ARCHICAD Design | Views 2 – Rendered Elevations & Site Plans

By Eric Bobrow | Design Views Series

Jan 21

This tutorial (19 minutes) demonstrates interesting new ARCHICAD View options that allow you to use the same Elevation and Section markers for both rendered (shaded) views and construction document drawings. You’ll also see some easy ways to add accurate or graphic shadows to add depth to a presentation site plan.


ARCHICAD Video Tutorial Transcript

ARCHICAD Design | Views 2 – Rendered Elevations & Site Plans

Hello, this is Eric Bobrow.  This ARCHICAD video tutorial is the second in my series of ARCHICAD Design Views, where I show you different ways that you can use view settings to look at and present your model.  [0:00:14]

In the first one in the series, I showed you how to create sketch views, where you have simple views for the plan with squiggly lines to make them look more tentative and sketchy as well as for elevations and sections, and even 3D views.  Now, let’s take a look at how we can go from a simple, sketchy view like this to a rendered elevation, so here is a view of the same elevation, but with color and shadow and all the rest.  So, this is, I would say, a rather pretty view compared to the construction document, which has a little bit more serious look with annotation, dimensions, etc.  [0:01:02]

So, it turns out that both of these are the same elevation marker, and it’s possible to switch back and forth between them by using different view settings, so let’s look at the elevation settings for this marker on the floor plan.  In fact, all of the elevation markers have the same settings.  In the model display section, the uncut elements, which are the surfaces we’re looking at here, have a choice, and you can make them just empty.  You can have them a uniform color like white, or you can give them shading such as these colors representing the surfaces.  [0:01:39]

Now, you can do it non-shaded or shaded.  I found through experiment that non-shaded actually gives the best result in terms of flexibility.  It means that the shadows here are not going to have any tint.  Now, we have vectorial 3D hatching.  That’s what’s representing the shingles and the stonework there, and we have some sun shadows.  Now the sun shadows are not based on a particular sun position.  They’re 45° over the shoulder.  This gives them a standard sort of look, and you can tell the depth of things more easily.  [0:02:12]

The sun shadows are turned on, in this case, with polygons 25%, in terms of the amount of coloring there of a neutral black, so that’s the setting that I’m using for all my elevations.  Now, how do we go back and forth between color and non-color?  Well, it turns out that it has to do with overrides.  In the presentation view, we have no overrides.  This is actually what’s there.  When I switch to the construction document view, the rendering, the gradient fill goes away.  [0:02:49]

Let’s go back here, and let’s just look at that gradient fill.  So, how did the gradient fill get put in?  It’s basically just a fill that’s been put in manually.  It’s just one of the many fills that ARCHICAD offers.   There are solid fills, gradient, vectorial, symbol, and image fills, and gradients allow you to do either linear or a radial one, and when you have it selected, you can see it’s starting here and going towards there and changing from one color to another, and you can simply choose any color in your pen palette.  [0:03:22]

If I rotate this around here, you can see how the blue color changes a little bit when I finish.  It will just have a slightly different progression of the colors.  Now, this gradient fill is actually on the ARCHICAD layer.  The ARCHICAD layer means that this is going to be on for all different views.  Now, you could put it on a layer that gets turned off when you switch to construction documents, but I wanted to show a couple of different options in terms of layer settings.  [0:03:56]

It just finally updated the background here, in terms of the color.  By the way, this is set behind everything else, so I uses the display order Send to Back, so I just drew a box and then just sent it to the back.  Now, this element here is an object- just a simple object that’s a 2D graphic.  You can see it’s in the standard ARCHICAD library, and depending on whether you’re in the US or somewhere else, you’ll find it under a group of human figures here.  I’ve chosen, again, a percentage fill – 50% in this case, with a transparent background so we can see through them.  [0:04:39]

They are on a layer.  In this case, for presentation only.  That layer is turned off when we go to the construction document.  Now, when we go to the construction document, we’re on a different layer combination for construction document elevations, and we see dimensions are turned on as well as a unique layer for construction document drawings here, whereas earlier, the one that we were looking at for the human figures was on a presentation layer that’s turned off.  So, by switching layer combinations, we can reveal annotation here and have documentation or presentation elements in the other one.  [0:05:26]

Now, in addition, of course, we’ve lost the shading on the building, which is exactly the point.  That’s done with a graphic override.  You remember the other one had no overrides here, so this has got three different overrides.  The first one is the most important in that it turns off the shading on the elevations and sections.  If we edit the rules here, we can see that it says if an element is a 3D type, we want to make the fill foreground neutral in color with a transparency.  So, that basically takes out the surface coloring that we had.  [0:06:03]

Now, the ones that are for hiding the gradient fills are basically looking for fills that use that gradient fill choice.  You can see here it’s the same choice that we had.  It’s just taking that there, and then it’s saying replace it with an empty fill that is transparent, and that’s all that that’s doing there.  We have a similar one for the radial if you wanted to do a radial fill in a presentation.  It would hide that as well.  [0:06:31]

Now, we do have some other options here.  There’s one that will do no shading or shadow, so that’s adding one more graphic override to take away the shadows.  That’s done with this graphic override here.  No shadows go here, and this is saying if it’s a 3D type, and it is a graphic fill, then we want to just replace this with just empty air space, and so this turns out that the shadows are considered 3D types with graphic fills as opposed to cover or cut fills, and this is what cancels it out.  [0:07:14]

We do have one more option here, which is plain elevations.  When I do this, it actually will make the cover fills empty, so we end up not having the line work.  Now, if you look carefully, you’ll see that this has the gradient fills here, and this one doesn’t.  I just wanted to show you how you would add this and show you if you didn’t have it, what it would do.  I say OK, and you’ll see that it refreshes without the vectorial line work, but we do have this fill that is getting in the way.  [0:07:49]

So, how would we deal with that?  Well, we go in here, and we add another one of the rules, and so here’s one of the ones that we need is the Hide Gradient Fill – Linear, and we’d also need probably the Hide Gradient Fill – Radial, so having done that, say OK, and this will now look very clean.  So now we can switch at any point between having it plain, having it with the vectorial hatching but no other line work – no other shading – or just a simple shading here.  That’s how we get both of the construction document and the rendered elevations done.  [0:08:31]

Let’s switch gears and look at a site plan.  So, we’re going to look at site plans and see how we can get nice shading and shadows on a site plan.  I’ll go to our site plan here.  This site plan has got a combination of 2D and 3D elements.  I go to the Wall tool and do Cmd+A, do Select All, Ctrl+A.  You can see we’ve got all the exterior walls on the ground floor.  We’ve turned off on this layer combination the interior walls.  [0:09:05]

Now, the doors and windows are represented in a simplified fashion.  That’s done using the model view option for the site plan, so that model view option says make those doors and windows very simple. A lot of this is 3D, but some of it is not.  For example, if I go to the Roof tool, and I select all roofs, we can see these lower roofs are selected but not the upper ones.  That’s because the upper ones are actually done with the Fill tool.  This is a fill element.  It was probably originally from the actual 3D roofs up above and copied down as just 2D line work or exploded, and then the fill was copied down.  [0:09:51]

That means that this is maintained separately, and there is the potential issue that it could get out of date, but it does give us the opportunity to make it transparent so we can see the footprint of the building below. So, it is an option that you should at least be familiar with in case you want to do something representing the 3D, but it actually has more graphic controls.  [0:10:13]

Similarly, this is a tree that is in the 3D model.  You can see here what it looks like, and we’ve seen it in the model- in the views of the model, but this tree here is purely 2D, so it is in the standard ARCHICAD library here, but it is only 2D.  Now, in this case, it’s got just a simple background fill that is going to be white with a little border.  What I did was I made a copy of it.  This copy is slightly offset, and this one is grey with a percentage fill, so it looks slightly transparent like the shadow, and that’s what I’ve done for all of these.  [0:10:58]

Now, for the 3D tree, what I did was I actually exploded it into the plan view, so you can go to the Edit menu, Reshape, Explode into Current View.  What that will do is it will create a copy of it that’s only the graphics, in this case the fill outline.  You can keep the original after exploding and then have both of them to work with, or you can uncheck that and just have the new one.  What I ended up doing was getting the graphic copy and changing it from white to this 40%, so that gives us the shadow appearance, and of course I used the display order to send it behind the other element.  [0:11:38]

So, that’s what we use to create the basic shape.  I will point out that the train is 3D, but if I hover over here, that there is a fill that’s creating this little triangle graphic to represent a certain type of landscaping in this area.  There’s a combination of 3D and 2D on this site plan.  Now, if I want to get some shadows here, I could use the fill tool and calculate manually how this would go, but I’m going to let ARCHICAD do the heavy lifting.  I’ll go in here and just take an AXO view with shadows.  You can see some shadows being cast, and I’ll orbit around to get to a top view.  [0:12:20]

Now, a shortcut for orbiting is to press down the center mouse button and use the pan, and then add the Shift key.  It instantly switches to the Orbit mode.  You don’t have to go down to the Orbit one here.  You can just press down the center mouse button where you get the hand, and then with the Shift key, turn it into an orbit.  I want to get precisely looking straight down, so I will use the 3D view options here – 3D Projection settings, and instead of doing it manually, I’ll just say, “Give me a top-down view.”  [0:12:55]

I’ll rotate my camera position to 90° so it matches the orientation of the plan.  Now, I can move the sun around to any position here, but I’m going to ask it to calculate it based on a certain date and time, and the project location needs to be set as well.  So, in the Options menu, you can go to Project Location and say where on the Earth this is. I can choose a date like the spring equinox here and a time such as 3 PM, and it’s calculated where the sun is.  I say OK.  I’m now looking straight down with the sun in this position.  I’ll just zoom out a little bit, and you can see what it’s doing.  [0:13:36]

Now, in order to copy these shadows and place them onto a drawing, I need to switch modes from the OpenGL graphic appearance, which is very fast to update, to the vectorial mode where I’m choosing the shading with shadows in a vectorial fashion, and you can see the representation changes.  You can change this manually in the 3D view options 3D Styles.  I’m just in the upper section, where I’ve got the vectorial engine rather than OpenGL, and I am saying that I’d like to have sun shadows here.  [0:14:11]

So, we now are in position to copy it, but I’m going to simplify it by turning off the trees.  In MasterTemplate, we have a preset view for this – Sun Study here – that turns off certain little layers, so it’s just a little bit easier to grab.  I’ll go now to the Marquee tool and just draw a marquee around the shadows. This is what we did in the first tutorial where I was copying the line work from a vectorial view.  In this case, I’ll use the Copy command, but I won’t copy the edges or polygons of the roofs and the walkways because all I really care about are the shadows.  [0:14:48]

The polygons would be the shading.  I don’t need the edges.  I just want to have the shading. I’ll leave it frameless, so they don’t end up having outlines when we paste it in, and I’ll ask ARCHICAD to go ahead and simplify and not have them overlap by calculating split polygons.  Scale Drawing will mean it will match my site plan precisely rather than being just a graphic, and I’ll say OK.  It’s now copied that information, and I can go back to the site plan.  [0:15:17]

Now, I don’t have to worry about being precisely the same location.  I could be panned over, for example, anywhere I want because when I paste, it’s going to figure out where the X and Y positions are and automatically match it to the building.  It’s got a little marquee around here to complete the paste.  I click outside it, and now we have these shadows.  [0:15:40]

You can see I can select them.  There’s groups here like that, but what I want to do is I want to actually change them all.  Some of them are grey.  Some of them are green.  I want to make them all uniform and make them a little bit transparent, so the easiest way to select all of them is to go undo using this little shortcut or Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z and then redo here because that allows them all to be selected with handles.  [0:16:08]

Now I can go to the Edit menu, group them to make it easier to select them later, and then change them.  Change the background color here to transparent, and I’ll be able to see through them.  Change it from an air space or an empty fill to a percentage like 30% and change them to a neutral black color.  Now, I’ve got them looking pretty clean as shadows.  [0:16:33]

I don’t think I want shadows on the roofs themselves, so I’m going to make sure I have groups suspended so I can select individual ones, and I’ll go and select these fill polygons here and just simply delete them and zoom in a little bit.  Make it easier to select some of the other ones, and when I hover over it, it may propose that I select something like the roof, but I’ll use the Tab key to cycle through until I have the fill selected, and again, over here, hit the Tab key until I can see that it’s selecting the fill, and then I can delete them.  [0:17:09]

Here, maybe take this one as well.  So, very quickly I can remove the ones I want.  Here, I have an area that actually was covered by the earlier polygon, but I need to expand it, so I’m going to select this, and I use the option here to expand it.  This is the polygon Boolean addition, and I can go and click two points to create this and get that precisely.  If I zoomed in, I could get that a little more precisely, but now we have something that looks pretty clean in terms of a rendered site plan.  [0:17:49]

Of course, we could add color and things like that if we wanted, but we’ve let ARCHICAD do the heavy lifting in terms of pasting in the shadows and now having to calculate anything manually, so I hope you enjoyed this ARCHICAD video tutorial, the second in my series on ARCHICAD Design Views.  If you’d like to get a copy of some of the materials I used such as the graphic override settings, you can opt in for my email list.  You’ll see instructions on the page down below this video.  [0:18:21]

If you’re already on my email list, I’ll be sending out a copy of those resource files to you automatically.  It’s my pleasure to help you and all other ARCHICAD users to use the program more effectively.  If you’d like to help me get the word out, then please like this video, share it on social media, and subscribe to my YouTube channel.  I help ARCHICAD users through a combination of these free video tutorials, paid courses that I offer through my various websites as well as MasterTemplate, which is a great startup kit for ARCHICAD.  [0:18:57]

This sample project here is included with MasterTemplate as a learning tool.  You can see how everything fits together and see all the settings and just make sure you understand how to get a project all drawn up and onto sheets and all the rest.  So, this has been Eric Bobrow.  It’s my pleasure to share this with you.  Thanks for watching.  [0:19:20]

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(2) comments

Baiti Haidar July 11, 2022

Your online videos has made me learn more in archicad

    Eric Bobrow July 12, 2022

    Thank you Baiti!

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