InStep Studio


Options for changing the Display: View - Tab

Time to read: ~7 min

The View tab page is where general options in terms of displaying the data can be manipulated. Most items also have a short-cut key option to allow a more fluent interaction with the application and the display of data. The available options are shown below:

Views Tab, section 1 Views Tab, section 2 Views Tab, section 3
Views Tab Page

The behavior of each of these items is discussed in more detail below:

Front View Front View Front View Front View Front View Front View
Standard Views

The Front, Back, Top, Bottom, Right and Left view orientations align the user view with one of the coordinate axes.

Front View Isometric View

The Isometric View aligns the view so that each side of a cube obtains the same projection onto its corresponding axis.

Front View Closest View

The 'Closest' view orientation is a shortcut to align the view with whichever standard view (excluding the isometric view) is the closest to the currently oriented view. This allows the user to roughly orient the graphical content in a desired orientation and to then use the button (or F8 for default shortcut key) to snap the view to the principal orientation.

Orthographic Projection Perspective Projection View Projections

The Perspective and Orthographic projection options can be selected to better represent the graphical components in a way that the user prefers to interact with them. Orthographic projection mode allows relationships between different component's sizes to be better illustrated as their size is not affected by how close to the viewer they are located. On the other hand, the perspective projection mode (default), is closer to what most users are used to seeing in both CAD applications and real life.
It should be noted that the zoom mode works slightly differently between the two modes as they do not have a matching way in which the proximity of the user to the data is accounted for as one works on moving the location of the viewer along the forward axis and the other on modifying the overall scale. Some experimentation to learn about the particulars in working with either mode is encouraged.

Show Faces Show Edges Show Vertices Face/Edge/Point View Toggle

The three graphical elements (Faces, Edges and Vertices/Points) can be individually shown or hidden. They serve different roles in how to show data and different (editing) tools rely on them for creation of new items. In general, if a tool requires that one item is displayed, it will place that item in a visible state. As the InStep viewer portion does not support generalized transparency, it is often useful to toggle the face and edge (or vertex) display on and off to see the interior of bodies or to explain how data is becoming separated or when it experiences intersection issues (perhaps due to multiple bodies occupying the same space).

Show Coordinate Triad Show Origin Unit Marker Show Rotate Center Set Rotate Center Reference Indicators

Under References there are three options to toggle:

  • Coordinate Triad this turns on or off the indicator in the bottom left portion of the viewer that provides a reference to which orientation is currently being shown.
  • Unit Center this item shows a colored set of lines at the origin that each have a length of one unit (depending on the working units being used). This can help in visually relating to the overall size of the data being shown.
  • Rotate Point Toggling this item on shows a point (in pink by default) at the location that is being used as a rotate-around point for the graphical representation during a mouse-rotate motion. This point can be graphically set by simply clicking on a visible item with the middle mouse button.

In addition, there is also a manual option to set the Rotate Center. This brings up a dialog box asking for the coordinates to set the rotate point to.
What is to be mentioned is that the value originally shown in the dialog box is the location where the rotate center is currently located, thus this can be used to quickly get the location of any point selected by means of first setting the rotate point (middle mouse button) and then getting it through this option.

Create Snapshot Snapshot

This option creates a static image from the currently displayed view. It is possible to use this (together with perhaps a white background) to create something like a very basic 'blue-print' of a file by taking a snap-shot and then editing the resultant image in a standard image editor or Office application. Whatever the purpose, this option is essentially the same as using a Print-Screen approach.

Background Settings Backdrop

The Backdrop option allows a custom set of colors to be applied to the background of the data being shown. Colors can be set to the top and bottom (with a linear gradient applied between them) or the colors can be flipped.

Toggle Ambient Lighting Lighting

The Lighting option toggles between a standard illumination mode and one that includes an elevated level of ambient light. The main purpose for including this option is that in some cases, especially when shapes are viewed from the 'inside', surfaces can appear overly dark and faces and edges become difficult to distinguish. This option allows the interior surfaces, which are a dark grey by default, to be displayed in a lighter mode and therefore make the edges more visible. Generally, this should not be necessary, but it may be helpful in cases where the color choices do not allow clear distinction of features.

Create user data Locations

If detailed investigation of shapes, locations and similar are being done, it can be helpful to insert custom geometry without affecting the source data being worked with. The Locations option allows for points, lines and triangles to be inserted without being made part of the data that is being imported/exported. Clicking this button brings up a dialog box where the data can be directly entered (likely through a copy-paste operation).
The button is a toggle-type button and on first clicking it, it will ask for user input. On clicking it again, it will remove previously added items.
The format of the data being added is highly flexible:

Single Points
are added by using a format x1,y1,z1 @ x2,y2,z2 @ xn,yn,zn where the delimiter '@' can be any combination of brackets ( '{','[','(' and '}',']',')' ), line feed characters or similar, standard delimiters such as ';', ':', '/', '|', '\'.
The comma sign ',' and (white-) space characters are used exclusively for defining delimitation between coordinates. Use of both Space and Comma allows users in countries where the comma serves as the decimal delimiter to avoid such issues. In countries where a period ('.') is used as the decimal delimiter, either characters can be used but in either case, the decimal value must follow any localization used by the operating system.
Including lines is accomplished with exactly the same formatting as the points but rather than supplying a triplet of coordinates (x1,y1,z1) for each point, the lines require two coordinate triplets (so {ax,ay,az,bx,by,bz} for a single line going from a point 'a' to a point 'b'). Multiple lines are created in the same way as for the points defined above.
Not surprisingly, triangles follow the same approach as lines but use three coordinate tripplets. Thus { ax,ay,az,bx,by,bz,cx,cy,cz } would define a triangle using the points a,b and c. Multiple triangles can be added in this way too, using the previously mentioned groupings.

This approach should aid in inspecting data by means of inserting specific points, pointers or similar. It is best considered for cases where a specific location may be causing issues (i.e. provided by a different tool that identifies problem locations) as a way to troubleshot those items and perhaps manually re-building or deleting the data.