Solid Assembler Documentation

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The Solid Assembler product is currently in alpha development stage, which means that it is still under development and many features are not fully tested. The documentation provided here is therefore preliminary and often incomplete, as many features and/or interface will probably change in the future.

Contents

Setting up toolbars and dialogs

On first startup the Solid Assembler starts with most commonly used toolbars and dialogs displayed. What toolbars and dialogs are displayed in the Solid Assemblers user interface can be customized through View->Toolbars and View->Dialogbars menu, or using Toolbars & Dialobars control Toolbar Image:SA_ToolbarsAndDialogsToolbar.png.

Scene/View Navigation

Use the View Navigation Toolbar Image:SA ViewNavigationToolbar.png to navigate the scene and move the scene object using the mouse. You can also use keyboard shorcuts for navigation and object positioning. Use the Customize Shortcuts Keys Dialog to find out what keyboard key is mapped to what action. By default the WASD and arrow keys are mapped to movement/pan in the scene, the Insert, Home, PageUp, End keys are mapped to rotation.

Adding new objects to scene

The Object Library Dialog
The Object Library Dialog
The Solid Assembler allows to add four basic primitive shapes to the scane: a Box, Sphere, Cone or Torus. Use the Add Objects Toolbar Image:SA_AddObjectsToolbar.png to initiate adding new objects. After choosing desired object type on the toolbar to add - a dialog box will be displayed which allows to change the parameters of the shape-to-be-added (for example size of box). Objects can be then added into the scene by clicking left mouse button with mouse pointer pointing on the position where the object is supposed to be added to the scene.

Objects from the object library can also be be added to scene by dragging them from the object library dialog window into the scene view.

Selecting objects

In most interaction modes a single scene object can be selected usually by simply clicking left mouse button while the mouse pointer is pointing on the scene object. You can add additional object to selection by holding Ctrl key and clicking on another object. If you want to select many objects by mouse you can choose Select interaction mode on the View Navigation Toolbar (see above) or press '1' key on keyboard. Then left-click and hold mouse left button while dragging mouse to select view area - and release the left button to finishing the area selection. After releasing the button all objects intersecting the selected area will be selected.

You can choose how the selected objects will be highlighted using the Selected Objects Display Options Toolbar Image:SA_SelectedObjectsDisplayOptionsToolbar.png.

Grouping and ungrouping objects

Use the Grouping Toolbar Image:SA_GroupingToolbar.png to group or ungroup set of objects. The toolbar also provides flattening the objects hierarchy within a group to "all objects belong to one parent" hierarchy, and a mode for editing objects position withing selected group.

Positioning objects

The Object Position Dialog.
The Object Position Dialog.
Solid Assembler provides tools for exact positioning of objects. One of the tools is the Object Position Dialog, the second is the Object Positioning Helpers Toolbar Image:SA_ObjectPositioningHelpersToolbar.png.

The Object Position Dialog allows to specify object's position and rotation by typing their values into the dialog. To use the dialog you must first select a single object which position you want to change.

The Object Positioning Helpers Toolbar can be used to position objects relative to each other. The toolbar allows to define control and auxiliary points on the objects and then for example move an object so a control point defined on it moves exactly to position of auxiliary point defined on another object. This for example allows to move a cube so one of it's corner points matches corner point of other cube.

Using constructive solid geometry to combine objects

One of the most powerful Solid Assembler's features are it's Constructive Solid Geometry capabilities. Use the Constructive Solid Geometry Toolbar Image:SA_CSGToolbar.png to select and confirm the CSG operations.

To union objects ...

  1. select two or more objects
  2. click the Union button on the toolbar.

To subtract or intersect objects ...

  1. select one object
  2. click on one of the Subtract or on Intersect button on the CSG toolbar - depending on what CSG operation you want to perform
  3. move the object using mouse, keyboard, or other object positioning tool (see above sections) to desired position
  4. click the Confirm CSG Operation button on the toolbar to confirm the CSG operation

To cancel the Constructive Solid Geometry mode click on the selected (subtract or intersect) CSG toolbar button again.

Editing objects

Use the Shape Edit Toolbar Image:SA_ShapeEditToolbar.png to edit object's shape - such as moving object's vertex or to round object's edge. The shape edit mode must be turned on by the Shape Edit Mode on/off toolbar button. Use the same button to quit the object shape editing mode after you are done editing the object's shape.

Moving object's vertex position

  1. click on the Edit Vertex Position Mode toolbar button
  2. select the object which's vertex you want to edit
  3. in either Select or Pan interaction mode click on the object vertex you want to edit to select the vertex
  4. in the Pan interaction mode move the vertex by dragging it to desired position using the mouse

Rounding an edge

The Rounding Properties Dialogbar
The Rounding Properties Dialogbar
  1. click on the Select button on the View Navigation Toolbar
  2. select object's edges you want to round by clicking on them. Multiple edges can be selected by holding Ctrl key while clicking on desired edges. You can also use the Edge Select Mode tool from the Edi Object Toolbar to select a continuous edge.
  3. use the Rounding Properties Dialogbar to select the rounding properties
  4. click on the Round button on the Rounding Properties Dialogbar to round selected edges.

Removing object's edge

  1. click on the Select button on the View Navigation Toolbar
  2. select on object's edge which you want to delete by clicking on it.
  3. while holding Ctrl keyboard key click on one of the selected edge's vertexes to add it to selection.
  4. press the Delete edge button on the Shape Edit Toolbar. Selected edge and point will be deleted and all triangles sharing the selected point will be updated to use the selected edge's other point.

Raytracing scene view using POV-Ray

The Solid Assembler can use POV-Ray 3.6 to raytrace/render the current scene view. POV-Ray is a retracying program available for free at http://www.povray.org/, please install it if you want to use it with the Solid Assembler.

Use the Render Toolbar Image:SA_RenderToolbar.png to call POV-Ray to render the current scene view.

See Also

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