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Tips and Tricks


What does the bulge factor in the Fill/Capping surface do?

The bulge factor controls the influence/magnitude of the tangent vector. Lower bulge factors make the surface flatter. Click here for example image.

Does the Fill/Capping surface accept curves as input?

Yes, you can mix curves and surfaces. A curve will impose positional continuity. A surface edge will impose tangent (G1) continuity.

What does the Deep Select tool do?

The deep select tool is used to select objects nested within groups. In addition, the Deep Select tool will automatically show and hide control points of curves.

What is the quickest way to pan the view?

Hold down the SPACE key. This will temporarily select the Dynamic Pan tool (only while SPACE is held), allowing you to pan to the required object. Then release SPACE to return to the previous tool.

Does the mouse scroll wheel do anything special?

The scroll wheel performs a dynamic zoom in or out at the cursor location.

How do I make my curves look smoother?

Concepts vectorizes curves in order to display them to the screen. How much they get vectorized depends on the objects resolution. You can change the object resolution with the Edit:Resolution command located in the menu. You can set the default resolution for curves surfaces or solids in the Preferences dialog located in the File menu bar.

What is the purpose of the data entry window?

The Data Entry Window is used to explicitly create or modify geometry by displaying fields specific to a particular object. For example a circle has four data fields of x,y,z, and d. These fields are accessible with your mouse-cursor by clicking within the box, or by hitting the Tab key to toggle between the boxes. There are three purposes for the data entry window:

1. Create new geometry by typing in values and hitting carriage return.

2. Create new geometry and then modify the data fields.

3. Select geometry (which activates and fills the status line) and modify desired fields.

What kind of expressions can the data entry window process?

You can enter easy, as well as complicated, mathematical expression. You can also type in unit abbreviations to specify a value, enter Angles with degrees, minutes, and seconds, enter X,Y,Z locations, and even radii and diameters. Example expressions handled by the data entry window include:

3" + 2cm




What is the purpose of the Prompt Window?

The Prompt Window is located at the top of the screen, under the title bar. This often overlooked feature tells you what tool your currently in, how you're supposed to use the tool, and, if necessary, shows you other options available of every. It will guide you from the beginning to end. If there are multiple steps to use a tool, the Prompt Window will guide you through each step, one at a time, until you have completed the task. Many of the tools will have option-clicks to let you perform another task on-the-fly, such as creating an arc while you're using the Connected Lines tool, or copying an object while you're using the Move tool.

How do I convert my surface or solids into just wireframe?

Select the object and choose the Change Object Type command from the Edit menu. Select the "to curves" option. You can also have it delete the original as an option. If needed, you can project the curves into a plane with the projection tools under the main tool palette.

If you want hidden lines removed, use the Model to Sheet tool which does this all automatically for you.

What does "is backdrop object" mean in the Object Info dialog box?

Our photo rendering library uses an internal ray-casting optimization method that sub-divides a model's extents into rectangular sub-volumes that are tagged as empty or not-empty.

Very large backdrop objects such as floors or walls can drastically increase the scene's extents volume and reduce the "precision" of the sub-volumes. This may result in longer rendering times. Keep in mind that "large" is relative to the other (important) objects in the scene.

On a related note, you should also turn off shadow casting on backdrop objects that will never cast shadows on other objects in a scene. This will result in better quality shadows and may significantly reduce rendering times.

Are there any options when I use the eye dropper tool?

When using the eye dropper tool, press the control key (option key on Mac) to display a dialog box that allows you to filter what gets copied. The options let you control the line font, color, layer and render material.

Can I show the complete path of a file in the Recent File List?

At the bottom of the File menu, after all other commands, are a list of recently opened files. It is possible to show not only the file names of these recently opened files, but their paths as well. Simply go to File>Preferences and choose Filing in the Category list. Then, in the Recent Files Menu, check the box listed Show Paths. You can also change the maximum number of files listed from the default of 5. With this box checked, press OK, and then click on File again. You will see that the paths of the files now appear at the bottom of the pulldown.

How do I rotate the view about an object instead of the screen center?

Normally the track ball will rotate the view about the center of the screen. To rotate about a specific object, try selecting a single object. You'll see that the center of the selected object becomes the center of rotation.

My Mac DXF files don't read into my CAM program?

When you export your DXF file, be sure to turn on PC line feeds so that MAC unsavy programs can read your ASCII based files.

Why do some surfaces appear black looking?

OpenGL renders a surface relative to its surface normals and light direction. You can automatically flip the normals relative to the light direction by turning on the View:Shade Options:Flip Normal options. This is on by default.

Can I see the display triangles associated with a surface or solid?

Yes, just turn on View:Shade Options:Show Facet Edge option. This is off by default.

Is there a quick way to select all visible objects?

Double click the arrow tool to select all visible objects.


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