Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Civil3d versus 12D

It seems that 12d is taking over the civil software market in New Zealand at the moment particularly with the recent Christchurch earthquake and the fact most rebuild teams seem to be using 12D, Autodesk seem to have missed the boat completely here.

I keep joking with my reseller on a bad day with Civil3d that perhaps I should be moving to 12d as well, so I asked a colleague who used to work exclusively with Civil3d before moving company to use 12d, what his thoughts were on which package was best and have posted his reply below as it maybe of interest to others

In regards to your question about which is best, well…….each has its own strengths & weaknesses really.

From my own perspective:

  • I am using V9.0. V10 is due to hit soon, which has a lot of improvements apparently.
  • First off, 12d is a PAIN to learn. The menu system is very counter-intuitive and the help system is a DOG. That aside…
  • 12d handles large datasets better (e.g. LiDAR), but no point cloud handling capability. It can pare down the data in a clearer fashion better than Civil3D seems to.
  • Not that I have done field-to-finish work with 12d but from what I’ve seen they do here with it, I would give Civil3D the advantage here. The description key work that can go through to labels and how point groups works is a clear winner, PLUS manipulating and displaying (i.e. swapping triangles, changing surface styles) a surface is by far easier.
  • Stability – 12d far excels C3D here. The only time 12d seems to futz out on the odd occasion is when is changing large amounts of data at a time or pad grading (a rudimentary version of C3D’s feature line + grading).
  • Working with CAD – obviously C3D is a vertical of AutoCAD, so no guesses who wins here. In 12d you have export EVERYTHING to CAD. And then if you spot a mistake, you have to fix it in 12d and then export it all again.
  • In addition to that, there is no real dynamism to 12d of the labels. If something changes (elevation/slope etc.), 95% of the time you have to clean the model (layer) and get them re-calced.
  • In terms of design, it fairly even here – apples and oranges really. No such thing as sub-assemblies, only templates (which aren’t really visually-driven; more by figures/numbers). Alignments and profiles are combined into a single ‘SuperAlignment’ which is nice. The basic mechanics of it are the same though. 12d has a nice thing called computators, which come in handy for kerb returns as they act dependent on the incoming/outgoing roads, almost like a live intersection wizard, and can be used for other functions too. 12d seems to be able to do transitioning (crossfall/width/height) better though.
  • Also 12d has a better recording system. It’s somewhere between the Action Recorder and a macro. Makes re-calcing a lot of instructions at once a breeze.
  • Civil3D’s feature lines and the FL editor win hands down. Better calculation of grading along it and between objects.

That’s just off the top of my head really. There are a lot of other differences that I haven’t mentioned, but to explain them would take more time than I have.

9 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of the multiple windows in 12d which allows me ot look at several data sets at the same time without having to turn on and off layers like in ACAD.

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  2. Coming from civil3d to 12d, i can't get over how terrible 12d is to use.
    This sums it up '•First off, 12d is a PAIN to learn. The menu system is very counter-intuitive '
    not being able to click to select something (drag) is driving me up the wall.

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  3. Having used Civil 3D for around 4 years I made the switch to 12d last year (company switched platforms). 12d is indeed a pain to learn and for those who aren't software adept it is harder - then again, Civil 3D isn't the easiest software to learn (let alone customise) either.

    It took me around 3 solid months of using 12d before I was comfortable with using it and now a year later my preference is for 12d over Civil 3D. Both do simple roads well but 12d has a lot more powerful features in the form of 'modifiers' to control the design. Sewer/stormwater/utility design is hands down better in 12d than Civil 3D; it has a comprehensive analysis module also which is miles ahead of Civil 3D's SSA.

    Earthworks are much the same. Big datasets handle better in 12d. Design outputs are easier to setup/customise in12d than the myriad of styles in Civil 3D. 12d has 'chains' which allows you to linear program design elements together so everything updates instantly and which is incredibly powerful once you actually work out you should be using them.

    I agree with the review that the help documentation for 12d is terrible but the 12d forum is excellent with lots of extremely helpful people - I did have trouble initially being granted access to the forum though which took a few emails to 12d to resolve.

    So after using it for a year I am thoroughly a 12d convert. A lot of firms in Australia that were on Civil 3D seem to be going back to 12d now a days.

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  4. 12d hands down for large infrastructure projects, especially drainage. Civil 3D crashes regularly with large data sets, and is not easily customised. I have used Civil 3D successfully on smaller industrial projects where there is a heavy emphasis on coordination with buildings (Revit and Navis works). Being able to quickly change to modelling solids is useful here, but when it comes to large roading projects over multiple km with flood data, LIDAR, etc, Civil 3D cant keep up. Use the right tool for the job basically. Don't discount one or the other, just know their limitations.

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  5. 12d hands down for large infrastructure projects, especially drainage. Civil 3D crashes regularly with large data sets, and is not easily customised. I have used Civil 3D successfully on smaller industrial projects where there is a heavy emphasis on coordination with buildings (Revit and Navis works). Being able to quickly change to modelling solids is useful here, but when it comes to large roading projects over multiple km with flood data, LIDAR, etc, Civil 3D cant keep up. Use the right tool for the job basically. Don't discount one or the other, just know their limitations.

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  6. 12d is hands down the better option over Civil 3D in my opinion. I would not take a design job which used Civil 3D. I would suggest you give 12d a go for yourself.

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  7. Guys, have a look at this: www.civildesigner.com

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  8. Yeah i'm at the end of my string with Civil 3D and Autodesk in general, they jsut move to slowly. I used 12D for 6 years, Civil 3D for 5 i think its time to go back... Its really annoying because some of the drafting production capabilities of Civil 3D are so good! But without a doubt complex projects just work better in 12d. Transitioning, complex intersections, computators, alignment design, stability are all leagues behind or even non-existent in Civil 3D.

    Even OpenRoads is looking like a better option at this point.

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  9. Am sorry but i have used civil3d on massive projects and it has been a dream rarely ever crashing - the catch though is doing it right with a good template. I can produce quality construction ready drawings 10x faster than using 12d (I use both). 12d is great for survey and roads, drainage is ok - i prefer civil3d as its soo much easier to create custom blocks for objects etc... and for earthworks civil3d hands down wins. I can free hand curvey lines and create all sorts of organic shapes (i do alot of landscape stuff, rivers, wetlands etc...) quickly. 12d will do it but slowly and its generally slow and clunky if your a cad pro.

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