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Ecotect Tutorial : Creating and Editing POINT objects


This ECOTECT tutorial explains how to create, move and edit POINT objects in an ECOTECT model.


You will need about 10 minutes to complete this tutorial.

Training and Accreditation

Successfully completing this tutorial fulfills one of the practical skills required for completing Level 2 of the Solar Radiation Analysis training module.

Resources Required

To complete this tutorial, open the file located in the Examples folder of your Ecotect installation. Switch to the 3D Editor page tab, and turn off the analysis grid if necessary.


Creating moving a POINT

  1. Open the example file - we are going to create an array of points, spaced 10m by 10m apart, across the entire stadium pitch. This point array will be position 3.6m above the surface of the pitch, to demonstrate how to locate a point at a particular vertical height.
  2. Select the Point tool, and in the 3D Editor window, create a point aligned with the South-West corner of the stadium pitch. The created point appears as a small 3D crosshair at the insertion location, and remains selected after it has been created.
  3. To move the point to the vertical position of 3.6m above the surface of the pitch, use the Z key on the keyboard to nudge the point in a positive direction along the z-axis. To see how far the selected point has been nudged, look down at the bar located below the 3D Editor window - you will see the distance the point has from its original location. Note that the nudge increment is currently set to 1000 - move the point to 3000mm for now. If you move the point too far, hold down Shift and press the Z key to move the point in the negative direction along the z-axis.
  4. To alter the nudge increment distance, go to the Grid Snap field located in the Snap toolbar located above the 3D Editor window. You'll see that this is currently configured for an increment distance of 1000. Change this to 100, and then move the selected point the remaining 600mm into position.
  5. Now use the X and Y nudge keys to move the select point 5m in and across from the corner of the stadium pitch.

Alternative method for moving a POINT

  1. Select the point, and then activate the Move tool. The Zone/Cursor toolbar above changes into 3 input boxes for specifying X, Y and Z coordinates. Into these fields, enter 10000 for the X and Y coordinates, and 3600 for the Z coordinate. The point moves into the new position.
  2. If you don't see the input boxes for X, Y and Z coordinates, this may be because the Zone/Cursor toolbar has been switch to Polar coordinate mode. Click the Cartesian/Polar coordinates button to toggle between these two different coordinate input modes.

Checking the location of a POINT

  1. To confirm if the point has been positioned correctly, select the Measure tool from the toolbar. Click on the Point (the cursor should snap onto it), and then hover the move over the nearest corner of the stadium pitch (ie. the location where the point was first inserted). In the Zone/Cursor toolbar above, you will see displayed the X, Y and Z distances for the point in relation to the corner of the stadium pitch. If the point is in the correct location, these values should be -10000, -10000 and -3600 respectively.

Creating an array of POINTS

  1. Select the point, and then go to the Object Transformation panel. Under the Linear Array section, we will specify X and Y offset values, and the number of objects to be created, and thereby create an array of points across the stadium pitch.
  2. Make both the X and Y offset values 10000. As we don't know yet how many objects to create in each axis direction, just have a guess at some possible numbers, say 10 for the X axis and 25 for the Y axis. Click the Create Array button, and have a look at the 3D Editor to see the results.
  3. The initial array indicates that we need a few more objects in the X axis direction, and a few less objects in the Y axis direction. Go to the Edit»Undo Add Objects menu item to remove this array, and then select the original POINT object again. Change the number of objects in the Linear Array section to 13 and 21 respectively. Also, make sure the Group Array checkbox is checked - this allows you to select all of the array points as a single object, rather than as individual points. Click the Create Array button when ready.

Tip: Make sure you undo the previous array before creating a new array. Otherwise, you will end up with a ridiculously large array of points, which may cause the ECOTECT application to stop responding or crash.

Editing individual POINTS in an array

  1. Even though the points in the array are grouped as a single object, it's still possible to edit them individually, by editing their individual nodes. To do this, first select the POINT array, and then either double-click on the selection, or press the F3 key - both of these actions will display the nodes for each individual point. As a point is defined entirely by an individual node, select the node for the required point, and then edit it accordingly. In node editing mode, you can nudge, move, and delete points as necessary.
  2. If you're absolutely certain you don't need the points in the array to be grouped, you can ungroup them using the Edit»Ungroup menu item. However, once you have done this, each POINT must now be selected individually if you need to make any adjustments to it. Of course, the group can be re-created if necessary, using the Edit»Group Objects menu item.

Useful Tips

  1. POINTS are mainly used for geometric testing purposes, such as the focus of a Sun-Path Diagram or as a lighting sensor point. See the Element Types topic for a description of the POINT type.
  2. POINTS can be assigned a radius as part of their material properties to form a sphere. ECOTECT does not use the radius other than when exporting it to VRML, RADIANCE of POV-Ray. To hide or show the POINT radius in the model, use the Element Detail items in the Display menu.
  3. When positioning a POINT object or node the Control key can be used to move in the Z axis. Releasing the Control key sets the new POINT in the Z plane, allowing movement again in the X and Y axis.
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