2.3 Orthographic View Workflow

Learning to work between orthographic and perspective view modes, combined with the available preset camera options (Top View, Front View, etc.) can open up new modeling workflows and increase your efficiency within FormIt.

In this chapter, we will create some elevation views in the Encode Campus Sample Model.axm, using the preset view options and the Align Camera With Face tool. If you have not already, you can download the sample file from the FormIt Primer Part 2 Dataset.

Adding Elevation Views

Sometimes it is easier to work in an orthographic view instead of perspective, for instance when trying to align elements across a façade, or while drawing walls in plan. In the below section, we will use the orthographic view mode to create elevation view scenes in our model, which you can use later on to draw from.

We are going to use the preset elevation views (Front View (VF), Right View (VR), Left View (VL), and Back View (VB) ) to help us create orthographic elevation scenes. However, these preset elevation views are based off the current location and orientation of the model axis, so first we need to check that.

1 – Make sure the model’s axes are aligned to match what is shown in the below image, including the direction of the green, red, and blue axes lines. If you do not see your them, simply type DZ for Display Axes, or use the checkbox in the Visual Styles Palette > Environment tab.

Note: For more on how to adjust the model’s axes, refer to the Part I chapter 1.2 - Project Set Up with Images and Grid.axm

Note: The site of the Encode Campus is diagonal, relative to the cardinal directions. However, since the axis has been set to be parallel to our site and building, we can use the preset elevation views to get the perfect elevation camera angles for our model!

2 – To create the first elevation scene:

  1. Change your camera to Orthographic (VO) mode by clicking on the button in the Floating Navigation Toolbar (HB).

  2. From the preset elevation views dropdown in the Floating Navigation Toolbar (HB), select Right View (VR).

  3. In the Layers Palette, turn off the Existing – Context Buildings – Massing layer, because it may be blocking our view of the Encode campus.

  4. When in orthographic view mode, there is a clipping plane based on the location of your camera, which may cause this view to initially appear to be cutting through your model at a random location. To fix this, simply Zoom All (ZA).

  5. Zoom back in until the Encode Campus takes up most of your view.

  6. In the Scenes Palette, create a new scene and name it Elevation – Northwest.

Note: For more information on adjusting layers or creating scenes, refer to the Part I chapters 1.6 - Control Visibility with Layers and 1.12 - Visual Styles, respectively.

3 – Repeat the previous step for the other 3 directions, to create a total of four (4) new elevations scenes. If you axes match ours, the views should correspond to elevation directions in the following way:

  • Front View: Elevation – Northeast

  • Right View: Elevation – Northwest

  • Left View: Elevation – Southeast

  • Back View: Elevation – Southwest

Align Camera With Face

This tool allows you to align your current camera to look directly at a selected flat face. Combined with orthographic view mode, we can use this to create an elevation of a slightly off-axis wall.

1 – Open up the Campus – Top-Down scene, which is already set to both Orthographic (VO) and Top View (VT). Do you see the slightly diagonal masonry wall, on the street-facing façade of the campus’ southwest building? If we had been working only in perspective, this slight angle is something that may have been difficult to notice!

2 – Orbit the view so you can see the exterior face of this wall.

3 – Double-click to edit the entire SW Building group, and then double-click again to edit that building’s Exterior Masonry group.

4 – Right-click on the exterior face of the slightly angled wall, and select Align Camera With Face (AF). The camera will automatically rotate so that you are looking directly at this slightly angled wall.

Note: When using the Align Camera With Face (AF) tool while in orthographic mode, the resulting view’s clipping plane is set based on the clipping plane of the Perspective (VP) camera. If the clipping plane is positioned in the correct place, there may be no need to turn off the Existing – Context Buildings – Massing layer to see the angled wall. Everything ‘behind’ our camera’s clipping plane is hidden from view! This is a handy trick that can be used to make pseudo-section, plan, interior elevations, or even RCP views without using up one of the six available section planes.

5 – Save this view as a scene called Elevation – Angled Wall so that you can easily return to it at any time. 6 – To finish up, we have added some windows to the slightly-angled face. Feel free to add your own touches to this wall by working between Orthographic (VO), Perspective (VP), and the newly created elevation scenes!

SW Building with six (6) new windows added along the angled face.