One of the new features for AutoCAD 2011 is the ability to make a layer transparent. Since Civil 3D 2011 is built on AutoCAD 2011, you can take advantage of this new tool. Think of all of that hatching we’ve done over the years- how awesome to make it transparent! (You can get Lynn Allen’s AutoCAD 2011 Tips and Tricks Booklet for more ideas on how to use new features.)
One idea I had was things like surface analysis. You need to make the Object Layer (that “master layer” that each civil 3d object gets placed on depending on the Drawing Settings) the transparent layer, it doesn’t work if you make a layer designated in the style transparent. If you don’t want all of your surfaces transparent, just make a new layer called, for example, C-TOPO-TRANS or something and manually swap the elevation analysis surfaces to that layer.
Here is my project…
I change the surface style to an elevation analysis, and it makes it impossible to see the image underneath.
I change my object layer to transparent…
And now I can get the best of both worlds- see my image and the analysis!
You can find my post listing some of the New Features for Civil 3D 2011 here, and a detailed listing of new feature descriptions in the Civil 3D 2011 Online Users Guide.