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3D shapes. How to draw the plan, side and front elevations of a 3D shape.

Updated on September 29, 2011

Given a 3D shape drawn on isometric paper (triangular paper) you could be asked to draw the side elevation, the front elevation or the plan.

The plan view is probably the hardest one to carry out as this is the view you will see if you were looking down onto the shape if you were positioned above the shape. It may also be referred to as the birds-eye view, as a bird flying above the shape would see this view. Satellite pictures are also plan views.

The side and front elevations are the views that you would see of the 3D shape as if you were standing on the ground. The directions of the side and front elevations will be marked on exam questions as these can be switched around.

The easiest way to draw the plan, side and front elevation is to colour in the faces of the squares that you would see on the 3D shape from each direction. So if you were drawing the plan view then shade in all pf the faces that you were see from above the 3D shape. This will make it much easier to draw each elevation. Alternatively, if you have some cubes you could build the exact shape, however, this will be probably not be allowed during a test situation.

Example

Here is a 3D shape drawn on isometric paper. Draw the plan, side and front elevations.

Let’s start with the plan view. The plan view is what you would see if you were looking downwards from above the shape. So all you would see is a 4 by 3 rectangle.

Next do the front elevation. Shade in all the squares that you would see if you were looking from the front of the shape. Again, you would see a 4 by 3 rectangle.

Finally, let’s do the side elevation. Shade in all the squares as if you were looking from the side of the 3D shape. This time you will see a 3 by 2 rectangle, with a square on the top left hand side of the rectangle.

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  • kschimmel profile image

    Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

    Nicely illustrated! I always enjoyed this kind of drawing.

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