How to use MAGNET Modeler in AutoCAD?

After the software has been installed, the MAGNET Modeler ribbon-bar is available in AutoCAD:

Select Rules icon in the ribbon-bar to start MAGNET Modeler.

The main element of the user interface is the Model Builder floating dialog.

The configuration tree display is in the centre of the dialog. The configuration tree shows all the 3D object types and their modeling parameters. The tree can be expanded from + marks and collapsed from - marks. Pressing right mouse button over tree items shows up a pop-up menu which is used to create, delete, modify, draw and arrange the items.


Right clicking on material displays a drop down menu with functions like making a material from texture file, selection of material etc.

New feature “Material from texture…” makes it faster to create materials. This feature first asks for texture file and then shows the material dialog. Color of the material is automatically set to average color from texture. Material name is taken from texture. This feature is intended to speed up the process of texturing building facades (together with other new improvements) and defining traffic sign materials (just choose traffic sign texture and enter sign dimensions in material).

Right-click when building polyline is selected

There is a tool for assigning textures to selected facade. When building polyline is selected you can activate building facade attachment tool by clicking the mouse right button. If building has texture materials attached it will display each facade texture in a dialog next to the facade. By clicking on facade segment of building polyline users can attach a facade texture onto any of the polyline segments. Facade textures are saved into new building model parameter “façade_textures” with the number of polyline segment.

Pull-down menu

The pull-down menu has the following functionality

  • File
    • Set Model Name – Specify the virtual model (*.vm) file to be generated. The default value is the name of the current drawing file
    • Generate Model - Generates the model from the .dwg file using the active configuration from the .ini file. Saves the model to the .vm files
    •  View Model - Launches the MAGNET Explorer button with current virtual model (.vmpx file). The current AutoCAD viewpoint will be used as the starting viewpoin in the Explorer.
    •  Generate and View Model - Both generates the model and launches the Explorer with the model.
    • Batch Generate - Generates multiple models. 
    • Load Configuration - Loads a configuration file (.ini). The configuration file contains all of the model generation parameters that are not saved into the drawing file (like CAD object specific parameters). See chapter “Configuration Files” for more information on loading configurations.
    • Merge Configuration – Loads a configuration file (.ini) so, that the user can select which parts of the file are loaded and merged to current configuration.
    • Save Configuration – Saves a configuration file (.ini). The configuration file contains all of the model generation parameters that are not saved into the drawing file (like CAD object specific parameters).
    • Exit – Close the dialog.


  • Edit
    • Undo – Reverses the most recent action
    • Redo – Reverses the effects of the previous UNDO.
    • Insert Item – Affects the current configuration. Insert a new item under the currently selected headline (e.g. Buildings or Single elements)
    • Duplicate Item – Affects the current configuration. Duplicates the currently selected configuration item and opens the edit dialog for the item.
    • Remove Item - Affects the current configuration. Removes the currently selected configuration item.
    • Item Properties – Affects the current configuration. Open the edit dialog for the currently selected item.


  • Draw
    • Draw Mode (toggle) – Activates or deactivates the Draw Mode.
    • Draw Item – Affects the active AutoCAD drawing. Creates the AutoCAD layer for the currently selected configuration tree item and starts the respective drawing function (PLINEPOINT or INSERT).
    • Create Layer – Affects the active AutoCAD drawing. Creates the AutoCAD layer for the currently se-lected configuration tree item.
    • Layer Properties – Opens the AutoCAD Layer Properties Manager for the currently selected configura-tion tree item.
    • CAD Object Parameters - Displays a new dialog. With the buttons in the dialog it is possible to attach parameters to single map elements. Select the desired object type and then the AutoCAD object and you will get a dialog for changing the object parameters. This is the same parameter dialog used in the configuration tree. The difference is that in the tree you define parameters for layers and with this dialog you define parameters for single CAD elements. Layer parameters are general parameters for all elements in that layer. Single element parameters override layer parameters.


  • View
    • Gray Non-Existing Items (Toggle) – If enabled, shows gray icons in non-used materials and object pa-rameters referring to empty or a non-existing layer. In a big drawing only the existence of elements is checked. In a small drawings the program also checks whether the objects on a layer are suitable to be mod-eled (For example if there would be layer for buildings which contains only dots, the item would be in grayed state)
    • Show CAD Tooltips (Toggle) – If enabled, shows tooltip information (parameters of the object) whenever you move the mouse on top of a MAGNET object in the AutoCAD drawing. You can also access the object parameters (both per layer and per object) via context menu by selecting object and right-clicking on it. (Select object and place the mouse on top of a object and right-click it.)
    • Show Configuration Tooltips (Toggle) – If enabled, shows the tooltips for configuration tree items
    • Allow Multiple Viewers (Toggle) – If enabled, each “View Model” command opens up a new Explorer. If disabled, the previous Explorer is closed prior to opening a new one.
    • Preserve Viewer Viewpoint (Toggle) – If enabled, Explorer stores its last viewpoint so that the new Explorer starts up in the same view points
    • Close All Viewers – Closes all MAGNET Explorer windows.


  • Model
    • Groups – With the Groups function the user can turn on and off additional design elements and switch between design alternatives. See more information under topic: “Groups
    •  Configuration Summary – Opens up the Per Layer Configuration summary-  window, which shows the list of layers and the Modeler definitions.
    • Include XREFs – When this is enabled MAGNET Modeler will bind and explode all XREF files attached to this drawing before model generation and restore back to original state after model is generated. With this option it is possible to divide the model into multiple files. 
      • This allows team working where different domain experts can cross reference other domain models into their own model. For example landscape designer references road and terrain models from road designer and vice versa road designer referenced landscape design model. If road designer updates road models, landscape designer sees the change immediately after model generation. This way all domain models are up to date and change management becomes very easy. For example collisions are detected immediately if for example road model doesn’t fit into bridge model or landscaping blocks sign visibility.
      • NOTE! Models using XREFs need a bit more memory to generate than if all data were in one single file. Xref files need to be binded and exploded before model generation and that requires extra memory. Typically this is not a problem but if the models are too big it is advisable to go through all xref files and remove unnecessary data like unused blocks (using purge command) and op-timize the model input data. If optimization doesn’t help the user needs to bind and explode the xref files manually or contact Support for special instructions for handling large xref models
      • NOTE! XREF model generation can be made faster by disabling draw order using command DRAWORDERCTL and setting the value to “0”.
    • Autosave Config–the program saves BACUP file (. ini) automatically to the folder "vdc-modeler.ini bak" 
    • Log Window – Opens up a log window, which shows information about the model generation, model statistics and possible configuration problems when a new configuration is loaded.


  • Tools
    • Generate default surface - when this is on, creates also default surface, for example, when is generated model using IFC file.
    • Purge Configuration Items – Affects the configuration tree. Removes non-used materials and/or object parameters referring to empty or non-existent layer. Additionally purge can be used to sort materials by name and/or to sort objects by layer name.
    • Create All Configuration Layers – Affects the AutoCAD drawing. Based on the active configuration, creates all layers to the drawing.
    • Texture Paths – Opens up a dialog for editing the texture paths.


  • Help
    • Help – Starts the Help System.
    • Licensing – Opens up the license type selection dialog.
    • About – Shows the release and copyright information of the product.