Playing With Blocks – Visibility States

Blocks are a very powerful tool within Autodesk’s® Civil 3D. The utilization of blocks can assist in maximizing the efficiency, and uniformity of your drawings. Unfortunately, they can also be the primary source of a wonderful frontal lobe migraine.  Not to worry… I am here to ease your pain; without medication. With a little bit of insight into what is really going on with your blocks, you can exploit their power and use them to your advantage.  For starters, let’s talk about visibility sets; the backbone of blocks.

The primary function of a block is to allow for several “drawings” to be contained within it, and they can be inserted into your drawings with ease. By employing a visibility set (located under parameter sets in the block authoring pallets), you can allow for as many separate variations of your block as you see fit.  Once a visibility set is attached to your block, you can add states (a.k.a. “drawings”) by clicking on the Visibility Sets button, in the Visibility section of the Block Editor tab on your ribbon.  Be sure to make each state unique and useful by employing layers, linetypes, and alterations… The more time and thought that you put into this aspect of blocks, the more efficient your drawings will be in the future.

Visibility State - EnvisionCAD LogoVisibility State EnvisionCAD Logo w/ taglineVisibility State - EnvisionCAD Logo all blue

To make each visibility state unique, you can add other parameters, actions and constraints to your block.  This is where things can get a little tricky.  I recommend getting a feel for parameter sets, which incorporate a parameter and an action, before tackling other possibilities.

Parameter Set - MoveParameter Set - RotateParameter Set - flip


Download Example File.

I will follow up with the more advanced features of block editor in future blogs, beginning in a couple of weeks with tips about attributes.  In the meantime, feel free to comment with your questions and/or concerns that you would like me to address sooner.


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