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AutoCAD® 2012 FOR DUMMIES® by David Byrnes

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Getting Your 3D Bearings

The first challenge in 3D modeling is being able to see your three-dimensional model on a two-dimensional computer screen. The normal model space view on the Model tab in the drawing area shows a single, projected 2D view of your model — the top-down, “plan” view by default.

AutoCAD provides two model space capabilities that enable you to escape this visual flatland:

  • With viewports, you can carve the model space drawing area into smaller rectangular areas, each of which shows a different view of the model.
  • With viewpoints, you can change the point in 3D space from which you look at the model. By setting a different viewpoint in each viewport, you can look at several sides of your model at the same time. It's like looking at one of Picasso's cubist paintings, only what you see is more orderly.

No matter how much or how little 3D modeling you're thinking about doing, it's well worth your while to set up a template. (I fill you in on drawing templates in Chapter 4.) If you've ever started a new drawing, you're probably aware that AutoCAD already comes with a template for 3D modeling named acad3d.dwt (or acadiso3D.dwt for the metrically inclined). This is fine as far as it goes, but it only shows you a single view of your model. The next section explains how to improve on this template.

Creating a better 3D template

Model space viewports enable you to see several views of your model at one time, each from a different viewpoint. For this reason, model space ...

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