The blueprint toolbar. Or maybe I should say toolbars? blueprint allows for full customization of the toolbar including creating your own toolbars and even editing the bitmaps that are displayed on them. How’s that for personal style? In any case, the toolbars are useful sets of buttons that perform various actions on the current object. They’re grouped in sets of functionality.

The first group is your standard Windows group. New, Open, Save. That sort of thing.

The second group is for performing actions on objects (or meshes if you prefer). Select allows you to pick objects in the various windows and make that object active. Once active, you can choose another button to perform an action on the object, or change things like material or texture on the selected object. Move allows you to move the object in the active viewport. Two way movement is available in each viewport and three way (using the right mouse button) allows movement in the vertical direction in the Perspective viewport. Rotate allows you to rotate the object around it’s own axis. Click on rotate then start moving the mouse in any viewport and the selected object will rotate based on the constraints of the X, Y, and Z buttons (see below). Scale allows you to scale an object. This by default scales the object in all three directions, but by using the X, Y, and Z buttons (see below) you can squash or stretch an object anyway.

The next group is the same set of buttons (Move, Rotate, Scale) but the actions are performed on textures, not objects. Move Texture allows you to change the position of the texture on the 3D mesh. For example, if you had a brick texture and you wanted the bricks to align to the top of the 3D object, you would select move and adjust the texture until it looked the way you wanted in the viewport. Rotate Texture allows you to rotate the texture around each face of the object. This is handy if the texture you apply is turned 90 degrees on it’s side and you want it to face upwards so people can read it (assuming it’s the cover of a book or something). Scale Texture allows you to alter the scale that’s used when displaying the texture. You might have a very large box that needs the brick texture on it scaled down to make it look more realistic. Alternately, you might want to scale the texture up to a huge texture to make it look more ‘cartoony’.

The next group are three buttons (X, Y, Z) that govern how the Move, Rotate and Scale (and texture companion) buttons work. Each object (and the scene) has three axis’ that it operates on. The X axis runs along the width (red), the Y axis runs in the vertical direction (green) and the Z axis controls the depth (blue). When moving an object you can toggle each of these buttons to restict movement along that axis. So if you only want to move the object up or down, toggle the Y axis on and the X and Z off. When rotating an object, you can dictate which axis to rotate along. Only one axis can be active at any one time during rotation. Scaling the object can be performed on all three axis’ (the default) or a combination. For example, if you start by creating a cube with a size of 1x1x1 then restrict scaling to only the Y axis, it will shrink the height of the object, but not the width or depth. Very handy!

The next group controls movement in the scene. Pan allows you to move the camera up, down, left or right in the scene to get a better view of the object. Orbit (only available in Scene Builder mode) allows you to orbit the camera around the scene and change the angle. Zoom will zoom the active viewport in and out and Zoom All does the same, but on all visible viewports at the same time. FOV (only available in Scene Builder mode) allows you to change the field of view. This is similar to changing the viewing lens of a camera. It’s similar to zooming, but doesn’t reposition the camera. It can distort the scene (if that’s the effect you’re going after).

The last two buttons are the axis and grid toggle. These toggle the display of a 3D axis or the 2D grid in a viewport. Each viewport is controlled individually so you can turn different options on or off for each one.

That gives a brief overview of the toolbar and the buttons it has. Like I said, the toolbar is completely customizable and you can even create your own! All settings are saved automatically and restored when you relaunch the program.