Using Point, Edge and Face Handles

Object handles allow you to apply most of the commonly needed operations simply by dragging the appropriate handle. For example, dragging a point handle allows you to move the selected point.

This tutorial demonstrates how the SDS object specific handles can be used to improve productivity in subdivision modeling.

Face handles

Faces can be selected and moved by simply clicking or dragging the face itself.

All the default handle selection rules also apply to face handles. For example, you can multi-select faces by holding down the Shift key while clicking them. You can use the drag box to select multiple faces in one operation.

The comma (",") key is the depth modifier. By holding down the comma key, you can select faces behind rather than in front. In conjunction with the Shift key, one can select faces in the front AND behind - allowing you to easily select back faces without having to rotate the view. For example, if you want to select the 'ear' faces from the side of a head, simply hold down the comma and the Shift keys while clicking the left mouse button. The first click selects the nearest 'ear' face and the second click selects the face on the other side of the head.

An object sheared by moving a face

Face edge handles

The edges of a face can be used for activating the following face tools:

- drag: move on edge (move face in the direction of the edge)

- drag + Shift: scale face about the edge center

- drag + Alt: rotate face about the edge.

Face normal

Face normal handles are only shown for the selected faces. The face normal handle is always perpendicular to the face.

A face normal handle consists of three separate sub handles:

As you may already know, the face handle allows you to move the face along its normal. We lifted the top face of our coffee cup in the 'create a cup' tutorial with this handle.

The length of the surface normal handle is relative to the size of the face. If you scale the face smaller, also the length of the surface normal handle gets smaller. Correspondingly, by changing the length of the surface normal handle, the size of the face can be changed.

To do this, simply drag the end point of the face normal handle.

Drag the end point of the face normal handle to scale the face

The other end of the surface normal handle i.e. the face center handle allows you to rotate the face.

In most operating systems, you can duplicate files, icons, etc. by holding down the Ctrl key while dragging the icon. In Realsoft 3D, you can do the same with geometric objects; holding down the Ctrl key while moving an object duplicates the object.

In addition to entire objects, this works for faces too. Holding down the Ctrl key while dragging a face normal handle duplicates the face and connects the edges of the copied face to the edges of the original face. In other words, it extrudes the face.

By dragging the end point of a face normal handle (scale handle) with the Ctrl key, you can subdivide the face.

Edge handles

Edges work similar to faces in that they allow easy selection and moving. Simply click or drag the desired edge to select or move it.

Dragging an edge handle while holding down the Ctlr key copies the selected edges and connects the copied edges to the original edges by creating new faces. The new edges are automatically selected and can be readily moved with the mouse. In short, this can be used to 'grow' new faces to selected edges.

A subdivision object before and after the 'copy selected edges' interactor.

Edge normal

When an edge is selected, its edge normal handle is shown. This handle works similar to a face normal handle: it allows you to apply move on normal, rotate and scale operations to the edge.

An edge selected and its edge normal handle shown

Edges cannot be subdivided or extruded. Therefore, Ctrl+normal handle is the same as the normal handle alone, and Ctrl+scale handle is used for beveling.

An edge beveled by dragging the end point of the edge normal while holding down the Ctrl key

Point handles

Four point handles selected

Point handles support most of the features described above. Dragging the actual point allows you to move it freely in 3D space.

When a point handle is selected, it shows its point normal handle.

The point normal handle works similar to the face and edge normal handles. It allows you to move the point along its normal.

You can't rotate or scale point handles because a point does not have a size. Therefore, the end point of a point normal handle always applies the bevel vertex tool.

Selected points beveled by dragging the end point of the point normal handle