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dynamic offset profile.

dynamic offset profile.

It would be interesting a new object called: offset profile.  (in the aligment object there is "offset alignment").


The idea is the following:


We can select a profile in the drawing and copy/paste it to a profile view. In this case, the new profile is not dynamic (there is not dependency between this and the original profile).


To solve this, we usually create a new empty surface and paste the EG surface to it. Then we apply the operation: "Raise / Lower surface".

Then we make a surface profile with that surface.


However, this last way involves creating a new surface so that the drawing file is heavier.


Instead of creating new surfaces to do this, my idea is create directly an offset profile:




The steps will be:

- Select the original profile ( surface profile or layout profile).

-Type the vertical offset value.

- Select the profile view to draw it


this new profile would be always locked so we couldn´t edit it and if we remove the original profile automatically this profile would be also removed.




We do a lot of overlay and widen projects. It'd be nice to be able to take the existing centerline ground profile that's dynamic to the surface and just offset it a specific distance while keeping it dynamic to the surface profile. We currently use two methods to get what we need, but neither is dynamic. One is to make the existing ground surface profile static, then raise/lower it. This is not dynamic, though. The other is to draw a new design profile snapping to the EG profile then raise/lower it. This is also not dynamic. 


Often times we start the plans before all the survey is completed, so the current methods cause us to have to re-do the profile completely when the surface is updated. 


I agree with you this would be useful (in fact there have been a few similar ideas posted).


But in the meantime, there's a method to get what you need AND maintain the dynamic link back to the original surface.


  1. Create a new surface.
  2. Paste the original surface into the new one.
  3. Raise the new surface as needed.
  4. Run your profile through the new surface.



I used to do that, but stopped due to the extra file size and overhead with having another surface. That's just me being picky, though. 


Ok try this on for size then:


  1. Create 2 offset alignments on either side of the alignment.  You can use a No Display style here (I would).
  2. Create a surface profile of all three alignments.
  3. Use the "Create Featureline from Alignment" tool to create featurelines based on all three profiles.  This tool includes an option to create a Dynamic Link to the Surface Profile which is in itself linked to the surface.
  4. Create a new surface from the three featurelines.
  5. Raise the new surface as needed.
  6. Now cut your profile from the new surface.

The new surface should be a LOT smaller and be less overhead and it all maintains dynamic link back to the original.

I like that as a workaround. I would give you a kudos, but they don't work on comments for Idea Station posts. 




I like the idea but I would also like the OPTION to NOT keep it dynamic to the original profile.  This would just eliminate the need to create an interim surface that I raise.

Um you can already do this horizontally, but yeah vertical offset, would be kind of useful.. but copy paste surface would be the best way to do it for now.


For a non-dynamic offset profile: 1. Change the dynamic profile to static. 2. Edit the profile geometry. 3. Use the copy profile tool. 4. Edit the geometry of the profile copy. 5. Raise lower all vertices of the profile copy. 6. Set original profile back to Dynamic. This should give you a static vertical offset without having a second surface in the drawing. Having said that, a dynamic profile offset would be better for use as a minimum depth offset, for example.

I have found when I copy a profile and lower the PVI in a profile view, when the dwg is saved it results in "warning multiply owned object".  Others have posted that when the dwg is closed and reopened, the lowered profile reverts back to the original profile from which it was copied and lower from. 


So this IDEA would be most excellent to have!!  Upvoted. 

Status changed to: Accepted

Would love to see Autodesk come up with a easy and efficient way to create a 3 line profile. Centerline, Flowline and flowline or Centerline top of Curb, top of curb on the left and right side of roadway. This is a common process on the west coast. there are work arounds, but nothing efficient.


Agreed. Most firms are having to be creative with a work around and this is not an ideal solution for a common requirement (3 line profiles).

Thanks for posting


C3D 2017 can now use a featureline (instead of an alignment/profile) to define a corridor.  So use a corridor to do this.  The issues that you'd run into (tesselation of curves being one of them) are issues that you'd likely also have to deal with in any possible solution that doesn't use a corridor.  Remember:  a corridor isn't only for roads.


On my last project, I had a retaining wall next to my parking lot.  The lot was defined using featurelines as a corridor really wasn't conducive to its design.  Following is the workflow I used:


    1. I made an alignment representing the face of the wall at the parking lot side.
    2. I made an OFFSET ALIGNMENT that was 1ft to the right.  This is for the back of the wall.
    3. Create a surface profile along both alignments.  These profiles are what the EG looks like without the wall.
    4. In the profile view for the face of wall, draw a "new ground line" (the face of wall is LOWER than the back of wall).
    5. Now in the profile view for the back of wall, draw a new "Ground line" -- at the ends of which, it transitions down to the same elevation as the new ground line on the face of the wall.
    6. In the profile view for the face of wall, superimpose the new ground line profile.  Now I can tell where the proposed wall TOP needs to be.  Draw a "TOP" of wall profile approximately 1ft higher than the superimposed back of wall NEW GROUND line.
    7. I also made two additional offset alignments:  one 0.01ft right and one 0.98 right of the first alignment.  These are the TOP of wall horizontal location.
    8. Then I made an assembly "RWall" consisting of two subassemblies. They are both generic offset/slope subassemblies.
    9. Then I made two corridors:  RWall Face & RWall Back.
    10. RWall face is set to let one SA target the face of wall alignment for both the horizontal and profile and the other SA is set to target the TOP of wall alignment from that side for the horizontal and the TOP OF WALL PROFILE created in step 6 above.  This corridor generates two featurelines:  Proposed Ground @ Face & Top of Wall @ Face.
    11. RWall Back does similarly to create the back of wall ground and back of wall top.
    12. Then I used the resulting featurelines in my surface definition.
    13. Lastly, I used the "Back of Wall Ground Line" to create a grading that grades back to my EG surface.

All in all, it works pretty well and remains dynamic in that I can change part of my wall and everything updates.


Here's a 3d view of my triangles.  It shows the resulting wall nicely.




feature lines do not help with 3 line profiles.

3 line (and more for medians) are something anyone designing roads has dealt with since time began.

In the end, these side profiles are typically very "clean", not tesselated, and use vertical curves and so on.

As is, Civil3D lets you make multiple verticals for a mother horizontal, and create corridors correctly hooked to them.

So its not that we can't do it, and need another solution, its that its not as easy as we would like.


In general, the solution I would recommend is:

1) something to copy the centerline profile left and right, with a raise/lower amount.

2) Some way of showing multiple profiles on one profile display object, as overlap of profile views is an issue.

3) Some helper to set up the corridor, which must hook to centerline horizontal, as well as left/right curb alignments, and also centerline and left/right verticals. Also medians if any. This is to get a surface, and check the design. You must modify the alignments to modify the design.

4) some way of creating a profile by projecting the centerline horiz and vert over to another horizontal, by some slope and vert offset. Then weed the pvis by some factor to get a more simplified profile.

You need item 4 when your curb is snaking around and you want constant crossfall on a road. So you start by asking it to say what that profile would be, and you clean it up to get the final profile.


This is all basic stuff, and I have already created it for our company. Not for sale though. The problem with Civil3D is it separates between an alignment, and feature line. This is incorrect thinking. What should have been done is make an "alignment based feature line" that is hooked to an actual alignment, and one of its verticals. Then you can create plan view editing and do all kinds of things like projecting an all. Its nothing new to engineering, but Autodesk does not spend enough time with people making plans as they could solve this and make tons more money. Did I say more money??


I should also mention that its much more than how to create left and right profiles. Its about managing the display of curb returns, knuckles, and cul-de-sac profiles which have their own horizontal and vertical alignments - yes, with vert curves so don't start thinking of feature lines here.

That splicing together of many profile views is a big deal for subdivisions and roads.

The solution I did allows you to do that splicing fairly easily, but there are some odd things like compressing knuckle profiles to fit within the start/end limits. I don't know how Civil3d would do that, as the compressing is not even. You normally compress the tangents and leave any vert curves to scale.

Those "On-Curb" regions of profiles can cause some interesting work-arounds.

I'm not an AutoCAD civil person but do know that something similar to this exists in Revit for creating parallel pipes and conduits. I'm sure Autodesk could make something happen.

I forgot to mention the C3D pipes are wrong also.

They treated them like parts as if we are contractors or building owners wanting an inventory.

In the design phase, pipes in civil are the same as roads, in terms of how you describe where the invert (or other point on the pipe cross section) is in space.

It is a parametric thing that can have arcs in plan and vert curves in profile at the same spot.

If you try to describe that with parts, you fail, and you destroy all the cool editing (revision) abilities alignments could offer.

See, this is failure on multiple levels, enough to form a strong pattern.

Until Autodesk works more with people who design and make plans, their seemingly innocent attempts at an industry usable tool will fall way short of the need. I kind of don't even want them to try anymore, as they will make something, say it works, and we have to spend time explaining how it doesn't.

Sad but true. Insanely smart people running C3D too, they just don't have time to spend on industry needs.


To Doni49,

You mention about using a feature line for curbs, but your example uses 4 alignments, and 3 profiles owned by the one wall alignment.

You used the resulting feature line from the corridor for slope grading.

Your example is indeed the same as how a 3-line profile road would go, in case it sounded like I was saying it wasn't.

I encourage anyone to study what you did, as "projected" profiles are super common in civil, as we only like to show one profile grid on a plan.

Your idea of making surfaces which show on the profile, then tracing over for the real profile, is a valuable workflow, as you can make temporary surfaces easily that slope and do various things.

I do the same thing with road edges for slopes too, but also have to retract the contours to get pretty lines for plans.

I never really understood if the Autodesk teams thought we could produce the actual plans from their vert programs. There is always post-proicessing involved that kills the dynamicness.



Agreed this is a constant issue that I come accross everyday and there is no ideal workflow for this. I know a lot of users that would benefit from the addition of a 3 line Profile Feature.



What is your idea of a "3 line profile feature"?

From Autodesk's point of view, they do not prevent us from defining multiple verticals, and showing them with overlapping profile views.

They would say we already have that.

As far as helpers to create the left and rights, yes there are many things they could do.

But I would argue its not really the streets that get us, its the "on curb" regions like curb returns which have all kinds of fun involved.

Some places make alignments for them, some draw in by hand.

I am still looking for examples done with "pure" civil3d, not lots of exploded linework and callouts.

It seems like autodesk got so far and gave up. That's ok, as its abusiness call for them, but the details killed them, not the general idea like "add 3 line profiles..." thx

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