During the Accelerate Your Ideas tour, I've been showing how AutoCAD can be used in different building environments to convert a typical 2D floor plan into a 3D model. Even if you have never created a 3D drawing, I think you’ll find that the new tools in AutoCAD make it an easy transition from your familiar 2D environment to the world of 3D. As you become more familiar and comfortable with the 3D conceptual design and visualization tools in AutoCAD, you may discover that you want even more power and flexibility. You can use the knowledge you’ve gained and the drawings you’ve created in AutoCAD to help you transition to Autodesk solutions that were specifically designed for the architectural, building structural, and building engineering industries.
During last week’s “Accelerate Your Ideas” tour, I learned a lot about how Autodesk’s building industry applications work together to provide a complete solution. If you are in the building industry, I encourage you to attend one of these valuable half-day events near you. The remaining cities on the tour include Boston, NYC, Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago.
In the mean time I am going to begin a series of posts that step you through a process for converting a typical 2D AutoCAD floor plan into a 3D AutoCAD model. Even if you are not in the building industry, you can apply these AutoCAD tools and suggestions to typical drawings in any industry.
I'll begin with an AutoCAD drawing of a floor plan. This particular floor plan includes walls, basic structural elements, lights, diffusers, and ducts.
This is a typical 2D drawing. Actually, I should clarify… In reality, every AutoCAD drawing is 3D because every object has a Z value. However, in typical “2D” AutoCAD drawings, the Z value of all the objects is zero. You can view any AutoCAD drawing (in model space) from any viewpoint. However, in a typical 2D drawing, we always view the model from the top. If you change the viewpoint of a typical 2D drawing, you can see that it is flat.
The easiest way to change the viewpoint of a drawing in AutoCAD 2007 is to hold down the Shift key while you press the middle mouse button and move the mouse. There are many other ways to change the viewpoint in AutoCAD 2007 and earlier releases. For example, you can use the View command to set one of the predefined views such as Southwest Isometric.
As you change the viewpoint of your drawing, you may find that all the geometry is NOT flat. For example, if someone accidentally entered or changed the Z value of a block’s insertion point to a value other than zero, the block would be floating in 3D space. Working in a typical 2D view (looking at the drawing from the top), you might never notice the mistake, and it probably wouldn’t matter.
In the next post, I’ll show you how to update the existing 2D structural columns in the floor plan to 3D objects.