Mesh symbols

Mesh symbols draw the features in multipatch layers and 3D object scene layers. These layers must be in the 3D Layers category of a scene to use mesh symbols.

Mesh symbols must contain a single fill symbol layer. You cannot add additional fill symbol layers. Fill symbol layers draw the surfaces of the mesh features. The fill symbol layer can only be of type Material fill when it is applied to 3D object scene layer features, unless the symbol is applied to multipatch features. In this case, the fill symbol layer type can be Material fill or Procedural fill. Procedural fill symbol layers rely on a rule package to define the symbol properties. The rule package associated to a procedural fill symbol layer in a mesh symbol must have the @StartRule coded value specify @InMesh annotation, so it can be applied to multipatch geometry.

Optionally, if the fill symbol layer is of type Material fill, the mesh symbol can also contain a single stroke symbol layer to emphasize the edges of 3D object and multipatch features. Stroke symbol layers can only be of type Solid stroke and always draw as 1 pixel wide, but they can vary in color. Unlike stroke symbol layers in other symbols, there are no additional properties that you can set other than the color. The stroke symbol represents the edge of a 3D object feature. You can use the edge to emphasize the shape of an object with one pixel width.

Every 3D object consists of multiple faces, including a back and front side. The threshold angle is the minimum angle between the face normals at which the stroke is drawn, and the default value is 35 degrees. By enabling the Apply threshold angle to both sides of faces option, the stroke is applied to both sides of the face. When this option is checked, the default threshold angle is supplementary to 180 degrees. For example, you can specify a value of 35 degrees or 145 degrees, and the stroke is drawn at the same face because the threshold angle applies to both faces. If your 3D object feature has an acute angle, you can set the threshold higher. To see the stroke on edges with an obtuse angle, set the value lower than the default to ensure an edge is drawn. The threshold angle supports attribute-driven symbology to set the value based on an attribute.

Threshold Angle 5 degreesThreshold Angle 35 degrees

Threshold angle of 5 degrees.

Default threshold angle of 35 degrees.

If you move a layer symbolized with mesh symbols into the 2D Layers category of a scene (or copy it into a map), the features are redrawn with polygon symbols. Conversely, if you drag a multipatch layer from the 2D Layers category to the 3D Layers category of a scene, the features draw with a mesh symbol. When you move a mesh symbol with a procedural fill symbol layer into a 2D context, the procedural rule package is no longer valid because it references a rule package where the @StartRule coded value specifies @InMesh annotation. Choose a rule package with a @StartRule coded value that specifies @InPoly instead. Rule packages are created in ArcGIS CityEngine.

Material fill symbol layers include a material mode to specify how the selected color is applied.

Material mode type


The RGB values of the object are multiplied by the RGB values of the selected color. This is generally the best choice when the object is white or nearly white.


The hue and saturation components of the selected color replace those of the object. The value components of the selected color and the object color are multiplied to obtain the final value component. This is generally the best choice when you want to overlay color to an already colored object.


The texture and color of the object are fully replaced by the selected color.

Mesh symbol basic properties

Mesh symbols have only one basic property, Color. This property is defined in the Format Symbol mode of the Symbology pane, on the Properties tab, on the Symbol tab Symbol. This is a shortcut to defining the color on the symbol layer. The color applies only when the symbol layer is color unlocked.