Week #15 – Advanced Selection and Editing
15-6. Working in 3D using Gravity, 3D Guide Lines and Temporary Elements

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 15-6)

In this 35 minute ArchiCAD training lesson, I share some more of my favorite ways to work on the model directly in the 3D window, using Gravity, 3D Guide Lines, and temporary elements for snapping and alignment.

One can place elements at any elevation by adjusting the default settings before insertion, or changing the element settings afterwards. It is also possible to use ArchiCAD’s Gravity function (found in the Toolbar with the plumb bob icon) to sense and use the surface height of slabs, roofs, meshes or (in ArchiCAD 15) shell elements as the base elevation. Gravity may be turned on or off, and may be set to pay attention to different types of elements depending on your need at the time. It works on the floor plan as well as directly in the 3D window.

In ArchiCAD 15 and later versions, the Editing Plane may be shown using the View menu > 3D Window Options > Editing Plane Display command, and its opacity or appearance may be controlled in the View menu > Grid Options > Grids and Background command. It will indicate the current base plane for inserting elements as well as during editing the perimeter or holes for certain elements such as roofs or slabs.

In addition, in these versions of ArchiCAD, 3D Guide Lines are available to simplify alignment of elements while working in 3D. A few examples are shown in this lesson.

Roofs may be created directly in the 3D window in two ways. One common technique for quick modeling is to use the Magic Wand or manually trace the outline of a building to create a series of roofs (or in ArchiCAD 15, a single multi-plane roof system).

Another option is to use the Roof tool to create a new single-plane roof element based on three points that are clicked in the 3D window. These 3 points determine a plane that the new roof will follow, while the actual perimeter of the roof is arbitrary, and may extend wherever one wishes. Using this approach, one may create a single roof, or a series of separate roof elements to create the classic “folded plane” geometry. The snap points used in setting the roof plane may be “natural” points from actual building geometry, or points referenced from temporary elements such as columns placed just for this purpose.

The origin point and orientation of textures such as brick or masonry blocks may be set using the Design menu > Align 3D Texture > Set Origin or Set Direction commands. These may reference a point on the element, such as the corner of a wall or of a window opening on the wall surface, or a point of reference on a temporarily-placed construction element.

Please post your comments and questions below.


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ArchiCAD Training: Drawing and Editing in 3D – Using Gravity, 3D Guide Lines and Temporary Elements

Let us know how you feel... (4 comments so far)

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  1. RossCahill-OBrien
    12 years ago

    very good
    enjoyed them

    I will start playing around with the tools and try them out of myself

    To change/ edit the scale of the blocks/ bricks in the drawing I guess that can be done in the materials.
    very good I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the rest of them, I think I will go back over the lessons to date now that I am getting a bit more proficient with archicad.
    thank you Ross

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Hi Ross –
      Yes, to change the scale of the blocks or bricks, you need to adjust them in the Options menu > Element Attributes > Materials dialog. If you are showing them in construction documents such as Elevation drawings, then you’ll also need to adjust the settings for the Vectorial Fill that is associated with the Material, since the Fill controls the linework in Elevations and Sections.

  2. Hi Eric,

    While doing a maintenance job on my workstation, I watched your BPC 15-6.
    Again and again you Best Practices Course proves to be the one that one has to see, just to stay on top of things.

    Thank you very much again,
    Oscar van Staveren
    Nieuwegein NL

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Oscar –
      Thank you for your kind words!
      I appreciate that you took the time to post them.