.

If you’re looking for a way to boost your performance try taking CTRL of AutoCAD. In a future post I’ll talk about ACAD.PGP file which takes shortcut keys to a whole other level.

I would be curious to know how many people are already using these keys regularly – drop me an email if you are and which ones you find most useful.

WES

2013 is a brand new year and thankfully the Mayans were wrong. As is a tradition every new year, people are wanting to change their ways, from diets and fitness to how they handle their work and personal schedules in hopes of being a trimmer, fitter, better organized and all around better person. To help get things moving in the right direction this year I’m going to be doing more, shorter posts on ways you can increase your efficiency both in and out of AutoCAD. These things may cause you to change your ways, but hey change is good! In the end, if you follow through you’ll be more efficient.

I myself am constantly looking for ways to spend less time doing any kind of process. By spending less time, I do not mean taking shortcuts – the end result must be equal to or better than the original in quality. In this constant effort to shorten my time requirements and multitask I must still maintain quality in whatever I do.

An example of one thing that I do to be more efficient is in how I write my posts. The majority of my posts are now written while I’m doing other things, like shaving, dressing for work or actually on the drive-in to work. It may seem like it could get messy or even be unsafe, but it actually works out great. I use voice recognition software on my smart phone and dictate in to a note app. I can either email myself the articles or login to the Cloud and finish the editing there before I post it (as I am doing right now). Thanks to the accuracy of the recognition software my editing time is reduced drastically and I am able to do two things at once. This also allows me t be spontaneous about my thoughts on an article or blog post.

Another area where I spend a lot of time, as i am sure you do as well is AutoCAD. Being efficient in AutoCAD is paramount for Architectural and Engineering design firms that use it. We produce drawings to communicate our ideas and designs to clients, reviewers and ultimately to the actual builders. In a business, profits are the key to survival, and you make profits by being able to produce a desired product quickly and efficiently. And no – quickly and efficiently are not the same. In this production process, speed alone is not what makes us efficient.

As an AutoCAD designer or even a regular CADD technician, profits may not be the first thing on your mind. But keep in mind profits are what pay your wages, your bonuses and any other perks you might receive. The more profitable your company is the better you (should) do. By doing your work more efficiently, you create shorter production times which translate ultimately in to more profits. So how do we go about being more efficient? In the next post “Macro Mania” , I’m going talk about about an old AutoCAD customization tool called toolbar macros and how they can automate many of the steps you do every day. These tools will reduce the time you spend doing manual steps, and in the process, increase your accuracy – increasing your productivity and efficiency.

WES

 

Are you a current member of AUGI (Autodesk User Group International)? If not, you may want to consider joining as there is a bunch of good info waiting for you at your finger clicks.  If you are not familiar with the group, you may ask what it’s all about.

“AUGI is the Autodesk User Group International, officially recognized by Autodesk as representing the Autodesk user community. AUGI has two prime directives. The first is to assist its members by presenting programs and information that will enhance their use of Autodesk products. The second is to deliver the voice of the user community to Autodesk, thus assisting Autodesk in product development and giving users a say in the process.”

The above comes from the ‘About‘ page of the AUGI website.

Offerings:

  • Online/Email HotNews: a monthly newsletter sent to all AUGI members via email that includes technical columns, information on industry events  and product offerings from Autodesk and third party vendors.
  • Online and printed AUGI World (printed will depend on membership level) covering topics about CAD Management, add-on’s, Tips & Tricks, and more. interviews, user stories, Technical Tips & Tricks, Training advice, AUGI events and announcements and more.
  • User Forums: a great resource for solving your Autodesk product issues, getting product information, and sharing your own knowledge and experiences. There are a wide variety of products and topics in the forums which are monitored and manged by AUGI volunteers.  Access level depends on membership level – your welcome to lurk (browse) as a guest, but to post you will need at least a basic membership.
  • Wishlist:  Ever had a cool idea you wish Autodesk would add in to the product you use every day – here is your chance to make it happen.

Membership costs:

AUGI currently has a four membership levels that run from Free (non-member open access), basic at $0, Premier at $25/year and Professional at $100/year.  The Professional membership has the most benefits (hence the cost),  but the Premier is also a good investment.  When you think about getting answers from other professionals about issues you are currently experiencing OR learning more for personal career development, the $2 to $10 a month is a very good investment.  You may even be able to get your company to fund it for you – after all you are helping them out with the info and troubleshooting help you will be through AUGI.

I have been a AUGI member for years and currently contribute articles to AUGI world.  I got my start after being involved with a local user group (TBAUG) back in the 80’s and then joined NAUG (North American Autodesk User group), which eventually became the AUGI we have today.

Are you a member already?  Thinking about it? Time to get your new year started right and get your AUGI membership now!

Got any questions about AUGI? – drop me an email.

WES

 

Day 1
The first day of Autodesk University 2012 was kicked of with the AUGI volunteer breakfast with lots of traditional high cholesterol yummy foods, awards for some of the dedicated volunteers, and discussions of changes happening within the membership area.  After breakfast, it was off to get things started with the annual key-note address.  Although the concept of talking about the tools and capabilities available now, instead of all about the future was refreshing, the keynote session was nowhere near as interesting or inspiring as last years.  I left just before the end to check in at the office back home then headed out to start the classes/sessions.

My focus this year was on learning as much as possible about Revit MEP.  As our firm is stepping in to the Revit arena I signed up for as many Revit related classes as I could no matter the discipline.  My first class was a bust as it was more of a sales pitch for a product that was not yet ready for the US market and the presenters, although I am sure were very competent had a major language barrier and we’re so hard to understand that I left after about 20 minutes.  My second class was on creating HVAC content in Revit, but was really more about just creating content in general and was one of my favorite sessions of the trip.

The last class was on migrating AutoCAD standards to Revit and was another favorite.

Myself and my buddy Scott from Texas ended the evening at the Imagint customer appreciation even in the Mix lounge.

Day 2
The grab and go breakfast was not a good start for a day of learning, with huge muffins and slices of breakfast cakes.  The carbs and caffeine pretty much set you up for a mid morning crash and the need for lots more caffeine.

This days  sessions we’re more on Revit optimization.  Another favorite, Lynn Allen’s 90 tips in 90 minutes was very fun and educational, especially the newer versions tips.

The day ended with the AUGI annual beer bust which we skipped out on in favor of a brisk walk to Outback.   In lieu of beer and munches I chose a salad, steak, and baked potato with a sweet bowl if vanilla ice cream for desert and another brisk walk back to the hotel.

Day 3
I skipped the grab and go carb fest today and had a banana and pumpkin loaf from Starbucks (not much better).  My first session was on personal branding with Curt Moreno from Kung Fu Drafter and Marielle Covington, a social media manager from Autodesk.  This was also a good session.  The day ended today with more AutoCAD tips from Jeanne Aurhus and then back to the room to rest for the closing AU appreciation event at the Hard Rock hotel.

The closing session at the Hard Rock Hotel was quite the production.  Autodesk was celebrating its 20th Autodesk University event in a big way.  Think of the resources and cost to move around 5,000+ people from the Mandalay Bay Hotel alone to the Hard Rock via buses.  Autodesk rented out the entire entertainment area of the Hard Rock which included about a dozen bars, dance floors and stages with live entertainment in each area.  There were women dressed up in all kinds of getups from cowgirls to 10 foot tall guitar players and Vegas style dance outfits. Did I mention food in every area and open bar!  Knowing I had an early flight, I contemplated not going, but I am glad I did!

The good and the bad:
Every event has some great moments that create good memories and some that create bad ones and AU is no different.

AU App:
The all new AU app was a great way to verify my next scheduled class and location and was far better than carrying around a paper list – as long as I could get a WIFI or cellular signal.  No ability to download course material from the app to me was a disappointment as I used it on both my phone and tablet. Not being able to see full course titles was another disappointment, hopefully these will be addressed by next year.  Great addition to AU experience though.

Food:
The grab and go breakfast was a disappointment.  Lunches were really pretty good with good options for veggies, proteins and carbs.  The snacks were as expected with cookies and pretzels, coffee and soda, and water was always available.  This years ice cream fell far short of last years.  I left a class 5 minutes after it was done and the ice cream was all gone, last year I had more than one while walking between classes.

The best evening food was at the private customer appreciation event thrown by Imaginit. Thanks Kim! : )

Hotel:
I stayed at the Mandalay Bay hotel, which made trekking to the conference easier, but still not short.  You get lots of exercise at this event for sure!  The room was clean and roomy, but a few things were buggy.  Pillows were very uncomfortable, the bathroom door handle kept falling off and the doors the bathroom were very loud when closing which would wake up one of us if the other went in the middle of the night.  We had to close them because we could not see how to turn off the lights under the bathroom counter.  Wireless access sucked and my cell signal came and went.  This was not a very “Connected World” experience!

Overall the event was very informative and enjoyable!  The bags were nicer than least years, a place to carry a water bottle or coffee  thermos in my case was a nice benefit.  One thing that  would have been nice is to have “You Are here” stickers on the event mapping boards – with the complex being so big, it was easy to get turned around.

Thanks to all the event sponsors, floor personnel, instructors and of course AUGI and Autodesk for their work and investments in keeping this going!  Hope to see you next year!

WES

In a previous post I listed some videos for AutoCAD 2013 by Brian Benton and Revit MEP 2013 by Simon Whitbread, all published through Infinite Skills. Below are some additional resources that combine Blog articles, Videos and websites. I will update this post as new ones are found. If you have found some useful resources that you would like to share, send them to me and I will get them posted or add them as a comment to this post.

WES

AutoCAD 2013:

Added Resource Link

08-24-2012 Lynn Allen’s AutoCAD 2013 Tips and Tricks Booklet

08-24-2012 Autodesk’s Features Demos/Tutorials

08-24-2012 Lynn Allen’s AutoCAD 2013 – “See What you have been Missing”

Revit MEP:

Added Resource Link

08-24-2012 YouTube – Starting a project in Revit

Note: There are tons of videos on YouTube that show you “how to do something”.
Go to Youtube.com and enter a search for a topic you are interested in.

08-24-2012 Club Revit video on New Revit MEP 2013 features

Upgrading to new software, especially technical software like AutoCAD can be a tough transition.  If you’re a few versions behind, it can be quite daunting and frustrating when dealing with the new tools and interface.  I know of  at least five firms that I work with that are making the leap from older versions of AutoCAD (2005, 2006 and 2008) to the current 2013 version of AutoCAD and two are taking the leap into Revit.

With such big leaps comes big learning curves and unfortunately many will opt to just get it back to how it looked before rather than take on learning the new tools and features that the software offers.  There are productivity gains to be made for those that take the time to learn them and I hope the firms I know and the many others out there that are making similar upgrades try to learn about some of the new tools available.

As I put together  training material for our staff, I will also post some of it here, at least on major things that might help others along with their journey.   Some  items I foresee I will post about will be on the interface, customization, menu conversion from older versions, and new tools and tricks.

I am not sure on the suspected release of the 1st service pack for 2013, but I typically don’t recommend making the full move to production usage until it is released.  Each new software has bugs and you don’t want to be the one discovering them on active projects.

Some Training Videos:

Below are three videos that I currently recommend for anyone making the transition to the new AutoCAD or Revit MEP software. These videos are all distributed by the same company (Infinite Skills) but are by a couple different authors.

AutoCAD 2013

The first is AutoCAD 2013 by Brian Benton.  Brian is another old-timer in the CADD community, and is very well known for his technical skills.  Brian is a fellow member and contributor to AUGI, maintains a blog, has written multiple books and has done a variety of training videos.

You can learn more about Brian here.  This video covers the latest version of AutoCAD, version 2013 and is written in such a way that it benefits both the novice AutoCAD user and someone who just needs to get familiar with the new features of 2013 and possibly a refresher for commands you have long since forgotten.  For those that use AutoCAD  LT, he does a version for that as well. – $99.95 / $9.99 for IPAD streaming **

Advanced AutoCAD Techniques

Advanced AutoCAD Techniques The second video, also by Brian Benton is written based on the 2011 version of AutoCAD, but the topics covered are useful in almost any version.  Although I have used many of these techniques and tools myself over the years, the reminder and refresher on some long since forgotten was great and the detail on some that I have never used was very helpful.  This is another good deal to add to your reference library for only – $99.95  / $9.99 for IPAD streaming **

Remember – no matter how long we have been doing things and how much we think we know, we can still learn about tools and techniques that make us more productive by stretching and enhancing our skill sets.  Sometime we just need to re-evaluate how we’ve always done it.

Revit MEP 2013

The third video is on Revit MEP 2013 and is by Simon Whitbread.  I stumbled on this one while searching for MEP training videos for the electrical engineering company I currently work for.  To stay competitive and keep up with the current business trends in our industry, our company is diving into Revit MEP.  Although the company has been doing AutoCAD since its inception over 17 years ago, Revit is another beast entirely.

In order to get up to speed quickly, we are doing a multifaceted approach to training that combines formal classes through our local reseller – (Imaginit), videos and written reference material.   After watching some of the sample videos, this one made the cut and will be added as another training tool in our arsenal.  If you’re getting in to Revit and video training is an option, $99.95 is a very good deal for something you can watch over and over.  With dual screens and headphones, this is a good way to get your feet wet as you follow along.

These are just a few resources I found and as I find new ones I will follow-up.

For those that are making the move, feel free to share your experiences here by posting in the comments section or putting out some questions or issues that you are having.  Remember that you have to register to post and if you are wanting to keep up with future posts via your email, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter.

WES

** 08-11-12 Note – When I originally wrote this article, I was looking at the Infinite Skills store through their IPAD app and did not put it together that the $9.99 version was IPAD only and the downloadable video was $99.95.  Thank you Brian, for straightening me out.   Sorry for any confusion or inconvenience.  Savings like this for the streaming content make an IPAD even more worth while.