By Lisa Kemp
When I work in the AutoCAD® Architecture software I often need to switch from 2D to 3D views. Students can find this useful for understanding how their 2D floor plan is going to look in 3D and how that affects how they place elements, such as windows and doors. For example, I can draw walls and add windows and doors in a 2D plan view and then switch to a 3D view to see how they look and modify them as needed. The ViewCube and the preset views that are supplied with the software can be used to do this. I can then use Visual Styles to change the shading in the drawing to display the objects more clearly when they are in 3D. To be more efficient when switching from 2D to 3D, I create custom views. This enables me to have a number of 3D views of the same 2D element and to switch between them quickly.
To quickly display the drawing in 3D, I usually select one of the preset views, such as SW Isometric, NE Isometric, Front, or Right. I can also use the ViewCube to quickly switch between preset views, or click and drag on it to rotate the model. Alternatively, I can hold down <Shift> and use the scroll wheel on the mouse to orbit the model until it displays the view that shows the elements that I want to see.
When I first switch to a 3D view it can be difficult to interpret the model because the default display is a wireframe view. So I select one of the standard visual styles such as Hidden or Conceptual to see the model more clearly. I can still modify the model, no matter which visual style has been selected.
To change the visual style I usually go to the View tab>Visual Styles tab, expand the Visual Styles control, and select a style. I like this list because it includes a preview of how the model is going to be displayed. Alternatively, I could go to the Home tab>View panel, expand the Visual Styles button, and select one of the styles.
Once I have orbited and zoomed the model to get the required display, I can save it as a custom view. This can be done by right-clicking on the ViewCube and selecting Set Current View as Home. This is a quick method but only creates a temporary view, which is overwritten the next time the option is used.
When I want to create a number of custom views, I go to the View tab>Appearance panel, expand the Preset View Control and select View Manager… When the View Manager dialog box opens, I click the New button to open the New View/Shot Properties dialog box. Then I enter a custom name for the view, set the Boundary to use the current display in the drawing window or click the Define View Window button to select a different view of the model. I accept the defaults for the other settings in the dialog box and then click the OK button to create the custom view. This method enables me to create and save multiple custom views, which I find to be the more useful way to work as they are always available to me.
Using the preset and custom views can make switching from 2D to 3D views very easy. Being able to create custom views saves a lot of time when I need to frequently switch from 2D to 3D and don’t want to use the preset views and have to zoom and orbit to where I had been every time. It is also useful when learning how to use the AutoCAD Architecture software in that it makes it easier to understand elements, such as walls, doors, and windows, are going to look in both 2D and 3D.