Jump to content

working with Civil 3D data/civil engineering models

Dave Buckley

Recommended Posts

Does anybody work with geometry/data that comes from civil engineering packages? I've received a file and it's horrible.


It's come from Civil 3d and i was expecting it to be triangulated but i can't seem to get rid of it.


Does anybody know of any good workflows when working with civil data?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just wondered what the general workflow was?


any special things i need to know when handling civil data.


the surfaces look terrible and smoothing doesn't seem to eliminate the problems.


is there something the guys producing the models should be doing at their end to ensure a streamlined workflow when passing over to max?


any best practices?


any help would be great or an example of what the models look like when you receive them compared to the final render would be amazing

Link to comment
Share on other sites


the surfaces look terrible and smoothing doesn't seem to eliminate the problems.



This is typically what happens when you recieve a model that has been created using real-world coordinates. The geometry is too far away from Max's origin (0,0,0) and the quality gets degraded. The model needs to be moved to the origin of the native app prior to export.


Ideally, the model is created with the intent of importation into Max. Problems can start when you are trying to use a model that is intended for construction (irregular faces, overly-complex surfaces, facteting). These types of models usually have much more information than what you need for Max.


My general workflow:


1. Start with an AutoCAD file (exported from MicroStation) with 3D contours, aerial over-lay (tiff) of existing terrain, 2D linework of proposed roads/structures, 3d centerlines of proposed roads/structures.


2. Move everything above to (0,0,0). Model majority of terrain and structures within AutoCAD. Export geometry as 3ds file.


3. Import geometry to Max, convert everything to Editable Poly, finish all modeling, and add textures.


4. Set-up a master scene file with only GI lighting and cameras. X-ref everything else separately (terrain, buildings, trees, cars, etc.).


5. Compose cameras and submit to render farm.


Best Practices


1. Organize your assets on a backed-up server (texture/entourage libraries, project directories, final output).


2. Communicate instead of assuming.


3. Manage your clients' expectations


4. Stay focused




The wireframe screen shots are from AutoCAD. The blue mesh is the imported geometry from MicroStation. All of the modeling was done in AutoCAD except for the bridge piers and monuments.


The renderings serve several purposes - geometry check for holes and coplanar surfaces, proportion check for the bridge elements, camera angles to determine extent of remaining modeling.


I hope you find some of this helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

look terrible even when you adjust the Terrain 'Surface' and 'Simplification' options?

the models i've used were a bit busy and/or messy but not too bad...something i could work with...but this is just earth work, not roads or hardscape...


best thing to do i would guess is if you have Civil 3d try and model some with it and see what works...something i've been meaning to do but havnt had the time yet...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...