The Grading Optimization program was introduced in the 2022 Civil 3D release within the Autodesk AEC Collections. It offers an alternate approach to grading solutions and is an external program designed to find several different grading scenarios based on a variety of input data. Once a preferred solution is found, it is imported into Civil 3D as a surface along with optional points and breaklines.
The Grading Optimization program requires a variety of input data, such as curbs, drain lines, ponds, etc., in order to search for grading solutions. These Grading Objects are accessible through tool palettes, as shown below.
Once a grading object is attached to an object, parameters need to be entered in the Grading Properties window, as shown below.
These parameters differ for the different types of grading objects, and there are preset values set for each grading object.
Even though there is a good selection of grading objects available with proper default settings, you can edit the default settings in the tool palette or even create new grading objects in the palette.
How to Change a Grading Object in the Grading Object Tool Palette
In the Grading Object tool palette, hover over the grading object you want to manipulate and right-click. In the right-click menu, select Properties, as shown below on the left. In the Tool Properties dialog box, make the changes to the defaults as required, as shown on the right. If you need to change a toggle, you can do that by clicking the down arrow to see the available choices and picking the desired one.
These values will be the default parameters when assigning new grading objects in Civil 3D. However, existing grading objects of that type will keep their existing parameter values.
This procedure is good for changing values for existing grading objects within the palette, but what about creating new tools within the palette?
How to Create a New Grading Object in the Grading Object Tool Palette
The simplest way to create a new grading object is to choose an existing grading object that contains the parameters you need for your new tool. In the Grading Object tool palette, hover over the grading object you want to manipulate and right-click. In the right-click menu, select Copy, as shown in panel #1.
Now pick a blank area in the tool palette (it does not matter where) and right-click. In the right-click menu, select Paste, as shown in panel #2. The copied tool gets situated at the bottom of the palette and has the same name as the original. Select the copied tool and right-click to select Properties, as you had done previously. In the Tool Properties dialog box, rename the new tool, give it a description, and change the parameters, as shown in panel #3.
At this time, there is no way to update the image of the new tool. In other palettes, through the right-click menu of a selected tool, one can specify a new image (as shown below), but these options are not (yet) available for the grading objects.
You can drag and drop the order of the tools within the palettes by clicking on one and dragging it up or down into its desired location. When you drag it, you see a light blue horizontal line to locate where it will go when you release the mouse button.
If there are many new tools to be created, you can also create an entire new palette through the right-click menu by selecting New Palette. Give the new palette an appropriate name and then paste the copied tool (from the original palette) into the new palette.
The Grading Optimization program is a new and different way to perform complex grading within Civil 3D. It comes with a variety of tools in its own tool palette, with pre-configured parameters. You can change these default parameters to suit your needs. You can also copy existing tools within the palette to create new tools. You need to change the name of the new tool and its corresponding default parameters.
ASCENT hosted a webinar on the Grading Optimization program, which can be viewed here.
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