Tag Archives: Morph

Connecting Sea Level & Morphs

Today I have been working on translating a .dwg survey into existing conditions for neighboring buildings for a remodel. The survey locates windows for neighboring properties, giving sill height, head height, and window width only. All dimensions are relative to sea level.

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To locate these windows correctly, I first set the Altitude (Sea Level) properly.From here I could place temporary morph lines in plan to locate center line of windows and other building features.

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Then, in the morph element settings, I set the height relative to Sea Level, and matched the sill and head height described in the survey.

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From this point, it was just a matter of matching and stretching the windows to the morph lines in 3d or elevation.

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3d Lines & Drafting

Our BIM Manual has a description of what we model, when we model elements, and why we model them. The third element, the “why”, is one of the most important parts of managing a high quality model, and producing accurate and well coordinated documents from that model.

With this in mind, a lot of our project teams have been pushing the boundaries of even the most basic drafting elements. One example of this is in site models & plans, specifically property lines and setbacks. Intuitively, it makes sense to use polylines or even fills for this. Thinking outside the box however, it makes more sense to use a 3d element, such as a grid or a morph.



Using a 3d solution allows you to coordinate the property & setback lines on all (or select) stories simultaneously with fewer elements. It also allows coordination of the building in 3d. Since our final CD Site Plans are typically drafted anyway, this is largely a process and 3d solution. But using a morph does allow for boundary line type & pen control, so it can also be incorporated into the final documents.

Morph Surfaces & Sloped Elements

When converting elements to morphs it is important to understand how morphs deal with surfaces. They will inherit the settings, orientation & scale of the elements they were converted from. Specifically this article will focus on converting beams to morphs, and the resulting surface alignment. Beams handle surfaces relative to their angle. This works well when you have a wood grain that you want to show sloped with the beam; the grain is angled with the slope of the beam, even after converting to a morph.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.47.20 PMIt doesn’t work so well when you have a pattern which is intended to be horizontal. We were recently using morphs as a patch element for an abbreviated overhanging barge. The morph needed to match the siding. When first converting the beam to a morph, the siding was sloped, just like the beam, where the siding on the wall that the morph was associated with needed to be horizontal.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.48.04 PMThere are two ways to correct this surface error. The first is to create the morph from scratch rather than converting from another object. This has the added bonus that the morph pen, fill and surface settings will all be set based on the morph tool settings, not the default translator settings. This includes the surface orientation and origin point. If the sloped beam has already been placed it is very simple to trace out the beam with the morph tool and extrude to the width needed.

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Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.48.41 PMThe next way to correct sloping surfaces from converted morph elements is to simply reset the surface after the element has been converted. This is in the morphs selection settings under the model drop down section.

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The result is similar, if not identical to creating a morph from scratch.

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This method also solves morphs that have been rotated after creating them. A morph will maintain its surface orientation relative to its original geometry. This means that if you rotate a morph, its surface appearance will rotate with it. To get the surface back to their correct orientation you will need to either rebuild the morph or reset the surfaces in the selection settings.