Working with models in 3D



Efficient modelling and structural engineering verifications in a 3D CAE environment require camera controls and viewing capabilities that go beyond just the basics. Different tasks imply different needs, but in all cases maintaining clear sense of orientation and understanding of the geometry plotted on the 2D computer screen is essential.

SCIA Engineer v18.0 provides a simple, yet flexible way to perform view manipulations. The SCIA NaviCube is a compact controller that lets one, on one hand, freely turn and move the 3D model, on the other hand, constrain views to reference entities such as coordinate systems and right angles. It complies with standards in the industry, yet it offers a few additional features that make it unique in terms of flexibility and relevance to structural engineering.

In addition to the new 3D navigation controller, v18.0 provides an improved UI frame to surround the 3D scene. Compact and more subtle in colouring, the user interface now lets focus naturally shift to the 3D model.

Simpler and more flexible camera controls: tumbling, zooming, panning, and useful view snaps are available with a single click.
View navigation is fully integrated with current selections, activities and coordinate system.
Switch between isometric and perspective view and access viewing history directly from the 3D scene.
A modern look and colour scheme in the UI frame surrounding the 3D scene results is less eye strain and better contrast of the 3D model.
The possibility to show different load types in different colours makes it easier to review applied loads.

The NaviCube: a better way to view models

It is now simpler to look at and around objects, to tumble freely, pan, zoom and to meaningfully snap the camera to references in the coordinate system or to 45 and 90 degree angles.

Here are the basic benefits of the NaviCube:

  • Tumbling and zooming are now available on mouse click: simply "grab" the NaviCube and move with the mouse;
  • The various hot-spots on the Cube let one snap to orthogonal views (such a top, front, back, side), as well as to corner and edge views when a grasp of the 3D aspects of the model is needed;
  • Constrained rotation around the vertical Z-axis is available as an additional hot-spot on the NaviCube;
  • In top and bottom view, the 90 degree arrows let the user snap rotation to 90 degree angles.
  • The NaviCube menu lets one easily switch between isometric and perspective view, access viewing history, fit the whole structure or selected entities to the screen frame;
  • The NaviCube is built around standard SCIA Engineer features such as Selections and Activities. For example, tumbling around the selection members is a standard behaviour;
  • In addition to the ability to efficiently control the viewing direction, the user will benefit from indicators on the NaviCube that inform where the user is looking from.

In addition, expert mode viewing manipulations remain available. This means that experienced users will be able to continue using keyboard hot-keys in the same way they did in previous versions. But even these users will find useful new features inside the NaviCube.

Superior UI frame

The visual aspects of a structural engineering application are not to be thoroughly ignored. In fact, engineers often spend hours working with the programme, and in these cases, limiting eye strain, improving concentration and avoiding distraction are very beneficial.

SCIA Engineer v 18.0 uses a more modern skins and colours for all toolbars and dialogs. This results in a calm, not disturbing look: the lower contrast puts the main emphasis on the model inside the 3D scene. After all, the menus around are only there to provide access to tools, and should be out of the way and out of sight when not in use.

Colouring of loads

It is now possible to visualise different load types in different colour: point loads, line loads and surface loads are now easily recognisable in the 3D scene. The benefits here are clear: reviewing the modelled loads is easier, reports are clearer and errors are prevented. This is a large step forward comparing to previous versions: in large models, loads often resembled a cloud of green and orange arrows.