Work with 3D object feature 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 do the following with a 3D object feature layer:

  • Modify a 3D object feature layer using editing tools.
  • Edit 3D object features directly by accessing the model files.
  • Symbolize a 3D object feature layer.
  • Analyze a 3D object feature layer.
  • Share a 3D object feature layer.

Modify a 3D object feature layer using editing tools

Once 3D object features are created in a 3D object feature layer, you can modify them in the same way you modify multipatch features. 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 object features directly by accessing the model files

When 3D object feature classes are stored in a file geodatabase, you can find the source model file for each feature using Windows File Explorer.

  1. Enable the Windows Projected File System to expose the 3D Object folder in the top level of the Windows home folder.
  2. Browse to the model file for a feature in the layer folder and expand the Object ID subfolder.


    ArcGIS Pro must be open for the 3D Object folder to be available. Do not close the application until updates to the 3D model file have been saved.

  3. Right-click a 3D model file and choose the third-party 3D modeling application to use.

    Choices include Microsoft 3D Builder, Autodesk Maya, and Trimble SketchUp. The third-party application must be installed and licensed.

  4. Make your edits and save the file with the same file name to the original location.

    The map in ArcGIS Pro redraws with the updated model.

  5. Optionally, copy the 3D model file from the 3D Object folder—from the projected file system—to another location if you need more time for editing. After completing your edits, 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 model. The file name of the replacement model must be identical to the original and use the same relative placement of its anchor point.

Symbolize a 3D object feature layer

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

Use attribute-driven symbology to render the 3D objects using other properties of the feature. For example, you can visualize objects using other properties of the feature, such as changing the color of buildings based on their earthquake readiness or current property value.

Analyze a 3D object feature layer

Every 3D object feature 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. Interactive 3D analysis tools that are supported for 3D object layers include Viewshed, Line of Sight, and Slice.

Share a 3D object feature layer

To share a 3D object feature layer using geoprocessing tools, complete the following steps:

  1. Create a scene layer package (.slpk) using the Create 3D Object Scene Layer Package geoprocessing tool.
  2. Use the Share Package geoprocessing tool to publish the scene layer package to ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online.

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