PolyDraw Panel
 
 
 
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Modeling ribbon Graphite Modeling Tools/Freeform tab PolyDraw panel

NoteThe PolyDraw panel is visible by default only on the Freeform tab but can be made visible on the Graphite Modeling Tools tab via the right-click menu.

PolyDraw provides tools for quickly sketching out and editing a mesh on the main grid, projected onto the surface of another object, or on the selected object itself, depending on the Draw On setting.

The tools have different effects depending on which combination of the Ctrl, Shift, and Alt keys you press, as described in the following definitions. PolyDraw does not require that a particular sub-object level be active, but we recommend that you use them at the Vertex level for improved visual feedback with certain tool effects. To exit a PolyDraw tool, click its button again or right-click in the active viewport.

Interface

PolyDraw panel on minimized ribbon

PolyDraw panel on maximized ribbon, with expansion

PolyDraw panel floating, with expansion

Step Build

With Step Build you can build and edit a surface vertex by vertex and polygon by polygon. Works at the object level and all sub-object levels. Right-click to exit the tool.

Following are the different functions of the tool, depending on which keyboard keys are pressed:

  • Normal Click to place vertices on the grid or surface.
  • Shift Drag over freestanding vertices to fill in the gaps with quad polygons. This always creates a polygon from the closest four vertices.
  • Ctrl Click a polygon to delete it. The vertices remain so that if you accidently create a face in the wrong place it's easy to delete the face and draw again closer to the vertices you want.
  • Alt Click a vertex to remove it.
  • Ctrl+Alt Click an edge to remove it.
  • Ctrl+Shift Click to place and select vertices, or to select existing vertices. Each time you place and/or select four vertices, Step Build automatically creates a polygon. It includes the last two vertices from the previously created polygon in the new selection, so you need only click twice to create the next polygon. To clear the selection, release the keys.
  • Shift+Alt Move the mouse cursor (without dragging) over vertices to select them, and then click to create a polygon from the selected vertices. Useful for creating non-quad polygons. To clear the selection, release the keys.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Alt Drag to move a vertex around on the grid or surface. At the Vertex sub-object level, a vertex highlights when you move the mouse near enough to start dragging it.
NoteWhile Step Build is active, vertex ticks are always visible for the selected object. If you don’t see them at levels other than Vertex, make sure the object’s display properties are set to By Object.
Extend

With the Extend tool you can work on the open edges of the object; those on the border of the surface that have only one polygon attached. Following are the different functions of the Extend tool:

  • Normal Drag a border vertex to create a polygon.
  • Shift Drag a border edge to create a polygon.
  • Ctrl+Shift Drag an edge to extend the entire loop on which the edge resides.
  • Ctrl+Alt Drag between two edges to create a polygon.
  • Ctrl Click to delete a polygon and its isolated vertices.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Alt Drag a vertex to move it around on the grid or surface.

You can also use Extend to edit the object in screen space, thus moving sub-objects perpendicular to the view direction. You do not need to change the active coordinate system to use this method.

  • Alt Drag a border vertex to create a polygon in screen space.
  • Alt+Shift Drag a border edge to create a polygon in screen space.
Drag

With the Drag tool you can move individual sub-objects around on the surface or grid. The options are:

  • Normal Move vertices by dragging them.
    NoteWith Drag on at the Vertex sub-object level, moving the mouse cursor around automatically selects the vertex that will be moved when you drag the mouse.
  • Shift Move edges by dragging them.
  • Ctrl Move polygons by dragging them.
  • Shift+Ctrl Move edge loops by dragging them.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Alt Move elements by dragging them.

You can also use Drag to move sub-objects in screen space; that is, perpendicular to the current view direction. You do not need to change the active coordinate system to use this method.

  • Alt Drag vertices to move them in screen space.
  • Alt+Shift Drag edges to move them in screen space.
  • Alt+Ctrl Drag polygons to move them in screen space.
Optimize

Optimize meshes quickly by sketching away details. The tool options are:

  • Normal Click edges to collapse them, combining two vertices into one.
  • Shift Drag from one vertex to the next to target-weld the two, combining the first with the second. If you continue dragging to further vertices you can weld several vertices with a single stroke.
  • Ctrl Drag between vertices to connect them with edges.
  • Alt Remove a vertex by clicking it.
  • Shift+Ctrl Remove an edge loop by clicking an edge on the loop.
  • Shift+Alt Remove an edge ring by clicking an edge in the ring.
  • Ctrl+Alt Remove an edge by clicking it.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Alt Move a vertex by dragging it.
Draw On:

From the drop-down list, choose the entity type to draw on:

  • GridPolyDraw creates geometry on the grid of the active viewport.

    This drawing mode is particularly suited to orthographic viewports, but also works well in perspective viewports.

  • SurfacePolyDraw creates geometry on an object that you specify.

    Click the Pick button and then select a different object to draw on. The button then contains the name of that object. Use any of the PolyDraw tools (Strips, etc.) to draw on the object. To change the surface, click the button again and choose a different object to draw on.

  • SelectionPolyDraw creates geometry on the selected object.
Pick

Designates an object to draw on for the Draw On: Surface option (see preceding).

After setting the Draw On option to Surface, click the Pick button, and then click an object to draw on. To remove the object, click the button again.

Shapes

Draw polygon shapes on the grid or a surface.

Drag to set the polygon outline on the grid or an object surface. After drawing a polygon, optionally use Solve Surface to create a workable mesh from the shape.

While Draw Polygon is active, the following keyboard alternatives are available:

  • Ctrl Click to delete a polygon.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Alt Drag to move a polygon.
Topology

Draw lines that form a grid of quads. As you draw eligible quads, Topology fills them in with polygons, creating a mesh from the grid. Right-click to exit the tool.

Left: Starting to draw the grid

Center: Completing the grid, with polygons created

Right: The result of using Topology (after right-clicking to exit)

If Auto Weld (see following) is on, the software automatically attaches the created mesh to the selected object and welds border vertices that are close together. This way you can continue adding to the surface of the selected object.

When Auto Weld is off, drawing with Topology always creates a new object.

The Minimum Distance value determines the resolution of the lines. If the value is too small some faces might be missed in the polygon creation. The default value, 10.0, with the unit type set to pixels should work well in most cases.

While Draw Topology Pattern is active, the following keyboard alternatives are available:

  • Shift Drag to continue a line from the closest existing endpoint.
  • Ctrl Click to delete a line.
Auto Weld

When on, automatically attaches the mesh that you create with Topology to the selected object and welds border vertices that are close together.

When off, drawing with Topology always creates a new object.

Splines

Draw splines on a surface or grid. You can then make these splines renderable or use them in a lofting operation to create quick details.

Set the Draw On option, click Splines, and then drag to draw the splines on the desired base. All splines are combined into a single, separate object.

While Splines is active, the following keyboard alternatives are available:

  • Ctrl Click to delete a spline.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Alt Drag to move the closest spline.
Strips

Paint strips of polygons that curve to follow the mouse direction.

The Strips tool lets you quickly lay out the topology foundation for a mesh object.

While Strips is active, the following keyboard alternatives are available:

  • Shift Starts painting from the closest existing edge.
  • Alt While drawing, press and drag to an open edge in the current object (but not on the same strip) to add a polygon between where you press Alt and the edge you drag to.

    Alternatively, press Alt before drawing and then drag between two open edges to connect them with a new polygon.

Surface

Drag to paint a surface onto an object or the grid.

To start the surface from an existing border edge, hold Shift before starting to draw. This prevents drawing overlapping polygons.

To delete a polygon and any resulting isolated vertices while Surface is active, Shift+click it.

Branches

Paint multi-segmented extrusions from polygons with optional tapering to form "branches.”

Note Drawing branches always starts from the selected object; it doesn’t use the Draw On: (Grid/Surface/Selection) setting.

The extrusions are aligned to the screen. The Branch Taper value (see following) determines the difference in size between the first and the last polygon in the branch, while Minimum Distance lets you set the distance between segments in the extrusion.

Activate the tool and then drag from polygons on the selected object to draw branches.

  • Normal Drag to draw extruded branches from the polygon closest to the mouse.
  • Shift Drag to draw extruded branches from selected polygon(s).
  • Ctrl Click to select a polygon (at the Polygon sub-object level only).
  • Ctrl+Alt Click to select/deselect additional polygons (at the Polygon sub-object level only).
NoteWhen the modeling ribbon is maximized or the Paint Deform panel floats, the following controls appear on the Paint Deform panel expansion.
Branch Taper

The amount by which branches taper as you draw them. A negative value makes the branch dwindle in size; a positive value makes it get thicker, and 0 keeps it the same size as the starting polygon.

A value of -1.0 makes the end of the branch as small as possible, while values lower than -1.0 cause the branch to shrink to the minimum partway through and then enlarge the rest of the way.

New Object

Creates a new, “empty” editable poly object, accesses the Vertex sub-object level, and keeps the current PolyDraw tool active.

Immediately after clicking New Obj you can use the PolyDraw tools to add geometry.

Solve Surface

Takes a polygon shape such as one painted with the Shapes tool and tries to create a workable mesh, adding edges so that the result is a clean shape composed mainly of quadrilateral polygons. Or, if Solve To Quads (see following) is off, the result is mostly triangles.

TipSolve Surface works best when the starting shape is mostly in the form of "strips," where the two sides of the polygon are fairly close together.
Angle

Affects the way Solve Surface connects vertices. With flat shapes, the default value of 35 works best. With curved surfaces, however, Solve Surface might produce better results at higher values.

Solve to Quads

When on, using Solve Surface (see preceding) results in mostly four-sided polygons. When off, Solve Surface produces mainly triangles.

Offset

The distance that PolyDraw uses for creating geometry on (or moving it across) the grid or object surface (depending on the Draw On setting).

Minimum Distance

The shortest distance you need to drag the mouse before the next step in the tool is taken.

For example, when using the Shapes tool, this value determines the minimum distance, in pixels or world units, between the vertices the software creates as you draw.

To determine how to measure Minimum Distance, choose one of the following:

  • in PixelsUses pixels to specify the minimum distance you need to drag the mouse before the next step in the tool is taken.
  • in UnitsUses world units to specify the minimum distance you need to drag the mouse before the next step in the tool is taken.