Design Visualization

Three Autodesk Showcase Tips

9 Dec, 2010 By: Stan Wile

Avatech Tricks Tutorial: Most users don't know about these methods for changing materials on specific surfaces, creating cross sections, and using the highlight pointer.


Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Avatech Solutions.


Tip 1: Place a material on specific surfaces. There are times in Autodesk Showcase when you would like to change the materials of only a few surfaces of a part. In the past, the only way to do so was to choose import options that brought in every face as a separate part. This made it a real chore to select every face of every part when changing materials. Starting in Showcase 2011, you can now create a new part from selected surfaces. In this example I would like to highlight the raised edges on this hub.


We want to highlight the raised edges on this single hub without affecting the entire part.
 

It was created as one part in Inventor, so I will need to create a new object out of the raised edges I plan to highlight. Do this by selecting Edit > Fix Object Patches > Extract Patches As New Object.


The location of the new Extract Patches As New Object command.


Once the Extract Patches as New Object dialog box appears, you can select all the surfaces that will make up the new part. Here I selected all the raised edges on the hub.


All raised faces on the hub have been selected and are ready to be turned into a new object.
 
 


Pressing the Extract as New Objects button creates the new part. Press Close and the part should still be selected waiting for you to add a new material.


The newly created part, selected and waiting on a new material.
 

I applied a yellow, smooth rubber material to the new part. This simple feature is something I, and many others, have wished for over the past few years.


Finished rendering showing the hub and its new highlighted faces.


Tip 2: Create cross sections inside Showcase 2011. Since we are talking about new features, I will discuss one more for Showcase 2011. I have helped countless people section their assemblies inside Inventor for the sole purpose of rendering a section view inside of Showcase. Starting in Showcase 2011, you can now section assemblies and parts using the new Cross-Sections command, which is located in the Scene pull-down menu (X is the hotkey).


Showcase 2011 now includes a Cross-Sections command.
 



Choosing the Cross-Sections command brings up the Cross-Sections browser; from there you can create a new cross section.


Using the Cross-Section browser you can create both flat and corner cross sections.
 

There are two things that make up a Showcase cross section. The first is the grip: the plane (or set of planes, for a corner cross section) that crosses through the object. Second is the outline; its lines indicate where the surfaces of the objects are intersected by the planes. The outline's visibility can be turned on and off as well as shown in different colors.
Pressing H brings up the handles, with which you can move and rotate the section plane.


The Cross-Section Properties dialog allows you to change the color of the cut edges as well as to exclude entire parts from the section.
 

Cross section planes are turned on and off the same way parts are. Either use the Organizer (O) or, with the cross section selected, choose Hide from the Select menu. I have noticed that cross sections are not active in ray tracing mode or when Show Ambient Shadows Only is enabled.

Tip 3: Turning your cursor into a flashlight.
My final tip is about the highlight pointer in Showcase. This is something that has been available in the past few releases, but few people know about it. Access the pointer from the Presentation pull-down menu, or press P on the keyboard. When using the pointer, the scene is grayed out, with the area around the cursor highlighted with a white spot. This pointer is visible across online sessions as well.


Access to the Showcase Pointer. Pressing the P key works as well.
 

Controlling the pointer is always done while holding the P key down. While pressing P, moving the mouse moves the circle pointer around the screen. To change the size of the highlight circle, drag the mouse while holding the left mouse button and P down at the same time. Rolling the mouse wheel while pressing P changes the size as well.


Controlling the highlight pointer is all done while holding down P.
 


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