View Properties

A view window is the most important element of a 3D program. Consequently, a large set of options is available for controlling its operation. These options are collected into the view property window.

The view property window opens from several places:

  • From the view's popup menu 'View Properties...'
  • From the pull down menu 'Windows/View properties'
  • By double clicking a view model object in the select window

The Controls of the view property window are divided into several tabs, described below. The edited view model can be selected using the Auto select option; if the option is enabled, the view that has been clicked last (i.e. has the input focus) will become the editing target. Clearing the 'Auto select' option shows a list of all view models and you can activate the editing target by clicking an item on the list.

Camera frame: This is a standard camera object property gadget. Every view window contains an internal camera object and you can edit its properties here.

Fixed size: If set, the pixel resolution of the view window is determined by the Width and Height fields below this control. If cleared, the resolution is defined by a host container such as a floating window.

Width*Height: The pixel resolution of the view window. These fields control the resolution when the 'Fixed size' option is enabled.

Image aspect: The ratio heigh(pixels)/width(pixels). Changing the value rescales height. Note that the aspect is computed from the plain pixel resolution, and does not take into account the pixel aspect ratio itself (non-square pixels).

Distance: The distance from the camera position to the aimpoint. Aimpoint is the origin of view navigation rotations and the focusing point for depth of field.

Heading: Cameras direction (axis projection) on horizon plane. Heading zero corresponds viewing along the positive z axis. The front view heading is 180 degrees.

Pitching: Camera angle with respect to the horizon plane. Front and side view pitching is thus zero, and top view pitching is 90 degrees.

Banking: Camera's tilt angle.

Locking: View camera's orientation and other 3D space related properties can be locked here. For example, you may want to lock one view of a quadview system to display permanently the front view. Or, you can lock a certain carefully chosen camera setup on a raytrace preview window. This prevents accidental changes on the window after rendering tests when you return back editing the model.

Tracking: Tracking controls define how the view camera should be connected to the currently active camera object in the scene hierarchy. The following alternatives are available:

  • No tracking: View camera is independent of camera objects of the scene.
  • Track animation play: View starts showing the current camera view as soon as the animation playback starts. Tracking is automatically ended when the animation play stops.
  • Track always: Bi-directional tracking. View updates always to show changes in the current camera. Navigating or otherwise changing the view copies the view's camera state to the current camera object in the hierarchy (if such one exists).

Current: Displays the name of the tracked camera object.

Overscan tracking with value 0.75. The white rectangle defines the view area of the the tracked camera

Overscan: Overscan allows you to view slightly larger/smaller area than the actual tracked camera shows. For example, if the overscan is 0.75, the camera view will fill only 75 % of the view window. This may be useful when analyzing visibility of objects that spread their influence, for example glow. Value 1 gives an exact match.


Grid frame includes grid snapping controls. Grid snapping is view specific: each view can use different grid settings.

Grid snap: Activates grid snapping. Mouse input will be rounded to grid units.

Grid draw: Activates grid drawing, which acts as a visual aid in modeling.

Current grid: Selects the grid which will be used for snapping.

Input Plane is a two-dimensional infinite plane in the modeling space, projecting the mouse pointer movements to 3D coordinates.

Hotpoint: A point in space trough which the input plane travels. Defines also the grid origin point: grid snap intervals are computed starting from the hotpoint.

Heading: The projected direction of the input plane normal in the horizon (XZ) plane.

Pitching: The angle between the input plane normal and the horizon plane.

Banking: Tilt angle of the input plane. Banking rotates the grid around the input plane normal.

Lock to camera: If set, the input plane is automatically kept orthogonal to the view camera direction. When the user navigates on the view and rotates the view's camera, the input plane follows the rotation.

Lock to Input Plane: If set, selecting an input plane object or a level containing an input plane from the scene hierarchy automatically sets the input plane. The view updates automatically when the input plane is modified.

Surface input: If set, coordinates inputted from the mouse are projected to underlying object surfaces. For example, you can draw a path following a terrain surface.

Ground plane: Activates drawing of a horizon plane grid (XZ plane trough origin) in perspective view mode. The ground plane helps to keep track of directions when navigating on a view window. Ground plane is not drawn when using a parallel view projection.

[Note] Note
Do not mix the ground plane with visible grids. Ground plane has nothing to do with snapping.

Axes at origin: If set, a coordinate system is drawn at the origin point of the space. Each axis of the coordinate system shows a small label (X, Y or Z). The coordinate system has fixed 3D dimensions, so scaling the view window or moving camera further away from the origin makes it appear smaller, which is a useful visual aid in view navigation.

Axes at corner: Activates drawing of another, smaller direction indicator at the bottom left corner of the view window. This coordinate system is drawn at a fixed position and with a fixed size. Therefore, unlike the origin coordinate system, it remains always visible and available for orientation checking, regardless of view panning and zooming.

Aim point: Turns aimpoint drawing on/off. Aimpoint defines the position in space around which the camera navigates. Therefore, it always appears in the middle of the view window. The aimpoint marker has also 3D space defined size which indicates camera's distance from the aimpoint and zoom scale.

Grid origin: Draws a marker for the origin point of the input plane (sometimes called as the hotpoint). This point is the base point for grid snapping. Most tools measure numerical input from the grid origin in the beginning of interaction. The grid origin marker has a 3D space defined size, meaning that it shrinks and expands when the view camera is zoomed or moved.

Name Label: If enabled, the name of the view model is drawn on the top left corner of the view window. This is useful for direction locked views, which can show the name of the projected direction (front/top/side). Also other kind of view windows can inform the user via the label option: a preview window can be labeled as 'Click me to render'.

Ruler: If enabled, a line segment indicating a distance interval is shown on the top left corner of the view. The length of the line is also printed using the distance unit selected from File/Preferences window. The ruler helps to understand the current scale of the scene. It is especially useful in conjunction with a visual grid.

The cruising controls are available for 'vehicle like' navigation in 3D space. Cruising behavior is controlled with a set of coefficients which describe the properties of surrounding space/matter (vacuum, air, water etc.) and the aerodynamical properties of the 'virtual vehicle'. The friction factors combine the space and aerodynamics properties. The higher a factor, the harder the surrounding matter resists the respective motion component. All these factors use a relative scale so that factor 1 gives a good default behavior.

Rotational friction: Defines how the surrounding space resists rotations around vehicle axes. The first factor is the friction of the rotation around vehicle's 'up' axis (heading), second factor is friction against pitching type rotation and the last factor is the banking friction.

Velocity friction: Friction factors for movements along the three main axes: sideways, up/down and forward/backward. A dart has factors like (1, 1, 0.1). A thin metal plate in water has two almost zero factors and one factor which is very high: (0.1, 0.1, 10). A car has factors like (sideways=5, up/down=100, forward=1) (actually 'down' friction should be even higher because the car cannot pass through the ground).

Engine power: Defines how quickly the vehicle accelerates when a navigation control is applied. The suitable value depends on the dimensions of the scene, speed of the computer, complexity of the scene etc. Too strong engine power makes navigation hard to control because changes happen too rapidly.


Settings of this tab control real time rendering.

Draw Root Level Only: When this option is enabled, only the part of the object hierarchy that is visible on the select window is drawn. You can define the appropriate branch of the object hierarchy by double clicking a level object with the Shift modifier key held down. A double click on the highest level moves the 'virtual root' one step higher.

Draw Only Selection: If set, only selected objects will be drawn. FOr example when point editing mesh objects, it may not be necessary to see other objects.

Sticky Layer: If set, the view window continues drawing the project which was active when the option was set. Normally the view windows draws the current project.

Sync Time: Defines the minimal time in milliseconds, after which drawing can be interrupted. If the time is short, wiew reacts immediately to input events, when the user navigates or modifies objects. However, too rapid interruption may appear unpleasant and flickering, if only a small part of the scene gets drawn before next refresh. Setting a long sync time may be useful when working with complex scenes.

Automatic Redrawing Off: Normally view windows refresh automatically when the scene changes. This option turns automatic drawing off. The view will be redrawn only when the user changes the view orientation or selects Render/Wire, Ray Trace etc. from the view's popup menu (or uses another rendering command). The option is quite useful for ray tracing preview windows, which will then keep their latest rendered image as a reference while the user edits the scene.

Color options define view's background and wireframe drawing colors.

Wireframe: Defines the color scheme for realtime rendering of wireframes. The following alternatives are available:

Highlight: The color for selected objects, when Black wireframe coloring scheme is used.

Background: View's background color. Backdrop options below can overrule this setting.

With the Backdrop options, the user can add an image such as a photograph to the background of the view window. The backdrop can be used as a modeling guide, or for image composition purposes.

Image: Selects the image object to be used as a backdrop. You can create image objects at the Image tab of the select window. You can also assign the backdrop by drag and dropping it from the select window into a view window. You can remove the backdrop by selecting the empty entry from the image gadget.

Fix Aspect: Normally the backdrop image is scaled to fit the view window dimensions exactly. If the Fix Aspect option is set, y scaling obey's image's original proportions and pixel aspect ratio. Usually this means that part of the backdrop is clipped at the top and bottom parts of the view, or that the backdrop does not fill the entire view window in y direction.

Update from ray tracing: If set, the result of view ray tracing is automatically set as the view backdrop. A ray traced image may provide a useful reference for further modeling actions.

Use canvas as ray trace backdrop: The opposite of the previous option. The contents of the view window is used as a background image for ray trace rendering.

Weight: The visibility of the backdrop. Value zero makes backdrop invisible, value 1 fully visible. The intermediate values are useful for making a backdrop less distracting and object wireframes better visible over the background.

Clipping values define a visible distance region in front of the view camera. Only geometry within the region will be drawn. This sometimes helps to extract the relevant target area, which is under construction or needs modifications, from the rest of the (possibly complex) geometric data of the scene. Hardware accelerated rendering (OpenGL) often uses quite limited accuracy to store distances, for example 16 bit integers. In such cases, too wide clipping range makes z buffer inaccurate and leads to incorrect object visibility and other rendering errors.

Near: The start distance of clipping. By default, 0.1 meters.

Far: The end distance of clipping. By default, 100 meters.

Canvas options depend on the selected realtime rendering system. The following two alternatives are available by default:

Windows GDI

Double Buffer: Double buffering means that the screen is refreshed by drawing into a hidden buffer which is made visible after the image is ready. This reduces screen flicker.

Overlay: Allocates a separate mono color buffer to which editing handles are drawn. This reduces the amount of redrawn geometry data during object editing and hence speeds up screen updating.

Double Buffer Overlays: Activates double buffering for overlay drawing, reducing flicker in object handle drawing.


Shading: Real-time drawing mode. The choices are:

  • Wire: Objects are drawn using basic wireframes
  • Shaded: Objects are drawn using shaded surfaces
  • Wire+shaded: The combination of the two modes above. Wireframes are drawn over shaded surfaces.
  • Hidden line: Wireframe drawing with hidden line removal

Display lists: Activates display list optimization. This may sometimes speed up drawing.

Shaded+wire: In shaded mode, draws wireframes over shaded surfaces. A small z buffer offset is applied to ensure wire visibility. The offset value is defined by Preferences/Classes/Asynchronous Drawing/WireOffset value.

[Note] Note
For SDS and NURBS objects, setting Shaded quality = Wire density in Wireframe properties often gives the best result.

Two sided: If cleared, only the polygons whose normal is facing towards a light are shaded. This speed up rendering but may create rendering errors (when using unclosed surfaces such as a rectangle).

Flat shaded: Turns off smooth normal interpolation.

Update textures: Controls texture updating. Turning updating off sometimes accelerates drawing considerably (when edition objects with high Texture quality and complex VSL materials).

Transparency: Enables alpha channel use in OpenGL drawing. Transparency is used extensively in making edit handles visible through shaded surfaces.

Anti-aliased lines: Wireframe anti-aliasing improves drawing quality but slows down screen refresh rate.

Fog, Fog start, Fog end, Fog color: Realtime fog effect. Rendered geometry will fade into the given fog color within a distance range defined by Fog start and Fog end. Fog effect gives an additional visual cue and helps in viewing complex wireframe models. The effect works best if the fog color is the same as the view's background color.

Line width: Defines wireframe line drawing width in pixels. If Anti-aliased lines is disabled, only integer values 1, 2, 3 etc. are significant. Enabling antialiasing increases steps in the width setting.


Rendering Settings: Selects ray trace rendering settings for the view window.

Effect/Box: The post processing configuration that will be applied to all rendered image boxes.

Effect/Image: These post effects are performed for complete images (not for single render boxes when using box rendering).

Effect/Field: Post effects that are applied after motion sample assembly to fields. Note that even when motion blur or field rendering is off, these effects are still applied to the finished image after box and image effects.

Effect/Frame: Post effects that are applied to complete frames after field assembly.

Auto Effects: Controls view's behavior in project loading. If the user loads a project which replaces the post effect library, but does not load view models (to keep the original GUI settings), the Auto Effect system assigns the first loaded post effect configuration to every view model, which has the Auto Effect option enabled. In other words, ray trace rendering of the view window will include the loaded post effects automatically. Auto Effect feature considers the Usage Recommendation of the loaded effects (per box, per image etc.)

Disabling Auto Effects may be desirable for special purpose view windows, for example to ensure maximally quick draft rendering without any post effects.

Scene cache: Activates a cache for ray trace rendering data. Optimization data from the previous ray tracing will not be deallocated after rendering. If only materials or the camera changes, new ray tracing starts much quicker (especially when using objects that require heavy preprocessing, such as dense SDS surfaces). The option adds memory consumption.

Backup Ray Tracing: When enabled, the deep channel data resulting from ray tracing is stored into a disk file. The data can be viewed later and the post effects can be renderer using it. This saves rendering time when adjusting or experimenting with the post effects, because ray tracing needs to be computed only once.

[Note] Note
If view window size or post effect configuration (and hence the required channel set) change, the backup file may become invalid. Post processing an invalid file may produce a black image.

Start Rendering: Selects the action which starts raytracing.

Box Order: Selects the order in which boxes are rendered

RGB Dithering: The amount of view window specific RGB dithering that is applied when converting the 24 bit RGB data into the view to lower color depths. When using 24 bit display mode, the setting is unused.

[Note] Note
Render settings include a more accurate general dithering that works with all RGB bandwidths.

Box X: The left edge of the current render box measured in relative 0..1 coordinates. 0 = the left edge of the image, 0.5 = the middle point of the image etc.

Box Y: The top edge of the render box. 0=top edge of the image, 1=bottom edge of the image.

Box W: The relative width of the render box.

Box H: The relative height of the render box.

Active: Turns render box on/off. You can disable a render box to render a full view and then enable it again.

Animation Preview/Available Formats: Selects which format will be used to store the rendered images when view's popup menu Render/Animation Preview is used.

Combine Sub Frames: If set, the view shows the combination of fields and motion samples (=the actual frame) in OpenGL mode. The option has no effect if motion blur and field rendering are off, or if the view does not use OpenGL. The combined sub frames can be outputted to an animation preview file for motion blur preview purposes.


With the compass editor, you can configure a suitable set of compass menus.

Compass: The compass diagram shows the macros that have been bind to the selected compass. You can add items to the compass by drag and dropping named macros from the macro tab of the select window into the desired area of the compass. Items can be removed by applying the Delete popup menu on top of them.

Compasses: The list of already existing compasses. You can click a compass item to activate it for editing.

The user can define several compasses per view window. The modifiers attached to compasses define which compass pops up when the user RMB drags with the mouse. The defined modifiers will be set when a new compass is created.

Selected Objects: Makes the compass object type sensitive. The object that is selected when this option is set will activate the compass.

Selected Tool: Makes the compass tool sensitive. The tool which has been activated when this option is set will activate the compass.

Edit: Makes the compass point edit mode sensitive. Compass will activate only if the selected object is in point edit mode.

Key: The compass is selected by a key modifier. Set this checkbox, activate the string gadget below and hit a key to be used as a modified. For example, view orientation compass appears if you press 'v' key while RMB dragging.

Add: Creates a new compass with the defined modifiers. If the modifier set conflicts with another compass, Add button remains disabled.

Clone: Copies the selected existing compass. Before a compass can be cloned, a different modifier set for the duplicate must be defined to ensure that compasses will not conflict.

Delete: Deletes the selected compass.