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Creating a Coffered Ceiling Using the Soffit Tool

Reference Number: KB-00746 Last Updated: 06-12-2014 02:24 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors


QUESTION

I would like a quick way to create a ­coffered ceiling with molding on the beams and cross-beams.



ANSWER

Coffered ceilings feature a pattern of exposed beams or soffits with recessed panels between them.  They are sometimes highly detailed and are used in many architectural styles.

The ­Soffit tool is ideal for creating a wide variety of coffered ceiling patterns and styles.


To create a ceiling ­beam

  1. Select Build> Cabinet> Soffit  from the menu, then click once in the room where you want to create a coffered ceiling to place a soffit.  
     
  2. With the soffit still selected, click the Open Object  edit button to display the Soffit Specification dialog, where you can specify the Width, Height and Depth for your coffer beams.  Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.


  3. In Home Designer Pro, Architectural and Interiors you can add molding profiles to the sides of the soffit by going to the Moldings panel of the Soffit Specification dialog:

    • Click the Add New button to open the Select Library Object dialog.

    • Browse to the Architectural> Moldings category to find a molding profile to apply to the bottom edge of the coffer beam.  Click the profile to select it, then click OK to return to the Soffit Specification dialog.

    • Specify the Offset distance as 0 and then click the radio button beside From Bottom.  This places the selected molding profile along the bottom edge of the beam.

    • If you like, you can also adjust the Height and Width of the molding profile.

    • You can apply as many molding profiles to the sides of the soffit as you would like, adjusting the profile sizes and offset heights as needed so they do not conflict with one another.  As you add profiles, they appear on the preview diagram on the right side of the dialog.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.




  4. Click on the soffit to select it and display its edit handles, then use these edit handles to resize it so it stretches across the room.



  5. Create a Camera  view inside the room to view the soffit in 3D.


  6. If the soffit does not touch the ceiling, click on it to select it and use the Move  edit handle to move the soffit upward until it meets the ceiling.

     

 

While the Camera view is still active, you can experiment with different materials to apply to the coffer beam.  In Home Designer Pro, you can apply different materials to each molding profile applied to the soffit.

To apply materials to the beam

  1. Select 3D> Materials> Material Painter> Component Mode  from the menu.

    In the Select Library Object dialog:

    • Browse the Materials library to find an attractive wood material or color to apply to the soffit.

    • Click on the material to select it, then move your cursor back to your 3D view.  Your cursor displays the Material Painter  icon.

    • Click on the soffit to apply the selected material to it. 


  2. To apply a different material, select Material Painter again and repeat the process.




  3. To make the Material Painter tool inactive, click the Select Objects  button or press the space bar on your keyboard.


  4. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your ceiling beam, select File> Close from the menu or click the  button at the top right of the view window to close the Camera view and return to floor plan view.

 

If you are using Home Designer Architectural, Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors, use the Copy/Paste  edit button to make copies of the soffit outside of the plan, then move them into position.

*For Home Designer Pro instructions, see next section.


To copy/paste ceiling beams

  1. Click on the soffit to select it and use the Move  edit handle to position it directly beside a wall.


  2. With the soffit still selected, click the Copy/Paste edit button, then click on the Sticky  edit tool which allows you to paste as many copies as you like without re-selecting the tool each time.


  3. When you are ready to make the Copy/Paste tool inactive, click the Select Objects  button or press the space bar on your keyboard.


  4. Click on one of the soffits to select it, then press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and move the rotated soffit into the room with the coffered ceiling using the Move  edit handle.


    Note: Holding Ctrl while you reposition an object allows you to override move restrictions caused by the presence of other objects.


  5. To position the soffits precisely, select CAD> Dimension Lines> Manual Dimension  from the menu, then click and drag dimension lines between the soffits forming your coffer beams.

    Use these dimensions as references when moving the soffits into position.


  6. Now you need to create beams running perpendicular to those you just created.  Select one of the soffits copied outside the plan and use the Rotate  edit handle to rotate it 90 degrees.





  7. Use the Move  edit handle to move this rotated soffit into the interior of the plan, pressing the Ctrl key as described in step 4 above, and then use the edit handles to stretch the soffit across the room.


  8. With the rotated soffit still selected, double-click the Copy/Paste  edit button, then click in an empty space outside of your plan to create copies of this soffit, as described in step 2, above.


  9. Press the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then move the rotated soffits into the room with the coffered ceiling using the Move  edit handle and the Ctrl key. 

Create a Camera  view of the room to see your results.



In Home Designer Pro, you can use the Transform/Replicate Object dialog to quickly copy and place your customized ceiling beams at regular intervals.


To copy ceiling beams using Transform/Replicate in Home Designer Pro

  1. Click on the soffit to select it and use the Move  edit handle to position it directly beside a wall.


  2. With the soffit selected, click the Transform/Replicate Object .


  3. In the Transform/Replicate Object dialog:

    • Check the box beside Copy and specify the number of copies you would like to create.

    • Check the box beside Move and specify the intervals at which you would like these copies to be replicated. 

      • Type this distance in the X Delta field if you would like the copies to replicate to the left or right on your monitor (use a negative number to replicate to the left).

      • Type this distance in the Y Delta field if you would like the copies to replicate up or down (use a negative number to replicate downward).



    • Click OK to close the dialog and create the specified copies. 


  4. Now you need to create beams running perpendicular to those you just created.  Select one of the soffits and click the Copy/Paste  edit button.  Click outside of the plan to create a copy in an open space, then use the Rotate  edit handle to rotate it 90 degrees.


  5. Press the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then move the rotated soffit into the room with the coffered ceiling using the Move  edit handle.  Pressing Ctrl while you reposition an object allows you to override move restrictions caused by the presence of other objects.



  6. Use the edit handles to resize this rotated soffit so that it reaches across the room.  Again, press the Ctrl key on your keyboard if the other soffits interfere with the resizing.


  7. With this soffit selected, click the click the Transform/Replicate Object  edit button and repeat the process described in step 3, above.