The drawing.tool is a complete 3D modeling application that provides a user-friendly platform for architects and engineers to draw their early-stage models in cove.tool. It also allows users to bring in their geometries directly from a suite of traditional 3D modeling platforms and make changes to them inside cove.tool based on the rapid performance data and export out an optimized model.

Before we begin check out the tutorial on the drawing.tool features.


cove.tool drawing feature has a complete toolset that combines the linework and extrusion command with object-based commands to allow for different modeling methods based on the user experience and capability. The drawing tool screen includes the following:

  1. Application Menu (top left, vertical toolbar)

  2. Design Toolbar (Top center, horizontal toolbar)

  3. Properties panel (Top right panel)

  4. Navigation bar (Top right, vertical toolbar)

  5. 2D/3D Viewport (central drawing grid)

  6. Snap Controls (bottom left toolbar)

Application Menu:

Vertical Toolbar is located on the left-hand side of the drawing tool and contains a set of buttons including:

  • 3D/2D: To switch back and forth between 2D and 3D mode

  • Camera: To save a PNG file of the scene

  • Catalog: To select specific object types to use. The catalog contains all the 3D objects such as doors, windows, furniture, etc. that users can use to model.

  • Export: To export the model to the 3D Analysis page

  • Download a 3D model: To download an "OBJ" file format of your model. OBJ is a common 3D format and can be opened in most of 3D modeling platforms such as Rhino, Revit, etc.

  • Save Project: To save the changes in your design

    Drawing tool will save your changes every 5 minutes by default. However, you can save your changes by clicking on the small save icon at the bottom of the page. Also, a small colored dot along with a text description show the status of your save. A red circle means "unsaved changes detected", a yellow circle shows the " saving" process and a blue circle means that the "changes saved". Note that there should be at least 10 seconds interval between each save unless you get the message "Please wait until saving again".

  • Room Tag: To toggle room tag visibility. When it is turned on, each room will have a tag showing room name, room number and room area. A room tag can be assigned to each of the selected rooms through the properties panel on the right hand side of the page.

  • Dimension: To turn on the dimensions in the model. Each wall will have a dynamic dimension tag which includes extra dimension for windows and doors.

Design Toolbar:

The Design Toolbar is located on top of the grid area and is divided into four categories including:

  • Curves: This command allows users to draw lines and polylines.

  • Extrusions: This command allows users to push and pull planes created by curves in order to draw different volumes and 3D forms. The forms and geometries created by extrusion can later be converted to an actual building with different components. The convert button is located in the Building Objects section.

  • Building objects: This command helps with drawing different building components such as walls, doors, openings, windows, roofs, spandrels and skylights. Users who are more comfortable working with object-based modeling practice can use this part of the Design Toolbar to model their building. The last button in the Building Objects category is the convert button. By clicking on this button, geometries created by linework and extrusion would turn into an actual building with different objects.

  • Camera: By clicking on the camera icon you can save your preferred 3D views and select it from the camera list when you want to open it.

Properties Panel:

The properties panel is located on the right-hand side of the page and contains several sections including:

1. Floors: This menu allows the users to select/add/remove floors, change the height of each floor, and change the opacity of each floor in the 2D mode. Also, by clicking on the copy icon next to the trash icon, users can copy all the elements on a floor and paste it to the selected floor in blue.

The icon next to the setting tab is for setting up "Default Preferences". Users can change the floor-to-floor height and thickness default settings for the whole project.

2. Element Selection: This section allows users to toggle off/on each of the elements in the 2D or 3D scene. Exterior walls, interior walls, roofs, windows, skylights, floors, shading devices, and the grid are among the elements that can be turned off and on.

3. Drag Selection: This feature allows users to select multiple objects at once. In 2D view, when shift is held, clicking on a non-element area will trigger drag select function. A blue boundary box will show up as cursor moves and it will select all the objects which is inside the box. When the selection box is drawn from upper-left to bottom-right, it will trigger complete selection which means objects will only be selected when the whole thing is inside the selection box. In other cases, it will trigger the partial selection which means, objects will be selected as long as part of it is inside the selection box.

4. Rooms: In this menu you can see the room name, number and template of different

rooms that you have in your model.

Note. How to draw courtyard?
If a room is surrounded by interior walls, it can be turned into a courtyard by checking the "hide" box under the room properties in the properties panel. When this box is checked, all the surrounding walls should become exterior walls and the floor and roof of the atrium will disappear in both 2D and 3D view. When any of those courtyard bounding walls are removed, the related wall should become interior again.

4. Room Properties: Drawing enclosed walls automatically creates individual rooms with default properties. The default values are based on the use type assigned to each room and are pulled out from location-specific energy codes. In this section, users are able to see and change information associated with each selected room on the 3D geometry. These room properties include room name, number, template, roof R-value, ground floor U-value, color, and texture. The room template assigned to each room provides a straightforward way to define thermal zones and prepare a detailed energy model for compliance level energy simulation in OpenStudio and for calculating cooling and heating load with load modeling feature.

5. Elements on each Floor: Selecting each of the elements on the 3D scene would pull up the properties associated with that particular element in the properties box. The following images illustrate the properties for each of the elements:

Textures: Under the wall and room properties sections, you can assign textures to the walls and floor objects in your geometry.

Navigation Bar:

Navigation Bar can be found on the top right-hand side of the 3D scene. The following commands are available within the Navigation Bar:

  • Zoom in

  • Zoom out

  • Compass

  • Move

  • Rotate

  • Scale

Note that you can reset the orientation toward the North by clicking on the compass button.

Snap Controls:

Snap controls are located on the bottom of the 2D mode and include the following options:

  • Snap to Point (Snap PT)

  • Snap to Line (Snap LN)

  • Snap to Segment (Snap SEG)

  • Snap to Grid (Snap GRD)

  • Snap end point (Snap EP)

  • Snap angle (Snap AG)

To read more about how snap controls work, see this article

2D/3D Viewport

The viewport is where users create their models. The space of the drawing area is identified visually by a grid plane.

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