Using Civil 3D to Bring 3D Models Into Infrastructure Modeler – Part 2

As promised, here is part 2 of this blog. In my last blog, I left off where I had just imported a 3D model into Civil 3D and said that I would cover the process of being able to bring that model into Infrastructure Modeler. I will cover this, but before I do, I wanted to reiterate  some important tips on the Civil 3D side that will ensure that you get what you are expecting when all is said and done. First, when bringing the model file into Civil 3D, insert it at 0,0,0. Next, use the distance command to get a measurement on it to get an idea of its’ scale. For example in this case, I measured the dozer from side to side and it came out to be 145 feet across! I knew that could be correct, so I scaled it down by 1/12 and then it measured out to closer to 12 feet, which seems a bit more realistic. You can turn on the different visual styles such as Conceptual or Realistic to get an idea of the colors and/or materials that have been applied to the model. When everything is good, then it’s time to export out to a format that we can import into Infrastructure Modeler. The format we want, is the .FBK format. To use this format, we will use the Export command and choose the .FBK option. When using this export option, you will be prompted by a dialog box like the one pictured below where you will specify a name and location for the file.


My suggestion (which I have done) would be to set up a directory for your models in a logical location so that they are easily accessible by you and by Infrastructure Modeler when you are ready for the import process. I keep my files in an FBX folder that I created under the program files for Infrastructure Modeler. This way, not only do I know where the 3D Models are, but, while in Modeler, I can access all of the files as needed.

With the file now exported, if it is not already open, open up Infrastructure Modeler and open a project that you want to import the 3D model into. Once you have the model open, go to the Styles Pallette and click on the 3D Model tab. One recommendation is to create a new folder for the type of model you will import. In this example, I have created a folder called “Ron’s Vehicles” as as seen below. Once the folder is created, you will use the create new model button as seen below to begin the import process for bringing your new model into Infrastructure Modeler.


In this example, I will be working in the new folder I created, and once in it, I will click on the “Add New Model” button to get the “Define New 3D Model” dialog box as pictured below. In this dialog box, click on the ellipse or browse button in the upper right hand corner and navigate to your model file. Once selected, back in the dialog box you should see a preview of the model such as in the example below.


In this dialog box, click on the “OK” button and you will see that a new model with the name “New 3D Model” will now be present on your Styles Pallette. Obviously, you will want to rename the model to something logical, like in this case, “Dozer”. When getting ready to bring the new model into your project, one thing I recommend (credit goes to Angel with Autodesk for this tip) is to first insert a City Furniture type of marker. Then, drag and drop the new model onto the marker which will basically change the style of the marker to the new 3D model. The results of this process can be seen in the graphic below. Cool stuff and easy to do!




Civil Infrastructure software is my main professional interest. Civil 3D, Infraworks, and Recap are what I work with mostly. I have been with CADsoft Consulting for over 10 years now. I got my start using Softdesk and AutoCAD R12 in DOS. My wife and I have four children and I am a die hard Red Sox fan.