Thursday, March 15, 2012

Navigation In Autodesk Inventor - The ViewCube Tool

TOPIC: NAVIGATION IN AUTODESK INVENTOR - THE VIEWCUBE TOOL


BEFORE YOU BEGIN

  1. Download the dataset.
  2. Save it to a project folder of an existing Inventor project. Set the project active. Learn more about Inventor Projects and Project Files.
  3. Open the part file: Menu Browser menu browser > Open menu > Open > Navigation_Infant_Scooter_Front_End_Assy.iam

INTRODUCTION

Navigation in Autodesk Inventor embodies those operations carried out in order to view the model from different positions, directions (or orientations) and perspectives. When you navigate around your model, the position and orientation of the model with respect to the user-coordinate system is not altered.
Autodesk Inventor contains very interesting tools that allows you to have complete control of how your model is viewed and positioned in your Graphics Area.
The VIEWCUBE is a user interface tool that is used for changing to preset standard and isometric views of your model, and for orbiting around your model. The preset views are:
  1. Six orthographic views
    1. Front,
    2. Top,
    3. Back,
    4. Bottom,
    5. Right, and
    6. Left.
  2. Eight Isometric views
    1. SE Isometric,
    2. NE Isometric,
    3. SW Isometric,
    4. NW Isometric, etc.

OBJECTIVES

At the end of this lesson, the reader should be able:
  1. Explain the concept of navigation in Autodesk Inventor.
  2. Explain the functions of the ViewCube tool.
  3. Use the ViewCube for changing the preset views of the model.
  4. Use the ViewCube for orbiting around the model.
  5. Use the ViewCube settings for controlling the behaviours of the ViewCube.
  6. Set the view of the model to either perspective or orthographic view.
  7. Properly set various options on the ViewCube Options dialog box.

LOCATING THE VIEWCUBE

The ViewCube is, by default, located at the upper-right corner of the Graphic Area - just above the Navigation Bar and below the Document Window Control Buttons. Refer to Figure 1.
Figure 1

PARTS OF THE VIEWCUBE

The ViewCube consists of the following:
  1. Clickable faces,
  2. Clickable corners,
  3. Home View icon,
  4. Compass (not activate by default), and
  5. ViewCube menu drop-down arrow.
Figure 2 shows all the parts of a ViewCube with no compass. While Figure 3 shows the ViewCube with a compass.
Figure 2
Figure 3
FACES: The faces and corners are hotspots on the Viewcube (i.e. they are clickable). Each face is labelled with its preset standard view. Click on any face changing the view of your model to the preset standard view indicated on that face of the ViewCube.
CORNERS: Clicking on any corner of the ViewCube, allows you to change the view of your model to any of the eight preset isometric views.
HOME VIEW CUBE: The Home View Cube changes your view to the default or home view of your model. By default, the Home View is the SE (south East) Isometric view. The Home View can be set to any other view at any time.
COMPASS: The compass is any interest addition to the ViewCube. It allows you to perform constrained orbit operation when it is clicked and dragged around.

CHANGING PRESET VIEWS THROUGH THE VIEWCUBE

You can change to any of the standard or isometric views through the ViewCube by simply clicking on the faces or corners of the ViewCube.
Let's do the following exercise:
  1. Make sure that the assembly provided in the dataset is opened in Autodesk Inventor.
  2. Go to the ViewCube, and click the Home View icon.
  3. On the ViewCube, click the Right face. This activates the Right view.
    When a standard view is activated, four triangular markers are shown beside the four sides of the active ViewCube face.Two oppositely-directed curved arrows are also shown at the upper-right area of the ViewCube. Refer to Figure 4.
  4. Click the right triangular marker. This rotates the ViewCube to reveal the Top view.

    Figure 4
  5. Click the bottom marker on the ViewCube. This changes the view to the Back view.
  6. Click the counter-clockwise arrow at the upper-right area of the ViewCube. This rotates the ViewCube counter clockwise.
  7. On the ViewCube, click the Home View icon.

ORBITING WITH THE VIEWCUBE

The ViewCube can be used for orbiting around the model. Go to this lesson to learn more about the ORIBT tool in Autodesk Inventor.
Let's do the following exercise:
  1. On the ViewCube, click the Home View icon.
  2. Position the mouse pointer over the ViewCube, click and hold the left button, then drag the mouse around. This technique activates the ORBIT tool, implicitly.

THE VIEWCUBE MENU

The ViewCube Menu contains so many functionalities that makes the ViewCube even more interesting.
You can access the Viewcube Menu by right-click on the ViewCube or by clicking on the ViewCube Menu drop-down arrow as shown in Figure 2.
The following can be found on the ViewCube Menu [1]:

ViewCube Menu
Go Home The default view of the model. You can change the default view using Set current view as home. You can navigate to the Home position by selecting this option from the context menu or by clicking the Home icon displayed just above the ViewCube.
Orthographic A display mode where all points of a model are projected along parallel lines to the screen.
Perspective A display mode where a model is displayed in three-point perspective, very similar to the way objects in the real world are perceived by the human eye.
Perspective with Ortho Faces A display mode where the model is displayed in orthographic projection when one of the faces of the ViewCube is active.
Lock to current selection The center and distance does not change regardless of whether objects are selected or deselected.
Set current view as Home Defines the current view as the default view:
  • Fixed Distance: Sets a Home view that defines both the direction of the view and the extent of the model that fills the view.
  • Fit to View: Sets a Home view that defines the direction of the view, with the extent always ‘view all’. The initial Home view of Legacy documents is set to Fit to View.
Set current view as Uses the current view to redefine:
  • Top view
  • Front view
The front view that is defined in the top-level assembly file prevails as the front view when you edit a part in the context of an assembly file.
Set the ViewCube orientation relative to the model by aligning the current view to look at the TOP or FRONT of the model, then use Set current view as with the appropriate selection.
The ViewCube Bottom view determines the orientation of the model ground plane. Redefining the ViewCube affects the model ground plane, ground shadows, and ground reflections.
Reset Front Rests the front view to the default setting.
NoteThe front view that is defined in the top-level assembly file prevails as the front view when you edit a part in the context of an assembly file.
NoteThis is also the orientation assigned to migrated legacy files.
Options Opens the ViewCube Options dialog box.
Help Topics Launches the online Help system and displays the topic on the ViewCube.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORTHOGRAPHIC AND PERSPECTIVE PROJECTIONS

In orthographic projections, all points of a model are projected along parallel lines to the screen WHILE in perspective projections, a model is displayed in three-point perspective (i.e parts of the model that is farther away from you diminish toward three points). The following diagrams will help us understand better.
perspective projection
orthographic projection

VIEWCUBE OPTIONS

The ViewCube Options dialog box contains settings for altering and adding more functionalities to the ViewCube. Figure 7 shows the ViewCube Options dialog box. This dialog box can be accessed by right clicking on the ViewCube and clicking Options....





ViewCube options dialog box
ViewCube Options dialog box Settings
Application Options Overall settings for the Viewcube
Show the ViewCube on window create When this check box is enabled, the ViewCube is displayed in the Graphics Area, by default, when any window is opened in Autodesk Inventor
All 3D Views When this radio button is enabled, the ViewCube is displayed in all 3D views.
Display Set preferences for the display of the ViewCube.
Only in Current View When this radio button is enabled, the ViewCube is displayed only in the current view.
On Screen Position Allows you to change the default position of the ViewCube to any of the following: Top Right, Bottom Right, Top Left, or Bottom Left.
ViewCube Size Allows you to set the ViewCube size to Tiny, Small, Normal, or Large.
Inactive Opacity Allows you to set the opacity ( opposite of transparency) of the ViewCube when it is not in use. The inactive opacity can be set to 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. An inactive opacity of 100% means that the ViewCube will always be shown even when it is inactive. An opacity of 0% means that the ViewCube will be invisible when it is inactive. Whatever the settings may be, the ViewCube visibility is fully restored when the cursor is hovered over it.
When Dragging on the ViewCube Set preferences for dragging on the ViewCube.
Snap to the closet View While being dragged, the ViewCube and the scene rotate like an arcball. If Snap to closest view is selected, the viewpoint snaps to one of the fixed views when it is angularly close to one of the fixed views.
When Clicking on the ViewCube Set preferences for clicking on the ViewCube.
Fit-to-View on view change If selected, clicking the ViewCube rotates around the center of the scene and zooms out to fit the scene into the viewport. When dragging the ViewCube, the view changes to look at the scene center prior to the drag (but does not zoom) and continues to use that as the pivot point while dragging. If not selected, clicking or dragging the ViewCube rotates around the current pivot point and does not zoom in or out.
Use animated transitions when switching views An animated transition displays when you click on a section of the ViewCube to help visualize the spatial relationship between the current viewpoint and the selected viewpoint.
Note: When navigating about 3D scenes that contain vast amounts of geometry, the application frame rate can drop significantly and make it difficult for the system to smoothly animate a viewpoint transition.
Keep model upright When clicking on edges, corners, or faces of the ViewCube, the orientation algorithm normally attempts to turn the viewpoint so that upside-down orientations of the scene are avoided.
Default ViewCube Orientation Set preferences for the default orientation of the ViewCube. When a new part or assembly is created from a template, it inherits the orientation from the base template.
Front View Plane Sets the model-space plane to which the front plane of the ViewCube should align.
Top View Plane Sets the model-space plane to which the top plane of the ViewCube should align.
Document Settings Set preferences for the display of the Compass. By default, the display is off.
Show the Compass below the ViewCube Sets the preference for the display of the Compass.
Angle of North Sets the angle between the ViewCube FRONT face and the Compass direction North.

REFERENCES:

1. Autodesk Inventor 2011 Help System