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2024 Technology Preview Program

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When modeling I often feel hamstrung by a lack of control over the visibility of elements in model space which can be traced to the fact that its tied to layers. 


Ignoring any discussion about layers raison d'être in todays object oriented applications I just note that its strange to rely on a coarse and rigid structure as layers for visibility when we have access to a much finer and flexible selection functionality. 


At the same time there are functionalities already in place that undermines the hegemony of layers regarding visibility.


  • We can hide elements in 3D by type.
  • We can hide elements in 3D by selection.
  • We can hide elements in both 2D and 3D by renovation filters.
  • We can as of AC27 hide elements in both 2D and 3D by design options. /edit240521


I would like to see a effort to consolidate all this control functionality in to one tool and base it on the same logic as the Find & Select tool.


My rather spontaneous concept idea for intuitive visibility control is a toggle between 'Show All' and 'Hide All' with an exception/inversion list based on Criterion Sets or Criterion Set Combinations. 


Show All

Hide All



Criteria Set 1

Criteria Set 2

Criteria Set ...


Another functionality that would be useful is the ability to set hidden elements as reference - locking and fading/wireframing/x-raying them.  


There have been various discussions here on this theme, even to the extent of replacing the layer system with classifications. It may happen, I just have a feeling on the GS Roadmap it may be some distance behind immediate pressures. It would definitely be a useful addition.

Erwin Edel

So this would be like 'locking' (edit > locking)  but now expanded with 'hiding'? How do you 'show' hidden elements again after manually hiding them?


Currently I mostly set elements to 'cut' only if I want them hidden because they should not be seen in the floor plan. Which means I need to fiddle with the floor plan cut plane to edit them in the floor plan or change them back to projected. Some elements offer options based on model view options too.


Perhaps having a model view option to show 'hidden' items would allow for easy editing?


I have to say the option to frustrate co-workers along the lines of the (I think) obscure locking option I mentioned is also there!


Perhaps a greyed out look to indicate that something is 'hidden' when you place the floor plan view on a layout would be an idea?

Yes, there are few wishes on that topic but I wanted to sidestep that and focus on the fact that we already have a lot of the things I wish for but spread across different tools and implemented in a way inapt to really make a difference when modelling. Its clear that layers as such are no real obstacle for better control of element visibility in model space.

Erwin Edel

Layers are ok for hiding things that should always be hidden. Like annotation that should only be shown on certain views.


We have pretty strict standards for IFC exporting and layer names, so it is annoying to have multiple layers for model elements, just based on arbirtrary visibility.


Quite often you need to bend the 'rules' of a floor plan for a clear representation. The one shown by default might be 'correct', but it will confuse others trying to understand your plan.


A quick fix like this would be nice, but it just needs to be very clear that you used a 'dirty' fix for others that might need to work on your project or even yourself a while later after you've forgotten what you did.

@Erwin Edel wrote:

So this would be like 'locking' (edit > locking)  but now expanded with 'hiding'? How do you 'show' hidden elements again after manually hiding them?

Not quite.


The concept added to my wish is more like an interactive dialog box for what elements are visible in a view. A better reference is what we can do with Filter and Cut Elements in 3D but enhanced with the logic of Find & Select, working across 3D/2D and some added functionality.


The idea is that you start with a state-toggle for either everything visible or everything hidden and use criteria set (or combinations there of) to either hide or show elements. This means that the user can choose strategy (showing/hiding) to achieve the desired view. Switching the toggle would be to inverse the visibility - showing whats hidden, hiding whats showing - just as we have today for layers.


Given the ability to hide/show individual elements these would show up as a Unique ID criteria and perhaps demarcated in the list of criteria sets. 




You are absolutely correct.

This hodge podge of control is increasing the level of confusion!


100%. The whole interface and workflow needs a major clean up to simplify the design & publishing processes. It feels like there are three duplicate buttons for every action buried at different levels and locations. It certainly doesn't help when it comes to remembering how to do things quickly.


Yes, the wished for functionality is more or less the same and it has likely been discussed before that post as well. But seeing as it hasn't been acknowledged by GS its sensible to advance and promote wishes with the same or similar functionality. It's either that or take the lack of acknowledgement as an indication for the wish being a lost cause.


So I've finally installed AC25 and tested the new hide in 3D functionality - the fact that it is view specific makes it leap in the right direction! It is now possible to quickly set up views with focus on the relevant elements.


However, the need to consolidate and enhance the visibility control in line with the original post still remains.


Regarding the new functionality we need to be able to see whats hidden in the view and the ability to selectively re-show hidden elements. For it to be really useful we would need to be able to set some or all of the hidden elements as reference (making them appear faded/wireframed/x-rayed). And it goes without saying the we need the same functionality for 2D. 


with 45 Votes

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