This page is for those interested in how we use 3D construction models to illustrate our books. The method comes from research on how construction managers might use 3D models to communicate assemblies, sequences, and techniques for a more collaborative approach to their projects. The idea is to translate images or screenshots of 3D construction models to visually support reports, proposals, and presentations.

Please email if you have any questions.

Extrusion from manufacturing data

Extrusion from manufacturing data

Insitebuilders Method Step 1 of 6: Equipment Extrusions

Scaled Extrusions

Each piece in a construction model is built to operate at full scale and exact dimensions. Equipment models quickly add to the value of a construction model. They give the model a visual scale, represent the relative size of the equipment in the model, and add visual accuracy to a model simulation.


Organizing the model in SketchUp

Organizing the model in SketchUp

Insitebuilders Method Step 2 of 6: Model Organization

Model Organization

Construction models are organized to visually display different combinations of information. We use a combination Layers and the Outliner in SketchUp. This means WBS phases or sequences of any operation are accurately represented using the same construction model.


3D index of 2D details

3D index of 2D details

Insitebuilders Method Step 3 of 6: Context Models

Context Models

2D design details are shown in the context and sequence of their construction in the model. This means the model pieces can be extracted directly from the construction documents. The resulting model acts as a three-dimensional index to the relevant two-dimensional construction documents.


Editing the image in 2D

Editing the image in 2D

Insitebuilders Method Step 4 of 6: Graphic Export

Graphic Export

Scenes are captured from the 3D models using the Export 2D feature where they can be edited and annotated in programs like PowerPoint, Word, and PhotoShop. We use HyperSnap, a simple image editor that does most of what PhotoShop will do without the steep learning curve.


Layering information on the page

Layering information on the page

Insitebuilders Method Step 5 of 6: Model Organization

Page Layout

Once the illustrations have been edited, they are imported into a publishing program like FreeHand MX or Adobe’s InDesign where layers of information are added as captions, text bubbles, and references to the videos (on our books’ CD’s).


Putting 2D in motion
Putting 2D in motion

Insitebuilders Method Step 6 of 6: Chapter Layouts

Chapter Layouts

Unlike a design, or building information model, construction models represent dynamic and sequential processes that must be captured on the panels and pages of our books. Construction information is thereby animated as the underlying motion and time embedded in the 3D construction model is translated onto each two-dimensional page.



6 Responses to “3D Modeling in 2D”

  1. amin ebrahimi Says:

    pls send me modeling.
    im architecyural student in iran
    so long

  2. insitebuilders Says:

    I’ll post a few models in a future article, thanks for the idea. Good luck in your studies and stay safe out there…


  3. Glad I stumbled into this article! Finally, got what I was looking for to put on my school report… Thanks for sharing this

  4. john Says:

    very good article. It help me to move ahead in my learning process.

  5. Phillip hawken Says:

    Hi, I have used Sketch Up a little, however your site is excellent, I have developed training material for telehandlers, elevating workplatforms and forklifts, having graphics to demonstrate a particular point is ideal but hard to make.

  6. “3D Modeling in 2D « 3D Construction Modeling” ended
    up being a very good blog post. In case it possessed
    a lot more photos it would be possibly even far better.
    Thanks -Olive

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