ARCHICAD Design | Views 4 – 3D Cutaways and Selective Views

By Eric Bobrow | Design Views Series

Jan 21

This tutorial (21 minutes) demonstrates how to set up 3D cutaways in a wide variety of ways, plus explores options to selectively display elements by layer, type, story or renovation status. Use these for design and presentation.


ARCHICAD Video Tutorial Transcript

ARCHICAD Design | Views 4 – 3D Cutaways & Selective Views

Hello, this is Eric Bobrow.  In this ARCHICAD video tutorial, I’ll show you how to do cutaways and selective views of your model.  This is the fourth in my series of ARCHICAD Design Views tutorials where I show you how to view and present your model in a wide variety of different ways.  [0:00:19]

Here we have the floor plan view and a 3D view of my sample project.  This is an overall view with the building and the site.  Now, I want to do a cutaway.  The simplest way to do that is to use the Marquee tool.  The Marquee tool has an option for thick or thin.  The thick one will show multiple stories or affect multiple stories when you use it.  To activate it, you simply click two points to draw a rectangle and then go to 3D.  [0:00:54]

However, when I do that, we don’t see any change because this is a saved view and showing the entire model.  In order to do a cutaway, I need to be on the plan here and then go and say Show Selection or Marquee in 3D, either from this little context menu or from the keyboard shortcut- F4 on the Mac, and I think it may be F5 on PC, and now you can see it’s doing a cutaway of that area of the building.  [0:01:23]

Now, we are seeing a rather different view because different layers are turned on.  It was showing just the layers that were on the construction document floor plan.  Now, to get it back to the layers that had the building and the site, I could manually select it from the layer popup here, or I can double-click on the view.  When I double-click on the view, it restores everything.  It actually loses the marquee, so it can be annoying to have to go back and forth like this.  [0:01:53]

So, the best way that I found to work with this is to right-click on the tab and say Pick Up View Settings.  This will allow ARCHICAD, then, to inject the view settings into the plan window.  When it does that, we’ll have the same layers.  You can see the site and the roofs, etc. turned on, and it actually also changes some other settings like the pen set, in this case making it a grey pen set, which I prefer in 3D.  [0:02:21]

Now, if I go and use that context menu or keyboard shortcut, when we go to 3D, we’ll see just what we expect, which is a cutaway with the site and all of the structural parts of the building there.  If we wanted to look at just one story, then we can use a thin marquee.  So, if I go back to the ground floor and change this to a thin marquee and then use the same keyboard shortcut, you’ll see that it’s only showing the ground floor elements.  [0:02:55]

Now, it does look a little odd because the train mesh is showing.  That actually is placed on the ground floor, and this little ceiling piece here is showing on the ground floor as part of the plan representation.  That might actually be a mistake there, but in order to cut this off and perhaps even remove, say, the roof switcher placed on the ground floor, we can use an option under the View menu, Elements in 3D View, Filter and Cut elements in 3D, or there’s a keyboard shortcut- Command+Option+A and probably Ctrl+Alt+A on PC.  I can go in, and I can say, “I’d like to limit this to only a certain range of stories.”  [0:03:37]

If you had a 10-story building, you could say, “I only want stories 9 and 10.”  Here, I’m going to do just the first floor, the ground floor, and I’ll also say Trim Elements to Story Range.  That means it will actually remove the elements that are sticking up above or below the story range.   You can see how that we’ve got a nice clean slice.  It is sort of cutting arbitrarily right where this roof meets, I guess, the next story- the beginning of the next story, but it an interesting, simpler way to view this model, and depending upon what you need, you may find that that is a great way to get a view in 3D of just a single story.  [0:04:19]

Now, you can also go and select elements on the plan.  Instead of using a marquee, for example, I can go and, let’s just say take out the marquee.  Go to the arrow tool, and I’ll just do Command+A or Ctrl+A.  Now, I’m selecting everything on the plan, or maybe I draw a little box around here with the arrow, and then it’s going to select the ones that overlap my arrow, or we could perhaps change the arrow to say I only want to select the things that are included in the arrows.  So now, when I do this, it will only select the things that I totally enclosed as opposed to things like the tree that I didn’t quite enclose.  [0:05:04]

Now, when I go to 3D with that same command, I’m looking at just the building, and it’s trimmed off here. If we wanted to have a cutaway, say without the roofs, I can turn off the roof layer.  I can go and manually select the roofs and say that I’d like to hide that layer here and maybe select the ceiling slab and hide that layer, so we can do a variety of things just to study the building in the way that we want.  [0:05:38]

Once we’ve got a view that we like and we want to return to, we can simply go and say Save this View, and let’s just call this “First Floor Only in 3D” or something like that, so I’ll just create that, and now we have a view that we can go to.  Here is our AXO overall, and here is our First Floor Only in 3D, which turns on all of those settings, so we’re doing different types of selective viewing and cutaways here.  [0:06:13]

Now, we can do a marquee.  Let’s just go and do a marquee that’s a jogged one.  So, if I go to the Marquee tool here, there is an option to do a polygon marquee, and you’ll see that here is section B.  The section B is jogged from this point here.  It jogs down and across to there, and if I go to the section here, you’ll see what it looks like.  Now, the actual jog is right here, but it’s a little hard to tell, although you can see that there’s one door on one side and the other door on the other side of the jog there, so it might be a rather odd jog in terms of this particular building, but it demonstrates something very interesting.  [0:07:04]

I can go and create a jogged marquee to present what this looks like, so if I have the Marquee tool, and I have it in a multistory mode, and I go to the polygon version, then I can go and click on these points here and try to find snap points, so these are the points that that section is showing.  I’ll take it up beyond the building and then across, and here this is going to show us that view if I go to 3D now.  Ah, except that I needed to turn off the limit in terms of the stories.  [0:07:49]

So now, this is a cutaway of that particular section.  If I wanted to match the section precisely, I would need to look face on here.  There is an easy way to do that.  I can go to the view menu, 3D Navigation Extras, Look to Perpendicular of Clicked Surface, and then click on one of the surfaces that’s facing there.  That will take me face on to the view there, and let’s just go ahead and save that one as Cutaway Section B.  [0:08:26]

Alright, so now this cutaway section B, if we look at it, is exactly the same view that we had here, with one minor exception, and that is that it’s got layers that are slightly different.  We’re seeing the tree, for example, so let’s go to the section here and check its settings.  It’s using a layer combination called ConDoc or Construction Document Sections, and if I go to the cutaway, we’re using a layer combination that’s from model presentations with building and site elements, including, of course, the landscaping.  [0:09:02]

If I switch it to ConDoc Sections, we’ll see that the tree goes away, and perhaps I want to record that in this view, so I right-click on it and say Redefine with Current Window Settings.  That, actually, will mean that every time that I click here, it will activate that particular layer combination as well as the cutaway and the angle that we’re looking.  [0:09:23]

Now, let’s go back to the overall, and let’s look at other ways that we can select things.  In addition to just changing the layer combination.  For example, let’s say let’s just look at the building only and turn off the context.  We can use that same filter and cut elements to turn on or off different types of elements.  Normally, it shows all elements except for zones, and we’re going to take a look at that in a minute, but let’s just start by removing some element types here and only showing walls, slabs, and roofs, and when we do that, we’re going to have a very simple version of the building.  [0:10:09]

Now, imagine that you had a 10-story or a 50-story building.  Turning off all those other elements, including the details of the doors and windows, would certain make this model much lighter and much easier for ARCHICAD to show you the shapes and forms, so it can be a great study tool or an option while you’re in the design process to do this, and of course I can save this, and we’ll just say this is Walls Slabs Roofs Only.  [0:10:40]

OK, so all of these view settings that I’m doing are recorded in the view, so in other words, when I activate that, it will change the filter settings in this case to only show the walls, slabs, and roofs. Now, if I go back to that dialogue, there is an option here to turn on all types.  That actually does include the zones, or if I turn this off, puts it back to whatever was the most recent setting I had.  What I’m going to do is turn off the walls, slabs, and roofs, but it won’t let me turn off the last one.  It says you have to have something to show.  [0:11:17]

I’ll say, “let’s look at zones,” and then say we’ll just only show zones.  What are zones going to look like?  I say OK.  We’re seeing that they are the spaces within the rooms, and you use them commonly on the plan to get some area calcs, to do finish schedules, and to possibly put the room names down in drawings.  If I select this one here, you can see that it is the living room, and this one is the sleeping room in the back.  [0:11:51]

Now, this one, which is colored differently, is a bath, and in fact I have both of the baths set up this way.  They’re using a particular category of zone stamp, which will give us a color on the plan and choose which type of stamp is used, but in addition, how do I get these colors?  Well, each one of these zones has an option for a model appearance, and so this is just one of the surfaces that’s in this current file, the sample project for MasterTemplate.  This is a translucent appearance, intended to highlight solid element operators in certain presentation or certain study contexts, but I’m using it just as a way to get a sort of translucent red color here.  [0:12:40]

If I look at the ones that I chose for the wet areas here, the baths, I’m using lamp glass so that it’s got a sort of yellow tone.  So, if you had a complex building- multiple stories and lots of different room types and offices and meeting rooms and circulation and storage, etc., you can visualize this, and of course this is going to be a very simple model to study and get reports on.  [0:12:40]

Now, these zones are set up to find the boundaries automatically of the rooms, but you can work with the zones just manually drawing, for example, a box here or a complex shape, and then these things can be actually drawn before you put in the walls, so you can do the model of the building with analysis and reports of usage to see how they compare or to make sure that they work with the program requirements for the building.  This is a great way to do it.  [0:13:50]

Each of these zones has a height.  As you can see, if I select this, it’s saying this is nine feet, about three meters up.  You actually can take this to whatever height you need and trim it by the roof if you have a cathedral-type ceiling or slanted ceiling.  Otherwise, if you just leave it alone, of course it will have a flat top.  It will be pretty similar to a slab in 3D.  [0:14:15]

So, let’s look at another option, which is the Marquee tool can do a cutaway in a different form.  You can cut out of the building, so if I wanted to be able to see- let’s just zoom out a little bit here on the building.  Let’s take just a rectangular marquee to make it simple and cut this center part out.  How would I do that?  Well, I go to the Filter and Cut Elements in 3D and say Show Elements Outside the Marquee and say OK.  Now, if I say show this in 3D, we’re going to see the cutout around that, so in certain cases, that can be a very powerful presentation method.  [0:15:06]

Now, we’re seeing the elements in a sort of naturalistic form, so the cutaways.  In the US, fiber insulation is often pink.  That’s how I’ve got it here, and with framing, and this is actually not framed in 3D.  It’s just got 2D framing, and so we’re seeing just a solid wood appearance to show that this is a framed cavity there, but we could change this to show it in a more presentation context or a different type of context here by using that same dialogue and changing the cut surface display to a uniform color.  [0:15:48]

For example, this would be black, which actually shows up sort of grey here and black there.  It depends upon the lighting conditions that you’ve got in your window, or you could make it something a little more dramatic, for example, like this vermillion red color here, and so that is now really highlighting what is cut away in a bright fashion.  [0:16:12]

I’ll go ahead and save this and say Cutaway Red, so now all of these things, we can go back and forth.  I can go look at all of these things any time we want by saving those views.  Now, when we’re looking at things on plan, and we select them, like I was showing the first floor only in 3D here.  We can also select things.  Remember, I was selecting them in 3D, or on the plan, I can go and select them in 3D and use the same controls, say Show Selection in 3D.  [0:16:55]

This is a great way to study just details of your model.  Just look at this until you figure out what’s going on.  Maybe make some changes.  This is a live view of the model, and then later you can say Show All in 3D.  It retains the filtering in the sense that this is just the current story and the layer combination that we had.  If we go back to any of the other ones like this AXO Overall, it puts it all back to the way it was.  [0:17:23]

We have one more thing that I want to show you, which is cutting planes.  This is another way that we can do cutaways.  It’s really quite fun and easy to do once you get the hang of it.  You go to the View menu, Elements in 3D View and turn on 3D Cutaway or use the keyboard shortcut Command+Y or Ctrl+Y, which is the last letter of cutaway.  Now, first you don’t see a change because we don’t have any cutting planes active, but you’ll see these little scissor icons in the top, bottom, and sides.  [0:17:54]

Now, if I just press down on the scissor and drag, you’ll see that I’m dragging a cutting plane.  Now I can set it up at whatever height I want, let go.  It says, “Do you want to finalize it here?”  No, we could move it later, but I actually want to cut it through the window, so I’ll just drag it down.  I’ll just click again once to start moving it a second time to say I want to pause, and then I’ll say Finalize, and we’re now ready to go.  [0:18:22]

You can see that the cursor is, if I pause, it’s highlighting a cutting plane.  If I don’t want to see that, I can go here and say that I’d like to turn off the Show Cutting Planes, and there is a keyboard shortcut for that as well.  Now, if I wanted to do a cutaway of a different phase, I can drag this in from the sides, so I can press down and drag this in here, but you see that actually, in this case, it’s coming from the back side, so that’s not what I want, so I’ll just cancel this.  [0:18:58]

What I want to do is a custom cutting plane.  If it doesn’t immediately give me the right one that I want, I can go here and say I’d like to.  If I right-click and say Create Custom Cutting Plane, and there’s different ways to do it, but one way that I like is just to hover the mouse over a surface, and you can see how it changes, and it will actually pick up angles of roofs and things.  Here’s the face of this wall, and I click, and now we’ve got a cutting plane parallel to that, and I can move it in or out.  [0:19:29]

Click again and finalize when I’m ready, and you can see how it’s refreshed, and again, I’ll go and say Hide, don’t show the cutting planes, and now we can move around freely and edit things or make a presentation.  We can save a view of the cutting planes, so these cutting planes are really quite something.  You can explore them interactively with a client to show things.  You can study the structural relationships of elements by just dragging the cutting plane and checking it at different depths in your building model.  [0:20:05]

So, I hope you enjoyed this ARCHICAD video tutorial on cutaways and selective views.  This is my pleasure to share it with you.  If you’d like to get the resource pack that I created for this series, which gives you a lot of options- over 100 elements for working with your model and showing it in different ways, just go to the link that’s shown on the page down below this video.  [0:20:31]

It’s also going to be shown on screen:  You just opt in for my email list, and I’ll send you that resource pack that you can install in just a few minutes into your own projects.  Please help me reach more ARCHICAD users with my tutorials.  You can do that by liking and sharing this video on social media and by subscribing to my YouTube channel.  It’s been my pleasure to share this with you.  This has been Eric Bobrow.  Thanks for watching. [0:21:04]

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