In today’s blog, we’ll be going further in depth to prepare your model for asset generation by diving into Viewport Properties in SOLIDWORKS Composer. With Viewport Properties, we’ll go through how certain Lighting properties affect your actors. In addition, we’ll see what some of the Property Pane Controls do, which will help when trying to either Copy an Appearance to another actor, or Setting a Neutral Property!
Before diving into Viewport Properties, there’s one Document Property we want to keep in mind: Paper Space
- This can be found by clicking File > Properties > Document Properties > Paper Space to modify the Page Size
- You want to set the format to how you want it to export. In addition, we can define the Orientation with either Portrait or Landscape
Now, let’s look at Viewport Properties! Here are a few you want to set up before creating your views:
- Free: Publication Aspect will adjust to the Viewport Size
- Typically, the 16/9 publication aspect will be best if you want to do animations
- It’s better to set this now, as opposed to later and have the publication aspect modify all your views!
The ground can be turned on/off through the Collaboration tab
on the Left Pane
- A keyboard shortcut to turn the ground on/off is CTRL+G
- In addition, an image can be inserted as the Background Image Path by clicking on the background in the Viewport, going to the Properties pane, and clicking the ‘…’ to the right of the Background Image Path
- The ground can be turned on/off through the Collaboration tab on the Left Pane
Decide if you want Camera perspective on/off, which can be
found in the lower right-hand corner of your Viewport. Perspective will make
it seem as though the actors closer to you are larger than the actors
- Perspective Angle can be changed through the Preferences > Camera > Default Perspective
- Per Pixel Lighting gives us more of a realistic result. It’s the lighting per pixel, as opposed to grouping when we have it off. It’s also known as Phong shading. Per Pixel Lighting can also improve the lighting of models that have poor tessellation.
- Ambient Occlusion will display more shadowing. It displays shaded surfaces by considering light attenuation from nearby actors. Intensity controls how dark the shading is. Radius controls the coverage. Here are two images, the first one with Ambient Occlusion off, and the second image with Ambient Occlusion
What about the Property Pane Controls?
- By default, the properties are Sorted by Category, such as General, Publication Aspect, and Lights, but if easier, there is also a Sort Alphabetically, which will list all the properties from A - Z
Set as Neutral Properties
- Set as Neutral Properties will set the values of selected properties as the new neutral values. If there are no properties selected, the command will set all current property values as neutral.
Restore Neutral Properties
- Restore Neutral Properties will restore the neutral properties for all selected properties. If there are no properties selected, the command will restore all properties to the neutral property values.
Repeat Last Property Change
- Repeat Last Property Change will apply the last property change to the current selection. Clicking F4 will also do the same. For example, if we apply red to multiple actors, then select a different actor and click this command - this will then propagate the red color (in this case) to the actor.
Copy Appearance, as you can probably guess, copies the
following properties between actors:
- For All actors: the color, opacity, and texture will get copied
- For Geometry Actors: the Shininess and Emission will get copied
- For Collaborative Actors: All appearance Properties will get copied
- Manage Meta-Properties will add or remove CAD meta-data or user-defined properties to whatever is selected. You can also apply meta-properties to parts or assemblies.
In conclusion, I hope you’ve got a bit more insight on some of the Viewport Properties, such as controlling the shadowing using the Ambient Occlusion Intensity and Radius controls, or including your own image for the ground in your Viewport (or just turning it off with a Ctrl+G!). We saw how we can Sort Controls by either Category or Alphabetically in the Property Pane, allowing us to find the exact property we’re looking for, as well as how to set or restore a neutral property, repeat the last property change, copy an appearance, or manage the custom properties and meta-data brought in from SOLIDWORKS!