Book Image

Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Practical 3D Drafting and Design

Book Image

Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Practical 3D Drafting and Design


Overview of this book

AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software application. AutoCAD supports both 2D and 3D formats. AutoCAD is used in a range of industries and is utilized by architects, project managers, and engineers, among others."Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Practical 3D Drafting and Design" will take you beyond the 2D frontier and help you create accurate 3D models that simulate reality. This book is crammed full of creative and practical tutorials which will help you master the third dimension. From exercises on coordinate systems to creating solids and surfaces from 2D, you will wonder how you ever designed without this resource by your side."Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Practical 3D Drafting and Design" is full of hands-on studies and projects that will help develop your 3D skills. Starting from the assumption of only a very basic knowledge of AutoCAD, this book will help you master 3D visualization and coordinate systems, create 3D models from 2D drawings, and from basic shapes, measure volumes, and other information, obtain 2D construction drawings from 3D models as well as how to apply lights and materials to get photorealistic images.
Table of Contents (20 chapters)
Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 Practical 3D Drafting and Design
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Layers, transparency, and other properties

When we are modeling in AutoCAD, the ability to control object properties is essential. After some hours spent on a new 3D model, we can have hundreds of objects that overlap and obscure the model's visibility. Here are the most important properties.


If a correct layers application is fundamental in 2D, in 3D it assumes extreme importance. Each type of 3D object should be in a proper layer, thus allowing us to control its properties:

  • Name: A good piece of advice is to not mix 2D with 3D objects in the same layers. So, layers for 3D objects must be easily identified, for instance, by adding a 3D prefix.

  • Freeze/Thaw: In 3D, the density of screen information can be huge. So freezing and unfreezing layers is a permanent process. It's better to freeze the layers than to turn off because objects on frozen layers are not processed (for instance, regenerating or counting for ZOOM Extents), thus accelerating the 3D process.

  • Lock/Unlock: It's quite annoying to notice that at an advanced phase of our project, our walls moved and caused several errors. If we need that information visible, the best way to avoid these errors is to lock layers.

  • Color: A good and logical color palette assigned to our layers can improve our understanding while modeling.

  • Transparency: If we want to see through walls or other objects at the creation process, we may give a value between 0 and 90 percent to the layers transparency.

Last but not least, the best and the easiest process to assign rendering materials to objects is by layer, so another good point is to apply a correct and detailed layer scheme.


Transparency, as a property for layers or for objects, has been available since Version 2011. Besides its utility for layers, it can also be applied directly to objects. For instance, we may have a layer called 3D-SLAB and just want to see through the upper slab. We can change the objects' transparency with PROPERTIES (Ctrl + 1).

To see transparencies in the drawing area, the TPY button (on the status bar) must be on.


Another recent improvement in AutoCAD is the ability to hide or to isolate objects without changing layer properties.

We select the objects to hide or to isolate (all objects not selected are hidden) and right-click on them. On the cursor menu, we choose Isolate and then:

  • Isolate Objects: All objects not selected are invisible, using the ISOLATEOBJECTS command

  • Hide Objects: The selected objects are invisible, using the HIDEOBJECTS command

  • End Object Isolation: All objects are turned on, using the UNISOLATEOBJECTS command.

There is a small lamp icon on the status bar, the second icon from the right. If the lamp is red, it means that there are hidden objects; if it is yellow, all objects are visible:

Shown on the following image is the application of transparency and hide objects to the left wall and the upper slab: