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Viewing Tools


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Eye Tool

Move viewer's position in world around the center of interest. Dragging with the Eye tool is the equivalent of looking at one spot while moving horizontally and/or vertically around the spot, from some distance away. Option-drag the mouse to move closer into or farther out from the center of interest. This is the equivalent of walking closer to and farther away from the spot you're looking at.

When in perspective view, double-clicking the Eye tool icon moves the eye point in or out from the center of interest of the scene, without changing the viewing direction, far enough so that all the visible objects in the model can be seen in the viewing window. We call this an "eye-all" to distinguish it from a "zoom-all". Eye-all changes the eye location in 3D to make all objects visible within the standard angle of view. In perspective views, the 2D zoom-all effectively widens the angle of view, showing all objects without moving the eye position.

With the Command key (the Control key for Windows) held down, the Eye tool gives you a 3D crosshair, so you can place the eye point at an exact location in the model space. While holding down the Command key, move the mouse, using the Option key (the Alt key for Windows) in addition as necessary, until the 3D crosshair is in the desired new location for the eye point. Then, still holding down the Command key, click to place the eye point there.

(Note: When placing both the eye point and the look point with the 3D crosshair, it generally turns out to be less confusing to place the new look point first, and then the new eye point.)

The Eye and Look tools also activate eye-point and look-point nudging with the arrow keys. Typing the arrow keys while the Eye tool is active moves the eye position. The sensitivity of this "eye nudging" is controlled by a Preferences setting. When in the Eye tool, option-up-arrow and option-down-arrow move the eye closer in toward or farther out from the center of interest. Eye-nudging is useful for fine-tuning views and for setting up evenly spaced saved views for walkthrough animation.

While the Eye tool is active, the first three fields of the location bar display the world coordinates of the current eye location. The eye location can also be set numerically by typing values into the Location Bar (in absolute coordinates). For instance, while in the eye tool, you can type "z" to enter the location bar, then type "5" to set the eye height to 5', and then type return for this to take effect.

If you repeat this for the look tool, you will quickly set up a precise two point perspective. Two point perspective is useful for minimizing distortion and "jaggies" due to perspective effects in a vertical direction.

The View menu Set View command saves the current eye point under a user-defined name, and adds that name to the bottom of the View menu for easy access.

Look Tool

Drag to move the center of interest ("look point") around the viewer's position. This is the equivalent of standing still in one place, and turning your head around to look in different directions.

The Look point itself is also the center of rotation when moving around with the Eye tool. To set the look point to the center of the model, double-click on the Look tool icon. If you happen to get "lost in space", you can use the View menu Initial View command to get back to a default view of the model space.

When the Command key (the Control key for Windows) is held down, the Look tool gives you a 3D crosshair to place the look point at an exact location in the model space. To do this, select the Look tool, and, while holding down the Command key, move the mouse, also using the Option key (the Alt key for Windows) as necessary, until the 3D crosshair is in the desired new location for the look point. Then, still holding down the Command key, click to place the look point there. (Note: When placing both the eye point and the look point with the 3D crosshair, it is generally less confusing to place the new look point first, and then the new eye point.)

The Look tool also activates look-point nudging with the arrow keys. When the Look tool is selected, option-up-arrow and option-down-arrow move the center of interest closer in toward or farther out from the eye location.

Eye and Look tool nudging is especially helpful for getting views at regular intervals to save for defining a walkthrough sequence.

Walk Tool

When in Lights and Textures rendering, the Look Tool changes to the Walk Tool. This tool allows for easy, real-time, interactive walkthroughs of your model.

The Walk Tool can be used with either the mouse or arrow keys. To walk forward with the mouse, simply click and hold the mouse button, and drag the mouse up. To walk backward, click and drag the mouse down. To look left or right, click and drag the mouse in the desired direction. To look up or down, hold the Option key (the Alt key for Windows) as you click and drag the mouse up or down.

A similar process is used for the arrow keys. To walk forward push the up arrow. To walk back, puch the down arrow. To turn to the left or right, push the left or right arrow. To look up or down, hold the Option key (the Alt key for Windows) and push the up or down arrow key.

2D Viewing Tools

The 2D viewing tools enlarge or shrink the model view in the current window without changing the 3D view characteristics. For orthographic (plan, elevations) and axonometric views, the 2D viewing tools work just like the zoom tools in most Macintosh drafting software. For perspective views, the 2D viewing tools have the effect of changing the effective angle-of-view, by fitting a wider or narrower swath of the current scene into the document window. You can always get right back to a standard zoom, and a standard angle-of-view, by clicking once on the Zoom Percentage icon.

Zoom Percentage

Shows the current 2D zoom factor. For perspective views, 100% corresponds to a normal view with a moderate angle-of-view.

Clicking on the Zoom Percentage field zooms the view in or out to 100%. Double-clicking in the field selects the current zoom value, and then typing a new percentage value, followed by Return, sets a specific zoom percentage.

Zoom-Out Tool

Zooms out in the current view (without changing the three-dimensional view projection), showing more of the model in the same window. Click once to zoom out by a factor of two (e.g., from 100% to 50%).

Double-click on the zoom out tool to "zoom all" (zoom in or out so that the objects in the scene just fill the window).

Zooming out from a perspective has the effect of increasing the angle of view, similar to a "wide-angle-lens" effect. Double-clicking Zoom-out in a perspective view will cause the angle of view to be adjusted two-dimensionally so the whole visible model fills the viewing window. Zooming out when close in to or even inside a model, will quickly create a very wide-angle, and therefore very distorted, view. A single click on the Zoom Percentage icon will restore the view to a normal angle of view. (See also Eye tool, for the related 3D view transformation.)

Zoom-In Tool

Zooms in to the current view (without changing the 3D view projection), showing a smaller portion of the scene at a larger scale, in the same window. Click in the window to zoom in around that point by a factor of two. Drag a rectangle in the model window to zoom in two-dimensionally on a specific portion of the scene. You can zoom in repeatedly.

Note: When zoomed in, two-dimensional panning is provided by normal Macintosh-style scroll bars on the document window. See the DesignWorkshop Window section for details. Panning is not available when the zoom percentage is 100% or less.


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