- Hold down the middle mouse button to pan
- Hold down shift and the middle mouse button to rotate
- Scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in or out
- Click any of the locations on the ‘LookFrom’ widget to view your model from a certain angle
Highlighting vs Selecting
When hovering over an object, it will be highlighted. Left-clicking when an entity is highlighted will select this entity. It is not always necessary to select an entity to perform an operation on it; for example you can highlight a surface, which will trigger the Quad to open. Then you can find the command you want to perform on that surface, without having to select the surface first. You can only highlight one entity at a time, whereas you can select as many entities as you want. For this reason, highlighting is particularly useful when performing an operation on one single entity.
A solid has different subentities: faces and edges. It is possible to select these faces or edges individually to perform operations on them, for example offsetting an edge or extruding a face. BricsCAD Shape allows you to select any of these subentities using the Ctrl and Tab keys.
To highlight a solid face, just hover over it with your cursor. The face will be displayed in orange. To select it, left-click it while it is highlighted. You can select multiple solid faces by left-clicking them one by one.
To highlight a solid, hover over one of its faces while holding down the Ctrl key. The solid will be displayed in blue. To select it, left-click it while it is highlighted. You can select multiple solids by left-clicking them one by one.
To highlight an edge, hover over the edge while holding down the Ctrl key. The edge will be displayed in orange. To select it, left-click it while it is highlighted. You can select multiple edges by left-clicking them one by one.
Pressing the Tab key while keeping the cursor at the same position will cycle through all entities or subentities that are ‘underneath’ the cursor. This can be used for example to select an entity that is not visible because it is behind another element. For instance, to select the back face of the front cube in the image below, or one of the faces of the second cube, you can keep the cursor at the same location while pressing Tab to cycle through the different entities.
Thus, using a combination of the Ctrl and Tab keys you can highlight and select any entity type or subentity type.
A selection window can be used to select one or multiple elements at once. To use a selection window, just left-click on any empty space in your model area, and move the cursor until the window covers whatever you want to select. There are two types of selection windows:
- Blue selection window: appears when you create the window from left to right. This selection window will only select elements that are entirely covered by this selection window.
- Green selection window: appears when you create the window from right to left. This selection window will select all elements that are entirely covered by the selection window, plus all the elements that intersect with one of the edges of the window.
In this example, the blue selection window will only select the left cube, whereas the green selection window will select both cubes.
A selection window will by default only select entire elements (i.e. solids, lines, polylines, blocks, …) but not subentities (such as solid faces or solid edges).
By pressing Ctrl once while drawing the selection window, you will switch to selecting only solid faces. The selection mode of the window will be indicated by a small icon in the bottom right corner:
By pressing Ctrl twice while drawing the selection window, you will switch to selecting only solid edges:
Boundaries vs Faces
Boundaries on top of planar faces will be detected automatically. A boundary can be created by a set of 2D entities (lines, arcs, circles…) on top of a surface (e.g. a solid face):
The area marked in green is an automatically detected boundary. This boundary can be used to create a new solid, extrude a hole in the existing solid, create an offset, …
Another way a boundary can be formed is by multiple solids that have touching faces:
The area marked in green is an automatically detected boundary. If you want to select the entire face of the box instead of this boundary, you can press the Tab key to cycle through subentities, as explained earlier.
Using the Quad & Rollover Tips
When highlighting an entity, a ‘toolbar’ appears at your cursor. This is called the Rollover Tip, and consists of:
- An overview of what you have highlighted or selected (in the example below: a ‘solid face’)
- The icon of the last used command on this entity type (in the example below: ‘copy’)
- Some relevant properties (in the example below: color, layer and area)
When moving the cursor over the icon (without clicking it), the toolbar expands. This expanded toolbar is called the Quad.
The top row of icons displays the most recently used commands on this entity type. Note that the Quad will adapt to the entity type you have highlighted or selected. When highlighting a solid face, it will display different tools than when highlighting a solid edge, a line or a block reference. It will only show tools that are relevant for the selected entity type.
Beneath the row of icons are different tabs. Hovering the cursor over one of these tabs will expand the Quad even further, showing even more tools that might be relevant for the selected entity type.
The Quad can also be called on a selection set. Say you want to use the Copy command on 3 solids, you can either:
- select the first two solids and highlight the third solid to open the Quad
- select all three solids and hover over one of the solids to open the Quad
- select all three solids and right-click somewhere on an empty space on the canvas to open the Quad
Finally the Quad can also be called when nothing is highlighted or selected. Just right-click on an empty space on the modelling canvas to open the No-selection Quad.
Alternatively to the Quad you can also use the Command Line or the Toolbar at the top of your screen. Icons that display a little triangle in the bottom right corner are expandable toolbars containing similar tools. Expand these toolbars by holding the left mouse button down slightly longer on the icon.
Exercise on basic concepts
Procedure: Drawing a box
- Open the No-Selection Quad by right-clicking on an empty place in the canvas and moving the cursor over the icon
- Under the Model tab, click the BOX icon
- You are prompted: Set corner of box or [Center]:
- Type in 0,0,0 and press Enter
- Two dynamic dimensions are displayed that control the length and width of the box (see image). The dynamic dimension that is highlighted in blue is the active one.
- Type in a value of 1000 and press the Tab key to switch to the other dynamic dimension
- Note that the first dimension is now highlighted in pink. This is to indicate that a value was entered here, and this value is now locked on this dynamic dimension.
- Type in a value of 1000 and press Enter. Alternatively, you can press Tab again to switch back to the first dynamic dimension
- Finally a dynamic dimension appears that controls the height of the box. Type in a value of 1000 and press Enter.
Procedure: Manipulating a face
- Move your cursor over a side face of the box until it is highlighted
- Open the Quad by moving your cursor over the icon
- Under the Model tab of the Quad, click the PUSHPULL icon
- Type in a value in the dynamic dimension box and press Enter, or left-click on the location where you want to pull this face to.
Procedure: Manipulating multiple faces
- Select a side face of the box by left-clicking it
- Select the top face of the box
- When you have both faces selected, right-click anywhere on an empty space in the canvas to open the Quad
- Under the Model tab, click the PUSHPULL icon
- Both faces will now be pushed in or pulled out over equal distances.
- Type in a value and press Enter or left-click.
Procedure: Copying a solid
- Highlight the box by holding the Ctrl key and hovering over one of the faces of the box. Instead of the face, the entire solid should be highlighted now.
- Open the Quad by moving your cursor over the icon, and under the Modify tab, click the COPY icon
- You are prompted for a Base Point. Left-click one of the corners of the box.
- You are prompted for the Second point. Left-click where you want the copy of the box to be.
- You can continue placing copies, or press Enter or Esc to exit the command.
Procedure: Manipulating an edge
- Highlight an edge of the box by holding the Ctrl key and hovering over one of the edges of the box. Instead of the face, the edge should now be highlighted.
- In the Quad under the Model tab, click the FILLET icon
- Type in a fillet radius and press Enter.
Procedure: Manipulating multiple edges
- Instead of giving one edge a fillet, we will fillet all the edges of the box at once
- Press Ctrl + Z to undo your previous action, so the fillet of the previous step is removed.
- Create a selection window around the entire box, and while drawing this window, press the Ctrl key twice until a small icon indicating ‘edge selection’ appears.
- You should now have selected all 12 edges of the box. In the Quad under the Model tab, click the FILLET icon
- Type in a fillet radius and press Enter.