(Illustration by Guy Lawrence for ENR)

Even as designers and builders find more and more uses for digital 3D models, they are seeking easier ways to create them, particularly when starting from 2D plans. Graphisoft, the Budapest, Hungary-based maker of ArchiCAD, a parametric, 3D object-based modeler, is bringing out a plug-in that automates the conversion of 2D CAD plans, or even imperfectly scanned drawings, into ArchiCAD models.

Plan2Model works by recognizing line patterns as the objects they represent. When prompted to translate, the program collects those objects from its library of features and draws them together almost instantly into a model. The add-on is being introduced at $800 and is shipping in April. Information is at www.graphisoft.com.