Import 3D Imagery

One of Plex.Earth’s features is the ability to convert and present 2D imagery into a realistic 3D terrain model. This way designers will be able very easily to create a morphology model of an area of interest, in three dimensions. This can be a real asset for visualizing project sites and having them inside AutoCAD for design purposes, as well as for vivid presentations. In this tutorial, both ways for importing 3D Imagery into your drawing, with Plex.Earth, are explained.


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Method 1: Direct Import of 3D Imagery

You can directly import 3D Imagery into AutoCAD, by simply going to the "Terrain" tab of Plex.Earth and clicking "Import Terrain".

1.png* Before following the steps below, please make sure that you have georeferenced your drawing.

On the window that will pop up, firstly choose the preferred Terrain Provider (Google Earth, WTD, Bing Maps). Then, specify your Import Method (By Google Earth View, By Area, By Path), in order to choose how to define the area of the 3D Imagery. 


After that, you will be prompted to select the type of your terrain. Choose Terrain with 3D Imagery, as shown below.


For more information about Importing Terrain with Plex.Earth 4, check this article.

Your terrain with draped imagery on it is now ready and imported into AutoCAD.



Method 2: Convert your Imagery to 3D Imagery

An alternative way to import 3D Imagery to your drawing is by converting your imported 2D imagery to 3D.

In order to do that, click on "Import Imagery" for your area of interest.


On the window that will appear, firstly choose your preferred Imagery Provider (Google Earth, Bing Maps, OpenStreetMap or any other provider from Map Explorer). Then, specify your Import Method (By Google Earth View, By Area, By Path).


For more details about importing imagery, read this tutorial.

Now, in your drawing, you will have imported a high-quality imagery, like the one below.


For the next step, go to the Plex.Earth ribbon, again at the "Imagery" tab and click on the "Convert to 3D Imagery" command:


In your AutoCAD’s drawing area, click on the imagery you want to convert. Plex.Earth will ask if you want to remove the initial image before the 3D conversion. In this tutorial, we will choose not to.


Your imagery is now converted to 3D, as shown below:


Keep in mind that the terrain imported when converting into 3D Imagery is with respect to the last choices you have made on the Terrain Dialog Box about the Terrain Provider, Quality and Settings (for more info about terrain options see this tutorial).

The difference between the two Methods

When importing a 3D Imagery with the 1st method, the draped image consists of a single tile (Basic Imagery). With the 2nd method, you can convert any high-resolution (multi-tile) imagery you have imported. As such you can get much better results in terms of the overlaying image.


With this Plex.Earth feature, designers can get a 3D view of their area of interest in just a few seconds. This way they can adjust their designs according to real-life data and deal instantly with various aspects and difficulties. Finally, it will help them decide which design proposals to move forward with, easier and more accurately as it relates to the actual conditions in each site.


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