Introduction: 1.2. Interface | Learn SelfCAD

About: Student at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology

1.1. Introduction
1.2. Interface
1.3. Navigation
1.4. Preferences
1.5. Workspace Settings
1.6. Environment Settings
2.1 Dollhouse project, part 1
2.2. Dollhouse project, part 2
2.3. Windows
2.4. Beds
2.5. Armchair & Sofa
2.6. Chairs & Table
3.1. 3D Print - Slicer interface
3.2. 3D Print - Settings

Welcome to the second lesson of the course named Learn SelfCAD. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you all the SelfCAD interface elements. Knowing them, you can conveniently use the editor and create your own great models.

The interface in SelfCAD is composed of 6 elements:
1. Main menu
2. Quick access bar
3. Toolbar
4. Tool settings (left sidebar)
5. Selection and display settings (right sidebar)
6. Editor


- SelfCAD account

Step 1: Main Menu

Main Menu consists of three parts.

On its left side, there are 5 buttons.
The first one is SelfCAD's logo, which takes the user to .
Then there is a File drop-down list. Here you can find the following options:
- New project - creates a new project
- Save project as - saves your project under a new name
- My Projects - shows all your projects
- Project History - shows the last changes you did
- Save Objects - saves objects on the cloud
- Load Objects - loads a chosen object from the cloud
- Import - imports a chosen object from your computer to SelfCAD editor
- Export - exports an object to your computer. This option is available only for Premium users.

The next one isan Edit menu. Move the mouse over it to see these functions:
- Select All - selects all objects in the project.
- Delete - deletes selected objects.
- Delete All - deletes all objects on the scene.
- Group - creates a group from selected objects.
- Ungroup - divides the group back into the objects.
- Lock - locked objects which cannot be selected and transformed. This option is also available above the objects list in the display and selection settings.
- Isolate - isolates selected objects so that only these objects are visible on the scene. This option is also available above the objects list in the display and selection settings.

Now we have a View menu:
- Hide
- Show All
- Hide All
- Reference Image - allows you to load any image from your computer and place it anywhere on the grid
The last drop-down menu is Settings, where you can find all possible settings, like dark mode, workspace size, the position of rotation cube, etc. Learn more about Settings in the next lessons.

In the central part of Main Menu, there is the name of your project and status indicator, which shows if your project is saved or not.

The right side of the Main Menu is taken by 6 icons:
- Share Object - allows you to share an object on MyMiniFactory
- MyMiniFactory - allows you to search and load any object from MyMiniFactory - an online community for 3D designers who share their models with other people
- Notifications - news from SelfCAD and 3D printing world
- My profile - takes you to your account settings
- Help Center - here you can find FAQ, list of keyboard shortcuts or report an issue
- Fullscreen mode

Step 2: Quick Access Bar

The Quick Access panel consists of 2 parts.

On the left side there are quick-access icons:
- Undo
- Redo
- Copy - creates a copy of selected objects
- Delete (Delete All) - the same as in Edit drop-down list

In the middle, you can see help messages to the tools you are about to use.

Step 3: Toolbar

The Toolbar contains all the tools necessary to create a 3D model. It consists of:
- 3D Shapes - allows you to add customized but specific shapes to the scene.
- Drawing - used to draw unique shapes and create 3D models from them or to draw profiles
- Move - moves an object
- Rotate - rotates an objects
- Scale - scales an object
- Deform - group of tools which deform an object but do not change the number of vertices, edges and faces
- Modify - group of tools which change the number and shape of object's faces, edges and amount of vertices
- Stitch & Scoop - boolean tools, which allow for union, difference, exclusion and intersection od two or more objects
- Tools - group of tools which generate completely new and more complicated models from other objects or prepare a model for 3D printing
- Utilities - group of tools which help with precision, speed up the modeling process and fix the object
- Sculpting - allows you to sculpt unique 3D models
- Image to 3D - generates a 3D shape from 2D image
- 3D Print - use a built-in slicer to generate Gcode and print your model
- Animation - a tool that allows you to animate your objects

At the end of the Toolbar you can see the Search tool, that can be used to find any SelfCAD tool.

You will learn more about tools in the next parts of this course.

Step 4: Tool Settings

Tool settings is a left sidebar that appears when you choose one of the tools or settings. Here you can find all the input fields and sliders needed for precise modeling of your object. Most tools have special tooltips displayed at the bottom of tool settings.

Step 5: Selection and Display Settings

You can find Selection and display settings in the right sidebar.

It consists of 5 parts:
- Selection cube - use it to choose what type of region you want to select. There are four types of regions in SelfCAD. The largest are polygons, which consist of one or more faces. Each face is bordered by edges and edges are connected by vertices. Each edge always has two vertices on its ends.
Here you can also find some numbers that mean how many of each region you have in your project.
In the upper right corner, the Selection settings icon is located. Click on it with face/edge selection mode enabled to be able to select loops of faces/edges. Click on it with polygon selection mode enabled to have an ability to choose tolerance of selection

- Selection Tools - in this panel you can see three options:

  • Marquee Selection - the same as right mouse button selection. Click and drag the cursor to select the objects or regions. Try to drag the mouse from left to right - the selection rectangle should be blue with solid borders. This type of Marquee selection causes that selected is everything that entirely fits the rectangle. Now, drag the cursor from right to left and note that the selection is green with a dashed border. This type of selection is that the objects which are partly contained inside the rectangle are also selected
  • Inverse Selection - selects all deselected objects/regions and deselects all selected objects/regions
  • Cube Selection - precisely selects part of an object. If Exact Selection is enabled, it allows you to create new edges and select exactly the part you chose.

- Display settings - here you can select how objects are displayed. There are three modes in SelfCAD: Mesh view, Wireframe view, Mesh + Wireframe view. Additionally, you can turn on the Smooth view that displays all objects as if they had no edges. Note that the Smooth view has only visual values and it does not affect 3D printing.

- Object settings - can be used to change object's color, material and opacity. In material settings, you can change its texture, reflectiveness or set the object as a light source.

- Object management - full list of all objects existing in your project. You can use it to select or deselect objects, hide them, lock, isolate or make visible and also to create their copies. To copy an existing object using the objects list just drag and drop it on the scene. The last function of the object management is changing objects' names. It's highly recommended because changing the object's name makes it quick to find, especially when using tools like Stitch&Scoop.

Step 6: Editor

The editor is the biggest part of SelfCAD's interface. You use it all the time to see how your project looks like and how each tool changes your models. In the upper left corner, you can see the so-called Rotation Cube, which is the basic tool created to change the camera modes and positions. More about the Rotation Cube you will learn in the next lesson

In the bottom right corner, there is a little 3-dimensional coordinate system. It not only shows you the directions of axes but also, when clicked, turns on Workspace settings.

Step 7: Next Lesson

Now you know how the interface in SelfCAD is built. Let's go to the next lesson to learn about navigation in SelfCAD.

Click here to open the next lesson.