Creating 3D symbol with combined Softplan 3D symbols

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yvongonthier's picture
Creating 3D symbol with combined Softplan 3D symbols
SoftPlan Version:

Can you create a 3D symbol using multiple 3D symbols from Softplan to create a single 3D symbol?


In the example included, the HRV is a symbol and the ducts are 4 seperate symbols. Now, can I save this 3D symbol as one to link it to a 2D symbol? If I save it as a JPEG, when I try to link it shows up blank.



Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Multiple symbols combined

Yes, you can simply place all the symbols together as you have done and then create a new symbol of the combined pieces just as you would any other symbol. Just make sure you don't explode the symbols first or it will not work.

Keep in mind that you may have a problem later on down the line. This is because the individual symbols still reference their original 3D models. This is not a problem until you upgrade to the next version of SoftPlan and move your symbols over. For instance if your 3D symbols for the ducts are located at C:\SoftPlan2014\3D\3D Symbols\HVAC and you upgrade to SoftPlan 2016 and get rid of the 2014 folders the symbols will still be looking for the original 3D 2014 symbol location and not C:\SoftPlan2016\3D\3D Symbols\HVAC. You could either keep the C:\SoftPlan2014\3D\3D Symbols folder forever or you could move the 3D models over and redefine the links in the individual model parts. Bear in mind that this is the case with all custom 3D symbols you create and not just combined ones.

You could do something like creating a C:\SoftPlanCustomModels\ folder outside of the standard SoftPlan structure and have all of your custom 3D models located there. That way all of your custom symbols will always reference that folder no matter what version of SoftPlan you are using in the future.

If I save it as a JPEG, when I try to link it shows up blank.

I'm not quite sure what you meant by this. JPEGs can't be made into symbols.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of

yvongonthier's picture

Thanks Bill.


The light just went on. I taught I had to create a new 3D symbol to link to the 2D symbol but as you say, creating the 2D symbol with 2D symbols that already have 3D symbols linked to them keeps all those symbols. I was trying to create a new symbol in Softview thinking that I could save it as a new symbol but it wasn't working because like you said, you can't link JPEGs.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
New 3D Model

Yvon, you can create a new 3D model using SoftView. The procedure would be to assemble all of your parts in a new drawing and then view that drawing in SoftView. Then while in SoftView select File⇒Export and select one of the formats such as DWG or 3DS. This would create a single 3D model containing all of the parts which you could then link to a 2D symbol. The advantage would be that you would be dealing with a single model rather than nested symbols, each linked to different models. Either way works just fine though.

yvongonthier's picture
Tagging article

Thanks, that's great. Is there a way to tag an article like this one if I need to find it more easily in the future?

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture

There sure is. It is called Bookmarks. If you look at the first post on any Forum thread you will see a "Bookmark This" button. Simply click on it and the thread will be added to your Bookmarks. To view your Bookmarks select the "Bookmarks" button at the top of every page. From there you can scroll through your list of Bookmarks and and even remove Bookmarks you no longer need.

Bookmarks are available not just on the Forum but also on any Article, Video, Tutorial, etc. on the site.

On the Videos pages there is a table listing all of the videos in that same series. On the left hand side of the table is a column labeled BkMk. Clicking on a black flag adds the video to your Bookmarks and the flag will turn red. Clicking on a red flag will remove the video from your bookmarks.


Bill M
Bill M's picture
The bookmark feature will be

The bookmark feature will be invaluable and I will use it now.  Thanks.  Sorry not pertinent to the original topic.

yvongonthier's picture
Softview for 3D model

Thanks Bill

It actually worked better going thru Softview. Not a huge deal but doing it the other way changed the direction of the ductwork in the symbol info as shown in the attached picture but when inserting the symbol in the plan it has the ducts in the right direction.


Thanks for the bookmarks. Just changed contact lenses so maybe I'll see better now ;o)

JerryQberry's picture
This is probably a ignorant

This is probably a ignorant question Bill so I apologize up front. You make mention of creating a separate folder outside of SP (possibly on a server) to house all of the 3D models to keep from having to make changes with different versions of SP. But how do you get to it in the configure library to use it. I see no option to get outside of SP in the configure library. I'm also some what confused about the difference between the configure library vs the system/drawing library. 


Thank you,

Jerry Quesenberry

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture

Hey Jerry. It would appear that you caught me giving inaccurate information. You can't link to 3D models outside of the 3D model folder. However, starting with version 2016 SoftPlan has dropped the version structure. Previous versions were installed at C:\SoftPlan14, C:\SoftPlan2012, C:\SoftPlan2014, etc. Version 2016 installed at simply C:\SoftPlan. So if they maintain this for all future versions there will no longer be a problem with 3D symbols looking for 3D models that do not exist in the current 3D folder.

I'm also some what confused about the difference between the configure library vs the system/drawing library.

There are two library structures. The System Library and the Drawing Library. The System Library is where ALL symbols, openings, etc are stored. The Drawing Library is where items are stored that have already been inserted into the drawing. The Drawing Library is not a separate file or folder somewhere but is actually stored within the drawing itself. Say for instance you have inserted a symbol into your drawing. That symbol actually becomes a part of the drawing, not merely a link to another file, as would be the case with ACAD x-refs. So if you insert another instance of that symbol in the same drawing you are using the same symbol as it existed at the time it was first inserted. If you were to make a change to the same symbol in the System Library it would not affect any of the symbols that had already been inserted nor would it affect additional instances of the same symbol inserted in the same drawing in the future. To update a changed symbol you would need to reset the symbol from within the Drawing Library dialog.

Similarly there are System Options and Drawing Options. System Options are your default settings that affect any new drawings you create. Drawing Options only affect the current drawing. So making changes to your System Options will not affect any drawings that have already been created. And changes to the Drawing Options will only affect the current drawing and nothing else.

Version 2016 has started adding some settings to a 3rd set of options called Project Options. Project Options affect all drawings in the current Project. These Project Options include items such as Building Options, Sun Options, and Direction of North that would not make any sense to have separate options for each drawing.