Exaggerating a Surface in the Object Viewer or 3D Orbit

I am often asked if there is a way to exaggerate the vertical scale of a Civil 3D surface when it is viewed in the Object Viewer or with 3D Orbit. While neither the Object Viewer nor 3D Orbit have an option to change the vertical exaggeration or scale of an object, you can still accomplish the desired effect if you set up the Surface Style properly.

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When you edit the Surface Style go to the Triangles tab and set the Triangle Display Mode to Exaggerate Elevation. Then set the Exaggerate Triangle by Scale Factor to your desired exaggeration. In the example above I have set it to 2 which will give the triangles in the surface display a 2x exaggeration.

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Next select the Display tab. Set the View Direction to Model. Then turn on the visibility of the Triangles and turn off the visibility of all the other components. Click <<OK>> to save the changes to the Surface Style.

Now when you view a surface using this style in the Object Viewer or 3D Orbit once you rotate the surface out of plan view it will display only the surface triangles and they will be exaggerated vertically according to your settings. You should also be careful to remember that if you snap to any of these exaggerated triangles that you will be snapping to this exaggerated elevation.

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