Monday, March 31, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 - 3D Navigation Tools

How do you get around in your files? How do you navigate? Do you zoom, pan, change views to top, north, south, etc? How easy is that for you? It can be a pain. It can also be difficult remembering where it is you are and where it is you want to go. Well, AutoCAD 2009 has taken some features from other Autodesk products and bundled them together in the ViewCube and the Steering Wheel.

ViewCube

This new tool makes navigating in 3D much easier. It provides a visual aid to display your view orientation. It displays a view of a cube (hence the name) with a direction labeled on each face. For example: the top of the cube is labeled TOP, the front face of the cube is labeled FRONT, the left view of the cube is labeled LEFT, and so on. When your view is changed, the cube rotates informing you of where you are. Click on an area of the cube and your view will rotate to match.

With all things AutoCAD, there are settings for the View Cube. You can set the onscreen position, the size, and the opacity. There are snap settings, which will snap you to the nearest view when dragging the View Cube around to rotate the file (dragging the cube is similar to dragging around the 3D orbit command, but you use the cube.) There are also zoom settings and more. Just set it to fit your needs.

View Object Wheel

Autodesk took this from the Design Review program and adapted it to work in AutoCAD. In a nutshell, it is a visual device for panning, zooming, orbiting, and more. It is more of a 2D device while the View Cube is a 3D device. Activate the View Wheel by clicking on its icon in the status bar. Click the zoom button to zoom, pan, etc. Click the rewind button to replay the frames from previous orientations. This is a good way to restore your original view. Again, you can customize the View Wheel, size opacity, tool messages, and more.



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