MODELLING FUNDAMENTALS - Classroom
Creating a Zone using Interactive Measurements
The first step is to ensure you are working on a new blank document, so
that you can start the first zone.
- Select the New item from the File menu, (or click the New
This clears the model memory and reloads the default material data.
- Starting at 0, 0, 0 with the point marked with an X
in the above diagram, try creating the first zone with the dimensions
Using the Create Zone
tool in the Modelling toolbar, input the first point in absolute
coordinates in the Cursor Input toolbar. Then type in the successive
nodes using the dimensions given.
If you are unsure how to do this and have not done the Simple House
tutorial, please refer to that. Otherwise, if you have done the
first tutorial or if you feel experimental, the Cursor Input
toolbar appears in the top toolbar as soon as you enter a modelling
command. Simply move the mouse in the direction you want to go and type
a value when that axis' text box receives the input focus. This locks
that axis, meaning that you can now drag the mouse in another axis and
enter a further value. To accept a point, simply click the Left Mouse button in the Drawing Canvas or hit the Enter key. You want to
end up with something that looks pretty similar to the following diagram.
- Hit the Escape key to finish creating the zone.
Once you have reached the last node, finish the zone and in the Rename
Zone dialog box give it a unique name.
- Select and delete the existing Ceiling element so that it can
be replaced with a raked ceiling and roof.
The Spacebar key on the keyboard will help in cycling between
- With the Create Line tool draw a line from the middle of each
end of the zone, at roof level.
You may need to check your snap settings to ensure that you have Mid
Point snaps on. You need this line in the exact centre as you are
going to use it to construct the new ceiling / roof.
Once the two points have been entered, hit the Escape key on the keyboard
to finish the command.
- With the line selected, go into Side view and, using the Move tool
(Transform toolbar), shift the line up in the Z direction 1100mm.
To do this, press the F7 key to enter side view, then click the
button and move the mouse to snap to one end of the zone at
the top. Then click the Left Mouse button to start moving
the selected line, then drag the mouse in the Z direction and type 1100
to limit the move to that distance. Finally, click the Left Mouse
button again to accept the new position.
- Once you have moved the line up, change back to Perspective view
by hitting the F8 key. Now you need to add four planes to describe the
Using the Create Plane
button, snap to the existing geometry and create four separate
roof elements, two flat and two sloped. Try using the F2 key
to repeat the last command.
When you have finished with the construction line you created earlier, select
it and delete it from the scene.
- Take a look at the model in Rough Sketch mode (Display menu).
As you can see there are two triangular holes at either end of the zone
which you will need to fill. It is important for thermal and acoustic
calculations that all zones are completely enclosed volumes (for more
information on this, refer to Layers & Zones in the Concepts section
of the ECOTECT Help File).
- Select the wall element at the end of the zone, then select the
By adding a node to the top of the wall you will be able to cover the
hole with a five sided wall segment.
- Move the cursor to the center of the top wall segment and click
the Left Mouse button.
Now the new node is attached to the cursor and you can move it into
the correct position at the ridge line. To finish click again with the
Left Mouse button.
Now do the same to the other end of the zone, so that it looks like
the image below.
You are now going to add several windows to the zone, and this time you
are going to use the cursor method. The easiest way to do this is by setting
up a series of construction lines.
- First create a line that runs at the base of the southernmost wall
of the classroom, and move it up in the Z axis 700mm (the easiest way
is by using the Z key on the keyboard).
When using the nudge keys (X, Y, Z) the amount
which you nudge by is set by the Cursor Snap/Nudge Value input
on the Options toolbar.
Then copy and paste this line (Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V), and
move the copy up further in the Z axis another 1200mm.
The lines should look like the ones above. These are going to be the sill
and top of the windows.
- Now create a vertical line that runs between the far end points
of the two previous construction lines, then nudge it 750mm in the positive
X direction using the X key (it should look like the image below in
side view F7).
Create a copy of this vertical construction line (Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V),
and nudge it a further 2000mm in the positive X direction.
- To create a window child object you must first select the object
to insert the window into (in this case the southernmost wall).
Then select the Window
button from the Modelling toolbar, and using the construction
lines to snap to, draw the window as in the image below.
Hit the Escape key to finish creating the window.
- Before creating duplicate windows, delete the four construction lines.
- To create an additional five duplicate windows, select the first
window then choose the Duplicate item from the Edit menu.
In the Duplicate Selection dialog box, enter 2500 in the X offset
and make sure the Y and Z offsets are set to 0.
Make sure the Don't prompt me again check box is ticked, then
click the OK button. Continue to hit Ctrl+D on the keyboard
until there are a total of six windows in the wall.
Copying (transforming) Child Objects
You now need to create a similar set of six window in the northernmost wall.
To do this you will need to unlink the existing six windows from their parent
wall, copy the windows to the northern wall, then re-link the windows back to
their respective walls.
If you tried to transform (in this case copy) the windows without first unlinking
them, it would be impossible to move them outside the plane of the wall. This
is because the object linking of a child object ensures that the child is physically
constrained within the boundaries of the parent wall.
It is also very important to re-link the windows back to the wall that they
are to exist within. If this is not done, the window will exist on top of, not
inside the wall. As a result the window would not act like a hole in the wall
for light, heat etc. to pass through.
- Select the existing six windows and unlink them from the parent
wall, either by clicking the Unlink Objects
button, or by choosing Unlink Objects item from the Edit menu.
To select multiple objects hold down the Shift key to add to the selection
set, or the Control key to remove objects. A small + or - sign will
appear next to the respective selection cursors.
- Once unlinked and with the six windows still selected, select
button from the Modelling toolbar.
To make sure that you are copying the objects not just moving them,
make sure the Apply to Copy
check box in the Options toolbar is ticked. Now with the cursor
in the Drawing Canvas, snap to the bottom corner of the southernmost
wall and left click the mouse button to start the copy.
The six window objects are now attached to the cursor.
To finish the copy, left click again on the corresponding corner of the northernmost
wall. Then to cancel the command hit the Escape key (you could continue
to copy the objects elsewhere as well but in this instance it is not required).
- Now that the windows are copied you need to re-link them.
To do this select one set of six windows plus the wall within which
they need to belong, and choose Link Objects item from the Edit
menu or hit Ctrl+K on the keyboard. Then do the same with the
other six windows and wall.
If you have trouble selecting the required objects, as mentioned before the
Shift and the Control keys will add / subtract from the selection
set, and in combination with the Spacebar key you can cycle through
- As a final step, you need to check and make sure the windows are
linked correctly. There are a couple of ways this can be done.
One way is by selecting one of the windows, then choosing the Parent
item from the Select menu. This should then select the object's
parent. If no objects are selected after having done this then the original
object doesn't have a parent, and thus is not linked.
You could also do the a similar test by choosing the wall object, then
choosing the Child item from the Select menu.
Another way to check is by viewing the model in Rough Sketch mode (Display
menu). As in the image above, if the windows appear as holes in the wall
then they are linked to the wall. If they appear opaque then they are not
linked. This method only works when the child object's material definition
has a transparency equal or greater to 0.2 (20%).
Inserting Multiple Doors
You know need to add four doors, which will be exactly the same, to four
different elements in the seen.
- Select the four small east and west facing wall elements using
tool, the Shift key to add to the selection and the Spacebar
to toggle selected elements.
Another way to easily select the objects is to drag selection windows
around each wall (this is best done in Plan view, F5 key), with
the Shift key held down to add to the selection as you go.
If selecting objects using a selection window, it is important to note
that if you drag from left to right the selection will contain all objects
that are contained inside the selection window, and if you drag from
right to left the selection will contain all objects that cross the
selection window. This is shown in the Drawing Canvas by a selection
window with either, a solid red or a dashed red line respectively.
- With the four walls selected, hit the Insert key on the Keyboard
to invoke the Insert Child Object dialog box.
Select the Door button at the top, then enter a height of 2100mm
and a width of 900mm. Leave the insertion point of the door as is (i.e.
the centre bottom of each of the four walls).
Then click the OK button when you've finished entering the data.
Adding a Ridge Skylight
To do this you are going to create a series of construction lines within the
roof plane to help draw the skylight, similar to how you created the first window
in this tutorial.
A skylight is the same as a window object. The difference lies in the properties
of the material assigned to the object.
- First draw a line along the ridge of the roof.
- Next, using the Move tool, move the line down the roof by a distance
The easiest way to do this accurately is to choose the end point of
the line as the base point for the move, then switch the cursor input
method from Cartesian to Polar by clicking the Cartesian Coordinates
button at the of the Cursor Input toolbar (it should
now look like this ).
Once that's done move the cursor in the Drawing Canvas down the roof
line until it snaps to the mid point of the end of the roof plane.
Now with the cursor still snapped, type in the required distance, 1000.
Having typed 1000 the cursor is now restricted in movement by a distance
of 1000mm, as can be seen in the Cursor Input toolbar.
Still with the cursor snapped to the roof's mid point, left click the
mouse to accept the final location of the line.
The reason for changing from Cartesian to Polar coordinates was to allow us
to move the line a specified distance but along an unknown angle (the line
of the roof). This would not have been possible using Cartesian coordinates,
as it only allows distances in the X,Y and Z axis. By using Polar coordinates
the relative distance from the base point was easily specified, and the angle
was taken from the roof line having snapped to it's geometry.
- Now create a copy of this first construction line 500mm further
down the roof.
The easiest method is as described above, but this time making sure that the
Apply to Copy check box is ticked.
- Finally create two lines that run between the end points of the
previous construction lines, and move them towards the centre of the
roof a distance of 1000mm.
Moving the two small line segments is best done by using the X (and
Shift X) key on the keyboard to nudge the objects.
The construction lines should look similar to the image above in plan view.
- Once the construction lines are done, you can draw in the skylight.
Use the Window
tool to draw the first skylight, making sure the roof object (the parent)
is first selected and you snap to the construction lines.
- Delete the construction lines once this is done.
Mirroring Child Objects
To create a copy of the first skylight in the other side of the roof you
are going to copy the original one by mirroring it.
- First remember to unlink the original skylight from it's parent (roof
object) by selecting it and hitting Ctrl+U on the keyboard.
If you don't unlink the object before mirroring it you wont be able to move
it from within it's parent.
- Next choose the Mirror
tool from the Modelling toolbar (in the Transform pull-right).
As soon as the Mirror tool has been selected the Origin icon appears in the
Drawing Canvas (probably towards the far left corner of the building 0,0,0).
The Origin is required by the Mirror tool as it defines the point about which
the mirror is to occur.
- Before actually starting to mirror the skylight, move the Origin to one
end of the ridge line of the roof.
To do this (whilst still in the Mirror command) move the cursor over the top
of the Origin until it snaps to it. This is indicated by a O next to
Once snapped to the Origin, click once with the Left Mouse button
to start moving it, move the cursor to the ridge of the roof, then click once
again with the Left Mouse button to complete the move.
Finally before starting the mirror, make sure the Apply to Copy check
box is ticked.
- Now that the Origin is in the correct location (and you'll be making
a copy of the original), start the Mirror command by moving the cursor to
the other end of the roof's ridge and clicking the Left Mouse button
If you move the cursor around the Drawing Canvas now you should notice that
the new mirrored object is attached to the cursor along the axis created between
the Origin and the point at which you started the Mirror command (as shown
- To finish the mirror, click the Left Mouse button once somewhere
in-line with the roof's ridge (this can be the same point that you started
the Mirror command with).
Then hit the Escape key on the keyboard to make sure the Mirror command
is not still active.
- Finally you need to link the two skylights back up with their respective
Select the first skylight and roof object and hit Ctrl+K, then do the
same with the second two.
The completed model should look like the one shown below.