For fun, I decided to create a ping pong paddle. As you may know, a ping pong paddle has many different appearances on different faces and for different features. So, lets talk about how to apply appearances to different surfaces, features, and bodies. Applying appearances improves contrast which makes modeling easier by allowing you to quickly orient the part based on color. It also gives it a finished look which is desirable when modeling for a client who wants to get an idea of what the finished product will look like.
The first thing I do when applying an appearance is to decide on the colors that I want to use and in which location to use them. You can edit the appearance at any time so you don’t have to get the color perfect the first time. I usually end up changing it once or twice after seeing how it matches up with other colors on the part.
It’s best to apply appearances after the part is modeled completely. I also tend plan ahead and add necessary split lines to help create an appearance bounding box. For example, in the above photo, you will see the red arrow pointing to a split line that I projected onto the surface. From there, I could apply the wood grain finish and separate it from the default appearance at the correct location.
After separating the wood grain from the default appearance, I can now add a blue appearance to it using several different methods. I will focus on the main method that I consider to be easiest. I drag and drop from the task pane appearances tab which is located on the far right of the screen. By selecting the Appearances, Scenes, and Decals tab it will then display many custom materials to choose from.
Now you can click on an appearance and drag and drop it onto the face, body, or feature of the part.
Here I applied the appearance to the surface of the part. After you drag and drop the appearance you will be given some options on how you want the appearance to be applied to the part.
Looking at the icons above you can see that I can apply the appearance to the surface of the paddle, the split line feature, the solid body, or the entire part. Since I only want the blue appearance applied to the surface, I selected the first icon which is a surface titled “Face(Split Line1).” The appearance is then applied only to that surface.
Speed up the process
You can also copy and paste appearances to speed up the process if you have many faces that need the same appearance applied to it; such as the handle of the paddle. Click on the appearance you want copied, select the “Copy Appearance” icon, then select the area you want it on and then select the “Paste” icon which is to the right of the“Copy” icon.
If you aren’t satisfied with the color and would like to tweak it; you can do so by editing the appearance. Click on the appearance, then select the “Appearance” icon, then select the appearance you are wanting to edit.
There is more.
Next, a window in the FeatureManager Design Tree will appear that allows you to edit the appearance. It will open to “Basic” by default which will allow for basic editing such as changing the color using the RGB values or drag the crosshair for a dynamic selection. You can also select the “Advanced” button which will allow more customization.
By selecting “Advanced” you will then have 3 other tabs to choose from. They are Illumination, Surface Finish, and Mapping.
- Illumination gives you the option of giving the appearance a transparent look or softening the color.
- Surface Finish gives you the option to change the finish of the appearance you originally chose in the task pane.
- Mapping is where you can redefine the features, surfaces, or bodies you want the appearance applied to.
In the “FeatureManager Design Tree” in the “Appearances” tab, you will see all of the appearances that are being used in this part and can quickly edit colors from this area.
If all you need to do is add a basic appearance to a feature you can select the feature in the “FeatureManager Design Tree” and select the “Appearances” icon. That will open the “Basic” appearance feature.
Thanks for following along.
To conclude, you can expand these columns to see what appearances are applied to which feature. Click on the small icon “ > “ located at the top right corner of the “FeatureManager Design Tree.” This will expand the additional columns to get a quick look at the appearances. You can also edit appearances from this area by selecting the appearance and select “Appearance.”