Customized Grading Materials

In the past few years, InfraWorks® has evolved to meet current design requirements and workflows for today’s design professionals. New design and analysis features and updates are added every year to improve performance, design accuracy, and workflows for commercial and residential projects. Though most of the focus has been on transportation design features, design professionals can still work on simple residential site projects.

Though InfraWorks does not contain advance grading and analysis tools found within AutoCAD® Civil 3D®, it has a few simple grading features or styles to create grading pads. In this article, I will guide you on how to create customized materials and grading styles to create rich compelling models for site pad grading projects.

Customize Land Cover Materials

Out of the box, InfraWorks provides various types of Land Cover Material styles such border stone, grass, river stone, sand, gravel, and many more. Even though the Land Cover Material library is not large, designers can easily add to the library by creating their own materials. To add materials types such as grass, simply find a grass texture style image within Google Images (Figure 1). Save your image (.jpg or .png) either on your hard drive or network drive.

Figure 1

Next, open the Style Palette and select the Materials tab. Then, select the Land Cover folder to display the default material styles. Click the Grass style and at the bottom, click the Duplicate the Selected Style. This will make a copy of the style. Assign a new name to the style such as Grass-2 or Dark Grass (Figures 2-4).

Figure 2

Figure 3

With the new style selected, click the Edit Style feature at the bottom (Figure 4).

Figure 4

The Configuration dialog box will appear. Click the small browser icon next to the URL image link. Browse and select one of the images that you saved and click the Open button at the bottom. The image will appear in the Preview area. Within the Texture Settings, you can size the image pattern small or large. I typically size the image to a large scale so that an image pattern is not visible in the model. This will only work for only certain types of images (Figure 5).

Figure 5

Customize Grading Style

Once a Land Area is created to represent a pad site, you can then apply Material and Grading Styles to add real construction design. With the Style palette open, click the Grading tab. In here, you will find six different grading styles that control the cut and fill slopes and material style.  Some styles are used to create vertical walls along the land area pad, while others control grading side slopes. It is important to understand that each grading style has a certain grading method assign to it. For example, the default Concrete Grading Style uses a fixed width and one constant grading material for cut and fill. The Rock Wall Cut, Grass Fill style uses the fixed slope grading method. In addition, it allows the designer to assign a different material for cut and fill grading.

To create additional grading styles, you will follow the same procedures as above. In this exercise, I will create a 6:1 grading style with a gravel pad and dark grass side slope. Select the last Grading Style Stone, Cut, Grading Fill and make a copy and assign a new name. Then click the Edit feature tool at the bottom of the Style palette (Figure 6).

Figure 6

With the Configure dialog box open, change the Cut Slope to 6 and the Fill Slope to 6.  Next, click the browser button for the Cut Material. This will take you to the Materials library for Land Cover. Select the Gravel -Small material and click OK. Then click the Fill Material browser button. Select one of the new grass materials that you created and click OK. For example. I created a Dark Grass material style. Now just click the OK button to create this new Grading Style (Figure 7).

Figure 7

Now that you have created a customize grading style, simply drag and drop the new style over the land cover pad to apply the new style (Figure 8).

Figure 8

With the flexibility to create customize materials and grading styles, design professionals can create rich compelling site models to depict true grading design. Figures 9-11 are just a few examples of what you can do with customize grading styles.

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

In conclusion, InfraWorks is powerful and user-friendly software that allows design professional to design, analyze, collaborate, and create customize features styles quickly and easily.

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