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Screen Aligned


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Bruce,

The Screen plane limits the projection of planar (called 2D previously) objects to the plane of the display monitor or screen. This projection has the characteristic of always being parallel to plane implied by the screen no matter the projection. In practice, planar objects assigned to the screen plane appear to be 'stuck' to the screen since the Vectorworks adjusts projection of the object relative to the layer plane whenever the user changes the orientation of the scene with a tool such as the Flyover tool.

To demonstrate this, in Top/Plan view, draw 2 rectangles. Select one rectangle and choose the 'Layer' item from the Plane popup in the Object Info palette. Select the second rectangle and choose the 'Screen' item from the Plane popup in the Object Info palette. Now, use the Flyover tool and set the axis of rotation near the two rectangles. Observe the effect of the two rectangles as you shift the view of the scene with the Flyover too.

The Screen plane is a legacy concept that continues to have narrowly defined uses, but is not used in the everyday modeling workflow.

You can adjust the Active Plane popup in the Viewbar to control the method by which objects will be projected in the scene as you create them. This setting also controls how edit and resize operations of 3D objects are projected in space.

The default plane is usually 'Layer', which projects all operations at the layer plane. Another option is 'Automatic' which is a toggle mode button available with each planar object tool in the Basic tool palette. This plane mode interactively projects planar objects to the plane of the faces of existing geometry below the cursor.

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  • 2 months later...

I don't know for sure, but it seems to me that "screen aligned" only occurs when a) the Plane Options are set to Working Plane Only; and b) the View is Front/Back/Side... It does not occur in iso views, or in top/plan or plan... It is very useful, essential in fact, to draw things like rafter profiles while in a side-on view...

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In Frank's reply he says "The Screen plane is a legacy concept that continues to have narrowly defined uses, but is not used in the everyday modeling workflow." In my experience this is not true at all. I suspect I'm not alone here.

The screen plane / layer plane approach is still a non-functional mess. I work in 3D 100% of the time and almost always use Screen Plane mode. The reason? Because the snaps work as expected. All of the other modes have limitations to the snaps.

This whole issue should have been solved differently than it has been. The plane mode shouldn't control what snaps work and what snaps don't. The user should. Who's to say I don't want to snap between a 2D screen object, a 2D layer plane object and a 3D object while working in Layer Plane or Automatic mode. It just can't be done with the current mess.

I'm sure Bruce probably noticed Screen Aligned the moment after a snap didn't work as expected. That's how I first noticed it.

What's truly missing is the concept of 2D snapping, 2.5D snapping and 3D snapping. All in the control of the user instead of randomly implemented based on the current screen plane / layer plane mess.

Kevin

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After some experimenting with the 2D grid and 3D grid axes turned on I've deduced that Screen Aligned objects are free space 2D objects aligned with either the X 3D plane or the Y 3D plane.

There are three document Plane Modes:

- Screen Plane Only

- Working Plane Only

- Screen Plane or Working Plane

When the document's Plane Mode is set to either Working Plane Only or Screen Plane or Working Plane and you switch to one of the four standard elevation views (Front, Right, Back and Left) the Active Plane pop-up on the View Bar will show as Screen Aligned. If you then draw a 2D object in free space (ie. you are not drawing on the face of an object via a set or automatic working plane) then the object will be drawn on the the X or Y 3D plane which is currently parallel to the screen.

So if you are in a Front or Back view the 2D object will be on X 3D plane; and if you are in a Left or Right view the 2D planar object will be on the Y 3D plane.

If you are in a Top or Bottom View 2D planar objects will be drawn on the Layer Plane (ie. the Z 3D plane).

So summing up these are free space 2D planar objects which are drawn in the standard orthogonal views and are therefore on the plane which is parallel to the screen in that view. All that has changed is you are now being told that these are on the X or Y 3D plane (ie. aligned to them).

Note:

Free space 2D planar objects are drawn relative to the current 3D origin and axes setting. So when you move the 3D origin and / or rotate the 3D axes this changes where and at what orientation these free space 2D planar objects will be drawn.

Edited by mike m oz
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Thanks Mike. I'll mess around with that.

I hope this planes mess gets better some day. Here's what I want: When I draw 2D objects in a view I consider 2D (top, front, right, etc.), then those objects should be 2D and snap to the frontmost points of other drawn objects. When I draw in a 3D view, then those objects should be 3D. I can change 2D objects to 3D objects in the OIP, and vice versa. I have to say I waste more time trying to figure out why things don't behave as I think they should, and then I find my problems are related to being on the wrong darn plane.

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Bruce, I suspect your problems are more to do with the way Vw now retains the existing 3D view when you drill into a 3D object to edit its 2D source shape.

In the old system you always saw the 2D source shape as it was originally drawn irrespective of the 3D view you were in or what the 3D object rotation was when you started the edit it. This meant you saw a conventional Top/Plan screen with the X axis horizontal and the Y axis vertical. After completing the edit you were taken back to the original 3D view with the 3D object oriented as it was.

Now you see the 2D source shape as you were looking at the 3D object. To view it as if it is in Top/Plan View have the View Bar Working Plane mode active and click on the Look at Working Plane icon.

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So if you are in a Front or Back view the 2D object will be on X 3D plane; and if you are in a Left or Right view the 2D planar object will be on the Y 3D plane.

If you are in a Top or Bottom View 2D planar objects will be drawn on the Layer Plane (ie. the Z 3D plane).

I've tried this while dimensioning in right view & screen aligned and the dimension snaps 'across' the planes and 'into' the screen, which is not helpful.

I still find that I have to select screen plane to get the dimension to work.

In fact I spend too much time selecting plane modes which is a blip in any work flow.

Why have cheaper less complex CAD packages sorted this out and not VW and why is it such a mess?

Perhaps the software engineers should actually consult real life users to get this sorted.

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Bruce, I suspect your problems are more to do with the way Vw now retains the existing 3D view when you drill into a 3D object to edit its 2D source shape.

In the old system you always saw the 2D source shape as it was originally drawn irrespective of the 3D view you were in or what the 3D object rotation was when you started the edit it. This meant you saw a conventional Top/Plan screen with the X axis horizontal and the Y axis vertical. After completing the edit you were taken back to the original 3D view with the 3D object oriented as it was.

Now you see the 2D source shape as you were looking at the 3D object. To view it as if it is in Top/Plan View have the View Bar Working Plane mode active and click on the Look at Working Plane icon.

Mike,

That's part of the problem, but I figured that out a while ago, and I know how to deal with it even though it can be frustrating. It's just added steps and clicks that slow down the workflow.

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It the switching between planes that I'd like to be able to 'shortcut'

The Layer/Working Plane is not properly sorted to do without the 'Screen Plane' mode. (As mentioned earlier in this thread)

Is there a way to set a shortcut to select different plane modes?

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