AutoDesk Inc has just announced the latest upgrade to its AutoCAD computer-aided design software, Release 12. The new version speeds and simplifies frequently-used design operations, featuring 174 enhancements, such as improved plotting, easier-to-use interface, support for SQL and PostScript data exchange, integrated rendering, enhanced drawing tools and bi-directional file compatibility with AutoCAD Release 11. The […]
AutoDesk Inc has just announced the latest upgrade to its AutoCAD computer-aided design software, Release 12. The new version speeds and simplifies frequently-used design operations, featuring 174 enhancements, such as improved plotting, easier-to-use interface, support for SQL and PostScript data exchange, integrated rendering, enhanced drawing tools and bi-directional file compatibility with AutoCAD Release 11. The new release supports multiple output device configurations, and multiple configurations per device, as well as 256 colours, linetypes and pen widths, and additional user-specified paper sizes. Plotting can now be executed from AutoLISP or AutoCAD Development System applications. In networked MS-DOS environments, drawings can now be viewed without server authorisation. A new WYSIWYG Plot Preview option lets the user see, before executing the plot, how it will fit on the paper and how the completed plot will look. The text-based main menu, included in earlier releases of AutoCAD, has been replaced by a new user interface with icons, cascading menus and programmable dialogue boxes. The graphical interface can also be customised by both users and applications developers. The previous menu selection is retained and can be easily reselected. A new Configure command enables AutoCAD to be reconfigured from within the current drawing. The status line can be customised to display specific information. Several new functions and commands have been introduced to simplify file management, enabling the user to enter a new drawing and begin work immediately, define a new drawing’s name via a dialogue box, select or locate a file to be opened for quick access to existing drawings, and access sorted, scrollable lists of selected files from within the drawing editor. And a new feature enables customers to work in noun-verb mode, first selecting entities, then specifying the operation to be performed. Users can also now employ grips to identify and graphically stretch, move, rotate, scale and mirror selected entities without having to type editing commands. A new AutoCAD SQL Extension enables customers to create links with external databases and database management systems, such as dBase, Paradox, Informix and Oracle. Using the SQL extension, customers can store and retrieve non-graphic data associated with AutoCAD entities for use in bills of materials, schedules, asset tracking and catalogue access, among other things, and display and automatically update this data in AutoCAD drawings. And users can now read, write and display PostScript files. Features include the ability to insert PostScript images in AutoCAD drawings as blocks, export AutoCAD drawings to Encapsulated PostScript files and use PostScript fill patterns to fill a closed polyline. In addition, text can now be displayed, stored and output using Adobe Type 1 PostScript fonts. Rendering is integrated and easily accomplished within an AutoCAD session with AutoCAD Render. Render enables the creation of three-dimensional models and objects without loading a separate program. With appropriate hardware, customers can now create either 256-colour or full True-colour images of any AutoCAD three-dimensional entity, including Advanced Modelling Extension solid models, from within the AutoCAD session.
The Modelling Extension is an integrated program that can create, analyse and document three-dimensional models of mechanical parts and assemblies. Besides speeding up part design, the extension generates drawings directly from the three-dimensional model. Shipped with AutoCAD, the Modelling Extension, AME, requires a separate authorisation code before it can be activated. A new Region Modeller enables the user to work with regions – closed two-dimensional areas that can contain holes – and create complex shapes using Union, Subtract and Intersect operations. Regions can be analysed for area, perimeter and inertial properties, extruded or revolved into solid models, or, for drafting purposes, created by sectioning a solid model. A new Boundary Hatch comma
nd enables customers to hatch an area with a single pick, and preview the hatch before execution. Hatch pattern parameters are saved as a part of the drawing, enabling easier duplication of existing hatch styles. New entity-selection methods, including Fence and Polygon, arealso added to Release 12. A new autosave feature makes it possible to set an interval at which the drawing will be automatically saved. A soft-locking enhancement enables read access by one user to external reference files currently in use by another. For the first time, two versions of AutoCAD – for MS-DOS on 80386 and Sparcstations – – are out simultaneously. English-language versions of AutoCAD Release 12 for both will ship at the end of the month. International versions in English and other languages as well as versions for other environments, will ship over the next few months. Release 12 for the 80386 and Sun Sparcstation is $3,750. The AME Advanced Modelling Environment costs $500.