3D views

3D views are windows showing a spatial representation of the model. Two distinct types of 3D view are available: wire frame shows an isometric projection of the model; shaded draws the model as solid objects with lighting, shading, perspective and hidden line removal.

Figure: A wire frame 3D view (left) alongside a shaded 3D view (right)

3D view windows may be rotated, zoomed and panned to allow any aspect of the system to be viewed. The view is controlled by a number of parameters and the caption of a 3D view window shows the current view azimuth and view elevation values, while a scale bar in the view indicates the current view size.

Multiple view windows may be placed side-by-side so that you can view simultaneously different parts of the system or view from different angles (for example a plan and an elevation view). This allows you to build non-in-plane models on screen with the mouse. Further 3D view windows are added by using the Window | Add 3D view menu item or by clicking on the add 3D view button on the toolbar. Windows may be arranged by dragging their borders or using the Window | Tile vertical/horizontal menu items. 3D views may be closed by clicking the cross at the top right-hand corner.

The objects in a wire frame 3D view can be selected, dragged around in the view and connected together using the mouse. If you double-click on an object then the data form for that object appears, so that you can examine or edit its data.

Note: When using the shaded view, objects cannot be selected, dragged etc. For this reason, the wire frame view is the more useful when building your model.

After running a simulation, or loading a simulation file, a dynamic replay (animation) can be shown in one or more 3D view windows. A replay shows a sequence of snapshots of the model taken at specified intervals throughout part or all of the simulation. Replays may be played in just one 3D view window, or in all of them simultaneously.

Finally, 3D views may be printed by selecting the view desired and using the print menu, and exported to a file or the windows clipboard.

Measuring tape tool (only available in wire frame mode)

You can measure distance on a 3D view using the measuring tape tool. Hold down the SHIFT and CTRL keys and then drag a line between any two points – the distance between them, in the plane of the 3D view, is displayed. The angle to the horizontal is also displayed, where horizontal is taken to mean horizontal on the screen, irrespective of the view orientation.