1.12 - Visual Styles

Modeling conceptual masses is just half of what FormIt has to offer. The other half are beautiful graphics that help to tell a story to a client, or team member. In this chapter, we will cover ways to set up your graphic visual styles and create animations.

If you did not complete the last section, download and open the 1.12 – Visual Styles.axm file from the FormIt Primer Part 1 Datasets.

Create an Animation

In these next steps, we will learn how to use Scenes to create an animation.

1 – To create the first Scene:

  1. Turn on all the layers except Terrain, Plan Image, and Massing.

  2. Make sure the camera mode is set to Perspective (VP), and position the camera so that it is looking at the entire house from slightly above, similar to the image below.

  3. Open the Scenes Palette.

  4. Click on the + icon to create a new scene from our current view.

  5. Rename it to Aerial View 1, and match the other Scene Properties to what is shown in the image below.

2 - To create the second Scene and then animate between them:

  1. Adjust the camera to a new position so that you are looking at the house from a different angle. Create a new Scene named Aerial View 2 using the same process we followed in the previous step.

  2. Click the Play button. After the set Pause Time of 2 Seconds, the animation will start slowly moving back and forth between the two scenes. This will continue until you click the Stop button to stop the animation.

Note: You can adjust the Pause Time, Transition Time, and Camera Speed using the settings at the bottom of the Scene Properties. Try adding some more scenes and playing with these settings to customize your animation.

Customize the Visual Styles

Now we are going to create another scene with some customized Visual Styles settings.

1 - First, open the Visual Styles Palette. Note there are four (4) tabs at the top, each containing different visual settings: Surfaces, Edges, Environment, and Model Diagnostics. To learn more about each tab visit the Visual Styles chapter in the Tool Library section.

2 – To customize some settings in the Surface Tab:

  1. Turn on Shadows (DS).

  2. Turn on Ambient Shadows (DA).

  3. Turn on Monotone Surfaces (DM). This makes an abstract black and white image without any materials.

3 – To customize some settings in the Edge Tab:

    1. Adjust the sliders to lighten the Edges contrast to around 30%.

    2. Turn on the Extend Edges (DX).

    3. Adjust the sliders to lighten the Silhouettes contrast to 30%.

4 - To customize some settings in the Environment Tab:

  1. Turn off Axes.

  2. Turn off Levels, if on.

5 - Create a new scene called Customized Scene to save these settings. Now you can switch back and forth between the Scenes to reset the graphic settings.

Note: If you uncheck the Camera property of the new scene, you can use it to only toggle on the visual settings we just created without move the camera position. Give it a try by going to one of your previous Aerial scenes, and then double-clicking on the Customized Scene and watching what happens!

Note: To Learn about Visual Styles Diagnostics and advanced applications for Scenes, check out the Primer Part II.