Using outer shell on solid groups, you can unify walls, headers, and sills and eliminate stray edges. Observe how to create a 3D model from a clean 2D CAD drawing.
- [Instructor] In this video, I will show you how to extrude walls, headers, and sills and unify all of them using solid tools. To begin this process, you need to open a CAD drawing that has faces generated, such as this one. I'll zoom in here. If I click on this surface, just the surfaces selected, if I double-click on it, it gets the surface and all of its boundary edges. And this is what I want. Now, I'll open up entity info and layers.
You can expand these in the default tray in Windows. I'd like to assign these entities, these 57 entities that are currently selected, to a new layer, so I'll highlight this text here and type in the layer name walls. And when I press enter, the layer is generated and the objects are assigned to it all at once. This is a Mac only shortcut, so if you're using Windows, you'll first have to create the layer and then follow that up by using the layer dropdown in entity info as usual.
You can verify this by toggling off the walls layer. They should disappear. Great, now I just need to go around in the model and double-click on each wall face to select not only the face, but its boundary edges. And then I can hold down the shift key and double-click inside another wall to get all of that information. And just keep going and build up a selection that includes not only the walls but these little bits of wall in between the windows.
And just work your way around and make a selection. Now, in some cases, you might select the wrong thing like what I did here. That's no problem. Just keep holding down the shift key and deselect those items, and then more carefully double-click to select what you're interested in. I'll just continue navigating around the plan, double-clicking on individual wall boundaries. Once you have all of that selected, move it to the walls layer by choosing the name from the dropdown list, and all of those walls should disappear.
Next, turn the walls layer back on. Set it as the current layer by clicking this radio button, and then turn off layer zero. So now we've isolated just the walls. To protect this information, let's make a selection around it and then right-click and choose make group. That puts it inside a group container, and this will protect the information. I can now turn layer zero back on.
And I can rest assured that the walls will always be separated from the rest of the building. Next, let's go ahead and open up the outliner, or expand it in the default tray in Windows. And right now this is just called, generically, group. I will double-click on that. Actually, click twice giving a pause between each click, and you'll be able to rename the item. In Windows, you'll have to right-click on the group and choose rename.
I'll type in walls as the group name. And it says over here, instance is called walls. You can optionally type that title in over here instead. Now, I'll double-click here in the outliner to open that group, and everything else should gray out. If everything else disappears instead, you can come up here under view, component edit, and uncheck hide rest of model. And you'll see what I see here on the screen. Okay, so now we're inside that group, and we can make changes to it.
I'll use push-pull, and I'll pull this wall up nine feet. I'll type nine apostrophe enter. Observe that the line representing the window was also extruded upward. That's not desirable, but we don't need to worry about manually erasing it. In this technique, all the stray edges will be taken care of globally. Let's go ahead and pull up the next surface and keep going.
Once you do just one surface and specify its height, you don't need to keep referencing it like this. You can simply double-click on a surface to extrude it the preset distance of nine feet. This saves a bit of time as you can just double-click on each wall system to pull it up. I have a few more to do over here.
And we're making quick work out of the walls. Now, one of the things that I don't like about this method is the fact that we have all these unwanted lines here representing all of the stair treads streaking up the walls like this. In fact, any edges where you have items along the plan on the floor plan, they're gonna be pulled up like this. But in the next few steps, we're going to eliminate those items. So, here's how it works.
Go to the select tool and triple-click on a wall system. This selects not only the surface and the boundary edges, but when you triple-click, it selects everything that's contiguous, and that's what I want. Then I'll right-click and choose make group. So now we have a group within walls, so this is a nested group inside. That's what I want, and actually I wanna do that on each one of these walls.
But I'll just do a few to give you the idea. So over here, I'll triple-click, right-click, make group, and here as well. Okay, the next step is to build headers that connect these pieces. But I need to do that inside the walls' group, so I need to double-click on that and make sure that you're in there. And you know that you're in there because the dashed line of the group should be visible on screen.
While that's happening, you can go in here and draw a rectangle across the top of the header and then use push-pull and pull that down. Say, two feet, two apostrophe enter. So, right now we have a series of faces and edges here. I need to triple-click on that and make that into a group just like the other wall systems. So now we have three adjacent groups.
I'll select all of them by holding down the shift key. And when they're selected, I can choose tools, outer shell. This unifies all of the information. Not only that, it eliminates any stray edges. To see this more dramatically, let's continue and make another header over here 'cause we have a lot of stray edges in this wall system that we could get rid of. So, I'll do the same kind of thing. I'll go over here, and make sure you're in the walls group.
Draw a rectangle across the top of the door opening here. Pull it down two feet. Triple-click on it to select it all. Make it a group. That group should appear at the same level here in the outliner. And then hold down the shift key and select the adjacent wall systems, and choose tools, outer shell. Observe that all of the stray edges are eliminated.
Not only that, any internal faces or edges are eliminated as well. I'll go into x-ray mode, and I have set up a keyboard shortcut for that. And you can see that there are no internal structures here. So, it's as efficient as it possibly can be. And you can go and work your way around the model, and as you go, observe that all of those groups that we had are eliminated. In the end, you're just gonna have one nested subgroup here called outer shell.
I'll continue grouping everything, and building sills works just the same way as we saw before. So, if I wanna build a window sill down below, I can do that, but I need to be sure that before I do that, that these are already grouped. You see, these are not. I need to triple-click on that, make it a group. Then I can go over here and do the same. And at this point, I can go ahead and draw in a sill down below on the ground and then pull it up to a height of three feet.
Make that sill a group, and come up here and make a header as well. Pull that down two feet. Make that a group. And then select all the adjacent groups and unify them. If you're doing this over and over again, it makes sense to open up the solid tools tool palette. And then you can just click right here to use outer shell, and those elements are unified.
So right now, we have two outer shell objects. I'll join them together by building in these geometric bridges that connect these objects. I'll make a header, and I'll make a sill. I need to group each one. And then select all the contiguous pieces and then outer shell them together. So now you get the idea. You can go ahead and unify all your wall systems using this technique.
After you complete the process of outer shelling all of the different wall systems together with their headers and sills, you'll be left with a single solid model that contains all of the walls in this floor. In the end, you'll have a subgroup here called outer shell. We don't actually need this nested structure any longer. So I can finally right-click on outer shell and choose explode to eliminate that. And we're left with a single walls group containing all of the wall geometry.
So, I hope you'll consider this method the next time you create an architectural model from a CAD drawing.