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Modeling using a 2D drawing in drawing.tool
Modeling using a 2D drawing in drawing.tool

Model a 3D model using a pre-existing 2D drawing!, trace, tracing, autocad, background, create from 2D

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

This article outlines a step-by-step guide to modeling a building using a pre-existing 2D drawing. Currently, drawing.tool accommodates the import of image files such as PNG and JPEG. For users who have drawings in PDF format, exporting those file(s) to an image format well allow for importing those. For DWG or DXF files please use this workflow.

Step 1: Importing the image file

First, be sure that you are in 2D view. You can check this by ensuring that the top button to the left of the drawing space shows 2D instead of 3D.

Next, select the Upload button, at the top of the left panel Settings section. This will prompt you to place the image in the drawing space, and you can do so by clicking the grey box anywhere within the grid space. Select your image file from your device, the select either XY Coordinate or place on canvas.

After placing the image, make sure it's scaled and placed within the drawing space. You can adjust the coordinates of the image center to place to a specific location on the canvas. As soon as you begin drawing, you will not be able to edit placement or move your model.

Step 2: Scale your image

To scale your image, select the image and note the red line at the top of the image frame. Drag the left hand side point of the red line and drag it to a dimension line or an object in the drawing. In the example below, we've dragged the red line and positioned it to match the overall dimension of the north exterior wall, which is 94'-8".

Next, while having the image still selected, go to the left hand side Elements panel. Under the Selected Image box, note the Constraints section. Change the Distance from the current value to match the true dimension of the line. In the case of the example, the value has been changed to 94'-8". This will automatically re-scale the drawing.

Once your image is scaled you are ready to start drawing.

Quick tip: You can check to ensure that the image is properly scaled by drawing a wall along the dimension line of your drawing, and making sure that the wall length is the same as indicated by the dimension line.

Step 3: Trace the drawing

You are now ready to create your model by tracing the drawing. Select the building objects from the top row of buttons. We recommend that you start by tracing your exterior walls. Once done with the building form add the interior walls, and then adding doors, windows and other components.

Quick tip: To create the cleanest geometry use the Endpoint, Line, Angle, and Ortho snaps. If using Grid snap without an image background, it is best to turn off all other snaps.


Q. How to pin/unpin an image?
A. To keep images or DXF background in place use the pin command in the properties panel. Once a background is pinned it will not move and to select it again you must hold ctrl/cmd and click on the image or DXF to unpin it.

Happy Modeling!

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