Editing 3D Elements


3D Elements typically include:

Walls, Slabs, Beams, Roofs

Windows, Doors

Mesh, Morph, Shell





When to Use 3D Tools 

However you need to decide what level of detail (also referred to as Level of Development = LOD) your 3D project specifically requires and if supplementing it with 2D elements may speed up the overall documentation process.


Example A – cost engineering

Certain Elements, e.g. modular parts of your building modal such as Curtain Walls and other parametric Objects can be easily batch processed / updated across a complete model, as opposed to the manual redrafting of  dozens of unlinked 2D drawings.


Example B – file performance

When working on very large project files, special care needs to be taken to not overburden both Archicad and your computer hardware, with a high polygon count resulting in a drop of file performance and ultimately productivity. Typically interior elements such as Furniture, Fixtures and Fittings can thus be reduced to only 2D Elements, i.e. they do not need to display any 3D information.



TIPThe thing to remember is that you are working on a diagrammatic representation of a project to produce drawings for a builder or a client.

It is best to turn off the detail you don’t need!


Contextual Menu, Tracker & Pet Palette

Where to find : Right click, Node point click

Use this to: As per the 2D window the same editing Tools exist in 3D. Remember that there are Tool specific variations to the base functions, e.g. Walls can be slanted, whereas Slabs can not.



Editing Plane

Where to find : View > Editing Plane Display

Use this to: The Editing Plane facilitates the editing and positioning of Elements, by default it automatically adjusts its orientation based on the selected editing mode. You can adjust the editing plane either via right click > Editing Plane or by clicking on the square shaped editing plane ‘Grip’.


The editing plane can be used to manipulate building elements from different projections, e.g. to cut a specific sized hole (as measured in a horizontal projection) into a slanted roof. This example (and others) is explained in detail in Help > Archicad HELP.



Magic Wand

Where to find : SPACE BAR

Use this to: In the 3D window the Magic Wand provides predictive graphical feedback on what Elements it will generate if you complete the operation.


Surface Snap & Gravity

Where to find : 2D window Gravity > Windows > Toolbars > Standard Toolbar > Gravity

3D window Surface Snap > VIEW > Surface Snap

Use this to: Place Elements on other Elements surface, e.g. when placing Trees on a sloping Mesh.



TIPThe Axis tool allows you to re-orient the default red, green and blue axis. This is helpful when you want to draw elements in different orientations, for example part of your model is rotated by a certain angle versus the rest of the model. Note that the Axis orientation within groups or components can be different to the axis orientation outside of groups or components.


Edit Multiple Elements

Where to find : Pet Palette > choose the appropriate Edit command

Use this to: In the 3D window modify multiple selected Elements (of the same type) with the same operation, e.g. create the same perforation on multiple slabs across various stories.



Stretching Multiple Elements

Where to find : Marquee

Use this to: If you need to stretch multiple Elements on one story (single story marquee) or over multiple stories (multi story marquee), place the marquee in the 2D window and grab a node point of any existing element to stretch all Elements within the extent of the marquee area with a chosen offset. Columns, Objects & Lamps can not be stretched and will only be moved.


CAUTION > Before using the stretch command, always first check which Elements and which of their Node Points are currently visible in the 3D window – otherwise you may affect elements that you may not see in the 2D window. Immediately after, check the results of your Stretch operation in 3D, as you may have inadvertently distorted some polygon based Elements.




Show Selection / Marquee in 3D = F4

Show all in 3D = COMMAND + F4

Orbit = O

Fit in Window = COMMAND + ‘

3D Cutaway = COMMAND + Y

Filter and Cut Elements in 3D = COMMAND + OPTION + A

Perspective View = OPTION + F3

Axonometric View = COMMAND + F3

3D Projection Settings = COMMAND + OPTION + F3


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