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Ceiling elements are similar to floors. They are horizontal planes set at a certain height above the finished floor and can include layers of material in the construction. You can choose from common types like 2x4 grid, or drywall ceiling, or even create your own. The fastest way to create a ceiling is to use the Auto Ceiling option. This tool automatically creates a ceiling from the walls that enclose the space. In cases where you don't have walls or where the ceiling shape is irregular, you can sketch the ceiling using many of the familiar sketch-based tools. So I'm in a file here called Ceilings and I'm in the Level 1 Floor Plan view.
And the first thing I want to talk about is a common mistake that we've all made when we first used ceilings, and that is, to go to the Architecture tab and go right to the Ceiling tool, I've got my Automatic Ceiling and click a point and an error will occur, and that is because I'm still in a floor plan. Ceilings don't display in a floor plan view, naturally, so I'm going to escape out of the command, couple of times, and I'm going to undo the placement of that last ceiling. And what I want to do first then is scroll down over here and we've actually got some ceiling plans here in the file, so I'm going to open up the Level 1 Ceiling Plan view.
And you'll see it'll look pretty similar to the floor plan but the cut plane in this case is actually cut above the doors and so we are looking a little higher up, but it's still a reflected ceiling view. So let's go to the Architecture tab, click the Ceiling button, and this time instead of just starting to click, let's go ahead and look at some of the settings. If I open up the Type Selector here on the Properties palette, there is a few different kinds of ceilings we can choose from. And I'd like to start with this one here the 2x4 Acoustical Tile Ceiling, so I'm going to select that.
Now the Height Offset from level defaults to 8 feet and I'm going to start in the offices and I think that's a pretty good height for offices. And then finally I want to make sure on the ribbon here that I've got the Automatic Ceiling button selected, it's already selected by default but you just want to verify that. So what you can see is that any enclosed space will highlight with this red outline, and all you have to do is click and it will create the ceiling plane within that space. It's a very easy matter of simply clicking in each of the office spaces, like so.
Now I can continue into some of the other spaces but perhaps I want to use different settings, so for example, maybe I want to use a drywall ceiling in my conference room, and perhaps I want the height of that ceiling to be a little bit taller than the conference room space, so I'm going to set the height to 9 feet, I'm going to the drywall ceiling, and then I'm going to pick in that space. And maybe I want to go back down to the 8 foot level, but add a drywall ceiling here in the toilet rooms. And then possibly switch back to a 2x2 ceiling and put a 2x2 ceiling here in the break room.
Those are the three kinds of ceiling that are built in automatically, the 2x4, 2x2 in the drywall ceiling. Now out in this area here if I were to just highlight, you see it actually highlights the entire lobby and the quarter spaces. And if you recall the lobby in this particular project is actually a double volume space, so I don't really want the ceiling plane right there. I really only want the ceiling in this area here. I can't really use the automatic ceiling for this next one. So what I'm going to do instead is switch to the Sketch Ceiling mode, so I just simply click that button, and that just takes me into Sketch mode and now I can create ceilings using all of the familiar sketch tools.
So I'm going to start with my Pick Walls, and I'll pick this wall here and this one here, and this one here, and this one here. Then we have another really handy tool here which is called Pick Lines, and I'm going to click that and I'm going to pick this edge here of the balcony up above. And then if I zoom in over in this area, I need to make a line that goes across here, and I'm just going to draw that with a simple Line tool, like so.
Now as you can see, I've got some cleanup to do, so while I'm zoomed in here, I'll use my trim and extend to a corner, and I'll cleanup that corner and that corner, remember to pick the part you want to keep, I'm using previous, trim that one, and that one, this one, and finally this one. Cancel out of that, so there is the shape. You need to make sure that it's enclosed. Notice that I didn't go around the columns. It's not really necessary that you make your ceiling go around the columns. You can if you want to, and as long as those are enclosed shapes, it will work just fine.
But in this case I'm going to let it just pass right through the columns, I'm not really concerned about that, and I'll click Finish. And when I deselect, you'll see that it added a new ceiling plane in that location. The next thing I want to show you is, how you can actually start to manipulate the ceilings a little bit. For example, if we look over here at these two offices, we'll notice that the orientation of the grid match the orientation of the office. So that's just a default behavior but we actually do have control over that. You can select any one of these gridlines, notice they all highlight independently, what you're actually seeing there is a surface pattern that's part of the material that's applied to that ceiling but you can actually select the individual lines of that surface pattern and you can move and rotate them.
Let me zoom in a little bit over here and if I select this line, I can move it. And let's say I move it about 6 inches, notice that the entire grid pattern moves along with it. So even though I only selected one line, it actually moves the entire pattern. If I choose Rotate, I can reset my center point maybe to right there, use this is a start angle, and then rotate down 90 degrees, and so now I've rotated the grid pattern in the other direction.
So very easy to modify whatever the default is that it gives you. Let's zoom back out. In terms of making decisions like that it's probably easier to make those decisions once you have some items on your ceiling plane, so light fixtures are the most obvious object that we want to apply there. Once we have some light fixtures that will tell us whether or not we need to start shifting the grids or not. To add light fixtures in a ceiling plan, it's just simply the component tool which we've already looked at in some of the previous movies.
So I'm going to open up the list here and see what I have loaded in the project already. If we scroll down, we can see that there is a Troffer Light Lens, light fixture here, we've got several different sizes, and I'm going to choose a 2x4 (2 Lamp) fixture right here, 120 Volts. Notice that I get the little circle with a line through it, this is similar to what we saw with doors and windows, that's because a light fixture is a ceiling-hosted fixture and it's actually telling me to click on a ceiling to place an instance.
And so if move into the space you can see the light fixture appear. So I'm just going to zoom in a little bit in this office. What I usually do is I just kind of get it close by, then I cancel out. And to get it precisely placed, I usually go to the Modify tab and use my Align tool; remember, the shortcut for Align is AL. So I'm going to use the edge of the grid and align the light to that, and the grid line again, and align the light to that, and that brings the light fixture up and into the proper bay.
I'm going to cancel out of there, select it, and I'll use my Copy command to make additional copies throughout the office. The Copy command actually has a multiple feature right here, so if I check that box, that's going to allow me to set my base point once and then say place one here, place one here, place another one here, I'll cancel out of that. I'm going to select all four, go to Copy and let's place some here, let's place some here.
Now naturally if I cancel out of here, this is where we might want to start rethinking the centering of those grids now. But now I have a very clear understanding of how much the grid needs to shift by in order to accommodate the lighting pattern that I'm after. If I select one of these gridlines and I want these light fixtures to be a little bit more centered, I can simply move it and I can go down maybe half a tile, so about 1 foot, and you'll see that we'll re-center the light fixtures. In other words, the light fixtures are attached to that ceiling host, and so if the ceiling host adjusts, it takes the light fixtures along with it.
So let me repeat in the other direction, I'm going to select the grid over here, go to the Move command, and I'll shift it over half a tile in the other direction. That's pretty good right there and I want these other offices to be similar, all I have to do is use my Align command there and I'm going to select this and align this office, select it again and align that office. And you can see how once you get the basic objects placed in and you kind of get in the swing of things, it's all going to move very quickly. Creating ceiling objects is quick and easy to do with the Auto Ceiling feature.
In the case where you have ceilings that are a little irregular, you can just sketch them out manually using familiar sketch tools. When you start placing light fixtures and other ceiling-hosted fixtures in the ceiling, you can then use commands like Move, Rotate and Align to adjust the grid patterns on the ceiling and fine-tune your ceiling plan layout.
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