Creating a TIN Surface


A TIN surface comprises the triangles that form a triangulated irregular network.

TIN lines form the triangles that make up the surface triangulation. To create TIN lines, AutoCAD Civil 3D connects the surface points that are closest together. The elevation of any point in the surface is defined by interpolating the elevations of the vertices of the triangles that the point lies in.

TIN surfaces are most useful for:

TIN surfaces generally take longer to build and require more disk space than grid surfaces.

When AutoCAD Civil 3D creates a TIN surface from point data, it computes the Delaunay triangulation of the points. With Delaunay triangulation, no point lies inside the circle determined by the vertices of any triangle.

Breakline data (from breaklines, contours, or boundaries) influences how the surface is triangulated. A breakline edge between the points causes the program to connect these points with a triangle edge in the TIN, even if doing so violates the Delaunay property.

A TIN surface with contour lines:

Tutorial Exercise: Creating a New TIN Surface

To create a TIN surface

  1. Click Home tabCreate Ground Data panelSurfaces drop-downCreate Surface.At the Command prompt, enter CreateSurface.

    In the Create Surface dialog box, in the Type list, select TIN Surface.

  2. Click to select a layer. For more information about layers, see Object Layer Dialog Box.

    If you do not select a layer, the surface is placed on the current layer.

  3. In the properties grid, click the Value column for the Name property and enter a name for the surface.

    To name the surface, click its default name and enter a new name, or use the Name Template. For more information, see Name Template Dialog Box.

  4. To change the style for the surface, click the Style property in the properties grid and click in the Value column.

    The Select Surface Style dialog box is displayed. For more information, see Surface Styles and Display.

  5. To change the render material for the surface, click the Render Material property in the properties grid and click in the Value column.

    The Select Render Material dialog box is displayed. For more information, see Assigning Render Materials to Objects

  6. Click OK to create the surface.

    The surface name is displayed under the Surfaces collection in the Prospector tree. For information about adding data to the surface, see Adding and Editing Surface Data.


Home tab Create Ground Data panel Surfaces drop-down Create Surface


Surfaces menu Create Surface

Toolspace Context Menu

Prospector tab: right-click SurfacesCreate Surface

Command Line


Dialog Box