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Set Object Colors/Filters

 

Use the toolbar Scene to select objects in active scene.

 

 

Use the toolbar Color to change the color scheme and set the appearance filters for the object selected in the combo box SCENE of the toolbar Scene.

 

 

Note, the filters of the toolbar Color are working together with filters of the toolbar Show. 

 

Select an object in active scene

 

Activate a desired scene (click on any of its 3D view windows).

 

Open the combo box SCENE of the toolbar Scene to see a drop down list of all objects of the active scene. The object name consists of its consequence number in the scene and its type name. See the object descriptions in the status line. Find and select a desired object. The selected object appears in the edit window of the combo box SCENE. 

 

If an object is selected in the combo box SCENE, it is also selected in 3D view windows, its edges are marked by an inverted color. Both the selections work synchronously. However if you hide the object edges, they cannot be marked in a 3D view window. See how to show/hide the object edges in Filter buttons below on this page.

 

Once an object is selected, the combo box COLOR of the toolbar Color becomes enabled. 

 

 

Select an element of the color scheme

 

Use the combo box COLOR to select elements of the color scheme for the object selected in active scene.

 

Open the combo box COLOR to see a drop down list of all elements of the color scheme of the selected object.

 

The first line of the list is the title line "COLOR" that does not correspond to any selection. Next lines represent elements of the color scheme: "points", "edges", "surface", and zones. Where a line "zone N" means the color zone number N. A color zone is a group of faces, which color and texture you can manage independently from other zones.

 

The enumeration of the face groups (color zones) goes from the top of the object to its bottom (independently of the fact that some groups can contain a variable number of faces).

 

The content of the list depends on the type of the selected object. For example, the list for a 2D rectangular grid "2D_Grid" contains only two items: "points" and "edges", because the grid has no faces. The list for a box "3D_Box" contains 9 items: "points", "edges", "surface", and 6 face groups (6 color zones), each of one face (top, front, left, right, back, bottom). 

 

The color scheme of the cylinder "3D_Cyl" that is selected on the screen shot below contain 6 items: "points", "edges", "surface", and 3 face groups (3 color zones). The face group "zone 1" is the top face. The face group "zone 2" includes all 12 side faces. The face group "zone 3" is the cylinder bottom face.

 

The Static control of the toolbar Color (to the right from the combo box COLOR) shows the color of the selected item. In the case of the "surface" item, it shows the palette of all zones. Selecting the "surface" item, you can change all the face groups (all color zones) to one color. 

 

 

Colors

 

The colors of all elements of an object are organized in the color scheme according to the object type. Colors, as a part of the scene data, are stored in the file (together with other data) when you save the scene.

 

When you create a new object and add it to the active scene, its color data are filled by Shadow Analyzer with default colors. The default colors of an object are predefined by its type. Most types of objects have the following default colors: white points, dark gray edges, and light gray faces. 

 

You can change the color data using the Color dialog.

 

Set a color of an element of the color scheme

 

Once an item of the color scheme is selected, the button "C" of the toolbar Color becomes enabled.

 

Use the button "C" to call the Color dialog to change the color of the selected element of the color scheme.

 

After you click on the button "C", the following Color dialog appears. Select a color and click on the "OK" button. The color will be applied to the selected item of the color scheme of the selected object.

 

 

The Color dialog window

 

When you click on the button "C" of the toolbar Color, you call the Color dialog. The Color dialog is a part the Windows system installed on your PC. The Color dialog has two lists of colors: "Basic colors" and "Custom colors". The list of basic colors is predefined by the Windows system. The list of custom colors is the temporary list that you can use to remember some frequently using colors within a session with the Shadow Analyzer. It is not stored between the sessions.

 

When you select an item of the color scheme of the selected object and call the Color dialog, the Color dialog shows initially the color of the selected item in its "Color/Solid" window. If you plan to use this color for other items or other objects, click on the "Add to Custom colors" button of the Color dialog.  

 

If you are going to set another color for the selected item, choose a color either from basic colors (click on one of small windows on the left side of the Color dialog) or from the color matrix (click inside the large square window on the right side of the Color dialog), or use one of the custom colors. 

 

While all these manipulations, the "Color/Solid" window of the Color dialog can change its color many times. Each time it represents your latest choice. Just this color will be applied to the selected item of the object color scheme after you click on the "OK" button of the Color dialog.

 

Colors in action

 

You can see on the screen shot below, how the cylinder looks after we set the red color for the face group "zone 2".

 

 

The Filters

 

The object appearance filters

 

In addition to colors, you can manage some other object attributes by the toolbar Color.

 

You can use the filter buttons ("h", "r", "sm", "sr") of the toolbar Color to set some features of the object appearance. 

 

The toolbar Color filters are working together with (before) the toolbar Show filters. 

 

The three-level system of the appearance filters

 

All filters of the toolbars Color and Show constitute the entire system with three levels: 

 

 

Some of the appearance properties can be set on several levels, some other correspond to only one level. 

 

The filters of different levels are working in a sequence, one after another. The level of a particular group of faces (a color zone)  has the highest precedence. The level of the entire scene has the lowest precedence. It means, for example, that if you hide a group of faces, this group will stay invisible independently of the state of the corresponding filters of the object level or of the entire scene level.

 

To hide a group of faces (a color zone), check the button "h" when the group "zone N" is selected. To hide all faces of the object, check the button "h" when the item "surface" is selected. To hide all the faces of all objects of the scene, uncheck the button "f" of the toolbar Show.

 

Some appearance properties have a sense only for one level. For example, the smooth shading option can be set only for the entire object. To apply the smooth shading, check the button "sm" when the line "faces" is selected. 

 

Some other appearance properties can be set on several levels. For example, you can switch the specular reflectivity on for a group of faces (check the button "r" when the group "zone N" is selected). Then you can switch it off for the entire object (uncheck the button "r" when the line "surface" is selected). Then you can switch this property on for the entire scene (check the button "r" of the toolbar Show). The result for that particular group of faces (that particular color zone) will be negative: finally, the group will be shown without the specular reflectivity in the 3D view window. 

 

The filters of the scene level (the toolbar Show) do not change the properties of the objects. They only allow or block those properties to be shown in the 3D view window.

 

If there is no filter for an item selected in the combo box COLOR, the corresponding button is disabled. For example, neither of the Color toolbar filters is working with points. So when you select the "points" item in the combo box COLOR, all the filter buttons of the Color toolbar become disabled. There is only one action allowed in this case: you can click on the button "C" to call the Color dialog for points. However, you can show/hide all the points of all the scene objects by the button "p" of the Show toolbar.

 

This three-level architecture of the appearance filters looks a little bit complicated at the first look. However, it provides the very flexible interface for the object/scene management. Therefore, experiment with the filters by yourself. All you need is to click on the filter buttons.

 

There are too many combinations of the button states (of both the Color and the Show toolbars) to describe all of them. Therefore, below we describe each filter button individually, and then show only a few examples how they are working together.

 

The Filter buttons

  

Use the button "h" to hide/show all edges/surface or the face group (the color zone)

 

This filter is working for all the color scheme items other than "points". 

 

You cannot hide points on the level of an individual object, but you can hide all points of all objects on the scene level by the button "p" of the toolbar Show. 

 

Usually, points are shown with the 1-pixel width. However, when both items "edges" and "surface" are hidden, the object points are shown with the 3-pixel width.

 

Note, most of the object types are the closed one-side surfaces. Therefore, when you hide one face group, the inner side of other faces may stay invisible.

 

Note, the hide/show options are working independently for faces and for their shadows. So when you hide a face by the "h" button, the hidden face becomes transparent for you but not for the solar rays. It is slightly incorrect from the point of view of physics, but just this artificial technique allows you to observe a shadow, which otherwise would be blocked for you by the object that casts this shadow.

 

Use the button "r" to switch on/off the specular reflectivity of the face group, or to switch off/on the reflectivity filter for all faces

 

The specular reflectivity is a property of some materials (like metals) or of some polished (mirror-like) surfaces. 

 

Checking the button "r", you can change the appearance of the selected faces so that they will look like a polished surface. However you can observe this property only for some certain combinations of the Sun position and your viewpoint position, which you can change by the LEFT / RIGHT / UP / DOWN arrow keys of your keyboard.  

 

When this setting is switched on for a group of faces "zone N", it can be blocked if you uncheck the "r" button for "faces", or if you uncheck the "r" button of the Show toolbar.

 

The "r" button of the Color toolbar does not work (is disabled) if "points" or "edges" are selected in the combo box COLOR.

 

Use the button "sm" to switch on/off the smooth shading filter for faces of objects of some types

 

Objects of some types can be interpreted in different ways: either like a surface that consists of plane polygonal faces with sharp edges, or like a smooth surface. For example, an object of the type "3D_Cyl" (a cylinder) actually is represented by a prism. It can be interpreted like a prism, as well as like an approximation of a smooth cylindrical surface. 

 

Actually, in the computer graphics, a cylinder is represented (is approximated) by a prism with many rectangular side faces. The higher is the number of side faces, the more the prism looks like a cylinder. However even in the case of 50 side faces, you will see the distinguishable facesī boundaries if the faces are rendered as flat polygons. There is a specific rendering technique of the computer graphics, known as a "smooth shading", that allows the prism to look like a smooth cylindrical surface even if the number of faces is relatively low. 

 

Just this technique is applied to the object faces if you check the button "sm" while the "surface" item is selected in the combo box COLOR.

 

Note, this setting is valid only for some of object types. It is disabled for other object types. For example, it is valid for a sphere of the "3D_Sph" type, however it is disabled for objects of the "3D_Box" type, because a box cannot be interpreted as a smooth surface without edges.

 

The button "sm" of the Color toolbar does not work (is disabled) if an item other than "surface" is selected in the combo box COLOR.

     

This setting corresponds to the level of the entire object, and does not interact with (cannot be blocked by) any other filters, excluding the evident case when you hide faces by the button "h" of the Color toolbar, or by the button "f" of the Show toolbar.

 

Note that this option works independently from the hide/show edges option. Therefore, if you use this option, but did not hide edges, the edges will be seen on the background of a smooth surface (if the edges and the surface have different colors). 

 

Use "sr" button to show/hide shadows of a face group or to switch off/on the shadow filter for all faces

 

You can use this option to consider how a particular object or a particular group of faces (a color zone) casts a shadow. This option allows you not to remove other objects from a scene for this purpose. 

 

The Filters in action

 

You can see on the screen shot below, how the cylinder looks after we hide the group "zone 2" of its faces.

 

Note that the button "sr" is still checked. Therefore, although the group "zone 2" is hidden, it cast shadows.  

 

 

You can see on the screen shot below, how the scene looks after we simultaneously hide the group "zone 2" and switch its shadows off.

 

The group "zone 2" is selected in the combo box COLOR. The button "h" is checked, and the button "sr" is unchecked.

 

Note that the shadow of the cylinder top face (the group "zone 1") as well as the top face itself is visible.

 

 

Now we would like to apply the "smooth shading" option to the cylinder. 

 

Firstly, we need to restore the visibility of the face group "zone 2" and its shadows. For this purpose, we uncheck the button  "h" and check the button "sr" while the group "zone 2" is selected in the combo box COLOR. 

 

We need also to hide edges. For this purpose, we check the button "h" while the "edges" item is selected in the combo box COLOR.  

 

Then we select the "surface" item in the combo box COLOR. The button "h" should be unchecked (as well as the button "sr" should be checked) for this selection too. It is the level of the entire object.  

 

Finally, we check the button "sm" to switch the "smooth shading" option on.

 

As you can see on the screen shot below, although the cylinder is approximated by a prism with only 12 side faces, its side surface looks quiet smoothly. You can make sure that actually it is a prism only considering its top face that has the clearly distinguishable polygonal boundary. 

 

 

Now we would like to apply the "specular reflectivity" option to the face group "zone 2" of the cylinder. 

 

We need to switch this option on for both the levels: the face group level and the object level. For this purpose, we check the button "r" twice: when the "zone 2" item and when the "surface" item are selected in the combo box COLOR.

 

After that, we need to find an appropriate position for the viewpoint. The cylinder stands vertically on the rectangular scene floor. The Sun is above the horizon. Thus to see a specular reflection, we need to move the viewpoint below the horizon. However, in this case the scene floor will block other objects. Therefore, we need also to hide preliminary the floor face from the side below the horizon.

 

After all these manipulations, we get the picture that is shown on the screen shot below.