Layout and Interface

The form•Z interface is composed of form•Z project windows supported by a set of menus, tool bars, and palettes. The project window is the focus of the interface. This is where a 3D model is created, edited, and displayed.

 

By default the window shows a perspective view into the modeling space. The Cartesian axes are shown to indicate orientation and a grid is displayed to indicate the reference plane and scale. The appearance of the project window, the working units, scale, and other parameters are set in the Project Settings dialog, invoked from the File menu.

 

The tools used to perform modeling operations are located in the Modeling tool palette to the left of the project window. Each row in the modeling tool palette contains a suite of functionally related tools, whose label appears vertically to the left of the icon. When the cursor is positioned over the icon, the complete tool suite pops-up to the right of the icon. Clicking on an icon in the tool suite makes it the active tool and its icon is displayed in the modeling tool palette. The tool suite can be torn-off by clicking and dragging in its title bar.

 

There is always one active tool. The active tool is indicated by a red outline around the tool’s icon. Clicking on a tool makes it the active tool. The icon and name of the active tool are shown in the Action palette located at the top of the screen. Most tools have a variety of options that control the functionality of the tool. These options are found in the Tool Options palette located to the right of the project window.

 

formZ Jr Screen
 The form•Z Layout screen layout.

 

 

The active tool determines the action that is applied when clicking in the project window. The basic form•Z workflow is as follows:

  1. Select the desired tool.

  2. Choose the desired options from the tool options palette.

  3. Click in the modeling window as needed to perform the action. The Action palette indicates what each click will do. The Input palette can be used to enter values numerically for many tools.

  4. Review the results. Most tools have the ability to make changes to the result without having to re-execute the tool. These tools show their results in orange in the project window. Tool options can be changed and are immediately reflected in the result object. Some tools provide graphic editing of the result through on screen controls.

  5. Continue to the next operation.

The remaining tool palettes offer additional functionality used to support the modeling functionality. At the bottom of the screen are the reference plane tool and snap tool palettes. At the top of the screen are the display tool and navigation tool palettes. These tool palettes are discussed in more detail later in this document.

 

The common tools palette is a collection of commonly used items from the File and Edit menus. This includes New Project, Open, Close, Save, Save As, Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, and Paste.

 

The Materials, Objects, Layers, Lights, Views, Scenes, Custom Reference Planes, and Clipping Planes palettes are all used to manage information of a project.

 

The Display Options, Material Parameters, Reference Plane Parameters, View Parameters, and Components palettes control the options for the current display, active material, reference plane, view, and components, respectively. These palettes are closed by default but can be opened by selecting the palette’s name from the Palettes menu.

 

The palettes on the right of the screen reside inside a palette dock. A dock is essentially a palette that holds other palettes. When the dock is moved, all of the palettes in the dock move with it. When a dock is closed, all the palettes in the dock are no longer visible. A palette can be moved out of the dock and positioned anywhere on the screen. The dock on its right side has a scroll bar to allow scrolling of the palettes when the area required by the palettes is larger than the screen.