Swift 3D V4 User Guide

Copyright
This manual and the software described within its pages are furnished under license and may only be used or copied in accordance of the terms of such license. Program copyright 2004 Electric Rain Inc. User Guide copyright 2004 Electric Rain Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this manual may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the expressed written consent of Electric Rain, Inc. Translation: It's ours and you can't have it! THTHPPPT! Unless you say "pretty please." Electric Rain, Inc. 5171 Eldorado Springs Drive Boulder, CO 80303 www.erain.com

Trademarks
Swift 3D, the Swift 3D logo, RAViX and Crystal Trackball are trademarks of Electric Rain Inc. Electric Rain reserves the right to seize all your assets…Hey, what are you doing reading this ridiculous fine print. OK, you caught us. We'll keep it legal. Macromedia Flash and Freehand are trademarks or registered trademarks of Macromedia, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Streamline are trademarks or registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Inc. All other product brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Translation: Make up your own stuff.

Credits
Swift 3D was originally built by John Soucie, the RainMaker. To him we owe our existence. Electric Rain's helm is manned by Mike Soucie, RainMan. To him we owe our past and our future. Brett Close and Jeff Burton are responsible for pushing Swift 3D to the next evolutionary level - thanks for diversifying our genetic pool. Justin Bertman, without you we'd just have a big pile of code - thanks for making it all work.Ed Wunsch and Carrie Cochrane - we appreciate you turning this application into a rock star. And as for the rest of the Erainiacs who have come together in Boulder, Colorado to build software and enjoy life, it's been fun! Much appreciation goes out to all the family members who have supported us through this journey. The Swift 3D User Guide was penned by Nicholas Petterssen - RainWriter, and Christine Petterssen. Cover artwork and all ERAIN print design was masterminded by Jeff Schaich, the best damn designer ever.
Thanks Y'all!

Swift 3D V4 User Guide

BIG SHOUT-OUT TO OUR USERS!
You know who you are, and we know where we'd be without you (to put it bluntly… nowhere!) Electric Rain has accumulated what we believe to be the highest quality user base in the history of software, and everyday we all go to work it's because we enjoy building stuff that makes you happy, and in turn getting feedback from happy people. Yes, it all sounds a little sappy, but honestly we are all greatly appreciative of the types of people who are into creating 3D for Flash and we value the fact that we can pursue our passions in software with folks like yourselves who pursue Flash design with equal passion. As we enter Phase Four of this journey, I want to personally thank those people who comment on the way we go about the business of documentation. Now I'd like to also offer you all some gratitude from our Technical Support department since they have jumped onboard with me in our efforts to provide high quality and personable resources to our users. This User Guide is now a joint effort on our behalf to provide you with both the initial educational aspect of learning Swift 3D, but also the post educational support you might be seeking once your feet get wet in the waters of 3D for Flash. With that in mind, you'll notice certain aspects of our documentation continue to evolve. You can expect to find additional step-by-step instructions on specific tasks, more rich-media tutorials that directly correlate with topics in the User Guide, as well as the expected thorough coverage of features and their use. I credit these additions in this document to my comrade in educational arms, Christine Petterssen, who has spearheaded the forward development of this User Guide and continues to run Electric Rain's stellar support system that's offered to everyone via our support@erain.com address.

Much Thanks, Nicholas and Christine Petterssen

Swift 3D V4 User Guide

CONTENTS
What Swift 3D Is All About ..................................................................1
How did we get here? ........................................................................................................................1 A workflow for everyone ....................................................................................................................2 1. Building 3D Models ...............................................................................................................2 2. Creating 3D Scenes ..............................................................................................................3 3. Rendering 3D Output ............................................................................................................4 4. Integrating 3D Content ..........................................................................................................5 3…2…1… ..........................................................................................................................................6

Getting Up and Running ......................................................................7
Welcome to the ERAIN world ............................................................................................................7 Some thoughts about this User Guide ...............................................................................................7 Installation ..........................................................................................................................................8 What you absolutely need to run Swift 3D ................................................................................9 Puttin' this puppy on your unit ...................................................................................................9 Additional Resources .........................................................................................................................10 “What the #@&?% is going on?” (Tech Support) ..............................................................................11 Web Assistant ....................................................................................................................................13

Scene Editor ........................................................................................15
Overview ............................................................................................................................................15 Swift 3D Interface ..............................................................................................................................16 Customizing the Swift 3D Interface ....................................................................................................17 User Preferences ...............................................................................................................................18 18 Editor Tabs ........................................................................................................................................18 Extrusion Editor .........................................................................................................................19 Lathe Editor ...............................................................................................................................19 Advanced Modeler ....................................................................................................................19 Preview and Export Editor ........................................................................................................20 Web Assistant ...........................................................................................................................20 Scene Editor ......................................................................................................................................20 Viewports ..................................................................................................................................20 Properties Toolbar ....................................................................................................................21 Main Toolbar .............................................................................................................................22 Animation Toolbar .....................................................................................................................24 Rotation Toolbar .......................................................................................................................24 Lighting Toolbar ........................................................................................................................24 Gallery Toolbar .......................................................................................................................... 25 Gallery Management .................................................................................................................25

Tutorial ................................................................................................29
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Viewport Properties ............................................................................39
Overview ............................................................................................................................................39 Layout Properties ..............................................................................................................................39 Layout .......................................................................................................................................39 Display Modes ...................................................................................................................................40 Environment Properties ....................................................................................................................42 Background Color .....................................................................................................................42 Ambient Light Color ..................................................................................................................43 Environment ..............................................................................................................................44

Overview ............................................................................................................................................29

Working With Objects ..........................................................................45
Overview ............................................................................................................................................45 Object Property Page ........................................................................................................................45 Name ........................................................................................................................................46 Hide ...........................................................................................................................................46 Lock ..........................................................................................................................................47 Refraction Index ........................................................................................................................47 Use Texture Coordinates ..........................................................................................................47 Smoothing .................................................................................................................................48 Selecting Objects ...............................................................................................................................48 Selecting Individual Objects ......................................................................................................48 Selecting Multiple Objects .........................................................................................................48 Selecting Objects Using Hierarchy Toolbar ..............................................................................49 Grouping Objects ...............................................................................................................................49 Cutting, Copying, Pasting and Deleted Objects .................................................................................50 Positioning Objects ............................................................................................................................51 Click-and-Drag ..........................................................................................................................51 Nudge Keys ..............................................................................................................................51 Constrain Axis ...........................................................................................................................51 Numerical Positioning ...............................................................................................................52 Pivot Points ........................................................................................................................................53 Rotating Objects ................................................................................................................................54 Numeric Rotation ......................................................................................................................55 Flash Tutorial: Rotating Objects ........................................................................................................56 Scaling Objects ..................................................................................................................................56 Scaling Mode ............................................................................................................................56 Scale Property Page .................................................................................................................57 Hierarchy ...........................................................................................................................................58 Creating Parent/Child Relationships .........................................................................................58 Groups Within Hierarchy ...........................................................................................................59 Overview ............................................................................................................................................61

Primitives .............................................................................................61
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Inserting Primitives ............................................................................................................................61 Sphere ...............................................................................................................................................62 GeoSphere ........................................................................................................................................62 Box (Cube) .........................................................................................................................................63 Pyramid ..............................................................................................................................................63 Cone ..................................................................................................................................................64 Cylinder ..............................................................................................................................................65 Torus ..................................................................................................................................................65 Plane ..................................................................................................................................................66 Polyhedron .........................................................................................................................................66 Overview ............................................................................................................................................71 Inserting a Text Object .......................................................................................................................71 Text Property Page ............................................................................................................................71 Bevels Property Page ........................................................................................................................73 Sizing Property Page .........................................................................................................................75 Editing Characters Individually ..........................................................................................................75 Convert Text to Paths ........................................................................................................................75 Working With Text Objects in Advanced Modeler .............................................................................76

Text ......................................................................................................71

Extrusion Editor ...................................................................................77
Overview ............................................................................................................................................77 How It Works .....................................................................................................................................78 Main Toolbar ......................................................................................................................................78 Working with Extrusions from the Model Gallery ...............................................................................80 The Grid .............................................................................................................................................81 Creating Shapes ................................................................................................................................81 Editing Your Artwork ..........................................................................................................................83 Editing Points ............................................................................................................................83 Editing Paths .............................................................................................................................84 Working with complex shapes ...........................................................................................................85 Combining and Breaking Apart ..........................................................................................................86 Editing Imported AI and EPS Extrusions ...........................................................................................87 Path Morphing ...................................................................................................................................87 Extrusion Properties ..........................................................................................................................88 Working With Extruded Objects in Advanced Modeler ......................................................................88

Lathe Editor .........................................................................................89
Overview ............................................................................................................................................89 How It Works .....................................................................................................................................89 Creating a Lathed Object ..........................................................................................................90 Working With Lathes from the Model Gallery ....................................................................................91 Copying and Pasting from the Extrusion Editor .................................................................................92 Lathe Property Page ..........................................................................................................................92

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Lathe Path Morphing .........................................................................................................................93 Working with Lathes in the Advanced Modeler ..................................................................................93

Importing AI and EPS Files .................................................................95
Overview ............................................................................................................................................95 How to do it ........................................................................................................................................95 Materials of Imported AI and EPS Files ....................................................................................96 Layers (Depth Progression) ......................................................................................................96 Editing Your Imported AI and EPS Artwork .......................................................................................97 Tips for building vector artwork ..........................................................................................................98 Troubleshooting AI/EPS Import Problems .........................................................................................100

Importing 3DS and DXF Files ..............................................................101
Overview ............................................................................................................................................101 3DS File Format .................................................................................................................................101 DXF File Format ................................................................................................................................103

Advance Modeler .................................................................................105
Overview ............................................................................................................................................105 When to use Swift 3D's standard modeling tools: .....................................................................106 When to use Swift 3D's Advanced Modeler: .............................................................................106 When to use them both: ............................................................................................................106 3D Terminology 101 ..........................................................................................................................106 Polygons ...................................................................................................................................107 Normal ......................................................................................................................................108 Moving Between Scene Editor and Advanced Modeler .....................................................................108 Scene Editor to Advanced Modeler ..........................................................................................108 Advanced Modeler to Scene Editor ..........................................................................................109 Modeler Default Settings ...................................................................................................................109 Working With the Viewports ...............................................................................................................109 Customizing Viewport Layout ....................................................................................................109 ...................................................................................................................................................Viewport Menu Button 110 Reference Grid ..........................................................................................................................110 Axis Guide .................................................................................................................................110 Viewports ...........................................................................................................................................111 2D Orthographic Viewports .......................................................................................................111 ...................................................................................................................................................Perspective Viewport 112 Viewport Display Modes ............................................................................................................112 Edit Mesh Button ...............................................................................................................................112 Combining and Breaking Apart Meshes ............................................................................................114 Starting with Gallery Models or Primitives .........................................................................................114 Model Gallery ............................................................................................................................115 Primitive Meshes ...............................................................................................................................116

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Inserting Primitives ....................................................................................................................116 General Properties .............................................................................................................................117 Selection ............................................................................................................................................118 Select Tools ..............................................................................................................................118 Selection Property Page ...........................................................................................................122 Soft Select (Editing Mesh Mode Only) ......................................................................................123 Edit Menu ..................................................................................................................................125 Surface Groups (Editing Mesh Mode Only) .......................................................................................127 Transform Tools - Move, Rotate, Scale and Extrude .........................................................................129 Selecting Transform Tools ........................................................................................................130 Move ..................................................................................................................................................131 Move Tool .................................................................................................................................132 Move Tool Property Page ........................................................................................................132 Rotate ................................................................................................................................................133 Rotate Tool ...............................................................................................................................133 Rotate Property Page ...............................................................................................................134 Scale ..................................................................................................................................................135 Scale Tool .................................................................................................................................135 Scale Tool Property Page .........................................................................................................136 Extrude (Editing Mesh Mode Only) ....................................................................................................137 Extrude Tool ..............................................................................................................................137 Extrude Tool Property Page ......................................................................................................138 Align To ..............................................................................................................................................138 Mirror .................................................................................................................................................139 Flatten ................................................................................................................................................140 Roundness .........................................................................................................................................141 Subdivide ...........................................................................................................................................141 Delete Empty Faces ..................................................................................................................143 Edge (Editing Mesh Mode Only) ........................................................................................................143 Weld (Editing Mesh Mode Only) ........................................................................................................144 Smoothing Groups (Editing Mesh Mode Only) ..................................................................................145 Bitmap Texture Mapping ....................................................................................................................148

Materials ..............................................................................................151
Overview ............................................................................................................................................151 The Material Gallery ..........................................................................................................................151 Vector Materials ........................................................................................................................152 Raster Materials ........................................................................................................................152 Applying Materials .....................................................................................................................153 Material Property Page ......................................................................................................................154 Material Editor ....................................................................................................................................156 Creating and Editing Materials ..................................................................................................156 Solid (Vector) Colors .................................................................................................................157

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Bitmap Textures ........................................................................................................................159 Procedural Color Mapping ........................................................................................................160 Procedural Texture Mapping .....................................................................................................162 Transparent Materials ...............................................................................................................163 Reflective Materials ...................................................................................................................164 Environment ..............................................................................................................................165

Lights ...................................................................................................167
Overview ............................................................................................................................................167 Types of Lights ..................................................................................................................................168 Lighting Gallery ..................................................................................................................................168 Trackball Lighting ...............................................................................................................................169 Positioning Trackball Lights ......................................................................................................169 Adding and Subtracting Trackball Lights ...................................................................................170 Scene Lights ......................................................................................................................................170 Free Lights ................................................................................................................................170 Target Lights .............................................................................................................................170 Light Properties ..................................................................................................................................172 Hierarchy ...........................................................................................................................................173 Overview ............................................................................................................................................175 Standard Cameras .............................................................................................................................176 Camera Mode ...........................................................................................................................176 Perspective Camera .................................................................................................................177 Scene Cameras .................................................................................................................................179 Free Cameras ..........................................................................................................................179 Target Cameras ........................................................................................................................180 Camera Property Page ......................................................................................................................181 Hierarchy ...........................................................................................................................................182 Rendering Camera Views ..................................................................................................................182

Cameras ...............................................................................................175

Animation .............................................................................................183
Overview ............................................................................................................................................183 Animate Button ..................................................................................................................................184 Animation Timeline Toolbar ...............................................................................................................184 Animation Gallery ..............................................................................................................................186 Saving an Animation to the Animation Gallery ..........................................................................187 Keyframe Animation ..........................................................................................................................188 Editing Keyframes and Animations ...........................................................................................190 Editing the Animation Path ........................................................................................................191 Animating Scale .................................................................................................................................194 Animating Materials ...........................................................................................................................194 Animating Lights ................................................................................................................................194 Animating Cameras ...........................................................................................................................195

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Hierarchical Animations .....................................................................................................................196 Path Morphing ...................................................................................................................................197

Preview and Export .............................................................................199
Overview ............................................................................................................................................199 Previewing vs. Rendering vs. Exporting ............................................................................................199 Render Preview .................................................................................................................................200 Export To File ....................................................................................................................................202 Overview ............................................................................................................................................203 Vector Output Options .......................................................................................................................203 General .....................................................................................................................................204 Fill Options ................................................................................................................................208 Edge Options ............................................................................................................................214

Rendering With RAVIX .........................................................................203

Rendering With EMO ............................................................................217
Overview ............................................................................................................................................217 General ..............................................................................................................................................218 Target File Type ........................................................................................................................218 Bitmap Compression .................................................................................................................218 Color Depth ...............................................................................................................................219 Antialias Quality ........................................................................................................................219 Overview ............................................................................................................................................221 Publishing SWF files directly to Web .................................................................................................221 SmartLayer SWFT Files using MX Importer ......................................................................................221 Swift 3D Importer ......................................................................................................................222 Layers .......................................................................................................................................222 Now the Fun Begins - Utilizing SmartLayer Technology ...........................................................224 Updating Imported SWFT Files .................................................................................................224 SWF Files From RAViX III — Standard Import ..................................................................................224 Breaking Out to Layers .............................................................................................................225 Optimizing in Flash ...................................................................................................................226 Raster Files from EMO — Standard Import .......................................................................................226 Scene Editor Menu System ...............................................................................................................227 Extrusion and Lathe Editor Menu System .........................................................................................229 Advanced Modeler Menu System ......................................................................................................230 Preview and Export Editor Menu System ..........................................................................................232

Working With Exported Files ...............................................................221

Appendix A: Menus ..............................................................................227

Appendix B: Keyboard Strokes/Shortcuts ..........................................233
Scene Editor ......................................................................................................................................233 Extrusion and Lathe Editors ...............................................................................................................234 Advanced Modeler .............................................................................................................................235

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Preview and Export Editor .................................................................................................................236

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what swift3D is all about

How did we get here?
The answer to that question gets more and more complex through each version release of Swift 3D as our little 3D tool grows up to be a full-fledged 3D application. Here's a quick study of Swift 3D's history… Swift 3D has always had a fairly clear focus in life, declaring unabashedly that it was all about creating quick and easy 3D for Flash. Furthermore, with its initial focus on vector output via the RAViX rendering engine, users typically came knocking on Swift 3D's door looking for one core solution - generating 3D vector animations. But of course, things change. As Flash's breadth grew, so did Swift 3D's, and before long we included a second rendering engine that provided the ability to output photorealistic raster output. And not to overlook its roots, there was an entire development effort thrown into upgrading the vector output which bolstered RAViX's position as the industry's premier 3D vector rendering engine. Meanwhile, back at the interface, Swift 3D has been introducing more and more modeling capabilities that suit our most abundant customers - people with lots of design skills but little 3D background. Tools were included that made the leap from 2D to 3D design as comfortable as possible for all those Flashers out there tantalized by the thought of easily creating 3D graphics and animations for their Flash projects. And since no application is an island, Electric Rain has also spent significant time constructing easily accessible and fast-moving bridges designed to get your 3D content out of Swift 3D and into the world of Flash. When playing the role of a complimentary tool, we've felt it prudent to maintain a good working relationship with the application we compliment. So that's Swift 3D's illustrious past in a nutshell, which brings us back to the present day and the task at hand - trying to summarize our now mature and highly-potent 3D application in a few short pages of this User Guide. You see, as Swift 3D continues to develop in features and capabilities, so too does it develop in its utility. Whereas we used to be able to clearly define our typical user and his or her typical workflow, now Swift 3D is faced with a multitude of users coming into the application with a multitude of things they are trying to achieve.

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What Swift 3D Is All About

Fortunately, this growing set of user variables and disparate end-games need not concern you. I am happy to report that although Swift 3D has developed an increasingly rich set of capabilities, it still does one thing really, really well quickly and easily create 3D graphics and animation. And this is critical because whether you're a Flash designer, a 3D artist, a 2D illustrator, a CAD professional or a Web design hobbyist, Swift 3D now provides ALL of the tools you need to get your mission accomplished in the least amount of time with the highest quality results.

A workflow for everyone
Regardless of your 3D experience or design intent, this chapter is included in order to help you get your arms around the concept of Swift 3D as quickly as possible. We're not here to answer specifics - those come later. We're here to look at the workflow and toolset in an "every-user" sort of way. And despite the diversity of goals our users now come into Swift 3D with, there is an underlying series of steps that everyone will end up moving through, regardless of your intended outcome. Here are those steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. Building 3D models Creating 3D scenes Rendering 3D output Integrating 3D content

We'll go through these steps one at a time and point out some key functional areas of Swift 3D. At the same time I'll call attention to some of the areas that are new to Swift 3D V4 so those of you coming from an earlier version can get a better feel for where your upgrade investment lies.

1. Building 3D Models
Creating 3D objects is at the core of any 3D application, but there are a variety of different strategies you can take within Swift 3D to populate your scene with these models.

Importing existing artwork and models
Since many graphic designers have already spent time creating 2D vector artwork, one of Swift 3D's most convenient tools is the AI/EPS importer that instantly converts vector artwork into a 3D object. In addition, you can utilize the scads of free models available on the Web, or any existing 3D assets you or your clients already have, and bring them into Swift 3D in either the 3DS or DXF format.

Pulling from internal galleries
Once something has been modeled, there's rarely ever a need to go through the "create-from-scratch" process again with that particular model. Swift 3D V4 includes a model gallery as well as a Bezier path gallery that come populated with pre-built artwork designed to expedite any modeling tasks at hand. And of course you can save your own creations into these galleries as well as gather resources from fellow members of the Swift 3D community.

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Using basic building blocks
3D primitives are objects that serve as the fundamental building blocks for modeling. You can choose from a variety of primitive shapes, such as boxes, spheres, cones and even the occasional dodecahedron, which can be modified and assembled into more complex models. Or if you're looking for 3D text, Swift 3D will convert any TrueType or PostScript font installed on your computer into a 3D model.

Drawing 2D shapes to create 3D objects
Since most of our users are pretty handy with a Bezier pen, Swift 3D serves up two modeling tools that use basic paths to create more complex 3D objects. The Extrusion Editor is designed to give your 2D paths both depth and bevels, and the Lathe Editor will convert your paths into radial 3D surfaces.

Advanced Modeling interface
This feature is less a modeling tool and more an entire modeling environment. When you've hit a point where the supplied shapes and your 2D drawing skills aren't going the full distance, the Advanced Modeler is here to take you the rest of the way to the land of total and complete modeling power and versatility. In this interface you have full editing control over the polygonal structure of your models as well as the ability to apply detailed textures to their surfaces through a UV texture coordinate system.

Adding colors and materials to your objects
We don't live in a monochrome world, and neither should your models. Swift 3D provides a variety of tools to help you color and texture your creations. Whether it's dragging and dropping a supplied material from the galleries, editing an existing material to suit your needs or creating a bitmap or procedural texture from scratch, you'll have no problems surfacing your 3D creations for optimal visual impact.

2. Creating 3D Scenes
Although 3D models comprise the basics of a project, they rarely serve as an ending point. Lights, cameras and animation are usually integral parts of what is to become an entire 3D scene.

Using cameras to view your scene
Swift 3D comes equipped with a handful of standard cameras that serve as windows into your scene, and you won't have to know a thing about optics or cinematography to use them. But as you grow more comfortable with your skills you'll find that great visual effects can be created through the use of Scene Cameras, which are integrated with your scene and fully mobile, just like the cameras used to create big-time Hollywood movies.

Lighting your scene
Although you won't be forced to touch a single light bulb or switch, the world of lighting can get as rich as you care to make it. By editing existing lights, adding your own custom lights or even animating lighting schemes, you'll see that showing your scene in the best possible light is both easy and powerful.

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Lighting Gallery
Realizing that it's not everybody's dream to be a Key Grip, Swift 3D includes an entire gallery full of pre-configured lighting schemes so you can harness the creative juices from the 3D gurus of the world. And when you step up to create your own illuminatory masterpiece, the gallery will be there with open arms to archive your creation for future use.

Animating objects within your scene.
Of course 3D images are cool, but 3D animation is what most of our users are after. Swift 3D supplies you with a keyframe-based timeline designed to make animating a breeze. You tell Swift 3D what your scene should look like at various snapshots in time and its tweening system will figure out the details for you. Or use the super-simple approach and just drop a pre-built animation from the gallery onto your objects.

Advanced animation tools
When it's motion control you're looking for, Swift 3D hands over the wheel and says, “you drive.” Swift 3D offers full animation path editing through an in-scene Bezier curve editor, letting you map out precise object, camera and light animations. And it's a simple process to link both cameras and lights to other objects using Swift 3D’s Hierarchy system so cameras and lights can easily track objects throughout an animation.

3. Rendering 3D Output
Herein lies the magic of transforming your 3D scene into a usable format. Depending on your production goals, Swift 3D is prepped and ready to render exactly what you need.

Creating vector content with RAViX III
In its ongoing mission to please all vectorphiles of the world, the RAViX III rendering engine lies at the heart of Swift 3D and is the single most common reason users have flocked to this application. RAViX III is responsible for taking the 3D scene you have assembled within the Swift 3D interface and converting it to vectors. We can't tell you exactly how it does it, but we CAN tell you that the third incarnation of this ingenious technology offers so many output variations that I have to refer you to the rendering chapter for the full details.

Creating raster content with EMO
Despite the beauty of scalable vector content, there's definitely a cap on the realism you can generate with RAViX III, and thus the existence of EMO, Electric Rain's very own ray tracing raster rendering engine. And that long list of adjectives I just used can all be summed up in a single word - Photorealism. If you're shooting for 3D content that simply blows people away, EMO will get you there with its advanced light calculations and detailed bitmap material rendering.

Utilizing SmartLayer Technology
Ever since Flash MX stormed onto the scene with its extensibility architecture, Electric Rain has had the opportunity to get more creative in how RAViX III renders files since Macromedia provides us with the ability to go beyond the typical SWF import process. SmartLayer Technology works hand-in-hand with the Flash MX and MX 2004 Importer (see

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next section) to break apart your 3D scene into individual layers that can be automatically imported into Flash's Library. This technology provides exceptional ease of integration with your Flash content, creates smaller files, allows for more design creativity and is highly recommended for anyone using MX and MX 2004. Integrating 3D Content

4. Integrating 3D Content
Swift 3D is designed to be a content creation tool, not a content viewing tool. For this reason, anything you render from Swift 3D, whether using RAViX or EMO, will need to be displayed to your viewing audience using some additional tools or technology.

Distributing SWF files directly
Output from Swift 3D in the SWF format, both vector and raster-based, can be viewed directly in two ways. First is if your viewers have the standalone Flash Player installed on their computers, which is typically only the case if those computers also have the Flash authoring tool installed as well. Second is the method of using a Web browser and its associated Flash Player plug-in to display SWF files from Swift 3D. Many of our users who have no post-production editing needs simply publish their Swift 3D-generated content to the Web using SWF files embedded in their HTML pages.

Importing SWF output into Flash
A larger number of our users DO want to somehow further edit or integrate their 3D work in Flash, and the SWF format provides an excellent vehicle for making the journey from Swift 3D to Flash. Both vector and raster renderings contained within an SWF file will be comprised of a series of keyframes (or a single keyframe if it's a single-frame rendering) that will arrive neatly onto Flash's timeline in their own separate layer upon import. For the raster-based SWF files there will be a series of images on that layer, and for vector-based files there will be a series of vector-based drawings made up of lines and fills, which can be further broken apart and edited on a frame-by-frame basis if needed.

Leveraging the Flash MX Importer
As mentioned in the SmartLayer section, those using Flash MX and MX 2004 have the ability to use the included Flash MX Importer to transport files from Swift 3D to Flash via Electric Rain's .SWFT proprietary file format. Contained in these files is layered 3D content that the Importer interprets and places into Flash's library as a movie clip or directly onto the stage. The Flash Importer is installed automatically for you with Swift 3D when either Flash MX or MX 2004 is detected on your machine.

Using raster-based file formats
The EMO ray tracer is well-versed with the standard raster file formats such as JPEG, BMP and PNG to name a few. When rendering to these formats you'll find that the files behave just like any other image file you've worked with in the past. Whether publishing them directly to the Web, editing them further in Photoshop or Fireworks, or attaching them to an email, these files are about as universal as you get.

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Using vector-based file formats besides SWF
Yes, Swift 3D tries to be as agnostic as possible when it comes to rendering output, so you'll find both AI and EPS as file types within the RAViX III rendering options. These files can be imported into vector-based drawing applications like Illustrator and Freehand, making Swift 3D an excellent choice for creating 3D illustrations. Additionally we have included the SVG format as an option for those interested in this potentially powerful distribution format.

3…2…1…
That's it, you're now fully prepped and ready to move on to Phase 2 of the Electric Rain Experience. With both the history of Swift 3D and its prescribed workflow in your back pocket you're set to begin your rapid climb to veteran Swift 3D status. Read on, learn more, play around and enjoy it all. Now have at it!

(Seriously, that's it. Now get along. Shooo!)

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2

getting up and running

Welcome to the ERAIN world
Don't be alarmed. We’re not going to make you go through any bizarre indoctrinations or memorize obscure incantations. But we would like you to understand a little bit about our company and its philosophy. You see, just because we build software doesn't mean that we have to function like every other company that builds software. In fact, I'd like you to put most of what you know about software documentation into a dark closet and lock the door, because this is not your typical User Guide, and I am not your typical technical writer. I'm just some guy who lives on a small farm in Vermont who loves to write and happens to know Swift 3D inside and out. Our goals at Electric Rain are simple: build world-class software, conduct business with unconditional integrity, have gobs of fun and share that fun with our users. And that's where you come in. We can create the absolute best 3D tool in the industry, but until we educate you on how to use it, we've accomplished nothing. In the past, User Guides have served the purpose of conveying one important message: what the software can do. The good ones take it a step further and teach the important lesson of how to actually use the software. Hopefully you will find that the Swift 3D User Guide accomplishes both those tasks efficiently. But there is still one thing that has been missing from the world of software documentation and that's the sharing of the fun. We had an absolute blast creating Swift 3D V4, and my goal is to share that same excitement with you while learning the application. My instinct tells me that you want more from a User Guide than just a reference document. I believe that you want to walk away from the experience with an implicit understanding of Swift 3D. You want to do more than just learn what notes this powerful instrument can play, you want to learn how to create beautiful music with it. And maybe, just maybe, you want to actually enjoy the experience of learning new software and have a few laughs in the process. So sit back, relax and just “let it rain.”

Some thoughts about this User Guide
As I just mentioned, this User Guide strays from the norm by combining your typical conveyance of information with a more elaborate theme of user education. To accomplish this goal, we'll use the following structure:

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First, we'll take a look at the Swift 3D interface via the Scene Editor chapter, which also serves as a nice Quick Tour of the program as a whole. We've gone to great lengths to design software that's as intuitive as possible, but a general familiarity with the program can do a lot to prevent any initial head scratching due to a simple misunderstanding of workflow or tool-use. The Quick Tour exists for you to get the proverbial “lay of the land.” Of course, there's nothing like actually rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty, so once you're comfortable with the general layout and functionality of Swift 3D, we'll go ahead and crank out a 3D animation in the Tutorial chapter. Although virtually impossible, we'll attempt to hit all the main features of Swift 3D by constructing a desk lamp. The balance of the User Guide is designed to provide you with the full details of every last bell and whistle within the Swift 3D interface. Each chapter will begin with an overview and then quickly get into the details of how to accomplish exactly what you want. I'll try and focus on the most common applications for each tool without forgoing information that gives you the freedom to take each functional component of Swift 3D to the next level. If you have been a Swift 3D user since the good old days and only want to read about what is new, as you flip through the pages look for the “new” icon. Keep in mind that it is placed next to both features that are totally new and old features that have updated functionality. Since the Advanced Modeler chapter is completely new, we avoided overkill and just placed one “new” icon at the beginning.

What's that you say? (User Guide Standards)
As is the case with any form of communication, there are some standards I'd like to cover so we're all speaking the same language here. • • • • • • • Click means press the mouse button once and release it. Right click on the Windows platform means press the right mouse button once and release it. All right clicks on the Macintosh platform can also be performed with a CTRL + click, which means depressing the CTRL key while clicking the mouse button. Double click means press the mouse button twice in rapid succession. Click-and-drag means press and hold the mouse button while you move the cursor. Select means choose or highlight an item by clicking on it. Key names are given in caps (CTRL, SHIFT, ENTER, etc.). When keys should be pressed simultaneously, their names are connected by a ‘+’ sign. Menu commands are referred to by their Menu Name > then the Menu Item > followed by any further Menu Item Subcategories. For example, Setup > Materials means open the Setup menu and choose the Materials menu item.

Installation
Now that we know how to click, let’s go ahead and get Swift 3D installed on your machine. This section also contains some helpful information about installing maintenance builds and how to get Swift 3D purring at optimum speed on your machine, so even if you’ve already passed the installation process with flying colors you might want to give this section a quick read anyway.

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What you absolutely need to run Swift 3D
(IMPORTANT: The most current system requirements are posted to our website.) Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0, Win 2000, XP 600 MHz CPU (1.2 GHz recommended) 128 MB of RAM/256 MB of RAM for XP (512 MB recommended) Video resolution 1024x768x65k 30 MB free hard disk space CD-ROM Drive Macintosh 0S 8.6 and higher, OS X 10.2 and higher* 400 MHz CPU (1 GHz recommended) 128 MB of application RAM (512 MB recommended) Video resolution 1024x768x65k (Color set to Millions) 30 MB free hard disk space CD-ROM Drive *Support is only provided on 10.2 and higher

Enhancing the Performance of Swift 3D
Swift 3D will take advantage of any hardware acceleration that your computer's video card may utilize. If you experience any problems with the display of the Swift 3D interface, go to Setup > User Preferences and turn off the Allow OpenGL Hardware Acceleration option. If the display issues continue, then the problem lies with the OpenGL implementation of your video card. Try downloading the latest driver for your card from the manufacturer’s site to see if a fix is available. If the display problems persist you will have to run Swift 3D with hardware acceleration disabled. The only other factors that will increase rendering performance are CPU speed and the amount of RAM you have installed. When using dual CPUs, Swift 3D will only utilize one of them while rendering.

Puttin' this puppy on your unit
Installing the Full Release
If you have a previous version of Swift 3D installed on your machine you do not need to uninstall it before installing Swift 3D v4.00. Swift 3D v4.00 will be installed to a separate directory and will not have any interaction at all with previous versions. (User preferences will not be transferred to Swift 3D v4.00 from previous versions of the program.)

To install Swift 3D from the downloaded installer file:
1. 2. Locate the install file. Win: The file is named "Swift3DV4Release-XXX.exe" where XXX is the current build number of Swift 3D V4. Mac: The file is named "Swift3DV4Release-XXX.hqx" where XXX is the current build number of Swift 3D V4. Run the installation program: Win: Double click on the found "Swift3DV4Release-XXX.exe" file. Mac: Double click on the "Swift3DV4Release-XXX.hqx" archive to begin unpacking it. After unpacking, you will have a file named "Swift 3D V4 Installer." Double click on this file. Jump to number 3 in section "To install Swift 3D from the CD-ROM."

3.

To install Swift 3D from the CD-ROM:
1. 2. Place the CD-ROM into the CD drive. Run the installation program.

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3.

4. 5.

Win: If the auto run doesn't initialize the CD and launch the installer, navigate to the CD-ROM and double click the 'setup.exe' file. Mac: Double click on the CD and navigate to 'Swift 3D Installer' and then double click on that file. Follow the Installation instructions to complete the install. Unless you chose a different location, Swift 3D will install to the following location on your machine: Win: Program Files\Electric Rain\Swift 3D\Version 4.00 Mac: Applications\Swift 3D\Version 4.00 You will be asked for your serial number the first time you attempt to run Swift 3D after installation. Subsequent maintenance installs will not require your serial number to be re-entered. When Swift 3D asks you to register your product, go ahead and take the extra minute of your time to do it because you will need to be registered to get future maintenance updates and to access discounts on future version releases.

Installing Maintenance Builds
Once a full version of Swift 3D has been installed on your machine, you can download update builds from the Customer Only Site.

To install an update build:
1. 2. Go to the Help > Product Updates from within the Swift 3D Interface. Click on the "Download Latest Swift 3D v.4.0 Update" button to begin the download process. NOTE: On the Mac you will be prompted to download a file named "download.asp." Please do not change the name of this file as it will corrupt your download. Leave the file name as "download.asp" and the correct file will be downloaded. Once the download is complete, make sure Swift 3D is not running and double-click on the update installer. The installer will automatically find your Swift 3D installation and install any new features or bug fixes.

3. 4.

Additional Resources
In addition to the basic content of this User Guide, we’ve thrown together a smattering of additional resources for your educational pleasure. Actually, the truth is we found that the more educated our users are, the less tech support we have to deal with, so it’s also a little bit of a self-serving maneuver.

Nick’s Tips
Strewn throughout the User Guide you'll find ‘Nick’s Tips,’ which are tricks, shortcuts and hints that may expedite your journey through the world of Swift 3D. Despite Swift 3D's transparency of functionality, there are always subtle nuances that can be overlooked by the virgin and veteran user alike. After playing with this application for over 4 years now, I'm happy to share any relevant knowledge I've acquired along the way.

Flash Tutorials
Swift 3D is an easy-to-use tool, but as much as the writer in me hates to admit, nothing compares with the power of visual demonstration. A basic foundation of tutorials are included on the Swift 3D CD-ROM, and for those who have downloaded the program you'll find the tutorials online, accessible via the Help menu within the Swift 3D

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interface, or at www.erain.com. As the product releases, we’ll be adding to the list of online tutorials, so you can check in from time to time to see if there’s anything new.

Appendix
At the end of the User Guide, you will find two Appendices that detail the menus (Appendix A) and pull out all of the keyboard and menu shortcut keys (Appendix B) into a single location for your convenience.

HTML Help
Because the printed word is quickly becoming an artifact in the culture of software, we offer the entire Swift 3D User Guide in an HTML Help format. You can access the electronic version of the exact words and images contained in this printed document by selecting Swift 3D Help Contents from the Help menu within the Swift 3D interface. This help system is fully indexed and searchable so you may find it more convenient than this book. But beware, folks may think you're a little off if you start bringing your laptop into the bathroom for some light reading.

PDF of User Guide
We also distribute the contents of this User Guide in PDF form, which is accessible from the Help menu. Maybe you want to print a second copy or enjoy the more book-like presentation of the Portable Document Format over the HTML Help style. Whatever the case may be, we let you decide how to view your educational material. Once you've read every last word in the User Guide, paid attention to each little tip and viewed every single tutorial, if you still have a question on how Swift 3D works, write me a personal email at npetterssen@erain.com. That's right, I just gave you my email address. Why, you ask? Electric Rain is determined to offer the highest quality user experience possible, and understanding our software is the most integral part of this experience. If you make it through all of the resources we offer (see upcoming section on technical support as well) and are still foggy on how Swift 3D functions, we've fallen short of our goal. Write me your question and I'll get you an answer. It may come back from our support department, but it will come back quickly, and then we'll know where our educational efforts need to be fortified in the future.

“What the #@&?% is going on?” (Tech Support)
Wouldn't it be nice to design a product that everyone understands so thoroughly they never have a question? Wouldn't it be great if our products always worked flawlessly no matter what sort of torture users put it through? Wouldn't it be great if Team ERAIN could solve the world hunger problem with a nicely designed piece of software? Unfortunately, reality dictates that despite our addiction to quality, things break. Fortunately, Electric Rain dictates that broken stuff gets fixed. If you happen to encounter something that breaks, doesn't behave as you'd expect, or even seems just slightly fishy, we ask that you remain calm and tap into our available resources in order to remedy the situation. More often than not, the solution is close at hand, and if not, we'll place it there.

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Web Support
It's a fool who doesn't use the Web for what it's good at. And one thing it's really good at is conveying up-to-date information like solutions to tech support issues. In a concerted effort to avoid being called fools, we have an entire division of our Web site devoted to answering these types of questions. Even if it's as simple as finding that your solution has been fixed in a recent build and you can get it from our Product Update Web Site, that's valuable information that can be gleaned at any hour, from any online computer anywhere in the world. Translation: It's cheaper than a phone call and quicker than an email. To access the following Web support options you can choose Help > Swift 3D Technical Support Site or visit www.erain.com and head to the support section.

FAQs
The basic concept behind our Frequently Asked Questions is “If it happened to you, it's probably happened to someone else.” We have an extensive list of FAQs in our support area that will likely answer the most common questions or issues. With a quick browse, you'll be a self-answering unit within just a few clicks.

Online Forum
After seeing how many questions that get posted about Swift 3D on Flash-related resource sites, we decided to create our own area for customers to come in and discuss the use of our products. This area is really designed to facilitate users communicating with users, but we check in daily to make sure that everything posted gets a response one way or the other. The forum is great for folks who have questions relating to how Swift 3D interacts with other applications because we openly admit to not being the ultimate authority on authoring rich media content. That title belongs to our users who are building cool stuff for a living. The moderators and frequent visitors to the Swift 3D forum tend to be our hardcore users who have much more ‘real life’ experience than us simplistic documentation writers. They are amazingly talented and love to help out fellow users, often with a great sense of humor, so definitely take advantage of this great resource.

Product Update Web Site
At Electric Rain, we're a little fanatical about our customers using the best software we have to offer. We use our Product Update Web Site as a means for distributing the most recent build of Swift 3D, so when we have feature updates and bug fixes, this is where you'll be coming to access any improvements. If you've purchased the CD-ROM version of Swift 3D, you may want to head to the Product Update Site immediately due to the lag time in CD production and distribution. To do this, you need to choose Register Online from the Help menu (if you didn't already register the product), and then head to the Product Update Site by selecting Product Updates from the same menu.

Email Support
If we haven't satisfied your needs via the User Guide or through the Support section of our Web site, we welcome you to utilize our email support system. The basic idea is you email us an explanation of your problem and we email you back the appropriate solution. However, if you've already explored our other help resources and came up empty handed, your question or problem is probably a tad more complex and we'll need some information to remedy the problem.

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A technical support form can be filled out by going to Help > Technical Support Site and clicking on the Contact Support option. If you choose to email your question directly to support@erain.com, the following is a list of things that will be helpful for us to reference as we work on your situation: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. What type of machine do you have? CPU type and speed? What operating system and version of that system are you running? How much RAM do you have? What video system do you have? What program, version number and build number do you have? (Under Help > About Swift 3D - WIN or Apple Menu > About Swift 3D - MAC) What exactly is happening, and what steps lead up to the problem? Are there any files associated with the problem? If so, please attach them. Are there any related error messages? If so, please tell us what they are.

Our email support policy is that we'll get you a response within 48 hours, but we typically get back to you within 12 hours or less. Keep in mind that the more technical the issue, the more time it may take to resolve your issue, and the attachment of any relevant files will almost guarantee a more timely and accurate response.

Web Assistant
The Web Assistant exists as a tab along the top of the main Swift 3D interface. The purpose of the Web Assistant is to make your life with Swift 3D easier by providing you direct access to the primary web resources Electric Rain makes available to its customers. The Web Assistant works by opening up your browser directly into the Swift 3D interface and taking you to a web page that will provide you with quick links to resources like software updates, registration, your customer account, announcements and other great community offerings.

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3
Overview

scene editor

Most of your time working with Swift 3D will be spent within the Scene Editor since this where you pull all of your various models together into one cohesive, well-oiled scene. As you read through this chapter you will find that in addition to providing information about what is available in the Scene Editor, this chapter serves a dual purpose because it also supplies information about things like customizing your interface, setting up user preferences and organizing the various galleries that come populated with a great array of materials, animations, models, etc. In essence, this chapter is designed to help new users of Swift 3D gain their bearings. In the vast sea of software, Swift 3D ranks solidly in the easy-to-use category, so I can't say that reading this chapter is absolutely paramount to your success with Swift 3D. On the other hand, you may happen to be the type of learner who likes to get to know their surroundings before interacting with them. You may want to know what things are meant for and what order they should be used in. Some folks, however, take the more direct approach and learn new things simply by doing them. For those types of learners I direct you to the Tutorial chapter, but if you errantly undock a toolbar and can't figure out how to get it back to where it started, just know that this chapter is waiting for you when you need it. You know yourself best, so I'll leave the decision to you. As we go through all of the Scene Editor's primary features, don't hesitate to mess around with each item as they are explained. At the very least you can move your cursor around the interface and note the little Tool Tips that pop up when you hover over an object, as well as read the longer description down in the lower left corner of the interface in the Status Bar. If you end up getting yourself into trouble due to random clicking, dragging and toggling, just close your current document without saving, open a new document and continue exploring (with a little less clicking, dragging and toggling).

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Swift 3D Interface
Upon opening Swift 3D, you'll be faced with the following interface, which is called the Scene Editor:
Properties Toolbar Main Toolbar Viewports Animation Toolbar Hierarchy Toolbar

Rotation Trackball

Lighting Trackball

Gallery Toolbar

Status Bar

If you don't see the same thing as this, it's possible your display is set to a different resolution, in which case some of the toolbars may have been adjusted to accommodate the addition or subtraction of screen real estate. Swift 3D requires a screen resolution set to 1024 x 786. In addition, on the Macintosh platform your Display Colors must be set to Millions in order to accurately display the interface. So if your trackballs or any other interface item do not display accurately on your Mac, go to Apple > System Preferences > Displays and under the Display tab set Colors to Millions.

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Customizing the Swift 3D Interface
Interface Resize
If you prefer to work with a different size interface other than the default full screen, this preference is saved upon exit. So go ahead and tweak Swift 3D so it comfortably fits into your desktop, close it up, open it again, and yes, it will be in the same place with the same size. And if you are running dual monitors this is supported as well, so spread yourself out across all of that nice real estate.

Toolbars
Swift 3D ships with a standard configuration of all toolbars docked on Windows and all toolbars floating on Macintosh. Toolbars cannot be docked on the Mac, but you can arrange them in any way you find suitable to your workflow. On Windows, you can customize the interface by undocking and docking almost all of the toolbars (the various windows you see) to meet whatever layout needs you might have. The only toolbar you cannot undock is the Main Toolbar that stretches across the top of the interface, as well as the Viewports. Depending on the size and shape of your 3D scene you can undock some toolbars and leave them floating in convenient places.

To undock a toolbar:
1. 2. 3. 4. Move your cursor near any border of the toolbar you wish to move until it changes into a Docking Cursor. Click and hold the mouse button and a black border will appear around the toolbar indicating that you have it in your control. Move the toolbar to your desired location. As you approach the edges of your screen the toolbar may resize itself to fit into a new docking position. If you would like to leave the toolbar floating, hold the CTRL key down while you move it. When you've got the black border where you want it, release the mouse button and you're in business.

Hide/Show Undocked Toolbars
To hide a visible toolbar or show a hidden toolbar, use the View menu. Visible toolbars will be checked and hidden toolbars will be unchecked. The menus are covered more in-depth in Appendix A at the end of the User Guide. Another way to manipulate the interface's appearance is to move the borders between the toolbars, thus resizing them without changing their location. For instance, maybe you would like to see more materials displayed so you resize the two trackballs to allow more room for the Gallery Toolbar.

To resize toolbars:
1. 2. 3. Move your cursor near the edge of the toolbar you wish to adjust. When the cursor changes to the Move Border Cursor, click-and-drag on the border. Adjust the toolbar's border to your desired position. Release the mouse button. Voila!

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NOTE: If you've tried to make the toolbar smaller than it's comfortable with (they're sensitive about looking too diminutive) it will bounce back to its smallest possible size.

Nick's Tips
We spent many an hour discussing the most efficient layout for Swift 3D, and this default configuration was the chosen one. But I have never advocated the quashing of innovation, so by all means commence the undocking procedure, captain. But I have to warn you ahead of time that once you begin moving these things around, all hell could break loose. Not a literal hell mind you, with fire, brimstone and out-of-order soda machines, but rather a situation where you may not know exactly how to get back to where you originally started. The best order for re-docking the toolbars is this: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The Properties Toolbar goes to the left. The Animation Toolbar goes to the top. The Trackball Toolbar goes to the bottom. The Lighting Toolbar goes to the bottom (just to the right of Trackball Toolbar). The Gallery Toolbar goes to the bottom right.

User Preferences
In addition to customizing the interface you can also change the default settings for a variety of the more commonly used functions in Swift 3D. To access the User Preferences dialog, from the Main Menu go to Setup > User Preferences. The User Preferences dialog will appear, allowing you to change certain Layout, Animation, Extrusion/Text, and Export settings. To make changes simply enter new values and click OK. The changes will take effect once you open a new document or close down and reopen Swift 3D.

Editor Tabs
You'll notice that there are six tabs along the top of the Swift 3D interface, with the default being the Scene Editor since this is the primary working area within Swift 3D. While these other editors will be covered in great detail in upcoming chapters, a quick overview of each editor’s purpose will start you off with a strong idea of Swift 3D’s workflow and

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therefore provide beginners with a better understanding of the Scene Editor features that will be highlighted in the rest of this chapter.

Extrusion Editor
Welcome to a bizarre world where everything you draw in 2D instantly becomes 3D. It's called the Extrusion Editor and it's cool (but I'll let you be the judge of that). The basic idea is that you pick up a pen, draw some stuff within this interface and it will instantly become a 3D object in the Scene Editor. This powerful tool lets you create 2D extrusions from within Swift 3D, eliminating the need for another 2D drawing application. The Extrusion Editor also includes an Animation Timeline that allows you to animate the paths of your extrusions over time, allowing for full-fledged morphing of extruded objects. For more information on the process of extruding 2D shapes, please refer to the chapter on the Extrusion Editor.

Lathe Editor
Once again we venture to a land seldom visited by mere 2D mortals. The Lathe Editor is a 3D modeling tool that allows you to draw a simple path and have Swift 3D spin that path around an axis and instantly create a 3D object in the Scene Editor. The Lathe Editor and the Extrusion Editor share a similar interface, but their functions are quite dissimilar. And once again, in our efforts to supply more creative powers to the designer we’ve included a path animation feature that allows you to create lathed shapes that change over time. For more information on the process of creating lathed objects, please refer to the Lathe Editor chapter.

Advanced Modeler
This feature is less a modeling tool and more an entire modeling environment. When you've hit a point where the supplied shapes and your 2D drawing skills aren't going the full distance, the Advanced Modeler is here to take you the rest of the way to the land of total and complete modeling power and versatility. In this interface you have full editing control over the polygonal structure of your models as well as the ability to apply detailed textures to their surfaces through a UV texture coordinate system.

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Preview and Export Editor
Swift 3D’s powerful vector and raster rendering engines, RAViX III and the EMO Ray Tracer reside within the Preview and Export Editor. The beauty of Swift 3D is that it leaves the decision up to you as to whether you want to render to vector or raster file formats. The basic workflow of the Preview and Export Editor is a simple four-step process. First you choose whether you will be rendering out to a vector file format using our RAViX III engine, or to a raster file format using our EMO Ray Tracer. You then choose the file type options, and if you are rendering to vector, you also get to choose what fill and edge style of output you want. When all of your options are set you render a preview of your scene, and finally, if you like what you see you export your rendered animation to a file.

Web Assistant
The Web Assistant was developed in order to make your life with Swift 3D easier by providing you direct access to the primary web resources Electric Rain makes available to its customers. The Web Assistant works by opening up your browser directly into the Swift 3D interface and taking you to a web page that will provide you with quick links to resources like software updates, registration, your customer account, announcements and other great community offerings.

Scene Editor
Most of your time will be spent working within the Scene Editor, and that's where we'll stick for the rest of this chapter, starting smack dab in the middle of it all with the Viewports.

Viewports
The Viewports are your windows into the 3D scene you are about to create. If you're an analogy-lover like myself, the lens of a video camera fits the bill. You should be very interested in what goes on within the confines of the Viewport since it's where the only visible action will take place in the scene. If you have objects that lie outside of the Viewport they will not be seen in the final exported file unless they enter the Viewport through an animation path or the camera happens to look in their direction.

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By default, Swift 3D will open with two Viewports showing, but you can work with just one Viewport by going to that Viewport’s Menu button and selecting Maximize. Choose Show All Viewports to return to the dual Viewport layout.

Camera Views
Swift 3D offers seven different cameras by default with the ability to add as many custom cameras as you like. Camera views can be selected from the Viewport Menu button located in the upper left corner of the Viewport. Information on working with cameras can be found in the chapter on Cameras. IMPORTANT: To move the camera’s view you must first hold down the ALT key (Win) or COMMAND key (Mac) to enter into Camera Mode. Refer to the chapter on Cameras for detailed information on panning, zooming, rotating and rolling the different cameras.

Reference Grid
In our daily 3D world it's easy to stay oriented since we have familiar reference points like walls, floors and ceilings. Within Swift 3D's world, we have supplied you with a 3D grid

based on the X, Y and Z coordinate system. The red line represents the X or horizontal axis, the green line is the Y or vertical axis, and the blue line (just a point until you alter the camera view) shows you the depth of your 3D world, or your Z-axis. The intersection of these three lines is the absolute center of the scene, and its coordinates are X = 0, Y = 0 and Z = 0. There are three grid options for every Viewport: XY, YZ and ZX. Each camera view comes with a default setting, but you can choose to turn these grids on and off individually or all together through the Viewport Menu button.

Properties Toolbar
The Properties Toolbar is like backstage at a big theatre production. All the action may be occurring on the main stage, but there's much more activity happening behind the scenes that makes the production come off as spectacular. The Property List Box, located at the top of the Properties Toolbar, is basically a list of categories of properties. As these categories are selected you are presented with a Property Page that displays settings related to that particular category. The key to gaining a quick understanding of the Properties Toolbar is to note that three properties are always displayed: Layout, Camera, and Environment. Beyond these three properties, the Properties Toolbar is completely selection sensitive. Whatever object you have selected at the time, whether it be an object, light or camera, will determine which information gets displayed within the Properties Toolbar. Each type of object can also have different characteristics that can be manipulated. The information contained within the Properties Toolbar does not neatly fit into any one chapter, but we’ve done our best to make this information easy to find. Information on Layout and Environment can be found in the chapter on Viewport Properties and Camera properties can be found in the chapter on Cameras. As for the rest of the

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selection sensitive properties, the chapter on Working with Objects details the property pages that are common to most objects, and as each specific object is discussed in subsequent chapters, we will cover the property pages that are relevant to each type of object. The Advanced Modeler also has its own set of property ages that are discussed in detail throughout that chapter. NOTE: Many of the property pages use numbers to represent the various settings you can apply to your objects. There are three main ways of adjusting these numbers: 1. 2. 3. Type your desired number into the field (if field is gray then this option is not available). Nudge the number up or down by clicking the corresponding arrow on the spin button. Position the cursor between the arrows on the spin button and when you receive the double lines cursor icon you can click-and-drag up or down.

You will also find these numerical controls within other sections of the interface and you can use whichever strategy works best in your situation.

Main Toolbar
The Main Toolbar contains a variety of buttons that let you insert objects, create lights and cameras, and manipulate other parts of your scene.

File Shortcut Buttons
These buttons allow you to quickly open a New document, Open an existing document, or Save the current project you are working on. Swift 3D project files are saved to the .t3d file format.

Create Object Buttons
These buttons allow you to create text and simple objects (called Primitives) within your scene. They are about as easy to use as a light switch—a simple click will place your chosen object onto the intersection of the X, Y and Z axis lines. All of these objects arrive in your scene with their default characteristics, including standard size and a default glossy gray material applied to them.

Create Light Buttons
These four buttons allow you to create lights designed to be manipulated within your scene. Called Scene Lights, these lights differ from the Trackball Lights discussed in a moment.

Create Camera Buttons
Here you are able to create two specific types of cameras, the Free Camera and the Target Camera. These cameras are unique in that they can be manipulated directly within your scene and can be fully animated.

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Convert Text to Paths
The Convert Text to Paths button takes your currently selected text and turns it into a series of paths that can be edited in the Extrusion Editor.

Zoom Camera Extents
The Zoom Camera Extents button allows you to quickly re-orient your camera view to include all of the objects in your scene.

Scaling Mode
The Scaling button puts you into a temporary mode where any object you click-and-drag on will have its scale altered. Scaling mode is a one-time thing, so as soon as you’re done scaling one object, it will toggle off automatically.

Render Viewport Buttons
Since Swift 3D relies on the OpenGL rendering engine that comes standard with your computer to display the graphical representation of your scene within the Swift 3D Viewport, when you apply raster materials to your objects you will not see them in clear detail. Because of this there is a Scanline Renderer in the Scene Editor that allows you to preview your scene and materials. Render Window will render the entire active Viewport, while Render Rectangle will turn your cursor into a marquee selection tool that you can then clickand-drag over any area of the Viewport that you would like to see rendered. To CANCEL the rendering process, click again on the Render Window button.

Undo/Redo Buttons
The Undo and Redo buttons provide a quick way for you to undo or redo any action in the Scene Editor. The Scene Editor’s Undo stack (think of this as a list that holds all of your actions) is kept separate from the Undo stacks of the other editors and is always maintained no matter which editor is active. The same does not hold true for the Undo stacks of the Extrusion Editor, Lathe Editor or the Advanced Modeler, so once you leave those interfaces their Undo stacks are cleared. It is important to understand that a complete copy of your scene gets placed into the Undo stack each time the scene is altered, which can definitely use up a lot of memory. Once you’ve reached a point when you are sure you no longer need access to the Undo stack you can manually clear it using the Edit > Clear Undo function.

Animate Buttons
The Animate button is also a mode you slip in and out of, only this one allows you to make changes to the Animation Timeline when it is toggled on. While off, however, you cannot make any alterations to the Timeline. The only exception to this rule is when you are applying drag-and-drop animations from the Animation Gallery. Turning on the Animate button also enables the Animation Path Mode button to its left, which allows you to edit the Bezier paths of your animation.

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Scene Editor

Animation Toolbar
The Animation Toolbar is used to make your scene come to life (but it won’t come to life unless you click on the Animate button). Whenever your scene changes over time, the Animation Toolbar displays the relevant information. It can be used as a reference when using drag-and-drop animations, or as a powerful keyframe animation tool, much like in Macromedia Flash. There is an entire chapter on Animation that provides details on how to use this timeline.

Rotation Toolbar
Down in the lower left corner of your scene are two toolbars that are probably unlike anything you've ever used before. We call them Crystal Trackballs and they are really very easy to use. They work as if you were rotating a virtual trackball with your mouse. Just click-and-drag on the surface of the ball and it will turn whichever way you choose. The Rotation Trackball is designed to let you adjust the orientation of objects in your scene. It remains inactive until you have selected an object. Once you have something selected, the object appears within the Rotation Trackball and can be rotated by clicking and dragging on any part of the trackball itself. You will see the object spinning or rotating within the trackball and within your active Viewport simultaneously. If you have multiple objects or a group of objects selected, they will all appear in the trackball as well. The buttons to the left of the Rotation Trackball are available to help refine your rotation movements, and the buttons on the right are there to quickly restore objects to their original state. Note that rotation can also be numerically controlled through the Rotation page of the Properties Toolbar. Read more about using the Rotation Trackball in the Working With Objects, Lighting and Camera chapters.

Lighting Toolbar
The Lighting Trackball allows you to control the placement, location and type of lights that illuminate your scene. Think of the lights as being positioned on the outside of an imaginary sphere shining into the center of your scene. The sphere's size can vary depending on the size of your scene, but it is always twice as large as would be necessary to encompass your entire scene. In other words, the more spread out your objects are, the farther your lights will be from the center of your scene. The buttons to the left of the Lighting Trackball are available to help refine your rotation movements, and the buttons on the right are there to create and delete Trackball Lights. A new scene comes complete with two standard lights on the Lighting Trackball, but you are free to add, delete, or use Scene Lights (covered in the chapter on Lighting) to illuminate your scene as you see fit.

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Gallery Toolbar
The Gallery Toolbar is a combination of six galleries: Material, Environment, Animation, Lighting, Model and Bevel. All of the galleries work under the basic principal of drag-and-drop and everything you see within the galleries when you launch Swift 3D for the first time are what comes standard with Swift 3D. All galleries are designed to be augmented and customized by the user, so please don't infer that what you see is what you get. It's merely what you start with. The buttons on the left of the toolbar allow you to select which gallery is displayed at any given time. The Gallery Toolbar is present in the Scene Editor and Advanced Modeler. However, only the Material and Model galleries are enabled for use in the Advanced Modeler, which is why all of the other gallery buttons are grayed out.

Gallery Management
Each gallery contains categories, represented by the tabs located across the top of the gallery, which provide a convenient way to keep the gallery contents organized. The scrollbar located on the right side of the gallery allows you to scroll through the content within each tab. Galleries can be customized by adding new categories (tabs), editing existing content or adding your own creations. This section of the User Guide will only cover the basics of how the Galleries are managed and organized, so for specific information on how to actually apply, create or edit different types of gallery content please read the gallery sections in the chapters covering those topics.

Gallery Setup
The Setup menu on the main menu is your doorway to the organizational structure of the Gallery Toolbar. When you drop down the Setup menu you have the choice of accessing the setup for each of the individual galleries. The Gallery Setup dialog will appear with tabs across the top for each of the galleries. For your convenience, the tab of the specific gallery you chose from the Setup menu will be selected. Once the dialog is open, you can jump to any of the galleries by clicking on the tabs along the top. The Gallery Setup dialog can also be accessed by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the palette window (frame) surrounding the thumbnails, not the thumbnail itself. (Note: The Bevel Gallery is not accessible from the Gallery Setup dialog because you cannot edit or add content to this gallery.)

Category List Box
Along the left side of the Gallery Setup is a Category list box that displays the names of all the tabs located along the top of each gallery in the Gallery Toolbar. The categories within each gallery are simply suggested organizational schemes to get you started. For example, even though we have started you out with materials nicely organized by type, there is nothing preventing you from saving a transparent material into the reflective category. As you will see in a bit, these categories are just like the directories on your harddrive.

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Content List Box
The Content List Box resides underneath the Category List Box and contains the names of all the individual materials, animations, lighting schemes, etc. that reside under each category tab. For example, if you have the Material tab selected and choose Glossy Colors from its Category list box, all of the colors that reside within the Glossy category, and thus under the Glossy tab of the Material gallery, are displayed. Naming Conventions All default content that is shipped with the program begins with an “ER”as a reminder that these are the items that came with the program. You can certainly alter these items in any way that you want, but keep in mind that if you ever need the original content you will have to uninstall and reinstall the program to get it back. Additional naming conventions have been set up for the Materials and Models in order to help lessen the confusion regarding the different content items that reside within each gallery, but again these conventions are just for your convenience. Since the Model gallery can contain meshes, extrusions or lathes, the default models that come with that gallery are prefaced with ER Mesh, ER Extrusion or ER Lathe. The Material gallery contains both vector and raster materials, which are identified with the preface ER Raster or ER Vector.

Gallery Setup Buttons
Along the right side of the Gallery Setup dialog is a series of buttons that vary depending on which gallery is active. The tabs common to each gallery are as follows: New Category allows you to add a new tab to the gallery. Simply click on this button and enter your desired category name. Note that the new tab will not appear until you exit the Gallery Setup dialog. Edit allows you to edit the selected item. The degree to which you can edit depends upon what gallery tab you are in. For example, clicking on Edit under the Material tab will bring up the Material Editor, which provides you complete access to all of that material’s base properties. Clicking on Edit under the Animation, Lighting, and Model tabs will only give you access to editing the name and a few other basic properties since the content of these galleries can only be edited directly in the workspace where they were created. Remove permanently deletes the item that is currently highlighted in the content list, which is why it will kick out a warning message asking you to continue or abort. Note: You cannot remove entire categories using the Gallery Setup, only individual items within the categories. If you need to remove a category, this can only be done by deleting that folder directly from your file structure. Read more information about this in the upcoming section on Gallery Location and File Formats.

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Copy will copy the item that you have selected in the content list. The copy will appear directly below the original it is copied from and will be given the default name of the original item with a [1] appended after that name. You can change the name by then selecting the Edit button. Move allows you to move an individual item (material, animation, model, etc.) from one category to another. When you click on this button, a new dialog appears that lists all existing categories. Simply click on the category to which you want to move your selected item, then click OK. The Preview Window simply displays what the current selection looks like.

Since you can Add or Edit Materials and Environments directly from the Gallery Setup, under these tabs you will also see the following buttons:
Add Material or Add Environment lets you add new materials to existing categories. The category that is currently highlighted in the Category list is where this new material or environment will be added. When this button is selected it brings up the Material or Environment Editors. The Material Editors can also be brought up by double clicking direction on the material or environment preview thumbnail in the galleries. Refer to the Materials chapter for more information about these editors.

Saving New Content to the Galleries
There are slightly different steps to saving new content to each of the galleries since there are obviously vast differences in the underlying architecture that makes up an animation versus a model. As a basic overview, new materials and environments are created and saved through the Material or Environment Editors, while animations, lights and models are saved by clicking on the Viewport background or object and choosing File > Save Animation, File > Save Lighting or File > Save Model. These steps are detailed in the upcoming chapters on Animation, Environment, Lights, and Materials. Since the Model Gallery contains Mesh, Extrusion and Lathe objects, steps for saving these various types of models are detailed in the Extrusion Editor, Lathe Editor and Advanced Modeler chapters.

Gallery Location and File formats
All pre-made gallery content, with the exception of the Bevel Gallery, is saved in a proprietary file format and is stored in directories where Swift 3D is installed on your machine. The directories are as follows: (On Windows the complete file path is C:\Program Files\Electric Rain\Swift 3D\Version 4.00 and on the Mac it is Applications\Swift 3D\Version 4.00) ...\Swift 3D\Version 4.00\Animations\Animation Name.t3a ...\Swift 3D\Version 4.00\Environments\Environment Name.t3e ...\Swift 3D\Version 4.00\Lighting\Lighting Name.t3l

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...\Swift 3D\Version 4.00\Materials\Material Name.t3m ...\Swift 3D\Version 4.00\Models\Model Name.t3om Under each directory are folders that correspond to the category tabs that reside across the top of each gallery. Any new content added by you will get saved to the folder that corresponds to the tab in the Gallery under which the item was saved to. If you create a new category, a new folder will be created with that category's name. If you need to delete a category, you can only do this by deleting or moving the actual category folder. This is a permanent procedure so make sure you are confident in what you are doing. Reinstalling Swift 3D will always restore any default categories that come with the program, but if you are deleting your own stuff you will not have any recourse for retrieving those files.

Sharing Gallery Content With Other Users
The great thing about the galleries is that they make it easy to share your creations with other users. There are two ways to go about sharing files: 1. Navigate to the Swift 3D\Version 4.00 directory on your harddrive, open the folder that corresponds with the gallery content you wish to share, and copy the actual .t3X file (e.g., animation.t3a) and give that file to your fellow Swift 3D user. The recipient of the file will simply need to copy it into the corresponding directory on their harddrive, choosing any category to place it under, and the next time they run Swift 3D that item will be available for use from the gallery. Copy and send the user your full .t3d file. When the recipient opens the .t3d file in Swift 3D, they can save the desired animation, environment, lighting scheme, material or model directly into the corresponding gallery.

2.

Now Go Forth and Make Me Proud!
So that’s the quick tour of the Scene Editor. From here you can start skipping around to the sections you find most interesting, or perform my favorite option, which is to read the whole darn book cover to cover. That way you’ll know everything I know about Swift 3D within a few short hours.

Flash Tutorial: Tour of Swift 3D V4 Interface

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4
Overview

tutorial

Although reading about Swift 3D can be an educational experience, there’s no substitute for hands-on, get your feet wet, grab the controls experience. If you’re the type of person who enjoys a good trial by fire then this chapter is going to suit you just fine. Our mission today is going to be modeling a desk lamp. Yes, I realize that designing the 3D interface of your next Flash game might be why you actually purchased Swift 3D, but you gotta start somewhere. Besides, this lamp is what I had sitting in front of me so that’s what we’re stuck with. If all goes well we should end up with something that looks like the model to the right, with a little camera zoom animation to go along with it. So let’s jump in and get it done. NOTE: This tutorial does not use any of the tools in the Advanced Modeler due to the complexity involved with using that portion of Swift 3D.

Open a new document and adjust the Environment
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Open Swift 3D and a new, empty scene will automatically be created for you. Click on Environment in the Properties Toolbar. Double click on the Background Color selection box. Choose a color you like (I went with gray since, I’m so darn bad with colors). Click OK.

NOTE: We’ll continue to use a white background in the images for easier viewing.

Create the base of the lamp with a cylinder primitive
1. Click the Create Cylinder primitive button on the Main Toolbar.

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In the Properties Toolbar, adjust the Length property to 0.06 (you can either type it in or use the spinner controls).

3.

Click-and-drag downwards on the cylinder, so it is positioned towards the bottom of the Viewport.

Create the arm support with the Extrusion Editor
1. 2. 3. Click the Extrusion Editor tab along the top of the main interface. Draw a triangle similar to the one pictured to the right. Click the Scene Editor tab.

4. 5.

With the Bevels category already selected, adjust the Style to Outer Round. Adjust the Bevel Depth to be 0.050.

6. 7.

With the extrusion still selected, click the Sizing category in the Properties Toolbar. Adjust the Depth to be 0.100.

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8. Click-and-drag on the support and position it to sit on top of the cylindrical base.

Create the lamp arm with a cylinder primitive
1. 2. Click the Create Cylinder primitive button. With the Cylinder category selected in the Properties Toolbar, adjust the Radius to 0.030.

3.

Toggle the Lock Spin button on within the Rotation Toolbar.

4.

Rotate and position the arm so it fits into the support piece.

Create the light hood with the Lathe Editor
1. 2. Click the Lathe Editor tab along the top of the main interface. Click the Curve Point button.

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Draw a shape using four control points like the one pictured to the right. It will be a little messy when you first lay down the points but we’ll clean it up shortly.

4. 5.

Click the Shape tool and adjust all of your Bezier curves to create a nice curved shape like the one pictured to the right. Click the Scene Editor tab.

6. 7. 8.

Click-and-drag on the hood to position it at the end of the arm. ALT (Win) or COMMAND (Mac) + click-and-drag on the background to pan the camera and center your lamp within the Viewport, or click the Zoom Camera Extents button. Zoom the camera out as needed by ALT + right clicking (Win) or COMMAND + CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the background and dragging downward.

Create the light fixture with a box primitive
1. 2. Click the Create Box button. Set the object’s Width to 0.300, the Height to 0.100 and Depth to 0.100.

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3. Position the fixture so it sits at the junction of the arm and the hood.

Create the light bulb with a sphere primitive
1. 2. 3. 4. Click the Create Sphere primitive button along the Main Toolbar. Toggle the Scaling Mode button on. Click-and-drag from the edge of the sphere towards the center to scale it down to light bulb proportions. Select the Scale category from the Properties Toolbar and increase the X Factor slightly to make it a bit oblong or oval shaped.

5.

Click-and-drag on the sphere to position it into the light hood. NOTE: Since we have been positioning our objects from the Front camera view only, we are assuring ourselves that the light’s individual pieces are all in alignment along the Z axis, and thus our lamp is symmetrical from the side view.

Create a surface for the lamp to sit on
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Click the Create Plane primitive button along the Main Toolbar. Select the plane in the Top Viewport. Toggle the Scaling Mode button on. Click-and-drag from the center of the plane towards the edge to scale it up. Scale it until it takes up the entire Top Viewport.

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From the Top camera view, Shift + right click-and-drag (Win) or Option + clickand-drag (Mac) down towards the bottom of the Viewport to move the plane away from the camera, and thus lower in the Front Camera’s view. Go back to the Front Camera view to fine tune the Plane’s position. You may need to zoom the Front Camera away from the scene by ALT + right clickingand-dragging (Win) or COMMAND + CTRL + clicking-and-dragging (Mac) on the background, or by clicking the Zoom Camera Extents button.

Apply materials to all of the objects in the scene
1. Click on the Reflective materials tab in the Material Gallery.

2.

Click-and-drag the Reflective Black material to the base, arm, fixture, and hood.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Toggle the Material Drop Surface button to the All Surfaces mode (all red) so you can drop a material onto the faces, edges and bevels of the arm support all at once. Click-and-drag the Reflective White material to the arm support. Click-and-drag the Reflective Red material to the ground plane. Select the Glossy category from the Material Gallery. Click-and-drag the Glossy Yellow - Light material to the light bulb.

Adjust the properties of the plane’s material
1. 2. Select the plane object and select Material from the Properties Toolbar. Double click on the Material Preview window.

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3. 4. Double click on the Reflection Color selection box. Choose a dark red color and click OK and then OK again.

Adjust Trackball Lights to enhance the scene
1. 2. 3. Click the Add Trackball Point Light button on the Lighting Trackball. With the new light selected, click-and-drag on the Lighting Trackball to position the new Point Light slightly lower so that it will illuminate the bulb. Click on each of the left default Trackball Lights and position them higher and further back in the scene so they cast more light onto the top surface of the hood.

Insert and position a Target Camera
1. 2. 3. Click the Create Target Camera button on the Main Toolbar. Activate the Top Camera’s Viewport by clicking anywhere within it. ALT + right click-and-drag (Win) or COMMAND + CTRL + click downwards in the Top Camera Viewport to zoom out until you can see the new camera you’ve just inserted.

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Select the Viewport Menu button in the left Viewport and set it to Camera01 (the camera you just inserted). This will be the Viewport that gets rendered when we get to that point.

Create a camera animation
1. 2. Toggle the Animate button on the Main Toolbar on. Drag the Red Current Frame indicator within the Animation Toolbar to frame 10.

3.

Within the Top Camera Viewport, move the camera so that it’s looking at the lamp from a 45 degree angle (from original position).

4.

Drag the Red Current Frame to frame 20 (or you can also just click on frame 20).

5.

Within the Top Camera Viewport, position the camera so that it’s looking at the lamp from about a 110 degree angle (from original position) and the lamp fills the Camera 01 Viewport.

6.

Toggle the Loop animation off since this is not a looping animation.

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Render your scene to vectors using RAViX III
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Click the Preview and Export Editor tab along the top of the main interface. Under the General category of Output Options, select Flash Player (SWF) from the Target File Type dropdown. With Vector selected (since we’re rendering with RAViX first) click the Fills category under Output Options. Select Area Gradient Shading from the Fill Type dropdown list. Turn on Include Specular Highlights, Include Reflections and Include Shadows.

6.

Under the Render Preview section, click Generate All Frames.

7. 8.

When the rendering process is done you can preview your animation by clicking the Play Animation button within the Playback Controls. Click Export All Frames from the Export To File section.

9.

Name your file, choose a location to save it to and click Save.

Render your scene to a raster image using EMO
1. Click the Raster button at the top of the Output Options section.

2.

Within the Render Preview section, select the last frame within the Animation Reel.

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Under the Render Preview section click Generate Selected Frames.

4. 5.

Click Export Selected Frames. Name your file, choose a location to save it to and click Save.

NOTE: You can also render your animation with EMO by using the Generate All Frames option. We just did a single frame for the sake of time.

You’re done!
Now that you've been through this tutorial, you should have a pretty firm grasp of the Swift 3D basics. At this point you could just toss this User Guide by the wayside and start hammering away on your next 3D project, but I caution you. Aside from hurting the feelings of an unnamed documentation writer, by not sticking with your educational regime you may be causing yourself great harm in the long run. If it's inner vector peace and total Swift 3D consciousness you're after, you might just find it in the following pages of this User Guide.

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5
Overview
Layout

viewport properties

Viewport Properties encompass settings found on the Layout and Environment property pages and in the Viewport Menu. Consider these settings to be like the interior design settings for your 3D world. Just as if you were designing your very own living room, you'd be advised to pay attention to some of these details to ensure that you design a comfortable 3D space for yourself. You can adjust things like the size of your room (stick with me here, we're in full-bore analogy mode), the appearance of the furniture, the color of the walls, the background lighting, and even how fast you move around. These things are important, because as you begin to fill this room with your 3D artwork, it will all be affected in some way by the properties of the room itself. So break out your Feng Shui manual and let's go to work.

Layout Properties
Layout is where you designate the size and proportions of your final rendered file. Within the vector world of RAViX, the dimensions of your scene can have a slight effect on the accuracy of your rendered file. You will probably only notice a slight dissipation of line and fill precision when you create a scene that is very, very small and then increase its dimensions significantly after rendering. Another factor you may want to pay attention to is the fact that the smaller the dimensions of your scene, the faster the Swift 3D rendering engine will crank out your final file. Both of these subtleties are fairly... well, subtle, so don’t go freaking out with the layout settings unless you’re really bored. Now if you’re planning on outputting your scene as a raster image or animation you’ll be advised to care deeply about the Layout settings. As you know, raster images don’t take too kindly to scaling, so it would behoove you to think ahead about where your 3D rendering will be finally displayed.

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NOTE: The default Layout dimensions can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Nick's Tips
By default, no matter what size you set your Viewport to, Swift 3D will fit it to your window, keeping the dimensions in proportion to the height and width you have chosen. If you want to see what the actual size will look like, go to View > Zoom View Port and change the selection from Fit to Window to Actual Size (100%). If you are using a larger layout size, you may want to maximize one Viewport (Viewport Menu > Maximize), otherwise you will get scroll bars since there will not be enough real estate for Swift 3D to show the actual size. If you still need more space, you can start turning off the various toolbars under the View menu, or if you consistently work with larger Viewports you may want to consider floating your toolbars. (See information on how to Undock Toolbars under Customizing Swift 3D Interface in Scene Editor chapter.)

Settings
Nudge Increment - The Keyboard Nudge controls how far your selected object will move when you nudge it with your keyboard arrow keys. It is set to .10 units. Since each grid represents one unit, using the default setting it will take ten nudges to move an object from one grid line to the next. Trace Depth - This setting controls how deep the EMO Ray Tracer will trace for reflections and refraction (through glass). It is similar to the RAViX III “Reflection Depth” control except that it applies to refraction as well.

Display Modes
From the Viewport Menu button you can access settings that determine what things are going to be shown within the Viewport and how they will be drawn.

Viewport Display Settings
Swift 3D relies on the OpenGL rendering engine that comes standard with your computer to display the graphical representation of your scene within the Viewport. Do not assume that what you see in the Viewport is what you will see in your final rendered scene. Textures and bitmaps can only be accurately rendered to a bitmap file format using the EMO ray tracer rending engine. Texture Smooth Shaded - This is the default display option. When this display option is selected, objects are shown as smooth, solid shaded objects covered with their designated materials. If textures or bitmap images are applied to an object, this display option also presents the best representation that OpenGL can provide. Displaying textures will definitely slow down Viewport rendering speed, so if you are working with a complex scene switch to a different display option to enhance performance. Smooth Shaded - The major difference between Smooth Shaded and Texture Smooth Shaded is that Smooth Shaded will not display textures or bitmap images to any degree of accuracy. To view textures or bitmap materials, change to Texture Smooth Shaded or use the Render Window button on the main toolbar to activate the Scene Editor’s scanline renderer. Keep in mind that whether you have a solid material, texture or bitmap applied to an object, the way the Viewport looks in Smooth Shaded mode is what you will see when you render with RAViX to Mesh Gradient Shading only.

Texture

Smooth Shaded

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Flat Shaded - This mode of display rendering will show your objects as shaded, but without the smooth gradients. Instead you will see all of the polygons that make up your objects, each with a separate flat fill. This setting helps to increase Viewport rendering speed when you're working with more detailed models.
Flat Shaded

Wireframe - This displays objects as wireframes only, with no shading. In other words, you will see the polygonal structure of your objects rather than their smoothed surfaces. This mode can be useful when you have complex 3D models and intricate animation paths since it speeds up the process of redrawing your objects every time you make a change in your scene.
Wireframe

Draw Backfaces - By default, Draw Backfaces is enabled in all of the Viewports. What this means is that the display is showing the "backfaces" or the mesh of the object that is facing away from the camera. By turning off the display of back facing polygons you can help speed up Viewport rendering. In the Advanced Modeler, turning off draw backfaces can also help facilitate the selection process since the front facing polygons will become easier to identify.
Backfaces Off

Reference Grid
Reference Grid - This turns the X, Y, Z coordinate reference grids on and off. All of the numerical coordinates will still exist when the grid is turned off, but you won't have all of the reference lines showing within the Viewport. To turn all of the grids off at once, toggle off the Show Reference Grids option.

Show Options
Animation Paths - Any animation paths that have been applied to an objects will display as a purple line. These paths can also be edited by clicking on the Animation Path Mode button on the main toolbar. Read more about editing animation paths in the Path Animation section of the Animation chapter. Hidden Objects - This is used to show or hide objects that have been designated as Hidden (this is done from the Object page of the Properties Toolbar). The Show Hidden option is off by default. When this setting is enabled, hidden objects display with a stippled red effect (and can only be selected through the Hierarchy Toolbar).

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Object Bones - Object Bones show the connection between objects’ pivot points based on parent/child relationships established through the Hierarchy toolbar. A parent is always connected to all of its children. These “bones” simple serve as a visual representation of the hierarchy. Pivot Points - This option allows you to turn off the display of all object pivot points in the Viewport.

Environment Properties
Unless you live in a world I’m unfamiliar with, things exist in a place. When I say ‘place’ we’re talking about a setting or the object’s surroundings. Within the world of Swift 3D we call this setting the Environment. In actuality, the overall Environment is made up of three things: Background Color, Ambient Light Color and Environment. By adjusting these three properties you are not actually directly affecting the objects within your scene, but instead are affecting how they appear based on their surroundings. With this in mind, changes to the environment properties should be considered global in nature, even though they may or may not have an effect on everything your scene contains.

Background Color
This setting controls the color that sits behind your scene, sort of like a backdrop. The importance of your background to your final rendered file varies depending on whether you are rendering using RAViX III (vector) or EMO (raster). When using the RAViX III rendering engine to export to a vector file format, the background color becomes slightly irrelevant if you are planning on importing your rendered file into another 2D vector authoring application like Macromedia Flash or Adobe Illustrator. If you happen to be exporting to the SWF file format, all Swift 3D does is add some extra information to your file that tells the Flash Player what color to use as a background color. The background really has little connection with your 3D scene once it has been exported. Furthermore, any other application you import your Swift 3D-generated files into, such as Macromedia Flash, will override your designated background (see chapter on Working With Exported Files for more information on this topic). This all adds up to the following advice: when exporting to vectors, set a specific background color only if you want to either visually reference the background color of the project you'll be importing the 3D animation into, or if you will be playing your 3D vector animation without further editing in another application (e.g., you’re publishing a rendered SWF directly to the Internet without further editing in Flash.) When using our EMO Ray Tracer to render out to a raster file you’ll need to be more wary of what the Background Color is set to for two reasons. First, all of the exported raster files (BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TGA) rendered from EMO

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will include the background in the file. However, PNG, BMP & TGA files that have Color Depth set to 32 bit may show transparency in certain 3rd party programs. Secondly, although SWF files from EMO do support transparent backgrounds, you’ll still want to use a similar background as your overall Flash Project due to the antialiasing that occurs around your objects. Regardless of what your antialiasing settings are (see Rendering With EMO chapter), you will always get a little bit of the background color showing up around your objects within Flash once it wipes out the background color of the original rendered SWF file. The only exception I’ve found is when you have the Background Color set to Black or White, in which case you won’t see the background color around those edges. So if you can plan ahead with your scene design and know where your files are going to end up you can eliminate any potential background problems before they occur.

To change the background color:
1. 2. 3. 4. Click on the Environment page in the Properties Toolbar. Double click on the Background Color color box, which by default is always white. Use the Color Palette (Win) or Color Picker (Mac) to choose or make your desired color. Click OK.

Ambient Light Color
Imagine a large sphere surrounding your scene. Whatever color you choose to apply to that sphere is considered your Ambient Light Color, and any objects with a solid glossy material in your scene will take on a tint of that surrounding material. If you are utilizing any of the advanced materials that EMO is capable of rendering you will find that the Ambient Light Color has a negligible effect on objects with those types of materials applied to them. As for its use, the Ambient Light Color setting can create a nice subtle object coloring effect when used properly, but for the average 3D scene its scope is limited. The main reason you would adjust this setting is to lend a tint of color to objects that are default gray or lightly colored, or if you want to lighten or darken your objects overall. If you've applied medium to dark materials to your objects, any color changes (aside from black or white) you make to the ambient lighting will have a very small effect.

To change your ambient light color:
1. 2. 3. 4. Click on the Environment page in the Properties Toolbar. Double click on the Ambient Light Color color box. Use the Color Palette (Win) or Color Picker (Mac) to choose or make your desired color. Click OK.

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Viewport Properties

Environment
The Environment setting of your scene is really only important when you have objects with a reflective finish applied to them. The Environment could be thought of as being similar to the Ambient Light Color, but only taking effect on reflective objects. It is similar in concept to placing a spherical room around your scene and everything within that room with reflective surfaces will give the viewer a glimpse of what those walls are covered with. The real power of the Environment arises when you start using more than just a simple solid color. Both gradients and patterns will create very cool effects with your reflective objects, and you can even use imported bitmap images as your Environment, which extends the coolness factor into the realm of 'beyond cool.' Keep in mind that environments created with Raster based materials need to be rendered out with the EMO Ray Tracer.

To change your environment:
1. 2. 3. Click on the Environment page in the Properties Toolbar. Go to the Gallery Toolbar and click on the Environment button on the left side of the toolbar. Click on your desired Environment and drag it over to the Environment color box in the Property Toolbar.

For more information on Environments, see the section on Environments in the Materials chapter.

Flash Tutorial: Environment Properties

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6
Overview

working with objects

Have you ever had the following experience: You launch a brand new application you've never used before. It's supposed to be the best tool for doing whatever it is you need to do, so your confidence is running high. This is going to be fun. After opening a new file, you start clicking around the interface. You manage to insert a few objects, but they're not where you want them. You try and move them and they won't budge. You try and edit them and they just sit there. The clicking gets heated. The menus are of no help. Finally you close the application in a fit of rage. Two days later you're still under the gun to finish the project and this new application is your only path to completion. So you pick up the User Guide and start to read. After a few pages you find the words, “Aaaahhhh, that's how you do it,” muttered from your mouth. You read a little further and it becomes, “Well that makes sense. Cool.” After 30 minutes of information gathering you re-open the cursed application and suddenly it's smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the scenario is all-too-common. We're all 'Button Pushers' at heart with primal instincts that tell us “I can figure this out on my own.” But learning the finer points of object control can save you from those frustrating moments where the software fights you tooth and nail. By reading through the following chapter you'll at least understand the techniques that are common to all types of objects within Swift 3D. Once you have that knowledge in hand, you can tackle the intricacies of each specific object as they come. That detailed information can be found in later chapters that go into depth on each object's properties and how to control them. But for now we'll cover the manipulation of objects and their universal properties.

Object Property Page
Every object in Swift 3D has properties that are universal to just about all objects, although mesh objects have smoothing properties that only apply to meshes. When you click on any object, its object properties can be found on the Object

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property page of the Property Toolbar. The Object properties that are available, depending on the type of object selected, are as follows:

Name
As your scene grows in complexity, being able to slap a label on an object can be quite useful. Because both the Properties Toolbar and the Animation Toolbar are selection sensitive, having the specific name of an object appear in the timeline helps insure that any changes being made are to the proper object. Please keep in mind that naming is not required since a default name will be given to any new object placed into the scene. It's when you have three of one type of object and a half-dozen of another that object naming really shows its true colors. You can name either a single object or a group of objects.

To name an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object. Select Object from the Properties Toolbar list. Type a name in the Name field. Hit ENTER.

You will now see the name of that particular object appear in the upper left corner of the timeline whenever it's selected.

Hide
On the surface, this feature seems pretty straightforward. Check the box, and your object becomes hidden. But, you can lose some serious sleep when the time comes to figure out how to find that object again. From the Viewport Menu you have the option to Show Hidden Objects. When this option is enabled, all hidden objects are displayed with a stippled red effect (hidden objects that are also locked will be magenta). Note that Hidden objects can only be selected via the Hierarchy toolbar. This is designed to facilitate the selection of objects that lie on top of each other in the Viewport.

To hide an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Insert a Box primitive into your Viewport by clicking on the Box button on the main toolbar. Select Object from the Properties Toolbar. Click the Hide option. Your object will disappear from the Viewport. Click on the Viewport Menu button. Select the Show Hidden Objects option.You will now see your hidden object. Hidden objects can only be selected from the Hierarchy toolbar.

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There are times when you need an object to be hidden from view until a certain point in your animation. Swift 3D does not come with a Hide Object keyframe option, but you can hide an object from view using the following steps (see Animation chapter for more details on creating animations): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Position the object where you want it to appear in the scene. Go to the object’s Scale property page and change its scale to 0, 0, 0, so it disappears. Turn the Animate button on and move the keyframe indicator to the frame where you want the object to first appear. Change its Scale properties back to their original settings. A keyframe will appear in the timeline. Hover your cursor over the first keyframe until an arrow pointing right appears, then click-and-drag the right side of the keyframe forward to the location of the keyframe where the object “appears.” This stops the animation, therefore preventing any Scale tweening from occurring, so your object will now simply appear at that keyframe, as though it was hidden.

Lock
The Lock function is primarily designed to circumvent any errant repositioning mishaps. If you feel like you've found the ultimate resting place for an object, or just want to temporarily render it immobile while you tweak the rest of your scene, this is how you do it. When you select an object or group of objects and check the Lock option on the Object page of the Properties Toolbar, the object will change to a blue stippled state in the Viewport (magenta if the object is also Hidden), and you will not be able to change the position of that object unless you unlock it. Everything else about that object is still editable while its position is locked. If objects have been associated with one another via the Hierarchy system (covered in later in this chapter), you’ll find that locked children will not influence parents, but locked parents will influence children. In order to help facilitate selection, locked objects, like hidden objects, can only be selected through the Hierarchy toolbar.

NOTE: If you happen to lock an object and then group it together with one or more objects through the Arrange > Group command, the entire group will then be locked and will stay that way until that object is unlocked. It is also possible to select an object out of a group of objects and lock it, thus rendering the entire group locked. Only the object within the group that is locked will display in the blue stippled state, which makes it easy to identify which object is locking the group.

Refraction Index
This value refers to the amount of refraction that transparent objects exhibit in physics. This feature is detailed in the Transparency section of the Materials chapter.

Use Texture Coordinates

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Smoothing
Smoothing is a process that makes the surface area of an object appear to be rounded even though a hard edge actually exists between each polygon. By default, Swift 3D automatically applies smoothing between polygons that have an angle of 45 degrees or less in between them. All mesh objects, which includes models imported from 3ds or dxf files or models created and/or edited in the Advanced Modeler, come with these additional smoothing controls: • • Unsmooth: This option turns off all smoothing so that the hard edges that exist between each polygon are displayed. Smoothing Groups: In the Advanced Modeler you can manually define Smoothing Groups for different surfaces areas of a single mesh. (Refer to the Smoothing Groups section in the Advanced Modeler Chapter for further information on this topic.) When the Smoothing Groups option is checked, Swift 3D will respect these Smoothing Groups. Auto Smooth: This option allows you to define the angle that Swift 3D will use in order to determine which edges get smoothed. For example, if the Smoothing Angle is set to 25 degrees, Swift 3D will only smooth the adjoining edge of two polygons if the angle between those two polygons is 25 degrees or less.

Flash Tutorial: Object Properties

Selecting Objects
Yes, there is an art to grabbing those slippery little devils.

Selecting Individual Objects
Selecting an object would seem to be a pretty straightforward process, and for the most part it is. You click on an object and it's selected. You'll know it when the object’s rectangular bounding box appears. It will also appear in the Rotation Trackball, as well as have its name appear in the upper left corner of the Animation Timeline.

Selecting Multiple Objects
To select more than one object, you can hold down the SHIFT key while selecting and each new object you click on will be added to the list of objects already selected (and you will see each new object join the others in the Rotation Trackball). As soon as you release the SHIFT key and click on another object, you will de-select any selected objects. If you errantly add an object, keep holding down the SHIFT key and just click again on the object you want deselected, and then continue on selected objects. If you simply want to select all the objects in your scene at once you can use the Edit > Select All command or the CTRL + A (Win) or COMMAND + A (Mac) shortcuts.

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To select multiple objects:
1. 2. 3. Insert three different primitives into your scene, clicking and dragging each to a separate location. (Use the Zoom Camera Extents button on the Main Toolbar to readjust the Viewport so that all can be seen.) Holding down the SHIFT key, click on each primitive (watch as each gets added to the Rotation Trackball). While still holding down the SHIFT key, click again on one of the primitives to deselect it.

Selecting Objects Using Hierarchy Toolbar
There are many times when you simply can’t select an object in the Viewport because it is obscured from view by other objects. When this happens, you will need to select the object from the Hierarchy toolbar. Hierarchy will be detailed later in this chapter, but for the purposes of selection, just consider Hierarchy as a list of all objects in the scene.

To select an object using Hierarchy:
1. 2. From the Hierarchy Toolbar, scroll through the list and find the name of the object. (If you have not named your objects you may have a bit of trial and error finding the right one if you have more than one type of object in your scene.) Click on the object and you will see the object become selected in the Viewports.

Grouping Objects
Much like a 2D drawing program, Swift 3D allows you to group objects together so they can be manipulated and animated as a single unit. A group is limited to objects and cannot include lights and cameras, but you can link lights and cameras to objects using the Hierarchy system (read upcoming section on Hierarchy). When objects are grouped a single pivot point is assigned to that group at its center.

To create a group:
1. 2. 3. Select two or more objects you want grouped together. Choose Arrange > Group from the Main Menu. Depending how many objects were included in the group, the group will be given the default name of “Group of X Objects.” You can give the group a more meaningful name by selecting the group and going to the Object page of the Properties Toolbar.

Once a group is created, it is treated like one object and can be selected like a single object. However, since objects within the group can maintain their own properties, such as bevels and materials, when a group is selected you will only see properties that you can adjust for the group as a whole in the Properties Toolbar. This does not mean that once an object is part of a group that you can no longer access its individual properties because objects can be individually selected from the group.

Two methods for selecting an individual object from a group:
1. 2. Hold down CTRL (Win) or OPTION (Mac) while selecting the individual object. Go to the Hierarchy page of the Properties toolbar (Win) or bring up the Hierarchy dialog by selecting View > Hierarchy (Win/Mac) and select the desired object from the list.

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To ungroup a group:
1. 2. Select the group you want to dissolve. Choose Arrange > Ungroup from the Main Menu.

NOTE: Removing a single object from a group can only be done from the Hierarchy list by clicking and dragging the object out from under the group. Learn more about using Hierarchy at the end of this chapter. You should be aware that when you animate a grouped object, and then ungroup the objects, your original animation will be lost.

Nested Groups
Nested groups (groups within groups) can be created by simply selecting two separate groups and choosing Arrange > Group from the Main Menu. The only way to select a group within a group is through the Hierarchy system.

Cutting, Copying, Pasting and Deleted Objects
Any object (including lights and cameras) can be cut or copied and then pasted either within the same document or into a new project. Cut: To cut a selected object do a CTRL + X/COMMAND + X or go to the Main Menu and select Edit > Cut. Copy: To copy your object, simply select the object and do a CTRL + C (Win)/COMMAND + C (Mac) or go to the Main Menu and select Edit > Copy. Paste: To paste your object, do a CTRL + V (Win)/COMMAND + V (Mac) or Edit > Paste. Whether you are cutting/copying and pasting your object into the same project or a new project, the new copy will maintain all of the original object’s properties, including any animation that had been applied to that object. The object will also get pasted into the same exact location, even if pasted into another document. Delete: To delete a selected object, hit the Delete key or go to Edit > Delete.

Nick’s Tips
When working with complex scenes, movement around the Viewport can start to slow down to the point where working on the details of individual objects can get frustrating. Since you can copy and paste objects from one document to another without losing their properties or location, it can be advantageous to copy and paste individual objects into another document where you can work to refine their details. When you are done, simply copy and paste that object back into your master document and it will go back to the same spot in your scene.

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Positioning Objects
Moving objects around the scene is a common certainty since very rarely do you create an object without the need to relocate it. Once you have the object or group of objects selected, you have a variety of positioning options. Note that all of these positioning techniques, including the numeric coordinate system, can be used when changing the location of lights and cameras as well.

Click-and-Drag
This is the most basic of object positioning procedures and it will probably be the one you use most. It's simply a matter of clicking-and-dragging on an object and releasing the mouse button when it arrives at its intended destination. It's important to note that when you use this process, you are only moving the object along two axes at once. To give you an example of what I mean, let's say that you are manipulating your objects through the Front camera view, which is shown in the left Viewport by default. Because the Front camera looks directly down the Z axis, your object movements are automatically constrained to the X and Y axis, just like when you move objects in a 2D drawing application. When you want to move objects closer or farther away from the camera (in the case of the Front camera, along the Z axis) you use a Shift + right click-and-drag (Win) or an Option + click-and-drag (Mac) to accomplish the task.

Nudge Keys
If you like to keep your hands on the keyboard, then just slide them over to your arrow keys and start pounding away. The increment by which your selected object will move is by default one pixel. If you find this a bit tedious, you can increase the distance your object moves each time you hit your arrow key by going to the Layout page in the Properties Toolbar. Simply type in your desired increment and continue on.

Nick's Tips
The methodology of the click-and-drag object positioning lends itself nicely to using different Camera views to move objects along certain planes. If I want to create four objects in my scene and need them all to stay on the exact same horizontal axis, where their Y coordinates always equal zero, I would do all of my object movement from the Top or Bottom views, thereby only adjusting their X and Z coordinates. I would then use my Front view as my final rendering Viewport.

Constrain Axis
There are also times when you want to be able to constrain an object's movements to an individual axis rather than an entire plane, as is the case with the process of using different camera views to constrain object movement. In this case we have a solution for you as well. No matter what camera view you're in, if you would like to constrain your object movements to the horizontal or vertical axis (relative to the particular camera you are looking through) you simply hold down the SHIFT key while clicking-and-dragging your object. Swift 3D will take the first movement of your cursor as your intended direction and then continue to limit that object’s movement along that axis. As soon as you release the SHIFT key you will be able to move that object in any direction.

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To constrain movement along the depth axis, SHIFT + right click-and-drag (Win) or OPTION + click-and-drag (Mac) upward to move your object forward, and downward to move your object backward.

Numerical Positioning
But the ultimate control comes with the ability to designate your object's position through the numerical coordinate system. Each object has a center point. The position of that center point, and thus the object itself, can be controlled within the Position page of the Properties Toolbar. Here you can set the X, Y and Z coordinates of the selected object as you please. The numbers are all based on the coordinate grid that you see in the Viewport, with each gridline representing one unit of measurement. Through this method, object positioning becomes more a lesson in math calculations and less a process of trial and error. If you have the need to align certain parts of your objects, like if you needed the base of all your objects to be aligned along a certain axis or plane, you need to adjust your object's pivot points and then align those pivot points. For more information on this process, please see the upcoming section on Pivot Points.

To position an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Insert one of the primitives. ALT + right click (Win) or COMMAND + CTRL+ click (Mac) anywhere in the background and drag downward to zoom the camera away from your object, giving you space to work with. Click on the primitive and drag it to a new spot. SHIFT + right click (Win) or OPTION + click (Mac) on the primitive and drag your cursor downward to move the primitive backward along the Z axis, then move your cursor upward to move the primitive forward along the Z axis. Click on the primitive, and while holding down the SHIFT key, move your cursor horizontally in either direction, then move your cursor vertically in either direction. Notice how its movement is constrained. With the primitive still selected, use the keyboard arrow keys to move it around. Go to the primitive’s Position page in the Properties Toolbar and enter in new coordinates. Click on the Reset Position button on the right side of the Rotation Trackball to bring object back to its original location.

Reset Position Button
This button, found on the right side of the Rotation Toolbar, will reposition your object to its original location when it was first created or imported. With the exception of objects created within the Extrusion Editor, this will place the selected object's center point on the intersection of the X, Y and Z axis.

Flash Tutorial: Positioning Objects

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Pivot Points
When you insert an object into your Viewport, it will automatically have a corresponding pivot point that is represented by a small red, green and blue cross hair located directly at the center of the object. This is a visual representation of that object's pivot point. When you rotate the object, this location will be the point around which your object will spin. To adjust the pivot point's location you need to first go to the Position page in the Properties Toolbar. The four buttons along the bottom of the Property Page allow you to designate your relocation strategy. •

Move Pivot Only will let you move the pivot point without having the object move, but when you move the object, the pivot point moves with the object. This setting works well for adjusting the pivot point of an object after it has just been created, or when the object has already been positioned. Move Object Only will let you move the object without having the pivot point move, but when you move the pivot point, the object will move with the pivot point. This setting is good when you have established a specific location in 3D space for your pivot point and then need to position your objects accordingly. Move Together will only let you move the object and pivot point together, so you cannot adjust their locations relative to each other. With this option selected (default) you won't be able to adjust the object's pivot point, but once you adjust the location of the pivot point using one of the other settings, this will lock it in place. Move Independently will allow you to move either the object or the pivot point separately. Although this setting gives you the most freedom in positioning, you probably will not want it enabled once you have your pivot point’s location established where you want it because it's too easy to change their position by accident.

To turn off pivot point:
If you prefer not to see the pivot point, you can toggle it off from the Show submenu of the Viewport Menu.

Reset Pivot Location
This button located to the right of the Rotation Trackball will re-center your object's pivot location no matter what you have done with it. It's a nice way to get back to your original starting point. No matter which of the pivot positioning options you have selected, the object will stay put and the pivot point will reposition itself to the object's center.

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To move the pivot point of an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Insert the Box primitive into your Viewport. ALT + right click (Win) or COMMAND + CTRL+ click (Mac) anywhere in the background and drag downward to zoom the camera away from the Box, giving you space to work with. Reselect the Box and go to its Position property page. At the bottom of this page, select the Move Pivot Only button. For Pivot Position, use: X = -.50, Y = .50 and Z = .50. Go to the Rotation Trackball and drag your cursor around in the trackball to see how the Box is now rotating around its corner. Hit the Reset Pivot Location button on the right side of the Rotation Trackball to return pivot to its original location.

Flash Tutorial: Working with Pivot Points

Rotating Objects
We briefly mentioned the use of the Rotation Trackball in the Scene Editor chapter, but now I'd like to investigate its functionality more deeply. Once you've selected an object it will appear within the Rotation Trackball with the same rotational orientation as it has in the Viewport. As soon as you click-and-drag on the surface of the Trackball, the object in the Viewport will rotate in the same direction as you're dragging your cursor. The basic use of the trackball is fairly intuitive, but being able to refine its movements is critical to laying out your scene just as you want it. This refinement comes through the use of the Lock Axis buttons along the left side of the Rotation Trackball. • • • •

Lock Horizontal will only allow the trackball, and thus your selected object, to rotate along its horizontal axis. Lock Vertical will only allow the trackball to rotate along its vertical axis. Lock Spin will only allow the trackball to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. Rotation Increment allows you to choose the degree of rotation.

You can also use the shortcut keys to expedite the process, which is very convenient when you are rotating your objects along more than one axis. While rotating your objects, holding down: • • •

SHIFT will lock the trackball on its vertical axis. CTRL will lock the trackball on its horizontal axis. CTRL + SHIFT will lock the trackball's clockwise or counterclockwise rotation.

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These locking buttons and shortcut keys give you a nice amount of control over what direction you want your objects to rotate, but you can take it a step further with the use of the Rotation Increment setting. This allows you to keep your object rotations within known values, which takes the guesswork out of the process.

Reset Rotation Button
This little nifty gadget will undo any rotation that has been applied to an object, no matter when that rotation was done. It works with any object that is currently selected.

To rotate an object using the rotation trackball:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Insert the Torus primitive into the Viewport. In the Rotation Trackball, click on the Lock Horizontal button and drag your cursor horizontally back and forth across the trackball. Click on the Lock Vertical button and drag your cursor up and down across the trackball. Click on the Lock Spin button and move your cursor in a circular motion along the outer perimeter of the trackball. Click the Reset Rotation button on right side of trackball. Click on the Rotation Increment button and select 45 degrees. Click on the Lock Horizontal button and move your cursor across the trackball to the right until the Torus rotates one turn, which will be 45 degrees.

Numeric Rotation
At times you will require greater accuracy when rotating your objects than can be provided through the Rotation Trackball. Through the Rotation page of the Properties Toolbar you can enter in an exact degree of rotation.

To numerically rotate an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object in the Viewport. Click on the Rotation page of the Properties Toolbar. (Note: A scrollbar will appear along the right side of the Property list box if the Rotation property has been pushed down out of the viewable area of the List box.) Type in the exact degree of rotation into any of the X, Y or Z entry boxes. Hit ENTER or TAB to the next field in order for the rotation to take place.

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Local vs. Global Rotation
By default, the Rotation property page is set to Global, which means that all objects will rotate around their pivot points according to the main scene’s X, Y and Z axes. All objects also come with a local Axis Guide around which you can also rotate any object. Having access to an object’s local axes can be extremely helpful if you have changed the global rotation of an object but still need to rotate an object according to its local orientation. To rotate an object locally, click on the Local button on the Rotation property page and then adjust the X, Y or Z rotation values.

Flash Tutorial: Rotating Objects

Scaling Objects
This is where I lose all of the Control Freaks in the audience. Scaling is an obvious feature that everyone is accustomed to. Unfortunately in the 3D world there is a difference between sizing and scaling. If you're the type of person who always has to know exactly how big your objects are, you're better off skipping the scale function and sticking to adjusting your object's size numerically via the sizing controls. But if you are willing to let the numerical control slip slightly, scaling is a quick and easy way to change the relative size of your objects. One key thing to consider about scaling is that you can animate this property, and with the ability to scale objects nonuniformly, you can create some great animations. This is something that cannot be done through the sizing controls since the sizing property cannot be animated.

Scaling Mode
The quickest method of scaling an object or group of objects is by slipping into Scaling Mode. This is a one shot deal where you select the button and scale your object either up or down, with equal scaling being applied to all dimensions of the object or group, and then Swift 3D automatically kicks you out of scaling mode. This is done to prevent any inadvertent scaling if you forget to turn off Scaling Mode.You'll notice that this process does not change the object's numerical size.

To scale an object using scaling mode:
1. 2. 3. 4. Click the Scaling Mode button on the Main Toolbar. The cursor will change to the Scaling Mode cursor. Click-and-drag on the object you would like to scale. The farther you are away from the center point when you click on the object, the better control you will have over the scaling process. Moving your cursor towards the center of the object will decrease its scale, while moving it away from the center will increase its scale. Release the cursor button when you are happy with the scale of your object.

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Scale Property Page
From the Scale property page you have the option to numerically adjust both the Scale and the Shear of an object.

Numeric Scaling
This process accomplishes the same effect as the Scaling Mode button, but allows for scaling adjustments of the width, height and depth independently.

To scale an object using numeric scaling:
1. 2. 3. Select the object you want to scale. Select the Scale page in the Properties Toolbar.(Note: A scrollbar will appear along the right side of the Property List box if the Scale property has been pushed down out of the viewable area of the List box.) Adjust the values of the X, Y or Z scale factors as needed.

Shear
If you have a picture of a naked sheep in your head right now you might want to consider giving this section a read since the type of shearing Swift 3D does has nothing to do with sheep. The Shear function allows you to slant an object from one side to another along a specific axis. A good way to understand this function is to think of a square being transformed into a parallelogram, where its top and bottom planes remain parallel to each other while the top slides towards the right and the bottom slides towards the left.

Box Before Shear

Box with X Shear Applied

The steps for shearing are identical to the steps provided for Numeric Scaling. As with scaling, Shear can also be animated.

Nick's Tips

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Non-uniform scaling and shearing can cause problems when parent/child relationships are established. Just for some background information, when an object is made a child of another object, Swift 3D makes a one time adjustment so that the child maintains it position, rotation and scale properties. However, if a parent object is non-uniformly scaled, any children of that parent will begin to skew when they are rotated because it takes on the parent's local axis coordinates as its global coordinates. In order to avoid this problem, it is highly recommended that all non-uniform scaling be performed down at the mesh level in the Advanced Modeler. Scaling done at the mesh level will not have any affect on children that are created at the object level. Further information on editing and scaling meshes can be found in the chapter on the Advanced Modeler.

Negative Scaling
Negative scaling can be used as a way to Mirror objects in the Scene Editor. Simple select an object or group of objects and set their scale to negative one (-1.00).

Flash Tutorial: Scaling Objects

Hierarchy
The Hierarchy toolbar serves as a central repository for every object that exists within your scene, including lights and cameras, listing out those objects by their name. If you haven’t designated an object’s name you will see its default name appear in the list. As mentioned earlier, the Hierarchy system provides for a very accurate method of object selection when the scene starts getting crowded, but that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this system has to offer.

Creating Parent/Child Relationships
When new objects are created and placed into the scene they are considered siblings within the structure of the scene, meaning they are all at the same level of hierarchy. For example, if you simply create four spheres, the Hierarchy list will show Sphere01, Sphere02, Sphere03 and Sphere04, all at the first level of indentation in the list. These sibling relationships are often all you’ll need to build a scene with Swift 3D. However, there are times that arise when you’ll want to create an organized structure where the behaviors of certain objects are dependant on the behavior of others. When a connection is created between two or more objects Hierarchy Toolbar (Undocked) whereby one dictates what happens to another, this is a parent/child relationships. These relationships can be quite powerful when it comes to animation (see Animation chapter) but the place where the relationships are created and managed is within the Hierarchy list.

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The only limitations in the hierarchy are that lights and cameras cannot have children, and only Free Lights and Free Cameras can be children of other objects.

To create a parent/child relationship:
1. 2. 3. 4. Place two objects into your scene. From the Hierarchy toolbar, click-and-drag the name of one of your objects. Drop it onto the name of the other object. The dropped object name becomes indented underneath the other name.

The object that is now indented has become a child of the other object, which is now the parent of the indented object. This means that whatever you do to the parent, the same will happen to the child. If you select the parent, the child will become selected as well. If you move the parent, the child will move as well. Or if you rotate... well, you get the idea.

Object Bones

NOTE: The Show Object Bones setting in the Viewport Menu will provide a visual representation of object hierarchy. If you designate several objects as children to a single parent object, the same sort of stuff will occur with all of those children. However, if you select any of the children and change their position, rotation, scale, etc., nothing would happen to the parent, nor would anything be affected with the other siblings of that object. Also note that if you bring a parent object into the Advanced Modeler, all of its children will go along for the ride as well. Refer to chapter on Advanced Modeler for more information.

Groups Within Hierarchy
Although Hierarchy serves as an efficient method of organizing your scene, there are still plenty of times when you will find the use of groups convenient in manipulating your objects. When a group is created using the Arrange > Group command, or simply by selecting more than one object and thus creating a temporary group, you’ll see the newly formed group appear within the Hierarchy list as “Group of (number of objects) Objects.” This grouping is a type of parent/child relationship where the parent is not a single object, but rather an intangible entity known as a group. The group becomes the parent and all of the objects within the group become children of that group. As soon as the group is broken with an Arrange > Ungroup command, or by deselecting the currently selected objects, the group within the Hierarchy list will be destroyed and the children that were under that parent group will go back to their respective places within the hierarchy.

Nick’s Tips
The Hierarchy system will not allow you to select or move more than one listed object at a time (although a listed object may actually contain many children), but you can accomplish a multiple object move by using a different strategy. Since you can perform multiple selection of objects within the Viewport, you can create a grouped object there (either temporary or permanent), and then move the grouped object in the Hierarchy list. All of the originally selected objects are considered children of that group, so they’ll all go along for the ride. When you have the group

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associated with the right parent, you can then ungroup the objects and they will assume their new places within the Hierarchy system.

Flash Tutorial: Scene Hierarchy

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Overview

primitives

Primitives are a lazy designer's best friends. There is no quicker way to get 3D elements into your scene than clicking one of the Swift 3D primitive buttons. It's what geometry class should have been like in high school. No proofs, no equations, no pi. Just cool looking shapes at your command. In addition, you can control many properties of each primitive. What this means is that for every primitive button you see across the top of the Swift 3D interface, there are endless variations of each shape. It's just a matter of clicking and tweaking. It's important to also realize that these 3D primitives can be joined together in infinite ways to create more complex shapes that are only limited by your imagination. If you think of these primitive objects as basic building blocks, you're going to see well beyond their basic 3D shape into a world you probably learned about with your first set of Legos.

Inserting Primitives
All of the primitives can be accessed from the Main toolbar with the simple click of the mouse. When they are inserted into the Viewport they automatically arrive centered on the (0,0,0) coordinate. As you peruse the delectable selection of primitives, please note that there are properties specific to each object and properties that are universal across all objects. Those specific properties are mentioned along with the primitive information in this chapter. The common properties are discussed in the Working With Objects chapter.

How to insert a Primitive:
1. 2. Click on the desired Primitive button. Wipe the sweat from your brow and grab some Gatorade.

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Sphere
It's round, it has a radius and you can change its shape. The object itself is as simple as it gets, but once you've inserted the sphere into your scene you can control much more than just the radius. Within the Properties Toolbar are settings that will take your basic sphere and squeeze it, stretch it, and adjust its appearance altogether.

Radius
This one is a no-brainer. You adjust the radius setting and the thing gets bigger or smaller. You can accomplish the same effect using the Scaling Mode button, but you'll find that when you use the scaling technique it will not have an effect on the numerical radius setting. This is due to the difference between object scaling and object sizing which is covered in the Scaling section of the Working With Objects chapter.

Segmentation
So now we're going to cross the line from Geometry to Geography. The best way to understand the sphere's segmentation control is to imagine a globe, complete with all of its lines of longitude and latitude. And for those of you who were snoozing during Geography class, we'll have a little review. Lines of latitude are the ones that circle the globe (or sphere) horizontally and the lines of longitude circle the globe vertically. The way I remember the two is that lines of latitude get smaller as you approach the Earth's poles, but the lines of longitude stay consistently ‘long.’ If that doesn't work for you then just start changing the numbers and you'll figure it out pretty darn quickly.

GeoSphere
Unlike its relative, the sphere, the GeoSphere has no poles. The screen shot on the right shows a GeoSphere that has been unsmoothed (in the Advanced Modeler) so that you can see the mesh. The mesh of a GeoSphere will provide a smoother profile than a sphere that has the same number of faces.

Radius
As with the Sphere, you can set the GeoSphere's radius.

Subdivision Depth
This setting controls the number of faces the GeoSphere's mesh contains. The range of this setting is limited to four subdivisions. These numbers correspond to the number of times the original faces of the GeoSphere are subdivided into four new faces.

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Box (Cube)
Ahhh, the coveted Box. So simple, yet often overlooked. Six sides, 12 edges and no pretense, this primitive is the all purpose utility shape that serves as a great building block for all things rectangular and blocky.

Sizing
These properties are very straight forward with the Box, so I shan't take this explanation a step further.

Segmentation
As is the case with a few other primitives, these segmentation settings allow for control over how the Box, or whatever rectangular shape you turn it into, gets defined on a polygon basis. The default setting for the Box is one segment for width, height and depth. This means that the Box is defined by 12 polygons—2 per face. As you increase these settings, you will notice no difference in the macro-geometry (ok, I admit to making up that term), but you will see some slight changes in how the light interacts with the surfaces. But the real reason you'd be messing with these settings comes when it's time to render the shape. When you choose from any of the per-polygon rendering styles (Outline Mesh, Full Color and Mesh Gradient) you will generate different output looks and varying file sizes based on the number of polygons used to create that object. NOTE: Segmentation settings will have no effect upon your final rendered files if you are planning on using the EMO Ray Tracer to generate your animation. It’s only relevant to RAViX.

Pyramid
As you effortlessly click the Pyramid primitive button, just ponder how long it took for the ancient Egyptians to accomplish the same task as Swift 3D just did in milliseconds. And you didn't even have to flog anyone in the process.

Sizing
This is the only property you get to mess with on this primitive, so go ahead and have at it. It's pretty tough to get into trouble with the pyramid.

Nick's Tips
Four triangular sides and a bottom are all you get with the pyramid primitive. If you're looking for a pyramid with more sides you can use the Lathe Editor to create a cone and then uncheck its Smoothing property and adjust the number of Radial Segments to equal the number of sides you're looking for. You can also create a 3-sided pyramid (Tetrahedron) even quicker by inserting a Polyhedron since the default settings yield a Tetrahedron.

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Cone
The cone is really just a relative of the cylinder, with the obvious difference that it comes with a point on top.

Radius
The top and bottom radius settings allow you to turn your cone into something that I really don't have a definition for. It's sort of like the various forms of progeny that would be generated if a Cone mated with a Cylinder, not that we condone that type of behavior with our primitives. In fact, there's a strict fraternization policy implemented within Swift 3D, but these controls allow you to circumvent our mandated rules. You'll also notice that massaging these controls can easily create a cylinder, but I assure you that we also have a strict rule regarding the cloning of primitives (and massaging for that matter).

Segmentation
Although the two cone segmentation settings work as you'd expect, they will most likely be used for different purposes.

Axial
I guarantee that when you start to adjust the axial segmentation of the cone you're going to mutter, “Now there's a useless feature,” but I feel obliged to tell you otherwise. Although you will not be noticing any shape change in the object, when it comes time to render the object, you may be more interested in this control. As you change this setting, you are increasing and decreasing the number of polygons that make up that object. When you choose from any of the perpolygon rendering styles (Outline Mesh, Full Color and Mesh Gradient) you will generate different output looks and varying file sizes based on the number of polygons used to create that object.

Radial
Although you can use the radial segmentation to control your polygon count just like the axial control, your use for this control is most likely going to be adjusting the actual geometric shape of the cone. By bumping this setting lower and lower, you can create a cone that becomes more faceted (made up of more surfaces), which can be very beneficial when it comes to rendering your scene with certain output styles.

Closed
By choosing to close the Cone, you are telling Swift 3D to place a cap on the bottom of it. If you uncheck this option, you will be able to see into the cone as if it were created with paper rather than clay. And if you increase the top radius above zero, you will be able to see right through the object from certain camera angles.

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Cylinder
A variation of the Cone, the cylinder is your all-purpose tube. Great for building DNA chains architectural columns, and even useful when you want to place something on a pedestal. Simply defined by a radius and length, they're not quite as powerful as cones, but certainly convenient when someone asks you to model a roll of toilet paper (hey, it could happen).

Radius and Length
The radius setting controls how thick the cylinder will be and the length setting controls how long it will be. If you're looking to adjust both parameters proportionately you're probably better off doing so using the Scale Mode button.

Segmentation
Please see the corresponding section under the cone primitive description because any adjustments you may want to make here will affect your cylinder's geometry and rendering appearance exactly as they would a cone.

Torus
Torus. Ring. Doughnut. Whatever you want to name this thing, you know what I'm talking about, even though my spell checker does not.

Radius
The Minor Radius is the distance from the center of the shape to the inside surface of the torus. If you increase this setting without changing the Major Radius you will make your Torus more slender. The Major Radius is the distance from the center of the shape to the outside surface of the shape. If you increase this setting without changing the Minor Radius you will make your Torus fatter.

Segmentation
The Segmentation Minor Radius controls the number of times the circular lines that define the tubular nature of the Torus are segmented. If you decrease this number, the shape will become more angular in its cross section. The Segmentation Major Radius controls the number of times the circular lines that define the roundness of the Torus are segmented. If you decrease this number, the shape will become more angular in its circumference.

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Plane
We threw this ultra-primitive primitive into Swift 3D for one sole purpose—Shadows. You may very well find other uses for this object, and for that I commend you. But the bottom line is that planes work great for creating a surface to cast a shadow onto. Throw one of these bad-boys under your animation, check that Shadow option before rendering and you've got some big-time eye candy. And, keep in mind that with both the SWFT and the SWF export file formats you will have access to just the shadows within an animation as either their own separate layer or as a separate object.

Sizing and Segmentation
Please see the corresponding sections under the Box primitive description because any adjustments you may want to make here will affect your plane's geometry and rendering appearance exactly as would the surfaces of a Box.

Polyhedron
When primitives are born and start learning their way around the world of 3D objects, they soon come to the realization that they wished they were a Polyhedron. To be a Polyhedron is to be anything and everything, while still maintaining its coy demeanor within the Swift 3D interface. Who would have thought one button could be so powerful. The only thing other primitives don't lust after is having the name polyhedron. If you break down the word to its integral parts, you'll quickly realize that the confusing nomenclature is just a smoke screen for ‘many sided object.’ With this in mind, you can now click on that button and know exactly what you're getting into—a thing with a bunch of sides. But if you leave it at that you miss out on all the fun. With just a little bit of extra information you'll find yourself spitting out 22 letter words that will impress your friends. Or they might just get all glassy-eyed and start considering a quest for new friends.

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Loosely defined, a polyhedron is an arrangement of flat surfaces (polygons) such that two and only two surfaces meet at any given edge, making it possible to traverse the surface of the polyhedron by crossing its edges and moving from one surface to another until all surfaces have been traversed by this continuous path. Whew. What that really means is that Polyhedra (plural of polyhedron) come in many shapes and sizes. These geometrical variations can be broken up into polyhedron families, which I will describe as soon as I can borrow that Geometry textbook from the engineers again. But the true power of this primitive comes ex-post insert. The versatility of the polyhedron lies within the confines of the Properties Toolbar. With a little bit of tweaking, you'll be whipping out Rhombicosidodecahedrons in less time than it takes to say Truncated Cuboctahedron.

Polyhedron Families
First, let's discuss the five basic shapes that make up the starting points for all the aforementioned variations of the polyhedron. The Tetrahedron, Cube, Octahedron, Dodecahedron, and Icosahedron (the fabulous five) all share a couple of similar properties. Their faces are all made up of the same geometric shapes and all of their vertices are identical. This group of objects is known as the Platonic Solids and you'll recognize their names in the Properties Toolbar once you place a Polyhedron into the scene.

Tetrahedron
The fundamental shape of a Tetrahedron, the most basic form of polyhedron, is a solid object made up of four equilateral triangles. It's like a pyramid, but with one less side. The default geometry for the Tetrahedron family is a tetrahedron (go figure) but you can create many different shapes with some fiddling of the controls we'll talk about shortly.

Cube/Octahedron
These two shapes have a distinct relationship and it goes beyond the fact that their number of sides is divisible by four. The Cube is the default geometry that appears when you insert the Polyhedron and select this family. To get to the Octahedron shape, you need to do some adjustments within the P and Q settings, but that's a whole different world so for now you can just take my word for it.

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Dodecahedron/Icosahedron
Again, we find two distinct shapes with a strong relationship to each other. The default geometry that appears when you insert a Polyhedron and select this family is the Dodecahedron, a 12-sided object consisting of faces that are all pentagons. With some modest adjustments you can quickly turn this shape into an Icosahedron, which is a 20sided object made up of all triangles.

Star 1
Now we begin the crazy journey into the realm of Stellated Polyhedra, which are variations on two of the platonic solids but with star-like characteristics. The default geometry of Star 1 is an Icosahedron that has had each of its faces pulled out from the center of the object. In other words, if you were to create a vertex in the center of each triangular face of an Icosahedron and drag it away from the center of the object, Star 1 is what you'd end up with. If you need a term you can remember, try 20-pointed star, because that's the default construction of a Star 1.

Star 2
Star 2 works under the same principles of Star 1, but its default geometry is based on a Dodecahedron where each face that the vertex gets pulled from is a pentagon rather than a triangle. In this case you end up with a 10-pointed star. By the way, don't go asking any Geometry professors for the definition of a Star 1 or Star 2. As best I can tell, the names were invented by a frustrated U.I. designer who was having a difficult time fitting the word ‘Great Stellated Dodecahedron’ into a dialog box.

Family Parameters
I really had no idea what we were getting into when the Polyhedron was slated for construction within Swift 3D. Little did I know that one button on our interface could lead to such a communication quandary. It took me two days of research just to determine that the Family Parameters of a polyhedron (also known as Ps and Qs) were virtually indescribable. But that's not going to stop me from trying.

P and Q
The P parameter is directly related to the number of faces the object has, and the Q parameter is directly related to the number of vertices that exist on the object. By adjusting either of these two settings, you can generate an unbelievable amount of variations of the Platonic Solids. Unfortunately, the P and Q settings are only directly related to the faces and sides of the object, but not exactly representative of those numbers. What this means is that instead of setting those parameters exactly as you see fit, your best bet is to start playing around and see the results. In most cases, the three settings you can actually predict how the results are going to look like are the two extremes and the midpoint. There are some basic things you want to pay attention to as you start tweaking your default objects.

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• • • • The range of each setting is between 0 and 1. The two values added together cannot exceed 1. The two extremes occur when either setting is set to 1 and the other is at 0. The midpoint occurs when both settings are set to 0.

Let's say you insert your Polyhedron (which will give you the Tetra) with a default setting of P=0 and Q=1. This is a 100% pure Tetrahedron. As soon as you start adjusting either the P or the Q parameter, you no longer have a tetrahedron, but rather a variation of the tetrahedron shape. Now the interesting thing about this particular shape is that when you go to the other extreme, where P=1 and Q=0, you also end up with an exact tetrahedron. This is the only family where this occurs and it's also the reason why there is only one name under this family category. Moving on to the Cube/Octa, we start out with the same default setting of P=0 and Q=1 and you have a perfect cube. Now when you choose the other extreme you will end up with the Octahedron, which is the main reason these two objects are lumped together in a family. Finally, the Dodec/Icos arrives into the scene with the standard P and Q settings and when you crank the P setting to equal 1, you change your perfect Dodecahedron to a perfect Icosahedron.

Scale Axis
And now the really dense fog rolls in. The Scale Axis is still based on Ps and Qs with the addition of some Rs for confusion sake. These settings allow you to push and pull faces of your polyhedron in a similar fashion to what the Star 1 and Star 2 do. In fact, if you start from the Dodec/Icos family you can quickly achieve the Stellated Polyhedron default geometry. But once you start cranking these settings in conjunction with variations of the P and Q Family Parameter you'll quickly realize that there is no end to the crazy shapes the Polyhedron can generate. One important thing about the Scale Axis settings is that P, Q and R each control a different type of surface. There can be three basic surfaces on a Polyhedron: triangles, squares and pentagons. If your shape has one or two types of surfaces, only one or two of the Scale Axis settings will have any effect on the faces of the shape. When the shape has all three types of faces, P, Q and R will all be active.

Radius
Now back to something we can all relate to. Adjust the radius of a Polyhedron and it will get bigger or smaller. And I didn't even have to research that one.

Flash Tutorial: Working with Primitives

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Overview

text

I'm not sure about you, but my first experience with 3D text was when I started going to see Hollywood movies in the theatres. When I saw a deeply extruded rendition of the Star Wars title with that extreme perspective that tapered quickly towards the vanishing point, text suddenly became much more than trying to achieve a perfect cursive letter ‘B’ in 3rd grade. They became art, more like sculptures than a bunch of letters thrown together, more of an outlet for creativity rather than a model for replication. And with the massive increase in font selection through the boom in personal computing, suddenly you could convey emotions and moods with just the mere visual representation of your words. Wow, I'm sorry to come across as a total word geek, but that was some cool stuff for me. So here we are in the 21st century with Swift 3D, certainly not the first 3D font rendering software, but an exceptional solution for turning 3D text into vector-based animations. Within Swift 3D, any TrueType or PostScript font you have installed on your computer can be automatically turned into an extruded and beveled 3D object.

Inserting a Text Object
There is little mystery to getting started with text. Simply click the Create Text button on the Main toolbar and the word “Text” appears in your scene, which is when the fun begins.

Text Property Page
After you complete the grueling task of inserting the word “Text” into your scene, unless by some cosmic coincidence you are building a Web site all about text, you will most likely want to do a bit of personalizing to meet your text needs. This can all be done from the Text property page, which by default is selected after you hit the Create Text button.

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Font
Use the Font dropdown menu to choose the style of text you desire, using the preview function to guide your selection. The default font can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Text
You can replace the text with your own by highlighting the word in the Properties Toolbar and typing whatever you like.

Alignment
You can adjust the alignment of your text with the Alignment buttons shown.

Character Map
The Character Map button gives you a display of all the weird characters that come with each font, but aren't shown on your keyboard. For example, select the Wingdings font in the font dropdown list, and then click on the Character Map button to see a ready-made list of symbols.

Nick's Tips
Wingdings are sweet. That's right, Wingdings, Webdings, Dingbats—all cool in my book. They quickly extend the versatility of Swift 3D by giving you a ton of 2D objects that can be extruded in a heartbeat via the Text button. And after a quick Web search I found tons of picture-based fonts similar to Wingdings, all for free. Adding these types of fonts is sort of like building your own personal 2D library.

To work with text properties:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Click on the Text object button on the Main Toolbar. Highlight the word Text in the Text box in the Properties Toolbar (by either clicking and dragging your cursor over the letters or double clicking anywhere on the text). Type in any word. Go to the Font dropdown list and choose a new font. Hit the Character Map button, find the exclamation point and click on it to insert it into the Text box. Click on the 3 different alignment keys to watch your text realign itself in the Viewport.

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Bevels Property Page
Bevels refer to the transition between the front and back surfaces and the side surfaces of your text. When you are using 3D text, adding bevels will create another surface for light to reflect off of, thus creating a more interesting effect. Swift 3D allows you to apply five different types of bevel effects.

Styles
• • • • •

Square: A 90-degree angle, giving your text only three total surfaces: front, side and back (i.e. no bevel). Beveled: A 45-degree angle, as if you ran a knife along the front corners of your text. This is the default style. Outer Round: A smooth, convex, rounded transition between the front surface and side surface, as if you sanded the front corners down. Inner Round: A smooth, concave, rounded transition, as if you gouged out the front corners of your text. Step Down: As if you glued your text to the front of a larger version of your text.

NOTE: You are not actually removing material from the characters, as you would when working with wood, but rather you are adding thickness to the areas without the bevel in order to create them. This means that as you increase the depth of your text you will be increasing its size as well, which may change the overall character of your font.

Bevel Gallery
Bevels can also be dragged and dropped onto Text or Extrusions from the Bevel Gallery.

Nick’s Tips
There are two things I feel obliged to mention at this juncture. First, don’t go typing in your company’s Mission Statement and expect to have a file that will stream at 28.8 kbs. Text, especially with a fancy font applied, has a lot of geometrical detail when it’s converted to a 3D object so it can get big, fast. Second, bevels are cool, but they also can boost your bandwidth consumption. I recommend sticking to the 45 degree bevel because the other ones tend to need a higher level fill option when rendering in order to be visible.

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Depth
With the Depth control you are manipulating how quickly the text makes your desired transition from front and back surfaces to side surfaces. The higher the number, the longer the transition, ergo, the more depth you apply to your bevel, the thicker your text becomes. Get carried away and you've got some funky looking stuff, not that funky is a bad thing. If you are significantly increasing the bevel size (around 5.0 or higher), you may stop seeing any changes to your bevels until you go and increase the Depth under Sizing.

Face
By default, the bevels are applied to both the front corners and the back corners so you will see the same thing going on when you view the backside of your text. To control which faces are beveled, choose front, back or both under the Face options.

To work with bevels:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Click on the Text object button on the Main Toolbar. In the Properties Toolbar, select the Bevel Property Page. Click on the Beveled dropdown list and choose a different bevel option (not square). Key in 0.050 in the Depth box (or use the scrollers). In the Rotation Trackball, drag your cursor across the trackball until the back of the text comes into view. Click on the Front Face button. Notice that the backside of the Text is no longer beveled. Click the Reset Rotation button on the right side of the Rotation Trackball.

NOTE: The default Bevel Style and Depth can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Smoothness
This slider controls how accurately curves are drawn on your text. If you adjust towards Fine, your curves will smooth out, but the amount of lines it takes to render the text increases, and so does your file size. Adjusting towards Coarse will make any curves appear more angular and reduce file size. The general rule of thumb is “leave it alone unless you have a good reason not to.”

Mesh Quality
This control is there to allow you some control over the geometry created when you extrude text and 2D artwork. The default polygonal construction of these objects typically lead to some very narrow polygons where there are curved edges. This can sometimes lead to some inconsistencies after rendering and importing into Flash. If you experience any of these problems, you should adjust this slider to a higher level of Mesh Quality and try rendering again. Another side effect is that when you jack this setting up, you’ll have more detailed lighting effects when you are rendering with Mesh Gradient Shading.

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Sizing Property Page
You have five controls over the sizing of Text. Width and Height are pretty straightforward. Depth allows you to control how deeply extruded your text objects are. Inter Character and Inter Line control the distance between each character and each line of text. Any numerical changes will use the center of the text as a baseline. So if you increase the depth, the front of the text will move towards you (if it's facing the camera) and the back of the text will move away from you. NOTE: The default Depth applied to Text and Extrusions can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Editing Characters Individually
When your create a text object, it is considered one main object that consists of individual grouped characters, but the characters within the word are considered children and can be somewhat manipulated independently.

To edit characters individually:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Click on the Text object button located on the Main Toolbar. Hold down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac) while clicking on the ‘e’ character. Notice that a bounding box now appears just around the ‘e’, and only the ‘e’ appears in the Rotation Trackball. Once you have that character selected you can apply different properties to it within the Properties Toolbar, so go to the Sizing page and increase the letter’s height. Go to the Material Gallery and while holding down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac), drag-and-drop a new material on just the ‘e.’ Go to the Animation Gallery and while holding down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac), drag-and-drop one of the rotation animations on just the “e.” Click on the Play button and watch just the ‘e’ rotate.

Convert Text to Paths
This is a great feature that provides you with the ultimate control over your text. When you click the Convert Text to Paths button in the main toolbar, your text is no longer a font, but is now treated as an extruded object that can be edited in the Extrusion Editor. For those of you familiar with programs like Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand, this is the same thing as inserting text into those programs and then converting it from a font to outlines.

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What makes this feature extra sweet is that the morphing of paths is supported by our Animation Timeline. We go into the details of Path Morphing in the Animation chapter. It’s important to note that this conversion is a one way street, so make sure your text contains all of the letters you eventually want to work with in the Extrusion Editor before you click this button. Also, if you’ve made any changes to individual characters of a text string, like applying a specific material, you will lose those changes upon conversion.

Working With Text Objects in Advanced Modeler
Text can be brought into the Advanced Modeler if you want to further manipulate its mesh. This is obviously a great feature, but one thing you need to realize is that as soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button in the Advanced Modeler, the text is converted to an editable mesh and you no longer have access to the object’s text properties (font, bevels, etc.). A warning dialog will appear in order to remind you of the implications and to prevent you from inadvertently converting text into a 3D model. You can use the Undo function in the Advanced Modeler to reverse this action if you decide to go back to your original text object.

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Overview

extrusion editor

Extrusions are a non-3D guru’s best friend, which probably explains why I cozied up to our Extrusion Editor pretty quickly when it first arrive on the scene. I mean c’mon, would you rather spend your time learning what NURBS and splines are all about, or would you feel more comfortable grabbing a pen, sketching out a shape and having it instantly appear in your scene as a 3D object. Not to mention all of the familiar concepts like Bezier curves, control points and a nice flat surface to draw on. All these things add up to one of the most powerful modeling tools Swift 3D offers. And for those of you with zero 3D experience, let me throw a quick explanation of what an extrusion actually is. It's when you take a flat, 2D shape and extend its Z depth. As a most basic example, let's start with a single 8½” x 11” piece of paper. That's your original 2D shape. Now add 499 pieces of the same size paper to the stack and wrap it so it becomes a single unit. That's your extruded object. (Actually it's a ream of paper, but hey, I'm trying to prove a point here.) As you add or subtract pieces of paper to that stack, you are determining how thick your object becomes. That thickness is its Z depth. So Swift 3D’s Extrusion Editor may not measure up to an application like Adobe Illustrator and it may not offer total modeling power like the Advanced Modeler, but man is it a perfect hybrid tool for folks like myself (and maybe you) who can draw stuff with a Bezier Pen. And with the additional abilities of bringing 2D vector files into the Extrusion Editor as well as animating paths with the built-in Animation Timeline, you’ve got yourself a great ‘utility player’ in the big game of 3D modeling and animation.

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Extrusion Editor

How It Works
The basic concept is that once you draw a shape within the Extrusion Editor interface, the extrusion appears immediately in the Scene Editor with a default depth of 0.050 units. The Extrusion Editor merely exists to create the original shape. Once the actual extrusion appears in the Scene Editor, you will be able to adjust all of the extrusion's properties like depth, bevels, materials, etc. through the Properties Toolbar. You should also take notice of the differences between a Bezier Pen Tool from other applications and that of Swift 3D. As you begin drawing, you will need to select what type of point you want created via the three buttons on the top of the Extrusion Editor Interface: Corner Point, Curve Point and Tangent Point. But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself.

Main Toolbar
Pen Tool
It all starts by selecting the pen tool (selected by default when you enter the Extrusion Editor) and choosing a place on the grid to start drawing. By clicking the Pen Tool you are telling Swift 3D that you are ready to begin drawing.

Selection Tool
This tool will allow you to select individual and groups of points to further manipulate your shape once it has been drawn. By clicking the Selection Tool you are telling Swift 3D that you are ready to start editing your drawing.

Corner Point
When this button is depressed, every point you create will be an Corner Point with no information defining how the path enters or exits that point. If I create a series of Corner points, they will all be connected with perfectly straight lines.

Curve Point
The Curve Point has much more information associated with it than the Corner point. Curve points are defined by something called a Bezier curve whereby you have control over the shape of the line entering and exiting the point. Although you can control the entry and exit, the two halves of your curve are linked to each other so positional changes to one half of your point may have an effect on the other half of the Bezier curve. The typical application of Curve Points is to create two lines that join together at the point in a smooth fashion.

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Tangent Point
These are very similar to the Curve point but they allow you to control each side of the curve's control points separately. The tangent point is designed to allow your line to enter and exit the point with completely different paths. The typical application of Tangent Points is to create two curved lines that join together in an angular fashion.

Close Shape Button
This button is designed to be a time saver. Although not completely necessary, it's always a good practice to close your shapes when working within the Extrusion Editor. With that in mind, the Close Shape button offers a quick way to close your shape when you're ready to create that final line segment. Certainly you can do it manually by creating your final point directly on top of your very first point (a “+” sign will appear when you’re directly on top), but the Close Shape button will accomplish the exact same thing.

Magnifying Glass
Just imagine if Sherlock Holmes had licensed his classic investigatory tool to the software companies of the world. A simple royalty structure would have done wonders for him and Watson. Swift 3D's zoom tool works like this. Grab the tool, click to zoom in and right click to zoom out. Wherever you click on the grid determines the area that gets magnified or unmagnified.

Undo Button
Undo can be accessed through the Edit menu or shortcut commands, but if you're a button pusher you can take a crack at the Undo buttons.

Shape Tools
These buttons provide you with a quick and easy route to some common extrusion shapes you might be interested in using in your Scene. Or they may be a good starting point for the creation of something a little more custom. Either way, a click of the button inserts the proper path into the editing interface with all of the associated control points.

N-Gon
The N-gon is a more flexible version of these shape tools. The button itself shows a pentagon, but by selecting from the dropdown list you can designate the inserted shapes as anything from a triangle to an octagon.

Animate Button
The Animate button must be toggled on in order to activate the Extrusion Editor timeline.

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Working with Extrusions from the Model Gallery
The Model Gallery comes with a library of extrusions that you can click-and-drag into the Scene Editor and bring into the Extrusion Editor for further editing. The extrusions that are shipped with the program reside under the Extrusion Tab and all start with the default file name “ER Extrusion,” which is followed by a dash and the extrusion’s name. This is simply a naming convention that is used to help you identify which models are Extrusions in the Model Gallery and does not need to be continued if you choose not to. While the thumbnails provide you with a view of the finished extruded object, these shapes are actually just bezier paths that you can tweak into something all your own or use as is.

To add an extrusion from the model gallery:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. In the Scene Editor, click on the Model Gallery button and choose an extrusion from the gallery. Click on the preview window and drag the cursor into either Viewport. Go to the Extrusion Editor and the Bezier path of that shape will appear centered around the (0, 0) coordinate. Use any of the Extrusion Editor tools to edit the path. Click back on the Scene Editor tab to view the changes to the object.

You can also save your own extrusion to the Model Gallery so that it is accessible for future use in any open Swift 3D project.

To save an extrusion to the model gallery:
1. 2. 3. Once you have finished creating or editing an extrusion, return to the Scene Editor. With the extrusion selected in the Viewport, choose File > Save Model. This will bring up the Save Model dialog, from which you can choose a name and location within the Model Gallery for the extrusion. All extrusions stored in the Model Gallery get saved to the .t3om file format.

Editing Gallery Contents
An extrusion added to the Gallery can only be edited in the Extrusion Editor workspace (unless you choose to convert it to a mesh and edit it in the Advanced Modeler). Once an extrusion is placed into the scene it no longer has any connection to the original stored back in the model gallery, so when you finish editing you must go through the steps for saving an extrusion to the gallery. If you do not desire two copies of the extrusion, either overwrite the previous extrusion by using the same name when saving, or simply delete the previous version from the gallery. You can right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the palette window surrounding the thumbnails to bring up the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can delete, rename or relocate any gallery content. For information on how to share Gallery content and managing Galleries in Swift 3D, see the section on Galleries in the Scene Editor chapter.

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The Grid
The grid is mostly there for reference rather than for numerical sizing or positioning. Each grid line in the editor is set .05 units apart. When zoomed out you will see black dashed guidelines that represent 1 unit. A relationship does exist between the location of a path in the Extrusion Editor and where the extrusion is positioned when it is brought into the Scene Editor. The location of the extrusion in the Viewport will depend on where the object was drawn in relation to the (0, 0) coordinate in the Extrusion Editor. For example, if the path is centered around X = 0 and Y = 0, the extrusion will be centered in the Scene Editor as well. If the path is drawn in the lower right quadrant of the grid, the extrusion will appear in the lower right quadrant of the Viewport. What is the meaning of all this? This placement issue is only important if you plan to apply a bitmap texture to your extrusion. The location from which a bitmap image begins to wrap onto an extrusion is dependent upon where the path was drawn in relation to the (0, 0) coordinate. Specific details regarding bitmap wrapping to extrusions can be found in the chapter on Materials. It is also notable that any extrusion taken back into the Extrusion Editor for further editing will always be centered at (0, 0), no matter where it was initially drawn since the Extrusion Editor has no way of remembering the original location of each extrusion.

Creating Shapes
While it is possible that the shape you’re looking for resides within the Extrusion Gallery, there are definitely going to be many occasions when you will need to create your own shapes. We might as well start with the easiest way of starting out, which by using one of the shape primitives accessible through the Shape Tools located on the Main Toolbar.

To create an object using the shape tools:
1. 2. Click the button that contains the shape you want. Click the Scene Editor Tab to view the extrusion.

The Shape Tools can’t meet everyone’s needs, though, so let’s move on to the nitty-gritty of how to draw a shape from scratch using the Pen Tool.

To draw a straight-lined shape (parallelogram):
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Select the Pen Tool button (on by default). Select the Angle Point button (on by default). Click once on the grid 5 lines above the X/Y intersection. Click again on the grid 7 lines to the right of that point. Click on the grid 5 lines to the right of the X/Y intersection. Click on the grid 2 lines to the left of the X/Y intersection. Move your cursor directly above the first point created and click when you see the ‘+’ symbol appear next to your Pen Tool (or click the Close Shape button). Click the Scene Editor Tab to view the extrusion.

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To draw a curved-line shape (egg):
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Select the Pen Tool button. Select the Curve Point button. Click once on the grid 6 lines above the X/Y intersection. Click again on the grid 3 lines to the right of the X/Y intersection. Click again on the grid 3 lines below the X/Y intersection. Click again on the grid 3 lines to the left of the X/Y intersection. Move your cursor directly above the first point created and click when you see the ‘+’ symbol appear next to your Pen Tool. 8. Click the Selection Tool button. 9. Select your first point and then click-and-drag on the right Bezier handle to make your curve guide run parallel with the X axis. Position the end square of the right handle on the grid 2 lines to the right of the Y axis, and the end square of the left handle 2 lines to the left side of the Y axis. 10. Continue around the shape, positioning the Bezier handles as shown in the diagram above until you have a nice egg shape. 11. Click the Scene Editor Tab to view the extrusion.

To draw a multi-point-type shape (starburst):
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Select the Pen Tool button. Click the Angle Point button. Click on the grid 4 lines above the X/Y intersection. Select the Tangent Point button. Click on the grid 2 lines to the right and 2 lines above the X/Y intersection. Select the Angle Point button. Click on the grid 4 lines to the right of the X/Y intersection. Select the Tangent Point button. Click on the grid 2 lines to the right and 2 lines below the X/Y intersection. Continue the process to create the left side of your shape, making sure to close the shape at the end. Select the Selection Tool. Select the first Tangent Point you created and drag each of the two Bezier handles onto the X/Y intersection. Continue that process for the remaining 3 Tangent Points. Click the Scene Editor Tab to view the extrusion.

Nick's Tips
Due to the manner in which Swift 3D lays down Curve Points and Tangent Points, I highly recommend using the following strategy when creating anything but the most basic symmetrical shapes: sketch it out with the key control points, choosing your point type as you go. Don't pay attention to the overall shape of the object with your original run through, because you'll only get frustrated. Once you've laid down the basic shape with your points, then you can go back through and make all the necessary adjustments to your point locations and Bezier curves, adding and subtracting points as needed.

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Flash Tutorial: Drawing in Lathe and Extrusion Editors

Editing Your Artwork
There are a variety of ways to edit your paths after they have been created.

Editing Points
Selecting Points
To select an individual point, use the Selection Tool and click on the point. To aid in selecting points, the cursor has a hover state when it is over a point that is available to be selected. Once you see the cursor change to this state, simply click down on the point to select it. The point will turn red when it's selected. To select multiple points, hold down the CTRL key while selecting individual points. The most recent point selected will be red and the additional selected points will become black. If you errantly select a point, simply click on it again while still holding down the CTRL key to deselect it from the group of points you are in the process of selecting. To perform either of these functions you can also click-and-drag a marquee box around single or multiple points.

Moving Points
To move individual or groups of points around within the Extrusion Editor simply click-and-drag them to a new location. Only selected points will move. If you would like to constrain the axis along which your points move, holding down the SHIFT key before moving them will constrain their movement along the X axis or Y axis.

Adding and Deleting Points
To add additional points to a shape, select the Pen Tool, choose the point type you would like to add (Point, Curve Point or Tangent Point) and then click on the existing path where you want that point to be inserted. To delete a point or multiple points, select them and hit the DELETE key. You can also use the Menu command of Edit > Delete.

Changing Points
To change the point type of individual or multiple points, select the points you'd like to convert, and then select the point type you'd like to convert them to from either the Main Menu or the Point Properties dialog. Short cut keys exist for all of the point types, which can be very convenient as well.

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Point Properties
This dialog is for the control freak in all of us. If you need to know that your point is EXACTLY on the Y-axis this is where you come to for answers. To access the dialog you can right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) anywhere within the grid area and choose Point Properties form the context menu, or you can select a point and choose View > Point Properties.

Type
This section of the Point Properties allows you to alter the Point Type of all the points you have selected.

Position
The position control allows you total control over the positioning of your points on the X and Y coordinate grid. If you have multiple points selected, the Position control will show you the coordinates of the point that is colored in red.

Keyboard Nudge Increment
Within the Extrusion and Lathe Editors you can manipulate selected points and groups of points by using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Each time you click an arrow it will move the point(s) the number of increments designated within this Point Properties dialog. If you feel the need for a more or less refined nudge ability, this is the place to make those related changes.

Editing Paths
Selecting Paths
To select an entire path with all of its points and their related control handles, you can double click on the path itself. You will see a little icon (it looks like a seagull to me) appear when your cursor is hovering over a selectable path. Once a path is selected, you can drag it to any spot in the Extrusion Editor.

Scaling Paths
Paths can be scaled by double clicking on the path (with the seagull cursor) and then selecting the Scale tool from the main toolbar. When the scale tool is selected, a bounding box with sizing handles will appear that allow you to adjust the overall scale of the selected path. The sizing handles are located on each corner and in the middle of each side. The path will stretch in whichever direction the handle is dragged. To uniformly scale the path, hold down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac) while dragging one of the handles.

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Copying and Pasting Paths
Once a Path is selected, you can copy and paste the path inside of the Extrusion Editor, or you can also copy and paste the path into the Lathe Editor. Within the Extrusion Editor, only one path can be copied at one time. The path must be selected by double clicking on the path (using the seagull cursor). Once selected, you can choose to Paste in Place, which will paste the path in the same exact location or you can do a straight Paste, which will offset the path from its original location.

To copy and paste a path:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select a path that you want to copy. Go to Edit > Copy or use the CTRL + C (Win)/COMMAND + C (Mac) shortcut keys. To paste the path in the Extrusion Editor, go to Edit > Paste or use the CTRL + V (Win) or COMMAND + V (Mac) shortcut keys. Or, use the Edit > Paste in Place option, which is SHIFT + CTRL + V (Win) or SHIFT + COMMAND + V (Mac). To paste the path into the Lathe Editor, click on the Lathe Editor Tab and go to Edit > Paste or use the CTRL + V (Win) or COMMAND + V (Mac) shortcut keys.

NOTE: The paste function will not work if a path already exists within the Lathe Editor because only a single path can be present in the Lathe Editor at one time.

Working with complex shapes
Although I threw out the “We’re not Adobe Illustrator” caveat at the beginning of this chapter, there are a few extra things that you can do within the Extrusion Editor that rank up there in the ‘pretty-cool feature’ category.

Excluding Shapes
You have the ability to punch holes in your extrusions through the process of exclusion. It's a simple process, really. If you have a shape within another shape, the shape within will end up becoming negative space inside of that larger shape. A basic example would be if I draw a circle and then draw a smaller circle within the larger circle, I would create a ring. Sort of like a torus, but with hard edges. Obviously you can get much more creative than this, but the basic concept always remains the same. It's important to note that as soon as the path of your interior shape breaks through the path of the surrounding shape you will no longer have an excluded area. Instead, the Extrusion Editor will fill the entire shape using the furthest outside path, in this case a combination of the outer shape and the section of the inner shape that protrudes from the outer shape.

2D Loops
You will probably come across this effect by accident as you play around with the Extrusion Editor. The way Swift 3D calculates what to fill and what not to fill has to do with complex calculations that I do not care to explain, let alone

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understand myself. My point is that if a path overlaps itself, you're going to get a strange geometric shape created in the Scene Editor that actually takes on more of a 2D Mobius strip type look, minus the 180 degree twist. Or maybe a bow made out of ribbon. Honestly, try it for yourself and you'll understand much better than my feeble descriptions. The only thing I can warn you about is that it's not going to look like you'd expect.

Combining and Breaking Apart
These functions need a touch of explaining to understand why they exist at all. My initial reaction to these features was, “Isn't that what the Group and Ungroup commands are all about?” When our chief engineer put his hand around my shoulder and led me into his office I knew that I was sadly mistaken. A half hour later I felt qualified to give this explanation. When two extruded objects are grouped, there is nothing more than a loose association between them. They may be moved together, rotated together, even scaled together. But they can still have different materials applied to them and their shapes are in no way related to each other. When objects are Combined, they are related to each other mathematically through their paths. In other words, even though two or more shapes that have been combined do not share any paths, they are technically one object, meaning that they must share all of the same properties, like materials, bevels, sizing, etc. Conversely, when these shapes are broken apart again, they become separate entities completely. Really the Combine function in our program is similar to the Make Compound Path function in Adobe Illustrator or the Combine > Blend function in Macromedia Freehand. When two or more paths are drawn into the Extrusion Editor simultaneously they will automatically take on the Combined setting. If you do not want multiple extrusions to have the same properties then you should draw them one at a time, making sure to leave the Extrusion Editor, deselect the extrusion and then re-enter the Extrusion Editor with a blank slate. So you're still thinking “And I'm interested in this information because….?” That's OK, here's the skinny: • • • • • • • When two or more extruded objects are combined, you can alter all of their Properties at once. For instance, if you have a multiple-shape extrusion and want to bevel all of the shapes at once, you would need to combine them beforehand. To apply different materials to multiple extruded objects, they must first be broken apart. When you want to punch an object out of another extruded object, they need to be combined to accomplish this. If they are not, they will simply be overlapping objects. When you draw two or more objects at once within the Extrusion Editor they will automatically be combined. When you combine two or more objects that lie on different planes of rotation, they will all be realigned to coincide with the axis of the first object created. When two or more extruded objects that have different Properties assigned to them are combined (for example different materials, bevels, depth, etc.), all of the objects will assume the properties of the first object created. Be aware that if you combine something like imported text in order to make some universal property changes, if you break them apart again, all of the holes will become solid objects, which might not be your desired result.

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With all this combining and breaking apart it's easy to get confused. So I'm going to outline a common scenario to help you get a grasp on its practical use. Let's say I'm rebuilding the Electric Rain logo in the Swift 3D extrusion editor. The three factors that I need to deal with are as follows: The right side section has two holes punched through it. The two sections have different materials applied to them. Both sides need to be extruded and beveled the same amount. Here's the process I'd use: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Create the two main sections with outlines in the Extrusion Editor. Go to the Scene Editor and adjust the Bevel and Depth of the Combined Object. Break the object apart. Select the right side object and go back to the extrusion editor. Insert the cutout sections on the right side section. Go back to the Scene Editor and apply materials. Select both objects and group them together so the logo can be animated as one unit.

Editing Imported AI and EPS Extrusions
Yes, another advantage to having the Extrusion Editor on-board Swift 3D is that you can edit your 2D vector artwork imported from AI and EPS files. You may have used a 2D drawing program to create the original artwork, but having the ability to touch something up post import is incredibly convenient. After importing your 2D vector artwork (please read the chapter on Importing AI and EPS files for more information on this process) all you have to do to edit the artwork is select your imported image and then go to the Extrusion Editor. You will see all of the associated anchor points and Bezier control handles and they can all be manipulated just as you would a native extrusion.

Nick's Tips
While the Extrusion Editor can edit imported AI/EPS files, the Lathe Editor cannot. If you want to bring a path originally created in another 2D program into the Lathe Editor what you will need to do is bring it into the Extrusion Editor and then copy and paste that path over to the Lathe Editor.

Path Morphing
Using the Extrusion Editor Timeline you can create animations where the actual path of the extrusion changes over time. This type of animation is called Path Morphing. Since the timeline in the Extrusion Editor works almost identically to the main timeline in the Scene Editor, the timeline and Path Morphing are covered in detail within the chapter on Animation.

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Extrusion Properties
Once you take your path back to the Scene Editor your newly extruded object will come with these additional properties that you can access from the Properties Toolbar.

Bevels
These properties are identical to the beveling of a text object so please refer to the chapter on Text Objects and read the Bevel section.

Sizing
These controls function as you would expect, allowing you to control the width, height and depth of your extruded object. If you have an extrusion with multiple objects, they must be combined before you can change all of their sizing properties at once. Otherwise you can select each object individually and adjust its size. NOTE: The default Bevel Style, Bevel Depth and Sizing Depth applied to Text and Extrusions can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Scaling
This property is fully detailed in the Working with Objects chapter, but it is worth repeating here that Scale can be animated while Sizing cannot.

Working With Extruded Objects in Advanced Modeler
Once you have brought your extrusion back out to the Scene Editor you have the option of taking it into the Advanced Modeler if you want to further manipulate its mesh. This is obviously a great feature, but one thing you need to realize is that as soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button in the Advanced Modeler, the extrusion is converted to an editable mesh and you no longer have access to the object’s extrusion properties (Bevels and Sizing) and you cannot bring it back into the Extrusion Editor. A warning dialog will appear in order to remind you of the implications and to prevent you from inadvertently converting an extrusion into a 3D model. You can use the Undo function in the Advanced Modeler to reverse this action if you decide to go back to your original Extrusion object.

Flash Tutorial: Extrusion Editor

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10
Overview How It Works

lathe editor

Did any of you take Shop class in high school? Well I didn't either, but I hear there's this tool called a lathe that spins a piece of wood like mad and then you use various fiber-rending weapons to sculpt that dead spinning tree into a cool shape. In fact, my wife still has a lamp that she created with a lathe in 9th grade. It's god-awful ugly, but it was, in fact, created by a lathe. And now Swift 3D has an implement of creation that works on a similar basis, only in an additive manner rather than a subtractive. Oh yeah, no sawdust either. The Lathe Editor is a powerful modeling tool that allows you to create objects that can break through the Z-axis limitations of 2D extrusions. And if you combine it with the Extrusion Editor and Advanced Modeler, forget about it. You'll be assembling complex models in less time than it takes to even open a high-end 3D application.

The short version is this: You draw a path and go to the Scene Editor to see your lathed object. If you've used a Lathe tool in another program you'll quickly understand how Swift 3D's Lathe Editor behaves. But if you're a newcomer to the lathe concept, stay with me and we'll go into a little more detail.

Drawing Tools
Before the sawdust starts flying, let’s first point out that the Bezier drawing tools located on the main toolbar are identical in function to those in the Extrusion Editor. Refer to the Chapter on the Extrusion Editor for information on how these tools work.

Axis of Rotation
The grid line that you'll need to pay the closest attention to is the dotted and dashed green vertical line that runs down the left side of the Lathe Editor interface. This line is the axis of rotation and is to be respected at all cost. The reason for its off-center positioning in the interface is because, in general, you only want to be drawing paths on one side of

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your Axis of Rotation. There are exceptions we'll discuss later, but for our purposes we should keep everything on the right side of the Axis of Rotation.

Think Profile
When you begin drawing your path, it's important to think in terms of a profile rather than a full shape. What you are doing is creating the outside profile of your object and letting the Lathe Editor do the rest for you. Once you have defined the profile with your path, Swift 3D is going to spin that path completely around (360 degrees) the vertical Axis of Rotation. In the process, it will create a smooth surface defined by all of the points in 3D space that your original path touched as it was rotated around the axis.

Creating a Lathed Object
There is a classic example we can use to visually demonstrate what is so hard to verbally explain. Let's walk through the steps we would follow if our final goal were to model a wine glass. 1. 2. 3. Draw the shape to the right using the Bezier pen tool. Notice that my first and last points start on the Axis of Rotation. Go to the Scene Editor to view the finished product (inset image).

This should get across what I mean by drawing a profile and letting the Lathe editor do the rest. It's important to note what happens when you draw shapes that are not adjacent to the Axis of Rotation line. You will end up with a solid shape that has a vertical hole through it. The further away from the Axis of Rotation, the larger your hole gets.

Crossing the Axis of Rotation
Despite my warnings, no bodily harm will come to you by crossing that Axis of Rotation with your path. It's more a matter of keeping things simple. Since the process of lathing involves a 360-degree rotation, any part of the path that extends to the left of the sacred green line will end up being lathed just as if it were on the right side. In that sense you can sort of think of the axis line as a mirror and crossing the line will yield the same result as stopping your path on the axis and reflecting that angle back onto the same side. It's quite easy to get a little crazy with this tool and start experimenting. In fact, I highly recommend it. There is definitely some spatial imagination that comes into play, and you can create very complex shapes and even build 3D shapes within 3D shapes. However, you will quickly notice that all of your shapes have a distinct ‘lathed’ look about them. Because of this we have added a few features that really give you potential for more object diversity.

Flash Tutorial: Drawing in Extrusion and Lathe Editors

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Working With Lathes from the Model Gallery
If envisioning object profiles is just not your specialty in life, the Model Gallery comes with a set of commonly used Lathes that you can simply click-and-drag into the Scene Editor. Lathes that are shipped with the program reside under the Lathe Tab and all start with the default file name “ER Lathe,” which is followed by a dash and the lathe’s name. This is simply a naming convention that is used to help you identify which models are lathes in the Model Gallery and does not need to be continued if you choose not to. Once the lathe is brought into the Scene Editor, either use it as is or bring the lathe into the Lathe Editor and modify the path to fit your needs.

To add a lathe from the model gallery:
1. 2. 3. 4. In the Scene Editor, click on the Model Gallery button and choose a lathe shape from the gallery. Click on the preview window and drag the cursor into either Viewport. Click on the Lathe Editor tab. The Bezier path of that shape will appear and you can use any of the Lathe Editor tools to edit the path. Click back on the Scene Editor tab to view the changes to the object.

You can also save your own lathe to the Model Gallery so that it is accessible for future use in any open Swift 3D document.

To save a lathe to the model gallery:
1. 2. 3. Once you have finished creating or editing a lathe, return to the Scene Editor. With the lathe selected in the Viewport, choose File > Save Model. This will bring up the Save Model dialog, from which you can choose a name and location within the Model Gallery for the lathe. All lathes stored in the Model Gallery get saved to the .t3om file format.

Editing Gallery Contents
A lathe added to the Gallery can only be edited in the Lathe Editor workspace (unless you choose to convert it to a mesh and edit it in the Advanced Modeler). Once a lathe is placed into the scene it no longer has any connection to the original stored back in the model gallery, so when you finish editing you must go through the steps for saving a lathe to the gallery. If you do not desire two copies of the lathe, either overwrite the previous lathe by using the same name when saving, or simply delete the previous version from the gallery. You can right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the palette window surrounding the thumbnails to bring up the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can delete, rename or relocate any gallery content. For more detailed information on how to share Gallery content and managing Galleries in Swift 3D, see the section on Galleries in the Scene Editor chapter.

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Copying and Pasting from the Extrusion Editor
You also have the option of copying and pasting shapes back and forth between the Lathe Editor and Extrusion Editor. You might be wondering why this would be helpful since both editors have the same set of drawing tools. The reason is that some customers feel more comfortable creating their drawings in their own 2D drawing applications. While you can’t bring an extrusion created by importing an AI/EPS file into the Lathe Editor, you can bring it into the Extrusion Editor and cut and paste its path over to the Lathe Editor.

To cut and paste a path from the Extrusion Editor:
1. 2. 3. In the Extrusion Editor, select a path that you want to copy by double clicking on the path. Go to Edit > Copy or use the CTRL + C (Win)/COMMAND + C (Mac) shortcut keys. To paste the path into the Lathe Editor, click on the Lathe Editor tab and go to Edit > Paste or use the CTRL + V (Win)/COMMAND + V (Mac) shortcut keys.

NOTE: The paste function will not work if a path already exists within the Lathe Editor because only a single path can be present in the Lathe Editor at one time.

Lathe Property Page
Sweep Angle
Once you have the concept of rotation within your grasp, it's time to start messing with the Sweep Angle settings. In essence, this feature allows you to adjust how far the Lathe Editor rotates your path. But it opens a whole new world of possibilities and allows you to break free from that smooth, 360-degree surface that standard lathed objects tend to exhibit.

Nick's Tips
The ability to adjust the sweep angle of a lathed object should not go unnoticed. This functionality brings a whole new modeling component to Swift 3D by offering the capability of creating smooth, but asymmetric objects. If you throw this into the modeling paradigm Swift 3D uses of assembling complex objects from smaller, and more basic objects, the Sweep Angle provides yet another arrow of creation to throw into your modeling quiver.

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Segmentation
This feature brings a really nice effect to the 3D modeling table. One limitation of a standard lathed object is that there is no way to avoid creating smooth surfaces. Certainly you can create edges on your object, but only along the vertical axis. The horizontal axis will be completely smooth until you start adjusting how many line segments your lathed object consists of. The setting that will modify your lathed object is the Radial Segmentation. By decreasing this number you are in effect dividing up that 360-degree spin into larger and larger chunks. To view the effects, you are better off unchecking the smoothing option before you make the adjustments. The maximum you can set the Radial Segmentation to is 64 and the minimum is 3, since 2 segments would completely flatten your lathed object into 2D space.
32 segments - Smoothed

Radial Smoothing
This has got to be one of my favorite Swift 3D features. After seeing the consistently smooth nature of lathed objects, being able to turn off the object's smoothing setting is a welcome feature. Now you can reduce the Segmentation of your objects, turn off the smoothing and create objects with hard edges and flat surfaces.
4 segments - Unsmoothed

Closed
If you choose a Sweep Angle of less than 360 degrees, by default your lathed object will close itself off on the ends that don’t meet, which creates a solid object. If you would like the ends to be open, simply uncheck the Closed option.

Lathe Path Morphing
The path of a lathed object is capable of being animated in a similar fashion to extrusions. There is a complete Animation Timeline within the Lather Editor interface, which makes creating a path morph just a matter of adjusting points over time. Please see Animation chapter for more information on animating the path of a lathed object.

Working with Lathes in the Advanced Modeler
Once you have brought your lathe back out to the Scene Editor you have the option of taking it into the Advanced Modeler if you want to further manipulate its mesh. This is obviously a great feature, but one thing you need to realize is that as soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button in the Advanced Modeler, the lathe is converted to an editable mesh and you no longer have access to the object’s lathe properties (Sweep Angle, etc.) and you cannot bring it back into the Lathe Editor. A warning dialog will appear in order to remind you of the implications and to prevent you from inadvertently converting a lathe into a 3D model. You can use the Undo function in the Advanced Modeler to reverse this action if you decide to go back to your original lathe object.

Flash Tutorial: Lathe Editor
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importing AI and EPS

We respect that you've worked hard to gain your 2D graphic design skills and Swift 3D is certainly not here to deny you the right to leverage that knowledge to the max. In fact, we welcome those vector files into the application in all their crisp, scalable glory. If you've got logos, illustrations, typefaces, simple shapes, complex line art, floor plans, CAD drawings or any other wonderful vector asset hanging out in that flat world of AI and EPS files, bring 'em on in. Swift 3D will make short work of pushing that 2D artwork through the old extrusion machine and before you know it you'll be looking at some bang-up 3D objects. Upon import, all of the vector shapes in the file, including lines and fills, will be identified, given a default depth, recolored to match their original hue and placed into the center of the Scene Editor facing the front camera. Once this conversion to 3D happens you have plenty of editing options available to you, but the hard work of converting your 2D artwork to 3D objects is officially complete. One important thing to note is that we have been dropping the "V" word quite often here (that's "vector") for good reason: Swift 3D can do NOTHING with raster-based images contained within those AI and EPS files. So please verify that your file is 100% vector before you start cursing this feature. There's just no way to extrude pixels, but you do have some other potential options mentioned later in the chapter if raster artwork is all you can conjure up for import.

How to do it
The first step in the process is having a file ready to import. Swift 3D recognizes AI files up to version 10 (Illustrator CS files are not yet supported) and all EPS files but will only acknowledge the file's contents if it is constructed of vectors. This frequently leads to confusion because although the Adobe Illustrator and Encapsulated PostScript file formats are vector-based, both support the embedding of raster images. So folks will be working in programs like Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro and think that saving their file as an EPS will allow them to turn their image into a 3D object via the Swift 3D import process. Sadly, this is not the case. But at the end of this chapter, I have included some information on what to do if a raster image is all you have, as well as some other tips on getting your vector artwork ready for Swift 3D import.

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To import an AI or EPS file:
1. 2. 3. With an open document, choose File > Import. Navigate to the file you wish to bring in. Select the file and click OK.

All objects from your original file will enter Swift 3D as one grouped object, whether or not they were originally grouped in the AI or EPS file. As such, in order to access the individual properties (bevels, sizing, etc.) of any of these objects in the Properties Toolbar, you must either Ungroup your objects using the Arrange > Ungroup feature, or, leave them grouped and CTRL + click (Win) or Option + click (Mac) on an object to select it from the group.

Nick’s Tips
Upon import, it is always recommended that you cross-check the original number of objects in your AI/EPS file (remember to count outlines and fills separately) with the number of objects in your Swift 3D document. In Swift 3D, you can determine this number by clicking on your grouped object and looking in the Selection Window of the timeline. (It will say Group of “X” Objects.)

Materials of Imported AI and EPS Files
When AI and EPS files are imported, Swift 3D will convert any previously applied colors into their RGB equivalents. Since Swift 3D materials are much more than just colors, here are some other components that go into creating these new materials. • • • • The calculated RGB color will become the new material’s base color, which is the color you see in the Color Selector box in the Color area of the Material Editor. A slightly darker version of the base color will be used as the material's Ambient Color. The Reflective color will be set to black, meaning it will have no reflective properties. The Highlight Strength and Size will be set to medium, giving it a fairly glossy look.

What all this amounts to is that you will end up with a glossy version of the original color that was imported, or at least something very close. You can adjust the properties of the converted materials afterwards using the Material Editor, and you can always replace the imported colors with something from the Material Gallery. (See chapter on Materials for additional details on this subject.)

Flash Tutorial: Importing AI/EPS Files - Basics

Layers (Depth Progression)
It is likely that your 2D artwork will consist of more than just one object. In the world of 2D, you can arrange your layers, sending the bigger ones to the back so that the smaller ones can be seen. In the world of 3D, however, the only way to see the different layers is by manually giving each a different depth. This is something that Swift 3D now automatically takes care of for you during the import process.

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When you import any file into Swift 3D, each consecutive object in that file will be given an increased depth by a factor of .001. So the first object that is imported (as a general rule of thumb it is the largest object) will be given a depth of .050 (under Sizing in the Properties Toolbar). The next object is set to .051, and so forth. What this all means is that when you have artwork with multiple fills and strokes, you need to be aware that this depth progression will take place upon import. Keep in mind that the sole purpose of this depth progression is to allow you to see all of your objects immediately upon import; it is not an exact science and we cannot guess at what your true intentions are as far as the final look goes.

Nick’s Tips
When you are working with complex 2D artwork, it is very important to keep it organized. For example, consider a 10 character string of text that you have converted to outlines (see upcoming section on Text), meaning that you now possess a file with 10 separate objects. With the new depth progression feature, when you import this file into Swift 3D your first character will be given a depth of .050 and the tenth character will have a depth of .059. This can be avoided by making your text into a Compound Path before importing. (This is a capability that all 2D drawing programs possess, although they might use slightly different terminology for this feature.) Objects joined in this manner are considered to be one object, and must share all of the same properties, so when a compound path is detected upon import all objects in that compound path are given the same depth. While you can also join objects in this manner in Swift 3D by using its Arrange > Combine function, I still recommend having all of your artwork well-organized before you even bring it into Swift 3D so once it is imported you can begin working on it and not worry about the depth issue.

Editing Your Imported AI and EPS Artwork
Swift 3D allows you to edit your original AI/EPS artwork within the Extrusion Editor. So when you need to make that slight adjustment to a curve or a little tweak of an angle, you won't even need to leave the Swift 3D interface. To bring your imported artwork into the Extrusion Editor, select the extrusion in the Viewport and click on the Extrusion Editor tab. See Extrusion Editor chapter for information on how to use the drawing tools to edit your paths. NOTE: While AI/EPS artwork cannot be brought into the Lathe Editor directly, you can copy and paste your Bezier path from the Extrusion Editor to the Lathe Editor. See Extrusion or Lathe Editor chapters for steps on copying and pasting paths.

Path Morphing
Path morphing is fully applicable to any imported AI/EPS artwork because of the aforementioned ability to edit your original artwork in the program’s Extrusion Editor. Read all about Path Morphing in the Animation chapter.

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Tips for building vector artwork
The conversion from the 2D world to the 3D world can sometimes be a less-than-seamless process due to differences that are not always obvious. As you construct your 2D artwork in a third party application, it's important to understand how Swift 3D is going to treat your files upon import. This section deals with how to address those differences before the problems arise.

Text
Typically, when you type text into a 2D vector drawing program it enters the scene as a font rather than pure vector artwork. Before that text can be imported into Swift 3D successfully you must convert that font into outlines. It's a simple process in any application, but definitely a crucial one. NOTE: When you convert your text to outlines, you have now created an individual object for each character of your text string. Since Swift 3D now imports each subsequent object with a slightly different depth, it is highly recommended that you combine your text into one object so that they enter Swift 3D at the same depth. You can also use Swift 3D’s Arrange > Combine command to combine your text characters after they are imported into the program

Strokes and Fills
All 2D drawing programs give you the option of drawing your shape with just strokes, fills or both. As you would expect, fills comes in as solid filled objects and strokes come in at the thickness of the stroke. Now, even though strokes will import into Swift 3D, I must recommend that you avoid importing strokes at all cost. The reason is because strokes do not get imported as one object. For example, a square will import with each side as a separate line segment, while a stroke that has any curve will get imported as a series of tiny line segments. (And keeping in mind our previous discussion on Depth Progression, you can see how this can get ugly, fast.) Since it is very easy in any 2D drawing program to convert a stroke to outlines, which removes the stroke and applies just a fill the thickness of the stroke, there is really just no reason to bring in strokes.

Excluded Shapes
If you happen to be building a 3D model of a slice of Swiss cheese, you're going to have to learn how to punch holes in stuff. And believe it or not, there are other situations where your 2D extrusion is going to end up more complex than just a filled shape. The nice thing about 2D drawing applications is that you are primarily concerned with how something looks, rather than how it's actually built. Swift 3D, however, cares deeply about the construction of your artwork because it's attempting to convert every piece of vector artwork into a 3-dimensional object. So if we take a piece of Swiss cheese as an example, you can build it quite easily in the 2D world by drawing a pale yellow rectangle and then drawing a bunch of irregular white circles on top of that rectangle. Print that thing out and it looks great. Save it to a GIF and it's the same. Bring it into Swift 3D and you'll have an extruded pale yellow rectangle with a bunch of extruded white circles in it. Now you don't have to be from a small country in Central Europe to realize that you would expect to see through those holes rather than having them be solid objects. But you can't blame Swift 3D for trying. When we go back to our original artwork, you can easily rectify the problem. All you have to do is exclude those shapes from the original rectangle so that there is no fill within the circles and the paths that define those circles are

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associated with the rectangle rather than the circles. There are several ways to accomplish this depending on your 2D drawing application, and you'll know you've got it when you can click on the holes and nothing gets selected. This indicates that your cheese is truly Swiss. Breaking free from this cheesy analogy, you can start to understand how various other 2D situations can pose problems for Swift 3D. But if you keep in mind that construction is critical and Swift 3D sees all vector artwork, even if it's rendered invisible in the 2D world through color selection, you should have a smooth transition from 2D vectors to 3D meshes.

3D Drawings
This one is a little weird, and it has to do with understanding how an extrusion actually works. Rather than re-hashing my earlier description of the extrusion process, I'll throw out an example of what some users have done in the past. Let's say I want to build a model of my desktop monitor. If I have absolutely no prior 3D experience and I'm a good illustrator, I might try drawing a perspective view of what my monitor looks like. I accurately depict the slight curvature of the screen, the beige box that tapers as it heads towards the vanishing point, the detailed ventilation grille that sits obliquely from my vantage point. When it's all said and done, I've got a nice simulated 3D drawing of my monitor, and the next logical step would be to import it into Swift 3D so I can have a true 3D model to animate. I'm sorry to say it just doesn't work that way. An extrusion is just an extrusion and never more. There is no way for Swift 3D to interpret the 2D vector information I'm throwing at it, as accurate as it may be, and determine what a monitor looks like from every possible angle. You're much better off using the modeling tools within Swift 3D to build yourself a real monitor.

Bitmap Images (Rasterized Artwork)
Despite the fact that Swift 3D does not extrude raster imagery, you are not completely out of luck if that's all you have. There are two options that could be potential solutions. The first is hand tracing. This may be a bit on the tedious side but once you're done, you're done forever. The vector artwork that you create through the tracing process can be used in many applications and it's always wise to have a vector version of your artwork anyway since it's much more versatile. To trace your raster image, bring it into a 2D drawing program through an Import or a Place command. Create a new layer above that image and start going to town with your pen tool. Once you've traced all of the distinct edges in your image with nice clean vectors, you can fill the areas with the appropriate colors. Once you're happy with your tracing and you've addressed all the aforementioned factors, you can delete the raster image and save your file. At that point you should be ready for a smooth vector import into Swift 3D. Before you try this, you may also want to look into a bitmap-tracing program. Macromedia Flash actually has this function built in, or products like Adobe Streamline or Corel Trace could serve your purpose as well. The basic concept is that these technologies will attempt to automatically trace your raster image, much like you would do by hand. I say 'attempt' because the results are not always what you would hope for. Basic images that have very distinct differences in colors along fairly clean edges do just fine. But the more complex bitmap image you throw at a bitmap-tracer, the more chaos begins to rear its ugly little head. For example, if you were to trace a raster version of the Electric Rain logo it would come through pretty clean. But if you throw a JPEG picture of your Aunt Bessie into the mix you'll be asking for some serious vector trouble.

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Troubleshooting AI/EPS Import Problems
If you are trying to import a file that contains information that Swift 3D can't recognize, you will be faced with the following error dialog: The most common causes of this error message are: 1. 2. 3. The text in the file has not been converted to outlines and still remains as a font. The AI or EPS file contains raster artwork. You are trying to import an Illustrator CS file. At print time, Swift 3D did not support the Illustrator CS file format. If you are using Illustrator CS you must save down to an earlier version of Illustrator (Illustrator 8 is recommended). Since Swift 3D will only import fills and outlines, you will not be sacrificing any of Illustrator CS's new features by saving down.

Swift 3D can also appear to stall when importing an AI/EPS file (if you are patient, a dialog will eventually appear asking if you want to continue the import process). Elements contained in an AI/EPS file that will stall the import process are: 1. Gradient Fills: A gradient fill is a graduated blend between two or more colors or tints of the same color, so a gradient can literally be made of hundreds of fills. All Swift 3D knows is that it needs to extrude every fill, so it is literally sitting their trying to process through the gradient. Remove the gradient from your object and replace it with a solid fill to fix this situation. You can use the lighting in Swift 3D to replicate the gradient as best as possible, but keep in mind that some output options do not use gradient fills at all. Strokes: While strokes will import into Swift 3D, if any sort of curve is applied it imports as tiny separate line segments. More complex strokes will therefore bog down the import process. Convert any strokes to fills in order to solve this problem. See previous section on Strokes and Fills for more information.

2.

If an object from your AI/EPS file does not get imported there are two common reasons: 1. 2. A fill associated with an unclosed stroke (i.e., a stroke with 2 open or unjoined end points) will not import. When this happens, only the stroke will import since a stroke does not have to be closed to import. Again, it is highly recommended that you do not import strokes to begin with. Fills must have more than 2 anchor points in order to import. Most 2D programs have an “Add Anchor Point” feature that makes it easy to add some extra points.

If none of these solutions help you to create a file that can successfully import into Swift 3D, please email the file to support@erain.com.

Flash Tutorial: Importing AI/EPS Files - Complex Artwork

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Overview

importing 3DS and DXF

Although Swift 3D is quite the scrappy upstart contender in the modeling world, we're humble enough to acknowledge that there are a few big-boy applications that have a bit of a head start on us, and a few more modeling features as well. (We had to build an entire wing onto our office to accommodate the manuals for those high-end apps.) So out of respect for the 3D industry as a whole, and in an effort to provide you access to the efforts of the highly-skilled 3D artists of the world, Swift 3D offers the ability to import 3DS and DXF files, the two most popular 3D file formats in the industry. The terrific thing about these two file formats being so popular is that there are literally tens of thousands of 3D models available on the Web for free or for purchase. Additionally, every 3D application I know of has the ability to export to at least one of these formats. So if you, your company or your clients have existing 3D assets, you're virtually guaranteed that they can be imported, further edited and rendered to a vector or raster file using Swift 3D.

3DS File Format
The 3DS file format originated with earlier versions of 3D Studio, the high-end modeling and animation package that currently leads the 3D market. It is an open-spec format that most other 3D software applications can export to. For the most part, the file will contain all of the information pertaining to the model itself, otherwise referred to as the 'Mesh.' But if the file was created with 3D Studio MAX, now going by the name of 3ds max, there may be some other relevant information that comes along with the file as well.

Model Mesh - From Any Application
This is a definite. No matter whether you create the file within 3ds max, or any other application, the file will contain the geometry of the model itself. All of the polygons will arrive within Swift 3D safe and sound, along with any information on how the object's surfaces are smoothed. A word of caution is that some 3D applications do not write the most accurate 3DS files, so there are no guarantees as to the integrity of the model if it has been created by a 3D modeling program other than 3ds max.

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Materials/Textures - From Any Application
Swift 3D will import any colors or textures associated with your 3DS file. For textures to be imported, those textures must exist in the same folder as the 3DS file. Textures imported with a model can be saved to the Material Gallery for use with other models. To save a texture, select the model and go to the Material property page. Select the texture’s name from the Surface list and then drag and drop the texture from the Material Display ball to the Material Gallery.

Animations - From 3ds max
If the imported 3DS file contained animation before it was exported from 3ds max, all of the relevant keyframes will be respected and appear within the Swift 3D timeline after import. Please realize that the 3DS file format is pretty ancient, so any advanced animations that involve mesh deformation (alteration of the object's geometry) will not be written into the 3DS file in the first place.

Cameras - From 3ds max
If the original file was created in 3ds max, Swift 3D will read any targeted camera information that is included in the 3DS file. Once you have imported the file, you'll find the related cameras in the Camera View dropdown list. The properties of the cameras will no longer be accessible to you however, so the best bet is to have them all just the way you want before exporting from 3ds max.

Lights - From 3ds max
Lights will also come along for the ride, and appear within Swift 3D after the import of a 3DS file, provided they were written into the file in the first place. The 3DS lights will appear directly within your scene and be represented by the appropriate Swift 3D icons. If you do not create any lights within 3ds max, your file will have Swift 3D's default lighting configuration applied to it.

How to import a 3DS file into Swift 3D:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select New From 3DS from the File menu. Navigate to the 3DS file you wish to import. Select the file. Click OK.

You'll notice that this process is different than a standard Import command. The reason is that if a 3DS file contains more than the model itself, Swift 3D has to actually rebuild the entire scene with lights, cameras, animations, etc. Since this is more conducive to a New command, we've excluded this function from the Import options and included it in the File menu. The limitation of this is that you cannot open multiple 3DS files into the same file. The workaround for accomplishing this is to bring each 3DS file into separate Swift 3D files, and then copy and paste the models from one file to the next.

3DS Properties
Any model meshes brought into Swift 3D in a 3DS file will have some smoothing controls associated with them that appear in the Object page of the Properties Toolbar. The Auto Smoothing checkbox tells Swift 3D to use the default 3ds max smoothing parameters. This typically yields nicely smoothed objects. If you uncheck this option, you can then

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manually choose the Smoothing Angle Swift 3D should use on the 3DS objects. The way this setting works is that when you increase the angle (90 degrees maximum), your object gets smoother, and when you decrease the angle, your objects will be more faceted and angular.

Nick's Tips
If you're working with 3ds max and have exported a 3DS file that doesn't seem to be importing into Swift 3D properly, you should re-import the 3DS file into 3ds max. This will demonstrate if all of the associated information is being properly translated into the 3DS file format. Swift 3D can only read the information in the 3DS file, so if it's not getting in there, you need to go back to the drawing board in 3ds max. If it is all there, you’ve got yourself a bona fide tech support issue and we’d love to see that file.

DXF File Format
This file format has its origins with another very popular application, AutoCAD. Although not specifically designed for 3D animation, AutoCAD is the industry-leading computer aided design software that is used in everything from designing buildings to machine equipment parts. DXF is the file format that AutoCAD uses when engineers and architects need to create an actual 3D model from their design. Since AutoCAD is such a heavily used application, its file format has become ubiquitous as well. So it's not that we expect you to be designing machinery with Swift 3D, but rather the fact that every 3D application we've ever come across has the ability to kick out DXF files. Unlike the 3DS file format, DXF files will never contain any more information than the model itself. But that's OK, because Swift 3D has got enough animation power to get you the rest of the way. It is important to note that Swift 3D will only import models that contain a mesh. Any 2D lines associated with your DXF file will not import into our program.

How to import a DXF file into Swift 3D:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Choose File > Import. Select DXF from the list of file import formats supported. Navigate to the DXF file you want to import. Select the file. Click OK.

Since this process does not involve building a new scene, you can import a DXF file into an existing scene, as well as import more than one DXF file into the same scene.

Flash Tutorial: Importing 3DS and DXF Files

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advanced modeler

Would you like to play with LEGOs or Clay today? I have to admit I was always a LEGO guy. There was something about seeing all the individual pieces laid out in front of me that fostered a sense of creativity, comfortably leading my brain down the road of creation. In comparison, when the teacher set that big amorphous lump of clay in front of me and said "create," I just wasn't sure what to do next. It was as if the limited set of shapes contained within my LEGO collection helped jump-start the creative process, where the limitless potential of the clay seemed to transform my creative juices into a somewhat more viscous state. Since its inception, Swift 3D has offered a modeling process that's similar to the LEGO-style approach of assembling more complex objects from basic building blocks, which is one reason the software is so popular with people delving into 3D design for the first time. Since we've all used building blocks of some form or another, it's a pretty easy transition into the world of modeling with Swift 3D. The one limitation with this creation method is that occasionally you find circumstances where the exact building block you need for your model simply doesn't exist. And although it's often possible to find some sort of workaround using a combination of other shapes or just settling for a less-thanwhat-you-had-imagined model, neither of those solutions is ideal. Well… welcome to the limitless world of polygonal modeling, or what I like to refer to as the "clay approach" to object creation. In this world you still have those basic building blocks to start with, but instead of being made out of relatively inflexible molded plastic, these blocks are totally malleable, just like the lumps of clay we were doled out in art class back in school. But since we couldn't cram actual organic clay into the code-base of Swift 3D (we tried, but the compiler wasn't too happy) the material you'll be working with in the Advanced Modeler is a polygonal mesh, which is essentially a pliable fabric made of adjoining triangles. Now for those of you who are like me and enjoy the ease of the assembly approach rather than the seemingly more daunting task of molding a lump of polygons into something worth looking at, fear thee not. The Advanced Modeler should be seen as a complementary tool to the traditional Swift 3D modeling workflow rather than a replacement. Think of this area as your building block construction zone where you can fabricate the exact pieces you need to complete whatever project you're working with back in the Scene Editor of Swift 3D.

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And for those of you who are looking forward to getting your hands directly on that underlying polygonal mesh and fully embracing the power of creation from scratch, welcome to nirvana. With the Advanced Modeler you can push, pull, slice, deform, extrude, twist and tweak your lump of clay to make whatever it is you want in a totally unrestricted environment. In the end, the Advanced Modeler is just another tool (albeit a very powerful tool) within Swift 3D and it's up to you to use it as needed. Which brings us to a final introductory point: How do you decide when to use the Advanced Modeler (which will usually require some additional time and energy on your behalf) and when should you stick with the more basic (yet very speedy) modeling tools supplied in the Scene, Extrusion and Lathe Editors? Well, here are my personal recommendations on that subject:

When to use Swift 3D's standard modeling tools:
If the object you're modeling can be broken down into a bunch of fairly simple geometric shapes, you'll want to use the standard modeling tools such as text, primitives, extrusions and lathes. For example, as I gaze around my desk it's pretty easy to identify which items fall into this category: Paper Clip = Extrusion. Highlighter = Lathe. Coffee cup = Lathe + Beveled Extrusion. Cordless telephone = Beveled extrusion with lots of spheres, smaller extrusions and text stuck to the front. Go ahead and take a gaze around your surroundings with the same analytical eye and you'll quickly see what I mean.

When to use Swift 3D's Advanced Modeler:
If the object you're modeling is made up of geometric shapes that are not symmetrical or contain non-planar (organic) surfaces, you'll want to use the Advanced Modeler. Again we can scan the desk for some examples: Scissors = Smooth curvy handles + Long tapered blades. Mouse = Irregularly molded case with gently arched buttons. Keyboard cord = Thin undulating cylinder. Long-stem rose from my adoring wife = Rough crooked stem with lots of wavy petals (OK, I made that one up - the rose anyway). The more modeling experience you gain, the more your eyes will develop a keen sense of structure, and it will become very apparent that you simply can't do your dog Fido justice with a bunch of cones, boxes, spheres and cylinders.

When to use them both:
Chances are that many objects you'll be modeling will be comprised of a combination of standard and custom shapes, and often times it comes down to the level of accuracy you need for your particular project. As veteran users of Swift 3D can attest, before the Advanced Modeler came along you could go quite a long way by substituting stock shapes into a model in place of those that just couldn't be created with the software. And that's the beauty of having both options available within Swift 3D because you have the flexibility to decide for yourself exactly how much detail and accuracy you need to build into your projects. So when it comes to the question of LEGOs or Clay, you can emphatically say, "BOTH!"

3D Terminology 101
Before we start delving into the basic elements that make up a mesh, it is important that we first take a step back so that there is a solid understanding regarding the difference between Scene Editor objects (Text, Primitives, Extrusions and

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Lathes) and the meshes that are created or edited in the Advanced Modeler. The difference is subtle, since the basis for all objects in Swift 3D is a mesh. Turn the Viewport display mode to outlines in the Scene Editor and you can clearly see that any object in the Viewport is made up of a mesh. The crucial difference lies in the fact that Primitive, Text, Extrusion and Lathe objects actually exist at a higher level than just a mesh, and are more accurately described as parent objects that are derived from a basic mesh. At all times in the Scene Editor you are working at an object level, not the mesh level, and have access to object level properties through the Properties Toolbar, which control different aspects of the mesh for you. When you change these values, such as bevels in the case of text and extrusions, and segmentation values in the case of lathes and primitives, Swift 3D simply deletes the previous mesh and regenerates a new mesh. In many ways this is why Swift 3D continues to be such a great program for 3D novices because the program creates all of the changes to the mesh for you. There comes a time, however, when a model is required that cannot be created by any other means than getting your hands dirty and manually manipulating its mesh. Once this point is reached, you must sever the relationship that Swift 3D has so nicely provided between the parent object and its mesh. This relationship ends as soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button in the Advanced Modeler. While the Edit Mesh button will be discussed in detail in one of the upcoming sections, what this button does is convert the object to an editable mesh. For example, if you bring an extrusion into the Advanced Modeler and click on the Edit Mesh button, the extrusion is converted and no longer maintains any relationship to its Bevel or Sizing properties, and it can no longer be edited in the Extrusion Editor. A warning message is provided as a reminder that this conversion is taking place, but that will be discussed further in the upcoming section on Moving Between the Scene Editor and Advanced Modeler. Once you have crossed over the border into the land of meshes, you must leave behind the blissful ignorance that Swift 3D’s object level architecture has afforded you and inhale a bit of brain food because it is now time to start understanding the elements that make up that 3D mesh.

Polygons
So, without ado, let's introduce the star of the show, best known by its fans as the polygon. A polygon consists of a number of points joined by lines to create a planar face (i.e. all points of the face exist on the same plane). While polygons can consist of an infinite number of points, Swift 3D uses only 3-sided polygons, a.k.a. triangles. In the Advanced Modeler you can modify the object's triangular mesh, which is made up of three elements: Vertex: a point in space Edge: a straight line that connects two vertices Face: a triangle formed by three vertices All of these elements together form a polygon. Slap all of your polygons together and you have a polygon mesh. Begin pushing, pulling and twisting that mesh and you're modeling. It's as simple as that.

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Normal
Before we start learning how to edit the mesh and make some cool stuff, there is one last concept we need to tackle, and it is called the "normal" of a polygon. A normal is the direction that a face points and is considered to be its front or outer surface. Swift 3D uses normals to determine whether a polygon is front facing or backfacing, which you will find is important to the selection process (see Ignore Backfaces feature). Since Swift 3D only uses three-sided polygons, keep in mind that these points always lie on a flat plane, which means all parts of that polygon must face in the same direction. So you can think of the normal as a conceptual line in space that maintains a 90° angle to all points on any particular face. If you encounter a situation in which you cannot select a certain face it is likely that its normal is facing inward. Use the Transform > Flip Normals feature to reverse the direction of the normal. The Advanced Modeler will automatically smooth normals so that surface areas maintain a nice, smooth shading instead of showing the hard edges in between each polygon. This type of smoothing is achieved by averaging what is referred to as the vertex normals. Vertex normals are calculated by averaging the normals of all of the triangles (faces) that come into a single vertex in order to smooth out their edges. (Vertex normals are also used to determine the brightness of a surface when interacting with light.) When a mesh is unsmoothed, or viewed with the Viewport Display Mode set to Flat Shaded, Swift 3D is only calculating each individual face normal. In terms of modeling objects, normals also serve as a constraining point for extruding faces, meaning that you can extrude a face in the direction that its normal is facing (see the section on Extrude later in this chapter for more information). So that is the foundation you need to know in order to bravely move forth and begin whipping those polygons into shape. At the very least, I'd say that we have prepared you to impress just about any anyone with your new found 3D terminology. But if you start using face normals to give directions to the local pub, you might have gone a tad too far.
Normals of an Octahedron

Moving Between Scene Editor and Advanced Modeler
While moving back and forth between the Scene Editor and the Advanced Modeler is as simple as clicking the respective tabs, as we discussed in the previous section on 3D Terminology, you do need to be aware of changes that will be made when certain objects are brought into the Advanced Modeler.

Scene Editor to Advanced Modeler
To move into the Advanced Modeler with the intention of creating something from scratch, make sure that no objects are selected in the Scene Editor before clicking on the Advanced Modeler tab. When the Advanced Modeler interface appears you will have a blank slate to work with. And yes, you can also bring objects from the Scene Editor into the Advanced Modeler and edit their mesh.

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Objects that are part of a parent/child relationship
All children of parent objects are brought into the Advanced Modeler along with their parents. This allows you to edit the mesh of an object while still being able to observe its relationship to other objects in the scene. NOTE: When you bring objects into the Advanced Modeler that are linked through parent/child relationships, the object at the very top of that hierarchy is required by the Advanced Modeler and therefore cannot be deleted while in the Advanced Modeler. That object can only be deleted back in the Scene Editor. Objects that are children of that parent object can be deleted in either the Advanced Modeler or Scene Editor.

Advanced Modeler to Scene Editor
When you return to the Scene Editor from the Advanced Modeler, any objects in the modeling interface, whether they are selected or not, and regardless of their state of completion, will get placed back into the main scene. All objects get placed with the same position and orientation held in the Advanced Modeler. NOTE: You can save your work from within the Advanced Modeler by doing a File > Save.

Modeler Default Settings
All settings within the Advanced Modeler can be saved and used as the default doing a File > Save Modeler Default Settings. Note that these default settings are only used when you enter the Advanced Modeler in order to create a new mesh. Models in progress or saved will always retain the last settings used when you leave and return to the Advanced Modeler.

Working With the Viewports
While there are some differences between the Viewports in the Advanced Modeler and the Scene Editor, for the most part you will find a lot of the same settings that have already been documented in either the chapter on Viewport Properties or Cameras. This section on Viewports will therefore only cover information about Viewports that are unique to the Advanced Modeler. Probably the biggest difference that you will notice between the Advanced Modeler and the Scene Editor is that the default layout of the Advanced Modeler comes with four Viewports instead of just the two that you may have become accustomed to. If you are wondering why the jump in real estate, for now let's just say that having access to more than two Viewports will definitely come in handy during the modeling process. However, you do have the ability to customize the layout of the Viewports in order to meet your own needs.

Customizing Viewport Layout
The default layout of the Advanced Modeler is with all four Viewports displayed. You can customize the Viewports using the following arrangements: 3 Viewports, 2 left, 1 right or 3 Viewports, 1 left, 2 right. This Viewport layout can be adjusted from the View menu. As in the Scene Editor, Viewports can be Maximized through the Viewport Menu.

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Viewport Menu Button
Just like in the Scene Editor, each Viewport has a menu button in the upper left corner that contains different Viewport options. Many of the menu options are the same as in the Scene Editor, but there are also settings that are specific to just the Advanced Modeler Viewports. Since the features included in this menu encompass a variety of topics, they will be covered individually in the upcoming sections on the Viewport.

Reference Grid
While the Reference Grid can be displayed along three different planes: XY, YZ and ZX, the 2D Orthographic Viewports are limited to showing just one plane, so this option only applies to the Perspective Viewport in the Advanced Modeler. As in the Scene Editor, the display of these grids is controlled through the Reference Grid option in the Viewport Menu.

Axis Guide
In the Advanced Modeler Viewports there is an Axis Guide that provides you with a visual reference point for the orientation of your scene at all times. This Axis Guide is always displayed right smack in the middle of each Viewport. The axes are colored the same as in the Scene Editor so that X = Red, Y = Green and Z = Blue, and each axis also comes with an X, Y or Z label.

Turning Axis Guide On and Off
If at any time this tool gives you a hard time and you need to remind it just who's boss, you can turn off the Axis Guide by going to the Viewport Menu and toggling off the Show > Axis option.
Axis Guide 2D View

Constrain Axis
In addition to being a visual aid, the Axis Guide can be used as a constraining tool as well. Certain functions, such as moving meshes, can be constrained along the X, Y or Z axis.

To constrain an axis:
1. 2. 3.

Axis Guide Perspective View

CTRL + SHIFT + click on any of the axes on the actual guide (the red, green or blue lines or their end points). You can also choose Transform > Constrain > X, Y or Z [CTRL + SHIFT + X, Y or Z] from the main menu. The selected axis will turn white in all of the Viewports, and the point at the end will turn into an arrow, indicating that it is the constraining axis. To turn off constraints, either click back on the axis or choose it again from the menu.

For more detailed information on axis constraint please see the Constrain Axis portion of the upcoming section on Transform Tools.

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Viewports
Just as a warning, we're about to go into some territory that strays from what you've probably already learned about Viewports. It's not because we love messing with your brain, but rather because there are some additional features required in this interface to provide a useful modeling experience. In the Advanced Modeler, all of the standard views (Front, Back, Top, Bottom, Left and Right) are shown in fixed 2D Orthographic Viewports. In addition, just like in the Scene Editor there is one Perspective View that allows you to look at your scene from all different angles. One of the harder things to get used to within this interface is working with a 3D model within a purely 2D view. We will try to make that transition as easy as possible for you in the upcoming sections, but also realize that you might need to take some time orienting yourself using basic models before you tackle building your own personal concept car. NOTE: Unlike the Scene Editor, camera views in the Advanced Modeler can be open in more than one Viewport at one time. So if you need two Perspective Viewports available at the same time, by all means, set yourself up.

2D Orthographic Viewports
The 2D Orthographic Viewports provide many advantages when it comes to 3D modeling. These are a few reasons why: 1. In an orthographic view, all objects are shown straight on and maintain their right angles and parallel lines, thus reducing the chance that you will move, rotate, scale, etc. your selection in an unintended direction. You can think of this as sort of an "alignment safety zone." All objects, regardless of the distance between them along the Z axis (actually, the relative Z axis for each Viewport), will appear at their actual size. This is important because when modeling objects you often want to be able to compare exact sizes of things and the orthographic view eliminates any distortion that prevents making accurate comparisons. When working in an orthographic view you are confined to manipulating meshes along two out of the three axes, or a single plane, which allows for greater precision. And, thanks to the Axis Guide you have a constant reminder of just which two axes you have to work with in each Viewport.

Perspective Viewport

2.

3.

Same Scene - 2D Viewport

Panning and Zooming the Orthographic Camera
Keep in mind that like the Scene Editor, you must hold down the ALT key (Win) or the COMMAND key (Mac) to enter into Camera Mode. Panning and zooming the Orthographic Viewports are identical to panning and zooming the Standard Cameras in the Scene Editor. Refer to the chapter on cameras for steps on panning and zooming. Additional controls that facilitate zooming in or out on particular areas of your scene can be found in the Viewport Menu: • • Frame All: All objects in the Viewport will be framed in the camera view. Frame Selection: Any selected objects, vertices, edges or faces will be framed.

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Reset View: The default view will be restored.

Perspective Viewport
Working with the Perspective Camera in the Advanced Modeler is identical to the Perspective Camera or the Target Camera in the Scene Editor. Refer to the chapter on Cameras for information on working with the Perspective Camera. The Perspective Camera also comes with the same Frame All, Frame Selection and Reset View options as the Orthographic Viewports.

Viewport Display Modes
The graphical display of object meshes in the Advanced Modeler is similar to the Scene Editor. From the Viewport Menu button each Viewport can be set to Texture Smooth Shaded, Smooth Shaded, Flat Shaded or Wireframe, as well as the option to Draw Backfaces. (Refer to Display Modes section of Viewport Properties chapter.) Objects and their meshes take on different display states during the selection process, which is discussed in the upcoming section on Selection. Also, when you are editing a mesh, all other objects in the Viewport will take on a gray stippled display, which means they cannot be edited while the Edit Mesh button is enabled. The Advanced Modeler also comes with these two additional display modes: Show > Wire Overlay: When the Show Wire Overlay option is turned on, the wireframe of the mesh is shown over the top of the Flat Shaded, Smooth Shaded or Texture Smooth Shaded modes. (Note: Showing the Wire Overlay makes it difficult to see the results of any function that serves to smooth a surface area.)
Wire Overlay Show > Materials: Through the Show Materials option you can choose to turn off the display of any materials that have been applied to your models. Note that when this option is turned on, the wireframe will take on the color of the applied materials. Turning off the display of materials can help to enhance Viewport rendering speed.

Flash Tutorial: Advanced Modeler Viewports

Edit Mesh Button
The Edit Mesh button is located on the right side of the Main Toolbar. When this button is disabled (gray), the Advanced Modeler exists in a mode that is similar to the Scene Editor, meaning you can only select the mesh at the object level. As soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button, the button’s state changes to Editing Mesh (red), which allows you to begin editing the mesh of the selected object.
Edit Mesh Button States

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Object Mode
When the Edit Mesh button is disabled you can only select the mesh at the object level, and you can only select one object at a time. Once the object is selected, either click on the Edit Mesh button to edit that object’s mesh, or make use of any of the various tools in the Advanced Modeler that are accessible at the object level. Throughout this chapter, modeling tools that can only be used while in Editing Mesh mode will be clearly designated. Tools that do not carry this disclaimer can be used as documented, whether you are working at the object or mesh level. Keep in mind that when you are working at the object level of a mesh, if you adjust its position, rotation or scale these values get updated in relation to the scene’s global coordinate system. A final thing to mention about object mode is that primitive meshes get inserted into the Viewport as separate object meshes when the Edit Mesh button is not depressed. This is crucial to understand if you plan on eventually animating the different parts of a model. More on this will be discussed in the next section on the Editing Mesh mode.

Editing Mesh Mode
Once you have an object selected in the Viewport you can begin editing its mesh by clicking on the Edit Mesh button. Keep in mind that Scene Editor objects (Text, Primitives, Extrusions, or Lathes) are converted to an editable mesh as soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button. When this happens, a dialog will appear that warns you of this pending conversion. (A checkbox provides the option to turn off this warning dialog. You can also turn this warning on or off by going to Setup > User Preferences.) This conversion can be undone by performing a File > Undo in the Advanced Modeler. For further information on why this conversion occurs, please see previous section on 3D Terminology 101. Once in Editing Mesh mode you will notice that all of the mesh selection tools that were previously grayed out on the main toolbar become enabled. These tools will be discussed in detail in the upcoming section on Selection, but for now it is just important to note that through these tools you can begin selecting the vertices, edges, faces and defined surface groups of the mesh. While in Mesh Editing mode, any changes made to the mesh only take place at the local mesh level. For this reason do not use Mesh Editing mode to orient an object’s mesh in relationship to other objects in the scene. When you select an entire mesh and move, rotate or scale it, those operations are only being calculated in relation to the object’s pivot point. A good way to understand this is to visualize the object as a “container” for its mesh. The container’s position, rotation and scale are all based around the object’s pivot point, which remains stationary in relation to the scene’s global coordinate system. So if you move an entire mesh and then take a look at the coordinates of that object from its Position property page, the coordinates will remain unchanged because the mesh has simply moved around within the object’s container, the container has not budged. Note: If you happen to move an entire mesh in Mesh Editing mode you can always go back to the Scene Editor and use the Reset Pivot Location button, located to the right of the Rotation Trackball, to reset the pivot back to the center of the object, but that is not really the best workflow to follow. When you create a new mesh by inserting a Primitive into the scene while in Mesh Editing mode, that primitive mesh will get added to the existing mesh as a separate Surface Group (refer to section on Surface Groups later in this chapter). So even though the meshes appear to be separate from each other, the meshes actually are contained within a single object (and you can certainly orient those meshes in relation to each other since they both exist within that object “container”). To add a primitive mesh to the scene as a separate object you must turn off Mesh Editing. However, if you know you will never have any reasons to select different parts of a model for animation purposes you can certainly go ahead and work with the primitive meshes to create your entire model in Editing Mesh mode.

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Combining and Breaking Apart Meshes
You can use the Combine With Selection or the Break Out Selection features to either combine separate objects into a single mesh or break meshes apart into separate objects.

Combine With Selection
The Combine With Selection feature allows you to join separate objects into a single mesh. This function is only available in the Advanced Modeler when the Edit Mesh button is not depressed. There are many benefits to working with a single mesh, including the ability to combine extrusions, lathes and primitives into a single object. After objects are combined into a single mesh you can choose to weld them together or simply keep the two meshes apart as separate surface areas.

To combine objects into a single mesh:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Bring two objects (e.g., an extrusion and a lathe) into the Advanced Modeler. In object editing mode, select one of the object's meshes. Hover the mouse over the object you wish to combine with that mesh and right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the second object. From the context menu that appears, choose the Combine With Selection option. Both objects will now exist as a single object, but can still be selected or edited as separate surface groups when the Edit Mesh button is pushed.

Break Out Selection
The Break Out Selection feature allows you to take an area of a single mesh and break it out into a separate object. Note that this feature is only available in Editing Mesh mode.

To break out mesh into a separate object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select an object and click on the Edit Mesh button. Use one of the Selection tools to select the part of the mesh that you want to break out into a separate object. Right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the selected area. From the context menu, choose the Break Out Selection option. The display of the selected mesh will automatically turn to the gray stippled effect that indicates it can no longer be edited as part of the selected mesh, since it now exists as a separate object from its original mesh.

Starting with Gallery Models or Primitives
Before we go any further, let's talk about the models and primitives that come with Advanced Modeler because you can't perform any modeling heroics until you first have a mesh to work from. The reason why is that you cannot draw a mesh from scratch in the Advanced Modeler, which means you always need to have some sort of building block in the

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Viewport to begin with. We've already discussed bringing Scene Editor objects into the Advanced Modeler, so let's now look at two other resources, the Model Gallery and Primitive Meshes.

Model Gallery
The Model Gallery provides you with 3D models to use as is, or as a starting point for your modeling project. As with all of the other galleries in Swift 3D, the Model Gallery works on the dragand-drop premise. Models will always get inserted as separate objects whether you are in Mesh Editing or Object Editing mode, and if they contain hierarchy, their animations and hierarchy will also be maintained.

To insert a model from the model gallery:
1. 2. 3. In the Advanced Modeler, select the Model button on the left side of the main Gallery Toolbar to bring up the Model Gallery. (Note: Models can be accessed from the Scene Editor as well.) Go through the tabs and choose a model. Click-and-drag the model to any location within any of the Viewports. The model will get inserted at the coordinate from which it was originally saved into the gallery.

The Model Gallery can also be used as a repository for your own models that you create in Swift 3D.

To save a model to the model gallery:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Models can only be saved to the gallery from the Scene Editor, so click on the Scene Editor tab to bring the model back into the Scene Editor. If the model is not already selected, click on it to select. From the File menu, choose "Save Model..." From the Save Model dialog, choose a name and location within the Model Gallery for your model. Click Save.

Editing Models in the Gallery
A mesh model added to the Model Gallery can only be edited in the Advanced Modeler workspace. Once a model is placed into the scene it no longer has any connection to the original model stored back in the gallery, so when you finish editing you must go through the steps for saving a model to the gallery. The original version will remain untouched in the gallery. If you do not desire two copies of the model, either overwrite the previous model by using the same name when saving, or simply delete the previous version from the gallery.

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You can right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the palette window surrounding the thumbnails to bring up the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can delete, rename or relocate any gallery content. For information on how to share Gallery content and managing Galleries in Swift 3D, see the section on Galleries in the Scene Editor chapter.

Primitive Meshes
As discussed in our earlier section on 3D Terminology, Primitives in the Scene Editor are parent objects that are derived from a mesh. In the Advanced Modeler, this type of parent relationship is not possible, so the primitives made available here are simply meshes based on the primitive shapes that you find in the Scene Editor. As a result, you only have access to each Primitive’s property page before that primitive gets inserted into the Viewport. Let’s look at it this way. You’ve inserted a sphere-based mesh into the Viewport, and using your impressive, new-found modeling skills have molded that sphere into a dolphin. That dolphin does not in any way resemble the sphere it spawned from, so you can’t possibly to go back and change any of the sphere’s original properties and expect Swift 3D to have a clue as to what you expect to happen.

Inserting Primitives
So, as you have probably guessed, inserting a primitive in the Advanced Modeler will not be the same as that nice, simple click of the mouse that you can use to achieve such greatness in the Scene Editor, but it is not rocket science either. When you click on one of the Primitive buttons in the Advanced Modeler, all you have achieved is opening that primitive’s property page in the Properties Toolbar. This is your key that you must first set the segmentation properties of the primitive, or simply leave the settings at their default values if you so choose. (Refer to the chapter on Primitives for information regarding the segmentation values of each primitive.) After adjusting these settings, click and drag out the primitive in the Viewports until you are happy with its size. (Holding down the CTRL key as you drag out the primitive will keep its size proportional.) The Torus and Cone primitives are the exception as they still include some size settings (the top and bottom radius of the cone, and the major and minor radius of the torus), which can’t be adjusted when dragging out these primitives. These settings exist as ratios, however, instead of exact units used by those same primitives in the Scene Editor.

To insert a primitive:
1. Set the Editing Mode button to its Mesh Editing or Object Editing state depending on whether you want to add the mesh to an existing mesh or create a separate mesh object. If you do not have an existing mesh in the scene, the state of this button will not matter. Click on the Primitive button of your choice from the main toolbar.

2.

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3. 4. 5. The properties specific to that primitive will appear in the Properties Toolbar. (See the chapter on Primitives for detailed information on all of the properties available to each primitive.) Make any changes to the default settings. Use the preview window to determine when you have the correct settings since once the primitive is inserted you cannot go back and change these settings. In any of the Viewports, click and drag the cursor until the primitive reaches the size you require. Hold down the CTRL key if you want to maintain the primitive’s proportions as you size it.

When you drag out a primitive in one of the Orthographic Viewports, the starting position of the primitive will always depend on where it was drawn. Primitives created in the Perspective Viewport will always get inserted around the (0, 0, 0) coordinate.

General Properties
Modeler Options
The following two settings are strictly intended to help increase internal rendering performance while working in the Advanced Modeler. Auto Smoothing - Swift 3D will automatically smooth surface areas of a mesh unless you otherwise define smoothing groups (see the section on Smoothing Groups at the end of this chapter). As you work with a mesh, pushing and pulling various parts, it requires additional internal rendering power for Swift 3D to constantly update the display of surface smoothing. By default, this feature is therefore turned off. Note: If the Show Wire Overlay option is enabled you will not notice any difference to smoothing. Redraw All Viewports - By default, as you move, rotate, scale, etc. a mesh, that action only takes place in the active Viewport. Once the action is complete, the other Viewports will then update their views as well. However, if you need to see the action take place in all of the Viewports as it is occurs, check the Redraw All Viewports option. Again, by only having the redraw take place in one Viewport at a time, performance is enhanced.

Settings
Nudge Increment - This setting controls how far your selected object will move when nudged with the keyboard arrow keys. It is set to .10 units. Since each grid represents one unit, using the default setting it will take 10 nudges to move a selection from one grid line to the next.

Object
Name - This grayed out area shows the name of the object currently selected in the Viewport. This name can only be edited from the Object property page in either the Scene Editor or the Advanced Modeler.

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Statistics - The statistics provided on this page show the total number of vertices, edges, faces and surface groups of the mesh at the object level. So even if just a single vertex of a mesh is selected, these statistics will display the totals for the whole mesh that the vertex is a part of. If you are selecting individual areas of a mesh in Mesh Editing mode and need to see the total number of vertices, edges, and faces in that currently selected area, these statistics are provided in the status bar located along the bottom of the interface. If a mesh is not selected, the status bar shows the total statistics for the entire model currently being edited. Polygon Limitations - The Advanced Modeler has a limitation of 65,535 total vertices or faces.

Selection
No, still not to the fun stuff yet, but I can guarantee that unless you master the fine art of selecting vertices, edges, faces and surface groups (and not just any ones, mind you, but the ones you intended to select) you will get extremely frustrated when you start modeling. So stay focused and we'll get through this fast.

Select Tools
The selection process in the Advanced Modeler works differently than in the Scene Editor because selection can be done on five levels: vertex, edge, face, surface group and object. There are separate selection tools for each of these elements that are accessible from the main toolbar or the Select menu.
Soft Select Select Faces Select Object

Select Vertices

Select Edges

Select Surface Groups

The following shortcut keystrokes are also available for each Select tool: Select Vertices: V; Soft Select: T; Select Edges: E; Select Faces: F; Select Surface Groups: G; Select Object: O.

Object Selection
The Select Object tool is the only select option available when you are working at the object level. As soon as you click on the Edit Mesh button the Select Object tool becomes disabled. When objects are selected they are tinted a blue color as a reminder that the mesh is being selected at the object level. In Editing Mesh mode, the object that is currently selected will turn orange, the mesh selection color, and all unselected objects will take on a gray stippled shading.

Mesh Selection
When in Editing Mesh mode, you have access to the Select Vertices, Soft Select, Select Edges, Select Faces and Select Surface Groups tools. Each mesh element has a different visual representation in the Viewport when selected. A vertex is always indicated by a square icon; an edge by the straight line that forms the side of a triangle, as well as its two end

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points (vertices); and faces and surface groups by all three edges of the triangle (and shaded interior if the Viewport is set to a shaded display mode).

Select Vertices

Select Edges

Select Faces

Whether you are selecting an object or mesh element, one of these Select tools is enabled at all times. (NOTE: The Move, Rotate, Scale or Extrude transform tools can be enabled at the same time as any of the Select tools. If both are enabled, the cursor will move back and forth between a selectable state or transform state depending on what area of the mesh the cursor is over. For example, if the cursor is over a mesh element that is already selected, it will show the Move, Rotate, Scale or Extrude cursor, depending upon which of those tools is also enabled. If the cursor is over an element that is not yet selected, you can continue selecting. See upcoming section on Transform Tools for further information.)

Select Cursor
Since the Advanced Modeler is very mode oriented, many of the functions come with their own cursor icons in order to serve as a visual reminder of which mode or tool is currently being using. The Select tools are all represented by the default pointer cursor. The Select cursor can also have a plus sign or minus sign next to it that indicates if part of the mesh is being selected or deselected.

Mouseover (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
In holding with our goal to make Swift 3D an intuitive experience, we have done our best to make the selection process as easy as possible. The Advanced Modeler therefore comes with a selection feature called Mouseover that highlights the mesh in yellow when you are in Editing Mesh mode. Mouseover shows what would be selected if you decide to click down with the mouse. Note that I emphasize “would be” because the selection that is highlighted in Mouseover cannot take on any applied functions. Once the cursor moves away from a selectable mesh element, that element will no longer remain highlighted.

Multiselect in Mouseover
You can hold down the SHIFT key while moving the cursor to multiselect elements in mouseover so that instead of losing a highlighted area as the cursor moves off of an element the highlight is maintained. Clicking down will then serve to select these elements.

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Turning Off Mouseover
In addition to being mesmerizing, the Mouseover selection state is computationally intensive, so if you are trying to acquire as much speed as possible turn off Mouseover from the Selection property page. By default, Mouseover is also only shown in the active Viewport in order to enhance performance. If you want to see the Mouseover state drawn in each Viewport, check the Redraw All Viewports option on the General property page.

Selecting and Deselecting
To select an area of the mesh or the object that is highlighted in Mouseover, simply click down to “lock” the selection. Note that when you click down a plus sign will appear next to the cursor indicating the mesh is being selected and not deselected. When not in Edit Mesh mode, selected objects will turn blue. When working in Mesh Editing mode, selected surface areas and faces will turn orange, while selected vertices and edges will turn red. (NOTE: The vertex that is selected first will always turn green in order to indicate that it is the vertex used as the reference point for Soft Select, Weld and Flatten, features that will be discussed in upcoming sections of this chapter. The vertex that is selected first is not detected when marquee selection is being used so all vertices selected this way will remain red.) After a selection is made, you can switch from one selection tool to another and still hold onto the selection, but the selected area will switch to that type of element. For example, if you select some faces and then choose the Select Vertices tool, those same polygons will remain selected, but by their vertices instead of faces. If you are switching from vertex or edge selection to face selection, only faces that have three vertices or two edges selected will get selected. You cannot move from vertex, edge, or face selection mode to surface group selection mode and maintain a selected area unless all of the vertices, edges and faces of a surface group are selected. Deselecting is done by holding down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac) while clicking on selecting elements or drawing a marquee box. Note that as soon as you hold down the CTRL or OPTION keys a minus sign will appear next to the cursor that indicates you can only deselect mesh elements while those keys are depressed.

To select an object, surface, face, edge or vertex:
1. 2. 3. 4. Depending on whether you are in Editing Mesh mode or not, choose either the Select Vertices [V], Edges [E], Faces [F], Surface Groups [G] or Object [O] tool from the main toolbar. Move the cursor over the element of the mesh that you want to select. When that element becomes selectable it will turn yellow, which is its mouseover state. Click to select the element.

To deselect an object, surface, face, edge or vertex:
1. 2. Hold down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac) and click back on any selected element to deselect it. (Note that since the cursor still hovers over that element it will turn back to the yellow mouseover state until the cursor moves away from it.) Click anywhere in the background to deselect all current selections.

Multiple Selection (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
When in Object Editing mode you can only select one object at a time; therefore, all of the following multiple selection processes only apply when you are in Editing Mesh mode and selecting surface groups, faces, edges or vertices.

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To select multiple surfaces, faces, edges or vertices:
1. 2. 3. OR, 1. 2. 3. Choose either the Select Vertices [V], Edges [E], Faces [F] or Surface Groups [G] tool from the main toolbar. While holding down the SHIFT key, drag the cursor over the elements you want to select (without clicking down). As the cursor moves, all of the elements it rolls over become held in Mouseover state. When you are done highlighting, click down to lock the selection and then let go of the SHIFT key. Choose either the Select Vertices [V], Edges [E], Faces [F] or Surface Groups [G] tool from the main toolbar. Click on that element in the Viewport, and continue to click on other elements of the same type until you have all the desired elements selected. (Note: You do not have to hold down the SHIFT key to multiple select.) If you make a mistake and need to deselect a selected element, hold down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac) and click back on that element to deselect it. Click in the background to deselect all current selections.

Marquee Selection
Marquee selection is the process of clicking down the mouse and dragging a bounding box around areas of the mesh that you wish to select or deselect. Parts of the mesh do not have to be completely within the drawn marquee box to be selected or deselected. Surface groups, faces, edges and vertices will be selected or deselected if the marquee box touches any portion of their structure. Marquee selection also does not detect which mesh element is selected first, which is crucial to the Align To > Surface tool, and plays a role in helping to fine tune the Flatten and Weld commands.

To select multiple surfaces, faces, edges or vertices using a marquee box:
Click-and-drag a marquee box around the area of the mesh you wish to select.

To deselect using a marquee box:
While holding down the CTRL key (Win) or OPTION key (Mac) click and drag a marquee box around the elements you wish to deselect. NOTE: Marquee selection will always select or deselect any front facing polygons that are captured within its bounding box, not just the polygons closest to the front of the Viewport. For example, if a front facing mesh is located directly behind the mesh you are trying to select, its front facing polygons that are captured within the marquee box will also get selected. If this is not desirable you will need to use one of the other multiple select options offered, such as holding down the SHIFT key while in Mouseover

Additional Selection Options
From the Edit menu you also have access to a few more selection options when in Mesh Editing mode only: Select All will select all objects in the Viewport. The CTRL + A (Win) or COMMAND + A (Mac) shortcut keys can also be used to perform this function. Select Inverse allows you to reverse the current selection so that all vertices, edges, faces or surface groups that were not selected become selected, while the current selection becomes deselected. The CTRL + I (Win) or COMMAND + I (Mac) shortcut keys can also be used to perform this function. (This function is only available in Editing Mesh mode.)

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Troubleshooting Selection Problems
Flip Normals
If you encounter a situation in which you cannot select certain areas of a mesh it is likely that the surface normals are facing in the wrong direction. Use the Transform > Flip Normals feature to reverse the direction of the surface normals. (Note: To select the back facing polygons, either go to the Selection property page and turn off Ignore Backfaces, or select all of the surfaces with outward facing normals first, and then use the Edit > Select Inverse option to select just those surfaces with normals facing inward.)

Orthographic Viewports
When working in the Perspective Viewport or any of the camera views in the Scene Editor, if you zoom in too far on an object it is very clear when the camera lens bumps into an object and begins to pass through an object. The same does not hold true for the Orthographic Viewports, so if you are zoomed in on a mesh and find that you cannot select any of its elements, try zooming back out a bit and try again.

Selection Property Page
The Selection property page provides additional features related to the selection process.

Enable Mouseover
Although Mouseover serves as an extremely helpful selection aid, it also requires more computation time. You can turn off the Mouseover feature from the Selection property page by unchecking the Enable Mouseover option.

Ignore Backfaces (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
By default the Ignore Backfaces option is disabled, which means that both front and back facing polygons are available to be selected. If you do not want back facing polygons to be selected, turn this feature on. This obviously takes a bit of pressure off of the whole selection process because you do not have to worry about accidentally selecting any elements lurking in the background.

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To select backfaces:
1.

Ignore Backfaces = Off

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

From the Viewport Menu choose Draw Backfaces. Note: You do not have to turn Draw Backfaces on in order to select backfaces. This is just a convenience if you choose to use it, and might not make any difference depending on the angle the object sits in relation to the camera. From the Selection property page, uncheck the Ignore Backfaces option. In the Top View, draw a cylinder of average size. Front View Showing Vertex Selected in Choose the Select Vertices tool. Back Vertices Selected Top View In the Top View, click on one of the vertices located on the front outer edge of the Cylinder. Once the vertices are selected, take a look in either the Left or Front Viewport and notice that all of the vertices that lay behind that one vertex, and were therefore obscured from view in the Top Viewport, have also been selected.

Enable Multiselect (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
The Enable Multiselect option turns on and off the ability to select all front or back facing polygons, whether the polygons are in view or not. By default this option is turned off. When Multiselect is turned on, all polygons located behind a selected area (visualize an arrow piercing straight through a mesh and striking any meshes that lie directly behind) will get selected as well. To change this feature to select only front facing polygons, make sure the Ignore Backfaces option is enabled. (Note: Marquee selection ignores the state of Enable Multiselect and will always select front facing polygons that are captured within its bounding box.)

Nick's Tips
When selecting vertices, edges, faces or surface groups it never hurts to give the Perspective View a spin just to make sure that you have not inadvertently selected something you had not intended to include. Just ALT (Win) or COMMAND (Mac) click-and-drag in the Perspective Viewport to rotate the camera around the object. If you find an unexpected element did indeed become selected, simply choose the appropriate selection tool and deselect the element. A quick glance at the Orthographic Viewports can be revealing as well.

Soft Select (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
(Using Soft Select requires concepts talked about later on in this chapter, so you may just want to give this section a quick read for now and come back to it after you have learned more about transforming objects and manipulating their mesh.) Soft Select allows you to create what is essentially a magnetic field surrounding a single vertex. As with a magnetic field, the rate at which the intensity or strength of the pull that exists within the field decreases the further away you are from its magnetic source. In the Advanced Modeler, when you use Soft Select to select a single vertex, a range of vertices radiating out from this vertex become selected as well, which you can envision as the magnetic field. So when you push, pull, rotate or scale from the original vertex, the degree to which the surrounding vertices are drawn along

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with that vertex lessens the further away from the original point they are located. This feature is extremely cool because it allows you to quickly create a smoother, more natural looking transformation on the surface of the object.

Entering Soft Select Mode
The Soft Select option can be accessed from the set of Select tools located on the main toolbar, through the Select menu, or by using the shortcut [T]. Once you enter Soft Select mode your first order of business is to choose the center of the magnetic field, which will be a single vertex. Along with that vertex, a default range of vertices surrounding that single vertex will become selected as well. As you roll the cursor around the object you will see all of the vertices in the current Soft Select range highlighted in yellow (read next section on Vertex Radius for information on how to adjust the size of this area). The Soft Select area will not become permanently locked until you click on a vertex. As soon as you click down, the center vertex from which the soft select area is determined will turn green and the rest of the vertices included in the soft select will turn red. In addition, the mouse will automatically turn into the Move tool, but you can also Rotate or Scale the Soft Select area by switching to those tools as well.

Adjusting Vertex Radius
Within the Selection property page you have the option to redefine the size of the surface area included in your Soft Select by adjusting the Vertex Radius slider. Moving the slider to the left will decrease the area included in the Soft Select, while moving the slider to the right will increase the range. Before the Soft Select area is locked down you can move this slider to its different settings (2 through 10) and as the cursor moves over the mesh you will see the changes in the size of the Soft Select area. Once the Soft Select area is permanently selected you can no longer adjust the Vertex Radius unless you deselect the Soft Select by clicking in the background and going back into Soft Select mode. If you are not able to refine your selection accurately enough, you may need to create additional faces within the desired Soft Select area so that the Vertex Radius control has more vertices to choose from. This can be done through the Subdivide feature, which is discussed later on in this chapter. Also keep in mind that the way your mesh is balanced and the direction that edges are turned will have a major impact on which vertices are included in the Soft Select region. See Balance Mesh (under Subdivide) and Turn Edge for details on these using these features.

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Choosing Curve Type
The next decision to make in the Soft Select process is whether you want the pull or push of the Soft Select field to take on a nice, smooth rounded shape or more of a sharply pointed shape. A smooth curve is achieved by choosing the Parabolic Curve Type, while the Exponential Curve Type results in a sharper curve.

Form Factor
Soft Select = Parabolic The intensity or falloff of the Curve Type can be controlled through the Form Factor slider. This slider ranges from .01 to 1.00, with .01 representing the gentlest curve and 1.00 the steepest. And if there is any doubt, the graph located above the slider serves as a great way to visualize what type of falloff each value will generate. Soft Select = Exponential

To soft select:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Insert a Sphere primitive mesh into the Viewport. Go to the Selection property page and make sure that Enable Mouseover is on. Choose the Soft Select [T] tool from the main toolbar. Roll the mouse over the sphere to detect the range of vertices that will be included in the Soft Select. Adjust the Vertex Radius slider until the area encompassed by the Soft Select is as desired. Click on a vertex to lock the Soft Select range. Note that the cursor will automatically turn into the Move cursor, but you can switch to the Rotate or Scale tool as well. From the Soft Select property page, set the Curve Type to be Parabolic or Exponential. Adjust the Form Factor slider to control the intensity of the curve's falloff. Use the Move, Rotate or Scale tools to manipulate the selected area.

Edit Menu
These additional selection-related functions can be found under the Edit menu: Hide/Unhide: Mesh can be hidden from view by either choosing Edit > Hide Selection [CTRL + E (Win) or COMMAND + E (Mac)], which will hide your current selection, or Edit > Hide All [CTRL + H (Win) or COMMAND + H (Mac)], which will hide all mesh currently contained within the Viewports. To view a mesh that has been hidden, choose Edit > Unhide All [CTRL + U (Win) or COMMAND + U (Mac)]. An option also exists on the Surface Groups property page for hiding individual surface groups. Refer to the Surface Groups section at the end of this chapter for further information. As in the Scene Editor, the Object property page also has an option for hiding entire objects. Duplicate Selection: In the Advanced Modeler you can only duplicate or delete a mesh or object, so you will not find the traditional cut, copy or paste functions. A duplicate of the selected mesh (faces and surface groups only) or object can be made by going to Edit > Duplicate on the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) to bring up the object context sensitive menu. You can choose to have the duplicate appear adjacent to the original object along the X, Y or Z axis.

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Delete Selection: When you choose Edit > Delete Selection, all selected meshes or objects will be deleted. (Note: The exception is that you cannot delete the base object, or the object at the top of the hierarchy in the Advanced Modeler. That object can only be deleted from the Scene Editor.) When in Editing Mesh mode, the mesh must be selected using either the Select Faces or Select Surface Groups tools in order to be deleted. You cannot delete selected vertices or edges. Undo: Edit > Undo [CTRL + Z (Win) or Command + Z (Mac)] is accessed through the Edit menu or the button on the main toolbar. The Undo stack (list) in the Advanced Modeler is kept separate from the Scene Editor Undo stack; however, once you leave the Advanced Modeler its Undo stack is cleared as soon as an undo-able function is performed in the Scene Editor. (The Scene Editor Undo stack is always Undo/Redo Buttons maintained no matter which editor you are in.) It is important to understand that a complete copy of your model gets placed into the Undo stack each time the model is altered, which can definitely use up a lot of memory. Once you’ve reached a point where you are sure you no longer need access to the Undo stack you can manually clear it using the Edit > Clear Undo function. Redo will redo any action you have undone, so it will not become enabled until you first Undo an action. This function is accessed by going to Edit > Redo [CTRL + Y (Win) or Command + Y (Mac)] or clicking the Redo button on the main toolbar.

Flash Tutorial: Advanced Modeler Selection

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Surface Groups (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
The polygons or triangular faces that make up a mesh also serve to create the surface area for that model. Polygons can be grouped together with other polygons in order to define a specific surface area. The two primary advantages to forming surface groups are: 1. 2. It allows you to quickly select areas of your model that you will frequently be manipulating as an entire piece. It allows you to apply different materials to different surfaces of your model.

The concept of Surface Groups can easily be understood by considering the box primitive. When you insert a box primitive into the Viewport and drag a material onto it, the material gets applied to the entire box mesh. The reason is because all six sides of the box belong to the same surface group. Using the Advanced Modeler's Surface Groups feature you can break down the box so that each side consists of its own surface group. Not only does this make it easier to select the individual sides of the box, but separate materials can now be applied to each side since the they have been made into separate surface groups. An important concept to understand is that no hierarchy exists between surface groups. Surface groups all exist at the same level and polygons cannot be a part of two different surface groups. In addition, surface groups do not need to consist of groups of contiguous polygons. For example, going back to our box, if you want to apply the same material to the top and bottom of the box, these areas can be incorporated into the same surface group.

To create a surface group:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Insert a box primitive mesh and click on the Edit Mesh button. Using the Select Faces tool, select the two polygons that serve to make up one side of the box. Select Surface Groups from the Properties Toolbar. Click on the Group Selection button. Selected areas can also be grouped by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the selection and choosing Group > Selection from the context menu. The new surface group will be given the name "Regroup01" by default.

Nick's Tips
You might not realize it, but you have already been introduced to surface groups in the Scene Editor. Extrusions and Text objects automatically contain three separate surface groups: face, bevel and edge. Since selection in the Scene Editor can only be performed at the object level, these surface groups are only accessible when applying materials. However, when you bring an Extrusion or Text object into the Advanced Modeler you can select each of these surface groups separately using the Select Surface Groups tool.

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Surface Groups List Box
The List Box located at the top of the Surface Groups property page displays the names of the surface groups currently present in the Viewports of the Advanced Modeler. If you have not yet defined any surface groups, the default name for the mesh in the Viewport will appear in the list. For example, when a sphere gets inserted, the default surface group of "Sphere01-All Surfaces" will appear in the list box. Once a new surface group is defined, the name of that surface group will appear in the list box with the default name of "Regroup01." The polygons defined in the new surface group will be removed from their previous surface group since polygons can only be a part of one surface group at a time.

Naming Surface Groups
Surfaces groups can be given more meaningful names by simply selecting the default name from the list box and typing a new name in the field located just below the list box.

Selecting Surface Groups
Once a Surface Group is defined, that surface area can now be selected as a whole. Use either of the following two methods to select surface groups: 1. 2. or, 1. 2. 3. Choose the Select Surface Groups tool [G] from the Main Toolbar. Click on any of the faces that are a part of the Surface Group you wish to select. All of the faces included in the surface group will become selected. From the Surface Groups property page, click on the name of the Surface Group you wish to select in the list box. Click on the Select button. All of the faces in that Surface Group will now become selected in the Viewport

Group All and Ungroup All
The Group All and Ungroup All features can only be accessed by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the mesh to bring up the context sensitive menu. The Group All command will select the entire mesh and place it into a new group (Regroup0X). The Ungroup All command will ungroup all surface groups and return them to the first surface group listed in the Surface Group list box. While there is an Ungroup All feature there is no way to ungroup specific surface groups because there is no object level surface group that the polygons can be returned to. Therefore, when you want to remove an existing surface group what you need to do is group those polygons into another surface group.

To delete an existing surface group:
1. Select the surface group from the list box and click the Select button so that the polygons included in this surface group become selected in the Viewport.

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2. 3. From the list box, highlight the surface group you want to group the selected polygons with and click on the Select button again. Click on the Group Selection button. Note that both surface groups get joined into a new surface group so it may be necessary to rename the group.

And Separate Selection
And Separate Selection is an advanced use of the Surface Groups feature because not only does it create a surface group, but it separates or cuts that surface group from the mesh. This feature can also only be accessed by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the mesh to bring up the context sensitive menu.

Hide/Show Surface Groups
Surface Groups can be hidden from view using the Hide and Show buttons found in the Surface Groups property page.

Half a Cylinder Grouped and Separated

To hide/show surface groups:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select a surface group from the list box. Click on the Hide button located under the list box. Selected areas can also be hidden by going to Edit > Hide Selection or Edit > Hide All. To show (unhide) a hidden surface, select the surface group from the list box. Click on the Show button.

All hidden areas can also be shown all at once by going to Edit > Unhide All.

Materials
From the Surface Groups property page you also have access to each group's Material properties. When you select a surface group from the list box, the name of the material applied to that group is displayed and its material appears in the Material Preview Window. Since this area of the Surface Groups property page works identically to the Material property page of the Scene Editor, please refer to the chapter on Materials for further information on this feature.

Flash Tutorial: Surface Groups

Transform Tools - Move, Rotate, Scale and Extrude
The Transform tools talked about in this section refer to the Move, Rotate, Scale and Extrude commands only since there are a lot of common elements to using these transforms. So instead of repeating this information four times, we are going to cover it all here. Specific information regarding each transform tool will be detailed in the upcoming sections.

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Selecting Transform Tools
The Transform tool buttons, located on the main toolbar, remain disabled until a vertex, edge, face, surface group or object is selected. Once one of the transform tools is selected that function can be performed ONLY when the cursor is over a selected mesh element. The cursor will turn into one of the transform cursors shown below in order to indicate when that function is available. Since the main state of the cursor is its selection state, if the mouse is not over a selected element the cursor will remain as the normal pointer cursor, allowing you to continue selecting mesh elements. This workflow greatly facilitates the ease of moving back and forth between selecting and moving, rotating, scaling or extruding mesh elements since you can be in both a selection and transform mode at the same time. In addition to clicking directly on the Transform buttons on the main toolbar, you can also select these tools using the following two methods: 1. By right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface and selecting the desired transform tool from the context sensitive menu. Using this method gives you the option to choose different constraints, such as the X, Y or Z axis. Options available to each transform tool are detailed under each tool. Through the Transform menu on the main menu bar, or using the shortcut keystrokes designated in this menu. I highly recommend memorizing the shortcut keys as they will definitely help to facilitate your modeling workflow. The shortcut/hot keys for the transform tools are as follows: Move - M; Rotate - R; Scale - S; Extrude - X.

2.

Transform Cursors
Once any of the Transform tools have been selected, the cursor will change in order to give you a visual representation of when that tool is enabled (i.e., when the cursor is over a selected mesh element).

Move

Rotate

Scale

Extrude

Since you will often find yourself in a workflow that jumps back and forth between selecting and transforming, these cursor icons are extremely helpful at reminding you which tool is currently selected. With tool in hand, you are now ready to click in any of the Viewports and manually perform that function.

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Transform Tool Property Pages
When you select one of the Transform tools, the property page specific to that transform tool will appear in the Properties Toolbar. The Transform Tool property pages all provide you with the ability to perform that transform in numeric increments, as well as the option to constrain those movements to a particular axis. In addition, any default properties essential to these functions will be contained within these property pages. Details specific to each property page will be discussed in the upcoming sections.

Constraining Transforms in Orthographic Viewports
When you use one of the Transform tools in any of the Orthographic Viewports that transform is automatically constrained to just the two visible axes or that single plane. In addition to the constrain features offered by the Axis Guide (refer to earlier section on Axis Guide), you can also constrain a transform using any of the following methods: 1. 2. Hold down the SHIFT key while performing the transform. Faint constraining lines will appear as a visual aid. When choosing a transform tool from the context sensitive menu, indicate along which axis you would like the transform to be constrained.

NOTE: Any constraints specific to the Viewport in which you are performing a transform will automatically override constraints chosen through the context sensitive menu. For example, if you choose to constrain movement of an object to the Y axis by selecting Move > Y from the context sensitive menu, if you then try to move the object in the Top or Bottom viewport, which is automatically constrained to just the X and Z axes, you will not be able to move the object along the Y axis. The exception to this rule is rotating, which can be performed around any axis in any Viewport.

Constraining Transforms in the Perspective Viewport
In the Perspective Viewport a transform can be performed along the plane of the camera’s current rotation. As you rotate the camera around, that plane will change. Unlike the Scene Editor Viewports, however, objects cannot be moved towards the camera or away from the camera, which means you cannot Move along the axis that is pointing perpendicular to the camera. If the axis pointing towards or away from the camera is the axis along which you need to perform a transform, you must rotate the Perspective view so that you can transform either up or down, or left or right along that axis. To constrain the transform to just one or two of the axes use any of the methods outlined previously for the Orthographic Viewports.

Move
Objects and meshes can only be moved by selecting the Move tool. This differs from the Scene Editor where you can just click and drag on any object. Remember that when you are Editing Mesh mode, if you move an entire mesh that movement occurs in relation to the object’s pivot point only and not the global coordinate system.

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Move Tool
The most common and quickest way to move a selection is by choosing the Move tool and dragging the selected mesh to a new location directly within the Viewport. By default, the Move tool is set to Free until you choose a constraining axis or axes. Note that once the Move tool is selected it only becomes enabled when the cursor is over a selected mesh element.

To move a selection manually:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select the object, surface groups, faces, edges or vertices that you want to move. Select the Move tool [M] from either the main toolbar or the context sensitive menu. The cursor will change into the Move cursor. Set any axis constrains if necessary. Click in any of the Viewports and drag the selected area to a new location.

The keyboard arrow keys can also be used to nudge a selection left or right, or up or down.

Move Tool Property Page
As soon as the Move tool is selected, the Move property page will become visible in the Properties Toolbar. The precise positioning of selected meshes along the X, Y and Z axes can be achieved from the Move property page. Note that the values entered on this page represent the amount of movement to be performed along that particular axis; they do not represent the numeric coordinate that the object will be relocated to. The world coordinates of an object’s mesh can only be accessed through the Position property page. You can compare it to entering a nudge increment and then having your mesh nudged in that direction by the number of units entered. Every time you click the Move button the object will move the distance entered. As you would expect, a positive number will move the selection to the right along the X axis, upward along the Y axis and forward along the Z axis. A negative number will move the selection in the opposite direction along those axes.

To move a selection numerically along the X, Y or Z axis:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select either vertices, edges, faces, surface groups or object. Choose the Move tool [M] from the main toolbar. From the Move Tool property page, input a number into any of the numeric input boxes. Click on the Move button.

The X, Y or Z buttons located below each numeric entry fields can be enabled or disabled to constrain movement along any particular axis. By default, the buttons are all turned off, which means movement can occur along all of the axes. Obviously if you only have a value entered in the X box, your object will only move along the X axis, so these buttons

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only come into play if you need to make precise adjustments. For example, if you want to move a mesh 5 steps along the Y axis and 2 steps along the Z axis, and repeat that process several times, you can enter the numbers at the start and then switch back from constraining movement to just the Y and then just the Z without having to re-enter the numbers each time. The Clear button exists only to reset the numeric entry fields back to zero; this button does not reset the position of the mesh.

Rotate
"Wait, there's no trackball? How can I possibly rotate an object without a trackball?" Now, now, calm down (and did I hear a sigh of relief from all of those trackball detractors?), I promise it will be OK. While there is no trackball in the Advanced Modeler, there is a built-in virtual trackball that allows you to rotate your object directly in the Viewport using the Rotate tool. When you are Editing Mesh mode, if you rotate an entire mesh that rotation occurs in relation to the center of rotation (the yellow dot) set in the Rotate Tool Property page, not the object’s pivot point (although the two may correspond.)

Rotate Tool
When the Rotate tool is selected from the main toolbar its default state is set to Free until you choose a constraining axis or axes. Note that once the Rotate tool is selected it only becomes enabled when the cursor is over a selected mesh element.

To rotate a selection manually:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object, surface groups, faces, edges or vertices that you want to rotate. Choose the Rotate tool [R] from either the main toolbar or context sensitive menu. The cursor will change into the Rotate cursor. Click in any of the Viewports and drag the cursor in the direction you want the selection to rotate.

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Rotate Property Page
The Rotate property page can only be accessed by first selecting the Rotate tool.

Rotation Center
Use these options to specify the point around which you want the rotation to occur. The point of rotation is designated by the yellow dot icon that appears when you click down in the Viewport with the Rotate tool. Note: When in Editing Mesh mode, this rotation point is local to the selected mesh. • Center of Selection: This option, the default and most commonly used, will rotate the selected area around its center. When working at the object level, the Center of Selection corresponds to the object's pivot point, which may or may not reside in the center of the object anymore. Origin: This option makes the selected area rotate around the center of the scene at (0, 0, 0). Specific Point: This final option allows you to set the exact point around which the selected area will rotate.

• •

To set a the specific rotation point:
1. 2. 3. Choose the Rotate tool [R] from the main toolbar. Select the Specific Point option from the Rotate Tool property page. Enter the coordinates along the X, Y or Z axis to set the rotation point. Click down with the Rotate tool in any of the Viewports if you need a visual of where the rotation point is located while adjusting its X, Y or Z location.

Rotation Angles
Precise angle of rotations can be achieved from the Rotate Tool property page. As with the Move Tool property page, you are entering an increment of rotation, so every time you hit the Rotate button, the selection will continue to rotate by the degree entered. For example, if you enter 25, to rotate by 25 degrees, and click on the Rotate button, then decide you want to actually rotate it by 28 degrees, you must Undo the 25 degree rotation and then enter 28, or enter 3 to get those 3 extra degrees. Keep in mind that positive numbers will rotate an object to the plus side of an axis and negative numbers will rotate an object towards the negative side of the axis.

To rotate a selection numerically:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object, surface groups, faces, edges or vertices that you want to rotate. Choose the Rotate tool [R] from the main toolbar. From the Rotate Tool property page, enter the degree of rotation into any of the X, Y or Z entry boxes, depending upon which axis you want the rotation to occur. Click the Rotate button.

The Clear button exists only to reset the numeric entry fields back to zero; this button does not reset the rotation of the selected mesh.

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Scale
You can scale vertices, edges, faces, surface groups or objects. Scale can be performed freely (along any axis), uniformly (the scale is applied equally to all dimensions of the selected mesh), or constrained to the X, Y or Z axis.

Scale Tool
When you select the Scale tool from the main toolbar, its default state is Uniform Scaling until you choose a constraining axis or axes. Note that once the Scale tool is selected it only becomes enabled when the cursor is over a selected mesh element.

To scale a selection manually:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object, surface groups, faces, edges or vertices that you want to scale. Select the Scale tool [S] from either the main toolbar or context sensitive menu. The cursor will change into the Scale cursor. Click in any of the Viewports and drag the cursor away from the object to increase its scale and towards the center of the object to decrease its scale.

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Scale Tool Property Page
The Scale Tool property page can only be accessed by first selecting the Scale tool.

Scale Center
Use these options to specify the point from which you want the scale to occur. The point of scale is designated by the yellow dot that appears when you click down in the Viewport with the Scale tool. Note: When in Mesh Editing mode, this scale point is local to the selected mesh only. 1. Center of Selection: This option, the default, will scale the selected area out or in from its center. When working at the object level, the center of the selection will always correspond to the location of the object’s pivot point, which might not necessarily be located at the object’s center anymore. Origin: This option causes the selected area to scale from the center of the scene at (0, 0, 0). Specific Point: Allows you to set the exact point from which the scale will occur.

2. 3.

To set the specific scale point:
1. 2. 3. Choose the Scale tool [S] from the main toolbar. Select the Specific Point option from the Scale Tool property page. Enter the coordinates along the X, Y or Z axis where you want the center of the Scale to occur from. Click down with the Scale tool in any of the Viewports if you need a visual of where the scale point is located while adjusting its X, Y or Z location.

Scale Amount
When a mesh enters the scene it automatically has a scale of 1.0, so the numeric input boxes in the Scale Tool property page all have a default value of 1.0, meaning this is the original scale of the mesh. To reduce the mesh by half of its original scale enter 0.5, while 2.0 would represent double the original scale. If you scale anything by zero the object with disappear because multiplying anything by zero results in zero, and obviously negative numbers are not allowed. It is important to remember that as soon as a mesh is scaled, the value 1.0 gets reset to that new scale. Therefore, the next time you click on the Scale button the mesh will Scale numerically based on its current scale, not its original starting scale.

To scale a selection numerically:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object, surface groups, faces, edges or vertices that you want to scale. Choose the Scale tool [S] from the main toolbar. From the Scale Tool property page, enter the amount of scale that you want into either the X, Y or Z input boxes, depending upon which axis you want the scale to occur along. To achieve a uniform scale you must enter the same amount in each box. Click the Scale button.

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The Clear button exists only to reset the numeric entry fields back to zero; this button does not reset the scale of the mesh back to its original starting point.

Extrude (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
If you have made it this far with Swift 3D you probably reached the understanding that the term "extrude" means to take a 2D object and increase its depth. In the Advanced Modeler, however, you are starting off with objects that are already 3D so extrude takes on a slightly different meaning. Using the Extrude feature you can select faces of the mesh and extrude those faces outward or inward. What happens is that a new set of faces are formed that connect the original faces back to the mesh those faces were extended from.

Box with Faces Selected

Faces Extruded OUT

Faces Extruded IN

You can choose to extrude those faces freely (without any constraints), along the X, Y or Z axis, or along the direction the faces are pointing, which is the normal. Note that we are talking about faces only here; you cannot extrude vertices or edges, so in order for the Extrude function to work you must start with at least one selected face.

Extrude Tool
Before you grab the Extrude tool and start pulling faces away from your objects, one important detail must be noted. Once you release the mouse click to finish the extrude, you have completed the formation of a new set of polygons. If you did not extrude the faces out or in far enough, you must employ the aid of the Move tool to move the faces to the correct location. If you try to move the faces further outward or inward by clicking down again with the Extrude tool still enabled you will precede to extrude another set of faces, which may not be your intention. When you select the Extrude tool from the main toolbar, its default state is to extrude along the normals. Set the axis constraints or choose Extrude from the context sensitive menu to select a different option. Note that once the Scale tool is selected it only becomes enabled when the cursor is over a selected mesh element.

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To extrude faces manually:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the faces or surface groups to be extruded. Select the Extrude tool [E] from the main toolbar or context sensitive menu. The cursor will change into the Extrude cursor. Click-and-drag the cursor away from the mesh to extrude the faces outward or in toward the center of the mesh to extrude the faces inward.

NOTE: The new set of faces formed automatically get placed into a separate surface group. If you prefer to maintain one surface group, go to the Surface Group property page and regroup the surface areas back into a single group. Refer to the section on Surface Groups for detailed information on this process.

Extrude Tool Property Page
With Move, Rotate and Scale we talked about how these numeric operations are one shot deals, and the same goes for the Extrude Tool property page. With Extrude this takes on even further meaning because if you click the Extrude button for a second time you will be adding a new set of faces. So if you extrude once, and don't like the location where the faces ended up, you must move them to the desired location or undo the operation and try again.

To extrude numerically along the X, Y or Z axes or Normal:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select the faces or surface groups to be extruded. Select the Extrude tool [E] from the main toolbar. From the Extrude Tool property page, choose the Normal or Direction option. Type a number into any of the numeric entry boxes. Click Extrude.

The Clear button exists only to reset the numeric entry fields back to zero; this button does not reset the mesh back to its original starting point.

Flash Tutorial: Move, Rotate, Scale and Extrude

Align To
The Align To function allows you to align selected surfaces to either an axis or another surface area. Align To is accessible from the Position menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface area to bring up the context sensitive menu.

Align To Axis
The Align To > Axis feature aligns the center of the selection to either the X, Y or Z axis.

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Align To Surface (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
The Align To > Surface feature can be used with Surface Groups only. The surface to which other surfaces are being aligned to is referred to as the target surface. You have the option of aligning other surfaces to a target surface’s X, Y or Z position. You will always be aligning the center of a surface to where the center of the target surface lies along the X, Y or Z axis.

To align surfaces:
1. 2. 3. 4. Begin by selecting the target surface, which will serve as the alignment point for other objects. Continue the selection process by selecting the surface(s) that you want to have aligned to the target surface. Go to Align To > Surface from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu. Select to align the center of the selected surfaces to target surface’s X, Y or Z center.

Before Align To Surface

Align To > Surface > Z Axis

Mirror
(IMPORTANT: The Mirror function will automatically convert to mesh Extrusions, Lathes, Primitives or Text that have been brought into the Advanced Modeler from the Scene Editor. If you want to hold onto their object properties, use Negative Scaling in the Scene Editor to mirror the object.) As the name suggests, the Mirror function provides a the mirror image of the selected surfaces or object. Mirror can be performed in three different ways: mirrored along an axis, duplicated and mirrored along an axis, and duplicated so that the mirrored object’s edge vertices align. The first two features will mirror the mesh in the opposite direction along an axis and maintains the location of the mesh in relation to that axis. So if the center of a mesh is located at X = 5, it mirror image will appear at X = -5 when mirrored along the X axis.
Object Mirrored Along X

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The final mirror feature, which is referred to as Mirror > Align Duplicate, is designed to facilitate the process of modeling one side of a model and then mirroring that side with the intention of welding the two sides together. (This mirror option is only available in Editing Mesh mode.) It works by abutting the side around which the mirror is performed and lining up the vertices. The Align > Duplicate has six mirroring options: • • • Front to Back and Back to Front: Mirrors the object currently selected along the z axis. Half a Mesh Mirrored Left to Right and Right to Left: Mirrors the object currently selected along the Front to Back x axis. Top/Bottom and Bottom to Top: Mirrors the object currently selected along the y axis.

To mirror:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the surface that you want to mirror. Select Transform > Mirror from the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context sensitive menu. Select either the Axis, Axis Duplicate or Align Duplicate option and choose the axis or direction along which you want the mirror to occur. A mirrored duplicate of the object will appear along the axis you selected.

When modeling a single side of an object with the intention of mirroring and then joining the two sides together, vertices can be quickly joined by using the SmartWeld function that is detailed in an upcoming section.

Flatten
Flatten is somewhat of a dual purpose tool. Its primary purpose is to flatten the selected mesh to either the X, Y or Z axis. However, when used on selected vertices, Flatten will align those vertices into a single row along the X, Y or Z axis. When aligning vertices, the alignment is based on the first vertex that is selected, which is indicated by its green selection state (as opposed to the normal red selection state). Note that marquee selection does not detect which mesh element is selected first, so if you use this method to select multiple vertices to flatten, the vertices will flatten to an average location.

Selected Vertices

Vertices Flattened to Z Axis

While this feature is accessible when working at the object level, really all it can do is take the entire mesh and flatten it like a pancake.

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To flatten:
1. 2. 3. Select the surface area that you wish to flatten. Choose Transform > Flatten from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu. Choose whether you want the surfaces to flatten the X, Y or Z axes.
Selected Faces Faces Flattened to Z Axis

Roundness

Roundness is the process whereby selected polygons are rounded outward (increased) or inward (decreased) by moving the vertices of the selected area out or in from a central point. In order for Roundness to have any noticeable affect on a selected area, the function requires a fair amount of vertices and surfaces to work on. For example, if a box with just two faces per side is inserted into the Viewport, when Roundness is applied to that box you will see no discernible difference. However, if you subdivide the box’s faces a couple of times and then apply this feature, the box will begin to round outward or inward.

Subdivided Box

Increased Roundness

Decreased Roundness

There is no exact science to using this feature so you can’t just look at your object or set of faces and determine exactly what the results will be when you round. It is the type of feature that you apply once, and if you are happy with the results, great, but if you want more or less roundness you give it another shot. Or, if you do not receive the results you need, you might try subdividing the faces an additional time and then trying the Roundness operation again. Sometimes modeling is all about a little experimentation.

To round:
1. 2. 3. 4. Insert a Cylinder primitive into the scene. Choose Transform > Roundness from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu. Choose Roundness > Increase to push the surface area of the cylinder outward. Choose Roundness > Decrease to pull the surface area of the cylinder inward.

Subdivide
The Subdivide feature includes Balance Mesh, Flat Subdivision or Smooth Subdivision.

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Balance Mesh
The Balance Mesh feature can be used to create a symmetrical mesh. This is a one time function that can be applied only to an entire mesh. Maintaining a balanced mesh can be very crucial when models become complex. Balanced meshes will also achieve more expected results when using features like Soft Select. NOTE: This feature will only work on meshes created in the Advanced Modeler; it will not work on imported 3ds files.
Before Balance Mesh After Balance Mesh

Flat
Subdivide is a process that divides faces into 3 or 4 additional faces. This process does not change the existing flat face of an object but simply creates a denser mesh. The primary application for this feature is to provide additional polygons to a certain area of a model in order to allow for more detailed manipulation of the mesh. Subdivide can be performed on whole surfaces or just selected faces. If you do not first have a surface selected in the Viewport this option will be disabled. NOTE: Unless you have a reason for needing a face divided in three, you should try to rely primarily on the Subdivide Flat 4 option as it will always provide cleaner and more reliable results.

No Subdivision

Flat 3 Face

Flat 4 Face

To subdivide:
1. 2. 3. Select a face or surface using the Select Face or Select Surface tool. Choose Transform > Subdivide from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu. Select either the Flat 3 Face or Flat 4 Face option.

Smooth
Smoothing is a process that first takes a surface area and subdivides it by 4. It then adjusts the sharp corners of the original mesh by pulling in their associated vertices, while at the same time pushing out the vertices of the newly created faces. All this works towards creating a new shape that is smoother than the previous shape, so you can literally start with a box and smooth it out to a sphere.

No Subdivision

Flat 4 Face

Smooth

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There are two options for Smoothing: Subdivide Smooth Exclude Border and Subdivide Smooth Include Border. When smoothing an object that is a closed shape, meaning it has no exposed borders, it does not matter which of these options you choose as they will both provide the same results. These two options come into play when you are smoothing a shape that has borders. The Exclude Border option will maintain the integrity of that outside edge so that it is not taken into consideration during the smoothing pro- Exclude Borders Include Borders cess. The Include Border option will take into account the border when it calculates smoothing. While the Include Border option will result in a perfect subdivision, and therefore the smoothest surface possible, it produces undesirable results on outside edges by pulling them in, which gives a very jagged appearance to that outside edge.

Delete Empty Faces
As you work with your model performing numerous subdivisions, empty faces get created that allow you to pull newly subdivided faces, edges and vertices away from existing meshes without creating holes in the mesh. While these polygons are necessary to prevent holes from occurring in the mesh, it can lead to empty faces that are not being used and are therefore adding unwanted size to your mesh. These empty polygons can be deleted by going to Transform > Delete Empty Faces. While subdividing is the most common way to create empty polygons, other actions, such as clicking on the Extrude tool and not moving them out, will also lead to empty polygons.

Edge (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
The Divide Edge and Turn Edge features allow you to manipulate the mesh of your model in several distinct ways.

Divide Edge
The Divide Edge function works by dividing the faces that the edge has in common into two additional faces. While the Divide Edge function can be applied to multiple edges at a time, it is recommended that you do not select edges that share the same face. For example, if you have two edges of one face selected, once the program divides the first edge a new set of edges now exist that will determine how the second edge will get divided, and so forth. As you can imagine, it becomes virtually impossible to predict what type of results will occur.

To divide an edge:
1. 2. Use the Select Edges tool to select an edge or multiple edges. Choose Transform > Edge > Divide Edge from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu.
Divide Edge Before (4 Edges Selected) Divide Edge After

Turn Edge

The Turn Edge feature allows you to change the direction of an edge to the opposing vertices of its two adjoining faces. (This function can only be applied to one edge at a time.) Depending on whether those two adjoining faces exist on the same plane, the Turn Edge

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function may or may not affect the outward appearance of the model. In the first set of screen shots below, notice that the Turn Edge operation was performed on an edge that separates two faces that exist on the same plane. What this operation did was simply change the direction of the common edge these faces share. In the next example, since the selected edge adjoins faces that exist on different sides of the box, the Turn Edge operation actually resulted in a notching out the surface. The ability to notch out a surface has obvious advantages, but a beginning modeler might be inclined to overlook the more advanced uses of this feature when it comes to the maintaining the symmetry of a mesh. While a cleaner mesh will always be easier to work with as a model progresses in complexity, it is important to realize that an unbalanced mesh will not maintain its symmetry when advanced functions like smoothing are applied to it. In addition, depending on the rendering option you choose, an untidy mesh might provide undesirable rendering results. Again, this is fairly advanced stuff, and when working with simple models it might not even matter. But if you plan to take your modeling to a higher level this type of attention to the structure of your mesh eventually needs to be taken into consideration.

Planar Edge Selected

Turn Edge After

To turn an edge:
1. 2. Use the Select Edge tool to select an edge. Corner Edge Selected Turn Edge After Choose Transform > Edge > Turn Edge from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu.

Weld (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
Performing the Weld command on two or more selected vertices will collapse those vertices into a single vertex. If you click to select the vertices to be welded together, the first vertex selected will serve as the alignment point for the rest of the vertices. An average of all vertices can be obtained by marquee selecting the vertices to be included in the weld since marquee selection does not detect which is the first vertex to be chosen.

To weld vertices:
1. 2. 3.
Vertices selected on Select two or more vertices using the Select Vertices tool. half of a sphere Choose Transform > Weld from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu. The selected vertices will now be merged into a single vertex. Vertices collapsed to a single vertex

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SmartWeld
Welding vertices can be a tedious process if you have more than one set of vertices that need to be joined. This process can be greatly simplified by employing the SmartWeld feature. When SmartWeld is used, any vertices that are currently selected look to see if there are any vertices nearby (within a given tolerance) that are also selected, and if so they join and merge. Let the co-mingling begin.

To smartweld vertices:
1. 2. 3.
Selected vertices of Select a group of vertices. two unjoined objects Choose SmartWeld from either the main menu or by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a surface to bring up the context menu. Any vertices that lie within a certain range of each other will be joined. Vertices joined using SmartWeld

SmartWeld Tolerance Slider
You can set the tolerance level for the detection of available vertices using the SmartWeld Tolerance slider located on the Selection property page. As this setting increases, SmartWeld will weld selected vertices located across a greater range into a single vertex, therefore making this operation less accurate, or more encompassing.

Nick's Tips
When welding vertices that are located close together it is often difficult to determine if anything actually happened. I recommend that when you select vertices to be welded, always check the status bar to make sure the correct number of vertices are selected to begin with. After the Weld or SmartWeld function is performed, recheck the number of vertices to make sure it has been reduced by the proper amount.

Flash Tutorial: Advanced Modeler Tools

Smoothing Groups (Editing Mesh Mode Only)
If you recall from our discussion of 3D terminology, the face of a polygon is planar (a.k.a. flat). However, you may have noticed that when you create something with a curved surface area, like a sphere, it is displayed in the Viewport

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(and rendered) as one continuous, smooth surface instead of a series of segmented, flat surfaces. The reason is because surfaces are automatically smoothed, which works by removing the hard edges in between surfaces, blending them to produce one smooth surface.

Unsmoothed

Smoothed

Smoothing Group Assigned

NOTE: In order to see the changes made to the surface of your model you must have your Viewport Display Mode set to Smooth Shading and have the Show Wire Overlay option turned off.

Assigning Smoothing Groups
In the Advanced Modeler, you can assign Smoothing Groups to different surface areas in order to define where you want Swift 3D to place hard edges. (Surface areas can be assigned multiple smoothing groups.) Smoothing groups are simply numbers ranging from 1 to 32, although in reality you have access to far more than 32 Smoothing Groups since the numbers can be assigned to more than one surface. As long as surfaces do not share an edge, smoothing group number assignments can be reused as many times as you want. Now, if you are like me and can't remember what you ate for breakfast, you might be staring at those 32 numbers wondering how you can possibly keep track of groups that are solely defined by numbers. Keep in mind that the purpose of Smoothing Groups is primarily to place a hard edge in between two adjacent surfaces. It does not matter if the two surface areas are assigned Smoothing Group numbers 1 and 2 or 7 and 16; it only matters that the numbers are different. So sometimes you can get away with simply alternating between two Smoothing Group numbers, while other times, depending on your goals, you might have reasons to keep each Smoothing Group in their own separate numbers. Really, the key is that if you think you might need to change the smoothing properties of a particular surface area, then keep that surface area to its own Smoothing Group number.

To assign a smoothing group:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. In Editing Mesh mode, insert a sphere into the Top Viewport. From the Selection property page, turn off Ignore Backfaces. Using the Select Faces tool, in the Right Viewport draw a marquee box to select the entire right side of the sphere. Select Smoothing Groups from the Properties Toolbar. Click on Assign to enable the Smoothing Group number grid. Click on number 2 to assign the right side of the sphere to Smoothing Group 2.

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7. In the Perspective Viewport, change the display mode to Smooth Shaded, making sure to turn the Show Wire Overlay option off as well. Notice that there now exists an edge, which is shown by a clear difference in the shading, between the two halves of the sphere.

Selecting Smoothing Groups
When your model begins to get complicated, the potential to lose track of just which surface areas have been assigned to which Smoothing Groups can definitely start to occur. Fortunately, the Smoothing Group number grid has two states to it, Select and Assign. As the name indicates, when the Select button is chosen you can click on a number and the surface areas associated with that Smoothing Group number will all become selected in the Viewport. Notice also that only those numbers that have been assigned to surfaces are enabled in Select, so this is also a great indicator of which Smoothing Group numbers are still available for use. You can also go about detecting Smoothing Group assignments from the mesh itself. If you hover over different parts of the mesh in the Viewport with either the Select Faces or Select Surface Groups tools (make sure Mouseover is enabled on the Selection property page), you can see the Smoothing Group assignment for each surface because that number will temporarily become depressed. If you actually click down to select a surface, the depressed state of that number will lock until that surface area becomes deselected again.

To select smoothing groups:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Start with the sphere created in our previous steps on assigning a Smoothing Group. From the Smoothing Group property page, click on the Select button. When Smoothing Groups are assigned those numbers become enabled, so in the case of our sphere Smoothing Groups 1 and 2 should be enabled. Click on Smoothing Group 1 in order to select that surface area. Click back on Smoothing Group 1 in order to deselect that surface area. Next, deselect any surfaces that may be selected and then choose the Select Faces tool. Go to the Perspective Viewport and hover the mouse over any of the faces included in Smoothing Group 1. Notice how Smoothing Group 1 becomes depressed in the Properties toolbar, which is a great way to quickly ascertain smoothing group assignments.

Clearing Smoothing Groups
Since surfaces can be assigned multiple smoothing groups, the only way to clear a smoothing group is to deselect the Smoothing Group number(s) assigned to a particular surface area.

To clear a smoothing group:
1. 2. Select the surface area that you wish to clear of its smoothing groups. Go to the Smoothing Groups property page and click the Assign button.

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Click on any of the Smoothing Group numbers assigned to that surface area to clear those numbers. (Note: This only clears that Smoothing Group number for the selected surface area. It does not clear this smoothing group for any other surface areas that might be assigned to this number.)

Unsmoothing Surfaces
Up until now we have been working on the assumption that we actually want our Smoothing Groups to be nicely smoothed. Using the Unsmooth Selection or Unsmooth All buttons you can create hard edges between every single polygon in your model. Unsmooth Selection will unsmooth just the currently selected faces, while Unsmooth All will unsmooth everything in the Viewport, whether selected or not. Once a surface area is unsmoothed, it is no longer associated with any smoothing groups. Unsmoothed portions of a mesh can be selected by clicking on the Select All Unsmoothed button. If you want to resmooth an unsmoothed surface, simply reassign that surface to a Smoothing Group.

Using Smoothing Groups to Control Rendered Outlines
Probably one of the coolest features that comes along with Smoothing Groups is the ability to control exactly where outlines get rendered. For example, in the screen shots shown to the right, you can see that different Smoothing Groups have been assigned to each horizontal slice of the cylinder. Upon rendering to Outlines using RAViX, the hard edge is detected between each of these slices, which allows you to customize where outlines get rendered. For more information on rendering to Outlines, see the chapter on Rendering With RAViX.
Smoothing Groups Assigned to Each Slice Cylinder Rendered to Outlines

Flash Tutorial: Smoothing Groups

Bitmap Texture Mapping
Another handy feature within the Advanced Modeler is Bitmap Texture Mapping. With this feature you can apply a bitmap material from the Material Gallery to a surface or surface group of a mesh, and then control how the material is mapped to the surface. For more information on creating bitmap materials, refer to the next chapter on Materials.

To add a texture to a surface group:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. From the Viewport menu, be sure Texture Smooth Shaded and Show > Materials is enabled. In Editing Mesh mode, insert a box primitive. Using the Select Faces tool, select the two front facing polygons that make up the front side of the box. Select Surface Groups from the Properties Toolbar. Click the Group Selection button to make a new surface group. It will be given the name "Regroup01" by default. Choose a bitmap material from the Material Gallery and drop it on the selected surface group in the Viewport.

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7. Since the surface group is in a selected state, you won't be able to see the texture applied to your surface until you deselect the surface group by clicking on the background. You should now see the bitmap on one side of the box.

Control Mapping of Textures
Once you have applied a bitmap material to a surface group, you can then click the 'Edit Texture Mode' button on the main toolbar to enable specific mapping tools. This sub-mesh editing mode specifically allows for further control over how the texture is mapped (positioned and displayed) on the mesh surface. Since textures are only applied to surfaces or surface groups, Edit Texture Mode will only enable the Face Selection and Surface Group Selection tools. You must select the surface or surface group that the texture has been applied before you can use the editing tools below. NOTE: While in Editing Mesh Mode only, the Viewport displays textures only when faces are deselected. However, once in Edit Texture Mode the reverse occurs in that textures will only display on selected faces in the Viewport, ready for manipulation and control. Activating 'Edit Texture Mode' enables you to access the Move, Rotate and Scale tools so that you can adjust the texture and its appearance on the surface to best fit the object. Right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on a textured surface will bring up the context menu and allow access to additional texture mapping commands: • • • • • Reset Commands: Will reset your Move, Rotation and Scale mapping adjustments to their untransformed state. Automap Box Coordinates: Attempts to automap the texture to fit the six faces of a box. Automap Cylindrical Coordinates: Attempts to automap the texture to fit the surface of a cylinder. Automap Solid Coordinates: Applies the texture to the mesh as if it were a solid object, which will extrude the texture through the mesh from front to back. Automap Spherical Coordinates: Applies the texture in a wrapping fashion that best fits textures to rounded objects.

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Overview

materials

In the world of Swift 3D, we use the term Materials to describe our colors, and it's not just to be fancy. The reason is that within the 3D world colors are conditional rather than absolute. By that I mean colors can exhibit different characteristics depending on how light is being cast upon them. And unlike the world of 2D vector graphics, within Swift 3D you can control how the surfaces of your objects interact with light; for instance, designating whether a surface is glossy or flat. It is important to note that colors within the world of 3D-to-vector conversion are even more conditional than normal because of the full spectrum of output styles offered by RAViX III. You may create the most amazing colors that exhibit exquisite highlights and convey subtle tones of warmth, but if you render the objects in your scene using a basic output style like Cartoon Average Color Fill you'll be a bit disappointed to say the least. But on the other hand, if the sky’s the limit when it comes to file size, Mesh Shading will make it all worthwhile. The EMO rendering engine is capable of handling all of the vector-based materials in Swift 3D, but can also do wonderful things with raster-based materials like Bitmap and Procedural Textures. Add to that the ability to have reflective objects interacting with Environments (see section on Environments in this chapter) and you’ve got some crazy stuff going on. It's also important to realize that both the vector and raster materials can be rendered with either rendering engine, but you will find that the RAViX rendering engine will not render out raster materials with any accuracy. So for all you graphic designers out there who may be used to print media and the precision inherent in color selection, it's time you let your hair down and play around a bit. When you factor in all of the conditions that go into the final colors shown in your rendered file, there's just no way to be as accurate as you're used to.

The Material Gallery
The Material Gallery is where you go to access the world of color. Swift 3D comes with a great selection of materials to choose from, and they are all stored under the different categories in the gallery. Since you can also create your own materials in Swift 3D, or import bitmap images, you also have the ability to add your own materials to this gallery.

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The Material Gallery can be accessed from both the Scene Editor and the Advanced Modeler. You can drag and drop all materials in either editor, but precise placement of bitmap materials can only be attained using the Advanced Modeler’s Bitmap Texture Mapper. In order to get the most out of your materials, let’s first take a good look at what constitutes a vector material versus a raster material.

Vector Materials
There are a whole slew of materials that have been built with vector export in mind. These materials are more conventional in nature, which is why they export well using the RAViX III vector rendering engine. All materials can be rendered by either rendering engine, but the Vector Materials are the ones that hold up the best and create the nicest looking vector output. These materials have been broken up into some general categories that come installed with the application. These categories are the Flat, Glossy, Reflective and Transparent tabs you see along the top of the Material Gallery. Since RAViX III can easily handle the properties of these colors they are considered Vector Materials. When rendering to vector, the output style chosen will dictate the final look of your material, so read carefully through each Fill Option detailed in the Rendering With RAViX chapter.

Raster Materials
Raster materials are bitmaps and textures that are best rendered out using the EMO Ray Tracer. Set the Viewport Display Mode to Texture Smooth Shaded to view applied textures, or use the Render Window buttons on the main toolbar to activate the Scene Editor’s scanline renderer.

Bitmap Textures
There's just no way around it, bitmap textures are cool. These materials are created through the process of bringing in a raster-based file created outside of Swift 3D and “wrapping” it onto the surface of your objects. To get a better idea of what I'm describing, let's travel back to our childhood and think about one of those art projects we used to work on in Elementary school. Let's say we've built a small cardboard cube and the teacher asks us to decorate that cube with some pictures from a magazine. Once we've found that perfect picture (imagine it's of bunnies or a monster truck, depending on what kind of kid you were), you proceed to cut it out of the magazine and glue it onto your cube. Now those of you who tended to do a little better than the rest of the kids in art class are probably thinking “Yeah, but I don't want to wrap it like a present because then I'd be folding part of the picture under another part of the picture and that wouldn't yield me a smiley face at the end of the day.” Right you are, and Swift 3D is always out to help you obtain that smiley face, so we've come up with four ways to wrap that picture onto your various objects: Planar Solid, Planar Wrap, Planar Spherical and Cylindrical. (See more details on these properties in this chapter’s section on Creating and Editing Bitmap Textures).

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Bitmap Textures that come standard with Swift 3D can be found under just one tab in the Material Gallery, and that tab is appropriately named Bitmap. While Bitmap materials can be applied to objects in the Scene Editor, you do not have a whole lot of control over how bitmaps get placed on objects in the Scene Editor. Accurate positioning of bitmap images to an object must be done by using the mapping tools located in the Advanced Modeler.

Procedural Textures
Procedural textures are a whole different beast than bitmap textures—a beast with a slightly more complex personality. Procedural textures do not accomplish their mission through the use of imported raster files, rather they go about their job of texturing in a more mathematical manner. This texturing style calls upon a series of predefined mathematical calculations that in turn create a very wide variety of changes in the surface of your object. These calculations can be imparted upon the color of your objects, or they can be told to take affect on the surface of the object itself. Unfortunately, our art class discussion falls short in trying to describe procedural textures. Instead, I'd like to take a visit to a car repair shop of the future. (I know, I'm reaching in the whole metaphor department, but this is some funky stuff.) Let's say you've taken your car in to be 'resurfaced' because you're just tired of that smooth, uniform silver that it came from the factory with. This shop specializes in two types of resurfacing: Color and Texture. As you enter the color room, your car is sitting in the middle and the technician has a computer that allows him to choose from any color in the palette and then also choose from a variety of patterns those colors can be applied with. The computer drives a whole bunch of spray nozzles that are told to spray their respective colors in their respective patterns across the entire surface of the car. So you tell the technician that you'd like your car to look like a brick wall, only with the brick color being blue and the mortar color being green. The technician punches in your color values, selects the pattern to 'Brick' and the nozzles start flying around your car. Before you know it, the computer has painted your car to look like a blue and green brick wall. Next we head to the texture room where a second computer sits. You tell the technician that smooth is so ‘20th century’ and you'd like to go with the new Golf Ball look that's so hot these days. Sure enough, a couple of settings are tweaked and a whole bunch of robotic arms appear and begin pounding away on your car with ball peen hammers. In short order you're driving away from the shop in a car that has been colored to look like a brick wall and dented to look like a golf ball. You're plenty pleased with the results, but slowly it dawns on you that you still have to explain this new look to your spouse who sort of liked your silver Audi the way it was.

Applying Materials
All materials, whether vector, bitmap or procedural, work under the principal of drag-and-drop, so everything in the Material Gallery can be applied much like you would apply paint to a canvas. Materials can be applied to surface areas in either the Scene Editor or the Advanced Modeler. The surface area of a Primitive or Lathe object is considered to be one single surface area, which means only a single material can be applied to those objects. Objects like Text and Extrusions are automatically created with predefined surface areas (face, bevel and edge), so these objects can accept three different materials on each of these surfaces. Through the Advanced Modeler you also have the ability to group different portions of an object’s mesh together in order to define your own custom surface groups. Refer to the Surface Groups section of the Advanced Modeler chapter for detailed information on this process.

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To drag-and-drop a material from the material gallery:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select the Show Materials button from the left side of the Gallery Toolbar. Use the category tabs and scroll bar to choose an appropriate material for your object. Click-and-drag from the material preview window into your scene. As soon as you see the 'Plus' sign appear next to your pointer icon it means you're over a surface area. There may be a pause before you see the plus sign if the material was created from a high resolution or very large bitmap file. Release the mouse button and that surface will accept that material.

NOTE: If you’ve applied a raster material, go to the Viewport Menu and choose Texture Smooth Shaded in order to view these textures. In the Scene Editor you also can use the Render Window or Render Rectangle features on the main toolbar to activate the scanline renderer.

Material Drop Surface Target
The Material Drop Surface Target button, located to the left of the Material Gallery, determines whether a material gets applied to each individual surface group of an object or the entire surface area of the object or mesh. The default state of this button (indicated by its red, white and blue bands) is toggled off, meaning that materials will apply only to individual surface areas. When the Material Drop Surface Target button is toggled on (indicated by an all red state), materials will only apply to the entire surface area of an object or mesh.

Applying a Single Material to Multiple Surfaces
A single material can be applied to multiple surfaces at one time as long as those surfaces all share the same current material. The reason why is that when a material is applied to a surface, a copy of that material is stored in the scene and is linked to that object. Once that initial copy is made, all surface areas to which that material is subsequently applied will reference that one copy in order to conserve on file size. The nice thing about this scenario is that if one material is applied to multiple surfaces, in order to adjust that material it does not have to be reapplied to each surface area. Since all of the surface areas are linked to one material, you can apply the new material to all of these objects at the same time by holding down the SHIFT key while you click-and-drag the new material onto one of the objects (it does not matter which one).
.Flash

Tutorial: Applying Drag-and-Drop Materials

Material Property Page
Within the Material page of the Properties Toolbar resides the Material Surface List, which lists all surface areas associated with the selected object in the scene. When a surface is selected from the list, the material applied to that surface area is displayed in the Material Preview Window. While Primitives and Lathes only have one surface area, Text and Extrusions get created with three surface areas, Faces, Bevels and Edges. And, if Surface Groups are defined in the Advanced Modeler, these will also be displayed in this list box, so this list can get quite lengthy.

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Applying Materials to Specific Surfaces
There are times when dropping a material onto a surface can be difficult, especially if the object is very small or far away from the camera. As an alternative, the Material property page can be used to apply a material to a specific surface of an object.

To apply a material to a specific surface from the material property page:
1. 2. Select a surface in the Material Surface List of the Materials property page. From the Material Gallery, drag and drop a material onto the Material preview in the Material property page, rather than onto the object’s surface area in the Viewport.

NOTE: When working with objects that have multiple surface groups defined, the Material Drop Surface Target button, on the left of the Material Gallery, must be toggled off for individual surfaces to accept separate materials.

Applying a Material from One Object to Another
You can drag-and-drop materials directly from the Material Preview Window onto any object in the scene, which can save you from the process of searching the Material Gallery for the exact material you may have applied earlier.

To drag-and-drop a material from the material property page:
1. 2. 3. Select the object that has the material you want to apply to another object. Go to that object’s Material property page. Drag-and-drop the material from the Material preview window onto the other object.

Editing an Instance of a Material
The Material property page allows you to customize a material that has already been applied without having to change the original material. This is often referred to as editing the instance of a material since you are not actually making any permanent changes to the original material that resides in the Material Gallery. Permanent changes can only be made through the Material Editor.

To edit the instance of a material:
1. 2. Select a surface area from the Material Surface List and double-click on the Material Preview Window. From the Edit Material dialog, adjust the material’s properties. (See Creating and Editing Materials section under Material Editor for information on this dialog.)

Saving Materials to the Material Gallery
A material brought into the program from an imported 3ds or dxf file, or another .t3d file, can be permanently saved to the Material Gallery by dragging and dropping it from the Material Preview Window of the Materials property page to

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the Material Gallery. The material will automatically get placed under the category tab that is showing and will maintain the name it was given before it was brought into Swift 3D. (If the name already exists under that category tab, a [1] will get appended to the end of the file name.) Once the material is stored in the gallery, you can change any of this information using the Material Editor, just like you would any other gallery content.

Material Editor
While Swift 3D comes with a good base of both vector and raster materials, our goal is to simply give you a fair idea of what types of materials are possible. With the Material Editor, we are providing you with a powerful editor that allows you to edit these existing materials or create your own. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Creating and Editing Materials
The Material Editor is accessed by clicking on either the Add Material or Edit Material button from the Gallery Setup dialog, or by double clicking directly on a material in the Material Gallery. From the Material Editor you can view and edit the properties of existing materials or create new materials.

Name
The least daunting of all the features within the Material Editor is the Name, which is the name that gets displayed within Swift 3D when you roll over each material within the Material Gallery. This is the material's common name and you should try and use descriptive names so you can more easily recognize what materials you have stored in the Gallery. You'll notice that all of the materials that come with the program have the prefix of ER. In order to differentiate between vector and raster materials we have further refined the names by adding an ER Vector and ER Raster to the beginning of each name. You are of course free to use any file naming convention you choose.

Preview Window and Generate Preview Button
This is where you can test out your various concoctions before actually leaving the Material Editor. Although there's nothing like a real world test to see if you've stumbled upon a supersweet material, you can at least get a glimpse of what it might look like when applied to some sample objects. Also, when you click the Generate Preview button you'll be creating the thumbnail that gets inserted into the Material Gallery when it's all said and done.

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Now that you know how to name and preview your material, it’s time to learn how to create, which is where things really start to get involved. In order to keep things as simple as possible, I thought the best way to attack the Material Editor was by breaking it down into how each setting can be used to create and/or edit these six type of material categories: Solid (Vector) Colors, Bitmap Textures, Procedural Color Maps, Procedural Texture Maps, Transparent materials and Reflective materials. Keep in mind that separating these materials into categories is for teaching purposes only since you can mix and match all of the different material properties to get whatever type of material you want.

Solid (Vector) Colors
Finish
All of these settings have to do with how the material, and thus the object’s surface, interacts with light.

Ambient Color refers to uniform reflected light. Even if an object has no direct light cast upon it, it's usually illuminated by ambient light since those crazy light rays are always bouncing around and coming at us from every angle. Therefore, the color of the surfaces this ambient light is reflecting off of can have an effect on the color of an object. For example, if you place a yellow ball in a blue room, the ball will still be yellow, but it will have a slight blue tint from all of that blue ambient lighting. The darker the material's base color, the less the Ambient Color will affect the overall material characteristics. Reflection Color defines the material’s reflective abilities. Anytime a material has its Reflection Color set to a color other than pure black it will begin to take on reflective properties. The lighter the Reflection Color, the more reflective it becomes. If you are trying to maintain the base color of a material you'll want to stay with shades that fall in between black and white, but you have the freedom to apply any color you want to the Reflective Color. Just keep in mind that lighter Reflection Colors will begin to supersede the base color of a material. (Read more details on creating reflective colors in upcoming section on Reflection.) Highlight Strength and Highlight Size relate to the glossiness of a material. When either Trackball Lights or Scene Lights cast their light rays onto objects, they have the ability to create highlights, or hot spots, on the objects upon which they shine. These highlights can be controlled with the Strength and Size sliders. If you are trying to create a totally flat finish to your material (no highlight at all) you want the two sliders to be all the way to the left. As you increase the settings of the sliders to the right you will find the highlight growing in intensity and size respectively.
Double Illuminate has to do with some complicated things Swift 3D does when it determines how to shade each individual polygon in an object. Basically, by creating a material that's double illuminate, you are telling Swift 3D to apply that material to both sides of every surface, even if they aren't visible. For example, if you make a cube and place your camera inside that cube, with a double illuminate material you will be able to see the inside surfaces. Without a double illuminate material you would just see black.

Color
These settings all have to do with the material's base color. This would be akin to the Diffuse Color that previous versions of Swift 3D have used.

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Pattern should be set to Procedural Solid when creating a standard color. This simply designates the material as a solid material without any additional bells and whistles. For more information on the available whistles and bells, please see the upcoming section on Procedural Textures.
The Color Selector, the colored rectangle, is where you actually designate the base color of the material you're creating. If you double click on the window you will access the Color Palette (Win) or the Color Picker (Mac). From here you can delve into the wonderful world of hues, saturation, luminosity and the like, all of which won't be covered in this User Guide. The Transparency slider allows you to adjust the opacity of a material. The higher you set the slider, the more transparent the material becomes. If you crank it all the way to the right you will create a material that is completely transparent, much like glass. (Read more details in upcoming section on Transparency.)

Brightness is a fairly straightforward property. The slider simply controls how light or dark the material is.

Texture
These settings are covered under the following section on Procedural Textures. Suffice to say the Pattern setting should be set to the Procedural Solid option when creating standard colored materials.

To create or edit a solid (vector) color material:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select Setup > Materials. Select the Category under which you would like to Add a new material or navigate to the material you would like to Edit. (You can also make a copy of an existing material using the Copy Material button if you want to work from a starting point.) If you are adding a new material, click on the add Material button, and if you are editing an existing material, click on the Edit Material button. Type in a new Name (or leave existing name if editing a material).

NOTE: These first four steps will be the same for all of the How-to descriptions in this chapter. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Double click on the Ambient Color box and choose the ambient color you desire. If you want your material to be reflective, double click on the Reflective Color box and choose a light color, such as light gray. Adjust the Highlight Strength and Size sliders to the right to make a glossier material and to the left to make a flatter material. Under the Color area, double click on the Color Selection box and choose your base color. Slide the Brightness slider to the right to brighten up your color, and to the left to darken it. Click on the Generate Preview button to see your results. When you are happy with your new color’s settings, click OK. If you created a new material, the Display Name will appear under the Category that was highlighted. Click OK to close the Gallery Setup dialog, and your new color will be added to the Material Gallery under the tab with the corresponding category name.

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Flash Tutorial: Creating and Editing Vector Materials

Bitmap Textures
Bitmap Textures are created by importing an external file into the Material Editor, whereby Swift 3D will turn that flat raster image into a wrappable texture. File formats supported for importing Bitmap Images to create textures are BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and TGA.

To import a bitmap texture:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Click on Setup > Materials. Select a Category from the list on the left side and then click on Add Material. Type in a Display Name. From the Pattern drop down list under the Color area, scroll down to the very end and choose Bitmap Image. Navigate to the bitmap image you would like to import and click Open. A preview of your bitmap image will appear in the Color area. To import a different image, you can now just click on the Browse button. This will replace the previously imported image.

Tiling
Bitmap textures come with tiling options that you can set independently along the horizontal (X) or vertical (Y) axes. (Note that since bitmaps are two dimensional a Z option is not applicable.) Tiling allows an image to be repeated when scaled. A great example of why turning off tiling can be helpful is if you are applying a bitmap that will serve as a label.

Wrapping Bitmaps

Tiling Turned On for X and Y

Tiling Turned Off for Y

Bitmaps can be applied to objects in either the Scene Editor or the Advanced Modeler. Upon initial application, all bitmaps are automapped according natural texture coordinates that are built into each object. The automap options that come with Swift 3D are as follows: • • • • Automap Box Coordinates: Attempts to automap the texture to fit the six faces of a box. Automap Cylindrical Coordinates: Attempts to automap the texture to fit the surface of a cylinder. Automap Solid Coordinates: Applies the texture to the mesh as if it were a solid object, which will extrude the texture through the mesh from front to back. Automap Spherical Coordinates: Applies the texture in a wrapping fashion that best fits textures to rounded objects.

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When applying bitmaps in the Scene Editor, these automaps are automatically applied to objects based upon the wrap that makes the most sense for the object. Here is what you can expect when applying bitmaps to objects in the Scene Editor (see online help system for additional screen shots): • • • Extrusions: Bitmaps are automapped using Solid Coordinates, with the bitmap centered onto the face of the extrusion. Text: The Solid Coordinates option is also used, but Swift 3D maps the bitmap across all of the characters that make up a text string. Primitives: The box, plane, and pyramid use Box Coordinates; the sphere, geosphere and polyhedron use the Spherical Coordinates; and the cylinder and cone use the Cylindrical Coordinates. Since the torus has such a unique shape, it is the exception to the rule so bitmaps are applied with “John’s special wrap.” Imagine taking a photograph and wrapping it around the outside perimeter of a torus so that the side edges of the photograph meet. Then, take the top and bottom edges of the photograph and wrap them around the tube. That is the torus map. Lathes: Like the torus, bitmaps are wrapped to lathes according to a special wrap.

If you have more specific mapping requirements, use the Bitmap Texturing System (in the Advanced Modeler, click on the Edit Mesh button, then the Edit Texture button) to further refine the automapping and placement of the bitmap. Using the Bitmap Texturing System you can experiment with applyEdit Texture ing different automaps, which are accessible by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the Button mesh while in Edit Texture mode, as well as moving, scaling, and rotating the applied bitmap. Read more about working in Edit Texture mode in the section on Bitmap Texturing at the end of the Advanced Modeler Chapter. NOTE: As soon as an object is converted to mesh by clicking on the Edit Mesh button in the Advanced Modeler, the natural texture coordinates that get created with that object are lost. The wrap will remain unchanged until you go in Edit Texture mode and begin to move, rotate or scale the placement of the bitmap. You can always re-automap the Box, Cylindrical, Solid or Spherical wraps since these are wrapping types that come with Swift 3D, so this is not a big deal for most objects. However, with the torus and lathes, which use custom texture coordinates, you will never be able to get that original wrap back without creating a new torus or lathe in the Scene Editor and reapplying the bitmap.

Flash Tutorial: Creating Bitmap Textures from External Files

Procedural Color Mapping
This technique of material creation allows you to generate very complex colors maps that will occur across the surface of your objects. You have control over the colors that go into the material, and also the pattern by which those colors will be applied.

Color
The Pattern setting allows you to choose from a variety of pre-determined schemes that will take any colors you choose and mix them across object surfaces. The first option in the list is Procedural Solid, which is what we used earlier to create our standard materials. The last option in the list covers Bitmap Images, which we've also already discussed earlier. All of the other items listed cover the gamut of methods Swift 3D can blend a variety of colors to create

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your materials. We won't go through every one of the options because they are fairly descriptively named, and once you start messing with the Scale, Noise and Colors of each one they quickly become infinitely indescribable. The Scale property has to do with how many times the pattern of colors you've chosen is applied across the surface of an object. By default it is set to 1, and you'll note that the Scale box is unchecked. To adjust the amount of times the calculation gets applied you'll need to check the Scale box and then begin messing with the slider control. NOTE: When you first check the Scale box you will not have applied any different settings yet. Thus, if you click the Generate Preview button you will not see any change in the material. The scale slider is fairly sensitive, and the further to the left you slide it, the more times you're pattern of choice will be repeated across an object. All of the materials pretty much slip into a realm of homogeneity once you get the slider too far to the left because the pattern is repeated on such a small scale it turns very finely speckled. Conversely, you'll find that sliding the Scale control too far to the right will not yield any new cool materials because it simply doesn't change after a certain point. The Noise setting is the big disrupter, just like a dog barking when you're trying to get to sleep. It takes an organized pattern like the one you've chosen and begins to scramble it in a random fashion. By default, the Noise control is disabled, but as soon as you uncheck the box you enter the world of disturbance. The further to the right you slide the control the more interference or disruption you will be adding to your material. Every material will react differently to the Noise setting, so just start fiddling and you'll quickly realize when and how you want to utilize this feature. The Color Selector box takes on a new aspect when you choose any of the Procedural Color options other than Solid. Yes, this is the big one, because without more than one color to play with, Swift 3D won't be able to create anything more complex than a standard color. All of the Patterns except for Procedural Solid and Bitmap Image need to have at least two colors, even if ever so subtly different, to work their magic. The way to add a color to your spectrum is to single click anywhere inside of the Color Selector box or in the gray area just below the color selector. This will add a control arrow to your color selector with the default color as its reference. You can add as many control arrows as you'd like just by clicking along the color window in new locations, and all of their default settings will be based on the color that is just above where the control arrow is inserted. To change the color setting of the control arrows you simply double-click on the arrow itself and you will open the Color Palette (Win) or the Color Picker (Mac). From here you can manipulate the controls to get your desired color and click OK, which will insert that particular color into your spectrum just above the color control arrow. To adjust the position of the color along the spectrum, simply click-and-drag on the arrow and release the button when you've hit the desired spot. Control arrows can be dragged across one another without a problem. To delete a control arrow, and thus the color associated with it, simply select the arrow with a single click (it will turn black) and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

To create or edit a procedural color map (ex. Marble):
1. 2. Use the first four steps mentioned earlier depending on if you are creating or editing a material. In the Color area, click on the Pattern drop down list and choose Procedural Marble.

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Click about a third of the way over from the left within the Color Selector box (or anywhere along the gray area just below the box) to add a control arrow. Double click on the control arrow to bring up the Color Palette (Win) or Color Picker (Mac), choose a color and click OK. Add another control arrow about two thirds of the way over from the left, double click on that control arrow, choose a color and click OK. Check the Scale checkbox and move the slider about a third of the way across to the right. Check the Noise checkbox and move it about a fourth of the way across to the right. Click on the Generate Preview button to see your results.

Again, you can also change any of the other settings previously mentioned in this section, as well as the Procedural Texture setting covered in the next section when making a Procedural Color Map.

Flash Tutorial: Creating Procedural Color Maps

Procedural Texture Mapping
This is a very interesting realm of material application because with texture mapping you are able to alter the surface of your objects without actually changing their geometry, or how they're constructed. Procedural Texture Mapping is the process of applying mathematical properties to a surface such that the surface interacts with light as if it were not exactly smooth. In some cases you can apply Procedural Textures that turn your material into something entirely unrecognizable from what it was before.

Texture
The Pattern categories of Procedural Texture Mapping are identical to those of Procedural Color Mapping with the exception that you cannot import a bitmap file and apply it as a texture. Each of these categories applies their own unique properties to the surface of a material, and they all are customizable with the same two settings we discussed in the Procedural Colors section: Scale and Noise. Both Scale and Noise work within the same constraints as previously mentioned, with the difference being that they impart their will upon the texture of the material surface rather than the color. They also share the same sensitivity as well as behaviors as you get too far to the right or left. With Procedural Textures you have the additional control of the Amount setting. This slider-based control simply increases the intensity of the texture being applied as you slide it to the right. The Amount control is not as sensitive as the Scale and Noise, and you can think of it as increasing the depth of the textures as you increase its value (move it to the right).

To create or edit a procedural texture (ex. Bumps):
1. 2. 3. 4. Use the first four steps mentioned earlier depending on if you are creating or editing a material. Under the Texture area, click on the Pattern dropdown list and choose Procedural Bumps. Check the Scale checkbox and move the slider so that it is just about a fifth of the way over. Double click on the Color Selector box in the Color area and choose a light color, like orange.

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5. Click on the Generate Preview button to see your results.

The Procedural Texture settings can be mixed and matched with any of the settings previously mentioned in this chapter.

Flash Tutorial: Creating Procedural Textures

Transparent Materials
The transparency setting is located in the Material Editor. It comes in the form of a slider so that you can fine tune the opacity of your material based on your particular modeling needs. If the slider is resting all the way to the left this means that your material is completely opaque. When the slider is moved all the way to the right, you now have a totally transparent object. Anywhere in between gives you an in between material. Really the easiest way to create a transparent object is by clicking on the Transparent tab in the Material Gallery and dragging-and-dropping one of the preset transparent materials onto your object. Done. So that was the easy way. If you want to use the Material Editor to make a transparent material from scratch, or take an existing material and add transparency to it, then we totally grant you permission to go for it.

To create a transparent material or add transparency to an existing material:
1. 2. 3. Use the first four steps mentioned earlier depending on if you are creating or editing a material. Under the Color area of the Material Editor, move the Transparency slider all the way over to the right if you want a completely transparent object, or somewhere in between if you want just a slightly transparent object. Click on Generate Preview to see your new transparent material.

NOTE: Transparency is a very complex property to calculate in the world of Ray Tracing. When you create a material that is even partially transparent you should be prepared to wait for a bit while Swift 3D generates the Preview Image for the Material Gallery. This includes when you're simply saying OK to the current settings because a preview must be generated in order to close the Edit Material dialog box.

Refraction Index
Found on the Object Properties Page, this value refers to the amount of refraction that transparent objects exhibit in physics. In effect, it defines how much the light rays bend as they enter and exit a new medium. It is the reason why when you stick a long pole into a swimming pool, it looks like it bends at the surface of the water. The higher this value, the more the light bends, but also the longer it takes to trace through the material. This means that if you crank this setting up to its maximum you’ll see longer rendering times. The Refraction Index can be scrolled between a value of 1.000 (no bending of light) to 1.5000 (extreme bending of light). This setting is only relevant to your objects if you plan on rendering your scene with the EMO Ray Tracer.

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To use the refraction index:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Insert the Sphere primitive. Go to the Transparent tab of the Material Gallery and drag the Transparent Gray material onto your Sphere. Insert a Text object. In the Front Viewport, right + click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the text and drag your cursor downward until the word “Text” is behind the Sphere. Select the Sphere and click Object in the Properties Toolbar. Scroll the Refraction Index down to 1.000 (you can only scroll; numeric input is disabled). Click on the Render Window button on the Main Toolbar. Go back to the Refraction Index and scroll it up to 1.500. Click on the Render Window button (you’ll see the difference in rendering speed). Notice the distortion of the text after rendering.

NOTE: Transparent objects that are rendered with EMO will yield very realistic output since refraction is supported through ray tracing. RAViX III does not support refraction so objects with transparent materials applied to them will render out with the appropriate alpha settings, but will lack the surface details you might expect to see with those objects.

Flash Tutorial: Creating Transparent Materials

Reflective Materials
Like transparency, Reflection is just a simple setting that resides within the Material Editor.

Reflection Color defines the material’s reflective abilities. Anytime a material has its Reflection Color set to a color other than pure black it will begin to have reflective properties. The lighter the Reflection Color, the more reflective it becomes. If you are trying to maintain the base color of a material you'll want to stay with shades that fall in between black and white, but you have the freedom to apply any color you want to the Reflective Color. Just keep in mind that lighter Reflection Colors will begin to supersede the base color of a material.
Obviously, the easiest way to make your object reflective is to go to the Material Gallery, click on the Reflective tab, and drag-and-drop one of the pre-made reflective materials onto your object. If you want to create your own reflective material, or edit an existing material to make it reflective, this can be done through the Material Editor.

To create a reflective material or make an existing material reflective:
1. 2. 3. 4. Use the first four steps mentioned earlier depending on if you are creating or editing a material. Double click on the Reflection Color color box to bring up the Color Palette (Win) or Color Picker (Mac). Choose a light gray color. Click OK. Click on Generate Preview to see your new material.

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Include Reflections
Once you have applied a reflective material to your object, you obviously need other objects in your scene, or you need to apply an Environment (see upcoming section in this chapter on Environments) in order to get something for your reflective material to reflect. Then one of the most crucial steps occurs in the Preview and Export Editor. If you choose to render out with EMO, reflections will come along as part of the deal. But, if you are rendering out to vectors using RAViX III, reflections are only rendered if you check the Include Reflections option under the Fill Options page of the Preview and Export Editor Properties Toolbar. Detailed information on the Include Reflections option can be found in the Rendering with RAViX III chapter.

Flash Tutorial: Creating Reflective Materials

Environment
Although Environments are not materials that get applied to your objects, they can have a big impact on how certain materials behave. They are also constructed very similarly to materials, which is why they are included here within the Materials chapter. Environments have a direct impact upon reflective materials and they are best utilized when rendering raster output using the EMO Ray Tracer, although RAViX III will do its best to render them as well. The best way to think of an Environment is as if it was a material you apply to an imaginary room your 3D scene sits within. The reason why they only affect reflective materials is because those are the only ones that can give the camera a glimpse of what that imaginary room looks like because Environments are never actually directly rendered. Much like the materials we’ve already discussed, you can use a standard Solid Color to define an Environment, or you can use a Procedural Color Map to define something a little more interesting. You also have the ability to import a bitmap image file and use it as your environment, in which case it will use the Spherical wrapping model to stick that image to the walls of the spherical room that holds your scene.

To apply an environment:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select the Show Environments button from the left side of the Gallery Toolbar. Find an Environment you’d like to apply to your scene. Click-and-drag from the Preview window into your scene. Release the mouse when your cursor is over the background (not over any objects). If your entire scene is obscured by objects you can also select the Environment category in the Properties Toolbar and then drag from the preview window onto the Environment Display window in the Properties Toolbar.

Once you’ve dropped an Environment into your scene you may or may not see a change. First of all, you’ll never see the background of your scene change because the Environment doesn’t act like the background, nor is it ever rendered. The best way to know what Environment is currently applied to your scene is to click on the Environment category in the Properties Toolbar.

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Secondly, only the reflective materials within your scene will be capable of showing the effects of an applied environment. If you have reflective materials within your scene you may want to perform a Render Window or Render Rectangle to get a realistic display of how that Environment is affecting your scene. If you don’t have any reflective materials applied to objects, nor do you intend on including any, then don’t bother messing with the Environment setting at all.

To create or edit an environment (ex. gradient):
1. 2. 3. 4. Use the first four steps mentioned earlier depending on if you are creating or editing a material. Choose Procedural Gradient from the Pattern dropdown. Click anywhere within the Color Selector box to add a control arrow. Double click the control arrow and choose a color from the Color Palette (Win) or Color Picker (Mac) and click OK. 5. Drag the control arrow all the way to the left. 6. Add another control arrow by clicking in the Color Selector box, double click on its control arrow, choose a color and click OK. 7. Check the Scale box and move its slider a little to the left. 8. Check the Noise box and leave the slider at its default starting point. 9. Click Generate Preview to see what you’ve created. 10. If you like what you see then click OK.

Flash Tutorial: Creating and Editing Environments

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Overview

lighting

I don't want to get personal here, but has this ever happened to you? You're trying on clothes in a department store and you look faaaaaantastic. Then you get home and put on the same garment for the first time in real life and you feel like suing the store for defamation of character. Ok, here's another one for you. There's a Hollywood actor that you know pretty well, and in prior movies his body has never been something you'd refer to as 'ripped.' Then you see him starring in an action flick, or a boxing movie or something where obligatory sans-shirt scenes are abundant, and your jaw drops. Suddenly the guy looks like he's got a Batman Suit on. Both of these scenarios set your mind to pondering the forces at play in the world of self-image. Does everyone's physical appearance really vary to the degree we perceive? I'd make you guess what's going on in both of these situations, but you'd just cheat and look at the title of this chapter. Lighting is a crucial component in the process of interpreting our visual surroundings, and this holds true in the world of 3D graphics as well. Once you've laid out your 3D scene, a crucial step in the design process is to determine a lighting scheme that complements your creation. If you're trying to make something look warm and handsome you might use the same concepts that department stores use in their dressing rooms. If it's a heavily contrasted and shadowy effect you're shooting for, then the bare-chested fight scene in the movies might be a better model to use. Whatever the case may be for you, Swift 3D provides a variety of different lighting tools and techniques to help make your scenes stand out.

Nick's Tips
Before you spend tons of time designing the ultimate lighting scheme, you should consider what types of Output Options you will be using to render your final scene. The accuracy of your lighting scheme when rendering with RAViX III depends completely on the Fill Option you choose, so it may not benefit you at all to create a detailed lighting setup, only to find that your chosen style of output does not do it justice. I highly recommend spending some time reading the chapter on Rendering with RAViX so you understand the forces that will be at play in your scene come ren-

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der time. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the fill quality you render your scene with, the more accurately your lighting scheme will be depicted. And if you plan on making the jump to raster output using the EMO rendering engine, lighting becomes even more important due to the photorealism EMO is capable of producing.

Types of Lights
There are two main types of lights that can be applied in Swift 3D. Depending on what type of effect you're trying to achieve, you can use either Point or Spot Lights, or mix and match as you see fit.

Point Light
Point Lights are akin to a standard incandescent light bulb hanging from a cord in a room. This light will send rays in all directions and illuminate anything in the path of those rays. Point Lights create an effect of general illumination and cast more light than a Spot Light, but in a broader area. These lights work well for the majority of 3D scenes since they more closely resemble the types of lighting we see in our daily lives.

Spot Light
Spot Lights behave like a flashlight, thus their representative icon within Swift 3D. They cast a focused beam of light in a specific direction. Although you can adjust how that beam behaves (discussed in the Lighting Properties section) they do not cast any light outside of that beam. These lights are best designed for creating very specific types of effects like a light moving across the face of an object, or several objects, each with their own specific lighting.

Lighting Gallery
By far the easiest way to light a scene is by making use of the Lighting Gallery. The Lighting Gallery contains a variety of pre-made, dragand-drop lighting schemes that come in the form of stationary lighting or animated lighting. Lighting schemes that reside in the gallery can only contain Trackball lights, so any scene lights cannot be saved to the gallery.

To apply a drag-and-drop lighting scheme:
1. 2. 3. 4. Click on the Lighting button on the left side of the main Gallery Toolbar to bring up the Lighting Gallery. Choose a lighting scheme (previewing the animated schemes by clicking in the preview window). Click-and-drag the lighting scheme anywhere in your Viewport. (Repeating the process replaces the previous scheme.) Use the playback controls located under the Animation Timeline to preview a lighting animation after it is applied.

You can also create and save your own lighting scheme to the gallery as well. You can either save it under an existing tab within the gallery, or create a new tab through the Gallery Setup. All lighting schemes get saved to the .t3l file format.

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To save your own lighting scheme to the lighting gallery:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Design a lighting scheme using Trackball Lights only. Go to the File menu and choose “Saving Lighting...” to bring up the Save Lighting dialog. Choose the category under which you want the new lighting scheme to reside in the gallery. You can click on the New Category button if you wish to create a new category. Invent a Name and Display Name for the lighting scheme. The Name gets used as the base file name while the Display name is what gets shown beneath the thumbnail in the gallery. If the lighting scheme is animated, use the Set Display Frame controls to choose which frame of the animation to show in the preview window. Click OK.

A lighting scheme added to the Gallery can only be edited by clicking and dragging it back to the Viewport. Once the scheme gets placed back into the Viewport it no longer has any connection to the original scheme stored back in the Gallery, so when you finish editing you must save a new copy to the Gallery. Either overwrite the previous scheme or go back and delete it. For further information on how to share Gallery content and managing Galleries in Swift 3D, see the section on Galleries in the Scene Editor chapter.

Trackball Lighting
Swift 3D’s Lighting Trackball is fast, intuitive, and for most scenes completely effective. Before you jump into its use, you should understand what those lights on the trackball represent and how they relate to your scene. It's fairly easy to envision lights on that trackball shining into the center of your scene. The difficult part is realizing how big that sphere is. If you imagine that the sphere of lights is as close to the objects as possible, while still encompassing all of the objects within the scene, and then double that imaginary radius you'll be there. This means that as your scene grows in spatial scope, so does your lighting scheme.

Nick's Tips:
If you've created a scene where all of the objects stay within a certain area, or if you've got an object spinning in the center of your scene without any movement at all, the lighting trackball is really a nicely functioning unit. But if you have a scene where objects are coming and going from your Viewport with a lot of motion involved, you will probably want to go with a lighting scheme where your lights are placed directly into the scene (read on for information on that process).

Positioning Trackball Lights
The Lighting Trackball is selection sensitive, so you can only move one selected light at a time. To select a light, click on it once and you will see it turn into a red wireframe, indicating that it is selected. To position your Trackball Lights

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you'll be using the Lighting Trackball just as you would the Rotation Trackball. You'll notice that as the lights move from the front of the Trackball to the back, and visa versa, they grow bigger and smaller to give a visual clue as to which side of the trackball they are on. You should also note that the Lighting Trackball displays your lighting scheme according to whichever camera view (Standard and Perspective only) you have active. For information on how the trackballs function, please refer to the Rotation Trackball section in the Working With Objects chapter. Remember that as you work with these lights, they are always going to point into the center of your scene. If you get to a point where you just can't get the effect you're trying to achieve, it's probably time to start using the Scene Lights.

Adding and Subtracting Trackball Lights
Adding and Subtracting lights is a very simple process of using the buttons located to the right of the Lighting Trackball. You can add up to 16 total lights to your scene, but you may find that after adding a few additional lights you don't really need any more. Once a light is selected, you can delete it by clicking the Remove Trackball Light button.

Scene Lights
The advantage to working with lights directly in the scene is the additional control you gain. Although the trackball lights function very well, there are situations when positioning a light in the scene is very nice, if not necessary. The first case that comes to mind is when you need a light to shine in a specific direction or onto a specific object. Another situation is if you need to create a complex lighting animation, or if you need to animate two or more lights independently.

Free Lights
Free Lights come in the form of either a Point Light or a Spot Light and can be controlled like any other object in your scene. When you select them, they will appear in the Rotation Trackball as an object, and animation is done just as you would an object, with the only difference being that this particular object is casting light.

Target Lights
Target Lights are also available in Point or Spot Light form. You gain the most control with Target Lights because they come complete with a pivot point. In this case we'll refer to that point as the Target point because a Target Light will always point directly at that point. The beauty of this system is that you do not have to fuss with the aiming of the light. All you need to do is place the target point where you want that light to shine and you’re done.

Selecting Scene Lights
In a best case scenario, lights can be selected in the Viewport by a simple click of the mouse. Selected lights turn red to indicate their selected state. Selecting Scene Lights can start to get a little tricky when working with a complex scene

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because the lights are often obscured from view by other objects. When this happens, the best thing to do is simply select the light from the Hierarchy toolbar.

Positioning Scene Lights
Positioning lights in the Viewport is no different from positioning objects so we won’t spend too much time rehashing what has already been talked about in the chapter on Working With Objects. You can either click-and-drag the light to a new position in the Viewport, or all Scene Lights can be positioned through the Light Position page of the Properties Toolbar, which allows for precise control over a light’s position in the scene. Control over a light’s position is treated just like those of any object within Swift 3D— you can assign a number to the X, Y and Z coordinates. You also have the ability to position the target point of a Target Light. The positioning of the light’s target point, unlike that of regular objects, can only be done independent of the light. This means that when you move a light, the target point will always remain in the same spot, and when you move the pivot point, the light will always stay in exactly the same spot. Once again, you can control the position of the light and its target point by clicking and dragging either with the mouse or using the numeric coordinate system found under the Position Property Page.

To add and position a free light:
1. 2. 3. 4. Click the Create Free Point Light or Spot Light button and it will appear at its default location in the Viewport. Use your mouse to click-and-drag the light to a new location. With the light selected, go to the Light page of the Property Toolbar and key in the exact coordinates of where you want it to move. With the light selected, use the nudge keys to move the light to a new location.

To add and position a target light:
1. 2. 3. 4. Click the Create Target Point Light or Spot Light button and your light will appear in the Viewport. Position the target light using the same techniques outlined under the Free Light section, but notice that the light moves independently of the target. Click on the target point and drag it to a new position. Notice that the target point moves independent of the light. Click on the target point and go to the Light Position page of the Properties Toolbar and key in new coordinates under Target Position.

Flash Tutorial: Free and Target Lights

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Light Properties
Once a light is selected, you can view that light's characteristics in the Properties Toolbar.

Naming
As with objects, you can name your lights, which is a great way to keep track of multiple lights. When you rename a light, its new name will appear above the animation timeline as well. Since lights are also listed in the Hierarchy system, and it is likely you will have more than one light in your scene, unless you are remarkably good at remembering which light is 01, 02, 03, etc. it is highly recommended that you give your lights more recognizable names.

Color
You also have control over the color of each light. By double clicking on the Color window you access the Color Palette (Win) or Color Picker (Mac), which allows you to choose from pre-made colors or create custom colors of your own. Light color cannot be animated. The intensity of a light is controlled by its color as well. To reduce the intensity of the light, choose a darker shade of gray. Because the default color of all lights is white, you cannot increase the amount of light without adding an additional light, so messing with the light colors is always going to be a subtractive process. You can also create cool effects by coloring your lights rather than applying materials to the actual objects.

Active
The Active checkbox allows you to turn the selected light on or off, so you can play with lighting schemes without having to keep adding and deleting lights.

Hide
To hide a light from view, click on the Hide option. Hidden objects can only be viewed by choosing Show Hidden Objects from the Viewport menu. Once a light is hidden it can only be selected again from the Hierarchy Toolbar.

Lock
The Lock option when enabled will prevent a light from being moved.

Shadows
By default, the Shadows option is turned on for every new light added to the trackball or scene. You can designate up to 32 lights as shadow casting. If you are planning on using shadows in your final output, but only want certain lights

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to cast those shadows, you need to make sure to go through each light that will not be casting shadows and uncheck the Shadows option. When rendering to vector, designating which lights will cast shadows is only step one in the process of getting shadows to render out. Once you have all of your shadow settings covered in the Scene Editor, when you head over to the Preview and Export Editor, under the Vector Fill Options you also need to check the Include Shadows option. Shadows will also be covered in more detail in the Rendering with RAViX chapter. When rendering to raster, the EMO Ray Tracer will automatically honor the shadow options set in the light’s property page so no further steps are required.

Flash Tutorial: Shadows Specular
As with Shadows, you now have the option to make more than one light cast specular highlights on your object, and this is controlled through each light’s Property Page. All trackball and scene lights by default are specular, which refers to the light’s ability to create a bright spot on glossy surfaces. If you check the Include Specular Highlights in the Preview and Export Editor, you must uncheck this option for those lights that you do not want to cast specular highlights. Again, more detail on Specular Highlights will be supplied in the Rendering with RAViX III chapter.

Spot Light Options
With Spot Lights, you have three additional options that control the characteristics of the light's beam. Fade Angle adjusts how wide the spot light will shine. Cutoff Angle refers to how wide the spot light's hot spot is. Tightness controls how quickly the light's intensity transitions between the hot spot and the fade angle. The higher the number, the quicker the light dims.

Flash Tutorial: Lighting Properties and Trackball Lights

Hierarchy
All lights are included in the Hierarchy system, which is accessible through the Hierarchy toolbar. Using the Hierarchy to select lights provides a great advantage when scenes start to get crowded. But what will really come in handy is that Free Lights can be made a child of any object (Target Lights cannot be children). When an object is made a child of another object, whatever you do to that parent object will be done to the child as well. Obviously the huge benefit is that if you animate an object, the light will follow that object along its animation path. Another thing to note is that neither Free Lights or Target Lights can have children. Read more about establishing parent/child relationships in the section on Hierarchy in the Working With Objects chapter, and about creating Hierarchical Animations in the Animation chapter.

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Overview
Shut your left eye. You can open your left eye now.

cameras

I'm serious, go ahead and shut it. Now place your face right up against this page (or your screen if you're reading the electronic version). Now move your head around and look at some different things in the room. Hey, what else do you have to do right now… just do it. Ok, now get up out of your chair, run into the next room, spin around 3 times and then stand on your head. No? All right, forget it. The point is you've got two well-used cameras already built into your head, so there's not too much mystery involved with cameras.

Most of the cameras within Swift 3D work in a similar fashion to your eyes. You can look at different things by moving your head around. You can see things up close and from far away by altering the space between your eyes and your subject matter. And if you're not pleased with your view, you can get up and reposition your cameras somewhere else. These cameras all show a Perspective view, where the laws of physics decide how large objects are in relation to the camera. One example of this perspective effect would be a set of railroad tracks that disappear over the horizon. With the human eye, these tracks will converge to a single vanishing point. In addition, objects that are farther away from the camera will appear smaller than those objects closer to the camera. In the Advanced Modeler, you will also find Orthographic views, where these laws are disregarded. (For information on these Orthographic Viewports, please refer to the Advanced Modeler chapter.) The cameras within Swift 3D can be used in two primary ways. First, they can be used as frames of reference. In other words, used to look into the world of Swift 3D from different perspectives while creating your 3D scene. Second, they can be used to record any action that takes place in your scene. If you've got a scene with no movement, think of your camera as a single-frame picture camera, and if you've got any sort of animation then consider it more of a video camera. And just like a video camera, certain Swift 3D cameras can be physically moved around and pointed at things as you record the movement in your scene.

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Standard Cameras
There are six Standard Cameras that come with Swift 3D. I use the term ‘come with’ because you don't have to do anything to create them. The Standard Cameras are Front, Back, Top, Bottom, Right and Left. It might help to think of a big cube that surrounds your scene and each one of these cameras exists on the outside of that cube, looking in on the Swift 3D world. These cameras can serve as simple reference views or as integral parts of your animated scene. Each of these cameras can be used as the view that gets rendered upon export, but they cannot be animated themselves. Any camera animations need to be performed with the Free and Target Cameras or using the Perspective Viewport. You can change the camera view of each Viewport by clicking on the Viewport Menu button in the upper left hand corner of the Viewport and choosing an available camera from the list. In the Scene Editor only one camera can be active at a time, which means you can’t have both Viewports set to the same camera view.

Camera Mode
To maneuver any camera view within Swift 3D, you must hold down the ALT key (Win) or the COMMAND key (Mac) to enter into Camera Mode. The cursor will change to the Camera cursor to indicate you are in this mode.

Panning
The Standard Cameras are most beneficial when your animation does not involve any camera movement, but rather just the movement of objects. The limitation in panning the Standard Cameras is that they always face the exact same direction, as if they could only move along the surface of that imaginary cube I mentioned earlier. For example, the Front Camera always looks exactly along the Z axis. When you pan these cameras, it's more of a sliding motion (left, right, up and down) rather than a pivoting motion (as if you were standing in one place and pointing your camera in different directions).

To pan a standard camera:
1. 2. 3. Hold down the ALT key (Win) or COMMAND key (Mac) to enter Camera Mode. Drag anywhere in the Viewport. The cursor will change appearance to indicate that you are panning the camera. If you have the reference grid turned on you will see the grid lines, as well as any objects moving around in the Viewport, but remember it is actually the camera that is moving. As soon as you release the mouse button, the camera pan icon will disappear.

Zooming
Zooming a Standard Camera in or out will actually move the camera's location in 3D space. Because the camera is essentially the Viewport you are looking through, you don't see the camera actually moving. Instead, your scene appears to move closer or farther away from you. If you were to compare this process to using a regular picture camera, it would be akin to physically walking closer to or farther away from whatever it is you want to take a picture of. This differs from the terminology of picture cameras because zooming with a picture camera is actually done by changing the length of the lens. You can create a similar effect to zooming by changing the Lens Length (see the previous section on Lens Length under Camera Property Page), but there are other changes that happen to the view of your scene.

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To zoom a standard camera:
1. 1. 2. Hold down the ALT key (Win) or COMMAND key (Mac) to enter Camera Mode. Right click-and-drag (Win) or CTRL+ click-and-drag (Mac) anywhere in the Viewport. The cursor will change appearance to indicate that you are zooming the camera. Drag the cursor upward to zoom in and downward to zoom out.

Additional controls that facilitate zooming in or out on particular areas of your scene can be found in the Viewport Menu: • • • • Frame All: All objects, lights and cameras in the Viewport will be framed in the camera view. Frame All Objects: All objects only will be framed in the camera view. Frame Selection: Any selected objects will be framed. Reset View: The view will be reset so that the camera will again be focused at the center of the scene. Any zooming that has taken place will not be restored. If you want to look at it mathematically, it repositions the camera so that its coordinates are X = 0 and Y = 0, while Z remains the same. This function only works with the six Standard Cameras.

Zoom Camera Extents Button
Located on the main toolbar, the Zoom Camera Extents button has the same functionality as the Frame All Objects feature that is located in the Viewport Menu. A simple click will position the camera directly in front of all of your objects while zooming either in or out so that all of the objects are visible with only a slight buffer of space around the edge of the Viewport.

Reset Camera Location
This control, located on the right side of the Rotation Toolbar, has the same functionality as the Viewport Menu’s Reset View option.

Perspective Camera
The Perspective Camera is a hybrid between the Standard Cameras and the Target Camera. The big advantage the Perspective Camera has over the Standard Cameras is that it can be aimed. If you remember the earlier cube analogy, the Perspective Camera can be positioned anywhere on the surface or within the cube, and aimed in any direction. The disadvantage of the Perspective Camera over the Target Camera is that any camera manipulation has to be done through the Viewport rather than moving the actual camera.

Panning
Since the Perspective camera has a target point, the only way to pan the camera up, down, left or right is by clicking directly on that target point

To pan the perspective view:
1. Hold down the ALT key (Win) or COMMAND key (Mac) to enable the camera. The camera’s Target Point will appear in the center of the Viewport. The Target Point designates where the camera is aimed.

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Click on the camera’s Target Point to activate the Camera Pan cursor. Drag the cursor to pan the camera in any direction.

Zooming
Like the Standard Viewports, zooming is the process of physically moving the camera closer or farther away from its target point. Zooming can therefore be done by clicking anywhere in the background.

To zoom the perspective view:
1. 2. 3. Enter into Camera Mode. Right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the camera’s Target Point to activate the Camera Zoom cursor. Zoom in by dragging upwards and zoom out by dragging downwards.

Rotating and Rolling
In addition to panning and zooming, the Perspective View can also be rotated and rolled. Rotating the camera literally moves the camera 360 degrees around the camera’s Target Point. Rolling the camera is the process of tilting the camera left or right.

To rotate the perspective view:
1. 2. 3. Enter into Camera Mode. Click anywhere in the Viewport except on the camera’s Target Point. A thin gray circle will appear as a visual indicator of where you must click in order to rotate or roll the camera. Click-and-drag anywhere within the circle to rotate the camera. NOTE: If you rotate the camera so that it is looking straight up or down the Y axis, the camera’s rotational movement becomes very sensitive.

To roll the perspective view:
1. 2. 3. Enter into Camera Mode. Repeat step 2 from “To rotate the perspective view.” Click-and-drag anywhere outside the circle to roll the camera.

When you roll the Perspective Viewport, you’ll also notice a single green arrow within the Rotation Trackball that indicates which way the top of the camera points. You can use this arrow as a nice visual aid if you lose track of how the camera is tilted in the Viewport, or you can also control the roll of the camera by rotating the camera directly in the Rotation Trackball (note that the Lock Spin button within the trackball is locked on.) In addition to panning, zooming, rotating and rolling the Perspective View, you also have access to the same Frame All, Frame All Objects and Frame Selection options as the Standard Viewports. These options are located in the Viewport Menu.

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Scene Cameras
Now we're talking some serious cameras. With both the Free Camera and the Target Camera, the cameras themselves actually show up in the Viewport and can be manipulated as objects. This allows for much better camera control and facilitates camera animation like you wouldn't believe.

Adding Cameras to the Scene
When you click the Create Free Camera or Create Target Camera buttons from the Main Toolbar, you will see a light blue rectangular-looking object appear in the Viewport (Target Cameras also come with a blue target point). This represents the camera, but in order to actually view what the camera is seeing you must first change the view of one of the Viewports. New cameras get assigned a default name of Free or Target Camera01, Camera02, etc. and they can be selected from the Viewport Menu. You can create multiple Free and Target Cameras, but you may want to start naming them to keep track since cameras are all represented with identical icons in the scene.

Free Camera

Target Camera

Selecting Scene Cameras
Selecting Scene Cameras can be done by choosing the Free or Target Camera from the Viewport Menu and clicking within the Camera's Viewport, like a Standard Camera, or by clicking directly on the camera icon itself in any other Viewport. Once you select the camera its icon will turn red. You also have the option to select the camera via the Hierarchy toolbar. This is a simple process of scrolling through the Hierarchy list and clicking on the corresponding camera’s name. If there is more than one camera in the scene, this is when giving cameras meaningful names will come in handy because it might come down to trial and error figuring out which camera is Free Camera01 vs. Free Camera06. Once a camera is selected in the Hierarchy list it will turn red in the Viewports indicating that it is ready to be worked with.

Free Cameras
Free cameras are named as such because they can be pointed in any direction.

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Positioning (Panning and Zooming)
Free Cameras can be positioned using any of the following three methods: 1. 2. 3. Once the Free Camera is inserted, you can move it around by dragging the camera icon in the Viewport, just like a regular object. You can also control its movements (panning and zooming) through the Free Camera's Viewport, much like you would a Standard Camera. Through the numeric coordinate system found under the Camera Position property page.

You can choose which method is most appropriate, but I find that using the Free Camera's view for zooming and the secondary view for camera positioning works pretty well.

Rotating
The Free Camera can be rotated using either of the following two methods: 1. 2. Select the Free Camera icon in one of the Standard Camera Viewports. Notice that the Free Camera icon now appears in the Rotation Trackball. Use the Rotation Trackball as you would with any object to rotate the Free Camera in any direction.

Or, 1. 2. 3. Using the Viewport menu, select the Free Camera to be active in either of the Viewports. Click anywhere in the background of the Free Camera Viewport. Notice that two arrows appear in the Rotation Trackball. These arrows are used as references that show which way the camera is pointing (blue arrow) and which direction the camera's vertical axis is (green arrow). This is also where you would aim the Free Camera.

Target Cameras
Better known as ‘The ultimate Swift 3D camera,’ Target Cameras give you the same control over the camera's positioning, but add the ability to aim the camera at specific locations in the scene via the target point.

Positioning
As with the Free Camera, the Target Camera can be positioned by clicking on the camera icon in one of the Standard Camera views and dragging it to a new location. This is the equivalent of panning or zooming a Standard Camera. Notice that the Target Camera moves independently of its target point. This means that when you move a Target Camera, the target point will always remain in the same spot, and when you move the target point, the Target Camera will always stay in exactly the same spot.You can also animate the positioning of the Target Point separately from that of the camera itself.

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Because the Target Camera has the addition of its Target Point, its Camera Position page also allows you to numerically position both the camera and its target point. A final way of positioning the Target Camera is by selecting it from the Viewport Menu. The panning and zooming of a Target Camera view is identical to that of the Perspective Camera.

Rotating
Rotating the Target Camera can be done by clicking on its Target Point and dragging it to a new location, as discussed in the previous section. In addition, when the Target Camera is selected as an active Viewport, it can be rotated using the same method as rotating the Perspective Camera.

Rolling
Use the same methods for rolling a Perspective Camera to roll the Target Camera.

Nick's Tips
We've all got preferences in life, and here's mine. When working with Free or Target Cameras, I like to use the left Viewport as my camera view and use the right Viewport as my scene view, keeping it set to the Top view most of the time. My rationale is that the left Viewport is always the one that gets rendered upon export, and when I'm doing camera animations the likelihood is high that I'll want to render what that camera actually sees. As far as the Top view goes, I feel this particular view gives you the best reference of where things are in the scene, much like a Plan view in architectural drawings. Of course this can vary depending on how your scene is constructed.

Camera Property Page
Name
If you are using one of the Standard Cameras, this option will be grayed out, but you can rename any Free or Target Camera that you insert into your Scene.

Lens Length
I really don't want to bore you with the intricacies of lenticular optics. (Actually, I have no idea what lenticular optics means, but the “I don't want to bore you with” stuff sounds so much more intelligent than the “I have no idea what” stuff. But I'm going to fake it anyway.) When you lengthen the lens of a camera, it magnifies the image. Because it magnifies the image, you must move the camera farther away from your scene to get an allencompassing view of your objects. An additional side effect of having a very magnified view is that the camera's field of view becomes very concentrated. In other words, the longer the lens, the smaller the scope of what can be seen through that lens.

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When you shorten the length of a camera lens, you are getting a very broad view of your scene. In the process of broadening your view it will seem as if your camera is moving away from the scene, even though that is not the case. To get the scene to fit the scope of the Viewport, you must move the camera very close to the scene's center. In doing this, you will find that in the shortened lens' efforts to show a very wide field of view, distortion begins to occur around the edges of the camera view. It's important to recognize the difference between adjusting the lens length and zooming the camera. Remember, when you zoom a camera in or out on your scene, the camera actually physically moves, not the lens length.

Nick's Tips
Optics, schmoptics, you just want to know how to use this setting. OK, here's the skinny. Shorten your lens length if you want to create a cool 'fish eye' effect where objects are distorted as they move around within the camera view. I find that somewhere in the teens (11 to 19) works great. Lengthen your lens length if you're doing any tight flythrough animations because you will be less likely to experience objects coming through the clipping plane (essentially busting through the front of the camera). You can also simulate an orthographic view by using a very long lens because as you increase the length, you lose the sense of a perspective view.

Options
Hide - This option is only available for Scene Cameras. When hidden, the icons representing the Free and Target Cameras are hidden from view. To unhide the Cameras, go to the Viewport Menu and select Show Hidden Objects. Once the camera icon is displayed, select it and uncheck the Hide option. Lock - All cameras, including Standard and Perspective Cameras, can be locked to prevent them from being moved.

Hierarchy
Free Cameras can be made a child of any object in the scene, which is particularly helpful when your goal is to have a camera follow an object around the scene through the course of an animation. Note that Target Cameras cannot be made children, so only exist at the top level of the Hierarchy system, and neither Free or Target Cameras can have children. Read more about Hierarchy and creating child/parent relationships in the Working With Objects Chapter, and about creating Hierarchical Animations in the Animation chapter.

Rendering Camera Views
When it comes time to render your scene, the camera that you should eventually be most concerned with is the one that is showing in the left Viewport. During the process of laying out a scene you can use any camera in either of the two Swift 3D Viewports, but when you move into the Preview and Export stage of the design process, Swift 3D will only render what is currently showing in the left Viewport (or the only Viewport if you just have one showing), regardless of which camera is currently active. Swift 3D can only render one camera view at a time, which means you cannot render your animation from multiple camera views. If rendering from more than one camera is required by your project, render each camera view separately and then composite the files in Flash.

Flash Tutorial: Cameras
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Overview

animation

Animation is really what it's all about. Not to exclude you folks that have a yearning for single-frame images, but Swift 3D is always ready to rumble when it comes to applying movement to your scene. In fact, it feels slightly cheated when denied the opportunity to prove to the world that vector animation doesn't have to be a flat experience. Which leads us to our next discussion. Swift 3D has solved the confounding problem of creating quality 3D images in a vector-based file format. Swift 3D has terrific creation and animation tools that allow you to create dynamic scenes. But Swift 3D is NOT the panacea of the low-bandwidth 3D world. By that, I mean that just because you can export vector files from Swift 3D does not implicitly indicate that every animation you crank out of the software will be Web-friendly. But maybe you bought Swift 3D for the sole purpose of creating animations for the Web. Don't panic. You've got the perfect tool, but you just have to use it the proper way to keep your exported files within reasonable size proportions. Understanding the limitation of how 3D converts to 2D vectors is very important when designing your scenes. On the other hand, if you have no limitations on file size, for instance if you're creating CD or DVD presentations, or something that will be viewed over a network or on a local machine, you don't necessarily have to pay attention to any of this low-bandwidth gibberish I'm spouting. When displaying 3D animations in a 2D environment (like the Flash Player for example) it is always a process of sequential keyframes. That means that if you have a 100-frame animation within Swift 3D, when you render your file you will have 100 keyframes to work with. Since neither the Flash Player nor the SVG Viewer supports native 3D objects, Swift 3D has to tell these plug-ins exactly what to show for each frame of your animation. And what does this mean to your average Web designer, you ask? Use 3D wisely! When creating animations for the Web, Swift 3D is best suited for creating short animations that become part of a larger scene or movie. Not to say that you can't create long and detailed self-contained animations that look great, but you might not be able to stream them to a 28.8 kbs modem too well. So let's take a look at Macromedia Flash, a popular vector graphics editor that you will probably be using your 3D animations in conjunction with. Flash too can create exciting animation, and its strongest selling point is the ability to do

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so without creating large files. So realizing what you can do best in Swift 3D and what you can do more efficiently in a vector editing application is very important as you start designing your scenes. Two-dimensional vector editors do a great job of moving objects around in 2D space, and making them change shape over time. What these editors can't do well is spin, rotate or flip objects in 3D space. These are the features that Swift 3D specializes in. So, with that said, try to keep in mind what types of movement are best done with Swift 3D—rotation animations—and what things you'll be better off doing in your 2D vector editor of choice—scale and position animations.

Animate Button
This all-powerful toggle button located on the Main Toolbar slips you in and out of animation mode. When this button is toggled off, nothing you do to your scene or the timeline will affect your animation. When it is toggled on, any changes you make to your scene will be recorded as keyframes in the timeline and thus affect your overall animation. The best way to use this button is to set up your entire scene first, turn the Animate button on, and then proceed to develop your animation using the techniques covered within this chapter.

Animation Timeline Toolbar
This toolbar is where you control all aspects of animation in your scene. The timeline is divided into frames, much like the individual frames of a movie. The more frames, the longer the movie, unless you start to mess with the Frames Per Second control that will be discussed in a moment. You can either create animations by changing each of the individual frames (takes awhile—don't bother), or create several keyframes and let Swift 3D interpolate or ‘tween’ the animation in between (definitely the way to go).
Selection Window Current Frame Indicator Timeline Scale bars

Playback Controls

Loop Toggle Button

Keyframes

Frames Per Second Control

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Selection Name
The Selection Name window of the animation timeline displays the name of your currently selected object. Since the Animation Timeline is selection dependant, the timeline shows the animation properties for whichever object, camera or light is selected, and thus displayed in the Selection Name window. To better organize your more complicated scenes, you may find the naming process covered in the chapter on Working With Objects useful.

Current Frame Indicator
The Current Frame Indicator shows what frame your scene is currently in. By default, the Current Frame Indicator is on frame zero. Once you toggle the Animate button on, you can slide the Current Frame Indicator to a later frame, make changes, and these changes will create keyframes in the timeline, thus animating your scene. Once an animation has been created, you can use this red bar to preview your animation or move to a specific frame for further editing. The dark gray bar behind the current frame indicator shows the total number of frames in your animation.

Animation Properties
There are several properties of an object that can be animated, and all of those properties are listed along the left side of the timeline. Although certain types of objects can have certain types of animation properties, here is a list of all the possible properties that can be animated:

Position: This property pertains to any animations involving objects that change their location on the X, Y, Z coordinate grid. 2. Pivot: Any object that has an associated pivot point can have an animated Pivot property. 3. Rotation: If an object has its rotation animated, this is where it will show up. This could be any object except for the Target Cameras and Target Lights. 4. Scale: When objects change their scale over time, this property will reflect that change. 5. Shear: When objects change their shear over time, this property will reflect that change. 6. Material: The material property will be designated by listing out all of the surfaces that have been defined for that object. This could be a fairly lengthy list if numerous surface groups have been defined in the Advanced Modeler. Note: Color applied to lights cannot be animated. 7. Shape: The only object that can animate its shape is the Tetrahedron. 8. Scale Axis: This is also a Tetrahedron-specific animation property. 9. Roll: This property only applies to Target Cameras and Target Lights, and it indicates when a camera or light is rolled to the left or to the right. 10. Path: If you have animated the path of an extruded or lathed object, the animation will appear here.
1.

Playback Controls
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Previous Frame: Moves the scene back one frame. Next Frame: Advances scene to the next frame. Last Frame: Advances scene to the last frame of your animation.

Frames Per Second
The Frames Per Second Control allows you to adjust how quickly the frames of your animation will play after exporting to a file. The more frames that get viewed each second, the more smoothly your animation will play. But the more frames that get exported to a file, the larger that file will be, so there is always a subjective decision to get made here. The default of 12 frames per second has proven itself to be very effective for use on the Web but it's important to note that when you import Swift 3D files into Flash, it will override any adjustments you make in Swift 3D and revert back to its default setting. NOTE: The default Frames Per Second setting can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Loop Animation
This little button determines how Swift 3D will render your final file with regards to creating looping animations. If you are creating a linear animation where your last frame is not the same as your first frame, you want to turn this button off. If you're attempting to create a seamlessly looping animation where your first frame is identical to your last frame, you should turn this button on (default configuration). You see, when your last frame is the same as your first frame and you loop the entire animation, you'll end up with two identical frames in a row, which will manifest itself as a pause in your final animation. When you toggle the Loop Animation button on, Swift 3D automatically skips the rendering of your final frame so that you don't end up with that unsightly pause. This will in no way affect whether or not your animation loops when played in the Flash Player or when imported into Flash. By default, all SWF animations rendered from Swift 3D will automatically loop when played in the Flash Player, and all SWF files imported into Flash will not loop unless told to do so with specific Flash commands. NOTE: The default state of the Loop Animation button can be adjusted by going to View > User Preferences.

Animation Gallery
The drag-and-drop animations are the easiest way to get your scene moving. We've supplied you with some common animations within the Animation Gallery that cover the basics. You know, spin right, clockwise spin, 45-degree right spin. The typical animations you might want to apply. To preview the animations just click on the thumbnail image and you'll see a small-scale rendition of the action. To apply them to your image just click-and-drag from the Preview Window onto whatever object you wish to be animated. When you apply an animation from this gallery, the Animate toggle button does not automatically turn on so if you want to edit the ani-

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mation you need to first toggle on the Animate button. The default length of the drag-and-drop animations is 20 frames, but that can be easily adjusted using the techniques covered later in this chapter.

To apply a drag-and-drop animation:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Click on the Show Animations button in the Gallery Toolbar. Choose an animation that you like. Click-and-drag from that animation's preview window. Move your cursor over the object or group of objects and release the mouse button. Click the Play button on the Playback Controls to view your animation.

Applying more than one drag and drop animation
You can apply a spin, deformation and fly by animation all to one object if you so choose. However, you cannot apply two animations from the same category, such as two different types of Common Spins. If you try to do this the second animation applied will simply override the first animation. You can, however, create a nested animation by applying one animation to an object, then group that object with other objects, and then apply a second animation to the grouped object. In this case, the original object will carry out its first animation while partaking in the second animation as well. You can nest these animations several layers deep.

Animation Drop Target
This feature only applies to Text or Grouped objects. When this button is off, any drag-and-drop animations will be applied to your entire text object or grouped objects as a whole. When this button is toggled on, drag-and-drop animations are applied to each of the characters in a text object individually or each individual object in a group. For example, if you drop a spin onto your text while the Drop Target button is toggled on, each individual character will spin around their respective axis. If you want to apply a drag-and-drop animation to just one character, hold down the CTRL button while dragging the animation to the desired character. Make sure the Animation Drop Target button is not toggled on. Scenes can get very confusing when you start to animate individual characters in text objects. I wouldn't do much more than apply spins to characters since changing their paths really creates chaos. If you need to delete an animation for an individual character or individual object within a group, hold down the CTRL key as you select that character or object. Its animation properties will appear in the animation timeline and you can delete the animation by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on the timeline and selecting Delete All Key Frames.

Saving an Animation to the Animation Gallery
As you become more familiar with Swift 3D and start generating some cool animations, you may come across something you'd like to save for later. Not the image, mind you, but the animation scheme. Swift allows you to take your self-created animations and turn them into drag and drop animations for easy application at a later date.

To create your own drag-and-drop animation:
1. 2. Design an animation you like. Select the object that has the killer animation you want to preserve.

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From the file menu, choose “Save Animation...” This will bring up the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can choose a name and location within the Animation Gallery for your scheme. Use the Set Display Frame controls to choose what frame of your animation to show in the preview window. Click OK.

An animation added to the Gallery can only be edited by clicking and dragging it back onto an object. Once an animation is placed back into the scene it no longer has any connection to the original animation stored back in the Gallery. If changes are made to the animation it must be saved back to the Gallery. If you do not desire two copies of the animation simply overwrite the previous animation or go back and delete it from the Gallery. You can right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the palette window surrounding the thumbnails to bring up the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can delete, rename or relocate any gallery content. For more detailed information on how to share Gallery content and organizing/managing Galleries in Swift 3D, see the section on Galleries in the Scene Editor chapter.

Flash Tutorial: Applying Drag-and-drop Animations

Keyframe Animation
Understanding keyframes and how they work is an important step in creating animations quickly. Sure, you can tell Swift 3D exactly what you want your scene to look like in every frame, but you'd be better off using the built-in tweening functions associated with the Animation Timeline. Basically, keyframes represent points in an animation where you can make important changes take place. In between the keyframes, Swift 3D will make all the decisions on how your scene changes automatically. The keyframes simply give Swift 3D reference points to work from while it decides how to create the transitional frames using the tweening process.

To create a basic keyframe animation using the timeline:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Create a scene with at least one object. Toggle the Animate button on. Click-and-drag the Current Frame Indicator to the desired frame number, setting your animation length. Manipulate your object(s). For each Animation Property that you change there will be a corresponding keyframe added to the timeline. To view your animation, press the Play button.

Start and Stop Keyframe Controls
Within the Animation Timeline, each keyframe has a Start Animation and a Stop Animation control. Within one frame the controls are set to the same value so there is no pause. Adjusting these controls allows you to stop one aspect of an animation for as long as you want. For example, you may want a spinning text object to pause mid-spin so it's easier to

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read. We've used the universal “Green equals Go, Red equals Stop” color scheme to make it obvious when an object is going to move, rotate or change size, and when it is going to stop doing those things.

To pause an animation:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Toggle the Animate button on. Position your cursor over the left half of the keyframe bar. When you get the Left Directional Arrow, click-and-drag to where you want your animation to begin its pause. If you want to adjust the Animation Start Time, do the same on the right half of the keyframe. To adjust the location of the pause, position your cursor over the Red Bar in between the start and stop animation control bars and click-and-drag to reposition the entire keyframe.

Adjusting Animation Length
This feature is a big time saver because it allows you to scale your animations without having to adjust every single keyframe involved. The first technique involves scaling an entire animation at once. In this case, every single keyframe of every single object, camera and light will be adjusted in proportion with each other simultaneously.

To scale an entire animation:
1. 2. 3. 4. Toggle the Animate button on. Click-and-drag on the bar located just beyond the last frame of your animation in the upper section of the timeline where the frame numbers are displayed. Move the marker to your desired ending frame. Release the mouse button.

To scale the animation of an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select the object whose animation length you would like to alter. Toggle the Animate button on. Click-and-drag on the long bar at the end of your object's Animation Properties (e.g. Position, Scale, Rotation, etc.). Move the marker to your desired ending frame. Release the mouse button.

Linear Frame Spacing
Linear Frame Spacing has to do with how much your objects move between each frame as they transition through a keyframe. This feature can be adjusted on a per keyframe basis and is accessed by right clicking (Win) or CTRL + clicking (Mac) on individual keyframes in the Animation Timeline. Linear Frame Spacing is listed in the context menu that appears, with its on and off state indicated by the checkmark placed in front of it in the menu. The default is to have this feature turned off (unchecked), which allows Swift 3D to automatically ease objects into and out of a keyframe. This is accomplished by adjusting the distance an object travels between frames as it approaches and leaves a keyframe. Since this is an automatic setting that slows an object down as it enters a keyframe and speeds it up as it leaves the keyframe, you do not have any control over how fast or how slow objects enter and leave keyframes.

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When Linear Frame Spacing is turned on (checked), Swift 3D will move the object at a consistent speed throughout the animation, meaning the object moves the same amount of distance between each frame of the animation. NOTE: This setting is only applicable to path animations, where objects are moving from one point to another.

Editing Keyframes and Animations
Swift 3D provides you with some really easy-to-use techniques for working with your animations once they have been created.

Copying and Pasting Keyframes
If you have the need to create a keyframe identical to an existing keyframe, you can use the Copy/Paste Keyframe function. The most common use of this is when you have an animation that you would like to loop; having the same starting and ending keyframes insures a smooth loop in your animation. (See the section on the Loop Toggle button earlier in this chapter for more information on looping animations.) Keyframes cannot be copied from one project to another, but if you copy an animated object from one project to another, its animation will come along for the ride.

To copy and paste a keyframe:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Select the object whose animation you would like to edit. Toggle the Animate button on. Right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the keyframe you would like to copy, and choose Copy Keyframe from the context menu. Move your cursor over the frame you would like to paste the keyframe into. Right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on that frame and choose Paste Keyframe from the context menu.

Nick’s Tips
The copy and paste keyframe feature can also be helpful when you want to reverse your animation. For example, if you are creating an animation that has a text string and you want each letter of that text to start out of view and then fly into the center of your Viewport, it is easiest to start creating the animation with your text already in place in the center of the Viewport. From there, you can move the keyframe indicator over and move each letter so that they fly away from the center of the Viewport and out of sight. Now all you need to do is copy the first keyframe to a spot beyond your final keyframe, and then copy the final keyframe into the first frame. Adjust the new final keyframe back to where you want the animation to end, and you have reversed your animation. Another option is to export your initial animation and use Flash’s Reverse Animation feature.

Deleting Keyframes
There are a few different methods of deleting parts of your animations depending on how much of the animation you would like to get rid of.

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To delete an individual keyframe:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object whose animation you would like to edit. Toggle the Animate button on. Right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) on the keyframe you would like to delete. Choose Delete Keyframe from the menu.

To delete the selected object, camera or light animation:
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the object or camera whose animation you would like to delete. Toggle the Animate button on. Right click (Win) or CTRL + click (Mac) anywhere in the timeline. Select Delete All Keyframes from the context menu.

To delete all object animations:
1. 2. Choose Edit > Delete Object Animations. When the warning message appears, click OK.

To delete all animations:
1. 2. Choose Edit > Delete All Animations. When the warning message appears, click OK.

Nick’s Tips
The easiest way to conserve on file size is to make your animations as short as possible, while still meeting your overall design goal. Two techniques of accomplishing this are as follows: 1. 2. If you have a symmetrical object, like a box for instance, with a rotation animation applied to it, you can export just a section of the rotation and then loop the animation to simulate a full turn. In the case of the box, it's got four sides, so a quarter turn is all you need to get a seamless rotation. If you have a logo or spinning text, you can render only the frames where the artwork is facing the camera and then loop the animation. This will give you the effect of a full 360-degree spin while never having your logo or text facing backwards.

Flash Tutorial: Basic Keyframe Animation

Editing the Animation Path
All animation paths of objects, lights and cameras can be edited by clicking on the Animation Path Mode button located to the left of the Animate button on the Main Toolbar. This button will not become active until you first click on the Animate button to go into Animating mode. Once the Animation Path Mode button is selected, if there is an animation path present it will become visible in each Viewport. Since you can

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enter into Animation Path Mode at any time during the animation process, if you have not yet created an animation then the path will not become visible until you start adding keyframes. Each keyframe in the path is represented by a square red icon, which is called the Keyframe Control Point. This icon can be moved to a new location anywhere along the x, y or z axis just like you would move an object. You will also have access to each control point's Bezier control handles, which are designated by green squares. In order to move an entire path to a new location, this is done by relocating the object itself. NOTE: When Animation Path Mode is turned on, if you position an object by clicking on the Keyframe Control Point (which is also the object's pivot point) a new keyframe will not get added to the timeline. Clicking on the Keyframe Control Point only adjusts the position of that keyframe, regardless of whether or not the red keyframe indicator is moved to a new point on the timeline. Therefore, to insert a new keyframe you have to click on a surface area of the object that is away from the Keyframe Control Point and then drag the object to a new location.

Bezier Path Properties
Once in Animation Path mode a new page will appear in the Properties Toolbar called Bezier Path.

Point Type
Each keyframe control point can be designated as a Corner, Curve or Tangent point. When you create an animation each keyframe control point will be a Curve Point by default. You can either change the point type after the animation is made, or if you know ahead of time which type of point you want you can choose the point type before you create each keyframe. A Corner Point does not contain any information that defines how the animation path enters or exits that point since these points are always connected with perfectly straight lines. Adjusting the Bezier handles of Corner Points therefore has no impact on the animation path. The Curve Point is defined by something called a Bezier curve and therefore comes with handles (the green squares) that provide control over the shape of the animation path entering and exiting the point. Although you can control the entry and exit, the two halves of your animation path are linked to each other so positional changes to one half of your point may have an effect on the other half of the Bezier curve. The Tangent Point is very similar to the Curve point but it allows you to control each side of the curve's control points separately. The tangent point is designed to allow your animation path to enter and exit the point with completely different paths. NOTE: If the Bezier handles for a Curve or Tangent Point are not displayed, CTRL (Win) or OPTION (Mac) + click and drag on the green control point to pull the Bezier handle out for display and editing.

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Position
If you need precise control over the exact location of each keyframe control point you can adjust the X, Y and Z position of the points by entering the exact coordinates.

Orient to Path
You can choose the orientation of the object to the animation path through this option. From the Reference dropdown list you have the option to orient the object by its X Axis, -X Axis, Y Axis, -Y Axis, Z Axis or -Z Axis. The X Axis option will move the object with its right side facing forward, while the -X Axis option will orient the object to the left side; the Y Axis to the top of the object, the -Y Axis to the bottom; and the Z Axis to the front of the object, the -Y Axis to the back of the object. You will find the local Axis Guide always shown within the Rotation Trackball is an extremely helpful reference when choosing which axis to orient the object along. Once an axis is chosen, a yellow guide point will appear that indicates which direction the object will be facing as it travels along the animation path.

Cone set to Y Axis

Cone set to -Y Axis

NOTE: If you add a rotation to the object in addition to using the Orient to Path setting, the rotations will get added together. The orientation of the object is dependent on the location of the pivot point, so you can also move the pivot point in order to control which point of the object is pinned to the animation path.

Setting Other Objects to the Path
If you want to set other objects in your scene to this animation path you must first save the path to the Animation Gallery. After the path is saved, you can apply it to other objects in the scene. Once the path is applied, you can click on the object and go to the Bezier Path property page to set how you want that object to orient to that path. Any other adjustments to the path can also be made using any of the previously discussed path editing techniques. If you edit that path keep in mind that if you want to be able to apply the newly edited path to a different object you need to save it as a new animation to the Animation Gallery.

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Animating Scale
Swift 3D allows you to animate either uniform or non-uniform scale of an object. The first step in understanding nonuniform scaling is to know that every Swift 3D object has three different Scale Axes: width, height and depth. When you select an object and go to the Scale page of the Properties Toolbar you will see the object's default settings of 1.00, 1.00 and 1.00. These are the three settings that you can animate, and the process is different than changing the sizing of an object (covered in the Scaling section of the Working With Objects chapter).

To animate uniform scaling of an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Toggle the Animate button on. Select the frame you would like your scaling animation to end. Click the Scaling Mode button. Click-and-drag on the object to rescale it proportionately. Release your mouse button when it's the correct size.

NOTE: The Scaling Mode button is a one-time deal, so if you want to make further scaling adjustments you'll need to click that button each time.

To animate non-uniform scaling of an object:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Toggle the Animate button on. Select the frame you would like your scaling animation to end. Select the object you would like to scale. Click on the Scale page in the Properties Toolbar. Adjust the Scale Axis you wish to animate, or change all three.

Animating Materials
The animation of materials is basically the process of telling Swift 3D what you want your object's color to be at the start of your animation and at the end of the animation, and letting the program do the rest for you. As soon as you animate a material, you will see the related keyframes appear in the Animation Timeline under the Material animation property.

To animate materials:
1. 2. 3. 4. Apply a material to your object in the first frame of an existing animation. Toggle the Animate button on. Move the Current Frame Indicator to the frame you'd like your material animation to end. Apply a second material.

Animating Lights
A very slick feature in Swift 3D is the ability to animate your lighting scheme. You can accomplish this feat by either animating Trackball Lights or by animating Scene Lights.

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To animate trackball lights:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Create a scene with at least one object. Adjust your Trackball Lights as desired. Toggle the Animate button on. Move the Current Frame Indicator to the end of your desired lighting animation. Adjust your Trackball Lights as desired.

Your lights are now animated, with their positions being tweened from the start frame to the end frame. You can track their movement by watching the lighting trackball while the animation plays.

To animate scene lights:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Create a scene with at least one object. Insert the desired lights into the scene and adjust their positions accordingly. Remove any Trackball Lights as needed (not required). Toggle the Animate button on. Move the Current Frame Indicator to the end of your desired lighting animation. Change the location of your Scene Lights as desired.

Animating Cameras
In Swift 3D you can only animate Free and Target Cameras and the Perspective Camera; you cannot animate the Standard Cameras.

To animate the perspective camera:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Create a scene with at least one object. Use the Camera Dropdown List to select the Perspective Camera. Position the Perspective Camera (pan, zoom or rotate) where you want the camera animation to start. Toggle the Animate button on. Select the frame you would like your camera animation to end by moving the red Current Frame Indicator. Adjust the position of the Perspective Camera by either panning or zooming the camera in the Viewport or by using the Rotation Trackball to point the camera in a different direction.

To animate a free or target camera:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Create a scene with at least one object. Insert a Free or Targeted Camera. Position your camera where you want the camera animation to start. Toggle the Animate button on. Select the frame you would like your camera animation to end by moving the red Current Frame Indicator. Adjust the position of your camera.

You can create as many keyframes as you'd like to insure your camera animation is just as it should be. You can also animate any objects and lights in conjunction with your camera animations.

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Flash Tutorial: Advanced Keyframe Animation

Hierarchical Animations
The universal scene properties contained within the Hierarchy system can play an integral part in creating more complex animations. The same parent/child and sibling relationships that can help you organize your scene effectively can be the key to unlocking some amazing animation capabilities. The basic principles of parents and children that work for object manipulation within your scene will hold true for objects, lights and cameras when they are in motion. For example, if you create a sphere that is the child of a box, when you animate that box you will also be animating the sphere based on their relationship with each other. The best example I can think of to demonstrate this technique of relational animations would be creating a 3D scene that shows how the moon rotates around the earth while the earth rotates around the sun. Since the earth is stuck in orbit around the sun, it would be considered its child. And in turn, since the moon is in orbit around the earth, it’s considered a child of the earth.

To create a “solar system” animation using Hierarchy:
1. 2. 3. 4. Add three spheres to the scene that represent the Sun, Earth and Moon. Go to the Hierarchy toolbar. Create the relationships between the three objects, making the earth a child of the sun and the moon a child of the earth. Create an animation of the moon rotating around the earth, and then the earth rotating around the sun.

By establishing the relationships ahead of time you can simplify the animation process and allow yourself some more creative animations. If you decide to change the relationships between objects, you will not notice any differences in the animation unless you decide to further animate the objects. Once those relationships are broken, Swift 3D will retain the animation information for the objects, but will no longer be able to relate those objects with one another since they would have been disassociated with one another. For additional information on establishing parent/child relationships, read section on Hierarchy in Working with Objects chapter.

Flash Tutorial: Parent/Child Relationships

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Path Morphing
The ability to animate paths in the Extrusion Editor or Lathe Editor is referred to as Path Morphing. Both the Extrusion and Lathe Editors include their own animation timeline that behaves the same way as the main timeline in Swift 3D. The only difference in these timelines is that only the paths of either your extrusion or lathe object will appear within the layer area, rather than the properties of those paths. This way you can keep track of multiple paths without having to select each one individually.

To animate a path:
1. 2. 3. 4. Toggle the Animate button into animate mode. Adjust the Current Frame Indicator to the place you want to insert a keyframe. Move the point or points you want to animate. Swift 3D will automatically insert keyframes accordingly.

When you return to the Scene Editor you will notice when you select the extrusion a Path animation now exists in the Main Animation Toolbar timeline. You will probably have to enlarge the Animation Toolbar in order to see the Path animation in the timeline. NOTE: You cannot change the types of points over time. For instance you can’t turn a Tangent Point into a Curve Point part way through an animation. Also, if you delete or add points to an extrusion or lathe partway through an animation, those points will either be deleted or added to the extrusion for the entire animation of that path.

Flash Tutorial: Path Morphing

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18
Overview

preview and export

Why have just one rendering engine when you can have two? Well, our engineers asked the very same question and couldn't come up with a reason NOT to double our output power by including both a vector renderer - known to many as RAViX III - and a raster renderer - a.k.a. EMO. These two powerhouses are responsible for taking your beautifully crafted scene and turning it into an actual file that you can use. And the wonderful thing about this flexibility is that your single scene can have many afterlives once it leaves the world of Swift 3D. Use RAViX for your lightweight Flash work. Use EMO for your high-bandwidth video production. Or use them both together for insane effects that are super realistic, yet small in size. But I'm getting ahead of myself since both of these rendering beasts have their own chapters to brag about their output capabilities. We're here to learn about the workflow of the Preview and Export Editor since it is similar regardless of the renderer you're using. You can then delve into the subsequent chapters on Rendering with RAViX and Rendering with EMO in order to find out how to get the most out of the two different engines.

Previewing vs. Rendering vs. Exporting
There is a definite workflow to the Preview and Export Editor that needs to be discussed in order to make sure there is a firm understanding of just how you go about previewing your work and then getting your work to file. For new users, probably the most confusing point is just when the rendering takes place. Really, the most important thing to realize is that you cannot preview or export your scene until you first render it. So here's the workflow—love it or leave it. First you choose your output options. Then you render a preview. Finally, if it all looks good, you export to a file. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

How to render a preview and export a file:
1. 2. Click the Preview and Export Editor tab. Choose either Vector or Raster and set your Output Options.

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Click Generate Selected Frames or Generate All Frames. Watch RAViX III or EMO render your preview. Click Export Selected Frames or Export All Frames. Name your file and click Save.

Now this is obviously an overview of the many things you can accomplish within the Preview and Export Editor, so you will most likely want to continue reading.

Render Preview
As previously mentioned, this section of the Preview and Export Editor is where you actually perform the rendering of your animation, but it also allows you to have much more control over the individual frames of an entire animation, pre- and post-render. The three main uses for the editing feature of the preview system are as follows: 1. Choosing which frames of your animation you would like RAViX III or EMO to render. This is very useful when you just want to sample some different output options and get a feel for what it will look like after the entire animation is rendered. Also, there are often situations where you only need to have certain parts of an animation rendered and exported to a file. Viewing sections of a rendered animation. For example, if you'd like to see what your animation would look like if you only exported every second frame. Or maybe there are certain frames that seem unnecessary but you want to view the animation with and without them to make sure. Choosing which frames of your animation you want included in the final exported file.

2. 3.

Generate All Frames
If you were to imagine RAViX III or EMO as wild, toothy beasts locked up in a cage, seething with boundless energy waiting for the opportunity to sink their rendering fangs into your animation, this button is the key to that lock. Or you can just think of this as the Generate All Frames button. One way or the other, a click of this button will begin the rendering process. Due to the nature of 3D animation, your 3D scene will get rendered one frame at a time to create a series of images that, when played sequentially, make up an animation. As the rendering takes place you will see a few things happening. Along the bottom of the interface the Status Bar will show the progress of each frame and there will be a Cancel button that stops the rendering process. If you choose to cancel the process of creating a preview, all of your Output Option settings will remain as you left them and the already rendered frames will be available for viewing and export. You will see each frame displayed within the Preview Editor as well as within the Preview Window. The images displayed in the editor are merely thumbnails of your actual file, but the image displayed in the preview window is the real deal. It's basically an exact replica of the images that your final file will consist of.

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Generate Selected Frames
This feature allows you to apply a special flavoring to selected frames so that when you unleash RAViX III or EMO they will only ravage those designated frames before returning to their cage. To choose certain frames of your animation, please refer to the upcoming section on selecting frames. If you need to refer to your animation to determine which frames you want rendered, you can move back and forth between the Scene Editor and the Preview and Export Editor without de-selecting frames already slated for rendering.

Select Every Nth Frame
Often times you'd like to see what your animation would look like if it had less frames. Since 3D in Flash is done with a series of frames, being able to reduce the number of frames exported from Swift 3D can help save dramatically on file size. By selecting every Nth frame you can save time in rendering or save file size in exporting, while still knowing exactly what the animation looks like before you create a file.

Selecting Frames
The process of selecting frames is integral to using the Preview Editor. Fortunately, it's really easy. Clicking on a frame will select an individual frame. Holding down the CTRL key while selecting will allow you to select multiple frames that are not in a sequence. Holding down the SHIFT key will allow you to select all of the frames in between the last frame you selected and the one you select next. Once you have the frames selected, if you click on an unselected frame without the appropriate key depressed, you will end up de-selecting all of your frames and just selecting the individual frame you just clicked on.

Lock Selected Frames
When messing around with the selection process, it's easy to errantly erase a carefully selected set of frames, so the Lock Selected Frames button will disallow you from selecting, or even seeing the frames that are not selected.

SmartLayer and Swift 3D Importer Note
If you are planning on using the SWFT file format to bring your rendered scene into Flash MX or MX 2004 via the Swift 3D Importer and have chosen to separate stationary and moving objects within the General section of the Output Options, there is one thing you’ll want to watch out for. You see, the process of knowing what objects are stationary and what objects are moving from frame to frame is dependant on knowing exactly what’s happened in the frame before the one that’s being rendered. When you render out your scene, RAViX III tracks the activity from frame to frame so it can write all of the proper information that Flash will need into each frame of the final SWFT file. But once you start selecting unrendered frames from a pre-rendered sequence the concept of knowing what happened in prior frames gets a little shakey. So, once you’ve rendered a specific series of frames, you can export them as long as you don’t select any unrendered frames before you proceed to the Export step. If you do, the rendered frames will be cleared and will need to be re-rendered in order to be able to export them.

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But if you are simply rendering out your entire animation and then exporting it, or even selected pieces of it, this will never even affect you. And if you do not have the Separate Stationary and Moving Objects option turned on, there will be no selection restrictions and the Preview and Export Editor will work just as it always has.

Playback Controls
Once you have rendered a preview, these controls allow you to view the results. They function just like the controls associated with the Animation Timeline in the Scene Editor. NOTE: After you have rendered a preview of your animation, that rendering will be available for export to file until you either render another preview or go back into the Scene Editor and change anything about your scene. At that point your preview will disappear and you will need to render another preview before exporting to a file.

Export To File
The final step in creating output from Swift 3D is the Export to File function. At this point you should be happy with the scene or animation you see within the preview window, because that is exactly what your final file will consist of. The process of exporting to a file is very quick, so don't freak out and imagine you have to wait through the rendering process again. All you're doing at this point is naming your file and having Swift 3D write the pre-rendered information to a file. This typically takes a few seconds, but with very large files it may take a minute or longer.

Export All Frames
This will create a file that contains every single rendered frame of your animation. If you have chosen to only render certain frames of your original animation via the Render Preview step, those are the ones that will go into this file. There is no way to export frames that are a part of your original animation without first rendering a preview of those frames.

Export Selected Frames
This option lets you export only the frames that you have selected in the Preview Editor.

How to export a file:
1. 2. 3. 4. Make sure you have first rendered your scene via the Render Preview step. Choose the Export button you would like. Name your file and choose where you want it to be created. Click Save.

Flash Tutorial: Preview and Export Editor - Overview

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19
Overview

rendering with RAViX

Swift 3D was built around the concept of rendering 3D scenes to vectors, and the enabling technology that drives that vector rendering process is RAViX. This proprietary technology is now in its third version and still going strong so our users can rest assured that they have the best vector rendering technology under the hood of their application. The process of creating vector-based 3D animations is very complex from the program's side of things, but really pretty easy to understand from the user's perspective. When RAViX III renders out a scene that you've built within Swift 3D it looks at all of the objects and determines what the best approach is to turn it into a vector rendition of those same objects. You could think of RAViX as an artist looking at a scene. There are many ways to draw that scene based on the artist's goals and skills. Depending on which approach the artist decides to take you can end up with a fairly wide variety of drawings. The big difference with Swift 3D is that all animations are built one frame at a time. Much like a hand cartoonist creates the old-time flip books of image after image, RAViX renders out frame after frame of your animation so it looks to be animated when played back at your desired speed.

Nick’s Tips
The process of converting your 3D scene to vectors is very memory intensive—there’s just no way around it (at least none that we’ve discovered to date). For this reason, I don’t recommend attempting to render incredibly long animations of complex scenes. When you start throwing 1,000+ frame animations through RAViX you are likely to start encountering out of memory errors. If you absolutely have to create very long animations with complex scenes (50,000+ polygons) you may consider rendering them out in smaller chunks and then stitching them back together in Flash. But keep in mind that Flash might not be particularly thrilled about your big files either.

Vector Output Options
This is really where the big-time decisions get made. We built Swift 3D to give designers serious control over what their output looks like. Depending on the desired effect, file size, application, etc. of your final vector file, the choices are all contained within this section of the rendering dialog.

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It is well worth your while to read through each option carefully so you truly understand what sort of forces are at work on your rendered file. It could mean the difference between a post-render exclamation of “What the... that looks nasty,” and “OOOOHHHHH...me likey!”

General
The Output Options can be broken up into three primary categories, and of course General is where we put all the controls that didn't belong in the other two categories. It covers the basics of file types, and how you want RAViX III to treat certain aspects of the rendering process.

Target File Type
Depending on what your publishing goals are, you have five different file formats to choose from. It is important to note that the rendering process for each of these file types is different, so if you render with the File Type set to SWFT and decide you need an SWF file you will need to render again. By default, the Target File Type is set to the SWFT file format, but if you have a certain file type that you typically render to you might want to consider changing the file type Swift 3D defaults to by going to View > User Preferences.

Swift 3D Flash Importer (SWFT)
The SWFT file format is Electric Rain’s proprietary format that can be read by the Swift 3D Importer, which is installed with Swift 3D if you happen to have Flash MX or Flash MX 2004 on your machine. The main advantage that you gain by using the SWFT file format (again, it’s only relevant to users of Flash MX or Flash MX 2004) is the ability to render your scene using our SmartLayer Technology. This unlocks the ability to bring in your animations with various components broken out into separate layers within Flash.

Separate Stationary and Moving Objects
This checkbox is only available when the SWFT file format is selected as the Target File Type. When it is turned on, RAViX III will automatically render out a separate layer for the stationary and moving objects in your scene. You will still create a layered SWFT file when it is turned off, but there will be no separation of moving and stationary objects. SmartLayers are covered in more detail in the chapter on Using Exported Files.

Macromedia Flash (SWF)
The ubiquity of the Flash Player has allowed the SWF file format to become the de facto standard for vector graphics on the Web. It has become the low-bandwidth solution for creating animations, interactivity and now 3D to be displayed across multiple platforms and devices.

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One limitation of Flash is the fact that there is no support for 3D natively within the Flash Player (i.e., an internal rendering engine). Of course, Swift 3D would probably not exist if this were the case, so it's not really a limitation for Electric Rain. What Swift 3D needs to accomplish in order to translate your 3D animation to 2D vectors is to write out exactly what Flash should be displaying in each and every frame. In other words, we have to export a keyframe for every frame of your animation. And therein lies the limitation. Since Flash doesn't know how to tween 3D objects between keyframes, very long animations can be quite large in file size. Your 3D scene may only be 5K when you render out one frame, but if you have an animation that's 100 frames long, you're going to be looking at a final file that's approaching 500K. Now a relevant consideration is where you're going to be publishing this file. If it's going on a CD or displayed locally on a network, file size is not an issue. But most users are using Flash to display their 3D content over the Web, in which case file size plays a big factor in deciding on a design. I highly recommend taking a look at the section on Output Options to gain crucial information on how to balance your 3D animation quality with your file size concerns.

Adobe Illustrator (AI)
Swift 3D can render your 3D files accurately enough so that when you import it into a 2D vector drawing program, it's like it was hand drawn. The implications of this are subtle, but deep. The ability to create scalable 3D images is a powerful option, since bitmap 3D exports have their limitations. Let's say you want to create a 3D version of your logo. With Swift 3D, you can export to AI or EPS and you'll have a scalable version of that logo so you don't have to mess with pixels, resolution and other assorted complexities of raster graphics. You'll notice that when you choose AI as an export option, the two gradient shading fill options, Area and Mesh, become unavailable. This is due to the fact that RAViX III does not currently support Level 3 EPS. The most detailed output option you can attain without rendering gradients is the Cartoon Full Color Fill.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)
If you are going to be using EPS renders for print media, please see the explanation under Adobe Illustrator (AI). EPS export has the same Level 2 restrictions as AI, so you do not have access to the two gradient shading options. If you're exporting an animation to the EPS file format, upon export you will end up with a series of EPS files labeled ‘filename001.eps’, ‘filename002.eps’, etc. You will want to avoid using any numbers in your file name since they will end up wreaking havoc on the sequential naming process.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
Is SVG going to be the next vector graphics wave of the future? I have no idea. But I do know that Swift 3D exports to SVG, so at least you have the option if you need it. Upon writing to the SVG file format, you have a couple of extra options to think about. As soon as you choose SVG from the Save As Type dropdown list, the Animation Level and Compressed menu items will become active. Aside from those features, your Output Options are identical to those of SWF, AI and EPS exports.

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File Level
This feature is applicable only when you're exporting to the SWF file format. Although all of our rendered vector files are fairly homogenous, we had to include a little bit of extra information in the Flash 4 files due to a bug in the Flash 4 authoring tool. So when you export to Flash 4 using the Area or Mesh Gradient Shading option, you will end up with a dummy frame at the beginning of your animation. Once imported into Flash, you just need to delete the extra frame and save your project. Aside from that, the three file types are all the same. No matter what you save your file as, it will play back in any compatible version of the Flash Player, and will import into a version of the Flash authoring tool that is equal to or greater than the level you choose.

SVG Options
As I mentioned earlier, when you are rendering a file to the SVG file format, you have a few extra options to consider.

Compressed
Compressed does just that—squash your final file eight to nine times what it would be if left uncompressed. The obvious advantage is that it's easier to publish to the Web when compressed. The disadvantage is that you lose editability, so if you're looking to incorporate your SVG animation into another SVG file, you'll want to leave it uncompressed until you have a final product.

Animation
Animation Level refers to how you want your SVG files to be built. The two options you have are Native and Script. Native means that the scripting that drives your animation is included within the SVG code itself. Script will generate two files for you: one SVG file that contains the frames of your animation and one HTML file that contains JavaScript that drives your animation. One difference you may want to pay attention to is if you have a long animation (more than 40 frames or so) you will start to see the file size increase when exporting with the Native Animation Level.

Detail Level
Crank it up! Wait, don't crank it up! Wait, it all depends. I'm always hesitant to put these types of controls into a user interface because the tendency is to crank it up as high as possible because obviously detail is a good thing. Unfortunately, by doing this you end up with slower rendering times and larger files. This is one of those case-by-case controls that may need to be fooled around with to get the best results. And just when you think you've figured out what the best setting is, you throw a new scene in and it's a whole new ball game.

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Despite the fact that our default setting for Detail Level is Automatic, I'd advocate trying the Low setting until you get output that doesn't look good. It speeds up rendering time by a bunch, and I usually don't see any flaws showing up on Low that I don't also get with it set on Automatic. By using Low first, you can get a quick rendering that will most likely be of good quality. And if you see any significant flaws, you probably would have had to go to the Medium or High settings anyway. In addition to this Detail Level decision, you can also alter your rendering times and output accuracy by using smaller or larger dimensions in the Layout setting of your scene. If you're really trying to increase the speed of RAViX III, you can make your scene really small and set the Detail Level to Low. But if your file comes back all funky, don't say I didn't warn you because there is no guarantee of rendering quality when you start tweaking both settings at once. Certainly there is plenty of room for experimentation here, and you'll most likely find your own comfortable balance between rendering speed and file quality.

Curve Fitting
The elegant curve… so supple… so smooth. So file size friendly! That's right, curves are good for more than just art, they're good for bandwidth too. You see, since vectors are drawn mathematically, it takes more pieces of information to draw 10 line segments than it does one continuous curve. So why the slider, you ask? Don't I always want to draw curves? Not exactly. Although, in theory, curves should give you better results, in practice it's not always the case. There's something about the way Flash geometry is calculated that often results in irregular curves. If you take a semi-smooth object in Flash and optimize its curves as much as possible, chances are you'll get some distortion of your outline. Unfortunately the same holds true for our vector output. There are really two things you can play around with when it comes to balancing accuracy and file size. The first is this Curve Fitting slider and the second is the Detail Level. Again, it's tough to give you an exact formula that works for every model. If that formula existed we would have hard-coded the settings, but it really varies from model to model and animation to animation. All I can do is make a recommendation. Leave the slider where it is unless you don't like your output quality or file size. If your file is too fat (file size wise), crank it on up towards Curves and see if you get good image quality. If your image quality is not to your liking or your animation is a little jumpy where you have got curves, crank it down towards Lines and see if it helps. Swift 3D is a bit like a musical instrument; you've got to practice it a little before the subtleties become readily apparent. That's the melodramatic way of saying, “Try some different stuff and see what works for you.”

Combine Edges and Fills
This little feature got one of those “it does what?” (along with a right-side face scrunch) reactions when the engineers first described it to me. Basically, RAViX III can export your lines and fills with two forms of construction. If you choose not to Combine Edges and Fills, when you import your vector file into Flash you will have lines and fills that can be separated without

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breaking the object apart. If you choose to Combine Edges and Fills (the default setting), your lines and fills can't be separated from each other in Flash unless you break apart your object. The advantage to having them combined is that your files will be smaller. Plus, most of the time you won't need to gain control over each individual line segment. The advantage to having them uncombined is that you can separate your outlines and fills without having to break them apart.

Flash Tutorial: Vector Output Options - General

Fill Options
Here's a little analogy for you... Creating solid objects with clay is pretty straightforward. You mold it, you bake it, you're done. But creating them with vectors is a little more involved—sort of like applying the glaze to your clay model. It brings out the next level of artistry. Well, Swift 3D gives you seven different types of ‘Glaze’ to work with, and then throws in a couple of ‘Glaze Effects’ for you to have fun with. And now I'm done with that lame analogy. You can break up the eight different styles of fill rendering into two main categories: Flat Fills and Gradient Fills. Although there are five Flat Fill options, they all have one thing in common: only flat colors get applied to your objects. The big difference between the five is how many shades of flat colors get used in the process. The two Gradient Fill options apply vector gradients to your objects, and the difference between the two is how detailed the gradients get.

Cartoon Single Color Fill
This option is Swift 3D's most basic fill export type. Although it exports very small files, the quality of resulting animations is very simplistic. What RAViX III does to render this fill option is take the diffuse color for each object in your scene, and applies that color to the entire object. There are several situations where the Cartoon Single Color Fill is appropriate to use. • • If you have models that are broken up into several smaller sections with differing materials applied to them, the colors can often give you a better sense of shape without needing to define your edges. If you are exporting with outlines, this fill level is greatly enhanced because the outlines will define the surfaces, while the fills will give the image its solidity.

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• If you're looking for the true ‘cartoony’ look, this can be an effective output style. However, you may find that exporting outlines is necessary to give your characters and objects more definition.

Cartoon Average Color Fill
Hi, my name is Nick, and I'm a Cartoon Average Color Fill freak! Seriously, since the inception of this rendering option, I have exported more animations using Average Fill than all the other fill options combined. In my humble, non-designer opinion, it gives you just the right combination of eye-pleasing 3D effect and modest file size. Let me explain how it works. When you choose to export an animation using the Cartoon Average Color Fill option, RAViX III will separate your objects into groups of polygons that occur on similar surfaces and apply a flat fill to each one of the surfaces based upon its angle towards your light sources. The true beauty of Cartoon Average Color Fill shines through when you animate an object. RAViX III will recalculate each surface's brightness for every frame of your animation. When you play the animation back, your eyes are tricked into seeing gradients when none are actually present. Of course there are situations where Cartoon Average Color Fill does not do objects justice. With fairly smooth, organic models there are very few surfaces defined by hard edges and the power of the Cartoon Average Color Fill is lost. In those cases you might as well be exporting with Cartoon Single Color Fill.

Cartoon Two Color Fill
This export format is the next step up in quality from the Cartoon Single Color Fill (duh) and you can see that the addition of another color begins to really define the 3D shape. In this case, RAViX III is calculating the angles of your lights and determining which parts of each surface should be lighter and which should be darker. Because there is more vector information going into the file (additional colored fills), your files will be larger than the Cartoon Single Color Fill option, but if you compare them side-by-side, you may find the sacrifice to be very worthwhile. On the other hand, if you're dealing with geometric shapes that consist of many flat planes (a box for example), you won't find much benefit exporting with two, four or full color fills because it appears a little unnatural to have flat surfaces broken into several shades of a single color. With those types of objects, the Cartoon Average Color Fill would be appropriate.

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Cartoon Four Color Fill
With four colors being applied to each surface, you will see some realism coming into your models. Unfortunately, file size begins to become an issue. Depending on the length of your animation and target audience, you may find Cartoon Four Color Fill to be a little too heavy. But if bandwidth is not an issue or your project is going to be distributed via CD, DVD, locally on a network, or in print media, the details that start to come out with this output option are nice.

Cartoon Full Color Fill
This export format is about as realistic as you can get without actually applying gradients. What RAViX III does here is apply a custom shade of the applied material to every single polygon of each surface. It's still applying flat fills, but in a very detailed manner. Due to the detail involved, the higher the polygon count in your models, the bigger the exported file. In my honest opinion (shhh, don't tell the engineers), if you're looking for a high level of detail and file size is not an issue, the Mesh Gradient Shading is a better option than this. But if you're going to be rendering an AI or EPS file, this format gives you the highest quality possible since you can't export gradients with those formats.

Area Gradient Shading
I remember a time long ago when I was pushing the Area Gradient Shading export option pretty heavily. It was before we released a version of RAViX that had the Cartoon Average Color Fill option. Now that they're both in my life, the choice becomes a little less clear cut, but they are both very powerful fill styles when it comes to creating a good level of realism without jacking your file size through the roof. But first let me explain how the bloody thing works. When you choose to export an image or animation using the Area Gradient Shading feature, RAViX III looks for groups of polygons that occur on similar surfaces and applies one radial gradient to each surface. It determines those surfaces by the presence, or lack thereof, of hard edges in your model. By applying a limited number of gradients to your file, RAViX can generate some nice looking content in a pretty tight manner.

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Models that work well with this export option tend to be more faceted (created from many distinctly defined surfaces) in nature. I find that scenes with a combination of flat and smooth surfaces work the best with Area Gradient Shading because the curved surfaces will exhibit nice gradients while the flat surfaces will maintain a more even appearance. When objects are mostly smooth, the gradients can become a little overbearing.

Mesh Gradient Shading
This is the Grand Pooh-Bah of fill options. At this point in time, there's nothing better in the world when it comes to vector rendering quality. What it accomplishes is nothing short of amazing, but then again, I'm not a 3D artist and can be easily impressed, so you can judge for yourself. If you choose to render your file with Mesh Gradient Shading, each polygon in your scene receives a linear gradient fill. That means that high polygon models will get really big, really fast. And even low poly models with short animations can generate files too big for reasonable use on the Web. So what's the point, you ask? Scalability. With the vector output, you can show your detailed renderings at any size and they will always look identical. Not true with any bitmap formats. Besides that there are often cases where you only need one detailed image for the Web, thus avoiding the compounding effect of sequential keyframe animations. And then there are all those cases where you might be using Swift 3D for multimedia presentations that are not distributed through the Web. So I'll leave it up to you to decide if Mesh Gradient Shading is useful for your design purposes. But much like a V-12 engine, whether you use it or not, it's always nice to know you've got the power under the hood.

Include Specular Highlights
Specular Highlights are really just a way to trick the eyes into thinking something is 3D when it's not. When we walk around in our every day life we are subject to these glints or gleams off of shiny surfaces, and the Specular Highlight option in Swift 3D is a way to re-create those visual cues without having to use a heavy rendering style. Now you can create 3D looking objects and animations using a combination of cartoon shading and specular highlights and maintain reasonably sized files. By default, all lights within Swift 3D are created with the option to create Specular Highlights turned on. Often you’re better off choosing only one or two lights to create highlights on your objects, so you must turn this feature off in the light’s Property Page of the Properties Toolbar.

Specular Levels: The number of specular levels you want to render your scene with will control how abruptly the shading goes from the base color to the brighter color shown in the specular highlight. The settings go up to eight but typically if you set it to two or three you'll see a very nice softening of the speculars that goes a long way to convince a casual observer that you've got some photorealistic stuff going on when you actually don't.

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Nick's Tips
When using the specular highlight option you should pay close attention to the segmentation settings on any primitive objects within your scene. The reason is that the shape of your specular highlights often suffers when the segmentation settings are too low. If you find irregular looking highlights showing up in your scene, the first thing to do is double check the segmentation settings (number of polygons that make up the primitive).

Include Reflections
Ooohh, baby, this one's cool. Since we live in a world rife with reflections, so too should our world of 3D vectors. At least that's the way our engineers feel about it. So now that Swift 3D includes materials that have reflective properties, RAViX III can calculate realistic reflections that occur in objects with reflective materials. Basically, any material that has its reflection color set to something other than black will exhibit reflective properties if this option is turned on when rendering with RAViX III.

Reflection Depths
This number corresponds to the number of times reflections can be bounced back and forth between objects. Have you ever looked in a mirror and seen something that you wouldn't expect to see, and when you look closer you realize that it's a reflection of another reflection? RAViX III has the ability to calculate up to eight of these reflection depths, but realistically you probably want to stay in the one to three range for two reasons: 1) rendering time increases every time you increase this setting because more calculations have to be accounted for; and 2) file size increases because there's more detail being written into your final file, and most often you won't be seeing a noticeable increase in file quality.

Nick's Tips
Be very judicious in your application of reflective materials if you're concerned with file size. By all means use them because it's a damn fine feature, but think about where the reflections are going to add real value to your image or animation. There tends to be certain surfaces where reflection really makes objects pop off the screen. Most small detailed surfaces don't need to be reflective and they'll only slow rendering speeds and increase file size when designated as such.

Flash Tutorial: Vector Output Options - Fills

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Include Shadows
Shadows take 3D to the next level of realism. Now obviously, they're not for every situation, but in certain instances they can make a scene really come to life. Upon export, if you turn on Include Shadows, every light within your scene designated as shadow casting (read about this lighting property in the Lighting chapter) will interact with the objects and cast realistic shadows on a variety of surfaces. Also, when shadows are cast upon one another (overlapping) RAViX III has the ability to calculate realistic shadow densities where those shadows intersect. These are the places where you might find shadows being cast in your scene:

Object Shadows: In scenes where there are multiple objects, shadow casting lights can create very cool shadows that fall onto other objects within the scene. A popular use of shadows is placing a plane object beneath your scene and designating a few of your overhead lights to cast shadows. Self Shadows: With more complex objects, when you choose to render shadows you can get some nice effects generated when parts of your object get in between the shadow casting light and the rest of the object. These are called selfshadows.

Flash Tutorial: Shadows
NOTE: You can expect to see your render time increase when exporting with shadows. Also, since there will need to be more vector information written into your files with shadows, you will see an increase in the size of your files as well.

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Edge Options
Edges, edges and more edges. We learned our lesson after first releasing Swift 3D—edges mean different things to different people. So we went ahead and beefed up our edge rendering options to make sure our users could get exactly the look they wanted. It's important to mention that you can export edges only, or combine them with any of the fill options. And remember that the additional edge information being written into your vector file is going to beef up your file size over whatever it would be with just fills.

Edge Type
You have two options when choosing the Edge Type feature: Outlines and Entire Mesh.

Outlines
I like to call this one 'Hard Edges' because that's what RAViX III looks for when it's detecting where to draw the outlines. If you need RAViX to pick up any further details you can use the Detail Edge control to do a bit of fine tuning. Read more about Detail Edge in the upcoming section. Outlines can also be defined by creating Smoothing Groups in the Advanced Modeler. Refer to the section on Smoothing Groups in the Advanced Modeler chapter for information on this process.

Entire Mesh
When you think 'Wireframe,' RAViX III thinks Entire Mesh. Essentially what's going on here is Swift 3D is exporting the outlines of every single polygon in your scene. The tighter the mesh is, the more polygons RAViX III will export, and the larger the final file size becomes. The only way you can alter the detail of your exported image is to either reduce or increase the number of polygons in your scene. You can control this by using the Segmentation settings within each object's Properties Page, or by bringing objects into the Advanced Modeler and editing their mesh. Very smooth (high-poly) objects can turn almost black with lines and very rough (low-poly) objects will begin to look like they were exported using the Outlines option.

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Include Hidden Edges
This feature is a variation of the wireframe concept in that it exports the front and the back edges of your model, giving it a transparent look. The best way to describe it is visually. The first image on the right is a box without the hidden edges exported and the second has the hidden edges included. That should pretty much clear things up for you. Just remember that you will be increasing your file size with the Hidden Edges being drawn because you're creating more information in that final vector file. And unless you have a very low polygon model, I wouldn't recommend using this feature with the Entire Mesh outline option because you will probably see way too many lines show up upon rendering.

Include Detail Edges
There are obvious places to find edges and less obvious places, and the Include Edge Detail control allows you to delineate where that line is drawn. The lowest level of edge detection comes when you are only looking for an outside edge - essentially an outline around your objects. But there is typically much more to an object that you want to define such as all of the interior lines that really bring out the detail and third dimension of an object. By choosing to turn this feature on, you are telling RAViX III to start looking for those interior edges. The next decision comes with choosing how much detail you want to call out, which gets decided through the Detail Angle control.

Detail Edge Angle
This function allows you to adjust how sensitive RAViX III is to the Detail Edge detection. The way it works is the lower the threshold angle, the more edges will be detected, and conversely the higher you go, the less edges will be detected. Sort of counter-intuitive, but hey, it's the geometry, not us. It all hinges upon the angle differences between the different faces of your objects, so there's not really a good way to describe which edges will be detected under which angle settings because it really depends on how your objects are constructed. The best bet is to mess around until you get the appropriate number of edges being detected and rendered out.

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Line Weight
This function allows you to designate the weight of your lines upon rendering. There's a range from hairline to 10 point.

Line Color
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Double click on the color box, choose your color, and bingo, your edges will be that color. Since I'm completely unqualified to go into color theory, that's about as far as I'm going to take that one.

Flash Tutorial: Vector Output Options - Edges

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Overview

rendering with EMO

Although Swift 3D has its roots in vectors, it has evolved to also become fluent in the realm of raster output. Flash users have been expanding their repertoire beyond pure vector content and are commonly incorporating raster images and animations into their projects. For this reason, we include a secondary rendering engine within Swift 3D that is geared to satisfy users looking for richer looking 3D content. This rendering engine is named EMO (short for Electric Motion) and it's at your disposal. EMO uses a specific technique known as Ray Tracing to turn your scene into a raster file. Ray Tracing is a rendering technique whereby complex mathematical calculations are performed to determine how the lights, colors and objects within the scene affect the overall appearance of the scene. I don't want to bore you with too many details regarding the insane equations that govern this rendering process (which means I have no clue how EMO's Ray Tracing actually operates behind the scenes in Swift 3D). Suffice to say that by calculating how real light rays would naturally interact with the objects in your scene EMO is able to render incredibly realistic files. Aside from more realistic rendering, EMO opens some more doors in the creation environment as well. Because EMO is able to analyze the interaction of light with a surface more accurately than RAViX III, you have the ability to apply textures to your objects in the form of Bitmap and Procedural Textures (see chapter on Materials for more information on these concepts).

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General
Target File Type
Here you can decide what file format you want to export your final rendering to. By default, the Target File Type is set to the SWF file format. You can change the file type Swift 3D defaults to by going to View > User Preferences. It’s important to note, however, that no matter what file type is chosen, the rendering process will be identical. For this reason you can render a scene once and then export it to a variety of raster files without having to render the scene again. Flash Player (SWF) - Although the SWF file format started out as a vector format, it now supports raster imagery as well. Swift 3D has the ability to render frame-by-frame raster animations and place all of the frames into a single SWF file that can then be imported into Flash. Windows Bitmap (BMP) - BMPs are bitmap files that use the common Windows file format for storing color images. This file format is the native format for Microsoft Windows and many Windows programs support this format. JPEG Format (JPG) - JPEG files are a standard supported by almost all applications, browsers, media players, etc. Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - PNG (Portable Network Graphic) is a non-patented, lossless compression format for creating graphics. Tagged Image Format (TIF) - TIF is one of the most common graphic image formats. TIF files are commonly used in desktop publishing, faxing and 3D applications. True Vision TARGA (TGA) - TGA files are another standard Windows format that support both 24 and 32 bit colors.

File Level
These three Flash file types are all pretty much the same. No matter what you save your file as, it will play back in any compatible version of the Flash Player, and will import into a version of the Flash authoring tool that is equal to or greater than the level you choose.

Bitmap Compression
This option is activated only for JPEG, PNG and SWF formats. The slider goes from Size, which provides the smallest file, to Quality, which creates the nicest image. It's important to realize that if you are going to be importing your rendered files into Flash for inclusion into a larger project, then Flash will do the final compression on your raster images. This means that you should be rendering using at least the default compression settings so you don't end up precluding Flash's compression abilities. On the other hand, if you are not going to be doing any post-production work on your rendered files then you might want to pay extra attention to the Bitmap Compression settings because there is a very wide range of output quality associated with the two extreme settings.

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Color Depth
This setting has to do with the number of colors the rendered file is capable of including. All of the formats support 24 and 32 Bit colors, except JPEG, which only supports 24 Bit, and SWF, which only supports 32 Bit. Obviously 32 Bit colors are more rich, but there is little difference between them and the default settings should work fine for you.

Antialias Quality
Antialiasing is a process whereby pixels along the boundaries of two different colors are averaged together in order to smooth out edges to the viewer's eye. It's a fairly common process performed by most applications and players, and it's at your beckoned call when rendering scenes with EMO. The process involves blowing up the image a certain number of times, then averaging the pixels and finally shrinking it back down to the original size. Thus the settings are None, 2x2, 3x3 and 4x4, with the numbers representing how many times the image is blown up in size. Each level of magnification results in a higher quality file but also increases the overall render times.

Nick’s Tips
EMO can create some wicked output, but depending on your scene it can be slow to do so. Being a Ray Tracing rendering engine, it goes about its business by calculating what all of the light rays within your scene are up to at any given moment. There are a couple of materials that make this process slow down because of what those materials do to the millions of rays bouncing around. Reflectivity is one material property that can have a slowing effect because EMO needs to calculate all of the different light rays that are hitting the reflective surface. Another property is transparency. Allowing light to simply pass through an object is not a big deal, but EMO can also figure out how that light is refracted by the transparent surfaces in such a way that scenes look incredibly realistic. So be forewarned, reflectivity and transparency can have adverse effects on render times, and when you add them together you really need to be patient to get the super-cool results. I guess that’s why they made computers so they never have to sleep.

Flash Tutorial: Raster Output Options - General

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Overview

using exported files

So you've got this great looking output and you're wondering “What's next?” Well, since we hate to leave you completely out in the cold, we've got a few answers for you. Chances are you're creating your 3D animation to incorporate into a larger project. We realize that Swift 3D is more of a tool than an application, meaning that designers like yourself utilize Swift 3D to accomplish a certain part of their overall production goals. And now you've got this red hot rendering and you're itching to integrate it into whatever bigger picture you have envisioned. The first question is what type of file did you end up creating from Swift 3D? There are really three main answers to that question: SWF, SWFT or any raster format including raster-based SWF. There is somewhat of a divergence of strategies based on which exported format you’ve created, so let’s look at your options.

Publishing SWF files directly to Web
Although the majority of Swift 3D users are creating 3D animations to augment their Flash design, we realize that there are plenty of people who have no need to do any further SWF editing within Flash. Swift 3D creates SWF files that are ready for direct publishing to the Web or distribution to anyone who has the Flash player on their computer or handheld device. For this reason you can use any number of HTML editing applications to incorporate your SWF files into HTML-based Web sites.

SmartLayer SWFT Files using MX Importer
We were pretty pumped when Macromedia asked us to do an importer for Flash because we knew it would open some new doors for us and for our RAViX III rendering engine. Those new doors come in the form of our SmartLayer technology that enables Swift 3D to write layering information into the proprietary file format we use to transfer 3D information from Swift 3D to Flash. No longer are we handcuffed by the SWF file format, and by unshackling our files, we can pass the power and flexibility on to you, the designer.

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This new format is the SWFT file that was a part of your listing of Target File Type options back in the Output Options section of the Preview and Export Editor. If you chose to use the SWFT file format to get your content from Swift 3D to Flash MX or MX 2004 then you’re in the right place.

Swift 3D Importer
When you install Swift 3D, if you have either Flash MX or MX 2004 installed on your machine then the Swift 3D Importer was automatically installed for you so you should be all set to begin importing SWFT files. If you installed Flash MX or MX 2004 after you installed Swift 3D you can also manually install the Swift 3D Importer yourself.

How to manually install the Swift 3D Importer for Flash MX and MX 2004:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Make sure Flash is not currently open. Navigate to the folder where Swift 3D is installed on your computer. Open the “Version 4.00” folder. Open the “Flash Importer” folder. Copy the file “Swift3DImporter.” (This is a .dll file on Windows.) Navigate to the .../first run/importers folder of your Flash MX or MX 2004 installation. Paste the “Swift3DImporter” file into that folder.

Now the next time you fire up Flash MX or MX 2004 you will have the Swift 3D Importer enabled, allowing you to bring in SWFT files from Swift 3D.

How to import a SWFT file into Flash MX or MX 2004:
1. 2. 3. 4. After rendering your file using RAViX III (EMO is unable to use the Swift 3D Importer), open up Flash MX or MX 2004. Choose File > Import to Library. Choose “Swift 3D Importer (*.swft)” from the “Files of type” dropdown list. Navigate to your exported SWFT file and click OK.

That's it. Our importer will handle everything else for you. The Swift 3D Importer takes that SWFT file and automatically creates an individual movie clip within your current movie's Library, naming it after the file name.

Layers
When you open up the Movie Clip in Flash you'll see that RAViX III has written you a series of layers that all combine to make up the entire animation you rendered from Swift 3D. Here are the potential layers that will be created within Flash, working our way up from the bottom of the stacking order:

Colors Layers
These layers make up the foundation of the basic fill style you chose before rendering your file. For example, if you opted for the Cartoon Average Color Fill style, you'll find all of the colored shapes RAViX III created upon rendering within these layers.

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Colors (Stationary): Often things aren't always moving in your scene. Unfortunately, since 3D in Flash is a frame-byframe process we've had to draw out every object in every frame. With the ability to write information to separate layers we're not forced to draw every object for every frame. The big deal with this feature is that you can conserve on file size by only including a single frame for objects that aren't moving over time. Colors (Motion): As the name implies, these layers include information about all of the objects that change in appearance from frame to frame. There's nothing novel about how we're doing this because it's the same as it's always been. But if you look to the various aspects of your file we've written into the layers of Flash you'll see some additional flexibility available to you.

Outline Layers
If you turned on the Include Edges option within the Output Options area before rendering, you will have at least one layer of outlines appearing in your Flash file after import. Outlines (Stationary): As is the case with the Colors layers, in many Swift 3D files there are objects that do not move for a series of frames, and this layer will consist of the outlines of those objects. You will find a keyframe that marks the start of those objects’ existence followed by a series of static frames. Outlines (Motion): Anytime objects are moving from frame to frame, this layer will include the motion of the outlines of those objects, represented by a series of keyframes.

Shadows Layer
If you chose to include shadows in your file, a layer will be created that contains all of the shadow information grouped together. To gain access to the actual fills of the shadow objects you can break apart the group and adjust the fills individually.

Highlights Layer
These layers are created when you turn on the Include Specular Highlights option within the Fills category of the Preview and Export Editor. These highlights will be grouped together and will include the number of gradations specified within the Output Options of Swift 3D.

Reflections Layer
Any objects that had a reflective materials applied to them within Swift 3D will end up in this layer. It's important to note that it's not the object itself showing up in this layer, but any other objects in the scene that are reflected off of the surface of the original object.

Transparent Layer
Materials that have a transparency setting of anything above zero will reside in this layer. The colors you see within this layer will all have alpha settings less than 100% within Flash, and this layer should remain on top of the stacking order since they are meant to show other layers beneath them via their alpha settings. If you choose to import the SWFT file directly onto your stage or into an existing Movie Clip via the File > Import process, you'll find that all of these layers simply get stacked up on top of whatever layers are already included on the

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main stage. If you choose to do a File > Import to Library, you will find that a Movie Clip (or symbol if it’s a single frame rendering) has been placed into the Root of your Library and has been named using the file name.

Now the Fun Begins - Utilizing SmartLayer Technology
Now I'm no Flash guru, so I'll tell you straight up that chances are you can come up with way more novel ways of utilizing all of this flexibility inherent in these layers available to you. But I can certainly stick out my neck and get the ball rolling with a couple of scenarios that immediately come to mind. Scenario 1: You've rendered a scene with shadows, and you'd like to soften them up a little to match the rest of your Flash design. With the shadows being on a layer you can quickly do an Edit Multiple Frames and tweak their alpha settings in one fell swoop. Scenario 2: You're trying to create an effect where objects transition between a wireframe state and a fully shaded state. With Color and Edges on separate layers this becomes a cinch using a similar process as the Shadow scenario. Scenario 3: Your client is stressing about download times and wants you to bring down the file size of your movie as far as is humanly possible. With each of these components of your rendering accessible, it's very easy to go through each layer and delete out any unnecessary garbage that's not actually doing much for the overall animation quality. Scenario 4: You'd like the objects in your scene that aren't moving to be rendered out using a more realistic shading style since they will only be included in your FLA as a single keyframe. With this new layering system you can render your scenes several times using several different fill styles and then recombine different layers from different files in Flash as you see fit. That's really just scratching the surface, but I'll leave it up to the real geniuses of Swift 3D (that's you) to push this great feature to the limit.

Flash Tutorial: Working with SmartLayers in Flash MX or MX 2004

Updating Imported SWFT Files
If you go back and change your Swift 3D file in some way and would like to re-import your freshly rendered SWFT file into Flash, you will be notified if the file name is the same. If this is the case, Flash MX or MX 2004 will ask you if you'd like to overwrite the existing Movie Clips in your Library. You can choose the appropriate response depending on your situation.

SWF Files From RAViX III — Standard Import
We certainly realize that not everyone has upgraded to Flash MX or MX 2004 yet. With those folks in mind, we’ve taken strides to make sure the new RAViX III SmartLayer features don’t go unused by all of our customers. Since we can’t utilize the layering information we write for the Swift 3D Importer for Flash MX or MX 2004, we've taken a different approach for the non-MX users. Most of the crucial information is still contained within a Flash 3, 4 or 5 file, you'll just need to access it in a different way than with the Swift 3D Importer.

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To import a SWF file into Flash:
1. 2. 3. Open the version of Flash you are using. Choose File > Import. Navigate to the file you wish to import and click OK.

At this point the animation will appear on your main stage, but you can always bring the file directly into your library with the File > Import to Library command. NOTE: If you are using the Flash 4 File Level when exporting gradients from Swift 3D, you'll need to delete the first dummy frame of the animation. This process exists due to a bug in the Flash 4 authoring environment where very little of your animation is even viewable within the application. It plays just fine in the Flash Player, but working with invisible objects is no fun so we include some extra information in that frame to overcome the bug. Flash 3 and Flash 5 do not exhibit this problem.

Breaking Out to Layers
Now you just have to break apart the frames of your image to gain access to the objects that Swift 3D would have written into different layers using the importer. If you're dealing with a single frame it's very easy, but if you have a longer animation the process of separating out the different layers is a little more time consuming.

To break apart a single frame SWF:
1. 2. 3. Select the imported object on the stage. Do a CTRL + B to break apart the object. Begin selecting the objects that are now available.

You'll see that each layer that would have been created within the SWFT file is still accessible as groups of objects sharing the same characteristics. Your transparencies are all grouped together, as are your shadows, your speculars and so on. It's just a matter of a few commands in Flash to get those object groupings separated out onto their own layers. If you do have a longer animation, you can at least use the Edit Multiple Frames command within Flash to help break your frames apart all at once. After that it's going to be a tedious process of getting each group of objects onto a separate layer across multiple frames. You also won't get the benefits of being able to separate stationary and moving objects when you use the SWF file format to get your Swift 3D renderings into Flash.

To edit multiple frames in Flash:
1. 2. 3. Click the Edit Multiple Frames button along the bottom of the Timeline. Drag the End Onion Skin bracket to the end of your animation. Drag a marquee box around the entire scene to select all the objects in all the frames.

Once you have done this all of the imported artwork is selected, but you must do a Modify > Break Apart command to actually be able to edit the lines and fills of your artwork. Once the frames are broken apart you can edit the images as you would any other objects in Flash. If you have brought your animation in as a movie clip, you may want to center your animation within the movie clip stage so that when you place the clip into your main scene it will appear centered on where you drop it. To do this you

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just go through the same process of selecting all of the frames of your animation and then click-and-drag them all at once to the center of your movie clip, represented by the small cross-hatch in the center of the stage.

Flash Tutorial: Working with SWF Files in Flash 3, 4 and 5

Optimizing in Flash
As you probably know, Flash has an optimize function that converts lines to curves, thus lowering file size by reducing the amount of mathematical information needed to draw the vector lines and fills. With a little tweaking, you can get your file to tighten up, but there is definitely a point where things start to lose their original shape.

To optimize your vector files in Flash:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Click the Edit Multiple Frames button along the bottom of the Timeline. Drag the End Onion Skin bracket to the end of your animation. Drag a marquee box around the entire scene to select all the objects in all the frames. Select Modify > Break Apart. Choose Modify > Curves > Optimize (Flash 4) or Modify > Optimize (Flash 5 and MX) or Modify > Shape > Optimize (MX 2004). Play with the slider and see how much you can tighten the belt of your final SWF file.

Raster Files from EMO — Standard Import
If you've utilized the EMO Ray Tracer to generate your rendered file then there is only one process for bringing your file into Flash, and it's the straightforward File > Import command.

To import raster files (JPEG, BMP, TGA, PNG, TIF and SWF) into Flash
1. 2. 3. Choose File > Import. Navigate to the file(s) you exported from Swift 3D and click OK. If you've rendered sequential files (animation) choose the first file of the sequence.

If your file consists of a single frame image then it will appear on a new layer within Flash. If the file was the first of a sequence of files then Flash will prompt you with a dialog asking if you'd like to import the entire sequence. You can choose the appropriate option, and if you choose to import the sequence then you'll get a series of keyframes for each frame of your animation. After that, the images will behave just like any others you've worked with in Flash. Of course there are plenty of other uses for EMO’s raster output depending on what you're trying to create, but since Swift 3D is primarily geared for people who use Flash we'll leave the logistics of integrating your exported files into other applications up to you.

“Hey, it’s been fun. See you in V5!” - Nick

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Appendix A: Menus
Scene Editor Menu System
File
• • • • • • • • New, Open, Close, Save and Save As are all standard functions you'll see on most program. New From 3DS is a command that lets you build a new scene based on an imported 3DS file. Save Animation allows you to save an animation to the Animation Gallery. Saving Lighting allows you to save a lighting scheme to the Lighting Gallery. Saving Model allows you to save an extrusion, lathe or mesh to the Model Gallery. The Import command allows you to bring in Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) or Adobe Illustrator (AI) files and turn them into three-dimensional objects. You can also import DXF files, a popular 3D model file format. The Recent Documents line will list the recent Swift 3D documents you have been working on. Exit is computer-speak for Vaya con Dios.

Edit
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Unlimited Undo is music to my ears. No matter how good you are, you'll eventually mutter the words, “Whoa, what happened?” It's times like these I reach for the Undo button and say a prayer to the RainMaker. Clear Undo will clear out the Undo stack (this will free up memory and increase performance). Another prayer can be said to the Rainmaker for the ability to Redo any of my unwanted Undos. The Delete command gets rid of unwanted objects by erasing whatever is selected in your scene. Cut, Copy and Paste behave like normal, but they only work for objects within Swift 3D, not items from the clipboard that were created in other programs. Delete Object Animations will delete any animation applied to the 3D objects in your scene, while leaving untouched any lighting or camera animations. Delete All Animations wipes your animation slate completely clean. Scaling Mode is a backup of the Scaling button, giving you the option of resizing an object. Animating Mode is what you need to be in when creating animations within your scene. The Primitives list allows you to insert any of the Primitives found on the Main Toolbar. The Lights list allows you to insert the Scene Lights from the Main Toolbar. The Cameras list allows you to insert either of the two cameras from the Main Toolbar. You can also reset the position of any of your standard cameras. The Reset options will return your objects to their original state within each of the categories listed. Select All will select every object in your scene.

View
Changing the look of the interface isn't something you really need to do unless you are looking for some additional space to enlarge your Viewport. This becomes important when working on a small screen or with low resolution.

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• • • • • • • • • •

|

Menus

The Status Bar is the thin row of information that runs along the bottom of the Swift 3D screen. It's useful when you're exploring the interface and when it comes time to export your image since it displays the progress of the rendering process. Property Tools displays or hides the Properties Toolbar. Trackball Tools displays or hides the Rotation Toolbar. Gallery Tools displays or hides the Materials and Animations Toolbars. Lighting Tools displays or hides the Lighting Toolbar and associated buttons. Edit Tools shows or hides the Main Toolbar across the top of the screen. The Animation Timeline is a window that's necessary if you are doing any animation editing, but if you are making a still scene, ditch the sucker because you won't need it. Hierarchy displays or hides the Hierarchy toolbar. Show All Viewports will return both Viewport into view if one has been Maximized. Zoom Viewport allows you to change the size of your Viewport. You are not actually changing its dimensions like you would in the Layout Properties, rather, just its size relative to the interface.

Animation
• • • •

Stop Playing Animation and Play Animation turn the animation off and on. First Frame and Last Frame reset or advance the animation to the beginning or the end. Previous Frame and Next Frame allow you to move your animation back or forward by a single frame. Loop toggles the Loop function on and off, determining how your animation gets exported.

Setup
• • • • • •

Animations opens the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can manage and organize the Animation Gallery. Materials opens the Gallery Setup dialog, which allows you to edit existing materials and create new materials from scratch. Environments opens the Gallery Setup dialog, which allows you to edit existing environments and create new environments from scratch. Lighting opens the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can manage and organize the Lighting Gallery. Models opens the Gallery Setup dialog, from which you can manage and organize the Model Gallery. From the User Preferences dialog a variety of default settings for features found throughout Swift 3D can be adjusted.

Arrange
• • The Group and Ungroup commands allow you to control associations between objects. The Combine and Break Apart commands have to do with extruded objects and how they are related with each other.

Window
• •

Next will move you to the next open Swift 3D document. Open Windows shows you what Swift 3D documents you currently have open. By selecting from this list you will activate that document and your current document will disappear but remain open.

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Help
• • •

• • • • •

Online Help will launch a Flash Help system based on this User Guide. The advantage to using the Online Help is that it is fully searchable and always accessible, and it may contain additional information on features that were implemented after the User Guide went to print. User Guide (PDF) will launch Adobe Acrobat and open up a PDF version of the User Guide. This is mostly there for folks who downloaded Swift 3D and would like to print out the User Guide. About Swift 3D will give you a listing of relevant information like who the software is licensed to, the product ID number, what version you own and what build number you're working with. Some of this information is very pertinent to getting prompt and accurate email tech support since we need to know exactly what version of the software you have to answer certain questions. Register Online is how you get your copy of this program registered. We have not included a registration card in the box so the only way you can register Swift 3D is electronically. Hopefully you have already registered your copy with us during the installation. Electric Rain Web Site opens your Web browser and brings you directly to our main site where you can find out more about our company and our other products. Technical Support Site will launch your default browser and take you to the support portion of our Web site where you can gain the quickest access to answers for most technical support issues. Web Tutorials Site will launch your default browser and bring you to our online tutorials area. If you have the CD version of Swift 3D, most of the available tutorials are included on the CD itself. As needs arise, however, we will be creating new tutorials so you should check in once and awhile. Product Updates will give you information on any product updates and access to the most recent build of Swift 3D. You must be a registered user to access this Web site.

Extrusion and Lathe Editor Menu System
View
• • •

Zoom allows you to physically choose what magnification you'd like to be viewing your extrusion paths at, ranging from 25% to 800%. This is a backup for the Magnifying Glass tool. Point Properties will open the corresponding dialog where you can control the style, position and nudge preferences of each point of your path. Animation Timeline displays or hides the Animation toolbar.

Edit
• • • • • •

Undo works as it should. This is the menu equivalent of CTRL + Z (Win) or Command + Z (Mac) and clicking the Undo button on the Extrusion Editor toolbar. Add Point Tool allows you to add points to an existing object. Shape Tool allows you to adjust point positions. Zoom Tool allows you to zoom in or out from your drawing. Corner Point Mode puts you into a mode in which all the points added will be Corner Points. (This is the default setting.) Curve Point Mode puts you into a mode in which all the points added will be Curve Points. 229

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• •

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Menus


• • • • •

Tangent Point Mode puts you into a mode in which all the points added will be Tangent Points. Close Shape will close the path you are currently working on. Create Circle, Rounded Rectangle Path, Star Path, Plus Sign Path, Arrow Path, N-Gon Path will all insert the corresponding pre-made path. Delete gets rid of whatever is selected. This is redundant to hitting the Delete key. Copy will copy the selected path. Paste will paste the copied path. Paste in place will paste the copied path in place. Select All selects all of the points in your extrusion.

Window
See Scene Editor Menu System for explanation of options.

Help
See Scene Editor Menu System for explanation of options.

Advanced Modeler Menu System
File
• • Save and Save As will save the entire .t3d file. Save Modeler Default Settings will save all of the modeler's settings as the default for when you enter the Advanced Modeler to create a new model.

Edit
• • • • • • • • • • • • • Editing Mesh puts you into a mode for editing an object’s mesh. Texture Mode allows you to edit bitmaps textures applied to a mesh. All of the Primitives available through the Advanced Modeler can be inserted into the Viewports from this menu. (Note: Inserting Primitives in the Advanced Modeler differs from the one step process of the Scene Editor. See section on Primitives in the Advanced Modeler chapter for specific steps on carrying out this function.) Undo is unlimited and will undo just your modeling efforts. Camera movement is not included. Redo will redo any action you have undone. Clear Undo will clear out the Undo stack (this will free up memory and increase performance). Duplicate serves to make a copy of the object or elements currently selected in the Viewports. Delete Selection will delete your currently selected objects or elements. Hide Selection will hide from view currently selection objects or elements. Hide All will hide all objects currently contained within the Viewports. Unhide All will bring back into view any objects that have previously been hidden. Select All will select everything in the Viewports. Select Inverse deselects the current selection and selects all of the vertices, edges or faces that had not been selected. So it basically reverses the selected area of an object.

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Select
• • • • • • Vertices enables the Select Vertices tool. Edges enables the Select Edges tool. Faces enables the Select Faces tool. Surface Groups enables the Select Surfaces tool. Object enables the Select Object tool. Soft Select enables the Soft Select tool.

Transform
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Constrain Axes allows you set the X, Y or Z axes as constraining axes. Move enables the Move tool and allows you to refine axis constraints. Rotate enables the Rotate Tool and allows you to refine axis constraints. Scale enables the Scale tool and allows you to refine axis constraints. Extrude enables the Extrude tool and allows you to refine axis constraints. Mirror will provide a mirror image of your object. See chapter for explanation of options available. Flatten will flatten the mesh of the selected area. Roundness will round your selected object or faces outward or inward. Subdivide will subdivide the selected object or faces by 4 or by 3, as well as subdivide and smooth. Weld will collapse selected vertices into a single vertex. SmartWeld will weld selected vertices to those vertices within a certain tolerance region as defined through the Selection property page. From the Edge option you can Divide an edge (with two vertices selected, the faces that both vertices have in common are divided into two faces) or turn an edge (with two opposing faces selected the Turn Edge function changed the direction of the shared edge). Flip Normals will reverse the direction the surface normals are facing. Delete Empty Faces will delete any polygons whose surface area is within a given tolerance of zero in order to clean up a mesh.

Position
• Align To allows you to align selected surfaces to an axis or other selected surface areas.

Setup
See Scene Editor Menu System for explanation of options.

View
• • • • Gallery Tools turns the Gallery Toolbar off or on. Property Tools turns the Properties Toolbar off or on. Status Bar turns the Status Bar off or on. Viewports allows you to arrange the setup of the Viewports.

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Menus

Help
See Scene Editor Menu System for explanation of options.

Preview and Export Editor Menu System
File
• • •

Save and Save As do just that. Export All Frames will export all frames that have been generated. Export Selected Frames will export only those frames selected in the Render Preview area.

View
• • • The Status Bar is the thin row of information that runs along the bottom of the Swift 3D screen. It tells you how many polygons are being rendered and let’s you keep track of where the rendering is at, all very useful information, especially when rendering long, complex animations. Property Tools displays (when checked) or hides the Preview and Export Editor’s Properties Toolbar. Animation Reel displays or hides the Render Preview toolbar.

Animation
• • • • •

Stop Playing Animation and Play Animation turn the animation off and on. First Frame and Last Frame reset or advance the animation to the beginning or the end. Previous Frame and Next Frame allow you to move your animation back or forward by a single frame. Generate All Frames renders out your entire animation. Generate Selected Frames renders out the frames you have selected in the Render Preview area.

Window
See Scene Editor Menu System for explanation of options.

Help
See Scene Editor Menu System for explanation of options.

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Appendix B: Keyboard Strokes/Shortcuts
Scene Editor
Menus
File
CTRL + N (Win)/Command + N (Mac) - Open New File CTRL + 3 (Win)/Command + 3 (Mac) - Open New File from 3DS CTRL + O (Win)/Command + O (Mac) - Open Existing T3D File CTRL + S (Win)/Command + S (Mac) - Save File

Edit
CTRL + Z (Win)/Command + Z (Mac) - Undo CTRL + Y (Win)/Command + Y (Mac) - Redo CTRL + X (Win)/Command + X (Mac) - Cut CTRL + C (Win)/Command + C (Mac) - Copy CTRL + V (Win)/Command + V (Mac) - Paste CTRL + A (Win)/Command + A (Mac) - Select All

Animation
> (Win)/Command + > (Mac) - Next Frame < (Win)/Command + < (Mac) - Previous Frame Right Click (Win)/CTRL + Click (Mac) on Keyframe - Keyframe Context Sensitive Menu CTRL (Win)/Option (Mac) + click and drag - Pull the Bezier handle away from green control point

Arrange
Alt + G (Win)/Command + G (Mac) - Group Alt + U (Win)/Command + U (Mac) - Ungroup Alt + C (Win)/Command + M (Mac) - Combine Alt + B (Win)/Command + B (Mac) - Break Apart

Viewport
Object Selection
Click - Select object Shift + Click - Select multiple objects by clicking while holding down Shift key CTRL + Click (Win)/Option + Click (Mac) - Select an individual object from a group

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Shortcuts

Object Position
Click-and-Drag - Move object to new location in scene Arrow Keys - Nudge selected object to new location in scene Shift + Click-and-Drag - Constrain object movement horizontally or vertically Shift + Right Click (Win)/Option + Click (Mac) and Drag Down - Move object back along Z axis Shift + Right Click (Win)/Option + Click (Mac) and Drag Up - Move object back along Z axis

Standard Cameras
Alt (Win) or Command (Mac) - Camera Mode Alt (Win) or Command (Mac) + Click-and-Drag in background - Pan Camera Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) and Drag Down in background - Zoom Camera Out Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) and Drag Up in background - Zoom Camera In

Rotation and Lighting Trackball
Shift and Drag - Lock Vertical Axis CTRL and Drag - Lock Horizontal Axis CTRL + Shift and Drag - Lock Clockwise or Counterclockwise

All Galleries
Right click (Win)/CTRL + click (Mac) on thumbnail - Gallery Context Sensitive Menu

Material Gallery
SHIFT + click-and-drag - Replaces all objects sharing one material with the new material. Double click on thumbnail to bring up Material Editor.

Extrusion and Lathe Editors
Menus
Edit
CTRL + Z (Win)/Command + Z (Mac) - Undo A - Add Point Tool S - Add Shape Tool Z - Magnify Tool Click - Zoom In Right + Click (Win)/Option + Click (Mac) - Zoom Out C - Corner Point Mode U - Curve Point Mode T - Tangent Point Mode 234

Swift 3D V4 User Guide L - Close Object CTRL + C (Win)/Command + C (Mac) - Copy CTRL + P (Win)/Command + P (Mac) - Paste Shift + CTRL + Z (Win)/Command + Z (Mac) - Paste in place CTRL + A (Win)/Command + A (Mac) - Select All

Point Position
Shift and Drag - Constrain point(s) movement along horizontal or vertical axis Arrow Keys - Nudge selected point(s) to new location Right + Click (Win)/CTRL + Click (Mac) - Context Sensitive Menu

Path Selection
Double Click - Selects entire path with all control points and control handles

Animation Timeline
Right Click (Win)/CTRL + Click (Mac) on Keyframe - Keyframe Context Sensitive Menu

Advanced Modeler
Menus
File
CTRL + S (Win)/Command + S (Mac) - Save File

Edit
CTRL + Z (Win)/Command + Z (Mac) - Undo CTRL + Y (Win)/Command + Y (Mac) - Redo CTRL + V (Win)/Command + V (Mac) - Duplicate CTRL + E (Win)/Command + E (Mac) - Hide Selection CTRL + H (Win)/Command + H (Mac) - Hide All CTRL + U (Win)/Command + U (Mac) - Unhide All CTRL + A (Win)/Command + A (Mac) - Select All CTRL + I (Win)/Command + I (Mac) - Select Inverse

Select
V - Select Vertices E - Select Edges F - Select Faces G - Select Surface Areas O - Select Objects

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Shortcuts

CTRL (Win) or OPTION (Mac) - Deselect selected Vertices, Edges, Faces or Surface Areas

Transform
CTRL + Shift + X - Constrain > X CTRL + Shift + Y - Constrain > Y CTRL + Shift + Z - Constrain > Z M - Move R - Rotate S - Scale X - Extrude

2D Viewports
Alt (Win) or Command (Mac) - Camera Mode Alt (Win) or Command (Mac) + Click-and-Drag in background - Pan Camera Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) and Drag Down in background - Zoom Camera Out Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) and Drag Up in background - Zoom Camera In CTRL + Shift + Click on Axis Guide - To constrain any of the X, Y or Z axes

Perspective Viewport
Alt (Win) or Command (Mac) - Camera Mode Alt (Win) or Command (Mac) + Click-and-Drag on Camera Target Point - Pan Camera Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) and Drag Down in background - Zoom Camera Out Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) and Drag Up in background - Zoom Camera In Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL (Mac) Inside Arc - Rotate Camera Alt + Right Click (Win)/Command + CTRL + Click (Mac) Outside Arc - Roll Camera CTRL + Shift + Click on Axis Guide - To constrain any of the X, Y or Z axes

Preview and Export Editor
Menus
File
CTRL + S (Win)/Command + S (Mac) - Save

Animation
> (Win)/Command + > (Mac) - Next Frame < (Win)/Command + < (Mac) - Previous Frame 236

Swift 3D V4 User Guide

Render Preview
Click - Select frame SHIFT + Click - Select multiple, sequential frames CTRL + Click - Select multiple, nonsequential frames

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Shortcuts

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Numerics
3DS Files 101, 102 Animations 102 Cameras 102 Format 101 Importing 102 Lights 102 Materials 102 Model Mesh 101 Properties 102

A
Adobe Illustrator 205 Advanced Modeler 3, 19, 105 3D Concepts 106 Normal 108 Polygons 107 Edge 107 Face 107 Vertex 107 Align To 138 Axis 138 Surface 139 Bitmap Texture Mapping 148 Edit Texture Mode 149 Default Settings 109 Delete Empty Polygons 143 Duplicate Selection 125 Edge 143 Divide Edge 143 Turn Edge 143 Edit Mesh Button 112 Editing Mesh Mode 113 Extrude 137 Extrude Tool 137 Extrude Tool Property Page 138 Normal 138 Overview 137 Extrusions 88 Flatten 140 General Property Page 117 Auto Smoothing 117 Nudge Increment 117 Object Statistics 117 Redraw All Viewports 117 Hide 125 Lathes 93 Mirror 139

Model Gallery 115 Move 131 Move Property Page 132 Move Tool 132 Move Tool Numeric Positioning 132 Normal Extrude 138 Flip Normals 108, 122 Overview 105 Polygon Limitations 118 Primitive Meshes 116 Inserting 116 Properties Toolbar Extrude Tool 138 Move Tool 132 Rotate Tool 134 Scale Tool 136 Selection 122 Smoothing Groups 146 Surface Groups 127 Redo 126 Rotate 133 Numeric 134 Rotate Tool 133 Rotate Tool Property Page 134 Rotation Control Points 134 Setting Rotation Point 134 Roundness 141 Scale 135 Numeric 136 Scale Center 136 Scale Tool 135 Scale Tool Property Page 136 Selection 118 Delete 126 Deselecting 120 Enable Multiselect 123 How To 120 Ignore Backfaces 122 Locking Selection 120 Marquee Box 121 Mesh Selection 118 Mouseover Enable Mouseover 122 Mouseover Selection 119 Multiple Selection 121 Object Selection 118

Select All 121 Select Cursor 119 Select Edges 118 Select Faces 118 Select Inverse 121 Select Object 118 Select Surface Groups 118 Select Tools 118 Select Vertices 118 Selection Property Page 122 Soft Select 123 Troubleshooting 122 Smoothing Auto Smoothing 117 Subdivide Smooth 142 Smoothing Groups 145 Assign 146 Clear 147 Rendered Outlines 148 Select 147 Unsmoothing 148 Soft Select 123 Curve Type 125 Exponential 125 Form Factor 125 Parabolic 125 Vertex Radius 124 Subdivide 141 Flat 3 Face 142 Flat 4 Face 142 Smooth 142 Exclude Border 143 Include Border 143 Surface Groups And Separate Selection 129 Creating 127 Deleting 128 Group All 128 Hide 129 List Box 128 Materials 129 Name 128 Select 128 Select Surface Groups Tool 118 Show 129 Ungroup All 128 Transform Tools 129 Axis Constraint 131

239

Index
Cursors 130 Location 130 Overview 129 Property Pages 131 Undo 126 Clear Undo 23, 126 Unhide 125 User Preferences 113 Viewport Display Modes 112 Show Materials 112 Wire Overlay 112 Perspective 112 Viewport Menu 110 Viewports 109, 111 2D Orthographic 111 Axis Guide 110 Constrain Axis 110 Changing Views 111 Customizing 109 Reference Grid 110 Viewport Menu 110 Weld 144 SmartWeld 145 Wire Overlay 112 Workflow With Scene Editor 106 AI and EPS Import 95 Depth 96 Editing 97 Layers 96 Materials 96 Strokes and Fills 98 Tips 98 Troubleshooting 100 Angle point 78 Animation 183 Adjusting Length 189 Animate Button 23, 184 Cameras 195 Deleting 190 Drag-and-drop 186 Editing Animation Path 191 Hierarchy 196 Keyframe Animation 188 Keyframes 184 Copying and pasting 190 Deleting 190 Editing 190 Linear Frame Spacing 189 Lights 194 Materials 194 Path Morphing 197 Scale 194 Show Animation Paths 41 Starting and Stopping 188 Timeline 184 Animation Gallery 186 Drag and Drop 187 Animation Palette Drag and Drop Creating 187 Saving 187 Drop Target 187 Animation Path Mode 191 Animation Properties 185 Animation Timeline 184 Animation Palette 186 Animation Properties 185 Current Frame Indicator 185 Frames Per Second 186 Loop Animation 186 Playback Controls 185 Selection Name 185 Animation Toolbar 24 Antialiasing 219 Area Gradient Shading 210 Axis of Rotation 90

C
Camera Mode 21, 176 Cameras 175 Animating 195 Camera Mode 176 Free Cameras 179 Positioning 180 Rotating 180 Hide 182 Hierarchy 58, 179, 182 Lens Length 181 Lock 182 Naming 181 Perspective 177 Panning 177 Rolling 178 Rotating 178 Zooming 178 Property Page 181 Rendering 182 Reset Camera Location 177 Scene 179 Adding 179 Selecting 179 Standard 176 Standard Cameras Panning 176 Zooming 176 Target Cameras 180 Positioning 180 Rotating 181 Targeted Cameras 180 Zoom Camera Extents 177 Cartoon Average Color Fill 209 Cartoon Four Color Fill 210 Cartoon Full Color Fill 210 Cartoon Single Color Fill 208 Cartoon Two Color Fill 209 Children 58 Close Shape Button 79 Color Depth 219 Combine 86 Combine Edges and Fills 207 Compressed 206 Cone 64 Closed 64 Radius 64 Segmentation 64

B
Balance Mesh 142 Bevels 73 Bevel Gallery 73 Bitmap Compression 218 Bitmap Images 99 Bitmap Texture Mapper Use Texture Coordinates 47 Bitmap Texture Mapping 148 Bitmap Textures 152 Importing 159 Tiling 159 Wrapping 159 Bitmaps 148 Mapping 148 Box 63 Segmentation 63 Sizing 63 Break Apart 86

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Axial 64 Radial 64 Create Cameras 22 Lights 22 Objects 22 Creating a new document 16 Cube 63, 67 Current Frame Indicator 185 Curve Fitting 207 Curve Point 78 Cylinder 65 Radius and Length 65 Segmentation 65 Copy and Paste 85 Corner Point 78 Curve Point 78 Deleting Points 83 Extrusion Gallery 80 Magnifying Glass 79 Moving Points 83 Path Morphing 197 Pen Tool 78 Point Properties 85 Nudge Increment 84 Position 84 Type 84 Selection Tool 78 Shape Tools 79 Sizing Handles 84 Tangent Point 79 Undo Button 79 Using 78 Extrusion Gallery 80 Extrusions 2D Loops 85 Bevels 88 Creating 81 Excluding Shapes 85 Sizing 88 Lighting Gallery 168 Model Gallery 115 Naming Conventions 26 Saving Content 27 GeoSphere 62 Radius 62 Subdivision Depth 62 Gouping Objects Selecting Groups 58 Grouping Objects Hierarchy 58

H
Hidden Edges 215 Hidden Objects 41, 46 HIde 182 Hide 41, 172 Hierarchy 58, 196 Animation 196 Cameras 182 Groups 59 Lights 173 Object Bones 42, 59 Parent/Child 58 Selecting Objects 49 HTML Help 11

D
Depth Bevel 74 Detail Edge Angle 215 Detail Edges 215 Detail Level 206 Double Illuminate 157 Draw Backfaces 41 DXF Files 101, 103 Importing 103

E
Edge Type 214 EMO Ray Tracer 4, 217, 226 Encapsulated PostScript 205 Entire Mesh 214 Environment 42 Ambient Light Color 43 Background Color 42 Creating and Editing 165 Environment 44 Render Window 166 Export To File 202 Export Entire Animation 202 Export Selected Frames 202 Exported Files Working with 221 Exporting 199 Extrusion Editor 19, 77 Adding Points 83 AI and EPS Files 86, 87 Changing Points 83 Close Shape Button 79 Combining and Breaking Apart 86

F
Face, Bevel 74 File Level 206 Fill Options 208 Flat Shaded 41 Frames Per Second 186 Free Cameras 179

I
Importing 2, 102 3DS Files 101 AI and EPS Files 95 Lathe Editor 97 Tips 98 Troubleshooting 100 Bitmap Textures 159 DXF Files 103 Installation 8, 9 CD-ROM 9 Download 9 Full Release 9 Maintenance Builds 10 System Requirements 9 Interface 16 Customization 17 Screen Resolution 16

G
Gallery Setup 25 Category List Box 25 Content List Box 26 Gallery Toolbar 2, 25 Sharing Content 28 Animation Gallery 186 Bevel Gallery 73 File Formats 27 File Locations 27 Gallery Management 25 Gallery Setup 25 Lathe Gallery 91

K
Keyframe Animation 188 Keyframes 184

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Index

L
Lathe Editor 19, 89 Adding Points 83 Axis of Rotation 89, 90 Changing Points 83 Copy and Paste 92 Copy and Pasting 85 Deleting Points 83 Drawing Tools 89 Importing 2D Paths 92 Moving Points 83 Path Morphing 197 Point Properties 85 Properties 92 Segmentation 93 Smoothing 93 Sweep Angle 92 Using 89 Lathe Gallery 91 Layers 222 Layout 39 Settings 40 Nudge Increment 40 Trace Depth 40 Lighting 167 Lighting Gallery 4, 168 Lighting Toolbar 24 Lights 167 Animating 194 Hierarchy 58, 171, 173 Lighting Gallery 168 Lighting Property Page 172 Active 172 Color 172 Hide 172 Lock 172 Naming 172 Shadows 172 Specular 173 Point Light 168 Positioning 171 Properties 172 Scene Lights 170 Free Lights 170 Target Lights 170 Selecting 170 Shadows 172 Specular 173

Spot Light 168 Options 173 Trackball 169 Adding and Subtracting 170 Positioning 169 Type 168 Point Light 168 Spot Light 168 Line Color 216 Line Weight 216 Linear Frame Spacing 189 Lock 172, 182 Locking Objects 47 Loop Animation 186

M
Macintosh Toolbars 17 Macromedia Flash 204 Importing EMO Files 226 Optimizing 226 Working with 221, 224 Magnifying Glass 79 Main Toolbar 22 Material Editor 156 Accessing 156 Color 157, 160 Brightness 158 Color Selector 158, 161 Control Arrow 161 Noise 161 Pattern 158, 160 Reflective Color 164 Scale 161 Transparency 158 Finish 157 Ambient Color 157 Double Illuminate 157 Highlight Size 157 Highlight Strength 157 Reflection Color 157 Generate Preview Button 156 Preview Window 156 Texture 158, 162 Amount 162 Noise 162 Pattern 162 Scale 162 Material Gallery

Applying Materials 153 Material Drop Surface Target 154 Saving Materials 155 Materials 151 Animating 194 Applying Materials Material Property Page 155 Multiple Surfaces 154 Applying to Multiple Objects 155 Bitmap Textures 152 Creating and Editing 156 Bitmap Textures 159 Procedural Color Maps 160 Procedural Texture Mapping 162 Reflective Materials 164 Solid (Vector) Colors 157 Transparent Materials 163 Drop Surface Target 154 Editing Instance 155 Environment 165 Gallery Setup Add Material 27 Move Material 27 New Category 25 Remove Material 26 Material Drop Surface Target 154 Material Editor 156 Material Gallery 151 Procedural Textures 153 Property Page 154 Applying Materials 155 Raster 152 Render Window/Rectangle Buttons 154 Saving 155 Surface Groups 129 Vector 152 Menu 29 Menu System 227 Mesh Gradient Shading 211 Mesh Quality 74 Mirror Negative Scaling 58

N
Negative Scaling 58 New Document 22

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Normal 108 Nudge Increment 40, 84 Reset Pivot Location 53 Pivots Points Show Pivot Points 42 Plane 66 Segmentation 66 Sizing 66 Playback Controls 185 Point Light 168 Polygon Limitations 118 Polygons 107 Polyhedron 66 Families 67 Cube/Octahedron 67 Dodecahedron/Icosahedron 68 Star 1 68 Star 2 68 Tetrahedron 67 Family Parameters 68 P and Q 68 Scale Axis 69 Radius 69 Positioning Objects 51 Click and Drag 51 Constrain Axis 51 Nudge Increment 40 Nudge Keys 51 Numeric Input 52 Reset Position 52 Preview and Export Editor 199 Workflow 20, 199 Previewing 199, 200 Primitive Objects 61 Procedural Color Maps 160 Procedural Texture Mapping 162 Procedural Textures 153 Properties Toolbar 21 Bevels 88 Bevels Property Page 73 Bezier Path 192 Cameras 181 Environment 42 Layout 39 Material 154 Object 45 Position 52 Scale 57, 88 Sizing 88 Sizing Property Page 75 Publishing to Web 221 Pyramid 63 Sizing 63

O
Object Bones 42 Objects Box 63 Cone 64 Copy and Pasting 54 Copying and Pasting 50 Cylinder 65 Deleting 50 Grouping 49 Hiding 46 Locking 47 Naming 46 Parent/Child Relationships 58 Pivot Points Reset Location 53 Polyhedron 66 Position Reset 52 Positioning 51 Primitives 61 Property Page 45 Pyramid 63 Rotating 54 Rotation Reset 55 Selecting 48 Sphere 62 Text 71 Working With 45 Open Existing Document 22 Outlines 214 Smoothing Groups 148

R
Raster Materials 152 RAViX III 4, 203 Ray Tracing 217 Redo 23 Reference Grid 41 Reflection Depth 212 Include 212 Reflective Materials 164 Include Reflections 165 Refraction Index 47, 163 Render Preview 200 Generate All Frames 200 Generate Selected Frames 201 Lock Selected Frames 201 Playback Controls 202 Select Every Nth Frame 201 Selecting Frames 201 Swift 3D Importer 201 Render Rectangle 23 Render Window 23 Rendering 199 Edge Options 214 Detail Edge Angle 215 Detail Edges 215 Edge Type 214 Entire Mesh 214 Hidden Edges 215 Line Color 216 Outlines 214 EMO Ray Tracer 217 Antialias Quality 219 Bitmap Compression 218 Color Depth 219 File Level 218 General 218 Target File Type 218 Fill Options 208 Area Gradient Shading 210 Cartoon Average Color Fill 209 Cartoon Four Color Fill 210 Cartoon Full Color Fill 210 Cartoon Single Color Fill 208

P
Parent Objects 58 Parent/Child Relationships 58, 196 Path Animation Bezier Path Properties 192 Orient to Path 193 Point Type 192 Position 193 Setting Object to Path 193 Path Animation Editor 4 Path Morphing 197 Pen Tool 78 Pivot Points 53

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Index
Cartoon Two Color Fill 209 Mesh Gradient Shading 211 Output Options Adobe Illustrator 205 Animation 206 Combine Edges and Fills 207 Compressed 206 Curve Fitting 207 Detail Level 206 Encapsulated PostScript 205 File Level 206 General 204 Macromedia Flash 204 Scalable Vector Graphics 205 SVG Options 206 Target File Type 204 SmartLayer Technology 221, 224 System Requirements 9 Rotating Objects 54 Lock Axis Buttons 54 Numeric Rotation 55 Reset Rotation 55 Rotation Trackball 54 Rotation Toolbar 24 Reflections Layer 223 Separate Stationary and Moving Objects 204 Shadows Layer 223 Transparent Layer 223 Smooth Shaded 40 Smoothing 48 Auto Smooth 48 Smoothing Angle 48 Unsmooth 48 Smoothing Groups 48 Specular Highlights 173 Sphere 62 Radius 62 Segmentation 62 Spot Light 168 Standard Cameras 176 Star 2 68 Subdivide Balance Mesh 142 SVG 205 Animation 206 Compressed 206 Options 206 SWF 204 Raster SWF 218, 226 Swift 3D 1 Interface 16 Workflow 2 Swift 3D Importer 5, 201 System Requirements 9 Rendering Performance 9 Video Cards 9 Inserting 71 Overview 71 Sizing 75 Text Property Page 71 Alignment 72 Character Map 72 Convert Text to Paths 75 Font 72 Text Box 72 Texture Smooth Shaded 40 Textures Bitmap 152 Procedural 153 Tiling 159 Toolbars 17 Hide 17 Resizing 17 Undocking 17 Torus 65 Radius 65 Segmentation 65 Major Radius 65 Minor Radius 65 Transparency 163 Refraction Index 47, 163 Tutorial Desk Lamp 29 Tutorials 10, 28, 44, 48, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 69, 76, 83, 88, 90, 93, 96, 100, 103, 112, 126, 129, 138, 145, 148, 154, 159, 160, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 171, 173, 182, 188, 191, 193, 196, 197, 202, 208, 212, 213, 216, 219, 224, 226

S
Save 22 Scalable Vector Graphics 205 Scaling Negative Scaling 58 Scaling Mode 23 Scaling Objects 56 Numerical Scaling 57 Scaling Mode 56 Shear 57 Scene Editor 15, 20 Selecting Objects 48 Selection Tool 78 Shadows 172 Include 213 Shape Tools 79 Shear 57 Shortcut Keys 233 Sibling Objects 58 SmartLayer Technology 4, 204, 221, 224 Colors Layers 222 Highlights Layer 223 Outline Layers 223

T
Tangent Point 79 Target Cameras 180 Target File Type 204 Technical Support 11 Email Support 12 Tetrahedron 67 Text 71 Bevels 73 Depth 74 Face 74 Mesh Quality 74 Smoothness 74 Styles 73 Editing Individual Characters 75

U
Undo 23, 79 Use Texture Coordinates 47 User Preferences 18 Advanced Modeler Default Settings 109 Bevel Depth 74 Mesh Conversion Warning Dialog 113 Sizing Depth 75 Target File Type Raster 218 Vector 204

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Swift 3D V4 User Guide

V
Vector Materials 152 Viewport Menu Display Modes 40 Reference Grid 41 Show Options 41 Viewports 20 Display Mode 40 Draw Backfaces 41 Flat Shaded 41 Smooth Shaded 40 Texture Smooth Shaded 40 Wireframe 41 Reference Grid 21, 41 Rendering 182 Viewport Menu 21 Zoom View Port 40

W
Web Assistant 13, 20 Wireframe 41

Z
Zoom Camera Extents 23, 177

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