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Never default to Screen Aligned Plane


I'd like to request that the Screen Aligned Plane can only be activated by first submitting a written, notarized request and then, upon approval of the request, the user would need to hold down 11 buttons simultaneously. 


I specially request that Screen Aligned Plane should never be active without specific user input.



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I have to confess, I have always found it a bit of a mystery. Never been able to properly explain it to anyone.


If anybody would like to have a go, then I’m all ears.

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Not that I completely agree with its nomenclature or implementation, but I can begin to explain why it exists:


Screen Plane: 2D objects stay "stuck" perpendicular to your screen, and don't move around in 3-dimensional space. You can draw screen plane objects when in any type of view (Top/Plan, isometric, orthographic views, etc).

Layer Plane:  2D objects live in the 3D world, and are drawn on the ground plane of the current Layer (i.e. on the XY plane, +0" on Z axis).

But now, pretend you're looking at an orthographic "Front" view. You can't really draw a 2D object onto the "Layer Plane" because you are looking perpendicular to that plane, and it would therefore be invisible. So then we need something else:

Screen Aligned Plane: 2D objects are drawn in 3D space (just like Layer Plane), except on the XY or YZ plane. But otherwise it's the equivalent of "Layer Plane". Note that once you draw an object, its OIP states "3D" for the plane (which makes it more confusing since its yet another pane name).


So that's why all three exist. But I find VW automatically switches to Screen Align Plane when I don't want it to. There needs to be better control over planes beyond the current three options under Document Settings, which are too all-or-nothing. Essentially I want it to always default to Screen Plane, but I still want the option to switch the Layer Plane when I want it. But it should never automatically switch me away from Screen Plane without me telling it to.


Then of course there's also "Automatic" plane which is very similar to Layer Plane and Screen Aligned Plane, with the difference being that it automatically finds surfaces to draw on (as seen with the blue highlighting as you hover). It's actually creating a temporary "Working Plane" (which is yet another type of plane). Objects drawn on an Automatic Plane or Working Plane both end up having an OIP which says "3D".


So to keep it simple, I imagine that it's either Screen Plane or Not Screen Plane (since anything that's not Screen Plane results in the object living in 3D space).

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By the way... the worst thing ever is when you go to an orthographic view and try to use either the measuring tape or dimension tool to quickly measure something... but you're accidentally set to Screen Aligned Plane but don't realize it, and since this takes into account the (invisible) axis perpendicular to the screen, you're guaranteed to get an incorrect measurement. Happens all the time.


Both tools should always default to Screen Plane when in orthographic views.

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Agreed Andy. Your description of screen aligned is great. I’ve always found it hard to reconcile that with the fact that it allows snaps everywhere.

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11 minutes ago, Kevin McAllister said:

Feel free to upvote this wish 😁 -





Agreed 😀.  This has to be an issue that more people hit more times a day than most others.


Just as Andy said:  every time I need to check the clearance from a stair tread to a header I end up clicking on the corner of a slab 30' behind the header and getting a nonsense measurement.


I almost never want Screen Aligned, and I certainly never want it while in a regular view (Front, Left, Right, Back, etc.).


Might be worthwhile to make a keyboard shortcut to force the Screen Plane to be active and select the Dimension Tool…

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This post points out my biggest issues on this matter.


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