Drape Imagery to Terrain Surface (3D Imagery)

With Plex-Earth 5 you can import both imagery and terrain for your area of interest. Combine these two and create 3D Imagery, to elevate your AutoCAD design to another level of visualization.


One of Plex-Earth’s features is the ability to convert 2D imagery into realistic 3D models. This way, designers can very easily generate, interpret and manipulate information for their designs. This can be a real visualization asset, leading the engineer to a better understanding of various problems, to develop better design solutions, and of course, to a more correct evaluation of their suggestions.

In the following tutorial, we are going to see how we can drape our imagery to a terrain model created with Plex-Earth 5.

tip_icon_small.png The Draping feature can be applied to any image imported in AutoCAD as a raster image. Therefore, you are not limited only to Plex-Earth's imagery, but you can also use, for example, drone images as well.

Step 1: Import Imagery

Before we begin, we must make sure that the drawing is georeferenced.

Then, in order for the draping to take place, the imported imagery must be placed inside AutoCAD in the form of a raster image / external reference.

There are three alternatives on how to do that:

1) If you have a World file, like the ones created by Plex-Earth, just import it in your AutoCAD, as described here.

2) If you have a GeoTIFF, go to the "Insert" tab of AutoCAD and select "Attach" from the "Reference Panel section".

3) For a general image file, like a .jpg, go again to the "Insert" tab, select "Attach" from the "References panel", open your image and specify insertion point, scale and rotation.


Now we have our 2D image in our AutoCAD.

Step 2: Import Terrain

In order to import terrain with Plex-Earth 5, you can follow the steps described here.


We now have in our AutoCAD both our 2D image and our mesh terrain.

Step 3: Drape Image to Terrain

In this final step, we proceed with the overlay of the image to our terrain surface.

In order to do that, we select from the Plex-Earth's ribbon, in the "Terrain" pannel, the "Drape Image to Surface" command.

As requested from Plex-Earth 5, we then choose the imported terrain surface and the raster image.


The draping is now complete, very easily and quickly.

Note: At this stage, remember to change your View from "2D Wireframe" to "Realistic", in order to be able to view the final result.


With this Plex-Earth feature, designers can get a 3D view of their area of interest in just a few seconds in AutoCAD. Engineers can now adjust their designs according to real-life data and instantly deal with various aspects and difficulties. As a result of this better visualization, they can now make a decision with which design proposals to move forward much easier and accurately. Having the actual conditions of any place in the world on your computer screen is truly amazing.


Feel free to contact us at support@plexscape.com for any questions you may have and don’t forget to start your free trial today.





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