The New Tweak

For those not familiar, Tweak is a collection of tools for quickly adjusting a mesh. The most basic Tweak tool, Move, allows a modeler to simply click an element, drag, and release it at its new position. Because of its interactive workflow, Tweak is very useful for organic modeling.

With Tweak is enabled, all the standard menus and tools are still available; the major difference is that Left Mouse Button doubles for both tweaking and selecting.

In the old tweak, each tool was activated by holding some combination of [Ctrl], [Shift], and [Alt]. While this was fast, the freedom to customize these key combos was very limited.

In new Tweak you can bind each tweak tool to any combination of [Ctrl], [Shift], or [Alt], and you can hotkey, access via menus, or activate them from the Tweak Palette. The New Tweak offers more ways to customize your workflow.

The Tweak Menu

Right clicking the mouse (RMB) while holding [Alt] opens the Tweak Menu unless you are using the Maya camera mode, in which case it’s [Ctrl]+RMB.

Alternatively, you can also access the Tweak Menu from the Tools menu.

The Tweak Menu Items

  • Enable/Disable Tweak – Turns Tweak Mode on or off.
  • Magnets – Opens the Tweak Magnets submenu.
  • Axis Constraints – Opens the Tweak Axis submenu.

The following are the Tweak tools.

  • Move – Move elements relative to view-port or along selected Tweak Axis.
  • Move Normal
  • Scale – Scale elements relative to view-port or along selected Tweak Axis and/or from a Tweak Point. Without axis constraints, Tweak Scale uses the selection centre as its point of reference and uses a screen relative axis based on the initial direction of the mouse when the Tweak event was commenced.
  • Scale Uniform
  • Relax – Dynamically moves selected elements towards the average plane of their neighbours.
  • Slide – Moves elements along their neighbouring edges.
  • Tweak Preferences – Opens the Tweak Preferences dialog.

Key Bindings

You can customize Tweak so that each tool can be activated by pressing a certain combination of Modifier Keys.

As an example, this is how you would bind [Ctrl]+LMB to Relax.

  1. Open the Tweak Menu.
  2. Highlight Relax.
  3. Hold down [Ctrl] and Left click the mouse.

Delete key bindings by highlighting a tool’s menu heading and pressing RMB.

Swapping Bindings

Binding the same keys to a tool as an another Tweak tool, results in their bindings being Swapped.

Examples:

  • If LMB is bound to Move, and [Ctrl]+ LMB is bound to Relax, then binding [Ctrl]+LMB to Move will automatically bind LMB to Relax. Thus, swapping their bindings.
  • If LMB is bound to Move, and Relax has no keys assigned to it, then binding LMB to Relax will unbind Move.

Not Using Bindings

Looking the previous examples, a different workflow for switching Tweak tools emerges. Notice that binding a Tweak tool to LMB is the same as just selecting it from the menu!

From this we can see that a new Tweak workflow emerges.

Instead of assigning various key bindings to the different Tweak tools, you can instead just open the Tweak Menu and select a tool. When you do this, that tool assumes the default LMB behaviour. This workflow can be useful for users who don’t like using multiple key combos in Tweak.

The apparent workflow impediment would now seem to be that the user would have to reopen the Tweak Menu every time they wanted to switch Tweak tools. However, there are a couple of alternatives. You can assigning standard hotkeys to the Tweak tools using the [Insert] method, or by opening the Tweak Palette you can select the tools form there. Both of these alternatives are explained in the following sections.

Assigning Hotkeys

Just like the standard Wings menus, Tweak Menu items also can be assigned custom Hotkeys. Tweak commands that are hotkeyed can be called just like regular Wings commands. What’s different about Tweak Menu items that are hotkeyed, is that many of them can be called during a Tweak event. If a Tweak tool is called using a hotkey, then that tool becomes assumes the default LMB behaviour.

Example:

  • If Tweak Menu | Move is hotkeyed to [M], and Tweak Menu | Relax is hotkeyed to [Shift]+[P] , then we can switch the default behaviour of LMB to either tool by using those hotkeys (even during a Tweak event).

Hotkeying the Tweak Magnets and Axis Constraint can also be useful. This can allow you to change magnet types or axes during a Tweak event as well.

The Tweak Palette

The Tweak Palette Windows

The Tweak Palette (Windows | Tweak Palette) offers yet another workflow.

When you open the Tweak Palette, 3 windows will appear on the screen. They are titled Tweak Palette, Tweak Magnet, and Tweak Axis.

The Tweak Palette is like a Tweak Menu that stays open, making it a bit like a tool palette from a paint program.

The Tweak Palette tools (Move, Scale, Relax, etc.) can simply be LMB clicked, to switch to that tool. The same applies to the Magnet and Axis Constraints palettes; change Magnet types or specify an axis by selecting it from the palettes.

Tweak Magnets

Tweak magnets offer what some would call Soft Selection, and can be used with any of the Tweak tools.

There are 3 Magnets:

  • Dome
  • Straight
  • Spike

Magnets don’t affect selected geometry, they affect the geometry surrounding the selection you’ve made. How large an area around the selection center is affected by the magnet, depends on its Radius. Each of the Tweak Magnets has a spherical field of influence, and the radius of that sphere can be adjusted to affect more or less geometry.

To adjust the Magnet Radius, hover the mouse over a selection, hold down [Alt], and drag the mouse side to side. Pressing [Alt] makes the magnet appear, and moving the mouse adjusts its size.

Axis Constraints

Tweak Constraints only work with Move and Scale, and help to restrict the movement of a Tweak event.

XYZ Translations

The standard axis directions are readily available via the F1, F2, and F3 keys, which represent the X, Y , and Z axes. Holding down any of these during a Tweak event will constrain the movement of that event the chosen axis.

Some Examples:

  • If using Tweak Move with the F1 key pressed, movement will be restricted to the X Axis.
  • If using Tweak Scale with the F2 key pressed, the scaling will be restricted to the Y Axis.
  • If using Tweak Move while Holding F1 and F3, then the movement will be restricted to both the X and Z Axes, also called the Radial of the Y Axis.

Alternatively, you can toggle the X, Y, or Z axis On or Off by clicking or its menu heading in either the Tweak Menu | Axis Constraints submenu, or by clicking the same in the Tweak Axis palette. You could also hotkey them in the Tweak Menu and toggle them using the keyboard.

Normal and Radial

The other standard axes work in the same way as the XYZ axes, except that they do not have an Fkey assigned to them by default. The other standard axes include:

Normal
For Scaling or Moving a selection along the Selection Normal.
Radial
For Scaling and Moving along the Radial of whatever axis is currently selected.
Default Axis
For Scaling or Moving a selection along the Default Axis (Tool | Set Default Axis).

Tweak Vectors

Often when Scaling a selection, it is important to pick a point to scale from.

Because using only standard axes can be a very limiting, the new Tweak offers adaptive axis constraints that use the normal of any element as the axis to Scale or Move a selection. These special axis constraints are called Element Normal and From Element.

  • Element Normal tweaks the selection using the Normal of the element marked by the pointer.
  • From Element tweaks the selection from the Point indicated by the element marked by the pointer.

When either Element Normal or From Element is selected, you will see a small pointer on the screen that follows the cursor around but snaps to the centre of the closest vertex, edge, or face, no matter what selection mode you are in.


Example using Element Normal and Move:

  1. Select the Element Normal constraint and the Tweak Move tool.
  2. Make a selection.
  3. Now, with the pointer over an element marking the desired direction of the Move, begin the Tweak event.

Result: The selection is move along the axis indicated by the Element Normal

Example using Element Normal+Radial and Scale:

  1. Select the Element Normal and Radial constraints and then the Tweak Scale tool.
  2. Make a selection.
  3. Now, with the pointer over an element axis along which to Scale, begin the Tweak event.

Result: The selection is scaled radially using the Element Normal.

Example using From Element+X and Scale:

  1. Select the From Element and X constraints and then the Tweak Scale tool.
  2. Make a selection.
  3. Now, with the pointer over an element to scale from, begin the Tweak event.

Result: The selection is scale along the X axis from the point indicated by the From Element pointer.

Example using From Element and Scale:

  1. Select the From Element and X constraints and then the Tweak Scale tool.
  2. Make a selection.
  3. Now, with the pointer over an element to scale from, begin the Tweak event initiating the drag along the direction marking the axis of the scale.

Result: The selection is scale along the axis created by the initial mouse motion, from the point indicated by the From Element pointer.


The other possible constraint combinations follow the same logic as those in the examples.

Tweak Preferences

There are a few tweak specific preferences that can be set to further customize the new Tweak experience (Tweak Menu | Preferences).

Lmb Single Click Selects/Deselects
When checked, and Tweak is enabled, a single down/up LMB click will add or subtract an element from the current selection. This event is timer based, so if you click too slowly a Tweak event will be initiated instead of a selection event.
Click Speed
Sets the speed for the Lmb Single Click selections.
Tweak Speed
Sets the drag response for tweaking. A lower value will increase control and a higher value will increase speed. You may want to adjust this setting relative to the scale of your model. For instance, lowering this value for dense meshes will allow you to make finer adjustments when tweaking your model.
Magnet Radius Sensitivity
This parameter sets the mouse movement to radius adjust increment. If you find that the Magnet radius increases or decreases too quickly when you move the mouse, you will want to lower this setting.
Magnet Radius Display Color
Allows you to customize the colour and alpha transparency of the Magnet Display.
Tweak Vector
Display preferences for the Tweak pointer seen when your Axis Constraints are set to Element Normal or From Element.

Tweak Workflows

There are some interesting points of difference in the new tweak’s workflow as opposed to the old version. Like the later versions of Tweak, the new version allows for any standard Wings command to be called while Tweak is enabled. The new Tweak has been fully integrated into the wings core set of modules so it should be a little more responsive.

Chained Commands

One major difference in the Tweak workflow is that one doesn’t have to keep the Bind Keys pressed once A Tweak event has been initiated. In fact, the modifier key combos that initiate a Tweak event, can be thought of more as regular Wings hotkeys. And as long as the mouse button is held, the Tweak event will remain active.

Not having to hold down the keys that initiated the Tweak event, allows for many mid-Tweak events such as:

Chained Commands
Switch Tweak tools in mid-drag by pressing another key combo, or pressing a hotkey bound to another tweak tool to replace the LMB behaviour on the fly. Press [Spacebar] to switch to the tool assigned to LMB.
Adjust the Magnet Radius
Press and hold [Alt] to adjust the magnet radius in mid-drag
Camera Events
Press and Hold [C] to tumble the camera. Zoom in and out. Make use of hotkeyed commands from the View Menu such as Aim or Align to Axis.
Use Tweak Specific Hotkeys
Use any Tweak specific hotkeys assigned in the Tweak Menu to change Constraints or Magnets.

Tweak Palette

Using the Tweak Palette can offer another Tweak workflow. Instead of worrying about modifier key combos bound to the various tweak tools, or assigned hotkeys, just leave the Tweak Palette open and click the tools as you need them. This is certainly easier when dealing with the Tweak Axis Constraints.

 
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