Those sub-folders represent road names that will be built:
- E1R2 - corridor model that turns over a VT7 using a proposed bridge design.
- E2R1 - corridor model that turns away from VT7, being an access road to proposed building area.
- VT7 - main corridor model in form of 2+2 road lanes.
Each road name folder is divided into sub-folder structure that is explained below:
- LandXML - From here you find various LandXML files that represent various parts of the corridor. Those can be exported from different design packages, wherever it has been originally designed. Those files can be used alternatively in the final VDC model.
- VM - *.vm file format is used for Modeler generations. In that way you can convert AutoCAD Civil 3D corridor models into *.vm format. From this folder you will also find a *.dwg file as well as already generated *.vm file. They both share the same name. To generate a *.vm file you also need a definition file that is saved with an *.ini extension.
In this tutorial we focus onto road corridor E1R2. As we want to generate corridor models based on their regions, we concentrate to sub-folder: 02_Design\05_Road_corridors\E1R2\VM. From there you find one *.dwg file:
You start from that *.dwg file. You also find special definition file with an *.ini extension that are automatically opened when you use Modeler tools inside AutoCAD Civil 3D. You also have completed versions in *.vm formats that can be directly used inside Explorer.
Step-by-step guidelines to export a corridor model for a final VDC model
Open drawing Proposed_Corridor_E1R2.dwg inside AutoCAD Civil 3D. You should see a similar picture:
Using AutoCAD ribbon tab, go to Modeler and click on Rules. Modeler main toolbar opens:
Note: Modeler toolbar is the place where you create different rules that are applied to AutoCAD objects. All defined rules are kept in a separate file with an *.ini extension. Although it is possible to have only one *.ini file throughout your whole VDC project, where you define each and every rule that you want to use in separate drawing, in this tutorial we use the second method - we have separate *.ini file for each and every *.dwg file that we gonna use for generating data for VDC model. Using the latter method, please ensure that *.ini file is with the same name as your *.dwg file, then it will be selected automatically when you open up Modeler tools in your active *.dwg drawing session. Because with the current tutorial the proper *.ini file is already created, it will be automatically used. All rules are defined and we take a quick look to those rules that are important for each sub-task.
Next to each node, you will see a "+" icon if it holds some rules. And vice-versa, you can click on "-" icon, if you want to close that node. Also please note that in some nodes (ex Materials) you may have several rules. But those that are applied to current drawing are in bold. That feature is controlled through a menu: View > Gray Non-Existing Items.
Before we start VDC model generation, let's take a quick look into AutoCAD Civil 3D Toolspace.
For a road corridor model Corridor - E1R2 we have several assemblies and one alignment. Corridor model is divided into several regions. You can check those from Corridor Properties.
Regions are quite often defined because the road will be built in sections and it is good to know that Modeler Civil3D node can read those defined regions automatically and export those as separate sub-objects. In that way we can create more exact 4D/5D simulations. If you open a Surface tab (in Corridor Properties), you can see that from the road top surface one separate surface is built. This can be seen also under Civil 3D Toolspace > Surfaces node. This step is not mandatory, but if you want to get a separate surface object that follows the certain road layer, this is the way how you do it and Modeler can take this surface as any other surface in the model and export it into final VDC model (you can also export any surface that you have in AutoCAD Civil 3D into LandXML format).
In addition to project area and corridor model top surface, you also have separate surface objects (made with AutoCAD Civil 3D tools) for a bridge top surface and also for bridge left and right talus. Those bridge related surfaces can be directly used as LandXML sources, therefore we will not export those into *.vm file. To convert AutoCAD Civil 3D corridor model into VDC sub-model, add a new rule under Civil3D rule. Using the current definition file, it has been already created for you, therefore we take a look into those main settings. Double-click on Proposed_Corridor_E1R2 rule.
Typical workflow inside Civil3d dialog is:
- Add a Main group. This is for a healthy project structure. You can also add different components into different sub-groups. Just select one (or multiple rows), right click and pick Sub Group.
Note: All components are already divided into different sub-groups like (Bridge, Terrain/References, Road corridor/E1R2).
- Select objects (object groups) that you want to pick from AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing. Just click on a respective row, box Selected. We do not select Bridge components, and also do not select road top surface component.
- Group is automatically filled in, based on AutoCAD Civil 3D object name.
- Material defines the visual appearance of corridor model components.
Note: For road pavement we use material DS_Asphalt, for grass surfaces DS_Grass and for reference terrain surface: ES_Terrain. All regions from Corridor Properties are automatically imported into Civil3d dialog and ready to be exported into VDC model. Those regions include road assembly component's names to which you assign different materials. If you have assigned one specific material to your component, you can easily select some other components (rows) that needs the same material definition and once selected, just move your cursor to the material name that is already assigned in some other part, right click on it, and select Set Same Material.
- Cut mode is used for road corridor model components, because we want to cut into the reference surface. This is not always needed, for example, when you do not plan to show that terrain area, and only want to export corridor model, no need to select cut mode.
- Type is read-only parameter, that helps to differentiate in between of various AutoCAD Civil 3D objects that you may have.
Once you have read (filled-in) all the parameters. Click OK to close the dialog. You are now ready to generate your corridor sub-model with road surface materials. Click on a button: Generate and View Model.
This will generate your model and also opens up a Explorer as a viewer package for your *.vm file. Please also note that your *.vm file is automatically placed to the location where your *.dwg resides. Your sub-model should look similar to the following image:
Note: You should see a corridor model surface divided into several sub-groups: RG (1) - RG (5). It helps you to create more exact 4D/5D simulations. Because we also exported a reference surface, we want to remove that one in a clean *.vm file. To remove those references, just follow those easy steps:
Go to tab Output and select Export to File:
New dialog will open, from where you use:
- Groups - select groups that you want to export into new *.vm file (you can select multiple groups). In the current case it will be only: Design/Road corridor and all its sub-groups.
- Export Format - select: VM File
- File Name - point to a location where your original *.vm file is, but do not overwrite it, use a special ending like: *_Only.vm
Click Save to export your model into a new file. You can now reopen that file, and see if you have only corridor model data.
After checking your road corridor sub-model, you can close the Explorer window. Later you can open those *.vm files directly with Explorer and you do not need to follow Modeler workflow again. Of course, when the design changes, then you recreate the *.vm file. As you have successfully generated corridor sub-model, it is also good to save your Modeler *.ini file. For that, just select from the menu: File > Save Configuration...
You can re-select the location and name for your *.ini file, but in this tutorial it is recommend that you always keep the same name for your *.ini file as you have named your *.dwg. And also ensure, that both files (*.ini and *.dwg) are saved to the same location. You can close the Modeler dialog. It will warn you, if you want to save your settings. Because you just did it, you can simply dismiss that warning. Click No (or Yes, if you think that you need to re-save your settings).
Close the AutoCAD drawing file.
Because other two road models share the same procedures as the currently shown, you can practice those on your own. If you open those *.dwg files, and after that also Modeler dialog, you will see that new settings file (*.ini file) will be loaded that holds all needed rules for that specific *.dwg. Repeat the process and in the end you should have three different *.vm files from this section that you will use in final VDC model (with an ending of *_Only.vm).
Note: When you work with Modeler and save your *.ini files, system automatically creates backup versions of the previous file. Sometimes it is good to think that you have some previous definition files still available. In this tutorial we have not kept those *.bak files as well as no separate backup folders. If something goes wrong, you can extract (copy) needed definition (and *.dwg) files into your current working folder and start again. Therefore in a clean system (with no backups, no *.dwg backups as well) you folder may look like this: