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3D effects

Face culling

Modifying the layer face culling property allows you to see through the front, back, or both faces of 3D objects, depending on which side of the objects you are viewing. The command is enabled for layers containing area-based data, including extruded polygons, multipatches, TIN triangles, and raster data.

Example of face culling hiding the back of an objectExample of face culling on both sides of an object

Face culling hiding the back

Face culling on both sides

You can set the face culling mode of layers by selecting them in the Contents pane and clicking the 3D group on the Appearance tab.

Click the Face Culling drop-down menu and choose the option you want to use. Culling has the following options:

  • None Face Culling Both Sides—Turns off culling so you view both sides. This is the default.
  • Back Face Culling Hide Back—Turns on back-face culling, eliminating those objects from view that face away from you.
  • Front Face Culling Hide Front—Turns on front-face culling, eliminating those objects from view that face you. Use this option to see through the front of an object.
  • Built-In Face Culling Data Driven—Turns on the feature's built-in face culling. This option is only available for multipatch features.

Lighting

By default, the built-in geometry properties of a 3D object are used to shade it for the scene's current light position. The properties used for lighting are 3D vectors—or normals—that define the direction that each face will reflect light. These are usually perpendicular to the geometry but can also be defined in other directions, particularly to soften hard seamlines in the geometry. It is these properties that help show 3D objects with a natural, three-dimensional appearance. When the normals for a 3D object are missing or have been defined incorrectly, parts of the model may draw darker or lighter than expected, and embedded textures can display on the wrong side of a face.

Cube with normals

A cube with correctly defined face normals, shown as blue directional arrows. The shading of each face of the 3D object is calculated from its normal.

If you experience display anomalies with your 3D object data, you can try changing the layer's lighting properties to improve the appearance. These options are only available for layers whose data source is a multipatch feature class or point feature classes in scenes using 3D models as symbols.

You can set the lighting mode for a layer by selecting it in the Contents pane and clicking the 3D group of the Appearance tab.

Click the Lighting drop-down menu and choose the option you want to use.

  • Lighting one side data One-Sided Lighting Using Data Normals—Lighting affects one side of each face of a 3D object, using the built-in information about the direction of each face. Properly authored 3D object data will display correctly using this option. This is the default in ArcGIS Pro.
  • Lighting one side reset One-Sided Lighting Using Reset Normals—Lighting affects one side of each face of a 3D object. The information about the direction of each face is recalculated based on the geometry. This option is useful for cases where the normals included in the 3D object are incorrect, but there are no duplicate or coincident faces.
  • Lighting two side data Two-Sided Lighting Using Data Normals—Lighting affects both sides of each face of a 3D object, and the built-in information about the direction of each face is used for both sides. This option is useful for cases where the data normals are correct, but there are duplicate or coincident faces. However, this option may result in a dark shadow across the face if the normals are not perpendicular to the face.
  • Lighting two side reset Two-Sided Lighting Using Reset Normals—Lighting affects both sides of each face of a 3D object, and the information about the direction of each face is recalculated based on the geometry. This option is best for data with normals that are not properly authored and with duplicate or coincident faces.
  • Lighting two side winding data Two-Sided Lighting from Winding Order Using Data Normals—Lighting affects both sides of each face of a 3D object, using the order in which the vertices are defined to determine which direction each side is facing, and the source normals are used to compute lighting for each face. This option is useful for data where the normals are authored correctly, but not perpendicular to each face, and the winding order is consistent across all faces.
  • Lighting two side winding reset Two-Sided Lighting from Winding Order Using Reset Normals—Lighting affects both sides of each face of a 3D object, using the order in which the vertices are defined to determine which direction each side is facing, and using normals that are recalculated based on the geometry. This option is useful for data where the normals are not correct, but winding order is consistent across all faces.

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In this topic
  1. Face culling
  2. Lighting