Default User Interface

When you start the program, the default user interface is loaded from the startup project. The default interface consists of the following elements:


Tabbed Toolbar

The Toolbar allows you to activate such things as the creation and modification tools, as well as many others. The default configuration shows a 'tabbed' toolbar, with tool icons grouped under several tabs like SDS, Creation, Light Sources, and so on. You can hide/show the toolbar by clicking the header area at the top left corner of the toolbar.

Control Bar

The Control Bar is located right below the Toolbar. The control bar is context sensitive. When you select a tool (the Rectangle tool, for instance), the control bar contains the set of modifiers that are relevant to that tool. If you activate the Rectangle tool, valid rectangle-specific options are shown.

Rectangle tool selected. The control bar automatically shows the tool-specific controls

The Control Bar always shows options that are related to the action the user is currently performing. Therefore, its contents change frequently, and adapt to the workflow.

The Control Bar contain more tools than may fit into your screen. However, you can scroll the toolbar with the mouse wheel or by dragging it with the right mouse button while holding down the Ctrl key.

View Control Bar

The View Control Bar is a tall and narrow vertical window, located near the right edge of the main window. It allows you to control the view orientation, and other options specific to View Windows.

For example, the View Control Bar contains buttons for switching between Front/Side/Top views, activating different rendering methods, and rotating, zooming, and panning a view.

[Note] Note
Clicking the Front, Side and Top button while holding the Shift down will switch the view into the opposite direction.

The View Control Bar can be scrolled in the same way as the Toolbar if all the controls do not fit into the screen area.

Select Window

The Select Window is located near the left edge of the main window. It allows you to select objects based on their names. When working with large projects, this window is extremely useful for selecting all types of objects, from geometric ones to light sources and material maps. Through its various tabs, the Select window also allows you to manage such things as materials, rendering settings, post effects, and so on.

The Select Window

The Select Window allows you to manage the object hierarchy using a drag&drop interface. For example, you can drag one object inside another 'level' object. A drag box can be used for multi-selecting objects. You can also multi-select objects by holding down the Shift key while clicking objects.

If there are more objects than fit into the window, you can scroll the contents of the select window in the same way you can scroll the toolbar: just hold down the Ctrl key while dragging with the right mouse button.

View Window

The View Window is perhaps one of the most often needed windows. It renders geometric 3D objects using various rendering methods, such as wire frame, shaded OpenGL, or ray tracing. You can enter 3D data through the View Window using mouse or some other input device, such as a digital tablet.

To Pan a view window (scroll it): Ctrl + drag right mouse.

Zoom a view window: Shift + drag right mouse vertically

To Rotate a view window: Alt + drag right mouse.

View in Shaded OpenGL mode

Status Window

The Status Window is where the program prints out messages and other feedback.

Status window

In addition to these, there are several other windows included with the standard startup project. You can open any of these windows through the View pull down menu.

Compass Menus

View window also support special purpose menus called Compass Menus. They are context sensitive. The contents of the compass are usually set to include those functions that are most likely needed in each situation. For example, if a curve object is selected, the compass menu includes the most frequently needed curve editing functions.

You access a Compass Menu by dragging the right mouse button in the view window. Where you drag, the mouse determines which compass menu is displayed. When you have moved the mouse more than a certain threshold distance, the compass menu is opened.

Drag with the right mouse button to select far south-east compass menu

For example, to enable the perspective view projection, drag while pressing the right mouse button in the View Window. The compass menu is displayed. Keep moving the mouse until the perspective label is highlighted and release the mouse button.

The big idea behind the compass menus is that your muscles can learn to use them. Selecting functions in this manner can become very fast after some practice, because it is not necessary to watch the menu while using it (unlike when using traditional menus, or buttons where you have to accurately position the mouse pointer over the desired item). Your hand remembers the necessary motions to pick an item.

Compass menus also can be bound to keys. For example, the View window compass menu (shown in the previous illustration) is bound to v key. Holding down the v key while dragging with the right mouse button overrides the default context sensitivity rules, allowing you to access the view specific options whenever you need.

Compass menus are an extremely powerful way to access tools in Realsoft 3D and we strongly suggest you learn to use them.