Using Compass Menus in SDS Modeling

The context sensitive control bar allows you to easily access any subdivision object specific tool. Just select a subdivision object and the control bar shows you the tools, which can be applied to the selected subdivision objects.

However, clicking buttons in the toolbar is not the most productive way to access tools in Realsoft 3D.

The compass menus provide a much faster interface to most modeling tools. Compass menus are context sensitive just like the control bar. In other words, the structure of the compass menu depends on the selected objects. For example, when you select an edge, the compass menu shows you the edge specific tools.

Compass menus are also completely user customizable. You can define any number of compass menus and bind them to any key or key combination. This makes compass menus a very powerful interface to access frequently needed tools.

This chapter demonstrates how the compass menus can be used to increase the productivity in subdivision modeling.

Another coffee cup

Let's create another coffee cup. This time we will use a slightly different approach.

Tutorial level: Beginner

Example project: 'tutorprojects/modeling/sds/cupcreatedin20s'

1. Create a subdivision cube, select it and select the near east compass menu.

This switches the SDS object to edge editing mode.

Switch to the edge editing mode by selecting the 'near east' menu
Mouse moved over an edge handle

2. Move the mouse over one of the vertical edges. The edge in question is highlighted and the cursor is changed to indicate that the mouse really hits the edge in question. Click the edge to select it.

Now select the near north menu. This activates the 'Bevel' tool and starts beveling.

Select an edge and start the Bevel tool
The edge beveled

You only have to move the mouse up/down to control the beveling size. Bevel the edge so that the size of the beveling corresponds to the thickness of the handle to be created. This creates a new face into the cube.

3. Switch to the face mode.

The near southeast compass menu switches to face editing

Again, you can use the Edit field in the tool control bar. The same can be accomplished by selecting the near southeast compass menu.

4. Move the mouse over the face so that the face gets highlighted and the cursor is changed. Click to select the face. Then select the near northwest compass menu. Move the mouse up/down to control the level of extrusion.

Select the near northwest compass menu to activate the extrude tool

Extrude a tentacle and subdivide the side faces of the tentacle

Next we have to drill a hole through the extruded handle tentacle.

5. Select both side faces of the extruded handle tentacle (select the first side face, rotate the view to the opposite side, hold down the Shift key and click the other side face).

Now, subdivide the selected faces by activating the 'Subdivide' tool from the tool control bar and by entering two points through the view window.

As a result of subdivision, the newly created inner faces become selected. The only thing you have to do is to apply the 'Tunnel' tool to the selected faces.

To do this, select the far northwest compass menu.

Create a hole through the handle using the Tunnel tool

6. Rotate the view downwards to see the bottom face of the cup. Select it and apply the 'Subdivide' tool to get a flat and stable base for the cup.

7. Rotate the view upwards, select the top face and apply 'Subdivide' to achieve a smaller inner face.

8. Activate 'Extrude' using the compass menu and extrude the inner top face inside the cup to make the cup hollow.

Subdivide the top and bottom faces and extrude the inner top face inside the cup

If you practice this tutorial a couple of times, you will be able to model the cup in less than 20 seconds!