MAGNET Modeler for Autodesk: Getting started

This guide covers locating all system files and defines modeling configuration. Follow the steps for getting started with MAGNET Modeler for Autodesk.

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MAGNET Modeler for Autodesk: Getting started

Modeler for Autodesk settings

The MAGNET Modeler system files are distributed in two folders on the hard disk:

  • C:\Program Files\Magnet\Modeler
    • This is the default location. All system files that are not meant to be changed or edited by the user are located here. The basic texture and sound libraries are located here in the Libraries folder.
  • My Documents\MAGNET
    • This is the default location. All files that contain configurable user settings by the user are located here. Tutorial files are copied here by the install program.

User-specific texture or sound libraries can reside anywhere in the file system.

MAGNET Modeler creates the virtual model by parameters defined in the modeling configuration. Additional parameters can be saved to AutoCAD drawing elements to more accurately define modeling of these single elements. The modeling configuration is saved into a separate initialization file, which is by default vdc-modeler.ini. Vdc-modeler.ini can also be saved with any name as long as it has the right file extension (*.INI). It can then be explicitly loaded from MAGNET Modeler. Configuration files also can be partially loaded or merged into an existing configuration.

When Modeler is loaded, it searches for and loads the *.INI file in the following order:

  1. *.INI file which has the same name and is in the same folder as the currently active AutoCAD drawing.
  2. Project specific vdc-modeler.ini file located in the same folder as the currently active AutoCAD drawing.
  3. User-specific vdc-modeler.ini file located in the My Documents\MAGNET folder.
  4. System default vdc-modeler.ini file located in the C:\Program Files\Magnet\Modeler folder.

Getting started

The general workflow with MAGNET Modeler for Autodesk has four basic steps.

1. Bring source material into AutoCAD.

First, bring your map and terrain model into AutoCAD. In general, MAGNET Modeler for Autodesk expects that different elements are separated by layers in an AutoCAD drawing. For example, polylines for buildings are on one layer, and areas for forests are on another layer, and so on.


2. Create a configuration, or change the basic configuration.

Next, describe how your map is going to be modeled. This configuration is carried out via the MAGNET Modeler floating window. You get this window by pressing the MAGNET Modeler button in AutoCAD. In this window, you will see a list of different types of objects that MAGNET Modeler can model. Each object type has a list of layers, and each layer has parameters that define the 3D modeling of certain types of objects. For example, if layer "building" is listed in the MAGNET Modeler Buildings section, and it has parameters like nrfloors (number of floors) = 3, and materials = brick, all closed polylines in this layer are modeled as 3-floor buildings that have brick walls.

If you want some single element to be different from the other elements on the same layer, you can attach parameters to this element only. There is a floating toolbox for attaching element-specific parameters to single elements. These parameters are saved with your map file and are read every time you generate the virtual model. Every object type uses materials of some kind. Materials are defined in the materials section. Materials have parameters like color, shininess, texture file name, texture size, and so on. You can build yourself a material library that you can use in your virtual models.


3. Generate the model

After the configuration is defined and saved, it is possible to generate the model. Model generation is automatic, and you can use the same configuration for all of your maps. The virtual model is saved to a *.VMPX file. This file is very compact and can easily be distributed via email. It has all the geometric information of the model, but it does not include texture files.


4. View the model

MAGNET Explorer is used to view virtual models (*.VMPX files). The program has a 3D window where you are able navigate the model.