AutoCAD 3D Advice

Creating 3D wireframe models can be more challenging than creating 2D drawings. Here are some advice that will help you work efficiently:
  1. Create sufficient layers to organize your model. Turn off layers that you currently are not working with. That way you reduce the visual complexity of the model. Use different colors can help you differentiate between objects in various views.

  2. Create construction geometry to define the basic envelope of the model.

  3. Create and use multiple views, especially isometric views. Hence making visualization of the model easier. Additionally it becomes easier to select objects.

  4. Become familiar with the User Coordinate System - UCS. Learn how to make the XY plane in UCS parallel with another plane. Learn that Z is the depth in 3D space. The XY plane of the current UCS operates as a work plane to orient planar objects such as rectangles, circles and arcs. The UCS determines the plane of operation for moving, trimming and extending, offsetting, and rotating objects.

  5. Always use object snaps and snap, this will ensure the precision of your model.

  6. Use coordinate filters to easily locate points in 3D based on the location of points on other objects.

3D Rendering

To save time only render a preview in smaller output size 640 X 480. When making previews you can also use "render cropped region". Only use shadows, in final render. Use ray-traced reflections and refractions, when it is needed, namely in scenes with water, marble, glass and mirrors. Shadow mapping display more soft edges and require less rendering time. Ray-traced shadows have more accurate and hard edges. The ray-traced shadows also transmit color from transparent and translucent objects. However this shadow setting require more rendering time. Use only 1 or 2 lights in a scene. The excepting is indoor interior, where is many lamps and spotlights. Only use sunlight in a outdoor scene. If using sunlight, then adjust light intensity, time and date depending on the atmosphere you want to set. Use the necessary time to adjust falloff angle in cone of spotlight, light intensity and the angle from light source to target. Some scenery require that you combine point light with spotlight.

Read also web page about Rendering and Visualization in AutoCAD 2007


3D Performance

Type OPTIONS enter, click on System, then click on Performance Settings. Click on the small "check box" Adaptive degradation, so that it's ON. Next "check" all items below. In the dialog box "Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning" click Manual Tune. Next "check" to enable hardware acceleration and reset to recommended values, continue clicking OK, until you have exited all dialog boxes.

Benefits of using 3D Solids

There are certain benefits when you use 3D solids. From 3D solids you can read mass, volume, centroid, moments of inertia, products of inertia with the MASSPROP command. This information is not possible to get with a box build with surfaces. The exception here are regions. From these you can read area, centroid, moments of inertia and product of inertia. And it's easy to edit a solid with grips. Moreover, you can easily create holes, fillets and chamfers on a 3D solid. Additionally, you can use boolean operations on solids, like intersect, subtract and union. My advice: Always use 3D solids or regions, when it's possible in AutoCAD. In architectural design, use region for the floor. Because it's easier to get the area with the Massprop command.

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