Selection | Creation | Overlay | Openings | Color | Editing | Orientations | Viewing
Working Orientations Tools
Underlying most tools in the DesignWorkshop interface is the 3D crosshair, moved around in space by moving the mouse. Moving the mouse around on the table top moves the crosshair around in a plane (the "mouse plane"). That plane is moved up and down in space by holding down the Option key (the Alt key for Windows) while dragging ("option-dragging"). Since you can press or release the Option key (the Alt key for Windows) at any moment while dragging, the interaction of regular dragging and option-dragging allows free control of the 3D crosshair in space.
By default, most of the time DesignWorkshop is in one working orientation, with the mouse-to-3D relationship just described. However, the alignment of the crosshair to the model world can be adjusted, much as the protractor head of a mechanical drafting machine can be rotated to various alignments. There are many more possible alignments in 3D space than on an inherently 2D drafting machine. In DesignWorkshop these possible alignments have been collected into four working orientation modes: plan, south elevation, east elevation, and arbitrary. The first three orientations are all "orthogonal", or aligned normally to north/south, east/west, and up/down, the major axes of the world coordinate system. The fourth, the arbitrary working orientation can be moved and rotated to any position and alignment in space. The distinction between these working orientations is which of the major planes in space is parallel to the mouse plane, or, to put it in alternate terms, which of the three main directions in space is the option-drag, Z-axis direction.
We call the angular relationship of the crosshair (and mouse) coordinate system to the world coordinate system the "working orientation", so that in the standard mode, when plain dragging moves the crosshair around horizontally, you are in the "plan working orientation". In the plan working orientation, option-dragging moves the crosshair vertically.
In the two elevation working orientations, plain dragging moves the mouse around in a vertical, or elevation, plane in the modeling world. Option-dragging in an elevation working orientation moves the drawing plane horizontally, east-west or north-south, depending on which elevation orientation is used.
These three orientation icons allow instant switching between common orientations. They allow you to switch quickly between drawing in plan and drawing in one or another elevation, while continuing to view your model in realistic perspective.
There is also an interaction between certain views and the three normal working orientations. When you work in one of the five built-in orthographic views (plan view plus the four elevation views) the working orientation is set automatically to match.
The fourth working orientation mode, called the "arbitrary working orientation", goes beyond switching between horizontal and vertical and allows you to rotate the working axes to align to any plane or direction in space, and to translate the origin of the crosshair coordinate system to a different height or depth in space.
For speed and easy accuracy, the arbitrary working orientation can be set with a double-click to match an existing object or object face. There is also an "arbitrary working orientation adjuster" that can be moved or rotated manually, for maximum versatility. (See the description of the Working Orientation menu item for details.)
Finally, either of the elevation orientations can be activated on top of the arbitrary working orientation, to put the 3D crosshair in a perpendicular plane based not on the normal world, but on the current base arbitrary orientation.
To give you extra visual feedback about the current orientation, on a color display the two crosshair axes in the mouse plane are shown in light blue, and the third axis, for the option-drag direction, is shown in light red.
Plan Working Orientation
For drawing in horizontal planes, with the height controlled by option-dragging. This is the normal, default mode, used more than any other, and it is also the easiest to learn and use.
Projection lines are drawn on the ground plane, at zero elevation.
South Elevation Working Orientation
For drawing in north/south facing planes, with the north/south depth controlled by option-dragging.
Projection lines are drawn on the east/west vertical reference plane, as well as onto the ground plane.
East Elevation Working Orientation
For drawing in east/west facing planes, with the east/west depth controlled by option-dragging.
Projection lines are drawn on the north/south vertical reference plane, as well as onto the ground plane.
Arbitrary Working Orientation
For drawing in any orientation plane or direction. Double-click this icon with no objects selected, then drag on the bold adjuster crosshair in space to align the working orientation at any angle and location. Drag on the center of the adjuster to move the center of the coordinate system, and drag on the tip handles to rotate the axes in any direction. (Double-clicking this icon with no objects selected is equivalent to the Layout menu Working Orientations > Adjust Orientations command).
The default arbitrary working orientation is rotated 45 degrees from the normal compass directions. This default orientation can be restored with the Layout menu Working Orientations > Set to Default command.
Double-click the arbitrary working orientation icon with an object selected to set the working orientation to match that object. (Double-clicking this icon with one object selected is equivalent to the Layout menu Working Orientations > Set to Object command).
Double-click the arbitrary working orientation icon with a face selected to set the working orientation to match a face, with the mouse plane parallel to the face and the option-dragging direction perpendicular to the face. (Double-clicking this icon with an object face selected is equivalent to the Layout menu Working Orientations > Set to Face command).