ArchiTerra 3


ArchiCAD plug-in for terrain modelling.


This third revision of the well-known, popular Cigraph plug-in retains the basic philosophy intact: ArchiTerra was conceived and is still being developed to provide the designer with a rapid tool for representing the context, environmental and urban planning and 3D terrain model management.
What is not obvious, however, is the method employed to organise and manage data, completely different from previous versions, paving the way for the introduction of new functions and making every operation updateable and modifiable by exploiting the dynamism of Boolean operations.


After downloading the free plug in, open the compressed file and place the Folder it contains in the ArchiCad/Add-Ons Folder.
The next time ArchiCAD is started up, there will be a new toolbox enabling you to create terrain models totally compatible with ArchiCad.
The ArchiTerra 3 package consists of three elements:
  • the plug-in itself
  • the dedicated library directory
  • the manual, accessible directly from ArchiTerra help.
The default help language is English. To have the help file in other languages, just download the .pdf manual  and use it to replace the English file in the ArchiTerra directory. As there are numerous modifications, we recommend even experts in the previous version to read the manual carefully. 

Work method

The first thing you need are the points which will represent the edges of the mesh ArchiTerra will create.
This mesh is totally compatible with ArchiCAD meshes and of the same nature, but with many more additional functions.
Points can be imported from a text or .dxf file (with the possibility of using filters or restricting the area of interest if the number is excessive), or placed directly using the Point tool, perhaps directly on top of an image imported into the ArchiCAD map view.
The points can be linked together and then the terrain can be processed.
You can still take contour lines as your starting point. If they do not come from a .dxf file, they can be drawn directly using the ArchiCAD tools (polylines, arcs and splines). The idea is to first draw the path of the contour graphically with the immediacy and potentiality of the 2D tools, then convert these graphic primitives into Points and Constraints.
First innovation: the points can now also be exported in .txt format, so it is easier to transfer the modifications made to the project.

With the Contour tool, ArchiTerra 3 provides various possibilities for controlling the definition of the area undergoing 3D processing (that mass of imported points are not necessarily all actually of interest).
At this point, the mesh is processed and the parameters of the colours and different materials for the Map, Section/Elevation and 3D views are assigned.
Once the terrain has been constructed, the image can be improved by displaying the primary and secondary contours and assigning up to four colours which will be shaded according to the altitude of the terrain, depending on the intervals defined and the step of the contour lines. This is the new Show Depth tool.

Let's now take a rapid look at the many possibilities ArchiTerra 3 provides to enrich the elements on the terrain model.

The Plateau tool has been enhanced and can now be used to work with sloping plateaux. For this and for the Road tool, there is a new interface and the possibility of managing the scarps more accurately. In the latter case, these follow the modifications applied with the Road Longitudinal Section tool which now provides the profiles of the right and left sides of the road.
As well as these improved functions, a Pavement has been introduced. Unlike the Road, this rises up above the mesh according to the thickness set.
However, the most important innovation is that roads and pavements are no longer constrained to constant development along an axis, but can take any form (simply draw them with a fill) and are completely editable node by node, including from the 3D window.
It isn't difficult to see how easy it is to create junctions, widenings, etc. Difficult to believe? Then try creating a skate/snowboard track with breathtaking parabolic curves.

As well as the usual functions to automatically create basins of water on the mesh reaching up to the altitude indicated, personalise the colours of a number of areas (even if superimposed) of terrain and rapidly construct buildings (with hip roof) for an urban fabric, ArchiTerra 3 also offers a new tool to randomly generate trees, rocks and terrains to enhance the project with diversified natural elements. 

We will not linger on the Wall and Retainer Wall tools, but these too are completely editable, including in 3D view, and the retainer wall, as well as having a configurable cross-section, enables excavations to be limited in space as happens in real life.                             

The tools depicted here are used to calculate the volume of terrain moved on the original mesh, to unlink from the mesh the elements involved in its modification in order to restore the conditions prior to the modification, to modify the display of the layers ArchiTerra 3 creates to manage the dynamic Boolean operations and to modify the axes involved in shifting the nodes of an element (useful in the 3D view).
These tools are extremely useful in managing the model and are described in detail in the manual. 

The last part of the toolbox relates to updating of the model, fundamental after modifying the elements on the terrain, with a powerful Spot Heights tool (fundamental for transferring a map with spot heights to the project), a Gravity tool which positions elements directly at the altitude of the mesh in the point indicated and a Camera to process routes directly on the terrain.
Last in the toolbox are the general settings for the various dialog boxes and a link to the User Manual. 



ArchiSuite System Requirements
The add-ons require the same configuration as your version of ArchiCAD.


ArchiCAD Version
ArchiSuite is compatible with ArchiCAD 17 and subsequent versions and it does not work with previous versions of ArchiCAD.
Installing the package
Installing ArchiSuitePlus has to happen in 2 steps:
  1. After downloading, click on the file and an Installer will put the Add-Ons in the correct folder of ArchiCAD
  2. After the Installer finished, it is necessary to prepare the Cigraph-Dongle. Put it into the computer and lunch ArchiCAD. From the menu: Design- Extradesign select “Cigraph Liccenze Activation” and follow the instructions.
Custom Work Environment
If you use personalized ArchiCAD custom work environments, the add-on menu might not appear automatically in the ArchiCAD Design menu.
To show the Work Environment Manager dialog, click on Options/Work Environment.
Use this dialog to configure your custom work environments to include the menu for the new add-on.
Managing the object library
We recommend not moving the libraries used by the add-on from their original location (in the same folder as the add-on).
Here they will be managed automatically by the add-on and you will not experience any difficulty loading them.

ArchiSuitePlus download must be related to the ArchiCAD version and Operative System in use.

To ease your life we developed a dedicated "Installer", which starts after downloading ArchiSuitePlus.





ArchiCAD 20 23 November 2016
ArchiCAD 19 23 November 2016
ArchiCAD 18 23 November 2016
ArchiCAD 17 23 November 2016




Updates and bugs fixing


ArchiSuitePlus for the current and the previous ArchiCAD version are constantly up to date, as soon as new new bugs arise. When you launch ArchiSuite, it immediately advises you for new updates available for free download.
Remember to quit ArchiCAD, before installing any ArchiSuitePlus Update.


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