|Views and related issues.|
Single window v 4 windows.
Many other 3D modellers use a 4 window display system - top, side, front and perspective views - where you can see different aspects of the model at the same time. In such s/w the t/s/f views are often in orthographic mode.
Wings also has all of these viewing options, but differs by only being able to display one view at any given time.
I'm not going to discuss the pros and cons of the 2 systems - but many people (previously used to the 4 view layout) find that for many types of modelling (especially 'organic') - they quickly adopt the single view option, and grow to prefer it.
If Wings is considered to be the 'virtual' equivalent of a 'real world' lump of clay on a turntable, (artist walking round and/or spinning workpiece) then this single view approach to 3D modelling is a reasonable one.
The arrival of the 'Geometry' window in Wings (and the prospect of others to follow) could well indicate that both display methods might be available in the future - we'll just have to wait :)
(Although multiple views are now available, I'm leaving the above comments in - as imo they're still valid - the rest certainly is :) )
In Wings there are 12 options for viewing along any of the XYZ axes and these are obtained by using:
XYZ - viewing along the +X, +Y,+Z axes, looking towards the origin.
XYZ (with Shift) - for viewing along the -X, -Y, -Z axes, towards the origin.
All of the above can be used in either perspective mode or orthogonal (toggle via 'O' hotkey or click the Ortho / Persp icon))
Working in xyz (ortho) view has particular significance when using the 'Free' option with appropriate tools. Since these 'Free' options are based upon the screen plane (or its normal) all subsequent 'Free' operations are essentially locked onto (or associated with) this plane.
Therefore, Move | Free (or Tweak), for example allows totally uninhibited 2D movement anywhere on the relevant plane associated with the chosen view - ie if user selects View -> X, then all movement of the selected geometry is constrained to take place on an X axial plane (along +/- Y and +/- Z axes)
(Please note that clacos' Tweak_s plugin allows the user to move selected geometry (verts / edges / faces - not just verts) in manner constrained to a chosen X, Y or Z plane - whilst still viewing the model in perspective mode)
Upon starting Wings, the origin (where all 3 axes intersect) is also the 'aim' point for the camera. As you 'travel / tumble' around all sides of the object during modelling, the camera's view is locked onto this point. (Actual field of view angle can be altered via Edit | Camera mode - field of view)
To change this point, select a piece of geometry (can be anything from a single vert to a group of objects) and press 'A' for aim (or can use View | Aim )
Wings will then arrange the model so that the selected 'aim' point is centred in the display window. Tumbling / rotating / moving will then be based around this new aim point until another is selected or the display is reset via 'R'.
Saving an aim point (use Select | Store Selection) lets you quickly return to it. Once stored, Select | Recall Selection will return the selection - then just press A (aim) to use it again.
(Binding both Store and Recall | Selection to hotkeys is a good idea if you intend using them a lot)
Align to Selection.
Another useful command is View -> Align to Selection.
Select a face, invoke AtS and Wings will align the model so that the plane of the selected face is parallel to the screen plane of your monitor. After doing this, you will be looking down the normal of the selected face and therefore see its true shape (assuming a flat face).
Commands with a 'Free' option (Move, Rotate, Extrude etc) and Tweak will now be referenced to this particular plane - Moving verts on the face originally used for the AtS command will therefore stay on this plane (unless you use the 3rd dimension option, of course)
Exiting tumble with RMB reinstates view of mode as was at start of tumble -LMB stops tumble in new position.(Mirai mode)
|Move | Free (using view xyz)|
|Move | Free (using View XYZ)
This sequence of images shows how a vert is constrained to the X-plane if View | X is used.
(Sorry about the 'murky greeny yellow' :) )
1). Sphere with a selected vert.
This selected vert lies at the intersection of X, Y and Z planes. (an X plane is a plane with the X axis as its normal etc) Although invisible in Wings,I've created a yellow plane for display purposes here.
(The other 2 planes passing through this vert would, of course, be at right angles to the one shown, but aren't shown here for reasons of clarity.
2). View -> X applied (hotkey X) Now we are looking down the X axis so this yellow X plane is also parallel to the screen plane.
3). Using Vert | Move Free allows the selected vert to be moved (anywhere) on the yellow X-plane. Theoretically, this (imaginary) plane is unlimited in size - unlike this illustration - and thus the vert could be displaced even further from its original position than shown here.
4)-5). Views showing how the displaced vert still lies on the (original) x-plane
Any geometry moved in this manner - using Move | Free (or Tweak) will always be constrained to stay on it's original X, Y or Z plane. ( X shown here, of course)
(It should be noted however, that there is now a facility (within Move | Free) to access the third dimension as well - holding MMB whilst dragging the mouse will either 'push' selected geometry away from you or 'pull' it towards you - inadvertant use of this will thus displace selected geometry away from its original plane)
|Move | Free (in perspective view)|
|Move | Free (in perspective view)
This sequence of images shows Vert | Move -> Free, perspective view.
1). Perspective view of model (sphere) with vert to be freely moved shown selected. Yellow plane (as in previous example) shows the relevant X plane that the selected vert lies on.
2). Vert | Move -> Free invoked and user drags the selected vert. Since Move | Free ALWAYS constrains movement to a plane that is parallel to the screen, the vert has now been moved on this (screen parallel) plane and ends up being behind its original X plane. (because X plane wasn't parallel to the screen)
3). This image shows how far behind the original (yellow) X plane the vert has been displaced.
4). Athough not shown in pix 1-3 (I thought it'd get confusing) the screen parallel plane for pix 1 and 2 has been shown in red. (pic 3 would have a totally different screen plane because it's a completely differt view)
The vert has actually stayed on the red plane during this particular Move | Free operation.
Whenever the view of a model is changed, its screen parallel plane will also change - if you want to return to a particular plane (other than XYZ) you will have to make specific arrangements to do this, since (imo) it is virtually impossible to manually try to regain a previous model view.
It should be apparent that (in this example) the screen plane and the X plane are totally different.
5). Another view of the situation. (If Move | Free were used here, yet another (radically different) plane would be introduced :) )
Since all of this is invisible when actually using Wings, this can get quite confusing - especially if user stays in Move | Free, tumbles model to check previous moves, then tumbles back to (what they think is) the original position and continues moving stuff around.
All of the | Free commands work in this way and whilst they all offer great functionality, I think it's important to be aware of what's actually happening 'behind the scenes'.
Rotate | Free, of course, rotates geometry around a normal to the screen - with this 'normal' axis passing through the selection centre of the geometry being rotated. (If multiple separate face / edge selections, they will each rotate around their own local axis - still a screen normal - but a selection of verts will always rotate around 1 axis - thro' its selection centre, by default. The screen normal axis can be transferred through a 'local origin' by using RMB option in Rotate | Free.
I referred (earlier) to the fact that the user will have to make 'special arrangements' if they wish to (keep) returning to a specified (screen) plane.
One way of achieving this is to use View | Align to Selection (see above).
If there's a possibility that the geometry being used for this is likely to be damaged / rotated / corrupted somehow, then it's maybe worth considering creating a 'reference / datum' object for this job.
If you're only likely to want to use one (non-orthogonal) plane, select the relevant face and use Select | Store selection. To return to this plane (at any time) all you then need to do is Select | Recall Selection and Press A (for aim). Having these 2 commands on hotkeys helps enormously..(Whilst Select | Group itself cannot be assigned to a hotkey, individual selections (whatever mode) stored can be .)
If you're likely to want to do the same as above with several planes, use a similar procedure, but store the selections using Select | New group etc.
There's also nothing to stop you using these (or other, selected and stored) locations as Aim points, either :)