Chapter 21

It’s a 3D World After All


Understanding the basics of modeling in 3D

Accessing modeling tools

Specifying coordinates in 3D

Managing user coordinate systems

Changing the current working plane

Navigating in three dimensions

Applying visual styles

The addition of the Z coordinate releases your design work in AutoCAD from the planar world of two dimensions into a much more lifelike three-dimensional space. AutoCAD’s 3D capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds since AutoCAD 2007 was released with its souped-up 3D engine. Not only have the AutoCAD model creation and editing tools advanced, but it is now also a dab hand at visualization and rendering. You can view 3D models from any angle or slice through them to see what they look like inside. And finally, because the world of technical drawing is still a two-dimensional one, you can use AutoCAD’s viewing options to generate 2D drawing views from 3D models.

If you’re an AutoCAD LT user, just sit out most of this chapter and the next two. One of the major areas where AutoCAD LT differs from regular AutoCAD is in its extremely limited 3D functionality. Even viewing 3D models is much more difficult than necessary in AutoCAD LT. Those users can acquire nearly all the 3D viewing capabilities of the full version of AutoCAD, but you need a separate free program to do so. Just go to and download DWG Trueview.

This chapter takes a look at some of the tools available in AutoCAD’s 3D Modeling ...

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