The new AutoCAD is here, the new AutoCAD is here!

Here is the third and final part of our look at AutoCAD 2016. We looked at installation and the user interface, then documentation enhancements, now let’s finish this off with Design, BIM, and the Rendering improvements.

What’s new?

The new features and improvements fall into five categories

  1. User Interface
  2. Documentation 
  3. Design (this post)
  4. BIM (this post)
  5. Installation and Configuration 

Design Enhancements


3D Sectioning provides more options (flexibility) with 2016, in that it can quickly be set to cutting plane, bounded area, volume, or the new slice option. The new Slice option generates a paper thin cut through the model. The thickness value is adjustable with the properties of the section.

AutoCAD 2016 Section Plane Toggle

AutoCAD 2016 Section Plane Properties Slice

To make it easier to work with the section, grips have been offset or repositioned. The grips also behave more consistently regardless if polar tracking is enabled. The section object now gets its own ribbon contextual tab which includes all the options and features for working with the section object. To enable the tab just select the section object in the drawing window so that grips appear.

AutoCAD 2016 Section Plane Ribbon

Reality Computing (aka Point Clouds)


Section Planes now support point clouds. With the Point Cloud selected the contextual ribbon tab now includes a section drop-down so that you can create a section based on the standard orthographical views (front, back, left, etc) or by specifying points

AutoCAD 2016 Section Point Cloud

With the new Extract Section Lines option, section lines can be extracted why live sectioning is enabled.

Options for working with the Point Cloud

  • To make is easier to see objects obscured, Point Clouds now support transparency. 
  • Point Clouds now support Dynamic UCS, if the point cloud data includes segmentation data
  • 3D Object Snaps have been expanded to include Point Cloud specific options
  • The Point Cloud Manager now always shows the on/off buttons for scans and regions. Names are truncated if required, which is ok as the tooltip shows the whole name

AutoCAD 2016 Point Cloud Manager

Render Engine

The rendering engine used in AutoCAD 2015 has been ripped from the system, stomped on, and replaced with a brand new physically-based path tracing renderer. What does this mean? A much simpler way to get much better results…. win-win!

AutoCAD 2016 Render Setup

I need to “play” with the settings a bit more to get a better appreciation of the new renderer. However, one of my 2016 enhancements is the ability to set the Render Duration. This is very Showcaseish in I can set a limit, whether it be in levels or in time and the rendering stops when the limit is met. This is especially great when doing the initial test renderings, before investing the longer amounts of time for the final renderings.


Navisworks NWD and NWC files can now be attached to your drawings to be used as Coordination models. Attaching the Navisworks files behaves exactly as other references, like images and xrefs.

AutoCAD 2016 Attach Navisworks Reference

AutoCAD 2016 Navisworks Reference

Using the BIM 360 add-in, BIM 360 Glue single or merged models can be attached to your drawings. When the drawing is opened the latest version of the BIM 360 model is automatically loaded.