Surface visibility, shading and transparency

September 22, 2015 Renaud Gaboriault Bédard

In BuildIT, the visual representation of surfaces can be customized in various ways to suit your needs. Here is an overview of the multiple ways in which we can use surface visibility to customize the representation of the model we are working with.

When selecting a surface, either from the Object Manager or directly from the Viewport, we can find its Rendering Mode options under the Surface tab.

Two Object Specific Rendering Modes

There are two different rendering modes at the object level in BuildIT: Shaded and Wireframe. A shaded surface also possesses a Transparency ratio. This ratio is set at 0% by default, making the surfaces opaque, but it can be modified by moving its associated slide button from 0 up to 100%, to adjust the transparency accordingly.

Representing surfaces as Wireframe makes the rendering faster and allows you to easily see through the surfaces of the model while still displaying their location in the Viewport.

Global Wireframe Settings

There are three different Wireframe Types available in BuildIT. These options are accessible via View: Surface Rendering. Unlike the Transparency ratio which can be set individually for each surface, the wireframe options are set at the global level and affect every surface of the model simultaneously. These are the options:

  • Boundary: Only the edges of the model are displayed.
  •  IsoLine: The edges of the model are displayed, and lines are shown at right angles between these edges, filling the surfaces with a plaid pattern.
  • Mesh: Displays lines connecting the vertices of the model.

Three global rendering methods

The default Rendering Mode of an object is Wireframe, and yet it is probably rendered as an opaque surface in the Viewport. Why is that? In BuildIT, there are three Global Rendering Methods, which are available via View: Surface Rendering. These Methods have precedence over the Rendering Modes. Just as with the Rendering Modes, these can be accessed via View: Surface Rendering.

Let’s go through them quickly:

  • Object Specific: This Global Rendering Method takes into account the option that was set by the Object Specific Rendering Mode options under the Surface tab, whether the Surface is shaded and has a Transparency ratio or the surface is rendered as a Wireframe.
  • Shaded: This Global Rendering Method displays every surface as if their Rendering Mode was Shaded, taking into account the object-specific Transparency ratio of the surfaces for which this value has been set.
  • Wireframe: This Global Rendering Method displays every surface as being Wireframe and represents them with respect to the Global Wireframe Type that has been set.

Trying it on a BuildIT model

Let’s illustrate all of this with an example using the Frame Tool model (accessible through File: Example Models: Frame Tool). First of all, to represent surfaces in various ways within the same model, we must select the Rendering Mode as Object Specific. Since we want the purple Rib to be shaded and the rest of the model to be represented with IsoLine Wireframe, we need to select the surfaces constituting the purple Rib and set their Rendering Mode as Shaded with a Transparency ratio. In this case, we chose a ratio of 60%. We then have to set the Wireframe Type as IsoLine to achieve the pattern displayed in the image below. Since the default Rendering Mode of a surface is Wireframe, the whole model is now represented as such, with the exception of the Rib. Check out our previous blog post to learn more about filtering between CAD objects in BuildIT.

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