Work with 3D object layers

A 3D object feature layer defines how 3D object features are displayed in a scene. 3D object features are stored in a geodatabase using a defined geographic location with a referenced 3D geometry. The referenced 3D geometry of a feature can be stored in multiple formats, which allows you to add new features to the layer from other 3D modeling packages, such as Blender, Autodesk Maya, and Trimble SketchUp, and store the source model directly in the geodatabase.

You can work with a 3D object layer in the following ways:

Edit 3D objects

Once 3D object features are created in a 3D object layer, they can be edited in the same way that multipatch features are edited. You can scale, rotate, and edit the vertices of the feature's geometry, as well as interactively apply textures and colors on the faces of the mesh geometry.

Edit 3D objects directly by accessing the model files

With 3D object feature classes stored in a file geodatabase, you can find the source model file for a feature using Windows File Explorer and edit the model directly in place. To do this, you must enable Windows Projected File System to expose a 3D Object folder in the top level of the Windows home folder. Browse to the model file for a specific feature by following the applicable layer folder and expanding the Object ID subfolder.


ArcGIS Pro must be open for the 3D Object folder to be exposed, and the application should only be closed after any updates to the 3D model file have been saved.

After selecting a 3D model file, right-click it to choose which third-party 3D modeling application to open and edit it in, such as Microsoft 3D Builder, Autodesk Maya, or Trimble SketchUp,. The third-party application must be already installed and licensed. After making edits, save the file with the same file name to the original location. The map redraws with the updated model.

Optionally, you can copy the 3D model file from the 3D Object folder—from the projected file system—to a different location if you need more time for editing. After completing the edits, you can copy the model file back to the same 3D Object folder to update it. This workflow can be used to replace an existing model with a new one. The file name of the replacement model must be identical to the original, and should use the same relative placement of its anchor point.

Symbolize 3D objects

3D object layers support the same symbology capabilities as feature layers and use the same mesh symbol layer properties as multipatch layers. By default, 3D objects will display with their stored representation, including any texture or material properties, but you can choose to apply a different symbology instead.

Attribute-driven symbology allows you to render the 3D objects using other properties of the feature, such as modulating the color of buildings based on their earthquake readiness or current property value. This helps communicate more information about the content to another user.

Analyze 3D objects

Every 3D object layer includes a multipath representation of a feature, which means it supports any geoprocessing tool that accepts the multipatch geometry type as an input, including: Near 3D, Intersect 3D Line with Multipatch, and Multipatch Footprint.


Geoprocessing tools that create a multipatch feature class cannot be configured to output a 3D object feature class.

Use the interactive exploratory 3D analysis tools to work directly in a scene and receive real-time visual feedback. Examples of interactive 3D analysis tools that are supported for 3D object layers include Viewshed, Line of Sight, and Slice.

Share 3D objects as a 3D object web scene layer

You can publish 3D object content as a 3D object web scene layer. This service-based content can be displayed in Scene Viewer, ArcGIS Earth, and ArcGIS Runtime. 3D object web scene layers do not support the storage and display of 3D material properties, such as metalness and roughness, so you may notice a reduction in the fidelity of the display after publishing 3D object content that includes these definitions.

To publish 3D objects, either share a web scene that contains a 3D object layer or package and upload the 3D object layer as a scene layer package. You cannot directly publish a 3D object layer as a 3D object web scene layer.

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