Creating Models and manipulating them


In this section we will create a box primitives. There are two ways to create primitives; a long way, and a short way. The long way will be used to create the box, in this section. The short way for the sphere, in the next section

Creating the node: In the tool panel on the left of the screen, you should see a tab at the top called Scene. This tab should be active. Below it, you should see two buttons, one called Choose model, the other called Scene graph. Press the Scene graph button. The Scene graph window should appear. Click the New button at the top left of the scene window. A menu will appear. Choose Blank model. You will be prompted for a name. Type Box. Press enter, or click the OK button. A node called Box will appear in the scene graph area of the scene window. Double click it to edit it. (You can also single-click it, and then press the Edit button on the left of the Scene graph window to achieve the same thing) You may now close the scene graph window.

Creating the box primitive: In the left panel in the main window, a new tab called Prim will have appeared. Click this tab to bring up the primitive tools. Click the Box button. The Prim tab will have been replace by a tab called Mesh. A new tab called Box will appear and be selected automatically. In it you will find the parameters for the box tool. Change them if you wish. A box will have appeared in the viewport, along with a red, green, and blue manipulator. In the tool panel, you should see options for the box tool. These are: the number of divisions in X, Y, and Z axes, the size, the position, and 6 check boxes which can turn the faces of the box on and off. Finally, at the bottom, there is a Done button, which will dismiss the tool. This can also be activated using the \ key. We want to move the box 50 units to the left. To do this, enter -50 into the X position entry box, and press Enter. The box should move. Dismiss the box tool using the Done button, or the \ key.


Click the Create menu in the menu bar at the top, and choose Sphere. This will create a new node for the sphere model. This creates the node (what you did in the scene graph window in the previous section), and activates the sphere primitive tool. You should now see three tabs in the tool panel; Scene, Mesh, and Sphere. The Sphere tab should be active. A sphere will have appeared in the viewport, in addition to the box.

Moving the sphere using the manipulator

With the Sphere tool still active from the last section, you should see a sphere in the viewport. At the centre of the sphere, you should see a manipulator with long red, green, and blue handles, smaller yellow, cyan, and magenta corner handles. You may move the sphere by pressing and holding the left mouse button in the viewport, and dragging. Moving the pointer over the manipulator while the button is not held will cause the manipulator handles to highlight as the pointer passes over them. Starting your click-drag on the red, green, or blue handles will constrain the motion of the sphere to the X, Y, and Z axes respectively. Starting on the yellow, cyan, or magenta handles will constrain motion to the XY, YZ, and XZ planes respectively. Starting anywhere else in the viewport will produce unconstrained motion.

Grid snapping: Holding <shift>, <control>, or <shift>+<control> while dragging will snap the position to points on a grid. The size of the grid depends upon which key combination is held, and the snap settings. The snap settings are accessible via the snap settings button in the toolbar (its the one with the blue grid). Clicking the snap settings button will cause the snap settings to pop up, from which you can control the snap sizes for distance/position, scale/fraction, and angle/rotation, for the various key combinations.

Use the manipulator, with grid snapping if you wish, to move the sphere 50 units to the right. You may also enter 50 into the X position entry.

Rotating the box

Click the Scene tab at the top of the tool panel. Now click the Choose model button (default shortcut: <control>-space). A new tab will have appeared, titled Choose model. This allows you to pick a different model to edit. Click on the box. The box will now become the current model. Dismiss the Choose model tool with the Done button. (Or the \ key)

Click the Mesh tab at the top of the tool panel. There are four buttons at the top of the mesh panel. These allow you to choose which component type you wish to edit. They are for (from left to right) vertex mode, edge mode, face mode, and body mode. Click the body mode button. In the Transformations/Deformations section, you will find the Rotate button. If you click the right mouse button in the viewport, the context menu will appear. The Deformations sub-menu will contain a Rotate item for the rotate tool. Use either the Rotate button in the tool panel, or the context menu to activate the rotate tool. The rotate tool parameters will appear in a new tab in the tool panel, and a rotation manipulator will appear in the viewport. The red, green, and blue rings allow you to rotate around fixed axes. You can rotate the shiny blue transparent sphere part of the manipulator by dragging it. Dragging anywhere else in the viewport results in a free-hand rotation. Once again, grid snapping can be used by holding <shift>, <control>, or <shift>+<control>. Rotate the box until you are happy.

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