Imaging Options Inside Archicad – Part 2

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ARCHICAD Training Lesson Outline


Similar to Elevations and Sections, 3D Documents can be generated from any 3D Window view and remain linked to the model and can be updated to show the latest design. While in 3D, use the command Create 3D Document to define the view angle and settings and immediately open up a new 3D Document.

The views can be of the entire project, selected elements, or be based on a marquee.

They are limited to Vectorial Shading, similar to Elevations before Archicad 25; perhaps in a future version of Archicad they will allow Surfaces to be represented using their native textures.

All 2D annotation tools are available. Dimensions are particularly interesting to apply, since they will accurately measure distances when you snap appropriately to model elements.

The 3D viewing angle (and certain View Settings such as marquee boundaries or cutaways) are fixed for the 3D Document based on the original source View. It is possible to redefine the view using two related commands from the context menu that appears when you right-click in empty space in the document window. The first command Open Source View will bring back up the 3D window with the viewing angle and conditions the same as when the document was created. You may then move around or change the settings as you wish. Later, you can go back to the 3D Document and use the context menu to Redefine 3D Document based on the current 3D Window.

TIP: When using a marquee or a 3D Cutaway, the edges of composite elements such as walls, slabs and roofs may be shown in a number of ways based on the settings of the View menu > 3D Elements > Filter and Cut Elements in 3D. Choose the native surfaces option to see all the skins, or override to make the edges black, red or any color you wish.

Note that this option may be overridden in the Options menu > Project Preferences > Legacy dialog; if you've carried forward Legacy settings for Sections, all edges will be a single color regardless of the settings in the Filter and Cut Elements dialog.


An option exists to show a view of the plan or reflected ceiling plan based on the Floor Plan Cutting Plane. Basically, it will show the parts below the cutting plane as a 3D Document with shading, or the parts above the cutting plane based on the reflected ceiling plan

One can set up an exploded isometric presentation using a 3D Cutaway. First create one View based on a cutaway removing the top of the building, then another one removing the bottom (below the cutting plane) by right-clicking the cutting pland and choosing Reverse Direction. In a Worksheet or Layout, add these two views and carefully align the Drawings, and turn off one of the drawing titles. Add in supplemental annotation and graphics as desired, either in the 3D Document or on the actual layout.


The 3D view can be visualized in two additional modes: Photorendering or Sketch rendering.

Photorendering uses the Cinerender engine, a visualization system added into ArchiCAD 18; it is based on the Cinema 4D modeling and rendering application. It can do a pretty good job with natural lighting and textures, although it can be time consuming since there are many settings options and feedback is not immediate.

Sketch rendering is done using an internal system, and provides a variety of styles that can be tweaked, with presets and favorites available to save time.

Each of these options are found in the Document menu > Creative Imaging. Overall controls are accessed via the Photorendering Settings command, which gives you a choice of Engine (Sketch, Cineware or Basic Renderer) and Scenes (presets). Depending on what you choose, you'll have a variety of setting choices below these main choices.

The top section previews the rendering; for Cineware it will use the actual building model, whereas for Sketch it will use a sample building to give you faster feedback on the settings changes.

Just below the top preview, there is another button allowing you to set the dimensions of the finished output. Use a smaller size for quick feedback, and a larger size for higher resolution output.

When you save a View from the 3D window, you can choose to do a Rendering (photo or sketch styles); this will store the current Photorendering settings. You can place these Views onto Layouts, similar to Elevations, and they can update to show the latest version of the model.

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