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ArchiCAD Tip: 3D Documents


The 3D Document is an extremely useful feature (introduced in ArchiCAD12) that allows you to take a 3D view of any model, and transform it into a 2D document, onto which you can add dimensions, labels and additional 2D drawing elements.

Any 3D Document is listed as any entry in the Navigator Project Map - it can be considered similar to a Section or Elevation.
A 3D document can also be turned into a 'view' thus allowing layer combinations and pensets to be applied before placing on the view on a Layout.
In a 3D Document, you can select model elements and access their settings dialog boxes to make changes in the model - but you cannot edit them graphically or create new model elements.
3D Documents can be created from a 'marqueed' 3D view, which allows for complex information to be shown/documented easily.

To create a 3D Document:
Set up a perspective or axonometric 3D view, using a combination of any of the following
• marquee
• filtered or selected elements
• 3D Cutting Planes

With 3D window open, create a new 3D Document by doing one of the following:
(i) Right-click the Navigator's '3D Document' folder, and choose the "New 3D Document..." command
(ii) With nothing selected in the 3D window, right-click in the 3D window, and choose the "Capture Window for 3D Document" command
(iii) Use a menu command ("Document > 3D Document > Create New 3D Document" or "Document > Documenting Tools > Create 3D Document").

The 'New 3D Document' dialog box appears.
• enter a Reference ID and Name for the new 3D Document and click Create.
• the 3D Document is created and opened in its own window.
• the 3D Document is listed in the 3D Document folder in the Project Map of the Navigator.

Once created, a 3D document can be accessed and edited exactly like a Section/Elevation - you can
• recall a 3D document at any time and allow it to manually/automatically update
• add Vectorial hatching
• add Sun & Shadow casting effects
• add Shaded Material effects
all by accessing the 3D Document settings from the Navigator entry

The ability to add dimensions to the 3D document is probably the most important feature of a 3D document, especially as this includes 'Elevation' dimensions, thus allowing ridge-eaves levels of roofs, and/or head-cill levels of openings to be displayed very easily.

Below is a screenshot from an ArchiCAD Layout showing 3 variations of 3D Documents.

The critical point to remember in this ArchiCAD file is that the views in the Layout Book are linked 3D documents - if the model changes, the view(s) will update...

I have also given a link HERE to the ArchiCAD file containing this simple model with a number of 3D documents, which have been placed on layouts also.