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Cleaning up elevations: hatch fills

Keith W

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Hi there,

At a recent user group I asked about filling a closed space with a hatch or pattern. Or at least that's what I meant to ask. I got the impression that there was a basic tool I'd missed (I'm still a beginner) and said I'd look it up myself. Hours later with the program and manuals, I'm still clueless.

Here's the full question: I've got an elevation (say): it has lines, windows, annotations, etc. all over it. I would like to "pour" hatch into closed areas, so it "flows" around windows etc. Otherwise, I have to draw a whole lot of potentially complicated shapes: in fact, I don't even know how to hatch a wall that has windows in it, without creating a weird patchwork of tessellated hatched polygons with no fill on their borders, etc. Completely ridiculous. How do you do it? What am I missing here? None of the examples in the manuals seem to reveal it.


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Hmmm. I'm not seeing what you're pointing to. Amongst the promising search results is a thread that points to this:


But the thread appears to be broken.

And in another promising thread, there's this link:


But the (same?) thread is broken. This stuff needs to go into a FAQ or knowledgebase or something...

It looks like they might throw away links (messages) that are more than 6 years old (according to advanced search). I don't know if that's the problem here.

Could you possibly hint to me what you were referring to? I see an approach, by archoncad, with 2D-polygons that are filled and then applied to the model in 3D. That seems... tedious. I see another approach using textures, which is what someone showed at the user group, he had a very nice example, I'd prefer not to grind my rendering to a crawl by having to do renderworks every time I want to look at an elevation... Surely there's a better way? Or are those the two basic choices?


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The links do not seem to be working, I'm not sure why, maybe an upgrade of the forum software broke them.

Your last paragraph is pretty much correct, the broken links were some nice workarounds to elevations. I wish I could help more, but this isn't something in my work flow.

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...filling a closed space with a hatch or pattern....

...without creating a weird patchwork of tessellated hatched polygons...


Basic level answer:

You know you can cut holes in polygons, right? Indeed, often times the easiest way to draw a complex polygon is to draw a series of say rectangles, and the use the Modify>Add Surface command. Similarly, shapes can be removed from edges and from within the poly using the Subtract Surface command. Fills or hatches applied to the poly will "flow around" the holes.

Rendered model answer:

If you are using rendered viewports for your elevations, a simple renderworks texture and sparing use of DPI, lighting, HDRI backgrounds, and other render time increasing factors *should* make your model update with reasonable quickness. Using the "Save viewort cache" setting means the view only needs to be updated when you want to see the update. OpenGL renders on many models are almost instantaneous, but with occasional texture mapping wonkiness. It won't provide the same look as a line-drawn elevation, but you may find it useful.

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Thanks so much for your help.

Alas, I was missing a more basic skill than cutting holes in polygons: I didn't realize there was a polygon-by-inner-boundary or whatever improbable name they've given it. That was what I was looking for. It allows me to "pour" a polygon (and subsequently a hatch, pattern, or whatever fill) into an area, around windows and whatever other variations. Exactly what I couldn't believe didn't exist.

I'm mostly adding this note so that, when I forget how to do this next week, I can find it on the forum ;-)


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Are the elevations just line drawings or generated elevation viewports? In either case the 2D polygon tool can bucket fill the elevations with hatch. There is also a hatch command that lets you define a starting point and direction for a hatch.I use the hatch command for brick and block so you don't end up with a half a brick at the bottom of a wall.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks David, yes that bucket fill is exactly what I hadn't noticed, somehow... And the block/brick approach you mention is hardscaping, which I don't think can be poured in in that same manner... But I haven't played with it. Thanks for the link notice Ray.


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