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AutoCAD® 2012 FOR DUMMIES® by David Byrnes

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Tools of the Trade

AutoCAD includes a plethora of tools for creating, editing, viewing, and visualizing 3D models. You can find the most commonly used tools for 3D modeling on the 3D Modeling workspace's Ribbon.

AutoCAD 2012 comes with two 3D workspaces: 3D Modeling and 3D Basics. I suppose the idea is that if you're new to 3D, you get your feet wet with the 3D Basics workspace and then graduate to the 3D Modeling workspace after you've gained some experience. Personally, I think the 3D Basics workspace is a waste of time; my preference is to have the whole enchilada available from the get-go. For this book, I will be working exclusively with the 3D Modeling workspace.

AutoCAD's 3D environment is a lot like its 2D version, but there are some important differences. You should be aware of the following program settings and elements:

  • Hardware Acceleration: Graphics functions such as changing visual styles and running 3D Orbit can be processed on the main CPU, or, if hardware acceleration is enabled, on the graphics card itself. Turning on hardware acceleration (which I cover in the next section) nearly always improves 3D performance.
  • Workspaces: AutoCAD 2012 comes with two 3D workspaces; I highly recommend you use the 3D Modeling workspace (I introduce workspaces in Chapter 2). For more about the tools in the 3D Modeling workspace, see “Entering the Third Dimension” later in this chapter.
  • Drawing Window: The drawing window's background, crosshairs, and dynamic tooltip colors change ...

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